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Booking Asuka's Current Raw Women's Title Reign

2023.06.03 09:28 BrownTown427 Booking Asuka's Current Raw Women's Title Reign

At Royal Rumble 2023, Asuka returned after a brief hiatus, sporting a deranged look reminiscent of her days as Kana. And since that point, the Empress of Tomorrow has solidified her powerful aura, winning the Elimination Chamber match and avenging her disappointing loss to Bianca at WrestleMania 39 by dethroning the EST at Night Of Champions. And while Asuka has been Raw Women’s Champion before, this time feels…different…
Monday Night Raw (5/29/23):
Following Night of Champions with the crowning of Asuka, it would appear the landscape of the women’s division has changed. While some individuals are surely eager to go after singles gold, this isn’t initially the case for the Way. In a backstage interview with Byron Saxton, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell express their desire to go after the Women’s Tag Team Titles, only to be interrupted by the lunatic duo of Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville. Deville tries to get under the skin of the pairing, particularly LeRae, mocking her struggles to get victories as of late. However, Candice retorts that Sonya and Chelsea haven’t done anything either, their only actual success as a duo being making Adam Pearce question his own sanity. After a few more moments of bickering, Green tries to slap LeRae, but Hartwell blocks it for her, shoving Chelsea to the ground. Sonya shoves Indi back, and Candice in-turn attacks Deville, forcing several officials to have to separate things.
This results in a singles match later in the evening between Deville and LeRae, with Sonya trying to make an example out of the “Poison Pixie”. It’s a fairly back-and-forth encounter, with LeRae starting the match off hot, but Sonya is able to adapt, using her MMA background to her advantage with increasingly strong shots. However, as Sonya gains control, her emotions also start to fluctuate a bit. Rather than just go for the win at points, she decides to inflict further damage, regularly targeting the right arm in particular with a combination of stomps and armbars. However, the turning point of the match comes when Deville kneels down, once again looking to apply some type of submission hold…only for LeRae to transition it into the Garga-No Escape! While Sonya doesn’t submit, it gives her enough breathing room to mount a comeback, eventually hitting her signature springboard moonsault to finish things.
Candice LeRae def. Sonya Deville via pinfall
After the match, Candice and Indi take a moment to celebrate the win…BUT HERE COMES ASUKA! The Raw Women’s Champion is in the building, and she looks as maniacal as ever. She makes her way towards LeRae…and offers a handshake? Candice is definitely hesitant to accept, and for good reason, as when she starts moving her hand out…ASUKA HITS HER WITH A ROUNDHOUSE KICK! Indi tries to avenge her downed partner, but Asuka takes her out with a spinning backfist. The Empress moves back towards LeRae, staring at the injured right arm…AND SHE APPLIES A VICIOUS ARMBAR, SNAPPING IT IN THE PROCESS! Asuka eventually lets go, with Johnny Gargano and a medical official coming out to tend to LeRae while Adam Pearce wants to know what’s wrong with Asuka…to which she merely replies with a sinister smile…
Monday Night Raw (6/5/23):
About half-way through the show, Johnny Gargano comes to the ring, ready to give an update on his wife Candice LeRae. He says that while LeRae is unable to compete, it’s only for a short period of time, and the fracture to her arm was small enough as to where she won’t require surgery. However, Gargano also says that LeRae wanted him to pass along a message…which is why he’s calling out Asuka to the ring! On cue, the Empress comes out, looking at Johnny Wrestling with a curious look. Gargano says that once upon a time, he and his wife both had respect for Asuka’s accomplishments, especially her record-setting run in NXT. However, with the actions of last week, they no longer have those sentiments, and when LeRae returns from this set-back, she’s challenging you for that Raw Women’s Title! As Gargano says this, Asuka just begins giving a deranged laugh. No one in the arena knows what to make of this…until Asuka picks up a mic…to simply say…bye bye…
As Asuka makes her way to the ring apron, Gargano is left staring in confusion at what transpired…but suddenly, the lights go out! When they turn back on…a trio of masked men are destroying Johnny Wrestling! He tries to fight back, but he’s just overpowered, and left to be stomped on as Asuka just watches on from ringside, enjoying the carnage. The biggest of the three hits Gargano with a top rope splash, before what appears to be the leader hits…a wheelbarrow neckbreaker. As the individual hits this, Asuka comes back into the ring, standing alongside the figures. She whispers something to them, and they move their hand to the top of the masks, pulling them off to reveal…IT’S SAnitY! Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain are all back in WWE, and it appears they’ve aligned themselves with the Empress of Tomorrow. But the question left to be answered… Where is Nikki Cross in all of this?
Monday Night Raw (6/12/23):
In a backstage segment early in the show, the camera shows Nikki Cross backstage, alone and looking down, drowning in her own crazed thoughts…until Eric Young enters the shot. Cross raises her head, looking expressionless while a smile slowly creeps across the face of Young. He asks her…
“Won’t you join us?”
However, before Nikki can answer…HERE COMES JOHNNY GARGANO! He dives at Eric, looking to get revenge on one of the men who decimated him the week prior. He’s successful initially, but soon enough, Wolfe and Dain rush in, prying Johnny off Young and starting to beat him down. Luckily for Gargano, he came prepared, as he too has backup in the form of Dexter Lumis! SAnitY backs off as Dexter comes in with a steel chair, but not before Young mouths the words…This isn’t over…
Monday Night Raw (6/19/23): Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis vs. Eric Young and Killian Dain
With the tensions continuing to rise between the Way and SAnitY, it was inevitable they’d have to square off at some point, and Adam Pearce decides to see if a tag match can resolve this. The match starts off with Gargano and Young, Johnny Wrestling anxious to annihilate him while Young is more amused than scared. Johnny is able to get the upper hand initially, a superkick giving him the brief opportunity to then apply a Garga-No Escape. However, Killian Dain breaks up the hold by just hitting a Senton on Gargano’s back, a tactical maneuver to give Young the chance to gain control. However, Lumis enters the ring as well, grabbing Dain and trying to set him up for a side slam. However, Killian avoids it, and the pair move to the outside of the ring to brawl. By the end of the match, Gargano is weakened, but he’s still got the power of adrenaline on his side. He’s able to tag in for Lumis, getting in a flurry of offense against the big man Dain, including a pair of superkicks to knock him off his feet. However, as he goes for the One Final Beat, Young grabs his foot by the ring apron, preventing him from springboarding into the ring. Gargano’s able to kick him away, but when Johnny does go for the maneuver, Dain catches him, planting him in the center of the ring. He follows up on it with a splash from the top rope, with Young tagging in as he does so. And with Killian shoving Lumis off the apron, Young is able to hit the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker to finish the match.
SAnitY def. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis
After the match, Asuka makes her way to the ring, standing alongside SAnitY once again. She looks at the downed Gargano, now with a disgusted look on her face rather than an evil grin. She turns to Young, who nods and motions for Dain and Wolfe to pick Johnny up. But right before Asuka can seemingly hit him with the Mist…Here comes Nikki Cross! She rushes to the ring, sliding in and looking right at Asuka as she does so. Young walks up to her, asking her the question…
“Are you with us, Nikki?”
Cross stares at Young for a moment…then to Wolfe…then to Dain…then to Asuka. It’s to the Raw Women’s Champion that she gives the longest stare, Nikki’s eyes slowly growing wider and her expression becoming more intense. And with that, she mutters just a few words…
“You hurt my friends…she hurt my best friend… now she will pay.”
And with that, Cross dives onto Asuka, unleashing a flurry of strikes and catching everyone in the ring by surprise. However, Young pries Nikki off of the Empress, to which Cross responds by starting to attack him! However, it’s short lived, as Asuka runs up behind Nikki and drops her with a roundhouse kick. She quickly gets her locked in a crossface chickenwing as well, Nikki unable to escape and ultimately passing out. Before she fades, she’s left to only see the disappointed looks on the face of the SAnitY members…”You made the wrong choice Nikki”. But the attention soon shifts back to Gargano and Lumis now. They’ve slowly risen to their feet, and Gargano, looking directly at Young, demands another fight! Young sighs, seemingly bored at the prospect of SAnitY having to dismantle those two again…but it shall be done. However, before they can move in for the kill, we suddenly hear crashes echo throughout the arena. They happen for a few seconds, before the lights dim slightly. An unfamiliar melodic theme starts playing, sounding slightly reminiscent of that of a final boss, but as the lights turn back on, it changes back into the more recognizable song…
NO ONE WILL SURVIVE! IT’S TOMMASO CIAMPA! After being on the shelf for months, he’s finally back, and as he gets into the ring, he looks at Johnny Gargano…there’s no shortage of history here. And while there’s a momentary tension as to what he’s gonna do, he sides with his former DIY partner, making it a more fair fight! Unfortunately, he doesn’t get the chance to lay into any of SAnitY, as they decide to make their exit, already having made a statement with the victory and assault on Asuka, nothing more needed to be done…tonight, at least.
Monday Night Raw (6/26/23): Indi Hartwell vs. Asuka - Non-Title Match
In her first match since beating Bianca at Night of Champions, Asuka looks to prove why she’s the champion. She starts off the match well, not letting Indi get any momentum by just rocking her with a series of kicks to the chest. After dragging Hartwell to the outside, Asuka begins going after the arm, slamming it several times into the ring post before deciding to inflict some pain to the skull with a tiger suplex. This momentarily causes the ref to check on her, potentially looking to end the match…but Asuka isn’t willing to let that happen. She gets Indi back in the ring, lining her up for a running hip attack…BUT HARTWELL TRANSITIONS IT INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX! Despite having just been on the ropes, Indi managed to use what she had left in the tank to take down Asuka, and as she gets to her feet, she feels the crowd surging behind her. She starts taking it to the Empress, getting her backed into the corner and landing a few solid chops. However, she gets a bit overzealous, trying to get Asuka on the top rope for a potential suplex attempt, only for the former Kana to kick her away and land a knee directly to the back of Indi’s neck. And with that, Asuka remains in the power position, eventually locking on the same Armbar that injured Candice LeRae and forcing Hartwell to tap or get snapped.
Asuka def. Indi Hartwell via submission
But before Asuka really has a chance to even get up…HERE COMES NIKKI CROSS! She runs out with a kendo stick, furious as to what transpired the week prior, and gets in a few shots on Asuka before Alexander Wolfe attempts to pry the weapon away. In response, Nikki shoves it into his gut, before hitting him with a swinging neckbreaker and sending a message to Asuka that she’s just as much of a force to be reckoned with. And it’s later announced that this match has been declared official for Money In the Bank: let’s see if these two dangerous competitors can live up to their classic from NXT…
Money In The Bank (7/1/23): Nikki Cross vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Despite not having a stipulation like their Last Woman Standing Match in 2017, the match is still intense from start-to-finish. Cross runs at Asuka immediately, getting in some shots with the elbow to the side of the face. Asuka is forced to a sitting position, allowing Nikki to gather some steam from running along the ropes before landing a kick to Asuka’s jaw! Unfortunately for Cross, her frenzied nature ends up backfiring, as when the action shifts to the outside, Asuka dodges a running attack and sends Nikki nearly head first into the barricade! With Nikki instinctively grabbing her head after the missed maneuver, Asuka sees what to target, dragging Cross to the ring apron and repeatedly crushing her skull into the ring post. And as the action shifts back into the ring, it’s just more of the same, Asuka being momentarily hit by mini-bursts of offense, but the damage inflicted on the skull clearly affecting her. This is evidenced when Cross has Asuka lined up for the swinging neckbreaker, potentially able to get her the win…only to collapse before she can properly hit it. With that, Asuka is able to apply the Asuka Lock, and as happened a couple of weeks ago, Cross passes out in the hold.
Asuka def. Nikki Cross via submission pass-out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
On the Raw after Money in the Bank, Candice LeRae would make her return from injury, calling out Asuka for a match…only to learn she isn’t in the building. But she decides to still issue a challenge, saying that while she wanted the Raw Women’s Title initially…now it’s about more than that. Asuka took out Candice’s friends and family, and left her away from the ring for too long…now, she wants to beat Asuka for vengeance first, gold later. And later on, it’s confirmed that the match will be taking place when Asuka returns…except it’ll be for the title as well! Pearce claims that the decision is due to Asuka’s recent actions, as after all, letting someone try to break someone’s limb after a match with no repercussions is a pretty bad look. But while this choice of action would normally upset some superstars…it might just put a smile on Asuka’s face…
Monday Night Raw (7/10/23): Candice LeRae vs. Asuka
Before making her entrance, Candice LeRae gets herself prepared with the rest of the Way, with Nikki Cross sitting in a corner nearby as well. Indi tells her to be cautious…Asuka’s a very dangerous competitor. LeRae of course knows this, but she’s caught off-guard by some words of wisdom from Nikki several feet away:
“Destroy her.”
Candice looks at Nikki, who’s staring back at her with something in her eyes…A look of needing something… wanting Candice to kill the Empress. LeRae nods, and she heads out to the ring, more confident than ever…And she truly gives it her all. LeRae’s strategy is simple: prevent Asuka from using her signature kicks. And for most of the match, she executes on her plan, moving herself back whenever she senses a roundhouse coming and catching Asuka off-balance. However, this was never going to last, and once Asuka lands a kick to the gut, she’s able to gather steam. And while this doesn’t finish LeRae, the “Poison Pixie” even managing to hit a springboard moonsault AND lock in a Garga-No Escape at various points, Asuka eventually locks in an Armbar on the previously-injured limb that Candice can’t overcome.
Asuka def. Candice LeRae via submission to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, the rest of the Way comes out, helping Candice to her feet. As they do so, Asuka stares at them, and then begins…counting them? The Way and the commentary team are confused, but as Asuka only counts four people…a maniacal expression overtakes her. She starts walking quickly to the back, and a few moments later, it becomes clear what her intentions were…
As the Way walks backstage, they’re horrified to discover a brutalized Nikki Cross! They rush over to her, asking who did this…and to no one’s surprise, she says it was Asuka. However, it soon becomes clear to Gargano…Ciampa might be next! While Indi and Candice stay with Nikki, Johnny (and Dexter to a lesser extent) start rushing through the halls, trying to get to the right locker room…but it’s too late, as SAnitY and Asuka are seen moving away from it! While Lumis stands guard, Gargano rushes inside, and finds Ciampa not just taken out…but also sprayed by Asuka’s mist! Johnny rushes over, giving Tommaso a towel, but as Tommaso wipes the mist off his face…there appears to be a dark look in his eyes, something not seen in him since when he destroyed DIY…
Remaining Build To SummerSlam:
While Ciampa, Gargano, and Lumis keep their attention towards SAnitY for a bit, Asuka shifts away from LeRae, Hartwell, and Cross, having beaten all three after all. With an open mic, she begins giving one of her standard energetic promos, seemingly wanting to know who her next challenger is gonna be…even though no one is ready for Asuka. It’s not long before someone interrupts though…and it’s someone who Asuka has grown familiar with in 2023…It’s Bianca Belair! The EST remained off television for several weeks following Night of Champions, but now, she’s back and angrier than ever. Bianca grabs the mic straight out of Asuka’s hand, and cuts a quick promo:
“Asuka… you say no one’s ready for you. But you’re wrong… because I’ve ALWAYS been ready for you. I proved that at WrestleMania 39, when I beat you clean in the center of this ring. And what did you do? You had to use that mist, that cursed, blinding mist. And you know what? Congratulations, it got you the title, but not for long. Because I say we have ONE MORE MATCH. But I think it’s time to have a match where no excuses can be made, and there are no rules to be broken. Asuka… At SummerSlam…I challenge you to HELL… IN A CELL!”
The crowd are clearly in favor of this stipulation…And it appears Asuka is too! She starts nodding repeatedly, and Bianca just stares on with a prepared look, perhaps fazed in the past by Asuka’s personality traits but now just ready to finally vanquish her and get the Raw Women’s Title back in her possession. In the remaining weeks, Bianca competes multiple times, getting the ring rust off with multiple victories, while Asuka is content with sitting at ringside for both contests…studying her competition…
SummerSlam (8/5/23): Bianca Belair vs. Asuka (c) - Hell in a Cell Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
We’ve finally made it to the Biggest Party of the Summer, and what better of a place to host it than in Detroit at Ford Field (definitely no bias as a Lions fan)! Once both Asuka and Belair are locked in the cage, the match starts at a feverish place, Bianca hitting a strong shoulder tackle only for Asuka to respond with a spinning backfist a few moments later! As the dust settles on the first fifteen seconds, the competitors look at each other, giving a momentary smirk and scoff apiece before continuing with the action. Bianca showcases her power, getting the Empress lifted in the Gorilla Press position and just hurling her at the cell wall! The several-foot fall to the floor certainly adds to the blow, and Bianca continues the assault outside the ring, slamming Asuka’s head repeatedly into the cage! However, she decides to look under the ring for a weapon, a table quickly catching her eye. She pushes it into the ring, but makes the mistake of turning her back to Asuka while doing so, the former Kana grabbing her from behind and hitting a Tiger Suplex onto the floor!
With Asuka now the lone woman standing, she follows up Bianca’s decision to look under the ring, pulling out a kendo stick. She feels it around in her grasp, getting a good feel for the damage she’s about to inflict. Once Bianca groggily gets to her feet, Asuka just decimates her back, hitting the stick ten times in immediate succession! However, Bianca’s able to dodge an eleventh shot targeted towards the throat, pulling the kendo stick to her and snapping it in half! Asuka looks briefly stunned, but not before she gives a condescending set of claps. In response, Belair grabs her, picking her up for a powerbomb and sending Asuka’s back to connect with the ring apron! Bianca then drags Asuka into the ring, proceeding to set up a table and initially primed to hit a K.O.D. through it. However, Asuka grabs Bianca’s hair, weakening her grip momentarily and presenting an opportunity to escape. Upon doing so, Asuka roundhouse kicks Belair, before getting her positioned on the table, climbing to the top rope…AND HITS A SPLASH ON BIANCA RIGHT THROUGH IT! 1-2-KICKOUT!
Despite the table spot being unable to put away Bianca, Asuka appears unfazed. She exits the ring, bringing a pair of steel steps back into the squared circle. Asuka picks Belair up, seemingly trying to hit a brainbuster on it…But Belair dodges, landing backwards on the steps before turning around and hitting a mini-elevated Spear! This leaves both women down for a few moments, but Bianca rises to her feet first. She gets in some of her signature offense, including a spinebuster on the steel steps! However, her attempt at a K.O.D. on the steps doesn’t work in her favor, with Asuka once again avoiding it. And unfortunately for Belair, Asuka is able to hit her with a suplex on the steps, this being the key factor for the rest of the match-up. With Bianca’s power lessened a bit AND Asuka’s submission hold targeting the back, she faces a tall task, and is ultimately unable to overcome it, the Asuka Lock resulting in a pass-out.
Asuka def. Bianca Belair via submission pass-out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After an impressive victory at SummerSlam, Asuka has definitely proven that she’s going to be difficult to beat. But soon enough, she finds herself confronted by a potentially harmful numbers game…
Monday Night Raw (8/7/23): Damage CTRL Promo
Despite recent events not going so well for Damage CTRL, with Dakota Kai tearing her ACL and neither Iyo Sky nor Bayley able to capture the Money in the Bank briefcase, they’re still determined to get momentum back on their side. Bayley makes the bold decision to call out Asuka, saying that if she were actually a fighting champion, she’d consider accepting a match for the title. Asuka comes out, grinning at Bayley trying to goad her into a title opportunity. Asuka looks at Bayley as just another poor soul to be destroyed, but Iyo…Iyo has potential. Asuka even tells Sky…”Bayley isn’t your friend…but I am…”
This seems to get in Iyo’s head, as she begins looking questioningly at Bayley, who attempts to diffuse the situation by just pointing out Asuka being a freak who gets in people’s heads. In response, Asuka kicks Bayley square in the gut, and when Iyo instinctively goes to fight, Asuka shakes her head…I don’t want to fight you… You don’t need to be part of this…
Remaining Build To Extreme Rules:
Over the coming weeks, Bayley becomes a little more sympathetic, her intentions appearing less out of pure arrogance and more about striving to win championship gold back and improve her honor. She goes on a winning streak, but when confronting Adam Pearce about getting a confirmed title shot, he says there’s one more person she has to beat…Iyo Sky.
At this same time, Iyo looks perturbed whenever she’s on television, still at Bayley’s side but signs pointing to her being less convinced than when Damage CTRL began. And after Bayley does defeat Iyo to earn the #1 Contendership, Sky is just left sitting in the ring, staring down at the mat whilst utterly disappointed. Bayley offers her a handshake, but Asuka stands at ringside, motioning her to come roll out of the ring and stand tall with her. In response, Iyo moves in neither woman’s direction, rolling out to the entrance ramp and walking away alone, uncertain of what her future holds.
But with Extreme Rules approaching, there must also be a stipulation, and after a set of assaults from Asuka leave Bayley staring at the lights, Bayley decides it’s in both of their best interest to settle on…A Last Woman Standing Match! Asuka can try to keep putting her down, but she’s gotten back up each time, and come the PPV…The reign of the Empress will be history.
Extreme Rules: Bayley vs. Asuka (c) - Last Woman Standing Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
In a rematch of their TakeOver: Dallas encounter, the feel of the match is similar to what it was several years ago. Bayley, despite having been around in WWE longer, is the underdog, looking to prove herself against a terrorizing monster who we’re unsure can truly be beaten. The action quickly spills out of the ring, with Bayley even managing to hit a quick Bayley-To-Belly Suplex. Unfortunately, Asuka gets up before even a count of 5, disturbing Bayley. The action spills into the crowd for a while, with Asuka suplexing Bayley on the staircase and the former “Hugger” sent tumbling down for a solid five seconds. But eventually, Bayley recaptures the momentum, finding a trash can with weapons and using a kendo stick to start wailing on Asuka. And as the action approaches a set-up table, Bayley is able to not just prop her up on it, but successfully hit an Elbow Drop from a ledge through it as well! Bayley gets up at a count of three, and while Asuka is left stunned by the move, she recovers at a count of 8, continuing the match-up.
From there, the match spills back closer to the ring, with Bayley putting Asuka in the ring before grabbing a table. She sets it up, but Asuka manages to recover in time to avoid a Bayley-To-Belly through it, instead tossing Bayley to the side momentarily before going at her with a running hip attack. Asuka keeps control for a bit, but as she looks to put Bayley through the table…Here comes Iyo Sky! She slowly walks to the ring, not attacking Asuka initially, but giving Bayley enough time to send Asuka off the top rope and to the floor. However, with the action back on the outside, Asuka looks to be a bit desperate, using her signature Mist to blind Bayley! After this happens, Iyo rushes over to Bayley to try and help…But Bayley shoves her down hard to the floor, thinking it was Asuka! Meanwhile, the real Asuka appears behind Bayley, dragging her back into the ring. Asuka decides to lock on the crossface chickenwing, attempting to pass out Bayley, but this seems to only increase the fire in her spirit, Bayley able to back her into a corner to break the hold. Bayley rubs her eyes, improving her vision, and she drags Asuka to the table, seemingly able to hit the Bayley-To-Belly through the table this time…
BUT IYO HITS BAYLEY IN THE BACK WITH A STEEL CHAIR FROM OUT OF NOWHERE! Bayley falls to her knees, slowly turning around with a look of heartbreak and pain on her face. Iyo returns the look with an icy cold stare, before Asuka pops-up behind Bayley, applying the Asuka Lock to pass the former “Role Model” out. But given this requires a ten count for Bayley to be down, and Asuka wanting to see what Iyo can do…she motions to the table. Iyo nods, getting Bayley set-up, climbing to the top rope, and hitting a Moonsault, crushing Bayley’s ribs, her friendship, and her hopes of winning the match in one fell swoop.
Asuka def. Bayley via KO to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, Sky raises Asuka’s hand, signifying the start of an absolutely lethal new duo in WWE…
With Iyo Sky now having made her allegiance clear, Asuka would appear set-up to remain dominating moving forward. However, the enemies she’s made over the past several months aren’t so quick to forget what transpired, which could potentially create problems…
Build To Survivor Series:
Despite having already made an impact to this point, Asuka and Iyo Sky aren’t just going to put away challengers…it’s time to take out everyone. After a singles win on Raw, Becky Lynch would be blindsided by Iyo, being laid out with several shots of the Steel Chair before a Moonsault to cap things off. The following week, Bayley expresses her dismay at being left alone, to which Asuka and Iyo interrupt, immediately kickstarting a brawl that would seem to favor them once again…Until out comes Becky Lynch! Despite having been bitter rivals earlier in the year, Becky makes the save for Bayley, the pair nodding at each other afterwards to signify a slight respect…We don’t have to like each other… but there’s a bigger threat to be stopped…
But soon enough, this action spills past just being a two-on-two situation. Zoey Stark, the former tag team partner of Iyo Sky in NXT, decides that Becky didn’t suffer enough during their rivalry after helping Trish at Night of Champions, and that it’s worth it for these veterans like her and Bayley to be ousted. Along with that, Asuka’s power and general craziness draws the interest of the Unholy Union known as Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn, the pair pledging loyalty to The Empress and perfectly willing to destroy Becky and Bayley. However, there are several other competitors backstage sick of seeing Asuka gaining an army, with Bianca Belair and the Way coming to the save to help even the odds. And of course, after a brawl featuring all of these competitors, William Regal comes out briefly to make his patented announcement:
To determine which team gets the advantage leading into Survivor Series, we get ourselves a strong match in Iyo Sky vs. Becky Lynch, really the catalyst of what’s led into a two-on-one situation into an upcoming 5v5 match inside a destructive steel structure. Becky more than holds their own, but Iyo Sky shines even brighter, a cheap shot by Stark eventually allowing Iyo to hit the Moonsault and give the “heels” the advantage.
Survivor Series: Bianca Belair, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Nikki Cross, and Candice LeRae vs. Asuka, Iyo Sky, Zoey Stark, Alba Fyre, and Isla Dawn - War Games Match
Kicking off the match is Zoey Stark and Becky Lynch, with Becky initially successful in getting Zoey downed, but Isla Dawn coming in presents a problem. She’s initially able to hold her off, but a chop block by Zoey Stark and a subsequent attack of the leg leaves Becky in a rough spot. She’s able to get some assistance, with Nikki Cross coming in with a trash can lid and just whacking Zoey and Isla around with ease. However, Alba Fyre is next to come out, and upon seeing Cross staring her down from inside the cage, she grabs a kendo stick, ready to defend herself. While Nikki initially gets the advantage, Stark and Dawn are able to pull Nikki back, sending her into the steel cage repeatedly. Bianca coming in next is a game changer however, the EST taking control of the match-up and getting a slight breather while awaiting the fourth competitor…which is Asuka!
But as the rest of the field comes in, with Asuka being the last entrant for her team and Bayley for the opposite side, the action starts to get more and more intense. With all of the competitors brawling in one ring, Iyo sees the chance to hit a Moonsault from the top of the cage, wiping out everybody (including herself)! However, a table being brought into the mix benefits the bayfaces, Bayley hitting Fyre with a Bayley-To-Belly through it (she finally got to hit it… just not on Asuka). However, the ending sequence comes down to Asuka and Iyo on their feet against Bayley and Becky, back where it essentially first started…AND IT ENDS WITH IO HITTING A MOONSAULT ON BAYLEY! 1-2-3!
Team Asuka def. Team Becky via pinfall
Just like that, Iyo Sky has once again proved her worth, defeating her former stablemate to win the match for her team and cementing herself as a force to be moving forward. And though a fairly small shot, we can see Asuka glance over at Iyo, a slight frown on her face for a moment before moving back to stand with the rest of her team. What could that mean…
Build To Royal Rumble:
Despite the result of the War Games Match, Becky Lynch isn’t through with either Asuka nor Iyo by a long shot. She fights off both of them over the coming weeks, along with picking up several singles victory, establishing herself as the next #1 Contender. And as Lynch points out, she and Asuka have history at Royal Rumble. Asuka beat her in singles action in 2019…before Lynch went on to win the Royal Rumble and headline Mania. But this isn’t about the Rumble match now…it’s time to put away the Empress.
As for Iyo, she also has a run of singles success, carrying a lot of momentum heading into the Royal Rumble Match. And soon, we learn that she requested training from one of the most respected female competitors in the locker room, a former NXT UK Champion…Meiko Satomura! While Satomura doesn’t intend to compete right away, she’s more than willing to help Iyo, with vignettes being shown of them together and Satomura even being at ringside for her matches. However, as this keeps happening, Asuka’s looks towards Iyo become more and more strained. Sky is abandoning me… after all I did for her… something’s going to change soon enough…
Royal Rumble: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Earlier in the night, Iyo Sky does indeed win the Royal Rumble match, punching her ticket to WrestleMania. This doesn’t seem to affect Asuka’s thoughts however, the Empress looking as ruthless and as calculated as ever en route to using an Armbar to submit Becky after a pretty back-and-forth encounter. And while Asuka proved herself the master of the Armbar between the pairing, Iyo Sky coming out with Meiko Satomura to acknowledge the title win seems to aggravate something in Asuka. Her grin has become a definite frown, and she stares an icy dagger through the pairing. Something isn’t right here…
Asuka def. Becky Lynch via submission to retain the Raw Women’s Title
Build To WrestleMania:
In a conversation between Meiko Satomura and Iyo Sky on an episode of Raw, Satomura asks if Sky would be willing to use her Rumble Victory position to challenge Asuka. Sky doesn’t look too convinced about doing that, which Satomura says is fine, but it’s advisable to weigh all her options. However, in the background, Asuka can be seen, carefully listening to the conversation.
A week later, Satomura addresses the WWE Universe. She’s made the announcement that she wants to have one last run before she retires, and wants to face some of the best names this women’s division has to offer…which is why she’s challenging Asuka for Elimination Chamber! Asuka comes out, her face paint being more red than usual…but while it looks like she’s having to contain herself, she shakes Satomura’s hand, seemingly paying respect to a legend.
Elimination Chamber: Meiko Satomura vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Unfortunately for Satomura, this retirement run of sorts looked to hit the ground before it could even get going. While she catches the Empress off guard at the beginning of the encounter, as time moves on, Asuka appears to be getting more and more angry. This comes to a boiling point when after one Tiger Suplex, Asuka hits another…then another…then another…then another! The ref pleads for Asuka to quit the assault, which she does…only to pull a Bryan Danielson and just start repeatedly kicking Satomura in the face! This goes on for disturbingly long, and when it’s become clear that Satomura is passed out, the ref calls for the bell, him having made the discretion for the match to end.
Asuka def. Meiko Satomura via ref stoppage
After the match, Iyo Sky rushes to the ring, checking on the woman who’s helped her out tremendously over the past couple of months. Asuka looks down at Iyo, a look of disgust on her face, before demanding to know who Sky is facing at WrestleMania. And it better be a specific answer…
The crowd roar in approval, Asuka somehow shocked initially…until a smile comes across her face. I’m not surprised you made that choice…but unfortunately, it’s the wrong’s a shame this has to happen Iyo…so much potential…
WrestleMania 40: Iyo Sky vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Despite that inner monologue running through Asuka’s head at Elimination Chamber, Sky proves why she’s not to be taken lightly. On the Grandest Stage of them All, Iyo just looks…better. Having been around Asuka for several months, she knows the mechanics of her offense, doing a good job at avoiding those signature kicks while also having the speed advantage. And at the end of the match, Sky proves herself superior over The Empress of Tomorrow, hitting the second Moonsault of the match to pin Asuka, and end a spectacular title run while opening a new chapter for another one.
Iyo Sky def. Asuka via pinfall to win the Raw Women’s Championship
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2023.06.02 17:10 Wapulatus Respect Beast I, Goetia (Fate/Grand Order)

"Then I shall show you. The end of your journey. The demise of human history that will redo this planet. The moment my great undertaking is completed!"


Shikisai ~The Time of Parting Hath Come~
This thread is a collaboration with InverseFlash and rsthethird, who helped with feat-gathering, as well as Proletlariet, who helped with formatting. Thanks!


Beast I. One of the Seven Evils of Humanity, possessing the principle of "Pity".
The King of Mages, Solomon, gathered 72 demons in his life that he fashioned into "a system to promote reason in humans"--a sort of magical logic network. After some time, the demons gained self-awareness and merged into a collective being.
This being, the amalgamation of the 72 Demons, became known as Goetia.
When Solomon died, the demons were sealed away inside his corpse. The awakened Goetia at first assumed Solomon's identity. Through his eyes, they witnessed the extent of human suffering that Solomon, for all the king's vast power, had failed to address. They became disillusioned with their host, and hatched a plan to remake the world without its imperfections by travelling back in time.

Source Guide

Hover over the feat to view the story chapter the feat is from.
Relevant Scaling:
Some terms:
Elements of Goetia's in-game profile and Fate/Grand Order material IV entry (translated by castor212) are freely quoted in this thread to help explain abilities that might not show up explicitly in the series very often.

King of Mages - "Solomon"

"Plead for help. Raise your mewling voice. For it is the time for you to drown in the sea of anguish! Behold this festival of flame that set ablaze the altar, rendered in its resplendence!"
The Time of Coronation Hath Come
Prior to revealing himself, Goetia posed as King Solomon while possessing his corpse..
Controlling Solomon granted Goetia a variety of abilities, namely the class container of "Grand", which allowed him to outclass any normal Servant by virtue of this.

Physical Feats/Power


It has been said that Solomon's clairvoyance can see through the past and the future.
Because Clairvoyance is a skill furnished on the flesh, Goetia can also use it.

Magecraft / Magic


Evil Eye


Beast I - Goetia

"Well, I will rid myself of the title "King of Mages.”
"There's no more need for deception. I had no name, but if you want to call me something, call me this:"
"I am the one who shall attain true wisdom, as was desired of me. I am the one who shall devour you to reach a new height, and create a new planet."
"I am the one who shall gather 72 curses, and set flame to all of history. I am the Ritual for the Incineration of Humanity."
"I am Goetia, the King of Demon Gods."
Shikisai ~The Time of Parting Hath Come~
The form Goetia takes after he abandons Solomon's corpse partway through the final battle.
His body is a central core surrounded by the 72 "Demon Pillars" that comprise him.


General Power and Information
Physical Feats
The Beast Class
The entire space of Solomon's temple gives Da Vinci the same Beast Class reading she saw from Tiamat.

Individual Demon Pillars

Damage Output
Demon Pillars attack in a number of ways:
These attacks are threatening to a variety of named servants:
Favorable Interactions

King of Humans - Goetia

"The Demon Gods have burned away. My temple is destroyed. My grand plan for the Incineration of Human Order dies with me. But, I will at least deny you this final victory. Let us begin... Master of Chaldea. I shall annihilate you, and all you've achieved, with my own hands."
Despite Ars Nova ending Solomon's spell that bound the 72 Demons together, Goetia manages to linger long enough for one last fight. However, in this weakened state he can be defeated by a punch from Ritsuka.

Noble Phantasms

Ars Almadel Salomonis: The Time of Birth has Come, He is the One who Masters All

"Then I shall show you. The end of your journey. The demise of human history that will redo this planet. The moment my great undertaking is completed! Third Noble Phantasm, deploy. The Time of Birth has Come, He is the One who Masters All. Now, burn up like trash!"
"Ars Almadel Salomonis!"
  • Rank: EX
  • Type: Anti-Unit/Anti-Human Order Noble Phantasm
  • Range: ?
  • Maximum target: ? person
Goetia's third Noble Phantasm. The "" of original sin. A belt of light that announces mankind’s demise.
Goetia is able to manipulate this belt of light in order to collect, accelerate and converge portions of it, travelling through the timestream or otherwise influencing it.
For his plan to work, Goetia needed to make cause and effect stop working, so he can set fire to multiple periods of time in history at the same time.
He enables this by destabilizing human history with Singularities. These are turning points in human history that he's sent Holy Grails (powerful magic artifacts) to change important historical events.
Reference of what Holy Grails can do
Incineration of Human History
Once human history is destabilized, Goetia 'sets fire' to every moment of it and lets it burn. The energy is then collected as "Spiritrons" (magical energy) and raw heat.
Of course, this has catastrophic affects on the timeline.
Bands of Light
Finally, this energy is then channeled into Goetia's temple, and refined into bands of light that he can control and release at will. Either as weapons, or as fuel to for his ultimate goal: time travel to the creation of the Earth.

Ars Paulina: The Time of Crowning has Come, He is the One who Begins All

  • Rank: A
  • Type: Anti-World Noble Phantasm
  • Range: 999
  • Maximum target: ? person
A Reality Marble that Goetia fabricated by amplifying the remains of King Solomon, forming a magical workshop in "void space" that exists outside the normal flow of time.
Reality Marbles are essentially self-contained dimensions that 'paint over the world' in a given area. Here's a better schematic explaining what they do.
Physical Structure and Location

Ars Nova

  • Rank: D
  • Type: Anti-Unit Noble Phantasm
  • Range: -
  • Maximum target: 1 person
Goetia: Light Band Convergence Ring
Solomon: The Time of Parting has Come, He is the One who Lets Go of the World

Individual Demon Pillars - Unique Abilities

While it's likely that Goetia possesses all these abilities as the composite of all Demon God Pillars, some of his components developed wills of their own and gained unique abilities before and after his destruction at the hands of Chaldea.



After separating from Goetia, Andras gained a self-awareness and will to live, and escaped from the Temple of Time near-death, but died afterwards. Even then, its 'vindictive desires' remained as a corpse that could maintain a being by fusing to a Heroic Spirit, summoning and doing so with Chacha and Hijikata to create a singularity-like space.



"Huh, who would have known? ...Tragically short, and yet, strangely fascinating... So, this is what human life is..."

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2023.06.02 16:12 comphunk Surgery Dilemna. My Pain Journey

Case History
38 Year Male, Software Professional. Desk Job
· 2018: Foot injury
Active, played Volleyball and Cricket.
Aichiles Tendonitis left foot/ankle following a sports injury. X-Ray showed bone growth.
Lasery Therapy late in the year. Immense pain on walking, standing. Starting using right foot more. Used insoles, which reduced pain.
· 2019: Start of Groin Pain, Right Leg
March – Kidney stone. Intraveneous Opiod in Chicago IL, USA. Post that developed groin pain in right. Urologist ruled out kidney related pain. No sports.
Laying on left caused pinching pain in right thigh/groin.
November2019: X-Ray/MRI of Pelvis : Nothing abnormal
Dr daignosed HIP IMPINGEMENT FAI Right Hip, based on symptoms. Redced motion in right leg
· 2020: Covid, WFH. Pain: 2-3/10
Sedentary Lifestyle recoverng after Covid weakness. Ease in foot pain, due to limited motion.
No more groin pain, put it shifted to front thigs. Never really tested range of motion.
· 2021: Grade-III Fatty Liver, HT, Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance
Back to India. Sedentary. Weight 107 Kgs by December. Working from Home. Back stiffness. Pain: 2-3/10
· 2022: Weight Loss Journey. Very less Pain
2023: Bilateral FAI with bony spurs. Reduced angles. Early arthritis changes?
CURRENT: Daily activities hurt.
In Short, Resting/sitting Hurts. Standing doesn’t. walking after a while hurts. Pain: 5-6/10. Need to find postures that don’t hurt while sleeping/sitting.
I am not looking for medical advice but DO I really need surgery? All reports attached.
Will arthroscopy(shaving) be helpful or THA? My Ortho Dr has referred me to a sports specialist, which I am yet to visit. My Dr doesnt do arthroscopy. He does THR of HIP and Knee.
CT Pelvis

MRI Pelvis
Left Hip

Right Hip
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2023.05.30 15:59 YaaliAnnar NoP: Lost and Found (56)

First Previous
Memory Transcription Subject: Vani, Venlil Surgeon
Date [Standard Human Reckoning]: 2136-10-22
Secluded in the comfort of our cabin, I found myself savoring the rare moments of peace with Johan. The bustling camp did not afford us the luxury of privacy, and this precious pocket of calmness felt like a gift. Lying on the bed together, we did not feel the need to fill the silence with words or engage in any couple of activities. I felt an inherent satisfaction in just lying there together.
"Vani," Johan's voice filled the quiet cabin.
"I'm... I'm afraid of going back," he confessed.
I considered his words before asking, "Do you have many friends back in Jakarta?"
His gaze stayed on the ceiling as he replied, "Other than Snop... not. I guess, in a twisted way, that's a kind of luck?"
I watched as he rolled onto his side to face me, his eyes searching mine. "I count myself beyond fortunate to have met you." His fingers stroked my mane. His light touch felt heavy and comforting. "Even if we were in Jakarta when they implemented the quota they would have let me evacuate with you."
For a while, we just lay there, appreciating each other, our silent exchanges speaking volumes.
When we arrived at the ship, it was still the second or third hour of the day. I forgot when I fell asleep, but Johan's alarm woke us up the same. When we stepped out of our cabin, we found Tresn and the siblings lounging in the common area. Tresn now had the prostheses in his paws. The device twitched every now and there. Meanwhile, the siblings were engrossed in their thoughts or busy with their pads.
In the common area, we had our first meal aboard the vessel. We sat near the window, our portal to the world outside. Through the clear pane, the black water merged with the black sky, and I felt like being suspended in a void. Yet, despite this sense of absolute stillness, the ship flew above the water at a speed above fifty meters per second. Sometime after we had cleared our plates, our surrounding transformed. The sun, breaking the confines of the horizon, began its ascent. Although we were facing away from this bright ball in the sky, its effect was no less mesmerizing. Dawn overtook the black sky. First, the once pitch-black sky took on a shade of deep purple. A transition to an intense, deep red followed it soon after.
Perhaps two or three hours after the sunrise, the coastline of Cirebon began to emerge, peeking out from the edge of the horizon. Its unblemished skyline shone in stark contrast to the devastation reported in Jakarta.
Elangkasa joined us in the common area before we landed.
"Hi folks." They greeted me. "So, I might have forgotten to tell you all that you'll go to Purwakarta Sector 12 as volunteers."
"We don't mind." Said Johan. "I'm glad if I can be of help."
Elangkasa then briefed us on our job in Purwakarta Sector 12, Bolad and I would join the health workers. Johan and Cynthio had put aside their differences, nodding in agreement when Elangkasa assigned them to service and maintain the drones for rescue. Snop agreed when they asked her for help in construction with her skills in operating machining tools.
The armed forces had commandeered this once bustling commercial hub and had transformed it into a temporary base and staging area just like in Banjarmasin. Once we disembarked, Bolad and I joined Johan in his van again. A map of the region appeared on the dashboard. A red pinpoint marked the ovation where the bomb fell and a circle around it, the area of effect.
My classes both in Venlil Prime and Earth did not teach me about orbital bombardment and here I learned that one needs to get into a bunker in times like this. Because, for tens of kilometers, the bomb would heat the air to the point of causing tissue damage. The map showed a region where you will face severe burn injury if you stayed outside when the explosion happened. Amid the circle depicting the zones of devastation, one stark red marker pulsated with disconcerting energy. It lay within the severe heat zone. Its constant glow commanded my immediate attention.
"Johan," I ventured, pointing at the glaring red marker that almost seemed to taunt us, "That red marker there is your home, is it not?"
His eyes shifted from the barren road to the display, taking in the red beacon that represented his home. "Yeah…" He let out a sigh, heavy with desolation within the confines of the vehicle. "I wonder what's left of that house now."
As we drew nearer to the affected area, I steeled myself for the scenes of destruction. However, the buildings seemed to have withstood the assault better than I expected. Of course, we could see the scars of the attack, the shockwave shattered windows and some structures had superficial cracks. A general sense of disarray permeated our surroundings, but the core structures stood against the odds.
Cities and towns dotting the outskirts of the Greater Jakarta Province had been retrofitted with camps to accommodate the droves of displaced people emerging from the ruins of the once-thriving metropolis. In recent days, the tide has started to turn. Able-bodied survivors moved back towards their shattered homes, driven by the urge to reclaim and restore what they could salvage from the debris.
Our journey led us to the city of Purwakarta, a place I remembered from a past excursion with Johan. We had once visited the city's reservoir, taking in the tranquil beauty of the idyllic landscape. The city has changed now. A bustling hive of activity transformed the city as it took refuge for those fleeing the destruction.
Because of the scale of the destruction, we didn't have a single "camp" as we had for the gojids. The refugee districts were divided into Sectors. We pulled into sector twelve as the midday sun reached its zenith, casting almost no shadow on the ground. Prefabricated buildings of varying sizes formed an ordered chaos across the city's outskirts.
Everywhere we looked, people occupied themselves in a frenzy of activity. Here, soldiers oversaw the transport of food and materials. There, health workers moved to check from the habitation unit to the habitation unit. Engineers collaborate with helper and builder drones to perform maintenance and construction. All around, people took on roles they never imagined they would, united by the common goal of survival and restoration.
Despite the dire circumstances, the humans put on determined faces. Humans made the majority of camp inhabitants, but I spotted two arxurs here, their imposing presence always accompanied by a human minder. Both of them shot a look in disgust at Tresn, while humans looked at the defector with an equal part of concern and curiosity.
Elangkasa led us through the camp. First, we passed the engineering quarter where my human and the siblings parted from us. Another trip led us to the medical complex, where we saw medical personnel moving with well-practiced efficiency to care for the injured. A conglomeration of tents and prefabricated buildings all bearing the red crystal symbol made up the hospital. The bustle here felt different, it had an undercurrent of urgency threaded through the ordered chaos.
At the entrance of the hospital's administration building a zurulian had waited for us. Her short stature did not deter us. Upon noticing us, however, her expression turned sour.
"I have a feeling I'm not supposed to be here." Said Tresn. "Maybe... I can get to the habitation unit?"
"You need some help with physiotherapy. Can you bring him there, Elangkasa?" said Bolad.
"Yeah, take that to a human health worker. I'm not going to treat it." The zurulian said with a huff.
"I am Bolad, and this is Vani." The gojid introduced ourselves.
"I'm Rawan, the medical Coordinator for Sector Twelve, Shift Two."
My stomach rumbled, a reminder that it was midday, mealtime according to Earth's cycle.
Sensing my discomfort, Rawan commented. "Hungry already? Well, we are on a lunch break right now. Follow me," leading us away from the hospital administration.
According to the map, there exist two dining areas, located far from each other. The one Rawan brought us to, served plant-based meals for species with a herbivorous diet, the other was where arxurs and their human minders feast.
Stepping into the hall felt comforting. It felt as if an invisible barrier dampened the harsh sounds of the bustling camp outside, replaced by the familiar din of a busy dining hall. Members of Federation species, like us, gathered here. I saw zurulians, colleagues of Dr. Rawan, along with several gojids who had responded to the call for assistance in the rescue, relief, and rebuilding efforts.
The dining procedure here was not like what we had at the camp. Instead of autonomous carts coming around to deliver our meals, we had to stand in line. Humans manned the serving counters, dishing out meals onto trays as we moved along. The menu today consists of a stir-fried noodle and rice combination, named "Nasi Mawut".
After getting our portions, we selected an empty table, the tantalizing taste in the air from our tray deepened my hunger and anticipation. We set down our trays, and with a collective eagerness, took our seats.
"To be honest," Rawan began, her gaze sweeping over the crowded dining hall before returning to her meal, "This is often the highlight of my day here." She gestured towards her plate and scoffed, "Imagine that, I, a zurulian, looking forward to a predator's meal."
"To be fair," I retorted, "this meal is not prepared from ingredients they acquired from hunting."
Rawan chuckled a high-keening sound that made her sound like she was in distress. "Sometimes," she mused, her eyes thoughtful as she poked at her food, "I do wonder why they feel the need to consume flesh when they can subsist on meals such as these."
Not wanting to engage in a sensitive debate with a superior officer we had just met, I opted for silence, focusing instead on the pleasant taste of the Nasi Mawut before us.
A voice broke the quiet chatter around us. A gojid, appearing youthful by their standards, made his way toward our table with a casual gait. A broad smile adorned his face as he acknowledged us. "Hey, doctors! Fancy seeing you here again."
"Greetings," Bolad replied with a courteous nod. "I hope the presence of arxurs has not caused you undue distress?"
I looked at the gojid's hip and saw a familiar scar. I recognized him as the one gored by the sheep back at the camp.
A robust laugh escaped from the gojid, his face brightening up. He waved off Bolad's concerns, "No worries, Doc. We've got a human minder assigned to us to keep those predators in check. And we also have a buddy system, safety in numbers, you know."
"That is good to hear," Bolad responded. Although my facial annotator had learned a lot about gojids' gestures and expressions, it kept interpreting Bolad's emotion as a blank.
A small device strapped to the gojid's wrist chirped. The gojid glanced at it before looking back up to us with a swift nod. "Ah, duty calls. Well, it was nice chatting with you, Doc!" With that, he swung around, his round figure merging with the crowd as he strode towards the exit.
Once the gojid departed, Rawan, Bolad, and I continued to sit and chat over the remains of our meal. Bolad and I shared stories about our experiences in the gojid camp in Kalimantan. The pervasive sound of a resounding announcement filled the hall, halting our exchange. An impersonal voice echoed from the overhead speakers.
"Shift Two! Your break time will be over in ten minutes. I repeat. Shift Two! Your break time will be over in ten minutes." The forceful announcement marked the conclusion of our pause, a reminder of the tasks that awaited us.
"Well, that's our cue," the medical coordinator announced, getting up from her seat. Her hands reached for her tray but having to maneuver in bipedal mode made the action seem awkward.
"Allow me," I offered, reaching for her tray to assist. "I'll carry it to the collection point."
"Thank you," she responded.
As I made my way to the collection point, Bolad engaged Rawan in a conversation. "How many shifts are there in a day?" he queried.
Rawan turned to Bolad. "We work with a four-shift rotation. The humans initially wanted three, due to their unusual stamina," she explained.
Once we discarded the tray Rawan led us back to the medical complex of Sector Twelve.
"Our main goal here is to offer immediate care to the injured and aid in their recovery." She started when we passed the gate of the medical complex.
Rawan gestured towards a cluster of tents assembled off to the side. A perpetual flurry of activity surrounded them as people carried patients in and out on stretchers. "These are our triage tents," Rawan explained. "New patients are first brought here for evaluation. Depending on the severity of their injuries, they are then dispatched to the appropriate sections for treatment. Bolad, you'll be stationed here. Your expertise in general medicine will be invaluable in assessing patients."
Our tour continued, taking us through the maze of the field hospital. We walked past prefabricated structures, erected with solid synthetic materials.
"These," Rawan proclaimed, her paw sweeping towards the buildings, "are our operating theaters. We haven't been able to install remote surgical facilities. Though, given your preference, that shouldn't be an issue..."
"I do favor direct surgery," I confessed, revealing a bit of my past.
Rawan halted, her sharp gaze taking both of us in. Her snout was positioned between Bolad and me looking at us from her peripheral vision. "I've reviewed both of your files," she said, focusing her attention on me. "I've worked with your kind before. You have your use in times and places like this."
Neither Bolad nor I questioned her use of the term "your kind", but we all know what she implied here.
"Now, it's time for you to report to your stations," Rawan instructed us, her tone leaving no room for debate. "The human health workers already in the field will brief you on the specific protocols we've established here."
The moment I crossed the threshold into the operating theater, I was confronted with an open fracture. The sterile operating rooms of the past, where I donned a vacuum suit to prevent my fur from contaminating the environment, seemed a world away. Here, a disposable robe was all that separated me from my patient. I plunged into hours of repairing human bodies, and I feel more useful than I had ever felt before. As valuable as my previous role of determining causes of death was, I feel a satisfying gratification in saving lives.
As I immersed myself in the demanding tasks of the medical field, my mind sometimes drifted toward Bolad. While my duties were straightforward, applying proven techniques and procedures, Bolad grappled with the daunting responsibility of determining the course of our patient's treatment. His role dictated the trajectory of their recovery or, in the worst cases, their demise. The magnitude of such a responsibility could be soul-crushing, and I wished that it did not burden him.
Before I knew it, a new team arrived ready for me to hand over my job to them. The end of our shift brought us to a prefabricated habitation unit, a space similar to our quarters in the camp. Due to spatial constraints, the unit contained three bunk beds instead of the usual row of mattresses.
When Bolad and I arrived at our living quarters, we found Johan, the siblings, and Tresn already present. They all gathered around a table, engrossed in a spirited card game.
"Vani! Bolad!" Johan looked up from his hand of cards, a warm smile spreading across his face. "How was your day?"
Bolad answered before I could. "I had to watch people die."
A stark silence filled the air. Johan's smile faltered as he bit his lip.
"Bolad was assigned to the triage area," I clarified, stepping in to defuse the tension.
"But you can request a rotation if the stress becomes too much," I offered, directing my words at Bolad as I hoisted myself onto an unoccupied chair. "What about you two?" I inquired, shifting the focus onto Johan and his siblings.
"We had to program the drones and-" Johan began, but Cynthio interrupted his explanation.
"They removed all the restrictions," Cynthio said. "We got to work with unrestricted synthetic intelligence! What we had to do felt less like programming and more like... talking with them." The joy and excitement on Cynthio's face were obvious even without my facial annotator.
Tresn placed a card onto the pile in the middle of the table, interjecting a question that caught us off guard. "By the way… how difficult is it to get to Sector Ten?"
"You could walk there if you wanted. Why do you ask?" Johan responded, curious about the sudden interest in another sector.
"There's someone I want to meet," Tresn admitted, a hint of hesitation in his voice.
"Hmm…" Snop considered, tilting her head. "We have about two or three hours before the breaking of the fast. How did you come to know this person?"
"The Internet," Tresn replied.
"Oh…" Snop replied, her face attempting to maintain neutrality and almost failing.
Intrigued by Tresn's unexpected online connection, we decided to accompany him on the short journey to Sector Ten. Leaving our habitation unit, we found ourselves navigating the ad hoc alleyways of Camp Sectors. Humans of all ages hustled past us, their faces a mosaic of determination and sorrow, each one bearing the weight of rebuilding amidst the ruins.
The further we ventured towards Sector Ten, the more conspicuous the increase in the arxurs' presence became. Given their nocturnal tendencies, I surmised that most Arxurs preferred anything but the second shifts.
Upon reaching the main plaza of Sector Ten, Tresn pulled out his pad, fingers dancing over the screen to access a social media site. I saw intensity in his actions, as he engaged in a private chat with a rapid succession of texts. He scanned his surrounding and his instinctive predatory gaze locked onto a specific figure in the bustling crowd, a human who was also looking around. An arxur shadowed him, their movements synchronized as if orchestrated by a shared rhythm.
Tresn wheeled first and we followed him toward the pair, our formation taking on a semi-circular shape around them. The human had close-cropped curly hair and his upper revealed his arm. A band covered his right arm and there was something off about the rest of that limb. The skin looked too smooth.
"Wait…" Snop, ever the observant one, pointed a finger toward the human, her voice laced with recognition. "I think… I know you."
The human responded by pointing back at Snop. "Aren't you Snowpaws?"
She nodded in affirmation. "Yeah, and you're… Jagomerah?"
A smile of confirmation danced on the human's lips. "Yeah."
Johan, who had been watching the interaction unfold, broke into a musing grin, "Jagomerah… that has to be a screen name," he remarked, shifting his gaze toward Tresn.
"Tresn," Johan began, an amused undertone in his voice, "You have been chatting with furries haven't you?"
"Scallies." Both Snop and Jagomerah corrected.
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2023.05.29 05:59 Determination7 An Outcast In Another World (Subtitle: Is 'Insanity' A Racial Trait?) [Fantasy, LitRPG] - Chapter 198 (Book 5 Chapter 24)

Author's Note:
Reddit was having issues when I posted the last chapter, so just in case anyone missed it, the previous chapter (197) starts here.
Also, the next chapter will come out a week from now, on June 5th.


Two Days Later
Rob's eyes snapped open. Panicked shouts were resounding from outside his tent. The first notion that popped into his sleep-addled mind was relief, as an ambush was preferable to the nightmare he'd been having. That sentiment lasted until a distant explosion obliterated the final remnants of his drowsiness, sending him and Keira sprinting out of their tent with weapons in hand.
Chaos awaited them outside. People weren't quite running around like chickens with their heads cut off, but it was close. While the coalition had known that a night attack was possible and prepared themselves accordingly, no one was ever truly ready to be assaulted with spells and Skills as they frolicked through dreamland. Arrows peppered the ground at their feet, the majority landing harmlessly away, although Rob spotted a few soldiers with fresh wounds seeping blood.
He spared a passing glance for the numerous banners the coalition had erected across their campsite. Each one was raised twenty feet high, decorated with lights in order to glow in the dark, and marked with wartime symbols indicating a desire to engage in peaceful negotiations. The Harpies answered by filling the banners with arrow holes and setting many of them on fire. Diplomacy's plan had been doomed from the start.
Kicking his brain into high gear, Rob activated Quick Thinking and sent Messages checking on Riardin's Rangers. His eyes traveled up towards the night sky, seeing a canvas of pure darkness broken up by stars and moonlight. It must have been the dead of midnight or close to it. Arrows were impossible to see coming before they'd already hit the ground, and the only indication of Harpies flying above were the shadows blotting out the stars every so often.
Thankfully, the coalition had planned for this. As if on cue, multiple orbs of brilliant light shot upwards, mages from each faction contributing to the effort. The orbs hung in the sky like floating lighthouses, banishing enough darkness to allow Rob to see what he was dealing with.
A resigned expletive slipped out of his mouth. There had to be at least four hundred of the fuckers up there, maybe five hundred, swarming like a colony of feathered bees. It was the worst-case scenario of what the coalition envisioned – Elnaril sending the maximum number of Harpies he could realistically field without leaving the capital undefended.
How am I supposed to fight them? Rob wondered, asking himself a recurring question that he'd never been able to answer. They can't kill me with piddly arrows and long-range spells, but my allies aren't so durable. Somehow I doubt they'll listen if I tell them to stop being cowards and come fight me in melee range.
All thoughts of attacking were swept aside when the Harpies began dropping a very different projectile towards the coalition base camp. Rob opened and closed his mouth several times, shock suffusing every cell in his body. He recalled the explosion that had awoken him, the moment now disturbingly re-contextualized.
The Harpies were airdropping crates of Firebombs.
"THAT'S COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, YOU LITTLE SHITS!" Rob summoned his own crate from his Bound Items, tore open the cover, and grabbed a Firebomb in each hand. He activated Bulk Up for extra Strength and hurled Firebombs towards the falling crates with the best baseball throws he could muster. One, two, three, four, five, six – the crate's supply rapidly depleted as Rob threw again and again, trying to intercept as many payloads as possible, Keira following his lead. They were joined by coalition archer support, arrows sniping at crates that were out of reach.
Dozens of roaring explosions lit up the sky. While some of the crates had gotten through, most were turned to dust before they could hit the ground, reducing the Harpies' shock-and-awe tactic to an impromptu fireworks display.
Throwing Proficiency Level Increased! 6 → 7
Throwing Proficiency Level Increased! 7 → 8
"THAT'S RIGHT!" Rob whooped. "LEAVE THE KABOOMS TO THE EXPERTS!" He paused, then turned to Keira, looking abashed. "Um...was this my fault? Are they actually copying me?" Please don't tell me I accidentally advanced warfare by a century.
"We can ruminate on that later," Keira answered, skillfully dodging the question. "For now, we should focus on retaliating by any means available."
No sooner had the words left her mouth than a glowing yellow projectile shot up into the sky. Orn'tol's Chain Arrow nicked a Harpy on the edge of their wing – which was all it needed to begin the process. A tenth of a second later, the arrow veered to the right and struck a different Harpy in their stomach. It ripped out and through the other side, taking another ninety-degree turn to spear an unsuspecting Harpy in the back. And so it went, chaining from target-to-target with ruthless efficiency. By the end, twenty Harpies had been struck, eight of them falling out of the sky, unmoving.
Rob saluted the display. "Yeah, I don't have any ranged attacks on that level. I think we'd be better-off guarding the people who do."
They rushed over to where the Fiend mages resided, discovering the group huddled under cover, besieged by a stream of arrows and spells hammering down around them. Rob sent off a quick Message to Vul'to, then jumped in front of an icicle spell that would have gored a Fiend through her neck. "Sup."
"Lord Roy!" The Fiend's jubilation froze when she saw the icicle sticking out of Rob's shoulder. "Are–"
"No time for chitchat. If I cover you, can you fire back?"
After some thought, the mages nodded. Rob gave them a thumbs-up with his left hand and deflected an arrow with his right. He turned his full attention to the projectile storm raining from above, calculating which ones he'd be able to block and which ones he'd need to take on the chin.
The next few minutes became a blur of activity. Arrow. Skill. Arrow. Spell. Spell. Skill. Arrow. Arrow. It never ended. His slow walk towards Harpy Settlement #4 was proving to be an invaluable experience, because he wasn't sure if he could've kept up now without already knowing how to handle a barrage of small projectiles. Even Keira was struggling; while Danger Sense told her where she needed to move, it was reaching a point where she physically couldn't execute the motions fast enough. Rob would've expected the Harpies to lay off once they noticed that he was there to play defense, but if anything, they were attacking more fiercely than before.
Almost as if they held a grudge against him or something.
Outwardly, he was projecting the supreme confidence of a Leader. Inwardly, he was honestly starting to get a bit worried. While he'd only taken about 300 HP of damage, a different resource was beginning to wane: his Stamina. Quick Thinking consumed 3 Stamina for every second it was active. That combined with his constant movement was...tiring. He'd activated Second Wind to restore 35% of his Stamina, but unlike his Vitality-based abilities, this one had a cooldown of 24 hours. In a couple minutes, he might actually need to ask for a short break.
Was that the end of the world? No. Was it embarrassing? Potentially. Leaders weren't supposed to ask for breaks. At least, he thought they weren't. Elatrans could be weird about what constituted a good Leader. Rob was still figuring out when he was supposed to act like an invulnerable pillar versus when he was allowed to be a real person. I miss when I didn't have to care about this sort of thing.
His reputation was saved by Vul'to's timely arrival. The Soul Guardian burst onto the scene in a mad dash, skid to a halt, took a stance, activated Auto-Guard, and proceeded to swat away the Harpies' projectiles as if they were no more than gnats. "I will protect the mages from here on out," he calmly stated. Vul'to's movements flowed like water, his voice showing no sign of exertion as he spoke. "Put your efforts towards an offensive strike."
Rob suppressed a relieved sigh as he deactivated Quick Thinking. "For the record, when our Party inevitably complains about my risk-taking later, I'm going to say that both you and Keira signed off on a Rob Plan."
"You can't be serious," Keira blurted out, panting heavily as she rested. "Our enemies are in the sky. What scheme could you have possibly concocted that would put you at risk?"
Rob hesitated. He was distinctly aware of the mages listening in as they fired spells, devoting a portion of their brainpower to gathering gossip material. Anything he said here would reflect on his status as Leader. That included overly-casual speech and devising schemes that by all rights should get him a one-way ticket to the loony bin.
Then he remembered that allies were dying around him, and he stopped caring so much about what other people thought.
"My usual method for dealing with mobile enemies is Rampage spam," he began to explain. "That isn't viable here. I'd run out of MP long before I reached their altitude, and even if I somehow made it, what then? I can't dodge mid-air. They'd turn me into a pincushion. So here's what I was thinking..."
His explanation was brief. By the time he'd finished, the mages were staring at him with eyes wide as saucers. Keira merely nodded. "Very well. I'll accept it."
"No complaints?"
"You left yourself an escape route. That already makes this plan safer than most." She turned away, gesturing for him to follow. "Let's go find Malika. If I'm not mistaken, she'll be at Orn'tol's side."
It wasn't hard to locate her. They only needed to trace the empowered spells blasting upwards like rocket launchers. Rob did a rough headcount of the Harpies' numbers, estimating that, despite their ambush, the battle wasn't going well for them. Over forty had been felled by Malika's spells, Orn'tol's arrows, and the other coalition mages and archers. The Dwarven riflemen were also putting in work, gunshots echoing as Harpies were struck by blindingly fast projectiles they'd come entirely unprepared for, their race inducted into a new era of war with a baptism of lead and gunpowder.
Conversely, Rob would bet his life savings that not even fifteen coalition members had perished. While he didn't have any proof of this, he knew from experience that basic arrows and mediocre spells lost striking power when fired from a long range. And unlike the Harpies' army consisting of everyone-they-could-get, the coalition soldiers were the elite of each territory. They were tougher, stronger, and had access to superior healing magic. In this instance, quality trumped quantity.
Especially when the quality was so lopsided. As Rob ran, he saw a lightning spear shoot up towards the sky and explode into a ball of electricity, frying a dozen Harpies in an instant. Moments later, the surrounding air seemed to dry out, like a heat wave passing through, as moisture was collected into a towering plume of water. Once it was ready, the plume burst upwards and casually washed away another dozen Harpies as if they were drowned rats.
Sylpeiros and Cyraeneus. Ambush or no ambush, long range or close range – didn't matter. Leaders were terrifying in every scenario.
Rob found Malika and Orn'tol in good spirits. The siblings had a whole squad of Vanguards protecting them, like a pair of pint-sized siege cannons with ground support. "Rob!" Malika exclaimed, the instant she saw him. "MP Potions! Forthwith!"
In a flash of blue mana, he produced three Potions from Spatial Storage. "Your humble servant is here," he remarked, in a tone drier than the air.
"Only three Potions? Bah! Give me more!"
"Your humble servant has no wish to deal with an Archmage with a hangover."
Grumbling, she grabbed the Potions and chugged them like a frat boy on spring break. Rob rated her chugging prowess at a solid 7 out of 10, judging that – while she'd grown considerably – there was still room for improvement.
"Should..." Orn'tol started to say something, then thought better of it. Rob could guess what he was thinking. The boy was worried that they weren't being properly respectful of the situation, joking around in the middle of a warzone where allies were suffering. He'd likely come to the same conclusion as Rob: that letting Malika keep her morale up was more important. "Are we winning?" he instead asked.
"Easily," Rob affirmed. That was never in doubt. It would've taken something going catastrophically wrong for them to be in danger of losing. In reality, today's battle was just another leg in the extended marathon that the coalition was running. Rather than obsessing over a transient victory that was all but guaranteed, they needed to minimize casualties so that taking the Harpy capital was a feasible prospect. That meant being careful, guarding their back lines, and only attacking when it was safe.
Oh, and crushing the Harpies so that they wised up and retreated.
"I am...concerned," Orn'tol admitted. "The Harpies should have been aware of our strength. Yet by the end of this night, unless they soon retreat, their losses will mount in the hundreds. Why waste so much life?"
Rob narrowed his eyes at the sky. "Couple possibilities. Elnaril could be screwing around. Blights think that wasting life is absolutely hilarious. He is part Leader, though, so I can't imagine he'd be quite that frivolous with his resources. With that in mind, I don't think the Harpies are going to fight to the last man – they probably came here intending to thin our numbers and skedaddle. Severe losses would prevent us from being able to seize the capital. Their initial Firebomb barrage could've potentially done that on its own."
"And it failed."
"Sure did. Now they're stuck trying to do it the old-fashioned way." Rob shrugged. "They might have a backup plan. If so, we'll handle it, no worries." He faced Malika. "Speaking of plans, I've got one. Do you mind holding onto some MP for me?"
She opened her mouth to respond – then froze, her head turning sideways. Rob followed Malika's gaze towards the Gellin encampment, his brow furrowing at what he saw. All thirty Gellin were exiting their tents in near-perfect unison. They reminded Rob of a collection of wind-up animatronics, with movements that weren't entirely synchronized and robotic, yet also weren't dissimilar enough to appear fully lifelike. As the Gellin drifted forward, moonlight mixed with the light emanating from the mages' sun orbs, bathing them in an almost ethereal glow.
A small shiver crept up Rob's spine. He didn't know why, but something about the situation was giving him the heebie-jeebies. Maybe it was because he'd never seen a Gellin awake at this hour before. He'd gone on more than one midnight walk to clear his head after a bout of nightmares, and while he'd met the occasional Fiend, Dwarf, Elf, or Merfolk, the Gellin were always sequestered in their tents.
His shiver crawled up to the back of his neck, making its little hairs stand on end as a thrum of mana built within the Gellin. Even Rob's meager Sense Mana could feel it. Thirty Gellin had joined into three Mage Circles, linking their power, creating...something. A force. An aura. It lacked physical form, yet felt no less threatening than one of Sylpeiros' lightning spears.
The space above them seemed to shimmer, as if viewed through a lightly-smudged eyeglass. Virtually invisible if you weren't paying close attention.
Or if you were flying hundreds of feet in the air.
The Harpies didn't try to avoid it. They didn't even know it was there. Lightning spears and plumes of water were obvious. Flashy. The Gellins' something simply wafted upwards, like rising heat, until it reached the sky and engulfed a multitude of Harpies in a devouring fog.
Piercing screams cut through the din of warfare.
The affected Harpies reacted in different ways. Some went still as statues. Some writhed as if electrocuted. Some began attacking invisible enemies. But regardless of how they reacted, they all fell, and they all screamed.
Rob covered his ears. It was the worst sound he'd heard since Elnaril laughed at him through a Message Crystal. The battlefield didn't completely grind to a halt, but it definitely slowed, with both the attackers and defenders needing to process what the fuck just happened.
"Was that Mind Magic?" Malika whispered, her bravado gone and vanished.
"It appears so," Keira quietly answered.
"I...did not know it could do that."
"Neither did I."
After shaking his head to reset his thoughts, Rob stepped back from everyone, ensuring that he was out of their line of sight. Much as he wanted to take a breather, he couldn't. The Harpies were reeling – this was a perfect opportunity to execute his plan.
He just needed to finish the prepwork. Hefting his longsword, Rob turned it around and pointed it at his heart.
And paused.
My hands are shivering, he realized. Why are my hands shivering? I've done this before. He willed his hands to stay still, nearly snarling when they failed to cooperate. This is a waste of time. Don't be a fucking bitch, Rob. Just lie back and think of England.
Living Bomb ready.
Rob used Spatial Storage to switch his clothes for an unbloodied ensemble, then tapped Malika on her shoulder. "Do you have enough MP for a big wind spell?"
She blinked, jolted out of her reverie. "Oh. Um, yes. Why?"
He told her of his plan. A broad grin split across her face, transitioning into an excited cackle. "You're a madman. Let's do that straight away."
As Malika charged her spell, Rob attached a Waymark point to the ground, then summoned the Dwarven Sheet Metal from his Bound Items. Keira, Orn'tol, and the Vanguards spread out to give them some space. The Vanguards were looking on in awe; Rob could only hope that they'd enjoy the show.
"We have to time this just right," he told Malika. "Fire the spell on three. Understand?" She nodded so hard that she probably gave herself whiplash. Rob placed his longsword in Storage, holding the Sheet Metal with both hands.
"One." Malika held onto her spell, ready to unleash the fury of an Archmage with a cause.
"Two." Rob leaped into the air, positioning the Sheet Metal under his feet like a surfboard.
A miniaturized tornado slammed into the Sheet Metal, propelling Rob up, up, and away. He lost his balance pretty much immediately, tumbling onto the Sheet as wind pressure buffeted him without mercy. His ascent skyward was so sudden and so jarring that he was actually surprised when he came face-to-face with a Harpy. The two of them exchanged bewildered stares. Rob felt tempted to say a variant of one of the classics, like 'You come here often?'
Then he remembered why he was there.
This was it. No going back. Justified or necessary or otherwise, once he activated Living Bomb, he will have spilled Harpy blood on Harpy soil. There was a sense of finality to it that almost made him hesitate.
"I wish you'd stayed home," Rob muttered. The Harpy's survival instincts kicked in, his wings flapping in a hurry, yet it was already too late. You couldn't outrun a thought.
Living Bomb.
The world became obscured by flame, heat, and noise. Rob wasn't sure how many Harpies he'd caught in the blast radius, but the EXP infusing his soul informed him that it was more than a few. Without waiting, he cast Rampage to push himself out of the Bomb's center, then Waymarked to safety so that the Harpies couldn't take revenge after the Bomb faded. The Rampage movement was a necessity; he wasn't taking any chances that using Waymark while in the middle of the Bomb might somehow bring it back with him.
His feet now on solid ground, Rob was treated to an awe-inspiring spectacle. A colossal sphere of fire hung above, like the core of an angry sun, its surface twisting with unbridled energy. The sound it emitted was one long, continuous, ear-splitting explosion, as if the Bomb was a sentient creature noisily lamenting the ones who'd escaped its grasp. This was the first time Rob had seen his Skill from an outside perspective, and in that instant, he truly understood why it was so effective at shattering morale.
As it did now. Living Bomb rapidly faded, but by then the Harpies were already in retreat. The one-two punch of the Gellins' mind attack and a giant fuckoff explosion had doubled their casualties in a matter of seconds. Even if that combo hadn't broken their spirits, not withdrawing at this point would be tantamount to suicide.
Rob allowed his shoulders to relax as a collective sigh of relief passed through the coalition. Their battle was over. Victory was – Wait, what's up with that guy?
Relief gave way to confusion as they noticed a figure in the distance sprinting towards them. It was an...Elf? One of Sylpeiros' Scouts? As everyone watched, the Elf in question passed straight under the fleeing Harpies, neither faction looking at each other as they traveled in opposite directions. The sight was borderline surreal, adding another obstacle to the emotional gamut that Rob was still running. Maybe I can go to bed and pretend I didn't see anything.
Plausible deniability was taken from him a moment later, when the Elf got within range of the coalition's Heightened Senses and started bellowing at the top of his longs. "MONSTERS! PACK OF MONSTERS AND BEASTS! LEVEL 50 AND ABOVE!"
His declaration just left them more confused. There was no such thing as a pack of high-Leveled monsters roaming the surface of Elatra. At first Rob thought that a Dungeon had grown for too long and was beginning to overflow, but the truth ended up being far stranger.
"About...thirty...monsters and animals," the Elf Scout wheezed, once he'd gotten close and could speak in full sentences. "Coming this way. Some are...natural-born. Beasts who've lived for centuries. Others are monsters. Used Identify. Think they...were plucked from Dungeons."
Everyone glanced at Sylpeiros, an unspoken message in their eyes: "He's your Scout. You sort out this mess." The Seneschal put on a deep scowl, somehow managing to direct it at over a dozen people simultaneously. Once he was sure they'd received the full force of his ire, he composed his features and turned towards the exhausted Scout.
"While I don't doubt your words, what you've described is nonsensical. Setting aside how such an eclectic group of creatures was brought together...monsters and natural-born animals are hardly allies. They'd rip each other to pieces under normal circumstances. Animals from differing species would be at odds as well."
"I am merely reporting what I've seen. In one such example, I witnessed an enormous bat flying alongside a misshapen creature of mana that could only have been spawned within the depths of a high-Level Dungeon."
"Are the animals infected?" Rob asked. "This sort of thing happened back when The Village of Ixatan Forest was invaded. Animals got possessed by the Blight."
The Scout paused, searching through his memories – or rather, his log of system notifications. "Yes. An 'Infected' Status Effect appeared when I Identified the animals. Until you provided context, I was unaware of what that implied."
As Sylpeiros continued speaking with the Scout, Rob stopped to think, constructing a timeline of events. This pack of high-Level creatures couldn't have been assembled on short notice. It must've been years in the making, Elnaril searching Harpy territory with a fine-tooth comb, scooping up wildlife and plundering Dungeons.
Rob resisted the urge to shake his fist at the sky. When Kismet warned him that Elnaril had 'strong creatures' to use, it would've been nice to have some extra fucking details. Vague omnipotent asshole.
Anyway. Elnaril corrals his Pokemon, then prepares to ambush the coalition along with his Harpies. Except...the timing went wrong. Or maybe the position? Controlling that many powerful creatures couldn't be easy. Like attempting to drive thirty cars at the same time. It was probably why the coalition hadn't been ambushed until now – Elnaril was waiting for them to get closer. Regardless, the plan was likely supposed to be the Harpies attacking in tandem with the monsters...but the bombing run largely failed, and the monsters were late to the party.
Rob grimaced as he realized how much of the coalition's victory came down to blind luck. Elnaril's plan was unsuccessful due to logistical issues on his side, not because of any stratagem on the coalition's part. If the Harpies had successfully used their pets as distractions, unloading crates of Firebombs while high-Level creatures ran amok through the battlefield...
The coalition still would have won. But their casualties would've been enormous. Enough to make invading the capital untenable.
Everyone else came to the same conclusion as they listened to the Scout's tale. Sylpeiros remained silent for a time, looking more pensive than someone might expect from a Leader who'd just prevailed in battle. "We shall discuss areas of improvement at a later date," he said, sighing. "How long until the monsters arrive?"
"Roughly four minutes."
Sylpeiros drummed his fingers on his thigh. "While we could swarm the monsters with superior numbers, the vast majority of our soldiers are unsuited for combating enemies over Level 50. The monster will fall, but not before inflicting casualties. Instead, I propose that myself, Cyraeneus, and Riardin's Rangers go forth and hold the line. The rest of our soldiers will defend base camp, kept out of harm's way, firing projectiles at whichever beasts draw near."
He frowned. "Even so, thirty monsters above Level 50 aren't so easily repelled. They may be able to fly, or have carapaces that blunt conventional attacks. It would be best if the entire lot focuses on our group, but some will choose to bypass the front line in favor of assaulting the coalition base camp. Casualties are inevitable."
"No. They aren't."
Rob stepped forward, walking in the direction the Scout had come from. A familiar swell of anticipation built within him. "Counter-proposal. I go. Alone. You all stay and deal with whoever slips past."
Numerous opposing voices exploded in unison. Rob countered them with an explosion of his own, summoning a crate of Firebombs and chucking it into the distance. The faint BOOM bought him a moment of stunned silence.
"No bullshitting," he said, fixing them with an intent gaze. "You want to minimize casualties? This is how we do it. Base camp will be vulnerable without high-Level people to protect it. Hell, some of you might die if you try to 'hold the line' in the middle of an open field. It only takes one screwup to get your head bitten off, and the monsters outnumber us. But me?"
With a flourish, Rob summoned his longsword and activated Step of the Wind. "They. Can't. Kill. Me."
He was off before anyone could raise another protest. None of them followed, perhaps sensing something in his voice indicating that it would be a bad idea. Just as well – Rob would've physically thrown back anyone who tried.
No one else needed to risk their lives today.
It only took him three minutes of running at full speed to locate the monster stampede. They were impossible to miss; a menagerie of oversized animals and abominations with the strength to depopulate a city. For almost anyone else in Elatra, the sight would have filled them with the dread of someone who knew their death was imminent, and that they could do nothing to stop the reaper's scythe from swinging.
Rob waved. The monsters screeched when they saw him, letting out a symphony that could be graciously described as hideous. Music to my ears. Out of curiosity, he cast Identify on the first one in line to die.
Name: Lord of the Caves
Level: 57
Race: Blighted Bat
Status Effects: Infected, Thirsty
Description: An existence well above Ixatan's Lord of the Forest that nearly killed you three times over. Gee, I wonder what happens now that you're 70 Levels higher and with pent-up resentment towards big beasties? Play nice, Rob, or you'll break your toys.
"Sorry, but breaking them is the fun part." Inwardly, Rob sent thanks to Elnaril for delivering him a herd of acceptable targets to use as living stress balls. After the unpleasantness of being forced to kill his first non-Blighted Harpies, this was a golden opportunity to let loose – and he was going to make damn good use of it.
The monsters drew closer. Any second now, the carnage would commence. Elation and certainty mingled within him, letting him know that he was in his element. He emptied his mind of worries, soaking in the view. There were no war strategies, allied casualties, or moral quandaries to concern himself with.
Just him, and his prey.
Rampage. Rob flew upwards towards the Lord of the Caves. It was a freakish behemoth of a bat, its head as large as a man's body. The creature sank its fangs into Rob's torso, biting down as if four longswords were piercing through him, vital organs shredded to confetti.
637 Piercing Damage Sustained!
It tickled. Rob completed his swing, landing a direct hit on the Lord's head. He didn't activate any additional offensive abilities, because he didn't need to. Blood for Blood increased his damage based on his missing HP. Rampage highly increased the damage of his next attack. Headsman increased his damage by 25% when attacking an enemy's head. Bone Breaker doubled the damage he dealt to an enemy's bone structure.
With all those passive effects stacking onto each other, the bat's neck was almost severed in one clean stroke. Thanks to Lifesteal, Rob immediately recovered most of his lost HP, like nothing had ever happened. Despite the bat's head hanging by threads, it stubbornly clung to life for a few moments longer – but only a few.
Swordsmanship Level Increased! 9 → 10
One down. Plenty to go. Rob pivoted to the next-closest monster, a gargantuan bear that reminded him of an Ixatan beast that had caved his chest in, once upon a time. Emboldened by nostalgia, he put a bit more oomph into his next attack, stacking Rampage, Power Slash, and Imbue Vitality.
The bear's outer hide was abnormally tough, similar to a Vanguard's armor. That mattered up until the point Rob broke the skin, after which Imbue Vitality's quadruple damage effect savaged the beast from within, its insides reduced to crimson mush.
Level Increased! 84 → 85
5 Stat Points Gained!
BERSERKER Level Increased! 82 → 83
An apelike creature with distended arms leaped ahead of the rest of the pack, enormous hands wrapping around Rob before he could dodge. It let out a warbling bellow, squeezing down with enough pressure to bend steel. Rob's bones, durable as they were, started to crack.
Vitamin D(efense) Level Increased! 10 → 11
Cute. He flicked on the Flames of Vengeance, azure fire covering his body. A grin spread over Rob's face as the beast shrieked and let go. "No, no, we were having a moment. Don't hide from your emotions." Rampaging forward, he jumped on the ape's head and gave it a big ole' hug. The shrieks intensified, mighty fists pounding at his body, fracturing more bones in a desperate attempt to dislodge him.
It was all for naught. The ape's struggles slowed, then ceased, its brain cooked from the inside like spaghetti in a microwave.
Pyromania Level Increased! 2 → 3
The next one on the chopping block was an honest-to-god giant spider. Rob shivered as he summoned a crate of Firebombs and promptly Riardin Special'd the skittering menace into the hereafter. Arachnophobia's 300% damage bonus against spiders combined with Pyromania's 30% fire damage bonus – well, 40% now – meant that it lasted about two seconds before crumbling like a pile of chitinous kindling.
Good riddance. Monsters and abominations were one thing. Spiders...ugh.
Rob checked back the way he'd come from, narrowing his eyes when he saw that a couple monsters had skirted past him while he dealt with their friends. He chased after something that must've been birthed in a Dungeon on a bender, its body comprised of flying limbs and harsh edges that hurt to look at if he stared for too long.
The floating Picasso painting in monster form suddenly whirled around, aiming multiple sharpened points at Rob's head, neck, eyes, heart, and liver. It was a phenomenally well-executed attack that would have been the envy of any Combat Class user.
Unfortunately, Picasso had chosen the one target in the world that could turn lethality into a detriment. With a thought, Rob deactivated all of his defensive Skills, then activated Dauntless Reprisal, reflecting the damage of five grievous blows back onto the creature. It collapsed into itself, twitching on the ground, silently pleading for mercy as a longsword ended its suffering.
Swordsmanship Level Increased! 10 → 11
As Rob reactivated his defensive Skills and chose his next target, something in the monsters' attitudes shifted. Several of them went from stampeding ahead to turning towards him on a dime. Their movements were stiff and jerky, as if puppeteered by an unseen force.
"Hi Elnaril!" Rob twirled his longsword. "Hope you don't mind me Old Yeller-ing your pets here. I'm sad to say that you didn't train them prop–"
The creatures pounced in unison. Claws and fangs savaged Rob's from head to toe, tearing off limbs and pulling apart flesh. A good chunk of his body mass disappeared in seconds.
Platelet Party Level Increased! 20 → 21
1021 Combined Damage Sustained!
"Wow, that's a lot of damage." Rob grinned, blood dripping from the corners of his mouth. "On an unrelated note, guess what Skill just came off cooldown?"
Level Increased! 85 → 86
5 Stat Points Gained!
BERSERKER Level Increased! 83 → 84
BERSERKER Level Increased! 84 → 85
Rob stood in the center of a crater. Living Bomb had ripped the ground open like scooping ice cream. He was once again back to full health, Lifesteal having converted 50% of the damage he'd dealt into HP.
And he'd dealt a lot of damage.
"It's like I said," he whispered, to nothing in particular. "They can't kill me. When I put my mind to it, I'm a better monster than they could ever hope to be."
The thought didn't distress him like it would have back home on Earth. It wasn't so bad, being a monster to monsters. Kept his friends alive, put food on the table...there were worse careers, he supposed.
Rob jumped out of the crater, searching for new targets. Living Bomb wasn't nearly large enough to take out all of them at once. He set his eyes on a fleeing wyvern and gave chase. As the gap closed, he checked his available Skills, and oh would you look at that, Imbue Vitality was off cooldown now.
Swordsmanship Level Increased! 11→ 12
One monster fell. Then another. Then another. Rob alternated his Skills, rotating between whatever abilities were available.
Swordsmanship Level Increased! 12→ 13
More creatures tried ganging up on him. It didn't work.
Platelet Party Level Increased! 21 → 22
Headsman! 4 → 5
He sliced and cut and Firebombed everything in his path.
Pyromania Level Increased! 3 → 4
Until eventually...
Level Increased! 86 → 87
5 Stat Points Gained!
BERSERKER Level Increased! 85 → 86
There was nothing left.
Rob found himself surrounded by a pile of mangled corpses. He tried counting to see if he could reach thirty, then gave up. Too many mixed-up body parts. It was likely that a couple monsters had gotten past him, so he'd just have to hope for the best.
His prayers were answered when he arrived back at base camp. A wide smile split across Rob's face as he counted a mere six monster corpses littered around the outskirts. They hadn't even gotten close. Most importantly, there wasn't a single allied corpse anywhere in sight.
Zero casualties.
Everyone was staring at him with various looks on their faces. Rob didn't bother trying to decipher all of them. They could think whatever they wanted to think – results were what mattered. The coalition may have lost some soldiers in the Harpy attack, but from the monster stampede?
Zero goddamn casualties.
Rob took a bow, then went straight for his tent. He wasn't going to find a better note to sleep on than this. His consciousness faded the moment he closed his eyes.
And the nightmares didn't dare to come for him.


Changes, Character Sheet, Skill List
Thanks for reading!
submitted by Determination7 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 17:00 _call-me-al_ [Sat, May 27 2023] TL;DR — This is what you missed in the last 24 hours on Reddit

If you want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox, you can now join at this link


Brazilian president refuses to come to Russia at Putin’s invitation
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In Russia, children will be sent to patriotic camps and taught to shoot and fly UAVs
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Ukraine says Russia plans to simulate accident at nuclear power plant
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911 call from Lauren Boeberts home involving incident between husband and son
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New York man indicted on murder charge after 20-year-old woman was shot and killed when car turned in wrong driveway
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Self-proclaimed 'idiot' Oath Keeper sentenced to more than 8 years in Jan. 6 case
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In 2016, Germany introduced a policy change that enabled refugees to enter the labor market. This had no adverse effects on natives’ wages and employment rates while improving natives’ attitudes toward migration.
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Regular exercise may lower risk of Parkinson's disease. The study, of nearly 99,000 French women, found that those who were most physically active day to day were 25% less likely to develop Parkinson's over three decades, versus women who were more sedentary.
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Analysis of Iron age toilets in Jerusalem reveals dysentery causing parasites (6-7 century BCE)
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Supermassive black hole at heart of ancient galaxy ‘far larger than expected’
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In a meeting today of the NASA New Horizons Science Team, a presentation strongly suggests that our solar system actually has a second Kuiper Belt. And the New Horizons spacecraft will be visiting it in a few years.
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NASA's Artemis moon rocket will cost $6 billion more than planned: report
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Solar power investment to exceed oil for first time, says IEA chief
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Scientists use AI to discover new antibiotic to treat deadly superbug Artificial intelligence (AI)
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Hibernation artificially triggered in potential space travel breakthrough
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Florida just passed a law that child molesters could be sentenced to death. Do you agree or disagree and why?
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Who is a fictional villain you’d have sex with in a heartbeat?
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What’s the best pickup line you’ve ever heard?
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TIL a Chinese teenager defaced a stone sculpture in ancient Egyptian Luxor Temple with graffiti. An embarrassed Chinese traveller photographed it and shared on Weibo. It took just a day before outraged netizens tracked the teenager down in his hometown forcing his parents to apologize for him.
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TIL: The last imperial eunuch of Chinese history was castrated by his father with a razor to serve the last emperor Pu Yi. However, just mere months after the operation, the emperor was deposed and the system of government changed.
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TIL that it was calculated that it would have taken the concrete for the Hoover Dam 125 years to cool if it was poured as one continuous pour. Instead giant concrete blocks in columns were poured and then cooled by a series of internally contained pipes of cold water, greatly reducing cooling time.
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London Crime Heat Map, with timeline [updated]. Filterable by type of crime and date range (within last two years) See link for Tableau dashboard. [OC] data from
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[OC] Berlin rental market analysis
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[OC] Viva Las Data (Exploring Las Vegas)
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My friend thinks it's OK to cook eggs on a glass top stove without a pan
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Do you put garlic in your guacamole?
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Arugula is sooo good
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[Homemade] Garlic parmesan wings
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[homemade] Dutch baby with homemade blueberry compote
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[Homemade] Cheese Pizza
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Finally watched Sicario
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A new poster for The Boogeyman (2023):
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Holt McCallany & Julianne Nicholson Join Rami Malek In 20th Thriller ‘Amateur’
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Hand Embroidered Chameleon Bag, Alena Kova (me), beads, felt, 2023.
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Noise, u/ifnotforv, Markers, 2023
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No Strings Attached, me (JUS), pen, 2023
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Labor Is Rising”: Hundreds Of Union Workers Gather In Solidarity With WGA At Los Angeles Rally
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SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, Urging Members To Authorize A Strike, Says “Acting Careers Are At Stake”
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Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner: 2099’ Series Could Be Delayed By Up To A Year By Writers Strike
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Deer crashing a wedding photo shoot
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Years of meditation wasted.
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Bubba & Lt. Dan back together again (via Gary’s twitter)
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50 Foot Swells On Lake Superior, Minnesota
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Border, some pixel art by me.
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Aubrey Plaza and the holy oil.
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Beans' tendrils slowly rotate to find solid supports to climb.
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This dark sunflower growing in my garden
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This clump of Sour Patch Kids I found...
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My local butcher shop has knife handles for the entry
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Birth of a chameleon
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Passenger opens emergency door mid air during South Korea flight
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This is a picture of one of the last veterans of the American Civil War, posing in front of a fighter jet (1955)
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it's my parents' anniversary today. i drew this in the card i gave them
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Actors roundtable
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Don’t mind if i do 🤤
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The facial expression she makes every time she takes a sip.
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How I met my human
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Gorilla thinking
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submitted by _call-me-al_ to RedditTLDR [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 06:02 Mochiert It Has Been Decades And Yet Their Presence Are Still Missed

Humanity, what a fragile species. Short-lived, weak, and quite slow compared to the other lifeforms. And yet their presence were highly valued, not as a pet of some kind but a genuine friend.
You see, humans are quite peculiar. Their knowledge of intergalactic communication are quite low, but they would settle disputes that would have cost millions of lives. They manage to alleviate some of the rivalry of species and put that energy into something more productive. They understood the emotions and logic behind every action made, something the current leaders very much lack.
We very much lack the understanding of the subjectivity of politics and feelings. Our objective way of thinking had been a great detriment to us, something we need to learn fast. The 'dignity', as the humans called it, of our people are said to be quite valuable and should be respected at all times. Without this, we would be angering the masses, slowly building up malice and hatred without realizing it. And soon, irrational and avoidable wars would plague us, much like what happened before we met the humans.
Their intelligence are lacking, but without them, several advancements would have never been made. These humans lack the ability to quickly process and analyze objects around them. Thus, they were quite slow when learning things that were common knowledge for most.
But with this handicap they were able to catch certain discrepencies and oddities that went unnoticed before. Most of our thought processes were fast and efficient. The thought of missing a detail so important that would change the galaxy was baffling to us. Yet, the humans were able to point out several missteps and theories that we weren't able to notice.
As the humans once said, "Slow and steady wins the race." So, in the current era, scientists and geniuses alike all share this sentiment. Though the progression of technology is slower, it also means that technological leaps are more common. Putting the galaxy years ahead of its time. But as the passage of time moves on the notion of slower research and more methodical thinking is slowly being written out.
The younger geniuses don't and doesn't want to understand the value of having to analyze each and every part of a theory or concept. They rush forward without any consideration for improvement or faults found in them.
Humans are also capable in the art of war, despite their lack of physical strength and combat experience in the galactic scale. They were one of the most, if not, the most ferocious soldiers ever in the battlefield. Where most lost hope in the face of adversity, they found glory in the depths of misery. Their unity is what gave them the strength and courage to fight on, and in this unity miracles happen.
I fought with them once during the Unity wars and it was glorious. The silicon based life forms known as Shin-Shayid, Tyrannical Machines that conquered more than 10,000 planets from the intergalactic union.
Side-by-side the humans and I fought them with our blasters and swords at hand. Their battle cries were infectious, I too joined in the screaming and wailing. I became a berserker, recklessly smashing our way through the Shin-Shayid without a second thought. We managed to hold the planet off for a couple more months until the Shin-Shiyad had managed to turn almost all of the biological lifeforms there into machines.
The Shin-Shayid had been a worthy adversary, they managed to break the intergalactic union in half. They were almost unbeatable, every plant they conquered turned into one big Shin-Shayid.
This didn't last long when we found out the Shin-Shayid had a main brain where all the information, operations, and logical decisions were made. It was on a planet far away from any of the known alien species. Although, destroying the damn thing was impossible. It was tougher than any of our weapons to penetrate, and still it would be able to build itself up again. But that wasn't our goal, it was there the humans came up with a plan. If they managed to enter their territory without being killed in the process they could perhaps connect the brain with humanities' centuries' old data.
The humans had amassed trillions of useless information containing politcal debates, media fanatics, text boards, video discussions, heated arguments that goes nowhere, heated arguments that came from nowhere, and much more were planned to be used as a sort of digital nuclear device. Regular maintenance of data and the deletion of incoherent information was the norm for any alien species, but humans didn't bother with all of that.
At first the intergalactic union were opposed to it. It was insane and downright maniacal, how were you supposed to get there when literal planets acted as larger forms of the opposition, how were you even gonna upload the bomb into the main Shin-Shayid brain when we didn't even know they function, and much more. we were afraid.
We were afraid that the Shin-Shayid had already won. That all of this, our culture, technology, intelligence were all for nothing. But the humans weren't having it, so they gathered thousand of ships and studied the Shin-Shayid for decades until they managed to crack them open revealing the many mysteries the Shin-Shayid had inside of them. It would've taken us earlier if the intergalactic union weren't so dejected.
We gathered once more, humanity inviting all intelligent carbon based life forms to discuss their new findings.
Although many were skeptical it soon gathered the support and faith of a few species, including mine. Even though most of the species still didn't believe in humanities' plan, we still had enough soldiers to succeed.
We prepared ourselves for the worst, we were ready to strike alongside one another as one last ditch effort with the humans at the helm. We travelled for months, suffering greatly on the way, we've managed to lose almost half of our fleet. Although deep in our hearts, we knew the dangers of it all and bitterly accepted their deaths.
Avoiding the known Shin-Shayid captured systems, we made our way to the brain.
It was truly alien, something none of us had ever witnessed. The ground was made of the Shin-Shayid, the towering structures were also Shin-Shayid. It was obvious that we were on a suicide mission from the start but this, this was something else. We were getting scared, wanting to go back home but we were too deep and too far to quit.
We had to do this, we had to do it and fast. But we were too scared to move, paralyzed from the fear we felt. But the humans, the humans pressed on. Though they were like us, the fear did not slow them.
The humans, with all the warnings and alarms screaming in their head managed to ignore them and tackled the brain.
Our ship watched on in horror as the human ships were shot down one by one by the Shin-Shayid.
But in the end they were successful, they managed to transfer the zip bomb into the brain releasing trillions of useless and unwanted data into the Shin-Shayid, confusing and destroying their carefully planned commands. Scrambling the Shin-Shayid's autonomy. Hopefully, this would give us a bit more time to finally end them.
But something strange started to happen. Factions of Shin-Shayid forces popped out of nowhere, thousands of them battling each other for superiority.
Apparently humanities zip bomb managed to create fanatics of human culture. Those of the 'Whovians', the 'Bronies', the 'Vores' and the 'Furries' were one of the few prominent factions that fought each other.
Soon, the Shin-Shayid had a civil war with one another... And an unhealthy obsession with humans, this would soon culminate to the even known as the 'Great Divide'. An event that saved countless species. The 'Great divide' gave the rebel Shin-Shayid a chance to join the intergalactic union and together they were able to stop the brain and ending the war.
But as a consequence, the fractured species were left to fend for themselves against their own kind. Many joined opposing factions, the others were left alone to travel the universe. But all Shin-Shayid shared one thing in common, that is their fascination and complete loyalty to the humans.
The Shin-Shayid were fascinated as to how humans were able to create fictional worlds, and useless ideas that are irrelevant for man kind. It gave the Shin-Shayid a spice that they were missing. It was made without any rhyme or reason.
But alas, it all had to end. It was 50 years ago when humanity ended. They were all suddenly stricken of a plague we were not able to cure. The Shin-Shayid desperately researched a cure but were only able to ease their pain. The intergalactic union was left puzzled as to humanities' ailments. It was as if humanities' time had ended and they would all simultaneously die off.
It was a great tragedy, trillions of lifeforms respected the humans. Though they were short-lived, weak, and quite slow compared to others humanity was still valued not as some sort of pet but a friend. And the Union's greatest ally.
It Has Been Decades And Yet Their Presence Are Still Missed.
submitted by Mochiert to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.22 02:27 PurpleSpaceSurfer A detailed and statistical look back at the last 5 winners of each acting category at the Oscars

A detailed and statistical look back at the last 5 winners of each acting category at the Oscars
So this is an idea I've had for a while. Today, we are going to look at the last five winners in each of the 4 acting categories. There will also be some data for those who are into that sort of thing. All screen time amounts and percentages are courtesy of Screen Time Central.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Troy Kotsur (CODA) and Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Winners By Age (Oldest to Youngest):
  1. Brad Pitt (56 years, 1 month and 22 days)
  2. Troy Kotsur (53 years, 8 months and 3 days)
  3. Ke Huy Quan (51 years, 6 months and 23 days)
  4. Mahershala Ali (45 years and 8 days)
  5. Daniel Kaluuya (32 years, 2 months and 1 day)
Average Age of Winners: 47 years, 8 months and 17 days

Winners by Amount of Screen Time (Longest to Shortest):
  1. Mahershala Ali (1:06:38)
  2. Ke Huy Quan (58:33)
  3. Brad Pit (55:12)
  4. Daniel Kaluuya (46:09)
  5. Troy Kotsur (35:34)
Average Amount of Screen Time: 52:25

Winners by Percentage of Screen Time (Largest to Smallest)
  1. Mahershala Ali (51.28%)
  2. Ke Huy Quan (42.03%)
  3. Daniel Kaluuya (36.80%)
  4. Brad Pitt (34.21%)
  5. Troy Kotsur (31.31%)
Average Percentage of Screen Time: 39.13%
Representation of Winners: This category fares the best of the 4. We have 2 Black actors, 1 Asian actor and one deaf actor.
Fictional/Nonfictional Characters: Kotsur and Quan play fictional characters, while Ali and Kaluuya play concert pianist Don Shirley and activist Fred Hampton respecitively. Pitt's character is fictional, with influences from real life stuntmen Hal Needham and Gary Kent.
Winners in Best Picture Nominees: All 5 winners were in Best Picture nominees, with Ali's, Kotsur's and Quan's films winning Best Picture.

Best Supporting Actress

Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Youn Yuh-jung (Minari), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), and Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Winners By Age (Oldest to Youngest):
  1. Youn Yuh-jung (73 years, 10 months and 7 days)
  2. Jamie Lee Curtis (64 years, 3 months and 3 days)
  3. Laura Dern (52 years, 11 months and 30 days)
  4. Regina King (48 years, 1 month and 9 days)
  5. Ariana DeBose (32 years, 2 months and 1 day)
Average Age of Winners: 54 years, 1 month, and 1 days

Winners by Amount of Screen Time (Longest to Shortest):
  1. Ariana DeBose (28:54)
  2. Youn Yuh-jung (26:02)
  3. Regina King (25:10)
  4. Laura Dern (18:36)
  5. Jamie Lee Curtis (17:15)
Average Amount of Screen Time: 23:11

Winners by Percentage of Screen Time (Largest to Smallest)
  1. Youn Yuh-jung (22.60%)
  2. Regina King (21.15%)
  3. Ariana DeBose (18.49%)
  4. Laura Dern (13.58%)
  5. Jamie Lee Curtis (12.38%)
Average Percentage of Screen Time: 17.64%
Representation of Winners: This category also fares well. 2 Black actresses, 1 Asian actress, 1 Latina actress who is also openly queer, alongside the 2 nepo babies.
Fictional/Nonfictional Characters: All 5 winners are fictional characters, but some of the performances have influence from real life figures. Dern's character is likely based on some of the attorneys Baumbach dealt with during his divorce, and Youn's character is based on Lee Isaac Chung's grandmother. Curtis' character's costume design was based on a stock photo of a real life IRS auditor.
Winners in Best Picture Nominees: 4 winners were in Best Picture nominees (King's film was not Best Picture nominated). Curtis is the only winner whose film also won Best Picture.

Best Actor

Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Will Smith (King Richard) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
Winners By Age (Oldest to Youngest):
  1. Anthony Hopkins (83 years, 3 months and 26 days)
  2. Brendan Fraser (54 years, 3 months and 3 days)
  3. Will Smith (53 years, 6 months and 2 days)
  4. Joaquin Phoenix (45 years, 3 months and 14 days)
  5. Rami Malek (37 years, 9 months and 15 days)
Average Age of Winners: 54 years and 10 months

Winners by Amount of Screen Time (Longest to Shortest):
  1. Joaquin Phoenix (1:43:44)
  2. Rami Malek (1:31:58)
  3. Will Smith (1:30:10)
  4. Brendan Fraser (1:21:57)
  5. Anthony Hopkins (1:05:14)
Average Amount of Screen Time: 1:26:37

Winners by Percentage of Screen Time (Largest to Smallest)
  1. Joaquin Phoenix (85.25%)
  2. Brendan Fraser (70.15%)
  3. Rami Malek (68.39%)
  4. Anthony Hopkins (67.29%)
  5. Will Smith (62.33%)
Average Percentage of Screen Time: 70.68%
Representation of Winners: In this category, we have 1 Black winner and 1 winner of Egyptian decent, alongside the 3 white winners.
Fictional/Nonfictional Characters: Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury and Will Smith plays Richard Williams, father and coach of Venus and Serena Williams. The other three actors play fictional characters.
Winners in Best Picture Nominees: 4 winners were in Best Picture nominees (Fraser's film was not Best Picture nominated), but none of the winners' films won Best Picture.

Best Actress

Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Renée Zellweger (Judy), Francis McDormand (Nomadland), Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Winners By Age (Oldest to Youngest):
  1. Frances McDormand (63 years, 10 months and 2 days)
  2. Michelle Yeoh (60 years, 7 months and 6 days)
  3. Renée Zellweger (50 years, 9 months and 17 days)
  4. Olivia Colman (45 years, and 25 days)
  5. Jessica Chastain (45 years and 3 days)
Average Age of Winners: 53 years and 22 days

Winners by Amount of Screen Time (Longest to Shortest):
  1. Jessica Chastain (1:36:42)
  2. Michelle Yeoh (1:35:16)
  3. Renée Zellweger (1:27:29)
  4. Frances McDormand (1:20:56)
  5. Olivia Colman (49:48)
Average Amount of Screen Time: 1:22:02

Winners by Percentage of Screen Time (Largest to Smallest)
  1. Jessica Chastain (76.45%)
  2. Frances McDormand (75.21%)
  3. Renée Zellweger (74.01%)
  4. Michelle Yeoh (68.38%)
  5. Olivia Colman (41.72%)
Average Percentage of Screen Time: 67.15%
Representation of Winners: This category definitely fares the worst. Michelle Yeoh is not only the only woman of color to win in the last 5 years, she only the 2nd woman to color to ever win in the category. The silver-lining for me is that all of the last 5 Best Actress winners have been at least 45.
Fictional/Nonfictional Characters: McDormand and Yeoh are definitely playing fictional characters, while Zellweger and Chastain are definitely nonfictional characters (Judy Garland and Tammy Faye Bakker, respectively). Colman is an interesting one: Queen Anne was a real life British monarch, but The Favourite is a heavily fictionalized portrayal of her rule. I would count it as nonfictional, but feel free to comment below as to where you feel this portrayal belongs.
Winners in Best Picture Nominees: Zellweger's and Chastain's films were not nominated for Best Picture (Chastain's year had none of the Best Actress nominees in Best Picture nominees). The other 3 were in Best Picture nominees, with McDormand's and Yeoh's films winning Best Picture.

Other Stats and Takeaways

Another thing I wanted to look at was the total accumulation of awards among the 4 categories. To make this easier, I've limited the subsequent tables to the 5 major film acting prizes (i.e. Golden Globe, Critics' Choice, SAG, BAFTA and Oscar)
Best Supporting Actor

Winner Golden Globe Critics' Choice SAG BAFTA Oscar Total
Ali Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Pitt Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Kaluuya Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Kotsur No Yes Yes Yes Yes 4
Quan Yes Yes Yes No Yes 4
Total 4 5 5 4 5 23
  • The Supporting Actor winners have a formidable amount of awards between them. 3 of them swept, while 2 were near-sweeps.
  • Kotsur lost GG to Kodi Smit-McPhee (this was before Kotsur and CODA had cemented themselves as frontrunners), while Quan lost BAFTA to Barry Keoghan (likely due to BAFTAs not being as keen on EEAAO as the guilds and Oscars).
  • Collectively, they won 23/25 major awards.
Best Actor

Winner Golden Globe Critics' Choice SAG BAFTA Oscar Total
Malek Yes No Yes Yes Yes 4
Phoenix Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Hopkins No No No Yes Yes 2
Smith Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Fraser No Yes Yes No Yes 3
Total 3 3 4 4 5 19
  • Best Actor has had 2 sweepers (Phoenix and Smith).
  • Malek lost Critics Choice to Christian Bale (The two of them were neck and neck at the time. Malek solidified himself as the frontrunner after SAG).
  • Fraser lost the Golden Globe and BAFTA to Austin Butler, with the race being a nail biter to the finish.
  • Anthony Hopkins upset the apparent favorite, Chadwick Boseman at BAFTA and Oscars. His film had surged at the perfect time, while Boseman's film had lost momentum.
  • Collectively, they won 19/25 awards.
Best Supporting Actress

Winner Golden Globe Critics' Choice SAG BAFTA Oscar Total
King Yes Yes No No Yes 3
Dern Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Youn No No Yes Yes Yes 3
DeBose Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Curtis No No Yes No Yes 2
Total 3 3 4 3 5 18
  • Best Supporting Actress has had 2 sweepers (Dern and DeBose).
  • King won the first two prizes, before snubs at SAG (won by the non-Oscar nominated Emily Blunt) and BAFTA (won by Rachel Weiz). Nevertheless, her Oscar victory was never in any real jeopardy.
  • Youn was snubbed by the Golden Globes (which was won by the non-Oscar nominated Jodie Foster) and lost the Critics' Choice to Maria Bakalova (who was the other critical favorite that year) before solidifiying herself as the frontrunner after SAG and BAFTA.
  • Curtis' race was thrown for a loop when the early frontrunner, Michelle Williams, opted to campaign in Lead Actress. Angela Bassett won the Golden Globe and Critics' Choice, while Kerry Condon won the BAFTA. Curtis won SAG, giving a well-received speech that likely contributed to pushing her over the edge. Her personal popularity and the strength of her film certainly also helped her case.
  • Collectively, they won 18/25 awards.
Best Actress

Winner Golden Globe Critics' Choice SAG BAFTA Oscar Total
Colman Yes No No Yes Yes 3
Zellweger Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
McDormand No No No Yes Yes 2
Chastain No Yes Yes No Yes 3
Yeoh Yes No Yes No Yes 3
Total 3 2 3 3 5 16
  • Best Actress has had the most chaotic races by far:
  • Zellweger was the only sweeper
  • Colman expectedly won the Musical/Comedy Golden Globe, while the frontrunner for the Best Drama Actress Globe, Lady Gaga, lost to Glenn Close. Close's speech was acclaimed, and she quickly surged in the race. She tied at Critics' Choice with Lady Gaga, and won the SAG, cementing herself as a frontrunner after 6 failed nominations. Colman won the BAFTA, and the strength of her film, combined with more passionate support than that of Close, likely led to her winning the Oscar in an upset.
  • McDormand's year was the first post-COVID Oscar race. Notably, every precursor had a different winner: Andra Day at Golden Globes, Carey Mulligan at Critics' Choice, Viola Davis at SAG and McDormand herself at BAFTA. In such a fractured field, it's plausible that McDormand, having the strongest and most popular film and playing a very admirable and sympathetic character, gave her an edge over the competition.
  • Kristen Stewart started off as the frontrunner in Chastain's year, but a SAG snub took a lot of wind out of her sails. BAFTA notably snubbed the bulk of the biggest Oscar contenders (including Nicole Kidman, Olivia Colman, Stewart and Chastain herself), while Lady Gaga, the only Best Actress contender to get all 4 major precursors, was not nominated by the Academy (Penélope Cruz likely edged her out). Kidman won the Golden Globe, and with the Critics' Choice being pushed back due to Omicron, Chastain won the SAG and picked up the Critics' Choice as well. Despite Cruz's strong performance on anonymous ballots, Chastain won the Oscar in the end.
  • Yeoh began her year as the dark horse, behind Cate Blanchett. The two of them traded wins all season long, with Blanchett winning the Critics' Choice and BAFTA over Yeoh. Yeoh scored the SAG, and in a year where the SAG was awarded after BAFTA, this gave her a much needed boost in momentum. The strength of her film also helped her case, and she became the first Asian woman to win Best Actress.
  • Collectively, they won 16/25 awards.
Final Takeaways
  • The four categories ranked by average age are: Best Supporting Actor (~47 and 2/3 years old), Best Actress (~53 years old), Best Supporting Actress (~54 years old) and Best Actor (54 years and 10 months old)
  • Best Actor and Best Actress have relatively similiar amounts of screentime on average (1:26:37 vs. 1:22:02).
  • On the flipside, Best Supporting Actor winners have more than double the average screentime of Best Supporting Actress winners (52:25 vs 23:11).
I hope you enjoyed this long post. Feel free to comment with which stats you find the most fascinating.
submitted by PurpleSpaceSurfer to oscarrace [link] [comments]

2023.05.21 12:19 Andreas_from_Germany The Average Doctor: Autistic but Less Stereotypical?

So, recently many autistic individuals have come forward on social media and criticized The Good Doctor for its depiction of autism being too stereotypical, demanding more diversity in the representation.
Setting aside the problem of burdening a single character with all the possible variations imaginable, what does science tell us about life with autism? How could a reasonable approximation of autism, condensed down into one fictional character, look like?
It is important to note that statistics on autism can vary greatly due to methodology and specific context, thus I would advise to rather focus on the overall picture than crunching the numbers.

Prevalence And Demographics

According to a 2020/2021 meta-analysis, global prevalence of autism diagnosis has risen (attributed mostly to better awareness and screening) to a median of 1%. ASD is still considered a rare condition.
The median male-to-female ratio was found to be 4:1. Other studies suggest that due to diagnostic gender bias, this ratio might be closer to 3:2 (2:1 in individuals with intellectual disability - henceforth “ID”).

Presentation of ASD

To meet the diagnostic criteria as per ICD-11, an individual with autism spectrum disorder must present with:
IQ distribution in ASD differs significantly from the general population, with 58% of students with ASD scoring outside of the average range (IQ 85-115), compared to 32% of the general population. About 25-33% of autistic individuals present with a co-occurring ID (IQ 70 and below), while students with ASD are also 1.5 times more likely to score in the superior IQ range of 120 or above.

Abilities and Special Interests

In a large online survey, 70-80% of North American adults with ASD confirmed the ability for intense focus, honesty, creativity, good memory, and sense of justice. The majority (80% or more) reported special interests, with 34% being able to incorporate them into their jobs.
Numerous individuals on the autism spectrum have claimed that they tend to think in pictures rather than in words. Neuroimaging results suggest that autistic brains may favor the use of visual mediation strategies.

Socioeconomic Status

Employment rates among autistic adults vary between countries but are alarmingly low overall. In a US study among those diagnosed without ID, 61% were employed in 2015.
A 2023 German study on autistic adults without ID still found only 36% currently being employed despite them achieving above-average educational levels.
Autistic adults often struggle to obtain and hold positions matching their educational achievements. Interpersonal difficulties significantly more often resulted in job termination than other reasons. Compared to the general German population (35%), individuals with ASD were significantly more often long-term unemployed (79%).
Another German study found autistic adults venturing into a broad variety of occupational fields, defying the stereotype of natural science, informatics and engineering. Instead, health, social services and education was at the top of the list.

Living Arrangements

In a large Dutch sample with mostly (above) average intellectual abilities, 79% of the autistic adults lived independently, while the other 21% either stayed with their parents, partners or in assisted living.
In contrast, in a smaller Belgian sample without ID, only 10% were living on their own, and 9% with their partner, while 55% remained with their parents and 26% utilized assisted living.

Sexuality and Romance

Compared with non-autistic groups, autistic people demonstrated lower sexual knowledge, less formal/informal sexual education, less social contact with others, more inappropriate sexual behaviour, less awareness of privacy and more concern about sexuality related matters.
Recent studies focusing on autistic samples without ID also report romantic relationship experience at rates of approximately 25–50% currently being in relationships and 70–80% having been in at least one romantic relationship.
Most people with and without ASD identify in line with their assigned gender at birth and feel attraction to someone of the other sex (men 82%/women 57%; as compared to a non-autistic rate of 90%/87%). However, adolescents and adults with ASD reported non-heterosexual attraction more often than their peers in the general population.
With both men and women, less than 1% identified as the opposite of their gender assigned at birth. About 22% of women and 8% of the men with ASD reported some gender non-conforming feelings.


Now, what does all this mean for a faithful representation of autism in a fictional character?
This fictional character would more likely be male with normal to above-average IQ, higher education, pursuing a career in education or health services with intense focus.
They would live either independently or in some supportive arrangement.
They would adhere to strict routines and react averse to changes. And albeit having a vast knowledge in their field of specialty thanks to good memory and their tendency for pursuing special interests, they would experience difficulties in finding and maintaining a job due to their deficits in social interaction.
They might be interested in heterosexual relationships, albeit less so compared to neurotypicals. Attempts to engage in romantic relationships are more prone to failure and less frequent.
They might also utilize a visual style of thinking that autistic scientist and autism advocate Temple Grandin spoke about: “[It’s] similar to an Internet search engine, set to locate photos. All my thoughts are in photo-realistic pictures, which flash up on the ‘computer monitor’ in my imagination. Words just narrate the picture. When I design livestock facilities, I can test run the equipment in my imagination similar to a virtual reality computer program.”
Doesn’t that sound like a character we know?
submitted by Andreas_from_Germany to thegooddoctor [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 04:54 Peaches_offtrail Snowshoe bushwhack in the Grand Canyon: an AZT 2023 Continuous Footpath

tl;dr: Sometimes trails can be humbling.
Important Notice:
You really need a minimum of 8L of water from Phantom Creek (before going up to Isis) to comfortably make it to the North Rim. There is no other water source on the way. I would not suggest this route without A LOT of peak bagging experience.
Suggested skills:
Suggested Gear:
Relevant Route Way Points can be found on my website
YouTube video courtesy of Twister (Twister's take on the route we did)

What: An alternative, off-trail route from the south rim to the north rim of the grand canyon
Distance: ~20 miles from Phantom Ranch to Tiyo Point Trail on North Rim
When: Afternoon April 26th to Evening April 28th
Background: Due to the unprecedented snow year, there was substantial rock fall that has closed down the North Kaibab Trail through the Grand Canyon. This has meant that very few AZT hikers will have continuous foot paths of the trail this spring
I started out on the AZT on March 30th, and found out about the Grand Canyon closure on April 11th. From the town of Superior, I chatted with a friend in Flagstaff, and pulled together a modified George Steck route to make it through the Canyon. I then set about trying to find some adventure buddies that were down to do it with me. I modified Steck's Phantom Canyon/Crystal Canyon loop route to reduce exposure risks (eg. 40+ foot falls), and to reduce our reliance on more technical gear for a red wall ascent (e.g. harnesses). In other words, we cut-out the red wall climb, and opted instead to contour clockwise around Isis temple, and continue up the trinity creek drainage toward the top of red wall. We do not believe that most thru-hikers have the technical skills, experience, or are adequately equipped to safely traverse the route that we did.
There have been a few other AZT hikers completing the trail this year using Hayduke options or other alts. To our knowledge, all other successes since the Kaibab closure have required raft hitches across the Colorado River. Groups have had varying degrees of success/non-success due to the heavy flow in many of the creeks after getting past the Colorado.
Day 1: Grand Canyon Village to Utah Flats (~11.5 miles)
Honestly, this day was pretty chill. We left GC village around Noon, got to Phantom Ranch a couple hours later. We had some snacks, mailed some post cards, and then followed the "acceptable use trail" behind the Bright Angel campground up to Utah Flats.
We found an area with limited cactuses, and managed to camp there for the night
Day 2: Utah Flats to Isis-Shiva Saddle (~8.5 miles + 2.5 mi of route finding miles + 1 mi of water gathering)
Note: This was a super rough day. It's hard to convey how slow it is to move through the Grand Canyon off trail. If you haven't done it before, 0.5 miles an hour is often overly-optimistic.
Early Morning: We were on trail by around 5:30 AM, and headed toward the fork where we could drop down to Phantom Creek (last known reliable water source) before we started contouring around Isis. Phantom Creek was bursting! We made pretty good time, gathered what we thought was an over-estimate of needed water, and headed back up to contour around Isis (we really needed to gather 8L of water each. Whoops!). The creek was amazing, and spirits were in good shape.
Late Morning: we made alright time getting to the last arm of Isis (~9-or-10-something AM), and then started dropping down toward the trinity drainage. At this point, it was clear 91-mile creek had no water, and we were not that optimistic about water in Trinity. As we dropped, we started bushwhacking through cactus fields. Yucca attacked some legs and feet, and some members of our group shed some blood. By this time, we were down to about half of our water, and were really hoping trinity had water in it (it didn't).
After checking trinity for water, we went back up to the trinity drainage heading toward the Isis-Shiva saddle and the top of red wall. This took about 2-something hours. It was somewhat slow going (with a lot of cactus dodging). At this point, our group was getting somewhat concerned about water. I had hopes there might be some puddles in the Outlet Canyon Creek on the Shiva-Isis saddle (a fork off of Phantom Creek), and if not I planned to suggest the group turn around at that point.
Afternoon: As we got near the top of red wall, Tangent shouted out in glee that there was definitely water flowing in the Phantom Creek tributary that we were going to be getting close to, and that we were in good shape! Our plan at that point had been to make it past the Isis-Shiva Saddle, and camp at the flat plateau that was Shiva saddle. We began to contour around the Supai cliff formations, following a trail map from an online blog detailing a traverse of the Phantom/Crystal Canyon loop. The map made it look pretty easy to get water from what we thought was the canyon that Tangent thought he had seen water in. It turned out to take 3 hours to get down to that Canyon. There was no water there.
At this point, we were really running out of water (~1-ish liter for the four of us). We decided to see if there was an easy access point up to Shiva Saddle to check for water (from snow melt on the North Rim). After doing some route finding, I discovered that rather than some relatively-chill Class 2 scrambling (that Steck's notes indicated), the possible approaches to Shiva were Class 4/Class 5, with some X-rated exposure. It was clear that the map from the online blog was drawn incorrectly, and we were definitely not in the right location. At this point I called it and said we should go back.
The group was quite demoralized, and our water situation was depressing. We decided that given our lack of water (0.5 liters of water and 0.5 liters of urine for the group), and that we hadn't seen any water, nor were we on the correct route up to Shiva Saddle, that we should maybe contact the backcountry office, and talk over our options (either walking back 6 hours at night to Phantom Creek, or seeing if there might be other suggested routes/known water that might decrease our dehydration risks).
Evening: After our chat with the GC rangers, we decided to start hiking back at night to Phantom Creek, which we anticipated would be ~6 hours. As we were headed in that direction, our head lamps illuminated some muddy footprints. We realized it was mud, and followed the creek up to the wettest-looking mud spot. We dug a hole about 1-foot deep/wide. It miraculously began to fill with water.
Night: Over the next 4-5 hours, we were able to significantly clog 2 filters and successfully filter 22 liters of water. We texted the GC rangers and let them know we found water, and were planning to try to do some route finding again in the morning.
Day 3: Isis-Shiva Saddle to the North Rim
Morning: We were up at 6:00 AM, filtered our water supply back up to full water carrying capacity from our old-reliable mud hole, and then checked back on George Steck's route notes, rather than the online blog's map. We decided that we were just right about where the route should be, and after about 1hr of route finding, we found some cairns, and began our ascent ("go up when you can, contour right when you can't.")
Turns out that advice is too simplistic, and some of the route that once was solid has fractured and is no longer very passable. There's pretty chossy rock everywhere that poses significant rock fall risks.
Late Morning: I'm the most technical climber in the group (confident 5.11 sport climber, 5.12 gym and v5-7 boulderer depending on area or setters) so did a lot of the route finding over the next several hours. It took several hours of slowly picking my way through the supai group. At one point I decided the route could probably go, but I wasn't sure if it was advisable for our group, and that maybe we should just head back to Phantom Ranch. We had a quick huddle, and decided that me and Tangent would go out scouting for another hour to see if we found something solid up to Shiva Saddle, and then call it if we didn't. About 20 minutes later, we found a huge-ass cairn. A few easy bouldering problems (V1-V2) later and I was at the top of the Supai formation, and everything looked like gravy from there.
I down-climbed back to our group (making good time), and the whole group was ready to make the ascent up to Shiva Saddle.
Afternoon: At this point, it was mostly a matter of picking our way around some heavily-cactused areas, and some loose scree and seriously chossy scrambles. Nothing very exposed. We had plenty of water, and spirits were soaring. We made it to Shiva Saddle (there was no easily findable/accessible water), and began to take the ridge between two drainages (also no water visible in the drainages), making our way to the North Rim. The ridge up to the North Rim isn't well-marked, exactly, but there are some cairns occasionally, and the less-bush-whacking path turns out mostly to be solid.
It took probably 1-to-2 hrs to Shiva Saddle once we had decent route beta, and then another couple hours to the North Rim.
Evening: We got to the North Rim by about 5:00 PM, and called the park rangers to let them know we were out of the Canyon and that everything was good. We found water and snow ~2 miles later, and joined Tiyo Point Trail (covered in >4 feet of snow) shortly after that. Finally, the snowshoes we had carried for the past ~100-miles from Flagstaff were looking like a reasonable gear choice.

Concluding Remarks
Overall, this trip was pretty humbling. The biggest issue was certainly that we didn't anticipate enough water carrying capacity (rangers also thought there was a good chance of water in some of the creeks that were dry. They didn't know how quickly the north rim had melted out), and also we assumed the route notes we had were more accurate than they were.
The canyon is absolutely absurd, and so much different from most other backcountry trips I've done (~16k miles of backpacking). It's similar, in many ways, to doing a bunch of off-trail hiking and peak bagging through the mountains (cliffs and ascents that are 7,000 feet), but because everything was carved by water the quality of the rock is awful, and the cliffs and slopes are not as easy to anticipate. You just can't trust it the way you can the mountains. I definitely need to spend some more time in the Canyon!
submitted by Peaches_offtrail to Ultralight [link] [comments]

2023.05.15 02:39 IcyReference9465 Diagnosis questions, MRI reading help.

Searching online I keep seeing Osteoarthritis but I’d like other opinions or someone in a similar diagnosis to give input.
Female, 23yo, 137lbs, at one point was fairly active but due hip pain I cannot withstand prolonged activity, relatively healthy diet. I've been the same weight for year w/o working out. I've also been in the military 4+ years for an idea of work, mainly at a desk. Pain has been constant since bootcamp in 2018. 4+ years pain in both hips.
MRI OF LEFT HIP, WITH CONTRAST FINDINGS: MARROW SIGNAL: No acute fracture is identified. Bone marrow is normal in signal. Alignment is normal as well.
LABRUM: There is mild attenuated signal to the anterior labrum. There is blunting of the superior labrum. Findings are likely degenerative. No labral tear identified.
TENDONS: Intact and normal in signal. Musculature is normal in morphology and signal intensity as well.
OTHER: Sacroiliac joints are normal. Pubic symphysis is normal. Intra-pelvic organs are normal.
Blunting of the superior labrum and mild attenuated signal to the anterior
submitted by IcyReference9465 to HipImpingement [link] [comments]

2023.05.15 02:27 IcyReference9465 Do I have Osteoarthritis? Help reading MRI?

Female, 23F, 137lbs, at one point was fair active but due hip pain I cannot withstand prolonged activity, relatively healthy diet. I've been the same weight for year w/o working out. I've also been in the military 4+ years for an idea of work, mainly at a desk.
MRI OF LEFT HIP, WITH CONTRAST FINDINGS: MARROW SIGNAL: No acute fracture is identified. Bone marrow is normal in signal. Alignment is normal as well. CARTILAGE: Intact. LABRUM: There is mild attenuated signal to the anterior labrum. There is blunting of the superior labrum. Findings are likely degenerative. No labral tear identified. TENDONS: Intact and normal in signal. Musculature is normal in morphology and signal intensity as well. OTHER: Sacroiliac joints are normal. Pubic symphysis is normal. Intra-pelvic organs are normal. IMPRESSION: Blunting of the superior labrum and mild attenuated signal to the anterior
submitted by IcyReference9465 to AskDocs [link] [comments]

2023.05.14 22:19 hereforstarwarsmemes Rating SWTOR Stories

I’ve been playing this game off and on since 2012, and I’ve played through so much of it, I feel like I’ve finally developed a comprehensive ranking of each story the game offers. Granted, I am and always have been a solo player, so that definitely skews my opinion on each story (Revan specifically). I’m eager to hear everyone else’s take and see how other player’s rankings stack up against my own. I did exclude Legacy of the Sith (Manaan, Ruhnuk) because I have only played through it once so far, and there’s still more to come before the writers move on

1: Sith Inquisitor

I am convinced this ranking comes solely from the fact that it’s my first SWTOR experience. Regardless, I think it encompasses so much of the Sith perspective. Your relationship with Zash, your relationship with Khem Val, and your various relationships with other characters like Thanaton and Harkun really speak to the nature of the Sith, their subordinates, and their superiors. I did feel like the second and third act paled in comparison with the first, both in terms of quality and sense of direction.

2: Imperial Agent

To this day, I struggle to get through the Agent story. Not because of its quality but because it truly poses some of the hardest decisions in the entire game. I found that each act seemed to flow seamlessly and compound upon an overarching plot, which is something I feel the other stories lack. The story was excellent, the plot twists and choices were rich, and the companions are great.

3: Jedi Knight

I did not expect a Jedi class story to compel me as much as this one did. It gives the most classic “Star Wars” vibes of any story, and it’s clear the developers came into this story first and with immense passion for telling a true Star Wars story. Three of your companions are absolute gems, distinguishable and memorable even now amongst a sea of both base game and endgame companions.

4: Republic Trooper

I feel like this story is underrated among the fan base. I came into it with a Republic patriot mentality and it continued to impress and entertain. It definitely could’ve been improved upon, especially later in the game where it becomes forgettable and plateaus. The companions are lukewarm, and the writers definitely push you toward a specific play style for this story

5: Onslaught

I was late to the game on this one, but I found it to be a refreshing attempt at a return to form. A certainly compelling cast of characters on the Republic side, and some moderately interesting ones on the Empire side.

6: Knights of the Fallen Empire

I played this expansion as it was rolling out, and I was definitely enamored with it at the time. On replay, I find it slower and less compelling, but still entertaining. The mobs at this point in the game become an absolute chore to mow through as a solo player, which kind of ruins the momentum, especially when you’re trudging through certain aspects of the story (cough, Chapter 2, cough)

7: Jedi Consular

I get the hate, but I actually enjoyed this one. The companies are boring, yes, the story drags, yes, but I am the political-drama-watching type, and a fan of the pragmatic diplomat archetype. I feel this story did a good job at providing access to that type of character in the Consular’s story.

8: Forged Alliances

On my first play through, I was on the edge of my seat with this story. It was unexpected, surprising, and intriguing, and I was very excited to see where it was going and what it was building toward

9: Knights of the Eternal Throne

A drag. It tried to continue the KOTFE format, and tried to compel further, but all it felt like was a forced continuation of an already fizzing story. And again, the mobs, dude

10: Shadow of Revan

A completely underwhelming return for a fantastic character. No part of this story really resonated with me, and as a solo player, I did NOT want to do all the side quests you have to do to reach the end.

12: Sith Warrior

I expected this one to rank higher, but honestly, Baras just sucks. After playing the Inquisitor story, I expected a similar path for Baras but he stuck around WAY too long and I had hoped I could play the Warrior and really take the fight to the Republic.

13: Fractured Alliances

Dude, Iokath? Oof. Every replay, when I get to Iokath, I find myself logging off more often. My biggest issue is that the writers very CLEARLY push you toward the empire. I want blurred lines, not this crazed-General-story, and it feels so unnatural.

14: Rise of the Hutt Cartel

I do not understand the hype around this story, especially as it pertains to the Imperial side of this story. The cast of characters is boring, the scientific implications and applications in this story are only somewhat interesting, and the titular “Hutt Cartel” feels incredibly detached for a story called “Rise of the Hutt Cartel.”

15: Smuggler

I wanted to like this one, I really did. I’ll admit, I’ve only played it through once, and it was a while ago, so it could be bias that influences this ranking. I felt way too attached to the Republic, especially after Chapter 1, and I found the entire storyline thereafter to be forgettable and generic.

16: Bounty Hunter

Worst companions, worst storyline. The Great Hunt is mildly interesting, but everything else was a snooze fest, and pulled your character into directions that feel erratic and inconsistent.
Please tell me your thoughts, I’m interested
submitted by hereforstarwarsmemes to swtor [link] [comments]

2023.05.13 07:37 Wapulatus Goetia Draft

"Then I shall show you. The end of your journey. The demise of human history that will redo this planet. The moment my great undertaking is completed!"


Shikisai ~The Time of Parting Hath Come~
This thread is a collaboration with InverseFlash and rsthethird, who helped with feat-gathering, as well as Proletlariet, who helped with formatting. Thanks!


Beast I. One of the Seven Evils of Humanity, possessing the principle of "Pity".
The King of Mages, Solomon, gathered 72 demons in his life that he fashioned into "a system to promote reason in humans"--a sort of magical logic network. After some time, the demons gained self-awareness and merged into a collective being.
This being, the amalgamation of the 72 Demons, became known as Goetia.
When Solomon died, the demons were sealed away inside his corpse. The awakened Goetia at first assumed Solomon's identity. Through his eyes, they witnessed the extent of human suffering that Solomon, for all the king's vast power, had failed to address. They became disillusioned with their host, and hatched a plan to remake the world without its imperfections by travelling back in time.

Source Guide

Hover over the feat to view the story chapter the feat is from.
Relevant Scaling:
Some terms:
Elements of Goetia's in-game profile and Fate/Grand Order material IV entry (translated by castor212 are freely quoted in this thread to help explain abilities that might not show up explicitly in the series very often.

King of Mages - "Solomon"

"Plead for help. Raise your mewling voice. For it is the time for you to drown in the sea of anguish! Behold this festival of flame that set ablaze the altar, rendered in its resplendence!"
The Time of Coronation Hath Come
Prior to revealing himself, Goetia posed as King Solomon while possessing his corpse..
Controlling Solomon granted Goetia a variety of abilities, namely the class container of "Grand", which allowed him to outclass any normal Servant by virtue of this.

Physical Feats/Power


It has been said that Solomon's clairvoyance can see through the past and the future.
Because Clairvoyance is a skill furnished on the flesh, Goetia can also use it.

Magecraft / Magic


Evil Eye


Beast I - Goetia

"Well, I will rid myself of the title "King of Mages.”
"There's no more need for deception. I had no name, but if you want to call me something, call me this:"
"I am the one who shall attain true wisdom, as was desired of me. I am the one who shall devour you to reach a new height, and create a new planet."
"I am the one who shall gather 72 curses, and set flame to all of history. I am the Ritual for the Incineration of Humanity."
"I am Goetia, the King of Demon Gods."
Shikisai ~The Time of Parting Hath Come~
The form Goetia takes after he abandons Solomon's corpse partway through the final battle.
His body is a central core surrounded by the 72 "Demon Pillars" that comprise him.


General Power and Information
Physical Feats
The Beast Class
The entire space of Solomon's temple gives Da Vinci the same Beast Class reading she saw from Tiamat.

Individual Demon Pillars

Damage Output
Demon Pillars attack in a number of ways:
These attacks are threatening to a variety of named servants:
Favorable Interactions

King of Humans - Goetia

"The Demon Gods have burned away. My temple is destroyed. My grand plan for the Incineration of Human Order dies with me. But, I will at least deny you this final victory. Let us begin... Master of Chaldea. I shall annihilate you, and all you've achieved, with my own hands."
Despite Ars Nova ending Solomon's spell that bound the 72 Demons together, Goetia manages to linger long enough for one last fight. However, in this weakened state he can be defeated by a punch from Ritsuka.

Noble Phantasms

Ars Almadel Salomonis: The Time of Birth has Come, He is the One who Masters All

"Then I shall show you. The end of your journey. The demise of human history that will redo this planet. The moment my great undertaking is completed! Third Noble Phantasm, deploy. The Time of Birth has Come, He is the One who Masters All. Now, burn up like trash!"
"Ars Almadel Salomonis!"
  • Rank: EX
  • Type: Anti-Unit/Anti-Human Order Noble Phantasm
  • Range: ?
  • Maximum target: ? person
Goetia's third Noble Phantasm. The "" of original sin. A belt of light that announces mankind’s demise.
Goetia is able to manipulate this belt of light in order to collect, accelerate and converge portions of it, travelling through the timestream or otherwise influencing it.
For his plan to work, Goetia needed to make cause and effect stop working, so he can set fire to multiple periods of time in history at the same time.
He enables this by destabilizing human history with Singularities. These are turning points in human history that he's sent Holy Grails (powerful magic artifacts) to change important historical events.
Reference of what Holy Grails can do
Incineration of Human History
Once human history is destabilized, Goetia 'sets fire' to every moment of it and lets it burn. The energy is then collected as "Spiritrons" (magical energy) and raw heat.
Of course, this has catastrophic affects on the timeline.
Bands of Light
Finally, this energy is then channeled into Goetia's temple, and refined into bands of light that he can control and release at will. Either as weapons, or as fuel to for his ultimate goal: time travel to the creation of the Earth.

Ars Paulina: The Time of Crowning has Come, He is the One who Begins All

  • Rank: A
  • Type: Anti-World Noble Phantasm
  • Range: 999
  • Maximum target: ? person
A Reality Marble that Goetia fabricated by amplifying the remains of King Solomon, forming a magical workshop in "void space" that exists outside the normal flow of time.
Reality Marbles are essentially self-contained dimensions that 'paint over the world' in a given area. Here's a better schematic explaining what they do.
Physical Structure and Location

Ars Nova

  • Rank: D
  • Type: Anti-Unit Noble Phantasm
  • Range: -
  • Maximum target: 1 person
Goetia: Light Band Convergence Ring
Solomon: The Time of Parting has Come, He is the One who Lets Go of the World

Individual Demon Pillars - Unique Abilities

While it's likely that Goetia possesses all these abilities as the composite of all Demon God Pillars, some of his components developed wills of their own and gained unique abilities before and after his destruction at the hands of Chaldea.



After separating from Goetia, Andras gained a self-awareness and will to live, and escaped from the Temple of Time near-death, but died afterwards. Even then, its 'vindictive desires' remained as a corpse that could maintain a being by fusing to a Heroic Spirit, summoning and doing so with Chacha and Hijikata to create a singularity-like space.



"Huh, who would have known? ...Tragically short, and yet, strangely fascinating... So, this is what human life is..."

submitted by Wapulatus to u/Wapulatus [link] [comments]

2023.05.12 08:47 SniffleBot The Army says Pvt. Matthew Brown shot himself 15 years ago today in Afghanistan. His mother believes he was killed to cover up drug trafficking (Part 2)

A Possible Coverup
Culp's reconstruction of the events of May 10–11 started the night before, with Spcs. Jay Flannery and Aaron Cianfrocco, who Brown had putatively relieved that morning before his purported suicide. In their account, before leaving for their shift, they saw Brown. He seemed high (his Valium use off-duty was no secret to anyone) and Flannery told him to get to bed and sleep it off so he would be fit for duty in several hours.Flannery called the barracks at 5 a.m. and told someone to get Brown up.
He did, and after getting dressed headed out for the tower. A sergeant stopped him along the way because he seemed intoxicated (not least because his right boot was unlaced, I'm sure). But after not smelling any liquor, and checking that his weapon's safety was on, he let Brown go.Brown was five minutes late, Cianfrocco and Flannery said, leading them to curse him out as they passed on the stairs. It seemed to both of them that, if anything, Brown's intoxication was actually worse than it had been the night before. After getting a ride back to the barracks they discussed what to do about Brown, and decided to let their common superior, Sgt. Armando Torres, the MP in charge of the detention facility, know, just after 6.
They met Torres and his deputy, Staff Sgt. Matthew Jackson, for breakfast. At 6:30 an unidentified soldier ran into the mess hall and told Torres there was an emergency at the Gun Tower. He left with Jackson while Cianfrocco and Flannery stayed behind and finished their meal.
This much all seems not to be in dispute. But accounts collected by CID of what happened in the next half-hour, during which time Brown suffered his fatal wound, differ significantly and materially. If investigators followed up with anyone to try to resolve these contradictions, it is not in any record that has been disclosed. We shall return to these.
At The Scene
At the tower, Torres took charge while the doctor and medic attended to the body. He told Jackson to secure the floor while he went to get a camera and report the incident to the company commander.During this time Lt. Faust, the cop in civilian life, went up to the scene and, consistent with his peacetime profession, took detailed notes on the scene (the most detailed of anyone who visited it, in fact). He reported one detail no one else did: a hole, fragmented, in the Plexiglas window at the front of the gun room, consistent in size with a 5.56 mm round of the type an M4 uses, the round Brown was found to have been shot with.
CID never performed any of the ballistics analysis or trajectory studies—you know, those cool string things you see on TV cop shows (including that memorable scene in the second season of The Wire) despite having been made aware of this. If they had, they would have learned what took Culp's team a while to confirm: that if that hole was left by the bullet that killed Brown, it is highly unlikely to have been fired from within the tower, least of all from the position his body was found in.
By the time Torres returned with the camera, Maj. Matthew Mayfield, the post's physician, was attending to the body, and Faust asked everyone else to leave besides those two. He then asked Torres to recuse himself from any role in the investigation due to the deceased being one of his subordinates, but Torres said he had promised to take the pictures. After he did, everyone left.Faust ordered that the tower be placed under guard and no one—*no one*—be allowed in until CID came. Just like he would have at home. But here in Afghanistan he wasn't a police officer, just an officer, and no one really had to follow that order, so he left.
So, you asked, since it was a detention facility, weren't there MPs there? MPs who might have known what to do and had the crime-scene training and experience? Yes, there were—but all but one of them that morning were away on missions. The one who wasn't, when he heard about the dead body in the Gun Tower, strapped his sidearm on and began running out there to do his job ... only to be met halfway there by Torres, his superior, who told him his assistance wasn't needed.
Sgt. Torres Takes Questionable Charge
Recall that in Langewiesche's account at least, Torres had not definitively responded to Faust's advice that, as Brown's direct superior, he recuse himself from taking any active role in the investigation. He only said he had promised to take the pictures—at the time that could have been a practical question, as having brought the camera all the way to the Gun Tower it would have been a needless effort to go back to base and find someone else to take the pictures. That assumption might have been defensible if that was all Torres did.
But it seems from his later actions that Torres felt he was ethically sound continuing to involve himself in the investigation. He found Cianfrocco and Flannery and ordered them to the post commander's office. The commander (a captain Langewiesche does not name) in turn ordered them to submit sworn statements, which were not printed out but saved onto a thumbdrive after they typed them out on laptops. Torres kept the thumbdrive, which again is one of those things that will be important later.
He also ordered Torres to secure Brown's quarters for a future search, about the one otherwise questionable action Torres is thus off the hook for.
This was all done by 9 a.m., according to the records. The CID investigators were still on the ground at Bagram during this time. What Torres did for the next two hours or so is not known. He was next reported in the tower at 11:30 a.m. helping the medics strap Brown's body to the bench so it would not slide off into the puddle of blood on the floor. When Mayfield arrived to remove it, Torres helped him with that.In order to do this, it was necessary to finally take Brown's M4 off his leg. Mayfield did this, then handed the weapon to Torres and told him to switch the safety back on, which of course seems consistent with any sort of proper procedure. Torres for some reason went further, as in downstairs, after doing this. There, wearing rubber gloves, he took the trouble of taking off the magazine, ejecting a round from the chamber, checked the chamber to make sure it was empty, then reloaded the chamber and put the magazine back.
At least this is what he told investigators later. There are no other witnesses to this, obviously. Torres explained his decision to clear the weapon in a separate room by saying he was concerned for the safety of Mayfield. However, this sequence of actions tends to reduce the likelihood of an unintended discharge, and if Torres had some special reason to be concerned about that happening while clearing the weapon, or that particular M4, the investigators never seem to have asked about it.
According to Sgt. Jackson, Torres' interest in the crime scene did not end once the body was removed. He told investigators that he and Torres had lunch afterwards, then decided to go back to the tower—which should have been sealed off until CID got there, and which by now they should have had no business being in—and look over the scene again. Jackson explained they were looking for the bullet and any ricochet marks. Just why, if it had been so obvious as it seemed on first look that Brown had shot himself, there would be any need to look for these things, he never was asked to elaborate on.
That might have been because when CID talked to Torres, he never even mentioned that little post-prandial go at detective work.
CID On The Scene
When two CID investigators (names redacted in the files), you know, the ones with the actual CSI type training, finally got to the base at 2 p.m. guess who was there to greet them? Torres, of course, who told them that it was a suicide, that the weapon had been cleared, the body removed and the crime scene already somewhat disturbed (to be fair, these last three were indisputably true at the time, although again if any of this disturbed the CID investigators they did not feel the need to write that down).
The investigators record that they got to the scene at 2:45 p.m. and spent the next two hours documenting what they could and collecting evidence. It does not appear that they excelled at this. Among their many errors and omissions, one would stand out: the mismeasurement of the gun table. This would seriously complicate later independent efforts to reconstruct the shooting.
CID, too, took note of the hole in the Plexiglas that only Faust, the cop, had noticed. But their notes concluded, without much analysis, that it did not have the fracturing he had reported, and that it was too small to have been produced by small-arms fire. They did not revise this even after talking to Faust.However, in one aspect their work in the tower was diligent enough for what they did *not* find: the bullet, which likewise had eluded Torres and Jackson a short time earlier.
After that, they turned to Brown's quarters, which, again, Torres (under orders) had been the one to secure. There they found 12 empty blister packs that had held 10 mg tablets of Valium, marked as having been made by Roche Pharmaceuticals' Pakistani subsidiary. Three more empty packs were found in a later search the next afternoon.
This, according to Langewiesche, is a pretty big deal. Someone, very likely not Brown, had access to the genuine article, high-quality tranquilizers, not some local knockoff with the risks they posed, in large quantities. Given Asadabad's location it was quite likely that whoever was making this happen could be overseeing smuggling efforts and also be distributing it to other U.S. bases around Afghanistan.
This apparently did pique CID's interest. The files show that in the wake of Brown's death, they did enough investigation to lead them to suspect two unnamed soldiers at Asadabad. But after one of them told them to talk to his lawyer, the investigation stalled for lack of evidence. CID did, however, uncover enough evidence to show how widespread Valium abuse was there to force the subsequent change to the soldiers' sleeping arrangements, breaking down all the small individual barracks and making all 120 bunk in the same open space to make drug use and distribution harder to conceal.
We cannot end this section without noting one thing the searches did not find that they would have been expected to: Brown's wallet. It did not stay that way.
The Conflicting Statements
CID stayed at Asadabad a week, during which it found ample evidence of the pervasive drug use there. That would have been enough to justify a longer stay and expanded investigation; whatever reason they chose not to do so is, again, undocumented. But they also brought back some conflicting statements from important witnesses that they never bothered to reconcile with followup interviews.
For instance, Jackson, Torres's deputy, says the two were eating breakfast together until 6:40 a.m., well after the injured Brown was discovered in the tower. He recalls Flannery and Cianfrocco complaining about Brown's lateness when they joined them at 6:15, but saying nothing about his apparent intoxication. Since that was a serious security issue, they were obliged to inform Torres, their commander.
Flannery gave two accounts, one in his sworn statement to the post commander the day of the death, the other to CID the next day. In both versions he says, relatively consistently, that the two saw Torres in the chow hall at breakfast after coming off shift. In the first, they let him know not only that Brown had been late but that he seemed off, and the sergeant said he would check up on it. In the statement to CID, Flannery adds that on the way to breakfast, they stopped at the MWR (basically the post's computer cluster for general personal use) to look up some information online. Cianfrocco's statement to CID clarifies that this was the workout of the day on a popular fitness site (Crossfit, I'm all but certain). Flannery did not recall for CID any conversation with his superiors about Brown, and if the investigators were aware of it from the sworn statement they did not choose to ask about, again for unknown reasons.
At this point you'd ask, OK, what did Cianfrocco's sworn statement the day of say? The answer is that we don't know. Both of those statements had been on a thumb drive (I am inferring from the article that Flannery's we have because it was, quite properly, backed up somewhere else), which Torres is last known to have had in his possession for some reason, one of which probably was his apparent belief he had no appearance of conflict whatsoever in taking such a hands-on role into the death of a soldier under his direct command. Torres explained to CID that it had gotten "corrupted" since he'd saved it. I think we can presume that, again, CID chose not to follow up on this by asking for the thumb drive in the hope that better technology might be able to find some of the original data. Because if they did, I think Langewiesche would have mentioned it.
Besides corroborating the detour to go look up the Crossfit workout, Cianfrocco's CID statement diverges from Flannery and Jackson's in putting Torres's initial arrival at the chow hall at 6:25, at which time they told him about the Brown problem. Again, Torres deferred dealing with the problem until after breakfast, showing a curious lack of urgency for a high-ranking sergeant over the very serious issue of having a soldier standing watch at the FOB's most important security post while high as a kite. Again, if this was not shared by CID we don't know why.
At this point you might interject well, OK, did Torres say anything? What's his story? And this is where it starts getting a little problematic. Torres did sit down with CID. He told them that he first heard of the issues with Brown when he ran into Cianfrocco and Flannery at the MWR around 6:15. Hmm. It's interesting that the latter two saw fit to add this detail in their later statements (well, we don't know what Cianfrocco's statement said, but I bet he didn't mention it either), as if they'd been prompted to by a superior planning to tell that story.
Now, if you are playing devil's advocate or skeptic here, as people often (and should) do, you might say that this doesn't prove anything other than four people differing primarily on the time and place where things happened on a particularly memorable morning. None of this really challenges the basic narrative of the four meeting, discussing Brown's condition, and then Torres going to check on him. Even if they did fudge their stories, they might have had reasons, while indeed improper, far less sinister than we are imputing to them. You might say that these discrepancies alone do not raise sufficient grounds for us to suspect something criminal.
And you'd be right if that was all there was. But remember how I said things were starting to get problematic with these accounts? Guess what ... there's another account, by someone who went on the record, that is wildly divergent from these four to the point of creating a counternarrative that puts Torres, Cianfrocco, Flannery and by extension Jackson under serious suspicion if it is the truth.
CID, commendably in this if nothing else, talked to many soldiers at Asadabad. One was Spc. Michael Merritt, who was asleep in the barracks that morning. Cianfrocco and Flannery woke him up around, he says, 6:10 a.m.—not intentionally, but by having a loud discussion about how drugged-out Brown was. Ten minutes later, he said, Torres came in and woke him up to prepare for emergency guard duty, since Brown had killed himself.
This would put the time Torres had learned of Brown's injury (remember, he was not dead yet) at 6:15 or a little earlier, and the time of the incident itself in the short time between 6:05 (when Brown arrived late for his shift, in Cianfrocco and Flannery's telling) and 6:10 or a little later. The former is at least 10-15 minutes earlier than any other account has Torres aware of it (Also, he seems to know already that it was a suicide ... well before the first official informal determination to that effect).
The Aftermath
Investigative and evidentiary oddities did not stop after CID left Asadabad.
Jackson accompanied Brown's body to at least Bagram. There, when it was transferred to the plane (a C-5, I think) that flew the bodies of the war dead back to Dover, an inventory of its associated effects noted that his wallet was in the body bag. Yes, the same wallet that had not been found in two separate searches of his quarters at Asadabad.How did it get there? Years later, when Culp's investigators noted this and thus gave Sen. Boxer's staff the leverage to lean on the Army about why this happened, the Army falsely claimed that according to its records the wallet had been in the body bag when it left Asadabad. But even if this is somehow true and just wasn't properly recorded, it leaves open the question of at what point in the days between Brown's death and his body's departure the wallet *was* found, and why CID wasn't notified.
The surprises weren't done. Three months later, at an Army forensics lab in Georgia, someone as an apparent afterthought to the case, if nothing else, decided to search for fingerprints on Brown's M4, which I guess from this narrative had otherwise been properly preserved since Torres took it downstairs to clear.
There were no fingerprints on it. Not even Brown's. By that point it could not be determined if it had been wiped down, and it wasn't tested for DNA. This might be easy to dismiss as just within the sort of error you might reasonably expect from evidence that might have gone stale, except that the autopsy report, done within days of Brown's death, found no powder residue on his hands, casting further doubt as to whether he had fired it that day.
High-resolution photos of Brown's body taken on arrival at Dover show no apparent back spatter anywhere on his body, which would be expected from a head wound fired in the apparent sitting position the body was found in. Culp hired a company called Visual Evidence to try to reconstruct the scene, primarily to find the most plausible way Brown could have been shot while accounting for the hole in the window and the absence of the bullet. They went to the extent of building a life-size replica of the room based on the CID measurements. Other than a self-inflicted wound not matching the bullet's trajectory across Brown's skull, from his right temple forward of the ear to the left rear, nothing really worked. The hole in the window seemed too far forward to have been left by the bullet in any possible firing configuration. But if CID had been right and it had nothing to do with the shooting, how had the bullet gone missing in a concrete-walled room? The best scenario they could come up with had someone coming in to the room, finding Brown passed out on the desk, shooting him in the head and then quickly staging the scene to look like a suicide. But that would likely fall apart under even a decent investigation. If that *was* what had happened, the killer or killers had gotten extremely lucky that CID didn't seem to have been terribly interested in doing anything more than taking a lot of statements.
More Revelations
Culp got enough evidence of how perfunctory the investigation had been, how many leads had not been followed, to finally get CID to agree to have a meeting with him to discuss it in 2018, almost ten years later, with Visual patched in by phone. For CID, it seemed to Culp, the meeting's primary purpose was to put him in his place. Every question he asked was answered dismissively, with the agent repeatedly reminding him how unreliable eyewitnesses are and how important it was to go into cases without preconceptions.So there was no mea culpa (ahem). But Culp's efforts paid off in other ways. CID brought to the meeting the full files, including material Evans had not been able to get, such as crime scene photos and additional witness statements.
This included other material casting more doubt on the suicide finding:
The crime scene photos as a whole would be important. Visual found through analysis and comparison with its own replica that the CID investigators had grossly mismeasured the table Brown was found at. He had, it turned out, been sitting 18 inches further forward than the company's recreations had been based on. When they readjusted their replica and simulations, the entry and exit wounds perfectly lined up with the hole in the window, assuming a shooter was firing from behind at Brown's head on the desk.
Culp and Evans had asked CID to re-open the case (something it never did with any of the staggeringly high number of combat-zone servicemember suicides even after a 2015 Pentagon IG report faulted the generally shoddy quality of most of the investigations). It promised to review Culp's findings and get back to him and Evans with a decision. Culp was pessimistic that they would ever hear back, Evans was not.So she was delighted one day in May 2018, ten years after her son's death, when CID called and told her it would be reopening the case. Perhaps Matthew would get his justice after so long. But then it closed the case again after a month, without saying what, if anything, had changed.
My guess is CID's investigative purpose was to find better ways of ass-covering when asked about this case in the future. Langewiesche wrote his own questions to CID as part of his article (Torres, Cianfrocco and Flannery declined to speak to him). Declining to answer 24 of 40 on privacy/confidentiality grounds, it resorted to outright falsehoods for some (Visual's analysis, even after it corrected the size of the table, was "consistent with a suicide"; Torres's original photographs of the scene had included the hole in the window) and some creative explanations for others: the hole in the window had been there long before the incident and was used by soldiers to open and close it (without pointing to anything in the record that supported this).
Most importantly, it explained that the reason the CID investigators had not done any followup interviews, put people on lie detectors or asked for any documentary evidence was ... it never considered anyone they interviewed a suspect. The sad part of this is that, I think, they may be telling the truth. But at the same time that dodges the question—did they ever consider at any time the possibility that Brown's death might *not* have been a suicide? And it's a bit rich to think that they spent a week at Asadabad interviewing so many people if they didn't have suspects (My guess is also that they went in presuming Brown's death was the suicide it seemed to be, with the real goal of using the investigation as a backdoor into a drug case they otherwise couldn't get going and, indeed, ultimately had to drop).
A Coda
This seemed to end things, but later in 2018 Culp got an interesting coda, when CID sent him, unprompted, Merritt's account suggesting Torres knew of Brown's death earlier than any other statement suggested. He found Merritt, who had left the military by then and returned to Florida. Merritt was surprised to learn that the case had been reopened and closed earlier that year without anyone from CID contacting him about his statement, so at odds with the other narratives. If they had, he told Culp, he'd have shared with them the diary he kept in Afghanistan, which during the mid-May 2008 period expressed considerable confusion over Brown's death.
Among other things, Merritt goes into detail about what happened later that morning. At 7:45, Jackson ordered him to stand guard at the base of the tower. He was still there when the body was removed a couple of hours later (a period of time during which Torres's whereabouts and movements are unaccounted for) and at 12:15 p.m., when Torres and Jackson went into the tower alone and stayed there until 1 ... a period of time three times longer than Torres told CID the two were in the building by themselves. After that, Merritt says, he was relieved by ... Cianfrocco and Flannery.
Since Langewiesche's article, a little over four years and a pandemic ago, there has been nothing else in the media about the case. I have to presume there have been no further developments, evidentiarily or procedurally.
CID could reopen the case again, but that's extremely unlikely; it would probably take a direct order of the Army's Chief Medical Examiner. The FBI has jurisdiction to step in if it feels the military authorities have failed and breached a servicemember's rights, but it rarely exercises that. And frankly neither is likely to happen unless a lot of members of Congress get very interested in this case and really turn up the heat.
But it should. As Langewiesche notes, the suicide rate among servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan was considerably higher, and the homicide rate strikingly lower (there were only five military prosecutions for murder in those theaters) than the corresponding domestic civilian population during those two conflicts. It's easier to stage a killing to look like a suicide in a combat zone, and it's all too likely that Brown and Johnson are not the only ones to have met this end while their real killers remain at large.
My Take
Suicide, as Langewiesche concedes, is still not off the table of possibility. Yes, Brown seemed to be thinking more about his future in the days before his death, at one point stopping by the chaplain's office and asking what he might need to do to qualify as his assistant. But we know from too many stories here that that's no guarantee a person isn't contemplating suicide. Maybe it's entirely possible that the situation he'd described to his mother was worsening and he saw the muzzle of his M4 (EDIT: another correction, thanks for pointing it out) as the only way out left.
Leaving aside those questions, though, the absence of the bullet from the third floor of the Gun Tower is still problematic if, indeed, Brown did shoot himself. The only way this might make sense is if there was someone else in the room when he pulled the trigger, someone who indeed would not want it known that they were there for whatever reason. But that still begs the question of why this person might want to take the bullet—there would have been no reason for him to have given Brown one, not where Brown already had a fully-loaded M4. And would fingerprints on a bullet survive its firing? (Of course, that doesn't have to be the possibility; it would just need for this person to think this a possibility).
I think the murder scenario makes more sense. We know, because I assume Evans is telling the truth, of Brown's reluctant involvement in drug trafficking at Asadabad. We know that he feared his sergeant, doubtless Torres, would harm him rather than let him leave what, if Brown was being truthful with his mother, a very important link in the Pakistani Valium pipeline.
Langewiesche suggests that Brown was a perfect storm of problems for Torres, if indeed Torres was running a drug ring. He wanted out. He probably knew a lot about the operation. And he got high on his own supply a lot (might that even have been his reward for smuggling the Valium into the FOB?) I can also add that Torres also, as Brown's commander, had to know about Brown's service record. With two AWOLs, Brown, if caught in some way connected to the drug trafficking, would have had every incentive to sing as much as he could. And that could have brought down a lot more people than just one sergeant ...
So, as Langewiesche posits, maybe Brown showing up higher than a U-2 for Gun Tower duty that morning was a problem in more than just the usual way that it would be for a soldier in a potentially hostile area. Maybe Cianfrocco and Flannery knew that if he were removed from the tower in that condition and relieved, he would not be sent back to his quarters but to the base hospital. There his condition would be accurately diagnosed, his intoxication discovered through a blood test ... which would lead to a search of his quarters, likely to find even more incriminating evidence, after which CID would likely want to come and talk to Brown. And what he could have told them ...
No, someone (probably Torres) figured. Have someone go in there, shoot him and make it look like suicide, then let someone else entirely innocent of this find the body and clean up before CID gets here, because it'll take them a couple of hours at least. I can imagine Cianfrocco and Flannery as accessories after the fact at least in this scenario, but probably not the actual shooter(s).
I'm sure readers with military experience, particularly in Afghanistan, may be able to add something in comments. Once again I recommend reading Langewiesche's Vanity Fair article as well as these posts.
On the morning of May 11, 2008, Pvt. Matthew Brown appeared to have shot himself shortly after starting guard duty in a tall tower at U.S. Army FOB Asadabad, a detention center in Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. An Army CID investigation discovers links to Valium smuggling and extensive drug use at the base, but that eventually leads nowhere except to changes in soldiers' sleeping arrangements.
he investigation does, however, find evidence that the death may have been a murder and not a suicide, primarily contradictory witness statements that seem to point to several soldiers at the base, including Brown's sergeant, whom he had two weeks earlier said was running a drug ring that he had gotten Brown to handle a key part of the smuggling for. He told his mother he was in fear for his life from this man and was not sure he'd come back home alive.
However, investigators don't follow up on their many leads and the death is ruled a suicide within days, even as further contradictory evidence emerges and one statement is apparently lost. Brown's mother isn't convinced, as her FOIA requests turn up incomplete records that seem to contradict each other and eventually gets a lawyer who has worked on war-crimes prosecutions to look at the case. His work eventually develops even more evidence that this was not a suicide, and CID briefly reopens the case but hasn't said what that found.
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2023.05.10 05:01 lindsay812 Please help me understand how to address my knee problem

What happened: On 4/24 I was walking down the stairs in my house, there was a snapping sensation in my knee. I tried to just breathe through it as I regularly have snapping and cracking in my knee and the acute pain passes quickly. This time was different, I couldn’t bear weight and the pain took my breath away. I elevated and iced it for hours but that night was still in a lot of pain, struggled to weight bear and it kept getting stuck and would be excruciating pain to extend or flex. It felt unstable and would give out (always hyperextension) then the pain would spike again. I went to an orthopedic urgent care. A pointless trip; I was dismissed, told that there was “nothing” in the area I felt pain, it’d be “silly” to put me in a brace and given a slip for an MRI if my pain didn’t go away in a few days. The pain didn’t and hasn’t gone away. I did the MRI. The length and extent of problems on the MRI report has floored me.
Here is the MRI report: FINDINGS: Cruciate ligaments: ACL: Intact. PCL: Intact. Collateral ligaments and popliteus tendon: MCL: Intact. LCL complex: Intact. Popliteus tendon: Intact. Extensor mechanism and Hoffa's fat pad: Distal quadriceps tendon: Intact. Patellar tendon: Mild tendinopathy. Intact. Retinacula: Medial retinaculum is partially attenuated, consistent with chronic injury. Hoffa's fat pad: Mild edema superolateral aspect. Patellar tilt or dislocation: None. Medial meniscus: Mild degeneration. Peripheral fraying posterior horn. Lateral meniscus: Underlying degeneration. Fraying along the undersurface of the posterior horn. Fraying along the periphery and superior articular surface of the anterior horn. Articular cartilage and related osseous findings: Mild cartilage thinning and irregularity throughout the medial compartment. Full-thickness cartilage defects central lateral femoral condyle with mild subchondral edema. Area of high-grade partial-thickness chondromalacia central and posterior lateral tibial plateau, with superimposed full- thickness cartilage defects. High-grade partial-thickness chondromalacia patella and central and medial trochlea, with superimposed small full- thickness cartilage defects. Bones: No fracture. No avascular necrosis. Soft tissues: Small knee effusion. Small complex Baker's cyst with internal septations and minimal synovitis.
IMPRESSION: 1. Meniscal degeneration, with fraying as detailed above. No discrete meniscal tear. 2. Full-thickness cartilage defect overlying the central lateral femoral condyle with mild subchondral marrow changes. 3. Tricompartmental osteoarthritis moderate in the medial and lateral compartment. 4. Small knee effusion. 5. Small and complex Baker's cyst.
My info: I’m a 37F.
Medications: Humira 40mg/14 days (Psoriasis & hidradenitis suppurativa) Naproxen (as needed for migraines), Imitrex (as needed for migraines) Allergies: Sulfa drugs (anaphylaxis)
(Pertinent?) Medical Hx: Psoriasis (guttate after a strep infection at age 12, plaque psoriasis since then). hidradenitis suppurativa (dx age 12). Migraines. ADHD. Celiac Disease (dx age 23). Hx eating disorders (recovered 6 years). No substance use. No smoking. No alcohol consumption (sober 8 years).
Surgical Hx: Multiple colonoscopies and endoscopies (celiac disease dx, gastritis, polyp removal, every 5 years due to hx. Most recent - 2021) 2005 - appendectomy 2006 - uterine polypectomy 9/2014 - Left flat foot reconstruction with calcaneal osteotomy. 12/2022 - radical hysterectomy with salpingoectomy. (Significant endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids)
Questions I have: 1. If this were your knee at age 37, what would you do? 2. What would the least invasive, pain reducing, joint preserving action or intervention? 3. When my knee would hurt at times (before this major time), it would be painful to touch; like even brushing fingers over or light touch… Is that chondromalacia pain? 4. The chondromalacia; I’ve read it is related to flat feet. My left knee hurts mildly at times and snaps some but no where near my right knee. Does left knee have less damage because of the flat foot reconstruction 9 years ago? 5. I met with my foot/ankle surgeon in April as I’m having pain in my right foot/ankle.There was a new calcification observed in X-ray in the area of pain. I was supposed to go for an mri of that when this happened and needed to take precedence. Could this possibly be related at all? 6. Why do you hypothesize I went from mild (at times moderate) regular pain that was functional for me to stepping down and now my joint acutely hurts severely, is unstable and locks? 7. Why is my knee like this? I was a career firefighter for 12 years (left 2019), ran some half marathons and did strongman competitions. Would any of those cause this damage? 8. I have multiple autoimmune conditions including celiac and psoriasis, how do I know if this arthritis is related? Should I look into that? 8. I have had consistent joint pain; specifically my hips bilaterally, knees bilaterally, right shoulder. It’s always been manageable but now this has me concerned that my pain tolerance is high and maybe i should have other aches looked at? Is all this maybe related? 9. How many opinions should I get? From what kinds of physicians / surgeons? 10. What are your thoughts on stem cell regeneration clinics?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I truly appreciate it! Please ask any questions you feel would help you to answer.
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2023.05.05 06:15 COMPUTER1313 Non-credible design Star Destroyer (Star Wars) vs "space version of Littoral Combat Ship or Kuznetsov" Leonidas Battleship (The Expanse)

Some might ask, "Isn't this is just a fictional universe vs fictional universe debate?". I would argue that the naval/air combat in Star Wars and The Expanse has two distinct different philosophies:
And now the question is how those different philosophies compare against each other. So I'm going to use one of the Expanse's worst combat ships.
The Expanse universe's Leonidas ship has many flaws that would handicap it in an engagement, and some of those flaws are realistic when you have a "design by committee" situation:
  • The design process probably makes the "Pentagon Wars" movie an extremely realistic documentary if the M2 Bradley was replaced with the Leo. Imagine all of the dysfunctions of military procurement, amplified by UN level bureaucracy/politics/corruption and massive industrial lobbying, put into the Leo. You know how the F-35's production facilities are scattered across more than two dozen states because every Congress member wanted to "bring home the bacon" and some countries are also involved with contributing to the F-35's production? Now imagine the Leo's production facilities are scattered across the entirety of Earth, and the ship's final assembly still has to be done on the Moon at the end.
  • Poor acceleration due to using unreliable engines that were already obsolete when the ship class first started construction 40 years before The Expanse's story, which means those engines are super old.
  • It has a large quantity of missile launchers and ammunition for them, but that is because it has a terrible targeting system that requires the ship to fire a greater quantity of missiles to guarantee a hit.
  • In closer range engagements, the outdated railguns have worse effective range than many of the other combat ships (slower projectiles means targeted enemy ships need to be closer range so that they can't dodge the inbound railgun rounds), and they can't be used while the engines are being powered. Which means if the Leo wants to use their railguns, they have to shut down their engines and drift in space.
  • It has a large quantity of close-in weapon system (CIWS) turrets that make it difficult even for Martian missile salvos to hit the Leo, but all of those CIWS added more mass to the Leo, worsening its already poor acceleration.
  • If the ship was a naval vessel, it would have been a rust bucket. But thankfully for it, steel doesn't rust in space. There's probably interior rust though.
  • The UN Navy's flagship had electrical wiring problems due to budget cuts causing skipped maintenance and indefinite postponing the retirement of aging ships, which probably means the other Leo ships have similar or worse maintenance problems:
  • Power outages on the flagship is so frequent that nobody suspected a thing when an officer intentionally caused an outage:
  • The only thing going for the Leo is its "jack of all trades, master of none" design allowing the ship to carry up to 1,200 marines and multiple dropships for boarding party actions. This will come in play later.
Now for the things that make the Star Destroyers somewhat non-credible even though the Empire spent massive sums of credits and resources on building up their massive fleet...
For long range engagements, the missile comparisons are drastic:
So how would a potential 1v1 engagement look like?
  • Leo sees the SD jumping into the solar system and rack dumps its missiles by the dozens at the SD, at distances of 5-7 digits kilometers. The SD might not even seen the inbound missiles until at a much closer distance.
  • Assuming that the Leo's targeting system malfunctions or has an outright power failure so most of the missiles completely go off target, the SD's CIWS somehow shoots down most of the remaining inbound missiles, and the ones that do hit the SD weren't the ones that had the extra spicy "crack the moon" nuclear payload, the engagement now moves into the thousands of kilometers range.
  • Leo turns off its engines and powers up its rail guns. The SD's maneuverability is comparable to a full speed Titanic trying to avoid hitting an iceberg, and thus the SD eats railgun rounds at well beyond 1,000 kilometers range. At some point the Leo has another malfunction with its electrical system or the railguns themselves, interrupting the railgun firing for some time.
  • SD sends out its strike spacecrafts. The Leo can use its few remaining torpedoes to set off nuclear explosions in the midst of the TIE fightebomber formations, and the Leo's captain chokes on their coffee (which only 10% of it is made with real coffee beans) in laughter when the surviving spacecrafts enter CIWS range and all get shredded. Even if a quarter of the Leo's CIWS were inoperable due to overdue maintenance or the electrical problems happening again. Turns out flying low speed, unarmored/unshielded spacecraft against CIWS turrets that were designed to intercept high speed/maneuverability missiles that often pull 2-3 digits of G-force to try to evade CIWS fire is a really non-credible idea. A video of what happens when two ships in the Expanse strafe each other with their CIWS:
  • SD gets within range to use its main cannons to start blasting at the stationary Leo, and the Leo (like other ships in the Expanse) have minimal armoring because there's no point trying to armor a ship to resist railgun rounds. At this point, the big question is how much is left of the SD to finally shoot the Leo that is still firing its railguns at now effectively point blank range. Especially if the Leo puts a few railgun rounds into the SD's obvious bridge structure that has giant windows.
What if the SD knows where the Leo is before it drops out of hyperspace, such as through the usage of recon drones?
  • SD drops out of hyperspace and right next to the Leo, instantly kicking off close quarters combat to deny the Leo's extreme range advantage.
  • The Leo still has the option to rack dump missiles anyways, especially since the SD's CIWS is s*** and the Leo's crew could probably launch the missiles with manual override if their targeting computers malfunction.
  • If the Leo's captain has balls of steel, they can disregard their railguns and instead ram the Leo into the SD to shatter the SD's shields and also tear giant holes into the SD's hull, then launch the dropships to deploy 1,200 marines for boarding action. Meanwhile the Leo's CIWS would be blazing away in a target rich environment (RIP for the bridge and its giant windows) until they run out of ammo or are destroyed. Any of the SD's crew members that aren't wearing vacuum suits are going to have a really bad, but brief day. I'll let others explore what combat would look like between Expanse's armored marines and Star War's stormtroopers inside of a ship that lost atmospheric pressure.
Extra fun: How the SD would fare against Mars and the Belters
  • Mars: SD dies even faster in a 1v1 fight unless it can close the distance for close quarters combat since the Martian fleet doesn't have their battleships haul 1,200 marines around.
  • Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile corporation's Protogen subsidiary: Amun-Ra stealth frigates laugh in yeeting missiles at the SD and never being seen by the SD's terrible sensors. Comparable to a mega corporation (e.g. a merger of Samsung, Mitsubishi and Amazon) fielding multiple operational Zumwalt class ships to go bully the Kuznetsov and Moskva. And then there's the Amun-Ra's sociopath super marines that had no issue boarding and overwhelming a much larger Marian dreadnought.
  • Belters: Pirate ships scatter like roaches and devour the merchant ships that are keeping the Empire's economy running, while the poor SD is burning out its hyperdrive jumping from system to system, trying to swat the few or lone pirate ships in each system. And those pirate ships will try their best to hide or pretend to be civilian ships. All because Tarkin got high off of spamming out the SDs and Super SDs instead of building light escorts and high quality strike spacecraft. Meanwhile an extremist group is applying stolen stealth paint to some asteroids and has courses plotted for Coruscant.
submitted by COMPUTER1313 to NonCredibleDefense [link] [comments]

2023.05.04 19:23 Leo_Hirtsche A soul's game? Yes. A game of souls. Likely. A proposed solution for the whole Elden Ring lore puzzle.

Part 2

Chapter 9: Outer gods

Every outer god is unique but they also have something in common. They share an idea or a concept of a life giving or taking process. And we also get an ingame hint to the concepts out of the Order as often there is the arcane status involved.
Gowry – “And to the resplendence of the Order of Rot. The cycle of decay and rebirth."
The easiest to get is the outer god of rot. Decay is a fundamental process that is quite easy to comprehend. The rotting process itself is a process of life giving. There are all types of bacteria and insects that grow on a decaying body, be it an animal or a plant. The animals born of this process are not quite the most human, they would be insects, and the plants coming out would be fungi or sponges. Fittingly worshippers of the ancient god of rot clad their self in mushrooms. Just look around Caelid and you get quite the idea. Rot itself is also a status effect scaling with arcane.
We get several hints that the word essence is mostly linked to a concept of soul. So, the essence of the god of rot seems to be still lingering in the lake of rot. But his body might be reborn into Malenia.
Bloodboon - Thrust arm into the body of the Formless Mother, then scatter the bloodflame to set the area ablaze. The mother of truth craves wounds. When Mohg stood before her, deep underground, his accursed blood erupted with fire, and besotted with the defilement that he was born into.
A quick remark on the dragons. The whole heart eating bloody soul consuming thing has its own seal. This is of blood, fittingly, but it is also formless. If something that just about souls is linked to the word formless, then maybe formless is a kind of hint to a soul only thing. We can apply this pretty directly onto the Mother of truth. We do not encounter hey physically, she is just around. Fittingly she seems only around in the underground, in the sewers and the underworld, as if she likes to avoid the soul sucking erdtree-sun-force.
As a short note, we do not know how birth giving looks like with the women in the lands between and to make it worse, remember that there is a literal amber egg. So, we might not be sure if there is any blood at all involved in an Erdtree birthing, I leave that up to your imagination.
The concept of the Mother of truth is pretty straight forward, it is motherhood through menstruation and conception. The conceptional weapon is that of the blood status. To alleviate that status you just have to consume an land octopus ovary.
Her concept may be even more motherly. As Mogh is described to get a new feeling when he met the outer god in the sewers. He is “besotted with the defilement that he was born into.” and a “devout love for the wretched mire that he was born into”. Together with the way he treats Miquella and his cocoon, that fittingly rests on huge pelvic bones, one could get the idea that he just developed instinctive motherly love. This could also explain why Marika seems to be so cruel to her children, real motherly love is not part of her Order.
Daedicar's Woe - Disturbing likeness of a woman whose skin was flayed. She smiles with a serene tenderness. It is said that this woman, named Daedicar, indulged in every form of adultery and wicked pleasure imaginable, giving birth to a myriad of grotesque children.
Godskin Swaddling Cloth - Sacred cloth of the Godskin Apostles, made from supple skin sewn together. The Gloam-Eyed Queen cradles newborn apostles swaddled in this cloth. Soon they will grow to become the death of the gods.
If we go along with the assumption that an empyrean is part of an outer god reborn, then let us imagine how the empyrean born from the body of the Mother of truth would be. A woman of course with an overwhelming urge for natural reproduction but also with a great amount of motherly love for her children. We find these two concepts well described with Daedicar and the Gloam eyed queen, which most likely are the same person.
As the Gloam eyed queen is an empyrean of an older generation, who, as I assume, was an opposing empyrean to Marika, the so called godhunt becomes a bit more concrete. In a battle over who is the next god, with the opponents being reborn gods themselves, then one would have the need to hunt these gods. Maybe even the names hint us, as Daedicar and Marika have a similar ring to them.
This might seem unfitting for many as they connect the GEQ to death. But all she does is a weapon that harbors it. So, let us look into Hewg a bit. Marika is much but she is not dump or cruel for no reason. When she wishes for Hewg to forge a weapon capable of slaying a god, it means she is in some way certain, that he can to this. And at one point in the past, she was very angry at him which leads to him begging for her forgiveness for something he has done. I assume he forged the God-slayer sword for the GEQ an with “the sheer terror of her” he most likely refers to her too.
Fire Blossom - A half-ashen and smoldering flower that blooms on the mountaintops of the Giants. Fertilized by the sparks from the forge at the peak where burns the flame of ruin.
The Fell god is not specially called an outer god himself in the game. But step by step. Till now we only looked at him because of his curse. But there is much more two him. His power of the flame, the flame of ruin atop the mountains inside the forge. Fire of course is a destructive power, but there is more to it. Fire is also the basis for ash and ash is a fertilizer of high potency. That is with woods that burn down, bushland alike, or the ash from volcanos that gives life to entire regions. The power of the Fell god is the destructive power of fire that directly leads to the possibility of new life.
If there would be worshippers of this god or better if there were once worshippers of that god, how would they handle their dead bodies. They would burn them most likely in a kind of kiln. We have quite a lot of lore fitting to that very process. It is the deathbirds and the ghostflame. And with the twinbird shield we learn of an associated outer god. But as ghostflame is cold, there I still something off that has to be discovered.

Chapter 10: Great beasts

As we search for a way to get a kind of order into the powers and gods and all that, there is another thing to explore. It is the beast that seem to be associated with the gods and their traits.
Scorpion's Stinger - Dagger fashioned from a great scorpion's tail, glistening with scarlet rot. A ceremonial tool used by heretics, crafted from the relic of a sealed outer god.
We have to be somewhat carefull with the word relic. It is used pretty often even to refer body parts of beings that are of a deity-likeness without being of a real god. For example, the Ancient Dragonbolt Pot refers to all gravel stones as relics, and we might agree that not all ancient dragons are gods.
But for the stinger, we can be sure that there was a kind of great scorpion. Considering the size of the stinger in proportion to a real scorpion, this great scorpion would be surprisingly big, along in league with the giant ants. As it is called a relic this most likely indicates a special position alongside the god of rot.
Serpent-God's Curved Sword - Curved sword fashioned in the image of an ancient serpent deity and tool of a forgotten religion practiced on Mt. Gelmir.
Serpent-Hunter - Thought to have been used to hunt an immortal great serpent in the distant past, it manifests a long blade of light when facing such a creature.
As with the concept of arcane leading us to the concepts of outer gods we may find another candidate. And that is poison. Poison is strongly linked to rot, but basically it is just the opposite. Rot is a life-giving aspect and poison is a life-threatening concept. The best way to describe that does an item for us: “Those who dwell within poison know rot all too well. The death that begets life, that comes to all equally. That is to say: it is the cycle of rebirth put into practice.”
We have no direct link to a god of poison, but with we have a link to a fitting great beast. As poison is the weapon of snakes, that we find for example in items like the serpents bow, the great beast of this god might be the great serpent. But where to find the god? We learn a very particular thing about that great serpent, that is his longing for devouring even demigods. So why not consider: The very god of poison was devoured by his own great beast, body and soul. That’s how the serpent became immortal in the first place, and this may also be why it is called blasphemous, killing of his own god, becoming the one worshipped instead, the god-serpent.
Twinbird Kite Shield - The twinbird is said to be the envoy of an outer god, and mother of the Deathbirds.
Poison and rot are opposing but also alike. And in case of status effects, they even share they representative symbolic. Let’s apply this logic on bloodloss. From the symbol the linked aspect is frostbite. Can this add up? Bloodloss is linked to the Mother of truth and her concept is that of natural birth-giving. So, the opposing concept would be a natural dead at the end of a life. And at the end of the life a body gets cold. At the beginning of a natural life there is the warmth inside the womb. To alleviate frostbite buildup we use the warmth-giving effect by consuming grab eggs which were housed inside the mothers warm body.
Natural dead is cold, and therefore the ghostflame is cold. Interestingly cold ghostflame is kind of a natural occurrence in the lands between. As we learn from the Fallen hawks burning bones is enough to get it. And as a side effect doing this, it curses you to dwell underground, so most likely doing this enrages the wielder of the erdtree-sun-power and you become a forced inhabitant of the eternal night.
This adds up to two kinds of flame. A hot one for burning trees and plants, and a cold one for burning humans. Fittingly the Twinbird has two heads and its shield is spitted into the colors red and blue.
And to make this even wilder, think of all the twins we encounter in the game. So, like the Twinbird the Fell god itself may also be a twin. Twins of opposing aspects, hot and cold. As Fell does also mean Mountain, it would link them to two mountains, one mountain of burning fire and another of blistering could.
So, with the Fell god we get two bodies, a body of coldness and a body of heat. If these are reborn, how would they be. Like twins probably, looking surprisingly alike. The one harbors a gift for the coldness and maybe even for the handling of human spirits. The other would harbor a power to burn down plants, trees especially. I assume this to be Ranni and Melina. And for timeline reason, I don’t suspect them to be born together as twins, they just originated from twins.

Chapter 11: Trees

Does a Tree have a soul? If we look through the mountaintops of the giants, we see a lot of spirit like trees, so in a sense we could argue yes. But beside this we get no hint to that concept, of course with one big exception and that is the Erdtree. From the established vocabulary we get direct lead, this is the Erdtree seal and the Golden order seal. Both are described as formless, which hint to the concept of a soul-only thing. So, the current Erdtree seems to be just a soul. Fittingly the seeds that this tree send out lead to the growth of a so-called illusionary tree.
But this was not always the case. In the age of plenty the tree was pretty much a real tree, that seemingly withered at some point and this physical tree was then burnt down as the Kindling maiden throwed herself into the flames of the Forge of the giants. As Melinas soul survives this sacrifice so does the Erdtree, both becoming soul-beings. And for burning down the Erdtree-soul her soul has to sacrifice again. As Melina is a demigod and the first burning occurred during an intact Eldenring with the rune of death removed, she was immortal at that time. The question remains, if this turn of events was planned that way or if the survival of the souls of Melina and the Erdtree were a kind of accident.
For the Golden seeds we know that the shattering was the event that triggered them. The Minor Erdtrees on the other hand seem to be older and already grew from the withered complete Erdtree before the first burning. As we learn from the image of the sacramental bud one would not necessarily need a seed, a bud and a lot of jar-loads would be enough to let them grow.
Enia and Shabiri are vey specific about the specialty of the needed kindling, as burning down the Erdtree “is no domain of mere humans”,a special kindling is required” and our “ascendency requires her sacrifice, whether she wishes it or not.” So, thinking back Melinas body is the reborn Fell gods body. And from Malenia we know a soul adopts the specialty of the body. So, Melinas soul also is able to harm the Erdtree.
The interesting part in that perspective is not Melina, but the Flame of frenzy that we inherit from the Three fingers making us the Lord of the flame of frenzy. As we inherit it, we also get a seal specifically for us as the lord, and that seal is formless, hinting again to a soul-only process. So, most likely, what we got from the Three fingers, down there in the “tomb of an ancient god”, is the soul of the outer god itself, or at least a part of it, and this soul then burns down the Erdtree-soul.
But as Melina is this special, as with her Fell-god connection she is the very same as the flame of the forge herself, what does that tell us about the God of the Frenzied flame. How can he be alike?

Chapter 12: Stars

Telescope - During the age of the Erdtree, Carian astrology withered on the vine. The fate once writ in the night skies had been fettered by the Golden Order.
What is fate? How can we comprehend it? As this topic can get pretty philosophical let us reduce it to the practical aspect. The Erdtree made a specific fate disappear, that of the night sky. So, the Erdtree does something, that before was in a way done by or linked to the night sky.
The Erdtree of the present is able to suck in and give back souls. It is a cycle of rebirth that is controlled trough the master of the tree. But there was a time before the Erdtree, and in this time there also was death and birth, how were souls handled in that time period? A hint may be the very first inaction of the Erdtree, a stream of gold shouting out little bolts of gold. If these is the way soul distribution of the Erdtree was handled, than maybe the Elden stars are not that different from the original soul distribution system.
The answer that comes to mind with this is pretty straight forward. Stars are souls, or spirit. In the time before the Erdtree a spirit went up into heaven and became a star, and if it was reborn, it came back. If you are able to comprehend which soul just came back and was reborn, and you know how that person was in his previous life, you would get a pretty good idea of how his new life will become. And that is the very fate, that could be read, a prediction based on the soul.
If stars are souls, so is glinstone. And with Sellens dialog about glinstone she becomes a bit more specific: “Glintstone is the amber of the cosmos, golden amber contains the remnants of ancient life and houses its vitality, while Glintstone contains residual life. And thus, the vitality of the stars. It should not be forgotten that glintstone sorcery is the study of the stars and the life therin.“ If it is spirits that become stars, then its likely the soul together with the mind. The life therein is like the power of though, memories and feelings. In a way I think the soul, mind and body definition is maybe a bit too simple, ancient cultures like the Egyptians in their understanding of the soul split it up to up to eight parts, who knows how deep the thoughts of the developers went with this. But three parts should be enough for us to comprehend it.
When a soul becomes a star and vice versa in real world mythology then there typically is a flash of light involved. We see this concept again in the starlight shards. And with this item we engage the ancient group, that is closest linked to the topic, the Nox. And with the starlight shard and the things we learn about puppet making we see the astonishing thing they were capable of. Taking the traces of a wandering spirit to make a draught out of it, with which one could force a person into a permanent spirit like slave.
And then a quick look into Astel who is “formed of a many-colored star debris” telling us that Astel is basically a mixture of spirit debris. As a spirit bears the likeness of the person he was, at least to a degree, we can see that Astels skull just shows us that part of him is the fracture of a soul of a giant like being. Astel is mighty, but is he particular evil? We encounter him rather isolated. He seems not be a destroyer perse. So, the destruction of the eternal city maybe was linked to grudge against the inhabitants. Spirit debris is angry against somebody, why could that be? We see in his punishment for his target, what he wanted to achieve. As he took away their night sky, he blocked their entry point in manipulating spirits.

Chapter 13: Moons

Freezing Mist - The snowy crone taught the young Ranni to fear the dark moon as she imparted her cold sorcery.
Ranni's Dark - This moon was encountered by a young Ranni, led by the hand of her mother, Rennala. What she beheld was cold, dark and veiled in occult mystery.
Stars are souls, then what are moons. If a star is a normal soul, then how much more is the moon. So, the theory is, a moon is the soul of a god or more specifically, an outer god. Ranni is the reborn body of the Fell gods ice twin and if we look back, we did not declare where his soul went. So, with Rannis natural affection the connection becomes obvious, that the dark moon is his soul. Moon sorcery is the strongest there is as it cancels out all other sorcery. What does the power of glinstone, that of merely normal souls held against the power of a godly soul.
But there are two more moons, the full moon and the black moon. At this point we have to get a little astronomical. Because really pitch black does a moon only get during an eclipse. We are also not told, that the black moon was destroyed, just that it was lost. For an eclipse to occur one would need a new moon, and the opposite of this would be the full moon. So, I think, the black moon might be the full moon during an eclipse. But as this state came to an end, it went basically into the opposite and became a full moon. I would even go as far as saying it was originally a full moon, but it was forced into the eclipse black moon.
So we are back at the Nox, the masters of spirit manipulation. I do not think of the Nox are aliens, in a way at some time in history they were just one group of people, that worshipped their own god. Just like the worshippers of the God of rot, or the Fire giants, or the Zamor, that most likely worshipped the Fell gods cold twin. With the looks of the Fingerslayer blade and the Relic sword we also get an idea, what happened to that god of the Nox.
And this was a turning point in the history. The Nox killed and deformed the body of their god, enslaved the soul to move before the sun, calling forth an eternal night. To make this even worse, the most gods of that time seem to be rather gigantic, as we see from the pelvic bone that may be that of the Mother of truth or the Fell gods giant face. The Fingerslayer blade is rather small in comparison to the relic sword, so is its origin a much smaller body than that of Radagon. Did the Nox force their gods body to be reborn and killed it as a child? And if this isn’t enough to enrage the Greater will, the Nox most likely also slayed some gods’ fingers.
But the Greater will did act and it punished the Nox, freeing the soul of the god and making him the full moon again. And this full moon got himself an earthly representant with Rennala, who in that regard now wields the power of a god and therefor was able to hold against the attack of Marikas / Radagons forces. Until finally “The Order of the Erdtree and the fate of the moon were conjoined, and all the wounds of war forgiven.“

Chapter 14: Ancient gods

There was a time in the lands between, before the Nox went out of their way to become greedy, when there were several gods which different associations, which had believers and followers, and most likely their own share of land.
  1. The God of rot, whose soul was sealed underground, whose body was reborn into Malenia.
  2. The God of poison, who got swallowed by his great serpent.
  3. The Fell god, whose soul is raging as a curse, whose body was reborn into Melina.
  4. The Fell gods cold twin, whose soul is the dark moon, whose body was reborn into Ranni.
  5. The Mother of truth, whose soul is lurking underground, whose body was reborn into DaedicaGEQ.
  6. The God of night, whose soul is the full moon, whose body became the Fingerslayer blade.
Each of these six gods has their own devine tower and his own land. The Fell gods original home was the raging volcano at Mt. Gelmir but at some point, he was driven away by the Serpent. The Fell gods twin homeland was the freezing mountaintops. The Mother of truth is right now under Caelid and in this devine tower we find the GEQs sword, so this seems to be her land, fittingly here is the home of Greyoll, mother of all dragons, hinting us that Greyoll may be the Great beast of the Mother of truth. The God of rot is banished under Liurnia, so this seems to be his land. The heart of the realm was always Lyndell and the deeproot depth ruins are the biggest eternal city ruins, therefor the Altus plateau seems to be the homeland of the God of night. This leaves Limgrave for the God of poision.
PS-Interlude: After re-reading the post and re-thinking it I came to the conclusion, that it is unlikely that the Great serpent swallowed body and soul of the God of poison, the resulting God-serpent would be way to mighty and it doesn’t seem to have enough impact on the lore for that. I’ve got no really good idea where it went, but I think maybe it is heavily fractured and now housing the countless Miranda flowers of the land. Another idea may be Astel. As the dragonfly is associated with poison and Astel has some likeness to a dragonfly, he could also be a part of that fractured soul.

Chapter 15: The Creator

Remembrance of the Dragonlord - The Dragonlord whose seat lies at the heart of the storm beyond time is said to have been Elden Lord in the age before the Erdtree. Once his god was fled, the lord continued to await its return.
So, we are left with one last god. This is the Creator god, the god of the ancient Dragons. This Creator maybe was there even before the six gods and it seems fitting that he was their creator or fathemother too. As the very first life created by him fitting with real world mystics are the clay men, his depiction is most likely that bearded man found all around the underground, mostly called the Dynast or Elden John.
This god is likely to be the leader of the six other gods. As we see in the stales in Soifra river, seven persons sitting in their arches, with the one in the middle highlighted with a bigger arch. Therefor what we see on these stales are stories about the ancient gods in a time where these still were somewhat united. Funny though on those pictures is also, that if these depicted were most likely giants, the scale on the stale is just of leading us astray.
We are told that the god of the dragons fled the lands between. This word “fled” is used also by Jerren as he finds Sellens empty body. So, I assume, it is only his soul that left the lands. We don’t know exactly why he left, but we know what he left behind, the Eldenring. This Eldenring is depicted in Farum Azula and after he was gone, someone added a statue showing us, what became of him. Or to be more precise, what became of his body, a girl. It was reborn into another empyrean: Marika.
And here we have to return to the Fell god. As Marika is not just Marika, but there is more to her, or more in her. Like with dragon communion or Malenia we can see that a soul forms or reshapes the body. I assume Rhadagon is at least a big part of the Fell gods soul, that Marika inherited as she slayed him. Be it just a curse infiltrating her or a purposely done thing is up to debate. But Marika and Rhadagon do not seem to follow same goals, and in the later timeline we barley hear of Marika doing things, it is mostly Rhadagon. So, she seems also somewhat overpowered by his godly soul in comparison to her rather normal soul in just a godly body.
But back to the Creator god. If he is the creatofathemother of the six gods then he has to be representative for all of their concepts. And this is not just creation but also destruction and circles of these forces, he was not only order, he was also chaos. And this might lead us back to the tomb of an ancient god. A grave build right next to the great tree root system and the foot of the Erdtree. Where part of a mighty soul is bound into the three fingers. This is why we can burn down the Erdtree soul, because we inherit a part of the creator gods’ soul.
And what became of the other half of his soul, the one that fled the lands?
Amber Starlight - What remains of a passing flash of starlight. If the stars command our fates, then amber-hued stars must command the fates of the gods.
If a starlight shard represents the travel of a soul, then what would an amber starlight tell us? Maybe a gods’ soul that returned to the lands between. And right next to this we find a statue of the last remaining empyrean, that is Miquella. I assume, he is the reborn half soul of the Creator god.
As the creator god is not in charge of the order himself right now, his concepts are linked to arcane. The wild and wicked chaos half of his soul is the madness of the Flame of frenzy, the smoothing and calm part of his soul is the sleep status of Miquella.
Being born a god’s soul in a normal body seems to lead to Miquellas curse, as he is a mighty soul bound in a body that is not a fitting vessel for it, cursing him to be not be able to grow. Or maybe it is the missing chaos half, as with becoming adolescent, there is also something destroyed for something new to evolve.
But even with his curse, beware Malenias words: “My brother will keep his promise. He possesses the wisdom, the allure, of a god – he is the most fearsome Empyrean of all.”

Chapter 16: Lords

We looked into stats several times to find indications for the lore. As we are practically done with Arcane for the influences of Outer gods that currently reside in the lands between, we can look into Intelligence next. It seems this stat is linked to the forces that currently are up above the lands. It is the spirits of the people, that is glinstone sorcery, it is carian sorcery linked to Rennala and the soul of the God of Night and is the sorcery connected to the soul of the Fell gods freezing twin. So, let’s look into Faith.
It seems Faith is connected to aspects that the Order does allow and somewhat include. Forces that are worshipped and where this worship is accepted and adapted into the Order. This is obviously the holy of the Order itself and if Radagon is indeed partwise the soul of the Fell god, it is also fire, worshipped through the Fire Monks. But what about lightning, how is that part of the Order, how was the Order willing or even forced to let it be worshipped by the ancient dragon cult?
Bolt of Gransax - A great ancient dragon, Gransax once rained calamity upon the Royal Capital - the only time in historical record that Leyndell's walls have fallen. This marked the dawn of the war against dragons.
Death Lightning - It is said that this golden lightning was wielded by Godwyn, who befriended Fortissax.
There is this really huge ancient dragon in Lyndell, and as the name hints us, maybe he also is a Great beast. Then who is his god. Let’s assume the following. As the soul of the Creator god split, so did the soul of his Great beast. And as the hand of the the Creator god was split, so was the body of his Great beast. And because of this process the soul of Placidusax left his body and was torn into two halves, leaving behind a corpse.
The Order part was reborn into Grandsax. And some day he went to the reborn body of his half-god: Marika. For why I do not intend to guess. But as he engaged the Erdtree he was hit with the erdtrees greatest weapon, soul-sucking erdtree-sun-light. This is how we find him, barley damaging the city, looking straight up to the Erdtree leaving behind his stone-flesh. And after this event a war dawned, led by Godwyn.
A multiple birth is not that common for a human, but it nothing special for a reptile. Godwyn became able to wield the lightning himself, and Godrick is able to extend his soul into the corpse of a dragon. So, this is the theory, Grandsax soul became reborn into the hole Golden linage.
That leaves us with the other half of Placidusax soul, the chaos half that still adores the chaos part of the Creator god and strives for the same goals. I assume this is Shabiri, the most reviled man in history.
With this idea the other demigods, these that are not empyrean, become more defined. Marika herself said this, become a god or a lord.
The first demigod that comes to mind is Morgoth, who has a tail, that bears some strong resemblance to that of a scorpion. And his brother Mogh grows big wings in Phase 2 of his fight, likely these of the twinbird. Fittingly it is Mogh that kind of upgrades the Mother of truths blood into blood-flame.
Then there is Rykard. The serpent-hunter seems to hint us that the God-serpent was slayed somewhere in the past. So Rykard is the reborn Great serpent and his remembrance reads along “Rykard took the form of a giant serpent that he might devour, grow, and live eternally.”
With Godwyns talent for lightning we can likely get an idea for Rhadan. He is able to command the stars, but like Godwyn with Fortisax, Rhadan needed a teacher first. We are still missing a Great beast for the God of night, but it may be likely that Rennala, as the servant of the God of nights soul, would give the soul of his beast to her son, assuming she has any control over this.
If the God of nights home domain was the Altus plateau and we look as deep into the past as possible, then the oldest building bearing symbolic is the Roundtable hold. And here we find the crest of a lion. So maybe the Great beast of the God of night was a lion. And if the Great beast of a god is the supposed lord of him or her, then Rhadan who went to Sellia is indeed the Nox’s long-awaited Lord of the night.
All these deaths of the gods and beast happened far in the past at a time where destined death was still a normal thing. In the time of the erdtree destined death became pretty extraordinary. But then it hit Godwyn, killing of his soul. But wait, it is “just” destined death, so his soul is not gone. It is available again.
If the soul of the Order half of the creator god is returned into Miquella, then it would make sense to send back the soul of the Order half of the Great beast of the creator god, as this would be Miquellas lord. Miquella seems to be aware of this, being in true despair about the death of Godwyn. So, Miquella has all reason to leave his body behind becoming a spirit, and searching for the soul of his lord, sending it back to the lands between. And I think he succeeded: right here we are, the player.
And this is the end of this story about the bodies and souls of the inhabitants and their gods and their great beasts and gods. And it might get us a picture, that all that happened in the lands between is likely linked to the bodies and souls of the gods and their game over power and superiority.
I hope you enjoyed.
P.S. I am husband, father and busy worker. This text took me over two weeks to finish in the spare time I have left. As I have no idea about video making, maybe I would ask for a favor: That some talented YTer makes this theory in a video filling it up with imagery and sound of this great game to fully deliver its wonderful lore.
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2023.04.29 07:13 InsideWriter1074 The Greatest Exercises for Abs

No mystery getting an apparent six-pack is a shared objective for some exercise center participants. No matter what, mainstream society frequently approaches a destroyed arrangement of stomach muscles as the exemplification of wellness.
In this vein, phrases like "tightening up" or "burning tummy fat" are much of the time the one-line pitches for the most recent exercise or diet craze.
While there's nothing intrinsically amiss with laying out stylishly based wellness objectives, preparing for serious areas of strength for an and created six-pack goes past appearances. The equivalent can be said for eating a solid, entire food varieties diet.
Having serious areas of strength for a thoroughly prepared center permits you to securely balance out your spine and middle during practical developments, eventually adding to a better lower back, diminished hazard of injury during action, and in general superior wellbeing and prosperity.
When combined with sound procedures for decreasing muscle to fat ratio, you can uncover your more grounded, characterized six-pack and have those sought after apparent abs.
Notwithstanding, comprehend that preparing your six-pack as a part of serious areas of strength for an and bringing your muscle versus fat levels low enough for noticeable abs are two separate objectives — and they ought to be considered such.
This article separates all that you want to be familiar with well defined abs, including what they are, what elements influence stomach improvement, how to contemplate abdominal muscle related objectives, and a couple of ways to construct areas of strength for a, center.
At last, you'll get familiar with a couple of in general methodologies that might assist with uncovering your well deserved super strong abs.

What makes up the six-pack?

The expression "six-pack'" ordinarily alludes to the rectus abdominis muscle.
This long, somewhat restricted muscle runs from your sternum to your pubic bone and is answerable for progressively flexing your spine forward.
Studies have shown, however, that this muscle isn't really viable as a stabilizer of the spine.
The moniker "six-pack" comes from its appearance of noticeable lines of 4-8 unmistakable solid portions that you can see on people with moderately low muscle to fat ratio.
Albeit numerous extra significant muscles involve your center, the rectus abdominis is the most shallow one.
Thusly, the muscle gives etched abs their particular appearance. Similarly, on the grounds that it's the peripheral layer of abdominal muscle, it doesn't do a lot of concerning security of the spinal section.

What makes the six-pack noticeable?

The strength and presence of your six-pack are impacted by various elements.
As far as having areas of strength for an abdominis, routinely preparing this muscle straightforwardly through center activities can assist your six-load with being more viable at moving your spine.

Subcutaneous stomach fat

The greatest fundamental variable with respect to six-pack permeability is how much subcutaneous muscle-to-fat ratio you store around your stomach.
It's vital to realize that not having apparent super strong abs doesn't mean your center is feeble, or even that you are conveying overabundance weight.
By and large, noticeable well-defined abs require a muscle versus fat ratio much lower than that required for general medical advantages.
One review recommended that an ordinary reach for the muscle-to-fat ratio is 17.6-25.3% in guys and 28.8-35.7% in females.
While there's no general muscle versus-fat ratio at which six-packs become apparent, regular ballpark ranges are 10-12% muscle-to-fat ratio for men and 16-20% muscle versus fat for ladies.
These numbers are well beneath those required for ideal general well-being and wellness notwithstanding the famous relationship between apparent abs and ideal wellness.
Furthermore, a new Harvard Wellbeing article expressed that overabundance instinctive fat, which is found further in your mid-region and encompasses your organs, is definitely more hazardous to your wellbeing than overabundance subcutaneous fat, which lies simply under your skin and bays your muscles from an external perspective.
More prominent degrees of instinctive fat may not influence the perceivability of your six-pack similarly as subcutaneous fat, regardless of the way that overabundance instinctive fat is a more prominent wellbeing concern.

Hereditary qualities

Your hereditary qualities likewise assume a major part in where you store muscle-to-fat ratio, which enormously impacts the particular muscle versus-fat ratio at which your abs will be noticeable. Assuming that you will quite often store more fat in your hips, your abs will be noticeable at higher muscle-to-fat ratios as well as the other way around.
Way of life factors, for example, rest and feelings of anxiety, likewise influence fat increases, which will influence the permeability of your abs.
For instance, one investigation discovered that consistently dozing for less than 7 hours was related to more prominent paces of heftiness and weight gain.
Recommended purposes behind this incorporate lack of sleep's adverse consequences on ghrelin, leptin, and insulin, which are key chemicals for directing appetite and fat stockpiling in the body.
Another investigation discovered that higher feelings of anxiety, as reflected by more prominent glucocorticoid action, were likewise connected with expanded paces of stoutness.
Past the above factors, an excess calorie admission will ordinarily prompt fat increases over the long haul, which will diminish the permeability of your six-pack — free of some other elements.

Ought to having super strong abs be my objective in center preparation?

While it's alright to take a stab at stylish wellness objectives like having noticeable abs, truly your center and abs assume a substantially more significant part than simply being ideal to check out.
The rectus abdominis is only one of many muscles in the purported center, which is a progression of muscles that range the hips to the thoracic spine and incorporate shallow and profound layers, as well as various muscles along the front, side, and back of your lower middle.
All in all, the center muscles settle the spine and permit it to curve and bend as expected for utilitarian exercises.
The greatest advantages of center preparation don't have anything to do with apparent abs. Moreover, the abs are only one of many center muscles you ought to focus in your daily practice.
Extra center muscles that assume a fundamental part include:
cross over abdominis
pelvic floor
interior and outer obliques
quadratus lumborum
A huge collection of proof backings center preparation for various superior results across various populaces.
For instance, a new report found that a month of center strength preparing further developed execution on unexpected bother undertakings, which connect to your capacity to get yourself and stand upstanding when you're going to fall over (8Trusted Source).
Concerning execution, the extra examination found that an 8-week center preparation program worked on static equilibrium, center perseverance, and running economy in school running competitors.
At last, one concentrated on center preparation and low back torment and found that all center schedules concentrated on better lower back torment. However, schedules that designated the more deeply centered muscles, for example, the cross-over abdominis and multifidus, meaningfully affected lower back torment.
Important preparation the center might assist build with seriously muscling mass around there, which will add more form to your six-pack and possibly permit it to be noticeable at marginally higher muscle-to-fat ratio levels.
Nonetheless, you will in any case have to have generally low muscle versus fat for this impact to happen, and the primary motivations to prepare the center have more to do with execution and medical advantages as opposed to stylish appearances.
Ways to construct solid, practical abs (and perhaps getting a six-pack simultaneously)
You know the significance and advantages of center preparation, you realize noticeable abs require low muscle to fat ratio, and you're prepared to begin dealing with your center.
The initial step is planning a decent, extensive schedule that you will perform 2-3 times each week.
Complete center preparation doesn't need to be confounded, yet it ought to incorporate activities that happen in all planes of movement, as well as static and development based activities to prepare both solidness and movement in your center muscles.
Without getting too stalled in practice science, the three planes of movement are:
sagittal plane (forward and in reverse developments)
front-facing plane (side to side developments)
cross over plane (contorting or rotational developments)
Static preparation in each plane includes opposing against a power pushing in the given plane of movement and attempting to remain still and keep the load from moving you.
The weight could be your own body, like in a board, or an outside weight, for example, opposing the draw of a flexible band.
Development based practices include moving the obstruction through a full scope of movement in the given plane. For instance, Russian turns, situps, or back expansions.
To plan a center daily schedule, pick a static and dynamic practice in each plane of movement. Perform 3 arrangements of static holds and afterward 3 arrangements of 12 reiterations for the development work out. This aggregates 6 activities for each exercise.

Methodologies for uncovering your abs

It's alright on the off chance that your objectives for center preparation do exclude a noticeable six-pack. However, on the off chance that they do, coming up next are a couple of tips to assist you with seeing noticeable abs. While there's nobody size-fits-all strategy for uncovering abs, a few standards can assist you with decreasing muscle to fat ratio over the long haul.

Get no less than 7 hours of rest

As referenced, not dozing enough is related with weight gain and corpulence. Getting 7-8 hours of rest every night will be a decent fundamental stage toward long haul fat misfortune.
Work-out routinely with loads and cardio
Free of different elements, ordinary activity can decrease your muscle to fat ratio. Concentrates on help the utilization of both high-impact and opposition preparing for decreasing muscle versus fat ratio.
To receive most extreme rewards, consider integrating the two types of activity into your daily practice.
Eat an eating regimen high in new natural products, vegetables, and lean proteins
Eating an eating regimen high in new leafy foods is related with weight reduction and weight support.
For instance, a new meta-examination observed that products of the soil consumption in ladies was straightforwardly related with getting in shape and muscle to fat ratio.
Guaranteeing sufficient protein admission is likewise significant for fat misfortune and weight upkeep.
As a matter of fact, one review found consuming protein past the suggested dietary admission was related with diminished muscle versus fat ratios and kept up with measures of slender bulk all through the span of the review.

Pick water over sugared drinks

While the proof is blended regarding whether drinking more water overall guides weight reduction, ongoing examination upholds the end that supplanting sweet beverages with water can help weight reduction, possibly assisting you with consuming fat and uncover your abs.
This might be far from simple or easy relying upon your refreshment inclinations. All things considered, in any event, supplanting a couple of beverages daily with water will assist with supporting weight reduction.
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2023.04.28 08:13 JasminTransorze Medical Transcription in Kottayam

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2023.04.28 00:06 Dart_Monkey [STORY] TALES FROM THE BATTLEFIED – Orbital (in) Denial.

Commander Piotr sat in his command vehicle directing his forces from the back line. With little forces remaining after the initial orbital strike, the Verdant Kingdom was struggling to maintain a defensive foothold. The enemy had weaker vehicles and lighter assets, but they had him outmatched over 3 to 1 in numbers, a situation he wished had never happened.
He watched the battle unfold through his displays with reconnaissance quadrotor drones deployed by the recon teams and infantry squads, enabling him and his forces greater situational awareness to respond more efficiently against the enemy. Anti-air guns swept the skies clean off anything in the air while battle tanks attacked enemy armor and supported their own infantry. Precise artillery support thinned the enemy forces where a suitable target was found, maneuvering constantly to avoid counter-battery fire. The number of assets Piotr had to manage was pushing him to his absolute limit. He pushed on, however, understanding that the defense had to stand as long as possible.
“Commander Piotr,” his radio crackled to life, drawing Piotr’s attention away from the chaos of battle, “We are running low on munitions for our battle tanks and missile squads. If their offensive doesn’t let up, we’ll be overrun soon.”
The radio fell silent for less than a second before sounding again. “We’ve lost almost all of our AA guns, their units are too quick! We need more AA support!” “There are too many of them! Where’s our artillery?” the radio blared, in an almost continuous barrage of shatter. “If only we had air support of our own.” “Too many of our men are wounded, we can’t keep fighting like this!”
One of the reports were just a loud scream as the near-silent sound of lasers sweeping the area were heard in the background.
“Commander, where are you?”
Piotr felt a chill in his spine as he listened to them coming in all at once. He had never had reports this closely spaced before, and realized upon checking his connection that the satellite uplink was being disrupted. He wasn’t present for the reports because their calls had never reached him in time. The front line had already collapsed, and he never realized it.
“Damn it all!” his grumbled, slamming his fist on the command desk. He took stock of his forces, the strategic map displaying allied and enemy assets and movements in real-time. Too many of his units had fallen under his command, and troop morale couldn’t have fallen any lower. He hesitated to call general command, understanding that the enemy was much more powerful than anticipated while wondering if the call would even get through with a crippled satcom network.
The door to his CV had opened, his second-in-command panting. “Lieutenant Colonel, the situation has gone dire,” he stated, “Every single one of our frontline units has fallen, and the Invaders are advancing on our position fast. We do not have the resources to hold the line, let alone push back the enemy.”
“I know, and it’s not good,” Piotr replied, frustration welling up, “but I’ll be damned if I would let the enemy just walk into our Kingdom without a fight.”
The 2iC grumbled. “It is not worth it. We’re throwing our men at the enemy with little effect, losing more than we gain. If we continue this pointless battle, there will be nothing left to resist them. Sometimes, it’s better to lose a battle to win another.”
“Whether or not we choose to yield, there won't be a second battle to send them running,” Piotr retorted. “Our men are battered and bruised with no logistics to speak of and no satellite communications to coordinate our movements. Our army has no future in the face of the Invaders, so we may as well make them bleed while we still can.”
“You don’t mean...”
Piotr had his hand on the radio, but hesitated. He knew the men on the front were losing faith in him, with the satcom systems disrupted or destroyed—he could not tell—and his forces in disarray. “We shall fight to the last man,” he whispered, “But the men need me.”
“Wait, Lieutenant Colonel!”
But the Commander had made up his mind. “Send me to the front, right now,” he commanded the driver, who started the vehicle without hesitation. ‘If the satellites won’t work, maybe the local network will.’
“But Lady Farseer, it’s too dangerous to go by ground,” Dvalinn of the Stars, Magnhilda’s trusted bodyguard, exclaimed out of deep concern. “We don’t want to lose you, our capable commander, not when our entire fighting force is in disarray.”
“With the destruction of the court, the regular military, and our beloved Kingdom, the people are vulnerable,” the Farseer replied with a steadfast resolve. “Dvalinn, I understand the dangers of going by land, but the people of the Azure Leaf need a strong leader to bring them together; without one they would fracture under the pressure of reality.”
“The people can handle themselves, my Lady,” he reasoned, “While they may not have a leader to rely upon, they have each other to put their trust in. It’s not worth the risk.”
She let out a deep sigh, looking out the window as the airlifters outside began to load up on supplies. “There was a saying that goes, ‘Be like the fallen leaf that bends to the whims of the gentle breeze. Defy the wind like the hard fir tree and fall at the mercy of the frozen gale.’ I never liked that saying, if I’m being honest. Why the leaders of our Kingdom had accepted this line of thinking is beyond me. After all, how can we ever hope to keep our sovereignty if the people in the highest power were to simply bend to the whims of those who wish them gone?” Magnhilda shook her head as she took a sip of Azuleah tea from her thermos. “With all that being said, I wish to be the beacon that inspires them to keep pushing forward, to not succumb to the slightest setback or collapse under the burden of responsibility. To do what the Queen could not and lead the people responsibly.”
“I hate to have to say this, but our Lady is right,” one of the elite Guards added. “We are of no help to the people on the ground, and with even the Queen surrendering to the enemy without a fight, the sight of our airlifters leaving without them would only incite fear and despair. We cannot assume the people would stick together when their entire lives were turned on its head overnight. They do require a leader, and while it hurts to see her go, the people need her more than we do.” They turned to face Magnhilda, bowing before her in respect. “Please, do for the people what you have done for us all these years. Be their light in the snow-covered darkness of tomorrow and lead them well.”
Dvalinn rubbed his forehead in frustration, ultimately relenting. “Well, if you truly believe that the people need you, no one in this room can stop you if not even I could do so.” He solemnly knelt before her, helmet held in his hands. “But as per my duty as your loyal guardian, I must follow you on the ground to ensure your health and safety.”
His declaration impressed Magnhilda somewhat, staying true to his oath to protect her. “I see,” she responded with a low nod. “Very few people would put themselves at risk just to save the life of the person they love. While I appreciate your resolve, you are right in some way. I can’t leave the Azure Guard without a leader to take my place.”
She unsheathed a short straight-edged sword, a ceremonial item in the age of firearms and artillery, inspecting the blade while addressing him directly. “Therefore, as my departure will leave you without a leader for a time, I shall declare you the temporary commander of the Azure Guard in my absence.” The flat of the blade laid on Dvalinn’s head between his fuzzy ears. Addressing the other elite guards in the room, she added, “If I do not make it out alive one way or another, Commander Dvalinn shall be appointed your new Leader.”
Dvalinn was shocked, almost raising his head in impulse. “Me, the Commander of the Azure Guard?” As the blade was lifted off of his head, he turned around to see the elite guards genuflecting before him and Magnhilda. “But I’m not sure if I could handle this. I’ve not had much training.”
“But you already have,” she smiled, “In your undying faith in me and the Azure Guard, your devotion to our cause, and your endless generosity to those under your command, you have all the ingredients necessary to lead the Azure Guard to the future. The Guard knows you as well as they know me, and they recognize that you have the capability to lead them, even if you never knew it.”
“Sir Dvalinn, we will serve you as we have served Lady Farseer,” the guards declared in unison, “Lead us in her absence, and we shall follow your command.”
It was a terrible day for Captain Firuz on the front, dug up in kilometers upon kilometers of trenches. Known for holding the record for the highest ambient temperature in Amseog, the searing desert sun basked the men defending and holding the line, causing discomfort and an ever-increasing number of heat- and dehydration-affected men. With half-effective logistics and a severe lack of transports supplying men, food, and water, the captain became worried that the defense would crumble with a lack of able soldiers.
“Reloading AA! Keep them pinned onto the ground!”
He understood that the enemy enjoyed uncontested air superiority; their winged physiology demanded flight, so he had requested for anti-air weapons to be fielded near the winding trench system, slowing down the enemy offensive by forcing their highly mobile aerial infantry onto the ground and denying any form of air support. Through his binocular magnifiers, he was also able to note that the Invaders too were being affected by the heat, perhaps more so due to their black plumage. It was a game of attrition, a battle to see who would end up succumbing to the desert heat.
“Backblast clear! Take that you avianoid scum!”
Fortunately for his forces, the enemy armor didn’t seem as advanced as their own, which enabled them access to cheaper and more numerous past-generation AT weapons that would have been ineffective against a heavier and more modern platform. Perhaps they may figure out better designs for their armored vehicles to better withstand these inferior rockets, but he hoped that they weren’t already on the way. Despite the success of the defensive line, he couldn’t help but feel as though the enemy’s numbers weren’t dropping nearly as fast, if at all, with how much ammunition they had already spent.
“Shit, we’re all out of AF shells! Switching to standard proxy HE.”
Or perhaps was it an effect of their pre-emptive strike against their caches and airbases, crippling any sort of organized defense they could muster? Either way, he disliked how the battle was progressing, locked into a stalemate that was slowly being broken by the unending onslaught of the Invaders.
“—no matter what happens, we will defend our lands to the very last soul. For the Sunflare Kingdom!”
Firuz had to give it to his men, they are holding the ground very well despite the harsh sunlight, befitting of the enduring Sunflare Kingdom. But he had to wonder, just how long could the soldiers keep up their high spirits? It had been 5 days since the invasion, and most of their advanced materiel and supplies—at least the ones that survived the first strike—had run out completely. They were operating on old stock and obsolescing technology, scraping by just barely while the enemy still had their best weapons. If things kept dragging on forever, the men might lose hope and the enemy could capitalize on such a loss of morale.
“Keep it up, the enemy front is halting! Suppress them, slow them down!”
At the end of the day, such is the reality of war. There is only so much one could do to keep morale high through stories and myths, but when the dust settles, there is only man, shellshocked and unresponsive to the death and destruction surrounding them, whose only thought is for the fighting to stop. Captain Firuz wishes to avoid such a situation wherein his men lose the will to fight and surrender to the enemy, burdening him with a terrible responsibility to end the fighting in a way that achieves victory against the Invaders.
“What air support? Didn’t you hear; they destroyed the airfields!”
The never-ending back-and-forth gave him pause to weigh his options and consider various possibilities. Firuz closed his eyes, using his other senses to feel out the battlefield, visualizing the events that were occurring to the tiniest detail in his mind’s eye. He weighed all of his options through which he was able to glean from previous intel and the current battle, focusing his senses on the enemy movements on the ground by feeling out the dirt from which he sat, a feat that very few could master in their lifetime.
“Sniper, Sniper! Heads down!”
The Captain understood immediately that this was a battle that they couldn’t win by sheer offensive power... but victory can be achieved by other means. “The battle ahead is a long one, so stay strong my men!” he uttered through the radio with a gravelly voice that one could think came from an elder. “The enemy may be numerous but our resolve is as infinite as the stars.”
“Have the next batch of rotorlifters finished loading up on supplies?” the logistics officer in charge of the operation asked one of the ground crew. Having stored a large reserve of aircraft and rotorcraft inside the mountain fortresses mean that they were the only Kingdom left capable of high-volume logistics and transport for the evacuation of their people. This put them in a strong position, offering the other Kingdoms who were hit much harder their logistics and evacuation services in exchange for military support in the form of advanced weapons and armor.
“Affirmitive, sir,” they replied, “Everything is moving along on schedule. At this rate, we can secure every active front line and halt the Invaders’ advance.”
“I trust that the loaded equipment is well secured, then? Losing vital equipment, let alone a rotorlifter due to dislodged cargo, would be incredibly costly for us and the future of Amseog.”
“Our team’s triple-checked the straps and latches, they won’t move a single millimeter.”
The logistics officer nodded in approval. “There are reports of a returning team of rotorlifters disappearing over the Jeonmang Ocean.” There was a tension in the air as the officer continued, “We suspect enemy air activity in the region, so remind your team to load up on active countermeasures and decoys. It doesn’t matter if the delivery gets delayed, we’d rather lose an hour than lose even more rotorlifters.”
“Understood, sir. We’ll get started on the countermeasure systems.”
As they rushed to the loaded rotorlifters, the officer turned to his tablet computer to manage and coordinate the massive effort in supplying the civilian populations with food, water, and other necessities, as well as rearming and resupplying the local forces with Central Kingdom weapons and munitions. Using a SUGAR utility to automate certain processes like identification/validation, flight planning and scheduling, and tracking the performance and health of each craft’s components and systems, it enables him to devote his full attention to direct which supplies were loaded into the free rotorlifters depending on the recipient. With a sip of kaffocherry, he proceeded to make his way to another rotorport to check up on the incoming transports. From his tablet, he deftly navigated to the communications channel to talk to the Fortress General.
“How are our own units faring, General?” the logistics officer asked.
“Everything deployed outside our fortress walls have been crippled, and whatever resistance is being mounted are crumbling fast,” the general replied. “I suggest saving the transports and reassigning them to the ongoing airlift operation.”
“Understood,” he confirmed, “I will relay these orders on the logistics network.”
The general added, “Oh, and there has been a development on advanced countermeasures that may be valuable to you.” The message had a video attachment that depicted a cockpit point-of-view film showing enemy missile signatures in the display missing the craft by kilometers. “The prototype false-signature decoys worked as expected, and the R&D division deemed it ready enough to be retrofitted to the rotorlifters.”
He nodded gently before responding. “Acknowledged. This will help in the survivability of the transports, especially with the Invaders holding near-uncontested air superiority all over the planet.”
He tabbed out of the thread and returned to the logistics planner, satisfied with the new developments. Although, he had a sneaking suspicion that something was being hidden from him.
High Commander Hosu was sat in the control room, rapping his fingers on the desk in anticipation. He had received word from the Central Kingdom that the enemy was advancing rapidly, crippling the defenses and leaving very little left to defend the attacks. With the emergency request to launch strategic weapons against the enemy forces on the planet and in orbit, the high commander sent out a message to every submarine fleet in the Jamsuham Saryongbu, ordering them to ready their payloads as soon as possible to be launched on command.
“There has been no response from the 7th Strategic Launch Fleet, high commander,” the communications officer reported to Hosu, “All of the fleets we’ve reached are ready to fire at your command, but without the 7th’s heavy warheads, there is no guarantee that our retaliatory strike will be effective.” Hosu groaned. “That is an issue.” Only two fleets under the submarine command had the necessary hardware to attack enemy targets in low to medium orbit, and the 8th Orbital Defense Fleet lacked the ordnance necessary to reliably take down the orbiting warships. And with the destruction of most of the naval bases and ports, refitting a fleet to carry the heavy warheads was impossible. “See to it that the connection goes through. We cannot let this effort go to waste, or the enemy will realize what’s going on and deny us the second chance.
“Affirmative, sir,” the officer replied.
He looked at the world view from his displays, showing the entire planet of Amseog in high fidelity. Dotted along the large bodies of water were markers, indicating the locations of every submarine fleet under his command, as well as the tactical missile submarines and surface vessels of the Kingdoms. Every fleet on the list was accounted for in the map, except for the missing 7th fleet. There were only two possibilities here, he thought. Either the fleet had gone radio silent to prevent the enemy from intercepting any background emissions from the commlink, or more likely, the 7th fleet had been caught out by the orbital strike while at port. He hoped it was the former, but the loss of one of their most powerful assets would severely hamper their ability to defend the planet from further attacks.
With the assumption that the 7th fleet was killed in the opening attack, he decided to reformulate the counter-offensive strategy without them. “24th Strategic Launch Fleet, split your forces and reassign half of your submarines to hit orbit,” he commanded through an ELF network allowing for underwater communications. “13th Fleet, join up with the 24th Strategic Launch Fleet to assist in their inland bombardment.”
“Affirmative,” replied the captains of each fleet, one after the other.
The High Commander watched as the map slowly updated, the two fleets repositioning themselves in accordance to the given commands. The schedule was incredibly tight, and he needed them in position before the opportunity to simultaneously hurt the enemy orbital fleet and bombard the invading ground forces was missed. “Orbital, how long have we got before the intercept is no longer possible?” he asked.
“Only 5 minutes remain before the first possible intercept trajectory is passed,” the orbital intercept officer replied, “10 minutes before we can no longer hit them.” There was no more time to waste, Hosu knew. With the current available forces, the best-case scenario required the absolute best timing in order to take the enemy fleet by surprise and eradicate the enemy ground forces all at once, buying everyone on the ground precious time to recover and consolidate their forces. Even a realistic outcome that a warship was downed in spite of the enemy realizing the attack would be ideal. But in the worst-case scenario... ...he refused to think about it.
Hosu watched the clock, watching the fleets settle into their new position in the longest 5 minutes of his life, eyeing the orbital map at the same time and hoping for the best. As the final minute began ticking down, he ran through every possible scenario in his head in preparation for the final launch. They had only one chance to perform the strike, and he cannot let it fail.
30 seconds. The High Commander opened the communication channels to all submarine fleets all over the world, issuing the fleet-wide command. “All forces, open your silos and prepare to fire.”
20 seconds. Each fleet responded in sequence, one after the other. “Affirmative. Missiles ready for launch.”
10 seconds. He watched the screens in anticipation. There was no turning back now.
5 seconds.
The oceans of Amseog undulated with a chaotic rhythm, waves bobbing up and down undisturbed being void of any surface activity. A flock of small seabirds skimmed the surface, searching for their prey in the vast marine expanse, thinking only to fill their stomachs with food. It didn’t know that the planet they were on was under attack; it knew little beyond the invisible ceiling of their flight and the waters on which they fed. It was equally unaware of the deep underwater presence beneath the waves, for its prey never strayed far from the surface.
The waters around the seabirds suddenly began to rumble, an unnatural phenomenon quite unlike anything else they had ever felt. Sensing danger, the flock quickly took off from the surface and into the salty air moments before large, flaming cylinders broke through the ocean surface. It unleashed a massive spray of water as it rose from the depths, emitting an ear-shattering noise that disoriented the seabirds. The trail of white smoke, cloud-like in appearance, billowed out from the column of fire produced by the objects, propelling them to heights once impossible to reach for any object on the planet. A unique sight, marred by the deep history within the objects unknown to all but its unnatural creators.
Once the objects reached a certain height, they began to tip over, a maneuver that would send them not only high up, but far away from the location they broke through from. The columns of fire expanded, growing ever wider as the air quickly thinned around them, until they burned no more. In a spectacular sequence of events, the objects broke in half, revealing a different column of fire, bluer and clearer, creating less smoke as they disappeared into the starry space above the sky, never to be seen from the oceans again.

“Form a hard defensive line around the perimeter!” Piotr commanded, “Do not let the enemy break through without resistance. We shall fight on to the last man in the name of our people, and our Kingdom!”
His miraculous appearance on the front line raised the morale of the men who had assumed their Commander had abandoned them. Though they lacked numbers, weapons, and ammunition, they were determined not to back down without a fight as they pushed on against the Invaders. Little by little, the front was being whittled, and though the enemy was suffering losses, each soldier lost by the Verdant Army was far more costly. Despite this, Piotr remained determined in the face of death, making his last stand against a superior force to allow the people to evacuate and survive.
“Commander!” a soldier hollered, barging into the command vehicle dripping blood from various wounds. He was barely able to stand, let alone talk with any strength, and yet he stood by the open door with a steely expression. “There are less than a couple dozen units left on the battlefield. The enemy has surrounded us completely, leaving us with no escape.”
Piotr had resigned himself to his fate, but he knew what he was up for when he had first enlisted in the Verdant Army. “Understood, soldier,” he replied, neither angry or disappointed, but in a deep, solemn tone accepting of his fast-approaching death. It was no longer a matter of when, but instead a matter of how. “You know what to do, kiddo.”
“Yes sir,” they replied, a smile forming on their face as he, too, accepted his fate. “Commander, it was an honor fighting with you.”
Before Piotr could respond, there was a sudden flash of light in the distance. And then another, in a sequence of impacts that was reminiscent of a meteor shower. Except...
“Likewise, soldier,” he uttered, his final words as the entire battlefield was quickly engulfed in nuclear fire.

“This way, people!” Magnhilda commanded, leading the exiled population into the transports as other teams guided the vehicles out of the terminal. “There’s only a dozen and six empty vehicles left. Decide which of your belongings you want to leave, as there is limited space in the trucks.”
It was a difficult task leading the population and keeping their spirits high, and it became even more troubling when the amount of space available across all the available transports was not enough to accommodate everyone and their necessities. The airlifters would need to make a return trip to pick the rest up, but even she wasn’t confident that the aircraft could fit the rest either.
“Lady Magnhilda, Lady Magnhilda!” yelled a young child as they ran towards her in distress. “I can’t find my pet monkeet!”
She had quickly turned her attention to the child, unsure what to do. “Ah, don’t worry, my child,” she replied, “We’ll help you try to find it as soon as possible.”
“Please do,” they cried, tears trickling down their fuzzy face, “he’s the only friend I’ve got. I don’t wanna lose him.”
“It’s okay, little one. Just tell me what he looks like and we’ll find him quick.”
As the child began to describe their pet, she began to reflect on her role in the Azure Leaf Exodus as the leader of the group. A responsibility far greater than she had ever undertaken in her time as the commander of the Azure Guard.
Magnhilda was overcome by the sheer scale of the operation. She couldn’t simply do everything on her own as there was too many things to do for one soul to complete, nor could she give everyone a role in packing up and preparing for departure, expecting the population to be perfectly disciplined and coordinated as the Azure Guard was. No, there had to be a balance, and though she doesn’t believe she found it, it seemed to do the trick well enough.
She nodded to the child, smiling. “Thank you, uh...”
“Åste,” they replied.
“Åste,” she repeated in acknowledgement, “I will tell the team to help look for a fuzzy black-and-white monkeet with a blue-and-black collar. Just stay with me so you may know when we find him.”
“Thanks, Lady Magnhilda.”
After relaying the message to the team, she continued directing the population and loading the trucks in the best way possible to minimize excess. Still, that meant hundreds of dozens of people left stranded, waiting for more free transports to pick them up. At that point, she thought, any additional vehicles would come too little too late, and that was a thought she refused to think about.
As the transports reached full capacity, Magnhilda turned to the old capital of the Azure Leaf at the same time a bright flash assaulted her eyes. The intensity was so strong that it nearly blinded her, but the wave of heat that washed over her and the evacuation site was chilling. When she could see again, she bore witness to a horrible sight over the horizon, filling her with a sense of dread.
She, and everyone around her, had just watched the annihilation of the Azure Leaf Kingdom.

It had been but an hour ago that the trenches were raging with activity, filled with soldiers desperately defending their kingdom from the Winged Invaders. Now, all there was, was silence.
“Holy shit... what the hell was that? They’re just... gone!”
At the first sign of an unnaturally bright flash, every single soldier in the trench ducked on instinct. Those who didn’t perished in the atomic flame that followed, combined with the percussive shockwave that shattered everything that wasn’t protected behind cover. It was one of the longest few minutes of the Sunflare Army’s career, waiting for the dust to settle as the enemy lines fell utterly silent.
“O Divine, have mercy! I don’t wanna die!”
It was a strange atmosphere, witnessing the plumes of several nuclear warheads detonating just above the enemy, flattening their forces utterly and completely. The sands upon which the enemy had once stood, melted into dark and dirty glass. It was a horrible level of destruction only ever seen in fiction, but to see and feel the detonation in person was a humbling experience.
“If that was what it took to defeat them, why even fight on the front?”
Captain Firuz could only dip his head, his thoughts a combination of disappointment and foreboding. If the great powers of the world needed to resort to nuclear bombardment to defeat the enemy, then it means that the entire world must have been overrun, the enemy too powerful to be stopped by conventional methods. After all, what else is left to fight for if the only way forward was with weapons of mass destruction?
“Fall back and regroup,” Captain Firuz commanded his men, “We must take this opportunity to come up with better tactics against the endless foe, before they encroach upon us once more.”

“Did you just let our own men get nuked?” the logistics officer demanded, furious about the events that occurred beyond the mountain fortresses’ borders.
The general sighed. “It was a necessary sacrifice to ensure the survival of our people.”
“Horseshit! You could have notified them before just annihilating them in the crossfire,” the officer retorted.
“They don’t have the speed nor the time. The enemy would just catch up to them, and nothing would have changed.”
He grumbled, extremely annoyed at what happened. “Is that why you asked me to recall those rotorlifters? To doom the men at the front?”
“We studied their weapons, formations, and tactics since the opening days of the invasion,” the strategist intervened, “The forces outside the fortresses were merely a stall tactic to gather more intel on the way they fight, and we have deemed it strategically advantageous for us to force them to fight in our mountains.”
“To put it in simpler terms, yes. The men at the front were doomed from the very start.” The general sipped from his mug before continuing. “Of course, they still needed logistics to keep them from collapsing on the very first day, but you have to understand, Simjang, that some battles are meant to be lost.”
“And you tell me this now, General?” Simjang replied with a lingering anger, “Hiding it from me until its execution rather than informing me from the very start?”
“You are a crafty man,” the general answered, setting down the mug and leaning forward on his desk. “Had we informed you about the plan, you would have gone out of your way to thwart it. Perhaps you may have had a better idea, but it would ultimately be flawed as our enemy operates upon slightly different rules.”
The logistics officer slumped onto his seat, arms crossed in frustration. “I still don’t agree that this was the best possible course of action.”
“Whether or not it was the ideal solution is up for debate,” the strategist responded. “But it was the fastest course of action to deal with the Invaders. I understand your feelings, but what’s done cannot be undone.”
“The only thing left to do is to figure out where to go from here,” spoke the general. “The future is still undecided, and with the time we have bought ourselves, it would be more productive to secure our resources and ensure adequate supply for us and our fellow Kingdoms.”
Simjang could only stare blankly at him as he continued. “I hope you take it to heart that not everything can be saved, even with infinite time and effort at your disposal. You have to be ready to make difficult sacrifices at a moment's notice, as you will never know when fate catches up to you. Such is the reality of war.”
"...I understand."
submitted by Dart_Monkey to createthisworld [link] [comments]

2023.04.25 21:36 Lazy-Personality4024 Orphan Chapter 9

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Chapter 9: Suit Up

Ohmata drummed her fingers on the ship’s conference table as she waited for everyone to be seated. “So, what’s on the agenda today?” Kitern asked, looking around the room at everyone.
Ohmata leaned back in her chair and stretched. “First… ohhh, that feels good. First, we need to resume looking for information over the Nemesis and humans. With Vigil’s help, it should go by quickly.”
“Are we going back to the ship we found KG on?” Glevar wondered.
“Yes,” Ohmata replied while nodding. “Since we weren’t able to actually scan anything, we’ll head back and finish what we were doing. Then look for more derelicts. Maybe Vigil will be able to point us to a few places of interest.”
“What makes you think he will be willing to give away his people’s secrets? Just because we ‘rescued’ him doesn’t mean he is going to cooperate,” Tentzonta added, head crest rising. Her equivalent of a raised brow.
Ohmata waved a hand in the air, dismissing the worry. “He’ll cooperate. He wants to kill ghosts, and the best way to do that is to help us. Besides, it’s not like his people’s tech is a secret. The beacon gave away a bunch of their military tech. Not much to hide now.”
Tentzonta didn’t challenge her, so remained silent. “Aside from data salvage. Is any of the things I requested for Vigil ready?” Ohmata asked, looking around.
Glevar nodded, and Klofaa’s head crest flicked. “We have a rudimentary dietary plan set up for him. We are waiting for confirmation from Mar to test if it is feasible with what foods are onboard, to make it a reality,” Klofaa said.
“And we have worked out a regime for him to follow. He’ll be working with the marines, for the most part. If he so desires, during his mandatory leisure period, he may use any of the amenities on board, or come to the science labs where I will educate him on the GU. At first I thought it would be a pain to integrate him in with the crew’s schedule. But it turns out that humans have a similar time system like the GU,” Glevar added.
Before anyone can say anything, Kitern cut in. “No arguments, not dealing with that shit this early in the morning.”
Klofaa clicked her tongue. “They are debates.”
“Agreeded,” Tentzonta said.
Kitern sighed and flicked her tail. Now they’re getting along?
Tentzonta began. “Obvious signs of the Goddess aside….” Someone cleared their throat, quieting her. She shot them a glance before continuing. “We took several of the exercise equipment and reinforced them for Vigil’s added mass, armor excluded however. We are still in the process of custom designing equipment he can use with his armor on until he is allowed to remove it. We are also trying to make a bed that will support him, but we are having to build it from scratch as well. So his quarters will take a while, or he can just bunk with the other males in the meantime. The crew bunks are embedded in the walls, so they can support a tremendous amount of weight,” Tentzonta explained.
Ohmata was leaning on the table with an elbow. Arm supporting her head, when she said. “We’ll see if he is comfortable bunking with the males for now. He might not want his own quarters. I assumed he would want his own space, given his unique circumstances. But, for now, put together an away team from each of your sections, Klofaa you included. Once that is ready, everyone can continue with their orders. If no one has any objections, you’re all dismissed.”
Everyone, including Kitern, responded with a crisp ma’am before getting up and saluting Ohmata and leaving. Ohmata herself stood and said, “Aphosi. I’m giving you permission to use the ship’s scanners. See if there are any more derelicts out there.”
“Aye aye, captain. Scanning for treasure now,” Aphosi replied with a bit of humor.
“Were explores, not pirates.”
“We can be both,” she answered immodestly.
Ohmata rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say, Aphosi.”
Vigil was sitting in his little containment cell, watching the other researchers go about their business. Needless to say, the large man’s gaze was extremely unnerving to the placid scientists. Since there were multiple labs, they came and went, reluctantly returning when needed. Only to find Vigil’s visor reflecting their own image.
Thus, when Kitern and Glevar returned from their meeting with the captain, and told Vigil what they had planned. The scientists breathed a sigh of relief that he may be leaving for a time. He agreed, finding the pursuit to arm themselves with knowledge of the Nemesis a logical move. Even when Kitern mentioned that they were also going to look for human tech, Vigil agreed it was a wise decision. His people’s weapons were designed to fight the Nemesis threat, after all.
As Vigil was trusted to some degree, and the exterior of his armor already sanitized. Ohmata had seen no reason to lock Vigil in the containment cell. So he simply walked out when Kitern told him to follow her.
As he straightened to his full height, Kitern said. “Damn. I keep forgetting how big you are.”
“And you fought him?” Glevar said with a hint of disbelief.
Kitern looked away and grumbled. “Yeah… sort of.” She snorted and looked up at Vigil. “We have orders to go explore that ship again. Come on.”
Glevar nodded, “Yes. And Gniwen and Irudo will be joining you.”
“ME?!” a high-pitched voice squeaked in surprise, followed by the sound of glass falling over. Causing all eyes to turn to its source. Irudo had been pushing in a cart of glassware he had just cleaned when he had heard his name mentioned. He had stopped so suddenly that several pieces had fallen over. Thankfully, non-breaking.
He scrambled to pick up the toppled beakers and test tubes, while also attempting to become as small as possible.
Glevar sighed. “Yes Irudo, you will be going with them. Cobek, put up that glassware for him, please.”
“Yes ma’am,” Cobek replied, moving to do as told. Vigil noticed that Cobek was a Lioran, male at that. Kitern had said her people did not get along very well with others. Maybe that only applied to the females? Cobek seemed very reserved compared to Kitern. Or maybe it’s just that Kitern is very outgoing? He did not know.
“I heard my name? Does someone need me?” a voice called from the doorway. Vigil recognized the being who poked their head around the corner as one of the researchers from when he had first arrived. It was Gniwen.
“Yes. You’ll be going with the away team today. Finish up with any experiments you are running, and head down to the hanger bay,” said Glevar.
Gniwen looked back down the hall before turning back to Glevar. “I’m in the middle of some reactions right now.”
Glevar waved a hand dismissively. “Its alright. Cobek can watch over them. Just explain what it is you are trying to do, and he’ll finish the experiment for you.”
It was barely audible, certainly not audible to the research staff, or even Kitern. But Vigil could hear a low growl coming from deep within Cobek’s chest. Perhaps he wasn’t as reserved as he appeared to be?
“If you say so. Once I put up a few things and explain to Cobek what I’m doing, I’ll join the away team,” she answered.
With nothing left to discuss, Kitern took Vigil and Irudo and headed down to the hangar bay. There wasn’t much to see on the fifth deck. The elevator opened to a large industrial looking area filled with crates. It was segmented by a metal fence, shepherding passerbys so that they didn’t wander into the field of boxes.
The walkway ran the length of the room, ending at the hull of the ship, specifically the bow as they had taken the bow elevator. In the other direction was a flat wall with an airlock and massive industrial doors to allow in cargo. Vigil noticed a large claw set on tracks in the ceiling for picking up cargo. Its track passed through the top of the large doors, but it kept a tight seal to ensure the area remained airtight.
As the walkway was butted up against the wall, doors were placed evenly along it. Kitern walked over to one of the doors and went in, expecting the others to follow. When Vigil ducked through the doorway, he saw rows of lockers, with EVA suits and the same black armored suits the marines wore.
Three other rooms branched off from the locker. The left door had a single line above it, while the right door had a circle. The last door, which was straight ahead, had the picture of a gun on it. Finally, something Vigil recognized. Before he could move, however, Kitern pointed Irudo over to the door with the line over it.
“Irudo. Go grab a suit and put it on,” she said to him. Regarding Vigil, she began. “I guess you can just stay here since you’re already armored up. And just in case no one has told you yet. Those are the symbols for male and female. You’ll see them near toilets or dressing rooms. So if you ever see a circle or oval, don’t go in. Or do, I’m sure there are plenty of girls who would like a look at you. Just remember, you have a stick between your legs, piss in the room with the stick.”
“Noted,” he replied simply. With nothing to do, Vigil remained standing by the entrance while Kitern and Irudo suited up. Apparently, they were the first to arrive, as a few minutes later, someone walked in.
“I’m telling you, Namra, we could have beaten his ass. We just needed a little more- AHHHHH! Shit! Why are you here!?” Asteli screamed and jumped to the side upon seeing Vigil looming over her.
“Hello Vigil. I assume you will be joining us?” Gre’Namra asked, stepping in. Onsa, Dentala, and Gniwen along with three others, came in behind her. Onsa and Dentala were laughing at Asteli, as was one of the others.
“HA! Some fearsome marine you are!” a Venanian female said.
“Shut it Kass! Or I’ll throw you farther than he did!” Asteli shot back.
“Please do not fight,” an unknown Drae’Ildan female spoke.
“I agree with Ad’Ata. I don’t want to be patching you up before we even leave the ship,” another female Drae’Ildan said.
“Thak you Za’Eer,” the one called Ad’Ata replied.
Kass simply rolled her eyes and went to go get suited up. Asteli skittered around Vigil, wary of him, as she went with the others to equip their armor.
Kitern emerged first and went over to a locker and began putting on various other pieces of gear. She noticed Asteli skittering by. “Private. I was told you would be off duty for the time being? To let that empty head of yours heal up.”
Asteli grumbled to herself. “I’m fine. Dr. Klofaa was just taking extra precaution.”
Kitern sighed. “I doubt you are. But she would’ve had to clear you for duty, for you to be here. Go get suited up.” Soon Irudo and the others were doing the same. With everyone kitted out, Kitern waved Vigil over.
Walking into the room with the symbol of a gun over the doorway, Vigil saw there was a small area with tables and chairs. And opposite of him was a wall with a glass window, with a hole in it to pass things through. Vigil could see rows of weapons along the walls on the other side. A checkpoint similar to the one by the bridge blocked the way, sadly.
A Lioran walked into view. She had a grey tan coat with dark vertical stripes starting from her brow and base of her neck, which ran down her back and disappeared into her uniform. “Well, about time ya’ll came and visited. Saw yer little scare on the cameras, Asteli. Thought you damn near pissed yerself.” She said in an even thicker accent than Kitern, and chuffed. Showing amusment.
“Don’t make me come back there, Shavan,” the feisty Venanian threatened.
Shavan chuffed louder. “Ya can barely lift that pea shooter of yers. Let alone scratch me. But the big man other there. Now… I’d let ‘em scratch me all day,” she said, eyeing Vigil.
“No one gets the human’s dick. Captain’s orders,” Kitern announced, deadpan.
Shavan pouted playfully. “Ahh. Oh well. Here for yer usual, Kitern?”
“If you please.”
“Good, got ‘em all ready for ya. Don’t know why ya like that little tickler. But here ya go.” She slid a small thermal weapon through the gap to Kitern. Who picked it up and kissed it, chuffing happily.
“For Onsa, got yer kinetic rifle. Dentala, yer beloved lead belcher of a weapon. And for the two cute little privates. Standard issue energy rifles.” She passed each over as she called the recipient’s names. “And for the big guy, I got something special.” While leaning on the counter of the armory, she kicked its base, and a large panel popped out.
It revealed a massive tray, larger than what the window allowed through. In it was a massive, heavy machine gun. Meant to mount onto ground vehicles or gunship door gunner. Alongside it were two large boxes of ammo.
“Shavan!” Kitern exclaimed. “How did you sneak that on board?!”
She looked at Kitern like they were discussing the weather. “Simple. Carried it in. Ya can get into a lot of places with a big gun.”
“Does the captain know you have this?”
Shavan shrugged. “Uh-uh. She knows now, though.”
Kitern shook her head and walked away. Shavan took up the slack. “Anyway. That little baby can put the hurt on anything ya look at. Just make sure it ain’t friendly first. Don’t want any of the girls coming back chewed to pieces. Now, it can be just belt fed, or ya can hook a box to it. Since using belts is a pain, I got boxes. Each box has about 800 rounds, and ya got two of ‘em. So don’t be shy in letting her run, ya hear.” she chuffed again.
Vigil bent over and effortlessly picked up the weapon one handed. Shavan looked at him, dumbfounded. “Well, ain’t that a bitch? It took me and Ishka to lug that damn thing over here. And ya just gone lift it up like it’s a damn toy. I don’t know what they feed ya, but yer too damn big, ya know that?”
“Affirmative,” he replied simply. Vigil looked over the weapon, testing how to hold and operate it effectively. Once done examining it, he held it in his left hand while he picked up the two large ammo boxes. He loaded one into the gun and put the other on his back. Being metal, it magnetized easily to his armor.
“Well, yer just full of surprises. Now get, before I throw something at ya.” She kicked the counter again, and the tray slammed back into position.
Vigil left, weapon in tow. When the others say what he was carrying, their proverbial jaws hit the floor.
“Why in the Goddess’ name do you have that!?” Kass screamed.
Vigil looked down at his weapon and lifted it one handed. “This?” he asked innocently.
“YES!” several voices rang out.
“My weapon was issued to me by the quartermaster. I do not understand why you take offense at it.” he wondered.
Before anyone could reply, Kitern butted in, the odd voice of reason. “Enough, it doesn’t matter. Everyone get to the shuttle, and don’t question Shavan’s decisions. Otherwise, you’ll end up just as crazy as her.”
Vigil obeyed and followed after her, the others joining them. They left the locker room and headed toward the airlock at the end of the walkway. Kitern tapped a button on the wall and the airlock opened. Everyone piled in, squishing together into a massive ball of metal, plastic, and flesh. The rear door closed and a second later, the opposite door opened to allow them freedom.
The hanger bay was spacious, even though it held two large shuttles, one capable of carrying at least a dozen people along with a vehicle. As well as a plethora of said ground vehicles and several unmanned drones. The drones were each equipped with a different suite of tools. Their purposes? Vigil did not know, but none looked to be outfitted for battle. Some had mining equipment, others welders and saws, and others seemed to just have robotic arms for grabbing.
“We’ll be taking shuttle one. Everyone pile in and we can get on our way,” Kitern ordered.
The shuttle itself had a large door in the rear, which folded down into a ramp for large cargo. And two smaller doors on either side for additional access. Vigil marched in and looked around. The seats were small, extremely small. Their harnesses wouldn’t even be able to reach his shoulders.
Thankfully, bars ran the length of the shuttle. They were designed for tieing down cargo, but were the perfect height for Vigil to hold on to. So while everyone buckled in, Vigil remained standing. He activated the magnetic locks on his boots, just in case.
Kitern grunted. “I would say take a seat, but you’d probably break it. Just don’t go bouncing around and crushing us all.”
Vigil looked over at her. “Affirmative.”
This caused Kitern to sigh. “We need to teach you more words.”
Onsa, who had once again taken the pilot’s seat, looked back from the cockpit. It had its own door to seal itself off from the rest of the shuttle in case of decompression.
“Everyone ready?” she asked.
Kitern made a hand motion. Onsa took that as a yes and hit a button, raising the rear ramp. “This is shuttle one, preparing for takeoff.” she spoke to the bridge, as she started the shuttle.
“Roger shuttle one. Decompressing hangar bay,” a voice replied.
Though the Into the Black was equipped with an atmospheric retention field, which prevented finer particles, such as air, from escaping. It was still standard procedure to remove as much air as possible from the hangar bay.
“Pressure reads zero. You’re good to go, shuttle one,” the voice suddenly said. The door to the hanger bay slowly opened, revealing a glowing blue field.
“Copy. Lifting off.” With that, Osan touched a few more buttons, and the shuttle began to rise. Vigil watched through the cockpit window as the shuttle turned and glided forward toward the large glowing wall of energy.
The shuttle passed through the wall. Vigil saw the shuttle’s nose breach it and the barrier roll along the windscreen and shuttle’s surface. “Shuttle one is clear of the hangar bay. Proceeding to destination,” Onsa announced. Two quick bursts came from the shuttles comms. Apparently, it was a quicker way to acknowledge when a person spoke, instead of actually responding.
Suddenly, the shuttle turned and was now pointed toward the grey smear that Earth had become, and the countless derelicts trapped within the bounds of its gravity. Luna, Earth’s sole moon, was just peeking around the far side of the planet. Its surface was completely fractured from battle. Massive craters, not native to its facade, dotted it. Evidence of the countless weapon strikes during the ago old conflict.
Fierce fighting had taken place on the lunar surface. Vigil personally took part in a number of conflicts there himself. The moon had, like all things in humanities territory, been turned into a fortress. Great bastions and weapon batteries littered its surface. A massive defense installation had ringed the natural satellite, even on its dark side. Meaning that no matter where the attack came from, the forces stationed on Luna could respond with deadly force.
The Nemesis had learned that firsthand. After several weeks of brutal fighting throughout the system, Nemesis forces had breached the blockade defending earth, only to be stopped by hell fire streaking across the void from Luna’s surface. No foe would touch humanity’s cradle, not until its ancient guardian was dealt with first.
Fighting continued for so long that forces there were beginning to run out of ammunition. When the remainder of the Nemesis fleet jumped into the system. The Nemesis began ruthlessly and mercilessly, bombarding the lunar surface. The onslaught continued for some time until the defenders fell silent. But not for reasons one would think. By then, most of the defenders had been evacuated to Earth. Him included. A few had chosen to remain behind, to man the defense until the last.
It was shortly before Luna’s fall that Vigil and the surviving Orphans had been given the task of boarding and sabotaging enemy vessels still capable of faster than light travel.
“You okay, big guy?” Kitern asked from the side, watching him.
Vigil was torn from his memories. Gone was the Earth of old, the great green jewel of the galaxy. In its place was a husk, surrounded by the dead and damned. He looked at the marine commander. “Affirmative, sir.”
“Hey.” She pointed a finger at him jokingly. “Its ma’am, not sir. Got it?”
Vigil nodded. “Affirmative… ma’am.”
Kitern leaned to the side, taking on a sassy pose. “Was that hesitation I heard? Say it again, from the top!”
“Affirmative, ma’am.”
“Louder! I can not hear you!”
Vigil stood at attention and addressed his new ‘superior’. “Affirmative, ma’am!” he boomed. Startling everyone.
Kitern chuffed. “Good shit. Don’t worry Vigil. You’re not alone out here anymore, you got us. And don’t forget it.”
“Ma’am. Yes ma’am,” he replied, and looked forward once again.
Like the first time they had flown to the derelict, it only took a few minutes to reach the debris field, and then navigate to the ship in question. Onsa parked the shuttle next to the same breach they had entered through before and decompressed the shuttle’s interior.
Onsa opened one of the side doors, and the away team descended into the hulk. Kitern and Vigil almost seemed to be competing for who would arrive first. Both touched down simultaneously, and quickly made certain the area was clear. Though nothing living, other than them, had graced the ships in thousands of years. Their training was not so easily forgotten.
The team proceed through the ship until they arrived at the room they had found Vigil at. Kass took out a tool and crouched over the pod Vigil have previously been entombed in, and began waving it over the pod. She stood up and groaned. “Great. It’s out of power,” she called back.
“Are there anymore sources of power within the ship?” Kitern asked.
Gniwen fiddled with a scanner for a second. “No. I’m not picking anything else up.”
“Well, this was a waste of time,” Asteli said. Someone smacked her helmet a second later.
“Thank you Dentala. Saved me the trouble,” said Kitern. She crossed her arms in thought for a moment. “Vigil. You said you experimented with Nemesis tech while you were trapped onboard. Do you think you can power the ship up?”
“Unlikely, ma’am. The ship’s reactor and FTL drive suffered heavy damage,” he replied.
She pointed a finger at him. “That wasn’t a no. We’ll try to patch the reactor before we scrub the mission. If you please Vigil, show the way,” she said, gesturing to the open door.
He replied with a simple, “Affirmative,” and led the way. Vigil, knowing the layout of the ship far better than anyone present, quickly brought them to the reactor room. Maybe it should have been obvious, but no one had even thought of what they might find there. Vigil had said that he and several other Orphans had boarded the ship in order to destroy its FTL drive. And given the power requirements, most FTL drives and engines had direct routs to the ship’s reactor. Sometimes being right beside one another.
This ship was no exception. As they neared the reactor, signs of battle intensified. The corridors they had passed through, which they believed had been the sites of the worst of the fighting, paled compared to what they were now walking through. It was like a storm of death had blown through. Entire sections of the corridor was destroyed, forcing the team to climb over rubble and twisted metal.
Something else that hadn’t gone unnoticed was the fact that the closer they got to the reactor, the more… melted… everything became. Something had gone wrong, something catastrophic.
“We are here,” Vigil said, startling several members of the team who had become nervous from the surroundings. Vigil stood in front of a large opening, made even larger by a massive explosion that had occurred long ago.
Given his position, he was currently blocking most light from entering the room. Kitern, Kass, and Gniwen leaned around him, illuminating what lay before them. And for the first time, beheld the Nemesis.
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And thus, another character with a thick accent appears! Even worse than Grudge's! Most Liorans have a thick country accent in my head. I don't know why, but when I first envision their society they all had cowboy hats on. So they all became very "country" in appearance. You can think of them however you want. Most characters I don't give very detailed descriptions of, so you can envision them how you want. The main anatomical features are there to give you a guideline, the rest you fill in yourself. Especially facial features, Ohmata's face kept changing in my head, so instead of pinning down a specific look I left it fairly open for interpretation. If of course you would prefer I give her a proper description, I can do that. Venanian faces are very close to a human's after all.
Anyway, next we we'll start the one chapter a week pacing. I wanted to make sure people weren't getting bored with the story because of slow pacing. 9 chapters and not much action, just endless worldbuilding and background information.
submitted by Lazy-Personality4024 to HFY [link] [comments]