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Scout League - GW10

2020.12.01 00:12 jollyspiffing Scout League - GW10

Scout League Report - GW10
The scout league is a league with unlimited free-transfers trying to nail the dream team each week - see the joining details below.
This week in the fantasypl Scout League the Team Of The Week was '48AouarPartey' managed by 'Adarsh Kumar' with a GW score of '74'. The "real" scout would have been a runaway winner with their haul of 81 points!
NB I've added a transfer count this week, there are quite a lot of 'dead'/not-scout teams in the league it seems. As such I plan from next week to filter down the weekly league and overall league to only teams which have made >1 transfer this week and average >1 transfer per week across the season. Let me know if you disagree with that as a filter!
Top scouts this GW - top 25
rank id team_name manager GW_points GW_transfers
1 6480214 48AouarPartey Adarsh Kumar 74 6
2 487727 iheartmanchester Jason Emeka 72 1
3 5592025 ATHAR LIONS ATHAR HUSSAIN Syed 71 1
4 3306893 BEST ELEVEN James Soh 71 6
5 1566672 Dream Team Tiago Costa 70 2
6 7457271 BruyneXhakaLaca Vis Smith 70 9
7 7458712 ionzy17 Yoan Krastev 70 9
8 3513153 MartialX Constantine Nyalenda 69 1
9 1150980 Caw Caw Bitches John Honchkrow 69 16
10 3309736 Warriors Ahmed Hamdy 68 2
12 7250656 1030291tupper 1030291 tupperware 67 16
13 1477540 Napukan_Na_Bqlo Svetlozar Kamishev 66 1
14 3633033 Kevin De Bruno Harsha Sista 65 2
15 2881389 Set and DON'T Forget Dakota Williams 65 7
16 3910971 14 HITS Stacy Van Der Bosch 65 8
17 7269920 Santiago Rajiv Agrawal 65 10
18 4967057 IceIceBaby Vishal Mishra 64 1
19 633606 Avatar of Vengeance Fahad Ahmed 64 3
20 4817831 Boris FC John Habib 64 2
21 242290 Torreirasaurus-Rex Christopher Badolian 64 1
22 4249557 OUTLAW FC Teniola Emmanuel 63 2
23 980736 Mo Elniesta Ahmed Mansoor Ahad 63 2
24 7387258 scout team #1 theo Djidetchian 63 30
25 7449122 Sorry I'm Late Tumbles BDJ 63 10
Favourite picks this GW
name selected captained gw_pts
Calvert-Lewin 110 10 2
Fernandes 89 23 10
Grealish 86 0 10
Salah 70 26 6
Vardy 69 39 5
Chilwell 67 0 8
Son 67 2 3
Bamford 56 2 2
Martínez 51 0 1
De Bruyne 51 18 10
Justin 51 0 1
Jota 50 1 9
Kane 42 8 2
Ziyech 39 0 2
Rodríguez 36 1 2
Cancelo 35 0 0
Robertson 33 0 2
Watkins 27 0 0
Cresswell 26 0 2
Werner 20 1 2
McCarthy 19 0 2
Walker-Peters 18 0 1
Mané 16 3 1
Dias 13 0 6
Bellerín 13 0 0
Overall Scout League - top 50 of 144:
rank id team_name manager total_score total_transfers
1 4025915 Girls Gone Wildcard u/ ramnarayan93 653 64
2 4967057 IceIceBaby Vishal Mishra 641 46
3 4111638 MaraDonnylovesKoke Amrit Vanchinathan 637 15
4 3865648 Scouting for Goals Scout Master 637 123
5 1477540 Napukan_Na_Bqlo Svetlozar Kamishev 634 41
6 492687 partenopei Gennaro Gattuso 632 30
7 4249557 OUTLAW FC Teniola Emmanuel 628 28
8 3910971 14 HITS Stacy Van Der Bosch 621 97
9 702 Shut the FACUP Vishesh Gupta 618 15
10 5592025 ATHAR LIONS ATHAR HUSSAIN Syed 616 38
11 55688 Calvert-Lewinzaghi Thom Petty 613 35
12 37720 The Millennium Mbayoo Mungunda 613 25
13 4432379 oh no Paras Kavdikar 612 32
14 1150980 Caw Caw Bitches John Honchkrow 612 119
15 766820 Vettel Hansley Gungabissoon 607 31
16 5179232 InterYaNan Rohan Motiani 606 25
17 2864070 Baldrick Jonathan Liu 605 24
18 336301 CroMagnons Arthur Mwanje 604 14
19 5175345 Windmill FC William Windmill 603 32
20 3937028 Powpow FC Pif Mock 599 18
21 1511134 WABEBE FC Kevin Kuria 597 22
22 18493 Guyin Munich Guy Bronze 593 49
23 124708 Waldrom XI Dan Waldrom 591 20
24 1510117 2 Goals 1 Cup Tobias Svensson 590 63
25 171797 pointsgatherer geoff davidson 588 16
26 148768 Salah'd Tossers Joe Lombardi 588 26
27 3633033 Kevin De Bruno Harsha Sista 588 21
28 2426148 It’s all down hill James Smith 588 44
29 2623226 No Limit. All In. Taher Weekly Wildcard 588 76
30 4788179 Kloppsknockingshops Ali Price 587 11
31 4213322 Can't Catch Me Steve Jim 587 65
32 633606 Avatar of Vengeance Fahad Ahmed 586 61
33 1566672 Dream Team Tiago Costa 586 34
34 6219022 Moussa Lewis Loftus 585 42
35 4799709 2ManyPlebs Christian Bentley 585 92
36 4303057 WILDCARD TEAM Reddit User 582 68
37 1373089 A.Wenger's Endgame Euan Buxton 575 19
38 6480214 48AouarPartey Adarsh Kumar 572 33
39 5427653 Salah'd FC Shreyas Kulkarni 571 28
40 980736 Mo Elniesta Ahmed Mansoor Ahad 571 22
41 3115375 Devil's Red Anurag Mondal 571 14
42 492369 Fat & Average AF FC samson haveland 569 43
43 4437239 True Florina Champ Κώστας Γεω 569 20
44 4817831 Boris FC John Habib 565 32
45 377782 Kimi Kimi ~ 565 37
46 102653 Look at mooy Peter Varela 564 30
47 107815 Cheers Geoff Chan Varma 564 66
48 581237 Ogboner Liam Goodger 557 33
49 3113678 Unsteady Knee FC Jesse Gray 557 129
50 487727 iheartmanchester Jason Emeka 556 37
Join the scout league: wlk0qm
The aim is to make a secondary FPL team to try and get the most points from your 1st XI each week, with no restrictions on transfers: - Transfers will not count against your "scout league" score (they will still be counted on the official site) - C/VC are counted as normal. - Points are only scored for the first XI each week, subs don't count. - Auto-subs will not be counted. - Chips will not be counted (you can play them if you want)
I'm still confused how does this work? People in this league create a secondary team and try and pick the best XI each week without caring about transfer costs/hits. Scoring is done manually to exclude any transfers costs and also excludes bench players. The score/rank on the official site will usually be terrible because of the many transfers, but that's not what counts for this ML, it's what gets posted in the table above that counts.
Process finished with exit code 0
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2020.11.29 01:24 jcwilson_4121 Player hijacks game to run his own, burns himself out in the process

Today, for my first post on this sub, watching a reddit-reading channel on YouTube convinced me to post a pair of stories. Technically, I've got four, but there's two long stories and two short ones that can be described in one of two ways; either, 'I try and run a game involving one of my friends, and he makes everything weird,' or, 'my friend tries to run a game involving me, and he makes everything weird,' one long and one short each. I'll tell the stories in those pairs, starting with my attempts to run a game. Right into it, then:
First story is earliest, chronologically, back when I was in high school, and, TL;DR: Player hijacks my game to run his own, tries to exclude me from it, and runs himself ragged trying to do what I, according to him, made look so easy. Lots of him wanking off, likely literally in at least one case, over a crowd of DMPCs ensues.
This would've been 2004/2005 since I'm pretty sure I was about sixteen at the time. I was trying to run a 3.5e game, and the general idea was that some kind of accident had torn a hole through to another world, and these unidentified creatures(slivers - OG, not humanoid - for you MtG nuts out there) were pouring through, looking for a new place to roost. It had been kept, mostly, fairly quiet, since it happened in a fairly secluded area, an isolated, crown-funded magical research laboratory. One of my players had already made their character - he enjoyed the idea behind the Shadowcaster(Tome of Magic), so he was playing that, with full intention of going into the prestige class that lets you make temporary physical objects out of shadows - but the other player was, despite talking about how creative he was, having trouble coming up with ideas. Until he heard that I was statting slivers. This guy has, according to himself, a history of playing, or wanting to play, weird characters. Take a guess what he wanted to play as?
The first mistake is always the DM's, isn't it? I made it very, very clear that, even if I allowed it, he wouldn't be able to connect to others of his character's kind. For those that don't know, slivers are a hive mind that can share physical adaptations through their telepathic connection; the connection I mentioned is the telepathic hivemind. At most, I told him, he might be able to connect to one other sliver and gain its specific power, but not any of the other powers it might have from other slivers; that that connection would be forced, and he'd have to fight to keep it up. He claimed that he was fine with that, and that it made sense with the character he had in mind.
He wanted to play as a female, non-drone sliver, trying to make its own hive, as a queen. I told him that he might be able to do something like that, if he took the Leadership feat at sixth level, with all of his followers and NPCs acting as members of his hive, but it won't be until post-game that his character actually becomes a full-fledged sliver queen.
Again, he says he's fine with that, and decides on wanting to play a Favored Soul(spontaneous divine caster; Complete Divine) of Bahamut. I asked him why a sliver, from a completely different world that might not even have the same gods, would worship any god, much less a god of dragons, which would be the only thing that could potentially threaten a sliver queen. And I'd love to say that he told me his character was just following the scriptures of the first group she found to keep herself safe and hidden. I'd love to say that he had any ideas past, 'Bahamut doesn't care that I'm a sliver, because reasons.'
Love to. Really would. Can't, though. Don't like lying. This has been years ago, but I'm pretty sure he even told me that it was my job as the DM to figure that out and how to incorporate his character into the party.
I know better, now. But, since this was my first game, period, not just as DM, I went with it. To my credit, though, I did come up with, I think, a decent idea: Bahamut is a god of good and slivers are neutral unless ordered to do something by their queen. He believes that, since this sliver does not have a queen anymore, and is a queenling herself, that she can be taught to help others in addition to her own kind. As a show of good will, he lead her, alone, through part of one of his temples and allowed her to take a Hat of Disguise from the temple's private treasure hoard, to allow her to fit in and not draw attention to herself. This would count against the character's magic item allowance during character creation, but I was going to(and still do, admittedly) give out a lot of magic items in-game. He was, or claimed to be, fine with all of this. That it actually made sense, and he would enjoy playing it.
Important thing to note, only two of us had internet at the time, and my life involved extenuating circumstances that meant we couldn't run it in person; Shadowcaster's player - Jack, for this story - was having family issues, and they, clearly, were strapped for cash. Mostly single mom, long commute, recently in a new relationship, taking care of three boys of varying ages? Pretty obvious. He eventually kind of remedied this by buying an ancient wi-fi antenna off someone for cheap and connecting it to his laptop, which was such a hooptie of a machine that he had to open anything more intensive than notepad by using the command line. I am one hundred percent serious. That didn't happen for a while after the game ended, though. As for me, my mom was a bit controlling with when I was allowed out(didn't have a driver's license) and had warped views about how long D&D should take to be played on a session by session basis. We tried, once or twice, to run it in a Books-A-Million, with me telling her that it takes a few hours, plural, to run a session, three to four on average, and she all but called me a liar and said that she, 'knew,' that you could run a good session in one hour or less, and was constantly surprised to find out that we were still playing several hours in once we finally figured out how to do it.
So, we were running this game via phone, using group calling, which I had to initiate, because the phone plan at my house got it for free. We survived one session; I hadn't really told sliver player - we'll call him Richard - why I was statting slivers past, 'I like them. And I might need them for something later, you don't know,' up to that point, and the plan was to have them do minor jobs for normal people until the pair of them attracted enough attention to get an audience with the king and be drafted into helping seal the portal. Maybe, potentially, fight a few slivers that had escaped containment, if they stuck their noses in far enough in places they didn't need to be, which is a given with D&D parties.
Something about plans and first contact with the enemy, though. After the first session, wherein the party was asked to deal with something in a small village - a guy had gone into the hills around the village to hunt, and come back trying to kill and eat people with his bare hands; the villagers couldn't kill him, either out of him being too strong, or out of sentiment, and wanted him put down - which left off with them setting off into the hills to find the source of the problem, and I asked how it was.
They both said they enjoyed it; Jack told me that, unless I'd pre-prepared all of the dialogue, I was good at improv. Richard said I'd made it look easy. So easy, in fact, that he decided to run his own game at some point. I will reiterate, he said, 'at some point,' and I bet you can tell where this is going.
The next day. I've set up to do a session with my players, have a few ideas on how to run the combat with the undead, and I'm ready to go, or, at least, as ready as I'll ever be. And I wait for the call from Jack.
An hour passes. He has to be home by now. We're high schoolers, and nerds; we don't do, or have, extracurriculars to deal with. So, I give him a call. First words out of his mouth are to ask me where I've been.
We talk for a couple of minutes, and I find out that Richard had told Jack that he'd called me himself and I had told him that I didn't have time to play today and given him permission to run a solo game for Jack's character. And to level him up a lot, because I'd intended to do it after the last session.
None of which, as I'm sure you can guess, happened. So, I'm seething a bit, but I ask Jack how everything's going in it, and he fills me in before we disconnect the call, I give them a couple minutes to end the call, call back, and we start talking. Richard swears up and down that he called me, and I had answered. I asked when this happened, he said that it would've been around an hour or two ago. I'd been home for just over an hour, and had been out in town for a while before that, so what he was claiming was physically impossible. He held fast, said that he didn't have a character for me to play as, and that if I wanted to play, we'd all have to call it where it was and come back tomorrow. Not that he had no way to introduce him, but that he didn't have a character for me to play as. Now, I'm supposedly good at improv. I also constantly, to the point of it often distracting me from other things, have ideas swirling around in my head. I told him to give me ten, maybe twenty, minutes.
A little under thirty minutes later, I had a dexterity-based fighter that focused on tripping, feinting, and maneuverability. No big deal, right?
We start playing, and I noticed a few things fairly quickly.
One: The DM has an item hotline; you can call it and buy anything, as long as you can afford it, even things like feats or class abilities. Jack hadn't taken advantage of it, yet, if I remember right, and I'm looking at it like, 'what the hell is Richard thinking?'
Two: The setting is heavily based off of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, with a dangerous mist everywhere except the towns. This mist, though, prevents the use of magic inside it. Because Richard, of his own admission, doesn't know how the magic system works.
Three: Richard has Jack playing his Shadowcaster, just at twelfth level instead of, if I remember right, sixth, because I'd heard that sixth level was where PCs stopped being so squishy. Richard has no books, so Jack's Shadowcaster is still just rocking around with his basic sixth level abilities. I offer to help him get it up to spec, but Richard says we've already wasted enough time on me and my character, so we can handle it between sessions. Because of limitations on the time we had between sessions - which we'll get to, don't worry - we never got to it.
Four: Richard is also playing as his character. You know, the sliver queen-aspirant? She has three, 'sterile female drone slivers,' direct quote, following her around. Remember that. He's also playing as an epic-level, katana-wielding druid. Total current DMPC count: five. This number will rise.
Five: The first words Richard says to me are something I've been lead to believe are infamous in D&D sub-reddits. "Would you like to draw a card from the Deck of Many Things?" Dude has a raging, unwashed, pendulous erection for that curse-ed conglomeration of cards, as well as a slightly smaller one for other random items like the Rod of Wonder, for reasons I do not, at all, understand. Don't get me wrong, I like random effect magic items and the like myself, but when there's negatives involved, I tend to use it fairly sparingly, if not outright as a trap or a punishment, depending on the balance of positive to neutral to negative effects it can have. If it's mostly positive, and you find it, it's your choice to use it or not; if it's mostly negative, it's a trap, or something else, that blows up in your face because you screwed up. Player agency, good and bad, either because of a choice they've made, or something they failed to do properly, is key.
Richard, seemingly, never got that memo about even half-way decent DMing. Honestly, from here, the game just gets kinda sad, and not in the tear-jerking sense, but I'll quickly recap the first session, highlights reel style, so you know what to expect:
Jack draws from the deck, ends up drawing Death and is forced to fight some kind of undead that acts as an envoy of the grim reaper. My character jumps in to help, and it splits into two.
We kill them and, against my better judgement, I draw as well. I get ... whichever card gets you either a lot of money or a free magic item. Gems, I think? Richard tries to give me something he thought was super cool, but was useless for my character(I honestly don't remember what it was), and I instead rolled randomly, receiving something that was just as useless, short-term, but could be made useful long-term, an Instant Fortress.
We're then beset upon by kobolds that could, somehow, tell that we had a deck of many things(which we actually didn't have, it was just something the DM was doing), and I position my Instant Fortress so that it takes most of them out. Richard describes the leader as sitting on top of a horse and I laugh, pointing out that it's literally a two and a half foot tall lizard man on a horse, and looks dumb. He then asks me what they're supposed to ride, if not horses, claiming that everyone rides horses. I point out that halflings ride man-sized dogs, like saint bernards, and that the Monster Manual says that kobolds use dire weasels as trained combat and riding animals.
This is where I learned that Richard had no books. Like, at all. Not even the Player's Handbook or Dungeon Master's Guide. He's not interested in looking at the online System Reference Document, or me sending him copies of the pdf versions I keep as backups in case my physicals meet an unfortunate end, because it would require either him to go to a non-WotC site, or me to put them up on MediaFire and, and I quote, "Those are just torrent sites and all torrent sites are nothing but viruses."
Yes, he even included the SRD page in this.
He changed it, after a bit of minor, joking cajoling, we take out the kobolds, and I decide I want to try to retrain the dire weasel and have it as something like a pet. A bit of food and a high handle animal check later and I'm allowed this, but told that we can't take it with us, and, OOC, that we won't be back around the fortress my item had made. Ever. When I asked why, I was told that that would have me with two characters, and Jack only had one.
And to remind you that it exists, the current DMPC count just went up; as we searched through the fortress for the stables and larders for food to set it up with while we're gone, we find two more drone slivers that instantly fall in line with Richard's original character. And they've eaten all the meat in the entire fortress. Between just the two of them. Yes, really. Richard starts joking around claiming that I'm basically trying to leave it to starve, just because I want a pet. This is a hot-button issue for me, and it soured most of that conversation until he, 'relented,' and retconned the food being gone, 'just to be nice,' as though it wasn't something he did.
I didn't think it needed to be said, ever, but, "That thing I said you could have? Give it back. Now," is a slap in the face. And, as apologies for it go, "Fine, you can have back this thing I took away from you, but only because I'm being nice to you," is so much worse.
So, we set off towards the nearest town. The DM's druid leaves the path and disappears into the woods on the side of the road. A ways down the road, a dead body flops out of the woods in our path. Now, for context, the three of us know a red-headed kid from our high school. He was, and probably still is, a bit of an asshole, as well as a few other things. This body is described as having the same height, body-type, and build as this guy, has the same shade of reddish-orange hair, and is in a robe that marks him as a cultist of cthulhu.
Being adventurers, we poke and prod at it to try and figure out why this random guy just dropped dead. Remember what I said about the DoMT and similar things, like the RoW? Yeah. We end up gender-swapped to female and Jack's character ends up alignment-swapped from Lawful Evil to Chaotic Good. Shadowcasters rely on an ordered, structured mindset, and the adherence to law and self-service is why LE is the most common Shadowcaster alignment, whereas CG, the lack of structure and constant changing of rules to suit the needs of many different people, is basically anathema to the class. No real detriment, just roleplay issues, but it's the spirit of the thing; you don't just snap-change someone's alignment without them saying it's okay, y'know?
I carry the corpse with us, because, at the very least, he needs to be laid to rest properly and we don't have magic, or a shovel, to dig a grave.
The first town we find is covered in a thicker version of the mist that kills anything inside it instantly. This is supposed to be a, 'puzzle,' but there were no clues, no real way of knowing how to get around it; the forest was too thick unless we were druids or rangers and too dangerous for our level, we couldn't walk away from the town because we'd just end up right back where we started in front of the village. The whole time Richard's just sitting there laughing, because of how, 'simple,' the, 'puzzle,' is and how hard of a time we're having. He ends up just solving it for us with his DMPCs and not telling us what the answer was.
We finally make our way to the actual city, the druid goes off to find us an inn to stay at and takes the slivers with her. We go looking for a church to drop off the corpse and explain what happened, find a temple of cthulhu - in the middle of town - in the largest city in the region - just... right there - yes, really - only to figure out that it's closed for the night. We start banging on the door, because clerics actually live in their temples, and... nothing. After a bit of back and forth with Richard, we're forcibly escorted to the inn by the druid who has said not one word this whole time. I'm not going to let this go, though, and this dead guy needs a proper burial. I roll initiative, high enough to go first, get a surprise round for taking the first swing, but it doesn't matter. I get jobbed for trying to step to the epic-level DMPC and basically carried off by the nape of my neck to the inn with Jack's character following.
The session leaves off on Richard calling that night an orgy, essentially claiming that everyone in the group throws themselves into a nine-body, all-woman orgy involving two-thirds majority slivers. I put my foot down on that one and, surprisingly, so did Jack. Richard started off saying that, no, he said that that's what happens, so that's what happens, and we remind him that, no, we're the players in charge of our characters, he doesn't get to take control of them from us, and then he started whining about how it's not fair, and it's no big deal since it's just a game.
(Not so)Fun fact: He started the next session saying that we'd gone along with it, but neither of us are that stupid, and he got pissy about it, claiming he thought that we were, 'joking.' He also claimed that, 'at least one,' of the slivers must be male, because his DMPC sliver was pregnant.
Considering how long that is, and that it's just the first session, I'm going to kind of try to truncate the rest of the campaign into only a few paragraphs, because, just... fuck. This is giving me anxiety just retyping it.
Our DMPC count rises by two as we're told - not asked, told - by Spock and some teenage girl, apparently a reference to a particular episode where the girl is from a race that, I think, dies part-way into their teenage years, and she wants to learn of the universe? I'm not a trekkie, and it's been more than a decade. We end up fighting a ... sigh ... Half-Celestial Kraken. One I, personally, had to stat, because Richard didn't have books, and won't even imagine a world where he does it himself. We end up kicking its ass and it offers us a ride across the ocean. Part-way through, we're attacked by ... ugh ... The Enterprise. Yes, that Enterprise. The one that Spock served on. It's apparently an evil alternate universe version of it. My character was the only one with an actual ranged weapon. Yes, really, the dex-focused, maneuverability-centric, melee fighter with a rapier and a crossbow was the only person in this party of eleven with an actual ranged weapon. Jack's character had spells, however, because Richard didn't understand the magic system, he didn't have any spells past a certain level, despite being level twelve/thirteen.
So, realizing that this giant, gleaming white thing is probably covered in metal, he pulls out a set of special bolts, fitted with ceramic stoppers in place of heads that were sealed, with wax, into small, approximately coin-sized ceramic shells, and had had fire trap cast on them(don't remember where I saw the rules, but it's basically just a normal bolt that has -1 to attack rolls, deals no damage on its own, but triggers the fire trap on impact, because breaking them counts as opening them). I figured I might do a bit of damage and run them off, because small, slow-moving, ballistic projectiles, supposedly don't trigger their shields, according to Richard. ... Instead, I blew it out of the sky, in one shot, because Richard rolled for hit location and got the engine intake ports. This results in them trying to engage their warp drive, exploding all over the open ocean, and leaving my character with weird, glowing blue lines up and down the backs of his legs that let him engage a short-lived warp jump. Basically, he could use Blink three times a day, with an up to 300 ft. range, which I wouldn't have had a problem with, except he put it on my character's body. Boots? Sure, I'm wearing those, put it on those. But, for some reason, body integrity was, and is, a whole thing with me; even if it's beneficial, I don't want some random thing attached to me, or my characters, against my will.
DMPC count rises again, but the numbers don't really matter; too huge to rationalize. We come ashore on a different island, and we hear the sounds of battle nearby. We come over a ridge and find two swarms of slivers fighting each other. As Richard's sliver DMPCs come over the ridge, one of the swarms lets out a triumphant screech. These are the new DMPCs. I will say that again. These - Are - The - New - DMPCs. A literal army. I am not kidding. I do not lie. Not a fan of it. Too much work. Also, remember the reason there are slivers in the setting in the first place? A single, magical accident that tore a portal into another world, most likely Dominaria because, y'know, slivers? Richard had asked about why there were slivers in the first place between sessions, and, since he was running something with our characters, ostensibly in the same world, just in the future, I told him. He ran with it. That's why there are star trek characters around. That's why, as we're moving through the din, towards an area with adequate cover to hunker down in while we fight back, an empty temple, we see ... various video game characters. If Richard doesn't like that character, they die. If he does, they're winning, and siding with his characters. I remember, specifically, Shadow the Hedgehog seemed to be doing okay until he got hit, tripped, rolled to the ground, and got swarmed, but I know there were others.
Inside the temple, we found a portal. Not an unstable rift caused by an accident, like I'd described to Richard, but a stable, purposefully-built, portal. It's at this point that I'm questioning why I'm even still there, and realizing that I am, and have been, in full-blown train wreck phenomenon mode for the last couple sessions. I want to look away, I want to do anything else, but I can't bring myself to; I want to see how big the crash is, how high the fires burn. So, we go through the portal. And come out in my house. Not my character's house, mind you. My house. My real life house. We're in the, 'real world,' loaded for bear with gold, silver, and copper coins, and magic items. As my character was Neutral Good, and he realized we were somewhere new, as soon as we dealt with ... my mother ... who turned into a monster ... he wanted to find a money changer.
I did some quick math to determine how much our metal coins were worth, and it was enough to buy a huge mansion, on a massive, multi-acre plot of land several miles away from the nearest neighbors. This surprised Richard, and he called the last session there. We talked to him after it, and he was tired, almost defeated-sounding as he explained that he was tapped out. The only thing he had left was to have the Power Rangers show up.
...
What? You think I'm kidding? Sorry, nope. Remember, me and Jack are high schoolers at this point, and Richard's a few years older than us and has walked, but not graduated. Power Rangers was his childhood to middle-adolescence, and he thought, at the time, that an audio track of Goku, yes, from DBZ, doing like two minutes of power-up yelling, panting and gasping in-between, ending with the sounds of someone taking a hard, painful dump, was the height of comedy.
That being said, I'm sure that that whole story was all a lot to take in. Kicker time. Duration of campaign: Four sessions, across three days. I had kept, at the end of his sessions, stating that I'd like to actually run my own game - y'know, the one that he'd hijacked? - and he'd always respond by basically saying, though more and more tiredly every time, that he was wanting to keep doing his game. That last day, being a Sunday, we'd started early, and I figured I could run my game after a couple hours. That's not something he could allow, because he was running a game and that meant no one else in the group could, and with the double session, completely burned him on running games for the time being.
A couple side-notes before I get to the other, much shorter, story:
Yes, the names have been changed to protect everyone.
The Magic Item Hotline did get used. Once. I had a lot of money leftover from character creation, and, because of the whole pet-giant-ferret thing, I wanted to get a familiar. Feats, remember, were purchasable, and both obtain familiar and improved familiar are things. Dire weasels are on the improved familiar list, but that got the kebosh put to it. So, I wanted, god, I don't remember what it was called, but it was a mechanical hawk that could spit electrical sparks. It didn't do much damage, could be used to scout, all that. Nope. That would still give me a, 'second character,' and since only spellcasters can have familiars, I'd also suddenly be a spellcaster. Because I'd have a familiar. Even though spellcasters don't get their spells from their familiars. Ignore that that makes no sense, even though one of the things that he'd mentioned was that you could get feats you don't meet the requirements for, but it would be more expensive. So, yeah, no pets for me. The only reason this is down here is because I forgot where it happened, chronologically.
There was no love lost between me and him because of the thing with my mom appearing in-game as an enemy encounter. Me and her have a rocky relationship in the same way a chunk of raw sodium and a glass of water don't do so well if you put the former into the latter. The encounter, such as it was, was kind of cathartic, actually. Completely out of left field, entirely uncalled-for, but still kind of cathartic.
The whole pregnancy thing was supposed to be a shocking twist, but it fell flat on its face. Our reactions were, literally, 'Okay?'
I would like to take a moment to impress upon you, dear reader, that, at every step of the session I ran, both players claimed to be enjoying themselves. There was no fore-warning, and Jack, to this day, says he was not privy to what Richard was planning ahead of time, and I have no reason to believe otherwise.
Before anyone asks, yes. Richard is on the spectrum. I know this because he came right out and told me that he was when we were talking about getting him some help for some classes he wasn't doing well in during college. His response was to tell me that he wasn't going to get help with his issues, because he thought it made him weak to let something like that rule his life to the point that he couldn't pass his classes without help. I even gave him the, obvious to the point of stereotypicality, pep-talk about how it's not weak to know your limitations and ask for help if you get pushed past them, but he just doubled down. Richard did not see anything wrong with this, or what he did to the campaign I was trying to run.
Now, for the short story. This happened a couple years later, during college. As a note, I have run a decently-successful campaign for Richard and Jack. One. Jack and I, with him playing solo, have multiple campaigns under our collective belt, but that's neither here nor there; this story is about the single, decently-successful duo campaign I ran for them, or, rather, the character creation process that came ahead of it. The campaign itself was fine. Now, remember his whole thing for playing weird characters? These play out one of three ways, oftentimes with some overlap; you've seen one, so it's only fair you see the other two, and this story has both at the same time.
So, way number one is, 'quirky, non-human, mascot-style character.' That was the sliver in the first campaign I ran, and it was the character he ended up running in this campaign. The other two are, 'stoic, over-leveled, mentor-style character,' and, 'tragic female character with a gritty, grimdark backstory.'
So, yeah, when it came time for him and Jack to come up with characters for this new campaign, Jack had one pretty quick. He wanted to play a female tibbit(basically a halfling were-housecat with control over their transformation, and only a humanoid and animal form) cleric. We were set to start at level five, and Richard thought he had the best idea ever.
He wanted to play a female half-elf paladin of Bahamut that had already, basically, gone on her character's adventure, and returned home after to find that cultists of Tiamat had murdered her family. On her birthday. Using her family's entrails as replacements for traditional decorations. They take her down non-lethally and, amid the blood and viscera, raped her on the kitchen table, which somehow converted her into a blackguard of Tiamat. No explanation, though his smile did fall a bit when I asked.
But, hey, it's a character, so it's something to work from. Problem is that blackguards are a prestige class, which require whatever character you're playing to be, usually, at a minimum of fifth level before you can take them. I mention that, and that he's, at minimum, a level or two above the fifth level maximum. Richard then tells me that he wants to have a dragon mount. I do some looking around to find a way that that's possible. And, while the specifics are lost to me, I did manage to do it, but, at the minimum(a wyvern), his character is going to be fifteenth-level.
"That's fine," Richard tells me, his grin now more smug than ever, "I'll just hang back and let Jack's character fight until he's gained enough levels to match mine, and only step in if I need to save his character!"
This can work. Sometimes. Maybe. But I didn't want to try my hand at it for my second campaign. Hard - Pass. Richard's upset at this, and isn't backing down, claiming that he doesn't have any other character ideas. This is his only one. That's fine, and I can easily help him come up with another one.
He doesn't want to come up with a new one, and he doesn't want to play the game to get it up to that level, or play as his paladin and be given the chance to become the blackguard of my nightmares. He wanted to play this one, as-is, because it's a character that you can actually, legitimately, play, it's just that the level's too high for the game he's trying to use it in. So, that clearly just means that the game's wrong, and the level needs to go up, or an exception needs to be made.
I was not as stalwart at that point in my life as I am now, not so unbending in my resolve. So, I came up with a compromise: I'd stat up his tragic, angst-ridden character, at level fifteen, including the wyvern mount. But. I'd also stat another fifteenth-level character, and we'll decide it with a trial by combat. If he knows enough about the system to play the character as we'd decided it would be built and win, or do well enough to escape and not die, he can play it.
Neither of these were going to be anything awful; I do not have any sense for cheese in builds. The character I was going to use was a Dragonfire Adept(think Warlock, but breathes fire instead of throwing around bolts of magic). They weren't horribly imbalanced against each other; the Blackguard would have a shield that gives her a bonus on Bluff rolls used to Feint in combat, which goes well with the Blackguard's sneak attack, some magic, and the second body on her side, her wyvern, with its massive hit point pool, should have offset the area of effect fire breath, by providing cover with how big it is.
He says he'll do it, and to text or message me when I get done. I tell him it might be a day or two. Two days later, I message him via Yahoo. He's online, so he should be ready. And he responds by logging off. And then absolutely ghosting me for three days, before he came back with a new character, either ignoring what I was saying or outright denying the whole thing had happened when I brought up the earlier character. His new character was an awakened dire rat that acted as a walking shit joke. Literally once purposefully shit himself, then threw his own shitty pants in a fire at one point to run some guards out of a room, and when they managed to get ahold of a house, instead of picking a room, his character slept underneath the old outhouse that had gone unused for so long that flowers had grown on it.
After suffering in silence for a while, I eventually made it clear that literal shit jokes, like throwing shit, or literally trying to wallow in shit, for no good reason, was not something I was into talking about or dealing with. We discussed why, like adults(including me bringing up that rats have such a weak immune system that they have to clean themselves near-constantly or they'll get sick, as well as other things), and... he stopped. He was still gross, throwing himself into mud, and not really caring about crawling through muck and viscera, but made sure to mention that he washed, or at least cleaned up a bit, whenever he needed to. And that's all I've got for this one. Next one will be Richard's attempts to start a game of his own, and that'll come whenever I get time to write it. If you've got questions until then, no promises, but I will try to answer them.
submitted by jcwilson_4121 to dndhorrorstories [link] [comments]


2020.11.28 00:24 dylosaur [H] February - November Bundles including Tropico 6, Yakuza Kiwami 2, Darksiders III, Forager, Golf With Your Friends, XCOM 2, Vampyr, and More [W] PayPal (Priced), Among Us

IGS Rep

Note:

Wanted:

Games:

February Bundle

Title Availability Price
Frostpunk + The Rifts Claimed Claimed
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Enhanced Edition Claimed Claimed
Book of Demons Available $1.00
Cryofall Available $1.00
Okami HD Claimed Claimed
Eliza Available $.75
SHENZHEN I/O Claimed Claimed
Project Warlock Available $1.50
The Hex Available $.75
Warstone TD Available $.75
Underhero Available $1.25
Night Call Available $1.50

March Bundle

Title Availability Price
My Friend Pedro Claimed Claimed
Planet Coaster + World's Fair Pack Claimed Claimed
F1 2019 Claimed Claimed
Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark Available $2.50
Battle Chasers: Nightwar Claimed Claimed
EXAPUNKS Claimed Claimed
Turok Available $1.00
Death's Gambit Available $2.00
198X Available $1.00
Niffelheim Available $.75
AI War 2 Available $1.00
Etherborn Available $1.50

April Bundle

Title Availability Price
Hitman 2 Claimed Claimed
GRIS Claimed Claimed
This Is the Police 2 Available $2.50
Opus Magnum Claimed Claimed
MOLEK-SYNTEZ Claimed Claimed
Raiden V: Director's Cut Available $1.50
Driftland: The Magic Revival Available $1.50
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Available $2.00
Trüberbrook Available $1.00
The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut Available $2.00
Shoppe Keep 2 Available $1.50
Capitalism II Available $1.50

May Bundle

Title Availability Price
Jurassic World Evolution + Deluxe Dinosaur Pack Claimed Claimed
XCOM 2 + Reinforcement Pack & Resistance Warrior Pack Available $6.00
Rise of Industry Available $2.50
Niche - a genetics survival game Available $1.00
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War Available $5.00
The Swords of Ditto: Mormo's Curse Available $1.00
Warsaw Available $1.50
Heave Ho Available $2.00
MO:Astray Available $.75
Neoverse Available $1.00
Chess Ultra Available $1.50
Horace Available $1.00

June Bundle

Title Availability Price
Supraland Available $3.00
GRID - Ultimate Edition Claimed Claimed
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Available $7.00
The Messenger Available $1.50
Barotrauma Claimed Claimed
Felix the Reaper Available $1.25
Men of War: Assault Squad 2 - Warchest Edition Available $3.00
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones Claimed Claimed
Remnants of Naezith Available $1.00
Overload Available $.75
The Stillness of the Wind Available $.75
The King's Bird Available $.75

July Bundle

Title Availability Price
Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Deluxe Edition Claimed Claimed
Void Bastards Claimed Claimed
Railway Empire Claimed Claimed
Battlestar Gallactica Deadlock Available $3.00
Yuppie Psycho Claimed Claimed
Beat Hazard 2 Available $1.00
Sigma Theory: Global Cold War Available $1.00
Metal Unit Available $1.00
Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive Available $1.00
Verlet Swing Available $1.50
Basingstoke Available $.75
Earthlock Available $1.00

August Bundle

Title Availability Price
Vampyr Available $8.00
Hello Neighbor + Hello Neighbor Hide and Seek Collection Available $2.50 each / $4 together
Wargroove Claimed Claimed
Call of Cthulu Claimed Claimed
Little Big Workshop Available $1.00
Genesis Alpha One Deluxe Edition Available $1.50
Automachef Available $1.00
Through the Darkest of Times Available $.75
American Fugitive Available $.75
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters Available $1.00
We Were Here Together Available $5.00
A Case of Distrust Available $.75

September Bundle

Title Availability Price
Forager Available $6.00
Golf With Your Friends + Caddy Pack DLC & OST Claimed Claimed
Lethal League Blaze Available $3.00
Generation Zero Available $5.00
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Available $2.00
The Occupation Available $.75
Catherine Classic Might Keep Might Keep
Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York Available $.75
The Shapeshifting Detective Available $.75
Evoland Legendary Edition Available $.75
Fun with Ragdolls: The Game Available $1.00

October Bundle

Title Availability Price
Tropico 6 - El Prez Edition Available $9.00
Autonauts Available $1.25
The Sunless Sea + Skies Bundle Available $2.50 each / $4.00 together
Iron Danger Available $1.50
Shadows: Awakening Available $2.00
Fae Tactics Available $3.50
Fantasy Blacksmith Available $.75
The Suicide of Rachel Foster Available $1.50
Goat of Duty Available $.75
The Uncertain: Last Quiet Day $1.50
Lightmatter Available $1.00

November Bundle

Title Availability Price
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Available $9.00
Darksiders III Available $5.00
Imperator Rome Deluxe Edition Available $3.50
Crying Suns Available $3.00
Darksburg Available $3.00
Little Misfortune Available $2.00
Smile for Me Available $1.50
Darkwood Available $3.00
TSIOQUE Available $1.00
Rover Mechanic Simulator Available $3.00
Youropa Available $1.50
Townsmen - A Kingdom Rebuilt Available $1.50

Leftovers

Title Availability Price
11-11 Memories Retold Available $.75
2064: Read Only Memories Available $2.00
7 Grand Steps Available $1.00
A Virus Named Tom Available $.75
Aegis Defenders* Available $.75
AI War: Fleet Command Available $.75
Ancestors Legacy* Available $4.00
Avernum 3: Ruined World Available $1.00
Ballistick Available $.75
Beat Hazard Ultra Available $1.00
Bendy and the Ink Machine™ Available $7.00
Boundless Available $3.00
Chasm Available $1.50
Chroma Squad Available $1.50
Dark Future: Blood Red States* Available $.75
DISTRAINT 2 w/ Soundtrack Available $1.00
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble Available $1.50
Dead in Vinland Available $1.50
Distance Available $2.00
Dusty Revenge: Co-Op Edition Available $1.00
Ellipsis Available $1.00
Evergarden Available $.75
Fluffy Horde Available $.50
GRAV (Early Access) Available $1.00
Girls Like Robots Available $.75
God's Trigger Available $.75
Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition Available $.75
Guacamelee! 2 Available $3.00
Guacamelee! Gold Edition Available $1.50
Guns of Icarus Online Available $.75
Horizon Chase Turbo* Available $1.50
Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora Deluxe Available $.75
JumpJet Rex Available $1.00
Luna's Wandering Stars Available $.75
MOTHERGUNSHIP Available $2.00
Monster Loves You Available $2.00
Mushroom 11 Available $1.50
Nex Machina Available $2.00
Ninja Pizza Girl Available $1.00
No Time to Explain Available $.75
Phantom Doctrine* Available $2.00
Planet Alpha Available $1.50
Potatoman Seeks the Troof Available $.75
Puss! Available $1.00
ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS Available $.75
Regular Human Basketball Available $.75
Retro Game Crunch Available $.75
Rituals Available $.75
Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball Available $1.50
Rocket Birds: Hardboiled Chicken Available $1.00
Secrets of Raetikon Available $1.00
Shenmue I & II Available $3.00
Song of the Deep Available $3.00
Spirits Available $.75
Sproggiwood Available $.75
State of Mind Available $1.50
Streamline Early Access Available $.75
Super Galaxy Squadron EX Available $2.00
Super Hexagon Available $.75
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Available $2.00
Sword Legacy Omen Available $.75
TIMEframe Available $.75
Team Indie Available $2.00
The Spiral Scouts Available $.75
Thirty Flights of Loving Available $2.00
Tower of Guns Available $1.00
Train Valley 2 Available $2.00
Unexplored Available $.75
Vikings - Wolves of Midgard Available $1.00
Waking Mars Available $1.00
shutshimi Available $.75
X-Morph: Defense* Available $.75
submitted by dylosaur to indiegameswap [link] [comments]


2020.11.27 19:56 RileyJiriehER (SELLING) HUGE LIST SALE: My Biggest List thus Far, mixed or New, Newer, Old and Older Titles ranging from 4K, HDx and SD formats. Lots of $2 and Under titles. Happy Thanksgiving and Thank you for looking at my list.

NOTE: Please READ...
1.) Will reply to potential sale and inquiries as soon as i can.
2.) All titles are sold as split whenever possible, so please redeem what you pay for.
3.) Redemption site & format is indicated besides every title, all MA eligible titles is labeled with (MA), (MA or iTunes) or (iTunes/ports), meaning they all port to all services if available. While, titles with labels (Vudu), (iTunes) or (vudu or iTunes) doesn't ports MA and stay on the service it was redeemed. Stay Safe Folks....
TODAY's SPECIAL: Spend $8 above and get 5% off total or spend $15 and get 10% off total; otherwise firm on prices listed. Thanks

4k UHD SECTION:
*10 Cloverfield Lane 4k (iTunes) $3
*13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi 4k (iTunes) $3
*A Quite Place 4k (vudu) $5
*Alien Covenant 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
Assasin's Creed 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Battleship 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Bay Watch 4k (vudu) $5 (iTunes) $3
*Black Hawk Down 4k (MA) $7
*Birds of Prey 4k (MA)
*BumbleBee 4k (vudu) $4 (iTunes) $2.5
*Criminal 4k (vudu) $5 (iTunes) $3
*Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 4k (iTunes/ports) $5
*Deadpool 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Deepwater Horizon 4k (vudu) $4.5 (iTunes) $3
Detroit 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Downsizing 4k (vudu) $4.5 (iTunes) $3
*Dracula Untold 4k (iTunes/ports) $5
*Dredd 4k (iTunes) $4
*Exodus: Gods and Kings 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
Expendables 3** 4k (vudu) $3
*Full Metal Jacket 4k (MA) $6
Furious 7 4k (iTunes/ports) $2.5
*Gone Girl 4k (iTunes/ports) $6
*Gremlins 4k (MA) $7
Hacksaw Ridge** 4k (vudu) $4
Hidden Figures** 4k (iTunes/ports) $3
Home Alone** 4k (iTunes/ports) $6
*Independence Day: Resurrurgence 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Inferno 4k (MA) $6
*Interstellar 4k (iTunes) $3
*It's a Wonderful Life 4k (vudu) $6
Jack Reacher:Never Go Back 4k (vudu) $4 (iTunes) $3
*Joker 4k (MA) $6
Joy 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Jurassic Park 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Jurassic Park 3 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
Life of Pi 4k (iTunes/ports) $5
*Logan 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Lone Survivor 4k (iTunes/ports) $3
*Lucy 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 4k (iTunes/ports) $5
*Point Break 2015 4k (MA) $7
*Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 4k (vudu or iTunes) $5
*Snow White and the Huntsman 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 4k (MA) $6
*Spectre 4k (iTunes) $5
*Terminator: Genysis 4k (iTunes) $3
*The Bourne Identity 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*The Bourne Supremacy 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*The Bourne Ultimatum 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*The Bourne Lagacy 4k (iTunes/ports) $3
*The Equalizer 2 4k (MA) $6
*The Great Wall 4k (iTunes/ports) $3.5
*The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 4k (iTunes) $3
The Huntsman Winter's War Ext 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*The Last Witch Hunter 4k (iTunes) $3
*The Legend of Tarzan 4k (MA) $7
*The Martian 4k (iTunes/ports) $6
*The Maze Runner 4k (iTunes/ports) $6
The Night at the Museum: SOTT** 4k (iTunes/ports) $3
*The Peanuts Movie 4k (itunes/ports) $6
*The Predator 2018 4k (MA) $5
*The Shining 4k (MA) $7
*Venom 4k (MA) $6
*Whiplash 4k (MA) $7
*Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 4k (MA) $6
*X-Men: Apocalypse 4k (iTunes/ports) $4
*X-Men: Future Past 4k (iTunes/ports) $4

HDx SECTION:
*A Harold and Kumar Christmas (MA) $4
*Ad Astra (MA) $4
All Eyez on Me** (vudu or iTunes) $3
*Annie 2014 (MA) $4
*Batman: Assault of Arkham (MA) $5
*Black Christmas (MA) $4
Birdman** (MA) $5
*Boyhood (vudu) $3
Buttons: A Christmas Tale** (vudu) $4 (iTunes) $3
*Central Intelligence (MA) $4
*Colombiana u/R (MA) $5
*Courageous (MA) $4
*Curse of Chucky (iTunes/ports) $3
*Dark Waters (MA) $4.5
*Dear White People (vudu) $3
*Despicable Me 2 (MA) $3
*Dracula Untold (MA) $3
*Dredd (vudu) $3
*Ghostbusters 2 (MA) $4
*Godzilla (MA) $3
*Green Lantern & Emerald Knights (MA) $3
*Home Alone 2 (MA) $5
*Homefront (iTunes/ports) $3
Hugo (vudu or iTunes) $3
*If Beale Street Could Talk (MA) $5
*Jurassic Park (MA) $2.5
*Jurassic Park 3 (MA) $2.5
*Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (MA) $4
Life after Beth (vudu) $4
*Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (MA) $3
*London Has Fallen (iTunes/ports) $3
*Love and Mercy (vudu) $4
*Magic Mike XXL (MA) $4
*Man of Steel (MA) $3
*M.I.B. International (MA) $4
*Mortdecai (vudu) $3
*My Big Fat Greek Weeding 2 (iTunes/ports) $3
*No Good Deed (MA) $4
*Now You See Me 2 (vudu) $3
*Olympus Has Fallen (MA) $4
*Pixels (MA) $5
*Pompeii (MA) $4
*Santa's Little Helper (MA) $4
*Serenity 2005 (MA) $2.5
*R.I.P.D. (iTunes/ports) $2.5
*Rango (vudu) $3
*Ride Along (iTunes/ports) $3
*Ride Along 2 (iTunes/ports) $3
Run the Race** (MA) $4
*Secret in Their Eyes (iTunes/ports) $3
*Scouts Guide inthe Zombie Apocalypse (vudu or iTunes) $4
Southpaw** (vudu) $5
*Spy (MA) $4
*Spontaneous (vudu) $6
*St. Vincent (vudu) $3
*T2: Trainspotting (MA) $4
*Ted (MA) $3
*Ted 2 (iTunes/ports) $3
*Taken 2 (MA) $4
*Taken 3 (MA) $3
*The Fighter (iTunes) $3
*The Equalizer (MA) $4
*The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (vudu) $3
*The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (MA) $3
*The Judge (MA) $3
*The Meg (MA) $3
*The Shack (vudu or iTunes) $3
*The Shallows (MA) $4
*The Walk (MA) $5
*The Walk Amongst the Tombstone (iTunes/ports) $4
*The Wolf on Wall Street (vudu) (iTunes) $3
*Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Misouri (MA) $3
*Titanic (vudu)$5 (iTunes) $4
*Under The Skin [A24] (vudu) $4
*Unfriended (iTunes/ports) $3
Vacation 2015 (MA) $4
*When the Bough Breaks (MA) $4
COLLECTIONS :
The Hunger Games 4 Film Collection HD (vudu) $9
Divergent 3 Film Collection 4k (iTunes) $8
Divergent 3 Film Collection HD (vudu) $7
John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 (vudu) $4
The Laugh Out Loud 6 Film Collection SD (MA) $12
(Joe Dirt, The Benchwarmers, The House Bunny, The Animal,
The Animal, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, The Master of Disguise)

$2 and Under HD Codes:
*13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (vudu)
Alex Cross (iTunes) $1.5
Allied (vudu)
*Deepwater Horizon (vudu)
*Divergent (HD- vudu) or (4k-iTunes)
Dolphin Tale (MA)
*Escape Plan (HD- vudu) or (4k-iTunes)
Expendables 2 Expendables 2 (HD-vudu) or 4k (iTunes)
Fast Five Extended (MA) or (iTunes/ports) $1.5
Fast and Furious 6 Extended (MA)
Furious 7 (MA)
*Hercules 2014 (HD- vudu)
*Interstellar (vudu)
*Jack Reacher (vudu)
*John Wick (vudu)
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (vudu)
Killerman** (vudu)
*Les Miserables (iTunes/ports)
Lets Be Cops (MA)
*Lone Survivor (MA)
*Lucy (MA)
Meagan Leavey (MA)
*Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (HD- vudu) or (4k-iTunes)
*Pitch Perfect 2 (MA)
Sleepless** (iTunes) $1.5
*Snow White and the Huntsman (MA)
*Star Trek Beyond (HD- vudu)
*Star Trek into Darkness (HD- vudu) or (4k-iTunes)
*Step Up Revolution (vudu or iTunes)
*Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (vudu)
*TMNT: Out of Shadows (vudu)
*Terminator: Genysis (vudu)
*Transformers: Age of Exticntion (HD- vudu) $1.5 (4k-iTunes) $2
Transformers: The Last Knight** (vudu) $2
Trainwreck (iTunes/ports)
The Fate of the Furious Extended** (MA) $1.5
The Hobbit and Unexpected Journey (MA)
The Hunger Games** (vudu or 4k -iTunes) $1
The Huntsman Winter's War Ext (MA)
The Last Stand (iTunes) $1.5
*The Last Witch Hunter (vudu)
*The Resurrection of Gaving Stone (MA) or (iTunes/ports)
*The Twighlight Breaking Dawn Part 2 (HD- vudu) or (4k-iTunes)
*World War Z (vudu or iTunes)

$1.5 unless noted otherwise: (assume SD format) MA titles verified SD, other marked (vudu/iTunes) might redeem HD..
1D: This is US* SD (MA) $1
21 Jump Street SD (MA)
A Good Man SD (vudu) $2
*A Hologram for the King (vudu) $2
*After Earth SD (MA) $2
Aloha SD (MA)
*Alpha SD (MA)
American Hustle SD (MA)
Annie SD (MA)
Barber Shop: The Next Cut SD (vudu)
Captain Phillips SD (MA)
Cell (vudu) $2
Concussion SD (MA)
*Draft Day (vudu)
*Fury SD (MA)
Ghost Protocol SD (vudu) $1
Heaven is for Real SD (MA)
*Hell and High Water (vudu)
Hillary's America: Secret History of Democratic Party (vudu)
Hope Springs SD (MA) $2
Hours (vudu)
Joe (vudu) $2
Jumanji: Wlecome to the Jungle SD (MA)
Last Vegas SD (MA) $2
Life of Pi SD (iTunes/ports)
Money Monsters SD (MA) $2
*Now You See ME 2 (vudu)
*Olympus has Fallen* SD (MA)
Parker SD (MA) $2
Paul: Apostle of Christ SD (MA)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 SD (MA) $2
Playing for Keeps SD (MA) $2
Resident Evil: Retribution SD (MA)
*Ricki and Flash SD (MA) $2
Roman J. Israel, ESQ. SD (MA)
Sex Tape SD (MA) $2
Sicario: Day of Soldado SD (MA)
Sniper: Special Ops (vudu) $2
That Awkward Moment SD (MA)
That's My Boy SD (MA) $2
The Adventure of TinTin (vudu)
The Amazing Spider-Man SD (MA) $2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 SD (MA) $2
*The Equalizer SD (MA)
The Interview SD (MA) $2
The Monuments Men SD (MA)
*The Night Before SD (MA)
The Shallows SD (MA) $2
The Vow (MA/SD)
Safe (vudu or iTunes)
*Sex Tape SD (MA)
*Spare Parts (vudu) $2
Star Trek (vudu)
Star Trek into Darkness (vudu)
*Still Alice (vudu) $2
Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (iTunes)
Total Recall 2012 SD (MA)
Warm Bodies (vudu) or (iTunes)
When the Game Stands Tall SD (MA)
White House Down SD (MA) $2
Zero Dark Thirty SD (MA) $2
Venmo, CashApp, Paypal FnF and Amazon GC accepted. Comment if interested and I will send chat as well as soon as i see it. Thanks for looking.
submitted by RileyJiriehER to DigitalCodeSELL [link] [comments]


2020.11.26 20:18 BWithGeneral What you are looking for is..... (Link in the Desc.)1

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https://preview.redd.it/2nbpnkoswm161.jpg?width=275&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6a52aa2a9f41fd5d6432b0109d31ce4bb7ef8729
submitted by BWithGeneral to u/BWithGeneral [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 17:55 Wowbaggerrr Post-FIRE Plans: Using FIRE for Good

Hey ladies!
I hit my FIRE number last year (woohoo!) but decided to keep working at lower hours rather than retire, and try to use that money for good. I'm very interested in environmental causes and "green"-ing up my city. I started volunteering for the Girl Scouts to teach them outdoor and environmental skills. I plan to buy another rental property and outfit it with solar and power-saving upgrades. And I have it in my head to buy up city land for a permaculture site or community garden--a plan that's still in its infancy.
I'm wondering what you guys plan to do after hitting FIRE. Anyone have plans to use post-FIRE cash for some collective purpose? I'm also open to different ideas for my own future. Since I'm newly FIREd, I'm still figuring it all out.
submitted by Wowbaggerrr to FIREyFemmes [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 14:18 lisacarbide Black Friday (etc etc) sales

They've started! I'll update this list as often as I can with any linked in comments...
MULTICRAFT
Craftsy (55% on Purchase to Own classes with code 55THANKSGIV)
Creativebug (3 months for $1, popup on site)

YARN & FIBRE:
Blacker Yarns - ends Mon - 20% off, code BlackerFriday
Brooklyn Tweed 11/27 - 12/4 - choose up to 20% off, with part being donated to wildfire relief (details here)
Bumblebee Acres Farm - Thurs - Mon (20% off everything)
Cloud Yarn Co - cloudyarnco.com and cloudyarncompany.etsy.com (between 20%-30% off through Monday, different stock at each)
Fully Spun - starts Thurs (20% off, more if you subscribe to her newsletter)
Life in the Long Grass (10% off everything with code blackfriday)
Neighborhood Fiber Co - Thurs - Mon (20% discontinued bases + addi needles, 10% off other yarn + kits)
Sweet Georgia Yarns (30% off selected sweater yarns over US$140, see details)
Three Waters Farm - Thurs - Mon (15% off with THANKYOUSALE2020)
Urban Girl Yarns- 11/23-11/28 (15% off, code TURKEYBIRTHDAY)
Wollmeise 11/27 - 12/3 (30% off)

SEWING
The Assembly Line (no sale, free pyjama pattern)
Blackbird Fabrics (Will have 25% off with code BLKFRIDAY2020)
Brindille and Twig (30% off, no code needed)
By Hand London (25%, no code needed)
Cashmerette (35% off workshops, buy-2-get-1-free on patterns, code THANKFUL4SEWING)
Chalk and Notch (holiday20 for 20% off any purchase⁠, holiday25 for 25% ⁠off when you buy 3+ patterns⁠, holiday30 for 30% off when you buy 5+⁠)
Closet Core Patterns (no sale, new free dog coat pattern for mailing list)
Deer & Doe (20% off everything from Thursday, no code needed)
Dovetailed London (15% off fabrics, kits, and patterns with code BLACKFRIDAY2020)
Emerald Erin (15% off, no code needed)
Fabric Godmother (15%, code BLACKFRIDAY)
The Fabric Store (20% off everything)
The Foldline (10% off everything, code BLACKFRIDAY10)
Folkwear (20% off, code THANKS2020 until Sunday. 25% off all PDF patterns on Monday, no code needed)
Forget Me Not Patterns (25% off at checkout see comment!, free Vera skirt pattern)
Friday Pattern Company (25% off with code FALL25)
Gorgeous Fabrics (10% over $50 with code BFCM10,15% over $100 with BFCM15, 20% over $175 with BFCM20)
Grainline Studio (20% off everything, no code needed)
Greenstyle Creations (35% off sewing patterns with code BF35, offers on fabric/gift tokens too)
Halfmoon Atelier (20% off with code PEACEOUT2020)
Helen's Closet (30% off patterns, no code needed)
Hey June Handmade (code thanks20 for 20% off)
I AM Patterns (20% off PDF patterns, no code needed)
Itch to Stitch (25% off, no code needed)
Jalie (50% off the new Galaxie 4 pet-themed pattern set)
Jennifer Lauren Handmade (30% off with code THANKS2020)
Megan Nielsen (30% off, no code needed)
Miss Matatabi (up to 60% off fabric, no code needed)
Mood Fabrics (20% off, no code needed)
Muna and Broad (12% off 2+ patterns with code 12MONTHS)
Nekoneko (up to 60% off, no code needed)
New Craft House (no sale, raffle entry and 10% to charity across Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon drops)
Noodlehead (20% off all patterns and leather items, no code needed)
Oliver + S/Liesl + Co/Lisette/Straight Stitch Society (40% off with code HOLIDAY2020)
Pauline Alice Patterns (20% off, no code needed)
Pattern Scout (15% off all without a code, 20% more off 2+ patterns with code BUNDLEUP)
Rebecca Page: (30% off patterns, 10% off fabric, free ornament patter over $50)
Redthreaded (30% off patterns on Etsy, no code needed)
Sew DIY (25% off with code THANKS25OFF)
Sew House Seven (25% off ALL patterns to 27th with code THANKS25. Nov 28-30, pdf patterns 20% off - no code needed)
Sew Liberated (25% off everything with code THANKS2020)
Sew Over It (30% off most patterns, fabric, ebooks)
Sinclair Patterns (25% off, no code needed)
Sophie Hines (20% off except workshops, no code needed)
Style Arc (30% off with code 30BLKFRI20, Etsy and Amazon offer codes on site too)
Stylemaker (20% off, no code needed)
Swim Style patterns (25% off, code FLASH25)
Thread Theory (50% off PDF patterns, discount applied automatically)
Tilly & the Buttons (25% off selected print and digital patterns)
Trend Patterns (20% off patterns (excludes TPC27), code BLACKFRIDAY)
True Bias (20% off all patterns, codes on the site with more discounts for buying multiple)
Untitled Thoughts (25% off, no code needed)
Victory Patterns (30% off, no code needed)
submitted by lisacarbide to craftsnark [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 08:20 artmonso Pimp rogue’s nuclear-powered bullshit or how a "that guy" ruined my rep with the local pathfinder community. {minally NSFW due to drug, sex and crime refs)



This was one of the few times in my younger years that I wish that I wasn’t so naive. It started with me getting laid off from my school job for the 3rd time due to dumb paperwork reasons and needed a new one for the time being... So just my luck when one of the local dnd Facebook groups had someone offering to pay anyone to run a game for him, his “girls'' and their “friends.”
He was going to pay me in cash about 20USD an hour for one or two sessions a week for about 6 to 8 hours a game. Pathfinder with the basic handbook to start and adding books from there depending on the players, players which we had a very high turnable of, the one player who was consistent enough was the host I will just call the pimp rogue.
He lives on the edge of a very well-off neighborhood leading into the poor, gang-infested half of the city I lived in. The shared living room was full of different anime, video games, comics, sex toys and drug paraphernalia neatly put away on shelves. At first, I thought this was strange but remembering that I’m in California and everyone at the house was of college-age I figured this was normal-ish.
Mr. Rogue was a thin man in his late 20s who dressed and sounded like shaggy from scooby-doo, he owned the house turned boarding room, with a massage parloTraditional medicine shop, or at least that’s how he explained how he knows everyone’s drug habits in the local area.
He was studying at the local community college to improve his current property management skills and hopfully to convert some investors to help him open up a hotel...in the middle of the drug and gang filled area of the city. That plus his addiction to WoW (world of warcraft) and he hasn't had any time to run games for his “girls” or there “friends”
He had me run a test game with some of his top girls, which at the time seemed either not too interested or had other things on their mind, like pot or food. Also, I was rusty at the time and was hoping that I didn't have to be the living rulebook at the time. The three college-aged girls seem to wear very revealing clothing for their work who were “very progressive” about dress code and wear heavy amounts of makeup despite as far as I can tell they were on their day off.
I felt like this was kind of strange but reminded myself that for the 2nd time that I live in California and nothing is normal here.
So I run one of the free mods off of the pathfinder website. Me and Mr. Rogue helped the other three players make characters, a barbarian, a fighter, a bard to the begrudging agreement from his top “assistant” girl.
It was a simple clear out of an old tower for the local lord, the girls seemed to understand what was happening and what to do but needed some reminding of the rules... A lot.
They didn't seem too inquisitive about what was in the tower, just that they wanted to kill the few monsters that were there and get out of there. The rogue went off by himself and looted everything he would find ways to avoid the traps and monsters as the girls would run to whatever the monster were because of the heavy amount of meta gaming and kill them. I tried to throw in descriptions of the ruined halls and destroyed rooms but all I got from Mr. Rogue was “yeah, that's cool but what is in here that looks valuable” and I'll give him a roll for the loot he found.
By the end of the game session and a brief closed talk in another room, I was told that I got the job. I was to run 4 to 6-hour pathfinder sessions once a week at 20USD an hour. He would pay for the pizza, drinks, and even offered his own meds from his “herb side hustle” which I refused, not fully understanding what he really meant.
He also wanted me to find more players for the group seeing as his girls may have to do some long shifts from time to time and would like to get more business for his natural med and massage “hustles.” he said I had that “innocent kid look” and would be better if I asked around.
Asked some friends to help join the game as I looked for more people to join from the local groups. The host asked me to run an urban campaign that didn't go too far from the main location. I had a homebrewed city out in the middle of a stormy tropical isle i was building in my spare time and now a group to try it on.
It was made to be very drop in and drop out but had a story involving the group going from poor outcast to wealthy Respected members of the city's political class. I had months of Content already and Excited that I could finally use them for a game that I was DMing. At least I had be excited as I underestimated how much of a “that guy” the host was as he somehow bypassed most of the contact I had planned for the group. I'm not sure if he was doing this on purpose or because he wasn't at the table for large chunks of it as he would pop in after taking care of some business around the large house/apartment. Here are some notable examples of what he did to personally ruin or outright bypass everything I've planned for the game.
The inheritance...wasted
When the party first arrived at the tropical city the first thing I wanted to do is give them a proper base as the starting tavern I had them start at “the rusty floater” which was more of a flophouse than a proper inn. Some of the other players have said they had some noble background and wanted to check in on them.
The hook was that they went to the family manor to see it in ruins and an old butler who had a small shack near the front gate of the manor would tell the party how the noble paladin and wizard’s family lost their home to less than noble means. The party can begin by getting the key to the manor to find that the documents have been faked and a quest to get the manor back from the evil rival noble family.
What happened was that as most of the party was looking at the ruined manor, Mr. rogue spotted the old butler coming out of his shack and looking at the party, spotting the paladin's seal on his back. That's when the pump rogue told me “I'm going to sneak up to the creepy old man and slit his neck open.”
Me: wait what?
Pump rogue: it's a creepy man waiting in the shadows, I know what he wants and I'm not letting him hurt anyone in the party!!!
So he sneaks up and crits the old man, killing him Instantly before any of the party members' characters could take note of him. He then looted the old man’s shack where the butler's journal, key, and some papers I had made into handouts that were meant for the group. I gave them to the rogue who at the very least could pass them onto the rest of the group after looking them over. He asked if there was some kind of hidden code in the documents that he wasn't seeing and asked to do some skill checks which I Told him did not apply here and then burned the documents in the fireplace as well as set fire to the shack.
“If I don't deserve whatever code in the docs and no one else has as high skills as me might as well destroy what other assassin codes and orders he had,” he said to me as he throws out the handouts only he saw and got the party back a tavern to plan to guard a beekeepers farm. I tried to salvage it by having a 2nd servant of the old family be in the same tavern and ID the nobles of the group to share the same info I tried to give them beforehand.
The rogue who said beforehand he was “looking for anyone watching them” picks up on the old woman and decides to split from the group to talk to her. Opening up by giving her some wine from his personal stack.
The old woman: thank you kindly, is that man…
Rogue: please drink first then we can talk
Me as an old woman: what
Rogue: I offered you a drink and in halfling costumes, it is an insult to talk without drinking first
One diplomacy check later the old woman is shamed into drinking the wine
Old woman: o this is great, now is that young man…
Rogue: she has to man a Con save or take stat damage.
The Rogue used his earnings from earlier to buy poison that would weaken normal monsters but would outright kill normal non-player characters like a level one commoner, so she fails her save and outright dies from Constitution damage. As the rogue props up the body of the “spy” before rejoining the party with the wizard and paladin glaring at the rogue who defended himself by saying out of game “they were clearly assassins and spies for some kind of cult, that's how I would DM it anyway”
It didn't help that later that session as the rest of the party was gambling and fighting in the rusty floater basement fight club, the rogue sneaks into the manor the (former) future base of the party, looted the different rooms like the training room, the library or the lab, interrupting my description of the rooms to “speed up the looting of the assassin lair” and then set the whole place on fire.
Yes, I did talk to him after and he continues to say that he knows it was the assassin’s but that I gave it my best try at hiding the fact and took his money.
The quickness gang war ive ever seen
The next big hook was a gang war between two rival gangs and the city watch trying hard to keep the peace, the party had done a number of smaller jobs and one of the new players a dwarf fighter, desired to have his big character arc be rejoining with his brother who was the Captain of the watch.
The plan was to slowly dig up info on the two gangs by intrigue and combat missions ending with a big raid on at least one of the bases with the surviving base becoming one of the big bad for the campaign.
The pimp rogue who was the unofficial leader desired to mail the captain a drawing of his ass saying that “we would never work with piggies” and forge the dwarfs signature on the latter burning that players plot arc for “his own good”
They did do a great job of plotting out and following a number of members of the gangs to find the HQ of the gangs. The pimp rogue then got one of his girls playing a bard to use a charm to get into the base and a 2nd charm spell to get the leader to lead a charge of the other gang's base. He then called the watch who had their top NPCs come to join in on the raid of the base in the hopes that they get the reputation needed for the next step of the campaign but then got Blind sided when the pimp rogue ordered the girls to “as soon as we are deep enough we set the building on fire and lock everyone inside officers and master criminals alike.”
Everyone fled, excluding the dwarf fighter who was trying to RP at least his honor-bound bond to his brother and tried to warn his brother of the trap. He died with his brother and the player quit outright.
The pimp rogue was kind of proud that he not only made the city safer from crime but completely decapitated the leadership of the watch as “a good pig is a dead pig” which was a bit of a shock for me as I never encounter someone who had a deep hate for law enforcement as this was years before the BLM movement got started.
Finally, the thing that derailed the whole thing: the exposition for the deep dwarves
It was after the party completed at least one of the major quests breaking up a demon cult operating out of a cursed item shop. They were able to loot a large amount of gold and the pimp rogue had taken a few levels of a cleric by burning some demon summoning scrolls, so seeing as 2 of the three major quests got killed horribly by the holy pimp rogue I decided to start stage 2 early.
The plan was that after getting a rep for being great, noble, and reliable problem solvers they will be sought out by a gnome scholar who was trying to set up an exposition to the local ruin to look into an extinct race of dwarfs that lived so far down that the light of day never touches them. He's been trying to find funding outside his homeland who had some fascistic religious types take control of it by a military coup.
The idea was simple, they go to each of the guilds and trade unions to ask for assistance in supplying the exposition with men, gear, and supplies to make it to the dig site to begin the dungeon diving as a different actively when not running the holdings that would come from the money and fame generated from completing the dig.
First, they would have to complete a quest with the tropical traders who were having dire fruit bats moving onto the three growing islands with druids protesting the farmers trying to make a living off of the fruit and crops there.
Second, they were to help the craftsman make their surveying and digging tools if they found out why one of their trade settlements was being weirdly quiet and the inspectors they sent hadn't shown up. Turning out to be that a Lovecraftian cult moved in, killed off or converted the leadership to suvre the elder ones then started making a pair of lens that would be used to bring dark beings into the world.
Three but finally was the labor union that wanted the party to clear a rock quarry that had raptors move into it to make a nest, but in reality, the raptors were attracted by the lizardfolk and naga who didn't take kindly to the quarry company coming in and destroying there temple for building materials killed everyone in there sleep and now trying to place a dark curse onto the city. The runners who were sent up there to see what the delay was and only saw the raptors and mutilated bodies and called that in.
I figured that this would be a great chance for some morally gray RP, to get the party as a whole more XP seeing that they were flying through most of the planned contact and story. It also could have gotten the party the magical upgrades I was trying to give them as they barley exploited there surrounding except for the rogue and a few of the vets who would lose out on the checks to the min/max rogue or to the votes on who gets the loot as his girls would outnumber the client players every time. He would then sell off the magic items seeing as he can't use them or even rent them out to the other players who saw it as the exploitative bull that it was.
So guess what happened….guess what the divine pimp rogue did.
Pimp rogue: hell no, deal with your own F***ing bullS*** you commie parasites.
The Rogue didn't want to do any favors with any of the guilds or unions nor did he want to pay them for the use of any of their man, equipment, or goods despite them controlling nearly 90% of each of their respective markets. So he put it to a vote to just do the bare minimum seem like a leader to the new players and win 5-3, the three no’s being the paladin who was just there to see how this trainwreck goes. And two new guys who I had tied there introductions to the guild and union quests respectively who than left after this seston for how blindsided of a derailment this was for there backstories and saw that this wasn't going to be a Role Play heavy game as they fought it was going to be.
The pimp rogue got the cheapest gear, gathered the poor, crippled and elderly, demanded that the people coming on the trip do the grocery shopping as a buy-in, which turns out by the luck of the die mostly spoiled meats and donated food by the evil gnome cult I would have following them and did the medieval equivalent of wire fraud in the name of the professor who he had tricked into being his legal posy for anything else he thought we needed. On the day of the departer, He and his girls broke into each of the guilds and unions to steal their lagtors and then set fire to the record rooms with the leaders inside for good measure.
So they were off 3 to 4 months ahead of schedule and now having to figure out what statue to put the city in when they return or if they return as most of the hands-on leadership is dead, the economy had been halted, the underground had a massive power vacuum to fill. The city folk were at risk of starving as food would have to be imported from the mainland months away. The worst of it is that two cults of pure evil were about to attack the two.
At this point as well paid as I was for this, it was getting onto my nerves, I was having to plan more on the fly, it was affecting my hunt for a more effective job, it was affecting my sleep and my school work to the point I was having frequent arguments with my folks. It came to a head session later.
Its been about a week in-game since they took off for the dig site and were about a few hours away from making it to the site when I desired to mix up the encounters by having a small bandit fort set up in the middle road they been using and need to pay them or take a long way around. So I set it up either for them to one fight the fort, talk them into getting them thought, pay or go the long way.
They choose to find the small form of 500 or so untrained thieves, 30 in the form and the rest slowly trying to sneak behind them with the two leaders they had at least 100 saraband guards with basic training and at least and at least 5 to 7 (the paladin friend, a guy new to the area and dnd, the pimp rogues, and at least two to four of the rogue's min/max combat monster girls) party members of about 3rd or 4th level. The party was interested in some of the newer books of pathfinder. So decided to test out the mass combat rules and thought that everyone would enjoy leading the guards into battle….
That's not what happened
Turns out being interested does not mean reading the rules, even if you print them out for them. The pimp rogue decided the best plan was to trick the workers into fleeing into the ambush with some of the guards to sell the bluff.
He told the paladin character that he had his back to take the fort to plan a counter defense which he had the spell power, creativity, and gold to make taking the fort easy. This was a lie, hoping that it would be a good enough diversion. He and his girls fled for their lives as "you said that fleeing may be an option at any time" which I did say but for more obvious reasons like rolling stone traps, or the sewer monster they never cleared because of the pimp rogue "neat freak" character trait.
So the easy mass combat encounter became a bloodbath as the noob and paladin blindly charged the fort with no support as most of the guards being disorganized, to say the least, made an easy fight turned into a bloodbath. The paladin and noob were shot down by tower archers as the leak of real leadership made the guards' squid rolls useless as they were easily overwhelmed despite the better training and gear.
The rest of the party made it to the dig site alone, and after auto rolling for the rest of the battle more than 70% of the caravan was wiped out with only a handful of carts left with nearly all of the key NPCs excluding the professor and a kid that one of the former players befriended. on the trail had been killed. As the decimated caravan rolled in the pimp rogue asked me “so how much gold did I save getting all the guard and trail guides killed” I don't think I ever found out if this was his plan the whole time or I didn't explain the encounter right. I know that I wanted to hurt this guy (in-game) for all the stress of his nuclear-powered sananagins.
So for the next few sessions, the rogue and the girls (at this point I was running out of gaming groups to pull players from) had them digging up the entrance hall to the dungeon as one of the massive skips in content left me no time to design the dungeon and that I wanted to unleashed the gate guards on them. The gate guards were too massive black marble statues made by the deep dwarfs ritual blood rites to drive back anyone who dares try to unlock the door to the elevators. The gate guards acted as high leveled necromancers that would cause the excavators to go mad then kill each other or themselves by sabotaging the digging in some way. As the dead mounted the necro magic would kick in to turn the dead bodies of the people and animals in the area into undead monsters and horrors to defend the gate.
I may have played my hand too early, for when they were clearing room for what was happening in the area I rolled on the random encounter pool to get a couple of trapdoor spiders. The spiders grasped the rogue into their hole, and started to well on the halfling rogue and nearly killed him. His girls were able to break into the hole and kill the spiders before they can finish off the rogue. So I might have fugled the undead creation rules a bit and ask they were leaving from the cave rogue in the back, the spiders with newfound undead vigor, jumped the rogue and rolled a nat 1 on both of their surprise attacks. The rogue who I forgot was a cleric up to this point used “turn undead” and forced the spiders as far back into their hole as possible and the 5 of them set the webs on fire. This quads him in that something was off, did a scan for magic, and found the status 20 feet below the ground. I got to say that at this point, it got interesting again if not fun as it was full on me vs. him instand me running for the party. I know that sounded bad but the amount of stress I was under at the time and frankly I was mentally and emotionally done at this point 20 dollars an hour be damned.
I tried to have the statues, whisper dreams of unionization, and coffee breaks. He and the girls scouted out one of the unions, took the leaders out of range of the statues for a hunting party to take about better pay, and murdered them in their sleep, and burned the bodies. Tried to start heated racial tensions in the caves with charm spells, rogue makes an example of a few of them by burning them alive saying he won't tolerate bigots and reorganizing the teams to be least racially diverse. Had a few cave-ins and accidents seeing it's the best way to make bodies. He and his girls wound the risks to saving them and if he cannot he found a way to get to the cave, fill it with oil, set it on fire, and reseal it to be a make-shift cremation oven complete with smoke coming out of holes on the surface. I even had a rebellion do to all the nightmarish acts of cruelty and wanted better treatment or they all walk, the rogue and his girls hit everyone with sleep spell seeing as there were about 50 or less of them and all were low-level common folk excluding the professor who was fearful of his life and tortured a few time on hints that he may be planning something. He and his magical girls reformed the walls and defenses set up earlier to keep people in as well as keep critters out and murdered more by fire to make it clear who was in charge.
Finally, the day came where they broke the seal to the door after a week of death and torment. He was proud of himself and was making a speech to the workers with no spirit left or even will to live, some figuring that they’ll be killed after or made into food seeing as no one was sure were the fresh food was coming from seeing as all hunting and fishing stopped long ago and this point figured canimalism was at play (it was some druid spell I forgot the name of but the pimp rogue didn't tell the workers that) and were just waiting for the end with there follow workers which had been widaled down to 20 or so. (if your wondering there were about five to seven hundred of them to start)
This is when I sounded in the dead that the pimp rogue missed, you see in the digs they were using birds to see if enough air in the shafts, tropical vermin moved in looking for food and a shelter. Even bigger hunts like ferrets to control the vermin problem. The only thing they checked for is if the horses and other pack mules were dying so that they can be burned as well as the other bodies.
So you should have seen their surprise when packs of shadow rats, swarms of undead birds, and dog-sized ferrets their bodies fused together. As some of them had given resistance to divine magic it made it harder for the pimp rogue to just use his holy pimp slap on them. It was a long and heavy battle as they were attacked by air and ground both under and above. The birds didn't stand a chance as the mass casting of turn undead made them flee wildly but still was enough of a distraction to have the meat ferrets sneak attack from underground and the shadow rats turned control to move around the tank in front liners and get to the squishes of the pimp’s squid of casters. I don't remember much of that battle, just that I nearly got two of the four girls downed and the rogue had to spend the last of his healing bursts to get everyone on their feet again.
The main boss was a flesh golem as when the fighting started some of the workers hide in some of the utility tunnels which collapsed during the fighting killing all of them. Giving the black statues the bodies need to make one. I figured this was it, a TPK, there wasn't anything I thought they can do as the big mass of hateful flush dig its way out and was going up one of the two entryways to the dig site. That is until the rogue called on the earth bender. Now originally I wanted to have it be the main handbook. As the game went on and on, one of the girls who seemed more interested in the game than the others would talk to me after games about the rules and the more complex classes. She even kept in contact with me on Facebook to talk about other nerd or anime topics. One of the classes she really wanted to multiclass into was the Elementalist, I decided to allow it seeing as out of all of the players she seems to have a spine and willing to give herself real agency even if it was just to be better at support casting.
So she used her earthbending to collapse the entry on top of the flush monsters face than kept the monster in place so that the rest of the party ganged up on the monsters head and beat it into a bloody pulp as I failed to save after save to get out of the mud and dirt it was trapped in.
The rogue and earthbending bard high fived as they finally entered the dungeon that I barely designed and at this point know would just be stumped on by the rogue’s BS, but I had to try. Seeing as I had an idea for what he would face with the cult chased up with them and find witnesses in the remaining workers still locked up at the camp that would give them the blackmail needed to turn the city august them. As part of the cultists turned to bring the survivors back to the city and the rest stayed to wait for the party to come back.
A week passed and I came in with all my gaming gear to see that another DM was in my place. The rogue felt like I was burning out and decided to have an old friend come in to replace me. He at least gave me money for the last game and for the game I was going to run. I played for the first game, the new DM seems to have taken my dungeon idea and expanded it and seems to be about to counter the rogue’s BS better than I ever can. I left the group and never went back.
The epilogue
Months later I ran into the new dm trying to join a game as it seems like I had some kind of rep hanging over my head, keeping me from joining. So it was refreshing to be about to join a game again. I asked how the old game went and if he made any money from it, he seemed confused as I told him that I was being paid to run games for him as well as the shenanigans he pulled on me.
He figured as long as he had known him the pimp rogue had been a huge “that guy” and min/maxer. He would have him take “breaks” as he would found ways to skip major encounters and dungeons.
I asked “how did you solve that problem?
The New DM: “o he got too busy with his drug and pimping side gigs”
ME: WAIT WHAT?!
The new DM: I thought he told you, I mean it was pretty obeasue.
Turns out he was trying to get a dnd based prostitution thing going on where nerdy clients would play with his hottest girls and maybe return for some “one on one” sessions. He soon found out his normal clients weren't that nerdy and drugs don't move. He also ground addicted to the world of warcraft and it barely gave the pimp rogue time to plan.
That was when I came in, I had the most innocent person he had even made and thought he could use me to get in more nerdy types and get them onto the whole RPG/SEx/drug thing he had planned. So the players that I attracted to the table he turned to offer them some private sessions with the girls for how poorly the game went. They would decline and stop coming over, giving me weird looks and excuses as to why they no longer wanted to be in the game anymore. Turns out my friends and colleagues assumed I was this guy’s partner in crime at best or at least one of his underlings and slowly ghosted me.
So that's how I updated my expectations and was a black sheep for my local gaming groups for a number of years.
TL;DR got hired to run games for a massive "that guy" and a real pimp and drug dealer was trying to expand his client base to the local nerd community.
Got kicked after trying to TPK the party with undead critters.
Edit1: for the people wondering how this "over the top" story is real as "any same man could see this come" I'm autistic and miss social signals that normal people would pick up on. It did help that my mother who works with law enforcement and courts shelter me to the point that my idea of a pimp was the stereotype 50s to 60s black guy in a big fur coat and hat simular to the boondocks and never to wear red or blue unless I wanted to be gutted by "the gangster folk"
Starting to understand that my mother has some underlings descrmaion problems
submitted by artmonso to rpghorrorstories [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 04:11 darwinmushroom I am 25 years old, make $35k, live in Tampa Bay, FL and work as a Museum Educator

Hi everyone! Using a throwaway because I work in a small world. I wrote this at the beginning of the month following election week. Honestly, I had written even more, but wow this is already a lot! This took MUCH longer than I imagined it would, so my apologies for the long, late post! I hope I didn’t miss anything, but please let me know if anything stands out that needs clarification. EDIT: Added Section 4 because I missed that!
Section One: Assets and Debt
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Section Two: Income
Income Progression: Buckle in, because I’ve had a lot of jobs!

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Section Three: Expenses
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Section 4: Additional Questions
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Absolutely. My parents always insisted that we attend college and have successful careers in the traditional sense. My parents couldn’t afford it, but they thought that we could get by if I had good grades. I ended up going to a state university with financial aid and a few scholarships. I also qualified for Work Study through the FAFSA. I decided to live on campus again my sophomore year and also attend a field school - both of which I paid for with student loans.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents never educated me about finances. It wasn’t until they started to financially struggle that they emphasized never getting into debt. To this day, I’m terrified of accumulating a mountain of debt like I know our families have.
What was your first job and why did you get it? My first job was as a reading tutor through work study my freshman year! I got it on my very first day on campus too. I had always wanted a job so my parents wouldn't have to worry about me, but I couldn’t find one in my hometown until I went to college. I used it to pay for groceries, little gifts, or whatever I needed when I lived on campus during the week.
Did you worry about money growing up? I didn’t start to worry until we made a big move to a different area when I was 11. Until then, my parents hustled in their successful careers, had side gigs, and even dabbled in entrepreneurship so we could take Disney vacations, have amazing birthdays and holiday presents, and they could treat themselves to things like a nice car. I really cannot stress how hard they have always worked! When we moved, everything changed. I think sending us to private school made a huge dent in their expenses, and my dad then got laid off in the 2008 economic downturn. We really struggled then. I remember hiding any field trip announcements and would never ask for anything unless they really insisted.
Do you worry about money now? Yes. I know we have savings, so we will be okay for a while, but there’s always the fear of layoffs or catastrophes happening. I mostly worry about the future and our contributions (or lack of) to a future home/retirement/big move/etc. And I actually worry a lot about taking care of our parents in the future and taking that into account.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? I became fully financially responsible when I got married at 20. That’s when I moved in with my SO and we combined our finances. Before then, I had worked to save money for school expenses, my phone bill, or for moving out, but I still lived with my parents and they never asked for any contributions.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain. My grandfather won some money in the lottery a couple of years ago, so he sent me $500 which I used on a Kitchenaid. The rest of the money went towards a vacation we took to Boston (our dream city!).
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Day 1
9 AM-12 AM: Done with getting dressed and eating breakfast. I'd like to say I am ready to go and send emails at 9:01, but I usually settle into my bedroom corner desk by 9:15 AM. I spend the morning responding to inquiries and requests, following up with resources for teachers, reviewing an intern's project. And of course, I refresh NPR every other hour for election updates. I remember that we didn't order some things we normally have on hand for the weekend! We want ingredients to make pizza tomorrow and also some beer to unwind after work. I put in an Instacart order for some groceries and beer. We don't buy in-store anymore due to the pandemic. We receive all deliveries masked up and always tip. I enter the transaction into YNAB and split it between our grocery and beer budget. $50.58
12 PM-4 PM: Quick lunch break! I'm too anxious about my webinar this afternoon, so I make a tiny meal. I go back to my desk and put together next week's schedule for the intern. After sending the schedule, I respond to some requests and spend some time trying to calm down. The webinar goes really well, which is a relief. I take a short stretch break and notice my SO's Christmas gift was delivered. I wasn't expecting it to get here so soon! Back to work and I quickly follow up with the teacher who attended the webinar by sending over links to resources for the students. I also manage to squeeze in a few emails. I finish right after 5 PM and triumphantly shut down my laptop for the weekend.
5:30 PM-8:30 PM: I realize I need to put in an UberEats order now if I want to eat at a decent hour. We order delivery for dinner once a week, usually on Fridays. I end up ordering bahn mi, fries, and soba noodles from my favorite vegan restaurant. $32.41 After dinner, we settle in for the night and turn on Regular Show. We've rewatched it an embarrassing number of times since March. I get really tired and fall asleep on the couch at around 9PM.
Day 1 Total: $82.99

Day 2
8 AM-10:30 AM: The light from the window wakes me up. I check up on news, have a quick chat with my sister over the phone, and feed the cats. I also take the time to do dishes for the first time in 2 days. We cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home at least 6 days a week. With both of us working from home, the dishes pile up quickly. I turn on the latest episode of my favorite podcast, Spilled Milk. I usually listen while I cook, but with leftovers and delivery the last two days, I haven't had a chance. After chores, I listen to the rest of the podcast while I reply to a work email agreeing to a meeting first thing Monday. I don't usually answer emails on weekends, but this meeting needs to happen, so I confirm that it fits into my schedule. Afterwards, I take a look in the fridge and pantry for some breakfast inspiration. My SO wakes up and I make breakfast for both of us. He lets me know he's making gift purchases for Christmas. $126.28
10:30 AM-12 PM: My SO hasn't learned YNAB yet, so he wants me to show him how to add transactions to our budget. We go over the budget I had set, which I admittedly knew was small for our Christmas gift plans. We have savings for it, so it's not a big deal, but I have to move money around from the extra savings budget into the gift budget. I'm still trying to figure out YNAB, since it's my first week using it, but I have already noticed a mindfulness in spending that I never had before. We always had enough to pay for everything we need, but all our money just sat in the bank account without purpose. We weren't spending or saving consciously, just making decisions based on "we have the money for it." It's nice to give each dollar a job and visualize my spending in categories. After spending way too much time making sense of my budgeting scheme, my SO reads me the latest election news. Well, let's just say that even though it's a bit too early for me, we split a beer in honor of the occasion. We didn't plan ahead to buy anything fancier, ha! We spend the rest of the morning talking to family.
4 PM: After getting ready for the day, I change into day pajamas. My husband plays on his PC while I draw on the balcony for some time, listening to a podcast. I've never considered myself artistic or creative, but in March I started drawing and it just stuck. I finish my sketch just in time as it gets too hot outside. I realize it's already 4 PM and I'm getting hungry. I throw together a salad with chopped lettuce and scallions from last week's CSA box, a can of chickpeas, shredded parmesan, and a homemade creamy garlic dressing (Julia Turshen's recipe!). It was great and I wish I could eat a bucket full - I could eat anything cheesy and garlicky all day. We watch more Regular Show and switch over to the newest Mandalorian episode.
9 PM: We have a great focaccia pizza dinner, courtesy of my SO’s great baking skills! After streaming a few episodes of TV, I fall asleep on the couch at around 10 PM. This is pretty much my weekend routine - passing out on the couch wrapped up in a blanket. It is very rare for me to stay up past 11 PM. I do wake up after a few hours to properly get ready for bed and struggle to fall back asleep, staying up for hours. But tonight I get up, get ready, and just fall asleep.
Day 2 Total: $126.28

Day 3
9 AM-11 AM: I sleep in later than I do on the weekends. I stay in bed for a bit, cuddling my cat and reading the NYT and Joy the Baker newsletters in my inbox. I then switch over to my Target app and start adding to this week's shopping cart. I get produce, dishwasher tabs, and new skincare for myself (CeraVe PM and Cocokind Vitamin C serum). My skin is severely dehydrated, and after watching an AOC beauty routine video last week, I am inspired to take care of my skin. After getting ready for the day and submitting the Target order to pick up this afternoon, I pull up my calculator to find out how to split each item category. I end up splitting into 4 different budget categories when I enter the transaction into YNAB: Grocery Budget (produce), Home Stuff (dishwasher tabs), Personal Care, and my personal "Buy Whatever You Want" budget. This process sounds really tedious when I explain it, but I don't mind it. $99.21
11 AM-9 PM: My SO and I make biscuits and mushroom gravy with yesterday's leftover mushrooms from pizza. He takes over biscuit duty, while I throw together the gravy. It turns out really great! We watch the latest episode of GBBO while we eat. Time flies as we catch up on GBBO and the last Rick & Morty season. I got a notification that my Target order is ready a while back, so I get ready to pick up the order now before it gets too late and I get too comfy to do anything. I drive to Target, mask up, and do a drive-up pickup outside. I put away the groceries when I get home, and go back to watching TV. It’s a bit monotonous, but that’s an introverted, pandemic weekend for you! We make grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner and settle in for the night.
Day 3 Total: $99.21

Day 4
8 AM-12 PM: Get out of bed and get ready for the day. Since I'll be on camera for back-to-back presentations, I want to make sure I look alright. I use my new serum and moisturize. I then put on lotion and some concealer. After breakfast and too much coffee, I respond to requests and try to schedule webinars for next week. I also have a meeting with tomorrow's speaker and we discuss their presentation and how we'll adjust it for a younger audience. I’m pretty scattered from anxiety about this afternoon's meetings. I apologize and really beat myself up after. I’m always afraid I’ll look unprofessional or like I don’t know what I’m doing in these situations. I spend the rest of the morning preparing PowerPoints and writing down my opening for the presentation.
1PM-5PM: The two presentations go smoothly, even though I rushed through my introduction during the first from nerves. We get some great feedback from the group we presented to. I spent the rest of the workday following up with resources. I plop on the couch, exhausted mentally but happy about the outcome. I notice that a foreign fee has popped up on our bank account… I confirm with my SO if he purchased something from an international store for a gift - and he did! I have an idea of what he got, so I'm pretty excited, but I don't tell him because I know he wants it to be a surprise. $0.78
5 PM-9 PM: I make cilantro lime shrimp tacos for dinner. I haven’t eaten shrimp in forever and it’s pretty tasty! However, I never really care enough about meat to want to cook it or eat it often, so I'm not sure I'll do it again soon. We spend the rest of the evening relaxing as usual.
Day 4 Total: $0.78

Day 5
9 AM-2 PM: I get ready for a back-to-back webinar morning. I realize I’m running low on coffee and put in an order with our favorite local roaster. We only buy every other month, since it’s just me drinking it at home. We love this roaster - it’s truly the best we’ve tried in the area. It's a Latinx, woman-owned compan and they have very high quality and ethical standards. It’s pricier than grocery store coffee, but I’ve never regretted it! I spend the rest of the morning in webinars and meetings. $41.25
2 PM-6 PM: The webinars go smoothly and I’m relieved that these are the last ones for the week. I normally don’t make such a packed schedule, but I wanted to accommodate everyone! My SO puts in an order for some music equipment he’s been eyeing. We each have a $100 “buy whatever” budget for the month, which he uses for this one! We also move around some money to make up for the overspending, which we don’t mind as we do have savings for odd purchases like this one. $112.34
6 PM-10 PM: I typically use Whisk to keep track of dinner (it's an amazing meal planning app!), but we ignore whatever’s on the menu and throw together some rice and beans. And we spend the evening as usual - TV, in bed by 10-11 PM.
Day 5 Total: $153.59

Day 6
9 AM-12 PM: It's dark outside and rainy outside, which I hate, but I'm glad I don't have to drive in it. After getting ready, I make myself a breakfast of tamagoyaki with toast and a crazy amount of coffee. I boot up my computer and look through news sites. Great - looks like we're on hurricane watch. I worry that we may not have enough supplies, since they predict there will be power outages, so I make a mental note to discuss with my husband. Unfortunately, we didn't think to buy any non-perishables or extras, so hopefully the three cans of beans in the pantry help if we're in a bind. Anyways, though I don't have to be on camera with students and teachers today (thank goodness!), I have a full day of work ahead of me with lots of emails and back-to-back meetings all afternoon.
12PM-5 PM: My lunch plans are interrupted by tornado warning text notifications. I make sure to clear up whatever’s out on the balcony so that they don't become projectiles. We gather the cats into the bathroom, the only spot in the apartment without windows, and sit in there for over an hour while checking the news and work emails. Eventually, it looks and sounds safe enough outside for me to just eat lunch and return to work right on time for afternoon meetings. The warning is extended until the evening and it pours all afternoon. I notice that my SO bought a video game this afternoon on our bank account and I enter the transaction into YNAB. I make sure to add a category for video games into the budget - we both buy them, so we can plan for any purchases during the month this way. $39.99
5 PM-10:30 PM: After meetings and responding to emails, I shut down and unplug my computer in case there's an outage. I get started on dinner: panko fried tofu, rice, teriyaki sauce, and sesame cabbage slaw. We stay alert in case there's any bad weather. At around 7PM, I start getting ready for bed in case there's a power outage later. After getting ready for bed, I turn on YouTube and catch up on my subscriptions. I fall asleep to bento making videos (Anyone else obsessed with these?) and move on to the bed by 10:30 PM.
Day 6 Total: $39.99

Day 7
8 AM-9:30 AM: A little late out of bed, but we have no internet this morning so I'm in no rush. After getting ready, I make myself some coffee and plop onto the couch with a cup, looking through Reddit. I make a mental note to go outside today for mail (this is how infrequently I even go outside!) and suddenly remember that I promised I would take a look at my niece's Girl Scouts magazine fundraiser. I buy a Bon Appetit subscription. $15
9:30 AM-12 PM: The Internet is back, yay! Just in time for our weekly full staff meeting. I'm probably the only person who looks forward to those. Some find it a bother in their busy schedule, but I think they are really grounding, plus I appreciate seeing everyone. We used to only have full staff meetings quarterly, now it's a weekly occurrence. We've been closer than ever as a team in WFH.
12:30PM-3 PM: After a short lunch break, I notice that my supervisor has sent me an unexpected Teams meeting request to take place in 15 minutes. Let's just say that I make a mental list of every single mistake I've made in the last year and tell my husband "Yep, I'm getting fired." Turns out, I got a title change! I've been with the museum for a year and my boss gave me amazing feedback about my performance. In normal times, this title change would mean a promotion and salary bump, but due to COVID-19 budget cuts, it doesn't. I'm still excited and get a bit emotional - it means a lot to me that others think I'm doing a good job. I know that I also deserve a pay raise, but I am okay with this for now - this field can be really tough and this is my first really great experience in iy. And the new title change will look good on my resume for the future! I spend the rest of the work afternoon with my usual meetings and emails.
3 PM-5 PM: I celebrate my title change by adding a couple of new things to my weekly grocery delivery order: beer, Talenti dairy-free sorbetto (they have a BOGO Free special!) and some Sara Lee pound cake because I have a nostalgic craving for cake. They end up canceling the Talenti because they don't have the dairy free at the store 😢 37.66. I receive the order masked up. I then walk downstairs for the mail a second time today, because my coffee order arrived! And of course, the ticket from the toll I accidentally ran through last month without a toll pass also arrives. $4.25
5 PM-9 PM: SO makes dinner of walnut pesto pasta. After dinner, the usual - TV and getting ready for bed!
Day 7 Total: $56.91
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Total Week Expenses: $553.47
Breakdown:
submitted by darwinmushroom to MoneyDiariesACTIVE [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 00:32 jollyspiffing Scout League Report - GW9

Scout League Report - GW9
The scout league is a league with unlimited free-transfers trying to nail the dream team each week - see the joining details below.
This week in the fantasypl Scout League the Team Of The Week was 'Baldrick' managed by 'Jonathan Liu' with a GW score of '88'
Top scouts this GW - top 25
rank id team_name manager this_GW
1 2864070 Baldrick Jonathan Liu 88
2 3910971 14 HITS Stacy Van Der Bosch 85
3 7457320 Netflix and Chilwell Kevin de Aguero 82
4 4249557 OUTLAW FC Teniola Emmanuel 81
5 55688 Calvert-Lewinzaghi Thom Petty 81
6 7345226 TeamyMcTeamFace henrik henry 80
7 7441438 FC Haneoka Scout Hina Hikawa 80
8 982921 lebrondx hongsick lebron 79
9 7444711 Scouts Failure u/ kzxsji 79
10 4432379 oh no Paras Kavdikar 77
11 4025915 Girls Gone Wildcard u/ ramnarayan93 77
12 980736 Mo Elniesta Ahmed Mansoor 76
13 1150980 Caw Caw Bitches John Honchkrow 76
14 1477540 Napukan_Na_Bqlo Svetlozar Kamishev 74
15 121613 Klich and Collect James Kinch 74
16 4555145 BRIAN Brian Mboya 74
17 5471164 Ryan4pie ryan4pie .tennant 74
18 3937028 Powpow FC Pif Mock 72
19 18493 Guyin Munich Guy Bronze 72
20 4817831 Boris FC John Habib 72
21 1648528 PeneloPenguins Damien Scott 72
22 4062831 ҒE̽S e͙l͙e͙ᵛᴱᴺ Festus kalya 72
23 3113678 Unsteady Knee FC Jesse Gray 72
24 7441283 AGP Max Reddit Esseth 72
25 5179232 InterYaNan Rohan Motiani 71
Favourite picks this GW
name selected captained gw_pts
Calvert-Lewin 99 19 13
Grealish 96 11 1
Chilwell 90 1 7
Fernandes 83 45 11
Ziyech 64 7 3
Son 62 4 10
Kane 54 9 4
Martínez 51 0 1
Rodríguez 51 8 2
Werner 48 8 5
Bamford 38 1 2
Zaha 38 1 0
Vardy 37 7 2
Cresswell 32 0 7
Lamptey 30 0 -1
Watkins 28 0 2
Walker-Peters 25 0 3
McCarthy 23 0 7
De Bruyne 23 0 2
Kilman 22 0 2
Salah 21 6 0
Mané 19 0 3
Zouma 18 0 6
Justin 18 0 0
Digne 18 0 8
Overall Scout League - top 50 of 135:
rank id team_name manager total_score
1 4025915 Girls Gone Wildcard u/ ramnarayan93 595
2 4967057 IceIceBaby Vishal Mishra 577
3 4111638 MaraDonnylovesKoke Amrit Vanchinathan 577
4 492687 partenopei Gennaro Gattuso 575
5 3865648 Scouting for Goals Scout Master 575
6 4432379 oh no Paras Kavdikar 568
7 1477540 Napukan_Na_Bqlo Svetlozar Kamishev 568
8 4249557 OUTLAW FC Teniola Emmanuel 565
9 37720 The Millennium Mbayoo Mungunda 563
10 336301 CroMagnons Arthur Mwanje 557
11 3910971 14 HITS Stacy Van Der Bosch 556
12 55688 Calvert-Lewinzaghi Thom Petty 555
13 766820 Vettel Hansley Gungabissoon 550
14 2864070 Baldrick Jonathan Liu 548
15 5179232 InterYaNan Rohan Motiani 546
16 5592025 ATHAR LIONS ATHAR HUSSAIN Syed 545
17 3937028 Powpow FC Pif Mock 545
18 5175345 Windmill FC William Windmill 545
19 148768 Salah'd Tossers Joe Lombardi 543
20 1150980 Caw Caw Bitches John Honchkrow 543
21 4788179 Kloppsknockingshops Ali Price 542
22 2426148 It’s all down hill James Smith 542
23 18493 Guyin Munich Guy Bronze 542
24 1510117 2 Goals 1 Cup Tobias Svensson 537
25 1511134 WABEBE FC Kevin Kuria 536
26 2623226 No Limit. All In. Taher Weekly Wildcard 536
27 4213322 Can't Catch Me Steve Jim 534
28 4799709 2ManyPlebs Christian Bentley 531
29 124708 Waldrom XI Dan Waldrom 529
30 171797 pointsgatherer geoff davidson 527
31 4303057 WILDCARD TEAM Reddit User 526
32 6219022 Moussa Lewis Loftus 524
33 377782 Kimi Kimi ~ 524
34 102653 Look at mooy Peter Varela 523
35 3633033 Kevin De Bruno Harsha Sista 523
36 633606 Avatar of Vengeance Fahad Ahmed 522
37 5427653 Salah'd FC Shreyas Kulkarni 518
38 4437239 True Florina Champ Κώστας Γεω 518
39 492369 Fat & Average AF FC samson haveland 517
40 3115375 Devil's Red Anurag Mondal 516
41 1566672 Dream Team Tiago Costa 516
42 1373089 A.Wenger's Endgame Euan Buxton 514
43 581237 Ogboner Liam Goodger 513
44 5260660 Hind crusher Vansh Vijayvergia 513
45 704613 Maneball FC Sivakumar Shankar 513
46 495642 Never Wok Alone Ray Jiang 509
47 1638821 Chico Pop FC Chahir Botros 508
48 980736 Mo Elniesta Ahmed Mansoor 508
49 121613 Klich and Collect James Kinch 507
50 3964148 Stronk Potato F.C. Hisham Nouman 504
Join the scout league: wlk0qm
The aim is to make a secondary FPL team to try and get the most points from your 1st XI each week, with no restrictions on transfers: - Transfers will not count against your "scout league" score (they will still be counted on the official site) - C/VC are counted as normal. - Points are only scored for the first XI each week, subs don't count. - Auto-subs will not be counted. - Chips will not be counted (you can play them if you want)
I'm still confused how does this work? People in this league create a secondary team and try and pick the best XI each week without caring about transfer costs/hits. Scoring is done manually to exclude any transfers costs and also excludes bench players. The score/rank on the official site will usually be terrible because of the many transfers, but that's not what counts for this ML, it's what gets posted in the table above that counts.
Process finished with exit code 0
submitted by jollyspiffing to FantasyPL [link] [comments]


2020.11.23 12:00 discoskyline oMRGASj2v8c

submitted by discoskyline to discoskyline [link] [comments]


2020.11.22 17:25 Dull_Pay441 18kt Cartier YG SM pavé Love bracelet from non-TS Conley, with BONUS comparison to Miss Chen Classic Love bracelet

Specs of the bracelet: size 18, 18kt YG, 178 diamonds 1.3 carats, VS G, natural diamonds, ~3.75mm width, ~19 grams weight. (NB my scales and measuring can’t get down to the .00mm or .00 gram)
Hi girls, hope you’ve got a coffee and curled up somewhere cozy, because this is a long read.
So, firstly, the SM pavé Love bracelet is the most exquisite piece of jewellery I own, besides my engagement ring. I even love it above the more popular Classic Love bracelet. To me, the SM pavé is elegant, understated and extravagant all at the same time.
When it comes to love bracelets in rep world, everything is “upside down”. Pavé SM bracelets are cheaper than the Classic Love bracelet. Whereas in “reality” the Pavé SM Love sits at around €27k, and the Classic love is about €7k. These price differences make one consider the fact that in the rep world we’re paying mostly for the content of the item (in this case gold), rather than perceived differences within the brands offering, or workmanship.
Now, when I started my journey for the SM Love, I first visited the local Cartier boutique, to get a feeling for the weight and look. It was absolutely stunning and I would’ve liked to get it there and then, if a) it didn’t feel fiscally irresponsible and b) it was the same cost as a deposit for a small apartment.
Once my heart was set, I needed to start considering sellers. After speaking with many TS and non-TS alike, it was a toss up between TS Miss Chen (MC), and non-TS Conley, who I’ve worked with before. A bit of a back story about Conley, since I doubt many people are familiar with him: I stumbled across him late one summer night when scouting the interwebs. I tested one small piece with him, was satisfied and have worked with him since.
When it came to the SM Pavé Love, I decided to go with Conley, as he’s communicative, I liked some of his previous work and he reassured me they made the best. In addition, For the size I needed (18), there was a hefty price difference between MC who’s price is 3050, and Conley - who was offering a VIP price for over 1,000 USD cheaper.
I did quiz both MC and Conley on the weight, diamond quality, total carat weight, closing mechanisms and engravings before making my decision. In the end, both agreed that for size 18, it was be around 19 grams in weight, have a total carat of 1.3 for the size (with size 15, apparently siting at 0.95 carats). In the end, I did use MC’s factory pictures of the engravings as a reference point for Conley, given that MC is famous for being on-point.
I will go into more detail about the Pavé Love that I bought from Conley below, but would like to add that I wanted to take the experiment one step further so bought the SM JUC bracelet from MC to assess quality. After this purchase, I felt that I still needed a greater reference point, so I then bought the Classic Love from MC. Yes, an expensive experiment, I know. Therefore, I feel somewhat qualified to compare MC and Conley’s work, although I am far from a Cartier expert and of course did not have the exact same pieces to compare.



***
## **Photos*\*

***
**Quality - 10/10*\*
18kt yellow gold, VS G diamonds. Closure works perfectly, diamonds sit well within their place. Nothing but high quality workmanship here.
## **Accuracy - 9.0/10*\*
Closure: same quarter-turn lock mechanism as the original. The closure sticks out slightly, same as the original. This is unlike the Classic sized Love, which has a different locking mechanism, and which many reps often get wrong.
Screw Motif - well on par with MC’s depth and accuracy.
Spacing between diamonds and screw motifs is perfect in my opinion and I cannot see any flaws.
The only “call-outable” aspect of this bracelet, is if you were to take it off and look at the engravings. While the order is pretty spot-on, if you compare the engravings to MC’s you can see that it’s still ever so slightly fuzzy, and is not to the correct scale, given the width of the bracelet. I worked quite hard with Conley to try and get this right but can see I failed. I think someone who is more skilled with pixel-perfect detail would be able to easily work with Conley and get it right. For me this is definitely not an issue since I won’t be taking this baby off and definitely don’t plan to resell. But it’s something to bare in mind if you’re considering to purchase.
Regarding MC, she is well-known for her Cartier pieces and for her engravings. The quality of the workmanship I can see on my Classic Love bracelet and SM Juc bracelet is testament of this. However, unfortunately, she also has a very high price. For this piece, I would feel absolutely comfortable with Conley, however if engravings is a “thing” for you, then you may want to pay the extra 1k USD and go with MC. Or if it’s a real-real issue for you, just get the auth :)
***
## **Satisfaction 100000000/10*\*
I am beyond happy with this purchase. If I were to do a price to quality ratio, I would choose Conley again, over MC.
In fact, you could purchase the SM Pavé Love from Conley and then get a SM JUC bracelet (around 1,000 USD) from MC, for almost the same price as a MC’s SM Pavé bracelet… Just a thought. :)
***
## **Seller Communication and Service - 10/10*\*
Conley promised me the best SM Pavé bracelet, and I really feel like he delivered. To me, the “best” is a balance between price and quality and I feel like he has hit the sweet spot. He kept me updated throughout the process and made sure I was happy with all aspects. Conley isn’t talkative, but he knows his stuff. I would happily recommend him as an alternative to TS’s.
submitted by Dull_Pay441 to RepLadies [link] [comments]


2020.11.20 21:05 Ameriwsa1 What you are looking for is..... (Link in the Desc.)3

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https://preview.redd.it/a7xh9x3qbg061.jpg?width=298&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=56e58c99d1eff716f6b9b56385853ab53bc0aba5
submitted by Ameriwsa1 to u/Ameriwsa1 [link] [comments]


2020.11.18 12:03 remote-enthusiast Collected 70 jobs (tech & non-tech)

Hello friends! These are the open remote positions I've found that were published today. See you tomorrow! Bleep blop 🤖
submitted by remote-enthusiast to remotedaily [link] [comments]


2020.11.18 02:07 Zithero Of Nite and Dei [Chapter 22]


Table of Contents
Chapter 19 l Chapter 20 l Chapter 21
Dei
Palma landed outside a large building near the center of the city. Mighty stone steps lead from the street to the main doorway. Palma walked in and nodded at the officer who sat at the security desk in the main lobby as Palma moved quickly to a set of stairs.
Looking up at the large column of stairs, Palma noticed a large space in the center with plenty of room for his muscled body to fly through.
With several powerful motions of his large black wings, Palma took off and soared straight upwards through the stairwell and he swiftly arrived on the sixth floor.
Palma made his way through the hallway and past the receptionist who tried to protest as Palma made his way into a room where the door had a golden plaque with bold black lettering stamped firmly into the metal which read: “Police Commissioner Gabriel Palma.”
Inside, Palma’s father Gabriel, an older man with brown wings and dark hair like his son’s, stood pouring a dark liquor into a crystal tumbler with a brass ring around the rim. Though the senior Palma’s hair had streaks of white along the sides. Gabriel turned to Palma, his eyes narrowing on him, “Son,” he took a sip, “I should have known he would send you.”
“Hey Pops,” Palma said simply as he shut the door behind him, “we need to talk.”
“Warren fucked me,” Gabriel said, drinking from the glass deeply, “utterly and completely fucked me.”
Palma nodded.
Gabriel turned to Palma, and asked, “So, what’s the game plan?” he hissed as he took a deep drink from the tumbler of booze, “So, who did I piss off inside the organization?”
“Trueman, mostly,” Palma said, “but Sorjoy’s taking full advantage of it.”
“What else does that little shit got on you?” Gabriel narrowed his eyes on Palma, “how fucking sloppy have you gotten, boy?”
Palma shrugged, “probably the same shit Trueman has on you.”
Gabriel threw his glass down onto the ground, causing it to completely shatter into shards as it struck the floor, “Guardian Dammit, boy!” Gabriel roared.
Palma took a step back to avoid the flying shards of glass from the broken tumbler as his father bellowed.
“You had one fucking job! Keep your fuckin’ nose clean!” Gabriel shouted, “But no! Not my stupid son-of-a-bird son! He’s got to get his hand caught in the honey pot… and by who? Erik fuckin’ Sorjoy?” Gabriel sneered, “That kid Sorjoy is as clean as a damn whistle and here you are getting caught by that little punk scout of The Scale!”
“Pops I-” Palma was interrupted quickly.
“No!” Gabriel screamed, “you’re out of excuses,” Gabriel barked, “and I’m done protecting your dumb-angel-ass. I can’t do shit for you anymore, boy.”
Palma looked to his feet and nodded, “No Pops, you can’t. That’s why I’m going to do something for you. I’m going to save your ass, but you gotta do what I say. Got it?”
“Really?! You’re going to do something good for me? That would be a first,” Gabriel gave Palma a cold glare, “Well spit it out. What do my shit-for-brains son and little Erik want from me?”
“For you to resign,” Palma stated coolly.
Gabriel’s knuckles went white as he glared at Palma, “What?!”
Palma now took a more aggressive stance against his father, “I said: You’re going to resign,” he said, lacking any emotion in his voice, his face stoic.
Gabriel’s lip quivered in rage as he stared down at his son, “I am not going to resign my post as Commissioner…”
“Don’t worry Pops,” Palma smiled wickedly, “I’ll take your spot.”
“You?!” Gabriel roared, marching up to Palma and sending his large fist towards Palma’s face.
Palma blocked it, grabbed Gabriel’s fist, and pulled it tight under his armpit, kneeing his father in the gut, causing the older man to double over.
Palma took a swift step back to allow Gabriel to fall to his knees, “It’s time to retire, Pops. You’ll be fine. Move down south,” as he lorded over his fallen father.
Gabriel wheezed and glared up at Palma, “You... little… shit… what dirt do you think Trueman has on me?”
Palma said nothing, giving a nonchalant expression as he shrugged.
“That little slut? She went and got a rape kit and filed a full report against your stupid ass,” Gabriel snarled, “your fuckin’ DNA is all over it. Trueman has it and he’s held that shit over me for years. You think Sorjoy and Trueman aren’t going to do the same fuckin’ shit to you?”
Palma frowned, “...The girl I fucked is Sorjoy’s personal assistant.”
Gabriel grumbled, getting to his feet slowly, “Oh, is she now?”
Palma grinned, “How’s this Pops? You’re not that old you can still get the job done. Resign, promise me you’ll kill the bird, run down to south before anyone catches wind of it. I'll claim to know nothing, you get to remove the black-mail over my head and I’ll run this department exactly how you always did.”
Gabriel smiled, “Now… for once… you’re actually using that fucking brain of yours!” Gabriel laughed, grabbing Palma by his shoulder, “That’s my boy,” he gave Palma a wicked grin, “To be honest with you, it will be satisfying to finally kill that little slut. Finally shutting her the fuck up will be a nice end to my long career.”
Because if I can’t have you, Cleo, then no one can have you,” Palma thought to himself as a demonic grin crossed his face.

Sorjoy sat in his office, listening to Palma and Gabriel’s conversation in his lavish office from a small receiver, “Palma you sorry sad sack of shit,” he said venomously, “like I’d let you or your father touch her.”
Sorjoy got to his feet, walking towards his office door. He opened it, spotting Cleo sitting at her desk, her violet eyes darting between multiple icons on her screen, occasionally tapping here and there.
Cleo eventually noticed Sorjoy, she turned to him, “Mr. Sorjoy, something I can help you with?”
“I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed myself with you at the wedding,” Sorjoy said with a warm smile.
Cleo gave a nod, “it was a lovely affair, sir. Mr. Hoffman chose a lovely bride.”
Sorjoy chuckled, “she wasn’t the most beautiful woman at the wedding. If you ask me.”
Cleo turned to her computer screen, “Mr. Sorjoy, we are on the clock and as I stated: the event was me accompanying you to the function as a last resort, as you put it.”
“So, I can’t speak my mind?” Sorjoy asked, “you were, well, are beautiful.”
“Mr. Sorjoy,” Cleo said, narrowing her eyes on him, “This is not appropriate workplace behavior.”
Sorjoy nodded, “yes and I wanted to address another situation: Based on your records from HR, I see that you’re renting a small home outside the city limits. No doorman or other form of security.”
“Sir?” Cleo asked, her well-sculpted eyebrow raised.
“With this ‘Cerberus’ group placing letters addressed to you in my limousine, I feel it’s important that you find yourself in more secure accommodations,” Sorjoy offered.
Cleo narrowed her eyes, “Mr. Sorjoy, if you’re about to suggest that I move in with-”
“There are condominiums on the middle floors of the Fondsworth, Inc building,” Sorjoy interrupted, “and if you are an employee you can receive a significant discount for purchasing one.”
“Mr. Sorjoy, while you pay me fairly well you do not pay me enough to live in one of the condominiums in The Fondsworth Building,” Cleo pointed out.
Sorjoy chuckled, “there are a few vacancies, why let them remain vacant? You’ve been a valuable asset to me. As such I cannot risk losing you. I can arrange for you to live there for the next year or so, in order to keep you protected. Rent would be considered a non-issue.”
Cleo frowned, “it seems more like you’re trying to keep me under your watchful gaze and I think that would be a conflict of interest.”
“Cleo,” Sorjoy said, glaring at her, “I have two ways to protect you from Cerberus: I can fire you, or I can move you into this building: Make your choice.”
Cleo’s eyes went wide as she stood up abruptly, “Mr. Sorjoy, I’m going home.”
Sorjoy stood up straight, looking down on Cleo, “oh, are you now?”
“Yes,” Cleo stated, taking her laptop and moving to the elevator, waiting for the doors to open for her. She stepped inside and turned to Sorjoy, “I have some packing to do, apparently,” she explained as the doors closed.
Sorjoy grinned, “Perfect.”

Cleo walked to a waiting limousine, cursing under her breath as she spotted Naberious holding the door for her, “thanks, Nab.”
“Did something bad happen up there? You seem like you’re upset,” Naberious asked.
“We’ll talk about it on the ride home,” Cleo snapped, pulling out her tablet once she was inside.
Naberious soon was in the driver’s seat and rolling the partition between the passenger and driver cabins down. “Want to talk about it?”
“Sorjoy wants me to live in his little ivory tower,” Cleo stated.
“Oh,” Naberious was silent for a moment, “how are you going to afford that?”
“Sorjoy says the company will foot the bill,” Cleo said as she tapped on her tablet.
“Mind if I say something?” Naberious asked.
“Go ahead,” Cleo shrugged.
“Seems you’re pissin’ and moaning about something that’s a pretty sweet deal,” Naberious reasoned.
“I’m not pissing and moaning!” Cleo shouted.
“Oh, but you are,” Naberious chuckled, “living in a luxury condo in the same building you work? Sounds so terrible,” Naberious said sarcastically.
Cleo sighed, “he just wants to lock me up in a tower and try to keep me as a little wage slave..”
“Like a fairytale princess?” Naberious laughed.
“Fuck off!” Cleo exclaimed, “granted… Teryn did just move out… it’s going to be kind of lonely in the old room.”
“So what’s the problem?” Naberious asked.
“The problem is this was all kicked off by those idiots at Cerberus who left a note in the limo!” Cleo hissed, “which, by the way, I’d love to know how that got by you!”
“The envelope was not there when I parked,” Naberious sighed, “whoever slipped it in did so without opening the door.
Cleo looked around the cabin, examining it carefully before she spotted the sunroof, noticing it was slightly ajar. A very tiny gap that barely let any light in could be seen. She pointed to the sunroof, asking, “Nab, is the sunroof opened?”
“Hmm? Not according to the indicator,” Naberious pressed a button on the dash, the sunroof shifting slightly, closing the small gap.
“I’m guessing the sunroof doesn’t have an alarm?” Cleo asked.
“The whole limo is alarmed, why?” Naberious asked.
“Because the sunroof was opened,” Cleo pointed out again.
“Fuck,” Naberious cursed under his breath, “I’ll check the system later.”
“Yeah and maybe lock the damn sunroof,” Cleo sighed as the limo pulled up to her home.
“So, do you think Mimi is going to get pissed about you moving out?” Naberious asked.
Cleo shook her head, “Mimi has bigger issues on her plate than whether or not I’ll be paying rent for the next few months.”
Cleo left the limo just as she spotted the cleaning imps leaving, Mimi supervised their departure.
Ipszwellia beamed at Cleo, waving weakly.
Cleo stopped and smiled at Ipszwellia, “Hello, Ipszwellia was it?”
Ipszwellia stopped, gasping in surprise, “y-yes Miss?”
“Ipszwellia, how would you like it if I hired you to be my new house imp?” Cleo asked.
Ipszwellia’s small eyes grew wide, “R-Really?!”
Mimi, who was standing in the doorway, lifted an eyebrow as she eyed Cleo on the front lawn.
“Yeah, I have a new place and I’ll be so busy working, I won't be able to keep it clean on my own,” Cleo mused.
Ipszwellia beamed to Cleo, “I’d be honored!” she tittered, excitement filling her to her very core.
Cleo pulled out a business card, handing it to Ipszwellia, “Call me for the details - I’ll need you to start as soon as tomorrow.”
“Thank you so much, Miss!” Ipszwellia gasped as she took the card and quickly rushed to catch up with the other cleaning imps.
Cleo smiled, but that smile dropped once she turned to Mimi.
Mimi let loose a plume of smoke from her lovely lips, “Something you want to tell me, dear?”
Cleo gave Mimi a nod, walking up to her, “Mimi, I’m moving out.”
“Says who?” Mimi narrowed her eyes, “your debts aren’t fully paid off.”
“Teryn left,” Cleo now glared at Mimi.
“Teryn was bought and paid for,” Mimi explained, “your little white-feathered ass is not.”
“I’m not one of your girls anymore!” Cleo shouted.
“Aren’t you?” Mimi smiled, “you went on a date the other day with one of my clients, did you not? I put the money towards your lease, did I not?”
Cleo glared at her, “So, what? I’m stuck here? You won’t let me leave?”
“I never said that,” Mimi said, taking another inhale of her cigarette through her obsidian cigarette holder, pouting her perfect lips at Cleo, “I said that in order for Teryn to leave, her bill had to be settled.”
“Her bill?!” Cleo shouted.
“That pretty little dress that you wore to get Sorjoy all hot and bothered at the wedding? Who paid for that dress?” Mimi reminded Cleo.
Cleo turned from Mimi.
“Look at me,” Mimi hissed, “you fucking bird.”
Cleo turned to face enigmatic Mimi again.
“You think you can just leave without telling me? Who made these plans for you? That hotshot Sorjoy? Is he going to pay for you?” Mimi asked.
“He doesn’t know-” Cleo was cut off.
“Right,” Mimi continued, “he doesn’t know who owns your ass.”
Cleo narrowed her eyes on Mimi once more, “what is my bill?”
“It depends,” Mimi said, turning to walk inside.
“Depends on what?” Cleo asked, following her inside.
“It depends on what you think your freedom is worth,” Mimi smiled, “little girl.”
“Okay, Mimi,” Cleo shut the door behind her, “let's negotiate.”

Gabriel Palma walked up to a podium before a slew of press. The podium stood before the police department's steps.
“Citizens of Seraph City,” Gabriel Palma began, “My tenure as Chief of Police has lasted for many decades. In that time, I have placed Law and Order at the forefront of my goals as your Commissioner.”
Cameras flashed as several officers lined up behind Gabriel.
Palma was among them, standing to the left of his father.
Sorjoy stood in Trueman’s manner, watching the events unfold on a large TV.
Trueman, sat before the screen, scowling at the image, “So, as you said, you forced Gabriel Palma out. His son… however… he’ll be taking his father’s place?”
“Yes, Grand Patriarch,” Sorjoy stated.
“And you have his loyalty?” Trueman asked.
Sorjoy gave a nod, “yessir, absolute loyalty. I have complete control over him thanks to him tilting his hand a bit too hard.”
Trueman nodded, “I see.” Trueman grinned, knowingly, “well done then. Perhaps I was wrong regarding your will to lead.”
Sorjoy smiled, “more so than Hoffman?”
“Let us see about that, yes? For now,” Trueman motioned to the screen, “let us see the fruits of your labors.”
Meanwhile, at the press conference, Gabriel continued his speech, “As such, it’s with a heavy heart that after so many years I resign my position as Commissioner-” Before he could complete his sentence, a shot was heard and Gabriel collapsed.
There was shouting, screaming and the camera shifted position.
Trueman grinned a half-smile as Sorjoy’s eyes went wide.
“What the hell just happened?” Sorjoy shouted.
The news anchor’s voice soon came over the TV in a panic, “We can confirm that shots were fired from the rooftop! We are unsure if Commissioner Gaberial Palma was injured!”
From behind the podium, over the doors of the police station were three explosions, followed by the unfurling of a trio of massive banners which reached down to the ground.
Each banner had the silhouette of a wolf’s head in black, the banners blue, yellow, and purple respectively. The eyes of each wolf matched the color of each banner.
Finally, the TV flickered for a moment, with a logo of the three wolves silhouettes, with eyes that matched the three banners.
On the screen was a trio of individuals, each with a dog’s head mask.
The voices were obscured as they spoke.
“Dear Seraph City,” the middle angel seemed to speak, “We are the heads of Cerberus.”
The leftmost voice now began, “and if you are seeing this, then Commissioner Gaberial Palma is, sadly, deceased.”
“Such is the fate of any of those who would dare to harm our leader,” the rightmost figure shouted, “Persphone!”
“It is not you we have come to claim,” the middle head called, “it is those who sicken this city from the top down.”
“So if you are of meager means, eeking out your existence as we all are, know we are with you,” informed the leftmost head.
“If you struggle to make ends meet,” the rightmost head continued, “Know we are with you.”
“But if you rule over all of us with dirty money, corrupt power, or other ill-gotten gains,” the center head declared, “know we are your sworn enemy!”
All three now spoke, “We are here to Tip the Scale. We are Cerberus!
Sorjoy narrowed his eyes and grabbed his phone, calling Palma. “Answer the phone, you useless bastard,” he whispered under his breath.
Soon the image returned to the sight of officers pulling the banners down and Palma shouting orders to his officers.
Trueman said calmly, “Leave the man to handle the situation,” Trueman said as he turned to Sorjoy, “let us see the sort of man he is when the ‘heat’ is on, so to speak.”
Sorjoy turned to Trueman, shocked, “Sir, this is an attack on us. If Persephone knows of The Scale and Cerberus gave that message, is that not a declaration of war?”
Trueman gave a nod, “it’s a gauntlet thrown at our feet, certainly,” he turned to Sorjoy, “how would you respond in kind?” Trueman asked cryptically.
“What do you mean?” Sorjoy asked, “We have to take the fight to them directly.”
Trueman nodded, “So, you’d plan to assassinate their Leader then?”
Sorjoy paused for a moment, “Wait, wasn’t that why they said they attacked Gabriel?”
Trueman smiled and turned to Sorjoy, “Yes. Perhaps you should consider that. Who was the aggressor here? Why was Gabriel the target?”
Sorjoy narrowed his eyes, “so you’re saying…?”
“Perhaps you do not have as much control over the younger Palma as you thought,” Trueman said, his smile vanishing. “I suggest you speak to your dog and reaffirm his training.”
Sorjoy bowed to Trueman, “I will sir. Thank you.”
Malik entered the room, bowing gracefully, “Mr. Trueman, the project is ahead of schedule.”
Mr. Trueman gave a nod to Malik, “Mr. Sorjoy, I believe you have some business to attend to, as do I.”
“Of course, Mr. Trueman,” Sorjoy stood up and made his way out of the manner, heading to his limousine which was waiting outside.
Once Sorjoy was gone, Mr. Trueman looked down the steps with mild contempt before following Malik towards the atrium. “Completely rudderless, nothing like his father. A shame, to be honest. I do not think he will do well as Grand Patriarch.”
“But Mr. Hoffman?” Malik asked as he escorted Mr.Trueman through the thick foliage of the atrium.
“Hoffman is an even poorer choice,” Trueman sighed, “I’m merely pitting them against one another to determine who is the less of two poor outcomes.”
Malik gave a concerned sigh, “Are there no other candidates?”
“None within The Scale,” Trueman admitted, “thus why this project is so important.”
Malik and Mr. Trueman soon arrived at the location of the Heart of Lucifer.
Several Imps stood around the diamond with multiple scanning devices, computers, and finally, a pair of imps stood under the Heart of Lucifer.
The Heart of Lucifer was lifted high enough to allow them to work underneath it. There, the pair were drilling away at the hardened diamond.
“How much longer?” Mr.Trueman asked, his breath shorter than normal.
“Almost to the core, but we aren’t sure how much pressure is inside,” one of the imp technicians advised, “so please, stay back!”
The pair with the large drill soon shouted, “We’re through!” and a hissing noise could be heard.
Mr.Trueman watched as the blue liquid turned an even more radiant blue. Below the diamond, a small clear flask filled with the liquid before the technicians capped the flask.
One imp held the filled flask up, his eyes mesmerized by the swirling blue liquid and strange metallic flakes within it.
Mr.Trueman snatched the flask from the imp, “it is the blood of Lucifer… the last Patriarch only had a single ampule of this fluid… and he squandered it like a fool. But I…” Mr.Trueman smiled triumphantly, “I will use it properly.”
Malik frowned, “Mr.Trueman, sir?”
“To the elevator,” Mr. Trueman ordered, “Now!”
Malik nodded and hurried Mr. Trueman along from the atrium to the elevator, “Mr. Trueman, sir, are you certain this will work?”
“If it doesn’t, then I may just lose my faith in the Guardian Lucifer,” Mr. Trueman looked at the fluid, “it must work.”
A concerned look crossed Malik’s face, “Of course, sir.”
Mr.Trueman walked into Kaelen’s room, followed by Malik.
Malik walked to a medical drawer and pulled out a fresh syringe.
“Quickly, Malik,” Mr. Trueman ordered, “Quickly now.”
Malik nodded, unwrapping the needle and inserting it into the flask. He drew the blue liquid from the flask into the needle.
Malik walked over to Kaelen and injected the fluid into a vein in his forearm.
Kaelen’s veins turned blue for a moment at the point of injection. After a moment or two, Kaelen’s body convulsed, the devices hooked up to him showing an increased heart rate.
Mr.Trueman smiled wide, “Yes! Yes! Revive my son, Guardian Lucifer!”
Kaelen’s convulsions slowed down and finally, he settled back to rest.
Mr.Trueman walked up to Kaelen, slowly feeling his arm, “he’s stronger… but… Kaelen? My son? Are you there?”
Malik looked to the floor slowly, giving a heavy sigh, “I’m so sorry, Mr.Trueman.”
Mr.Trueman took the syringe, looking at Malik, “I suppose I have nothing else to live for.”
“Mr. Trueman?!” Malik shouted as he watched as Mr.Trueman injected the remaining blue fluid into his arm.

Jax pulled a rifle from a window sill and ducked behind a wall, heaving a sigh of relief. “Fucking A man,” Jax’s brow was furrowed, sweat seeping down his face.
Jophiel handed Jax a cloth, “dry yourself off, wipe your prints off the gun and leave it. We’ve gotta go.”
“Did I get him?” Jax asked.
“He went down like a sack of shit,” Jophiel said as he slid his mask on, “which serves the bastard right. A corrupt cop who killed Guardian-knows how many people.”
Jax nodded, “Never killed anyone before.”
“Me neither,” Jophiel said, offering Jax his hand, “but let's just trust in the fact he deserved it.”Jax grunted as Jophiel hefted him up, the pair heading out of the room and through the fire escape on the other side of the building. Both angels climbed down the fire escape and slipped out of the room as best they could.
Upon reaching the ground, each slipped on normal respirators and vanished into the crowd.
After a few minutes of using the chaos to escape, Jax and Jophiel each met up on the outskirts of town and they pulled out a phone.
Jax hit the call button and kept the small phone on speaker while Jophiel ensured they had not been followed.
Mimi’s voice soon chimed in over the line, “Speak,” her lilting voice carried over the phone, beguiling her intent.
“We’re clear,” Jax said.
“Good,” Mimi stated, “that cock-sucker was a real pain in my ass.”
“What’s next?” Jophiel asked.
“What’s next,” Mimi instructed, “is the two of you skip town for the better part of a month or two and lay very, very low.”
Jax frowned, “What do we do for cash?”
“Boys, boys, boys,” Mimi laughed, “didn’t we take care of that?”
Jophiel sighed, “you gave us enough for a week. What are we gonna do for a month?”
“Are your hands broken, boys?” Mimi gave a sinister laugh, “Go find yourselves some jobs.”
“And what do we do after that?” Jax asked.
“Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” Mimi said. The call ended.
“What?!” Jax shouted, dialing the number again, the call going straight to voicemail.
Jophiel sighed, “We gotta go, man, we’re too hot right now.”
Jax snapped the small cellphone in half, and grunted to himself, tossing both halves across the alleyway.
Jophiel looked back on the city and narrowed his eyes, “I guess we can’t do anything but wait and trust Persephone.”
Jax nodded, “I hope to get a call soon,” as he glared at the city in the distance, “I still got a score to settle with Fondsworth.”

Three Months Later
Shuttle Goodwill
Yuki smiled as she woke from her sleep, excited that the day was finally here.
Tarrabetha seemed equally excited, but Yuki was certain her emotions were affecting Tarrabetha’s or was it vice versa?
Tarrabetha smiled wide as she floated through the air, “oh, I can’t wait to talk to Tom!”
Yuki smiled, “And I can’t wait to see my son!” While Yuki missed Serren very much, her joy at finally arriving at Dei to see her son was overwhelming her longing for Serren.
At the same time, Tarrabetha and Yuki’s joy had spilled over to Issla and Briggett as they were both in a cheery mood.
“Well, we’re within radio range,” Briggett stated.
Tarrabetha grinned and floated over to the radio equipment, “This is Shuttle Goodwill, announcing we are only three hours from our descent!” Tarrabetha announced in a well-practiced Dei accent.
Yuki was impressed with how well Tarrabetha spoke Dei. Though she was still curious how or why no one on Dei had known about a Niten shuttle.
After a short delay, Tarrabetha heard Thomas’s response, grinning wide, “Oh, Tommy, I cannot wait to be closer to you…” she grinned wide, “I want to kiss you so bad!”
Tarrabetha waited a few more moments before a reply came from Thomas, “Can’t wait, Tarra! When you land… okay?”
Tarrabetha beamed, turning to Briggett, “Please, let me get off the ship with Yuki? Please?! It’s the last chance I’ll ever have to meet him!”
Yuki’s face fell slightly, “Tarra… he’s never seen you, right?”
Tarrabetha laughed, “Well, no,” she frowned, “why, is there something wrong with me?”
“No, no, it’s just… how can you… feel something for him if you’ve never met him?” Yuki asked.
“Because of how well we flirt,” Tarrabetha grinned.
Issla sighed, looking out the main viewing window, “Tarra, Yuki has a minor point: Even if you meet, we have 72 hours to leave.”
Tarrabetha turned to her colleagues and grinned, “Well… yeah… I’m kind of going to stay on Dei.”
“What?!” all three of the crewmates shouted at Tarrabetha.
Tarrabetha staggered back, “What? I love Tom and I wouldn’t ask him to leave his home and I’ve already been gone-”
“No!” Yuki shouted, rushing to Tarrabetha, “you do not want to live here! Why do you think I’m trying to bring my son home?!”
Tarrabetha was confused by Yuki’s confession, “But, Yuki, didn’t you live there?”
“Yes!” Yuki shouted, “and trust me, you’d be miserable there!”
Issla frowned, “I have to agree with her Tarra… we don’t know much about Dei culture and you’d be the only Niten Dragon on the whole planet. Honestly, I think it’s a bad idea.”
Tarrabetha frowned, “I’m seeing Tom! No one can stop me!”
I can stop you,” Briggett ordered, “now let's get ready for landing. The only person getting off this shuttle is Yuki.”
Issla nodded, “Tarrabetha, it’s a bad idea. You know how miserable we feel when we land. That isn’t decompression, that’s the way all of the Dei Angels feel. Stressed, anxious, and worried. Is that how you want to live?”
Tarrabetha pouted and floated away from the three of them, small tears floating after her.
Yuki could feel how upset Tarrabetha was, and decided it best to not bother Tarrabetha until they landed. Still, she felt a new level of nervousness as everyone was concerned regarding how they would handle Tarrabetha once they landed.
After a few hours, the shuttle was entering Planet Dei’s atmosphere.
Yuki watched as the shuttle took a long and gradual descent through the atmosphere.
“Everyone strap in for our descent,” Briggett announced.
Yuki moved to strap-in, adjusting her straps slightly as she did so. She rubbed her brow, painfully. Somehow she had gotten a pair of bumps on her head at some point. Where the bumps came from she was unsure. Yuki wondered if something had bumped her head while she was sleeping.
The rest of the crew strapped in as well, Issla checking their altitude and heading.
“Currently ten minutes to landing, cruising through the upper atmosphere, heat shields are holding,” Issla announced.
Biggett now stated as she gripped the controls, “holding re-entry angle steady, speed dropping below supersonic.”
Tarrabetha’s seat was closest to the communication panel and she spoke into a handheld radio, “Shuttle Goodwill coming in t-minus 9-minutes there, handsome!”
Yuki just did her best to hold on as the shuttle shuddered and rocked back and forth for a moment.
Yuki felt the ship begin to drop as it continued. Briggett’s hands were firmly on the control stick, however, guiding the ship down slowly.
Issla announced, “temperatures are nominal, speed has dropped below supersonic, engaging terrestrial engines.”
The shuttle shuddered once more and Yuki felt a sensation of the ship lurching forward for a moment.
After this, the ride grew much smoother, and Yuki looked out to see a set of dark clouds below. Yuki took a deep breath as the ship dipped through what she knew as the smog of Seraph City.
Tarrabetha smiled as the radio chimed in, “Shuttle Goodwill, this is ground control. You are cleared to land at the landing site designated Alpha, please confirm navigation.”
Issla announced, “radar showing active landing site designation Alpha, plotting our landing now.”
“We’ve got a lock on you,” Tarrabetha announced, “see you soon, Tommy!”
As the ship descended through the clouds the dark city below was a familiar sight to Yuki, who was growing nervous as she found she could sense far more of her fellow Dei’s emotions than she normally could.
It was as Issla explained: anxiety and stress.
To Yuki’s surprise, she watched as the ship lowered further and further, eventually touching down on a runway of sorts like any other airliner.
“Touchdown,” Briggett announced.
“Confirmed landing, Shuttle Goodwill, please taxi to hanger alpha for unloading and refueling,” Thomas’s voice crackled over the radio.
“Confirmed, Tommy!” Tarrabetha turned to Briggett.
“Taxing,” Briggett announced.
Yuki was confused as the ship began to roll down a long ramp which led to an underground hanger of some kind.
The ship came to a complete stop inside of a large hanger that was a few hundred meters underground.
Yuki unstrapped herself as the ship shuddered once more and Yuki saw a massive ramp similar to the one they had launched from on Nite. This one, however, had the launching track going above ground from down below.
“Shuttle Goodwill, you are locked and loaded. Refueling you now and unloading your cargo,” Thomas announced.
Tarrabetha grinned wolfishly, “Oh, Tommy, fill me up good, okay?” She giggled.
Briggett sighed heavily, “Tarra, not over official channels!”
Tarrabetha grinned at Briggett.
The radio soon buzzed back, “Always Tarra, always,” Thomas announced.
Yuki heaved a sigh, “so, how do I disembark?”
Briggett nodded, “Tarrabetha, ask about Yuki, can you?”
Tarrabetha nodded, “Tommy what are we doing with our extra passenger? She needs to get off.”
Yuki sat in her seat, looking out the window to where the control tower was.

Dei
Meanwhile, in a control room, the imps quickly rerouted the radio call.
Sorjoy stood in his office as the red phone rang. He answered it quickly, “Yes?”
An imp cleared its throat, “Mr. Sorjoy, sir, we have communications from the Shuttle Goodwill.”
Sorjoy narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean? That ship was not due until hours from now…”
“It apparently landed early,” the imp informed, “they’re requesting instructions for the miner.”
Sorjoy nodded, “I’ll send someone, tell her to wait.”
The imp relayed the information quickly, speaking to the radio himself, “Shuttle Goodwill, please wait. Someone will be there to escort Mrs. Karkade.”
The imp waited for a moment before there was a return communication, “Confirmed. Where’s Tommy?” Tarrabetha asked.
The imp frowned and shrugged to his cohorts, “He’s only handling the control tower responses. We are in charge of disembarking Mrs. Karkade.”

Shuttle Goodwill
Tarrabetha turned to her crewmates before asking the next question, “Tommy, are you there?”
A new voice came through the radio. “Tommy stepped away for a minute Tarra. This is Hammond, I’m his co-worker he never lets on the horn.”
Terrabetha turned to Briggett, “oh, crap, do you think Tommy is in trouble?”
Briggett rolled her eyes, “you were flirting with each other pretty heavily over official channels. Bet his superiors weren’t too pleased with that.”
After nearly half an hour a knock soon came on the door.
Briggett turned to the door, “guess it’s for you, Yuki.”
Yuki walked to the door, spotting a man dressed in a street cop’s uniform, “I guess this is my ride,” Yuki announced.
Briggett walked over and hugged Yuki tight, “good luck, Yuki.”
Issla smiled at Yuki, “I hope to see you soon.”
Tarrabetha smiled, “and tell Thomas, if you spot him, that I love him and that…” Tarrabetha looked to the floor, “that I’m sorry it might be a very long time before we talk again.”
Yuki nodded, giving each crew member a hug, “I’ll see you guys really soon, I promise.”
Issla smiled at Yuki as the airlock opened.
The officer smiled at the women, “Ladies, nice to see you. Name’s Azreal Palma,” Palma grinned as he walked into the cabin, checking to make sure the outer door was closed behind him.
“Officer Palma,” Yuki smiled, “nice to meet you.”
“I assume you’re Yuki Karkade?” Palma asked, looking at Yuki.
Tarrabetha grinned, “No, that’s me!” she laughed.
Palma laughed, “Good one.”
“So, where am I headed?” Yuki asked.
“I’ve been told to take you to see your family,” Palma explained, stepping away from the door, “after you.”
Yuki gave a nod and walked into the airlock. “You’ve seen Niten Dragons before?” she asked.
Palma gave a nod, “I’ve seen those three.”
“I have a whole lot of questions for Fondsworth,” Yuki informed.
“We’ll get to that, first let's get your family situation squared away,” Palma said with an innocent smile as he led Yuki out of the ship and down the steps.
Yuki sighed, “Right, right,” she sighed as she walked towards Palma’s squad car.
Palma opened the back door for her and closed it, hopped into the driver's seat, turned on the lights, and drove off.
Yuki sat in the back of the police car, looking up at the buildings passing her by. She looked up to the sun, barely visible through the smog in the air, and heaved a sigh.
“Missed home?” Palma asked her as they drove on.
“No,” Yuki confessed, “not one bit.”
Palma laughed, “so, I have to ask, what was Nite like?”
Yuki smiled, “It’s beautiful.”
Palma nodded, “I bet.”
Soon they pulled up to the Fondsworth building, Yuki’s brow furrowed as she looked up to the building. “This isn’t my home.”
“Your family moved since you were last here,” Palma explained, getting out of the car and opening the door for her, “please, follow me.”
Yuki got out with some apprehension, confused as to why her family would be in this large skyscraper.
Palma turned to Yuki, “Please, Mrs. Karkade, follow me,” Palma insisted.
Yuki followed tentatively, walking through the eerily empty lobby. She looked around slowly, having visited the main HQ of Fondsworth once or twice before.
Maybe Aphod moved into one of the Condos somehow? She doubted that much changed in the six months she had been on Nite.
Palma led the two to a single elevator, far back from the rest, with a set of golden doors.
Yuki gave Palma an odd look as he approached the elevator and opened it.
Palma stood behind Yuki and now she felt a sinking feeling in her gut.
Yuki turned to Palma as he took a step forward.
“Get in,” Palma said, the pleasantries gone now that she was cornered.
“Where are you taking me?” Yuki demanded as Palma forced her into the elevator by walking forward.
Once inside Palma didn’t say another word, merely blocking her path and pressing a button on the elevator.
For Yuki, the elevator ride felt like it took forever.
Once it came to a stop, Palma stepped out, motioning to Sorjoy’s office door.
“Palma?” Cleo shouted, glaring at him, “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Palma placed his fingers to his lips to hush Cleo, “Shh.”
Cleo turned from him and Yuki as Palma walked to the office door, opening it and letting Yuki walk in.
Yuki walked in, only to have the door shut behind her. She turned to see an expensive desk with a large high-backed leather office chair. An arm clad in an expensive suit placed a small tumbler of liquor on the desk before pressing a button on a small device which began to playback an audio recording.
A cough was heard, as well as some sounds of a microphone scratching fabric and thumping as it was placed down on a surface of some sort.

Ever since the first Dei ship came close enough to the orbit of Nite, the people of Dei have both feared, and wondered: what lay in the nearby world? One man, long ago however did venture to Nite.
“Daddy?” Yuki’s eyes went wide, “Why do you have a recording of my father?!” Yuki demanded, but the man behind the desk did not answer as the recording continued.

What he saw did not shock him nor did it frighten him. Rather it filled him with joy; the very first Dei to meet Nite knew two things.:
Nite had things Dei needed. Meat, Vegetables and other foods that Nite had an overabundance of, so much so that it would spoil if not harvested or otherwise preserved.
Nite could not know of Dei because the ideas of money, greed and murder would slip into the Niten world's society and poison it. Nor could Dei learn of Nite, for our own greed would plunder their world.
From that day a secret order known as “The Scale” existed within Dei’s high society. The most powerful men and women of Dei, from the most successful CEOs, to the elected leaders of great nations, make up its esteemed membership.
The job of The Scale is to protect Nite by any means necessary from discovery by Dei. Our founder is the first man to return from Nite. His knowledge in which the order has passed down through several generations is our burden.
From my father and his before him, from the very man who breathed in the air of Nite. Its existence purely secretive, those who left the Sect could only do so by leaving the mortal coil. Not even the Nite themselves knew of The Scale’s existence.
My Son, this is the burden that I have to give to you now. I know the path I set before you is difficult, this is no simple task.
But, if it were simple I would not trust you with it. You have the tools my son, you must now go forward, let nothing hold you back and ignore mercy and morals. Your ends will justify any means, for your burden is sanctified by the Guardian Lucifer Himself.
I know you could not be here in person, there is far too much for you to do and you make me proud. Ignore your sister's resentment. If you do, it will pass, as will I.
Yuki narrowed her eyes on the desk, “Why do you have my father’s voice on a recording? And what is he talking about?”
Sorjoy stood up from the chair, turning to Yuki, “It’s pretty much the only thing dad left me.”
Yuki shot to her feet, “Erik?!” she shouted, shocked.
“Nice to see you again,” Sorjoy said, pulling a pistol from his pocket and aiming it at Yuki, “little sister.”
submitted by Zithero to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]


2020.11.14 17:26 PeaceSim There's a local legend in my town about a ghost train. I found the recordings of a reporter who tried to investigate it. [Part 2] [Final]

Part 1
Recording 16 – June 13, 2019, at 9:04 p.m.
I don’t deserve a sister as caring as Ariel. She could tell that I was upset and insisted on spending time with me to make me feel better.
She didn’t pry when I told her that I didn’t want to talk. I don’t want to drag her into this any more than I have already. Same goes for anyone else I’ve interviewed over the last few weeks.
I started to relax after we turned on the television. For a few minutes, I managed not to think of the tickets or the sense of impending doom I'd felt about whatever will happen at 11:59 p.m. tonight.
Towards the end of the show we were watching, the images started to scramble. When I complained about it, Ariel looked at me blankly.
She flipped the channel to some competition show. Contestants sang on a stage.
At first, the stage was clear. But, as the show progressed, crimson puddles formed on it. The puddles grew in size and depth until the contestants, who took no notice, waded in knee-deep pools as they performed.
“Is this some kind of Halloween-themed special?” I asked, even as I realized how little sense that made.
“Huh?” said Ariel.
The liquid kept rising as the image cut to a host who was judging the contest. Blood poured rapidly from the elongated eyes and stretched mouth of his massive and deformed face, feeding the red pool that now flooded the set.
I freaked out. Ariel tried to calm me and asked me if I needed to go to a hospital. When I looked back at the television, it displayed nothing other than a mundane singing show with no deformed faces or contestants caked in blood.
I told her that I needed to go and sprang to my car. There's no point in trying to calm myself anymore. Something's happening to me, and I need to take action.
I’m driving as I record this. I don’t have much of a plan. Only a hunch. There’s one person I can think of who may have answers. If my instincts are correct, he may be the only one who can help me.
Recording 17 – June 13, 2019, at 9:55 p.m.
[loud car horn beeps]
[train whistles]
Ryan: [shouting] What’s your problem?
[loud car horn repeats]
Ryan: [shouting] I can’t go now! There’s a train passing ahead for Christ’s sake!
Man: [shouting] Christ’s got nothin’ to do with what’s coming for you! A Baptism of blood’s headin’ your way! Your rebirth won’t be as a child of God!
[car horn continues beeping]
Ryan: The fuck is wrong with this guy? Finally, the train’s about through. I’m going to pull over and let this asshole pass me.
[car engine starts]
Man: [passing] Baptism of blood’s comin’ your way!
Ryan: [shouting] Fuck off, you fundamentalist freak!
Recording 18 – June 13, 2019, at 10:25 p.m.
[knocks]
Ryan: Hello! I know you’re in there!
[knocks continue]
Old man: Come on in.
[door opens]
Ryan: Look, sir, I’m so sorry to bother you, it’s just…
Old man: You’ve been seeing it in your dreams, haven’t you? And you’ve got a train ticket for tonight.
Ryan: Yes, how did you-
Old man: I’ve seen it before. Too many times. Name’s Charles, by the way. Say cheese.
[camera shutter sound]
Ryan: Jesus, what was that for? I can’t see anything.
Charles: You’ll be fine in a moment. I know the flash on my old camera is a bit harsh.
Ryan: Look, I have so many questions.
Charles: Sit down and relax a bit. I’ll make some tea.
Ryan: It’s hard to relax when I have-
Charles: About an hour and a half, right?
Ryan: …right.
[water pours]
Charles: I see you eying my shotgun. Don’t worry. I don’t even own any shells. It’s just for show.
Ryan: It scared the hell out of me and my friends the other night.
Charles: I thought you might have been one of them, but I wasn’t sure. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
Ryan: What’s it like living on cemetery grounds? Surely you’re not required to be here.
Charles: My family’s cared for this graveyard since it was first established. The city gave us the deed for this patch of land within it. We could have given it up ages ago, but we’ve always preferred to live on the property we care for. It also helps me with another duty. One that concerns you.
Ryan: I had a feeling you knew something about all this – about Kilpatrick’s phantom train. It was just a hunch but I had no other leads. You weren’t just chasing me and my friends away because we were out late in the park, were you?
Charles: No, no. My house overlooks the sight of Kilpatrick’s suicide. His train – ‘phantom train’, as you call it, stops there. And, kids like you chasing after ghost stories will often be there for him to pick up. It happened much more in the past than it does these days, but I still keep a lookout. If it weren’t for me, you’d be there on the train at this very moment, and you wouldn’t be getting off anytime soon.
Ryan: You said it used to happen more in the past. Why is that?
Charles: Kilpatrick’s phantom train had a hold on this city for decades. Eventually it left a mark so black that it was impossible not to notice. I led an effort to stop teaching about it, stop talking about it, stop sharing information about it. Dozens and dozens of people used to go missing. That number is much smaller now.
Ryan: I haven’t seen records of that many missing persons.
Charles: You wouldn’t have. Kilpatrick’s train doesn’t just lure victims from this world into the next. It takes the memories of the victims with it. It sucks everything out of this world about them. Even, gradually, every physical record of each victim’s existence. Let me show you something.
Ryan: Do you need help with that?
Charles: No, no, I got it, and the box isn’t heavy. Here we go. Now, tell me, what do you see inside?
Ryan: There’s…hundreds of scraps of paper. Most are newspaper articles. This one is about a missing Scout troop. Disappeared from River’s Edge in 1968. There are dozens of photos in here, too. Taken from your camera, I assume.
Charles: And here’s one more to add to the collection. I should have asked you to smile.
Ryan: Why are you putting my photo in there?
Charles: Nobody’s gonna remember you otherwise.
Ryan: If this thing…this train erases everyone’s memories of those who go onboard – and even erases all records about them, then how do you still have everything in this box?
Charles: I can’t explain the science of it to you, if science is even a thing that matters here. But I can tell you that the process is gradual. It can be combatted. I cherish this box. I go through it every morning and every night. That hampers the erasure, at least for a while. It once had even more pictures and articles. I used to know every name in here. But by looking through it every day, I can keep some memory of these people alive. It may not do the victims any good, but it’s something, and I think it matters.
[boiling water hisses]
Charles: I’ll let that steep for a minute. You see, I didn’t always live here alone. The train got my son. I recite everything I know about him every morning and every evening. I tell myself that maybe my memory tethers him to the realm of the living. Maybe it will give him strength to escape from purgatory. But the train’s power is strong. A few weeks ago, I realized that I didn’t know his name any more. All I have now is this picture.
Ryan: I’m so sorry.
Charles: It’s taken from you, hasn’t it?
Ryan: Yes. I had been dating a girl. In my dream, the two of us got onboard. Now, it’s like she barely knows me. What about you? Has it appeared in your dreams like it has in mine?
Charles: For a while, I’d see it. The train would always be obscured by something, like fog or a tree line. But I’d sense it approaching where I waited at a platform. And I’d wake up with it closer to me every night. One day, I drove five hours south and went to sleep in a hotel in North Carolina. When I woke up, I was in grass in the park not three yards from the site of Kilpatrick’s suicide. I called the hotel, and my car was still in its lot. I don’t know how it was possible. I don’t think you can run away from it. Eventually, I taught myself to have dreamless sleep. It kept it at bay. Over time, I think it lost interest in me.
Ryan: Can you help me? I can go a few days without sleeping. Maybe I can learn the same thing you learned.
Charles: Maybe. Maybe. I can try to help you. I don’t know if you can learn it that fast, but we can fight it together.
Ryan: I can’t believe I got myself into all this trouble. All for a stupid article.
Charles: Article?
Ryan: Yeah. I’ve talked to people all over town about the train. You’re the first to give me some answers.
Charles: I see. I think the tea’s ready. Let me add some milk to it.
Ryan: It’s terrifying to me, that it erases people from existence. Your poor son.
Charles: Here you go.
Ryan: It has a funny taste.
Charles: Don’t worry. It’s just a strong flavor.
Ryan: How do you think Kilpatrick chooses whose dreams to haunt? Lots of people who used to know about the legend haven’t disappeared.
Charles: He goes after those who come to him. In dreams and in reality. Sometimes, it slowly devours an entire family, using the spirit of the first member to go missing to lure the others to it.
Ryan: It’s…uh…I’m feeling…
Charles: Weak? Dizzy?
[several minutes pass without speaking]
[crickets and scraping]
Ryan: Hey…Charles…what happened? Why are we on the old track?
Charles: I hoped I could help you, but reporters don’t keep secrets. I doubt it’ll come after anyone just for reading something posted about it online. But the curious will come here to investigate for themselves. For their sakes, I can’t let you go.
Ryan: Wait! I’ve already decided to stop! I’ve canceled the whole project. And I’m going to erase every recording I’ve made. Please, untie me.
Charles: I’m sorry. But you have a train to catch.
[departing footsteps]
Recording 19 – June 14, 2019, at 7:08 a.m.
Ryan: I don’t know where to begin. I…I…need to recount what I’ve been through. I don’t know what good it will do, since I’m convinced that I need to erase every recording I’ve made. But I’m going to spell it all out anyway. I’m going to complete my research.
I lost consciousness after Charles left me by the tracks. I awoke to find Mrs. Pendleton, of all people, undoing my bindings. She explained that she didn’t know how she ended up there.
“You were given a ticket, weren’t you?” I asked. “In your dream?”
“Round trip.” Her face looked pale. “Let’s get out of here.”
But it was too late. Figures surrounded and subdued us.
“You have a train to catch, young man,” said the pale man from my dreams.
Fog descended. Phosphorescent green approached from the distance. A whistle bellowed four times.
“I want to leave! Let me go!” cried Mrs. Pendleton.
A tear ran down my cheek as I realized that I was responsible for her fate.
The face emerged. A familiar, chilling scream howled out of its elongated mouth as the train slowed.
The mist faded after it stopped.
It was once black iron. But it wasn’t anymore.
It was a blood train. Its structure consisted largely of human skin, flesh, and organs. Bone formed its pistons, valves, and coupling rods. Hundreds of skulls lined its walls.
The pale man turned to me. I shuddered. His long face was gone. Behind his dangling tongue and beneath his veiny eyes dripped blood and mucous from where his nose and mouth should have been. I understood where his features had gone when he pointed to the stretched skin that covered the front of the train engine.
He and the others dragged me and Mrs. Pendleton to an entrance to a train car. My heart beat rapidly. “No, no, no,” muttered my old teacher. I wanted, so badly, not to see what was behind the door.
All at once, it swung open. A cascade of blood crashed upon us. Mrs. Pendleton screamed. I probably did the same. We would have been swept away but for the others holding us in place.
There was so much of it, and it just kept pouring. I felt like the whole world had turned into a sea of red.
Finally, the wave receded. The pale man pushed me and Mrs. Pendleton inside.
Pink tissue lined the inner walls and ceiling. As we plodded through puddles of red, I noticed that the room contained seats, like it had once been a passenger car. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the seats were made of portions of ribcages melded together. Bits of flesh clung to the bones, one set of which connected to a torn neck and battered head that faintly pulsated and breathed.
We crossed from this car to the next, moving towards the engine.
To my surprise, the next car was dry and well-kept. The blood that dripped off of me stained the white carpet as I walked, but the dozens of resigned, empty-looking passengers sitting around me did not seem to care.
A uniformed man approached and asked for my ticket.
At first, I was too dazed to respond.
“Your ticket?” he repeated.
“No ticket,” I said. Maybe he would throw me off?
The man sighed and removed a pad of paper. He flipped through it before reading from it: “Ryan Grove. Single Ride. You may sit anywhere on this car. Make sure to get off at the next stop.”
He left me alone after that. The train started up.
I examined the other passenger. Six children in Scout uniforms sat together. A woman in a pinner apron and a mobcap sat with a man in an old military uniform. Many of the passengers were missing limbs or chunks of their bodies.
The door to our compartment from the next car opened, revealing a figure obscured by shadow. “New arrivals. This way.”
I froze. The other passengers slowly turned their faces towards me. I sensed anger at my hesitation.
“Now,” said the shadowy figure.
We followed him until we reached the locomotive. The figure stayed just out of sight, but I discerned that he wore a thick coat, gloves and a dirty cap.
“Do you see how it fades?” he asked, motioning to a long gap in the metallic structure of the car’s ceiling.
With surprising deftness, he reached out a tattered arm of discolored, exposed bone. He grabbed Mrs. Pendleton and tore off a portion of the side of her chest with his bare hand. She screamed and collapsed as he smoothed her detached flesh over the gap. A green glow emanated from wherever the flesh met the train’s metal. The flesh hardened and settled into place as it joined the train’s structure.
“That’s enough from you for today,” said the man. He turned to me while Mrs. Pendleton whimpered.
“You-you’re him, aren’t you?” I stuttered. “What do you want with me?”
He didn’t acknowledge me at first. Instead, faded memories flashed before me as translucent images of my infancy, my home, my family, my friends. With a flick of Kilpatrick’s wrist, each image floated into the boiler, which lit up. The train accelerated as my memories powered it like coal once did.
“I don’t want to be here,” I said.
“There is a way out,” said Kilpatrick. “I want you to think something over: I’ll let you go, and return all that I've taken, if you publish the article. There are so many repairs that need to be done, after all.”
“No,” I said.
“If that’s what you decide, then I’ll see you tomorrow night,” responded Kilpatrick. “We’ll have so long to get to know each other.”
I woke up in my house. I was sweaty and dirty, and everything about my room was off. It was empty. No clothes, no pictures, nothing but the bed I lay in.
I checked my pockets. My wallet was gone. I still had my phone, on its last bit of power, and the ticket from my dream. “Round Trip – 11:59 p.m. 6/14/2019”. Tonight. I remembered what the pale man said: “The funny thing about a circle is that it never ends.”
I stepped into the hallway. My family’s house felt foreign. Ariel, mom, and dad smiled together in pictures on the wall. I didn’t belong there anymore.
I’m in the backyard now. As soon as I finish this recording, I’m deleting everything on my phone and burying it in the woods. Hopefully it’ll disappear soon, just like everything else I once owned. Just like I will tonight. All that will remain of me soon will be a photo in Charles’ shoebox. It’s probably best that way.
I’m more than a little tempted to publish the article. But I’ve made up my mind.
Should I just kill myself before tonight? I don’t think so. Something tells me that if I do, Kilpatrick will get my soul anyway.
Maybe, someday, this will all stop. Maybe enough people will forget about the legend that Kilpatrick’s train, and all those trapped onboard, will fade away.
Mom, Dad, Ariel – our life together was real, even if I suspect that you’re going to forget that it ever happened. I love you all and I always will.
The recordings end here. What’s described in them – it can’t be real, can it? I look now at the empty room in our house. The one that’s always been there. I never thought about it much, but why did we never do anything with it?
It was my name and my voice in that recording. I don’t want to believe that any of this is true. But…I have a strong feeling that it is.
I wonder about what to do. About whether I should visit old man Charles at the cemetery. About whether I should try to rescue this brother I may have once had.
I wonder, too, if I should do nothing. That’s what this Ryan would have wanted. Maybe, like he suggests, the legend will die out on its own if people stop looking into it.
I may not have the option of forgetting about it, though. I woke up this morning sprawled on the damp earth of a trail in the woods near my house. I’d had a terrible dream of an old train. It stopped in front of me, and I peered through the thick fog surrounding it until I identified a young man with my mother’s face and my father’s green eyes waving at me with a maimed hand through a half-open window.
submitted by PeaceSim to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.11.13 22:14 jw_mentions /r/iamatotalpieceofshit - "As someone who used to be a JW, please help this gain more attention"

I am a bot! Please send NotListeningItsABook a private message with any comments or feedback on how I work.
EDIT: As of Sun Nov 15 18:00:55 UTC 2020, the post is at [2535pts49c]

About Post:

--- --- Notes
Submission As someone who used to be a JW, please help this gain more attention
Comments As someone who used to be a JW, please help this gain more attention
Author UnsettlingAura
Subreddit /iamatotalpieceofshit
Posted On Fri Nov 13 18:02:26 UTC 2020
Score 2535 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:55 UTC 2020
Total Comments 76

Post Body:

n/a - not a self post

Related Comments (49):

--- --- Notes
Author Jouzu
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:24:39 UTC 2020
Score 19 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:08 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
Body link
Yep, they are eagerly awaiting the killing of 99.9% of humankind, only they will survive Armageddon. The birds will eat the flesh of the unbelievers I think, heck of a clean up job otherwise... Imagine the immense joy of washing through piles of dead kids, yeah, that is whatJWs hope for.
--- --- Notes
Author kiwi_scorpio
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:50:45 UTC 2020
Score 150 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:10 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 13
Body link
I'm a nurse here in New Zealand and if a pregnant JW has to have a caesarean section we have to set up a special suction unit called a cell saver. We suction up their blood as they proceed with the surgery and it gets filtered and put back into the patient. I've also been in situations where a JW has said to the doctor in front of their family members that they don't want blood, but as soon as they are away from their family members they let the doctor know that in fact they will have whatever will save their life.
--- --- Notes
Author sactownox22
Posted On Fri Nov 13 20:51:30 UTC 2020
Score 26 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:12 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 7
Body link
So, only 1.7% of the google-estimated total of 8.4 millionJWs worldwide get to the promised land? That is some stiff competition.
--- --- Notes
Author Havamar
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:06:57 UTC 2020
Score 25 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
It's self-reported as "only they will know". They only have 144,000 seats in heaven available. The rest of the plebs are going to live forever on a paradise earth, after they clean up the 8 billion bodies after God kills everyone that isn't a JW at "Armageddon".
Any time I ever saw any "annointed" the other church members were talking behind their backs saying that they didn't really think they were.
It's kinda funny, and an oddly brutal belief system.
--- --- Notes
Author arrian-
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:43:20 UTC 2020
Score 187 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:17 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 18
Body link
well its not only with childbirth, theJW's have highlighted cases where children who need blood transfusions to live were taught to reject them by their parents because its "disrespectful to god"
their whole blood doctrine is complete bullshit, they say that you can't use blood because it represents life and if you *eat* blood you're disrespecting God's authority and disrespecting life. Which makes no sense, because if you respected life you'd give someone a blood transfusion if they needed it to live.
--- --- Notes
Author YouDontKnowMe2017
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:37:50 UTC 2020
Score 13 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:18 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
They’re pieces of shit: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/09/795019348/montana-court-reverses-35-million-child-abuse-verdict-against-`jehovahs-witnesses`
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Author Vorian23
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:59:51 UTC 2020
Score 15 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:18 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
That’s exactly what they do https://freedomofmind.com/the-bite-model-and-`jehovahs-witnesses`/
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Author cookingismything
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:15:42 UTC 2020
Score 30 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:19 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
I was never a JW but my husband was raised in the religion. My gut is saying the answer to your question is pretty simple. THEY DO NOT EVER WANT TO INVOLVE THE POLICE. You see, they take care of any little issues themselves. If there is a problem, you reach out to an elder or elders (those are the respected male leaders of their congregation) and they are so wide that they will know what to do. I’m so sorry for this young girl. My husband knows so many that have killed themselves because of this cult
--- --- Notes
Author madgraffics
Posted On Fri Nov 13 20:12:52 UTC 2020
Score 248 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:20 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
Is your mom my mom? I got raised in that shit and my abuser was found guilty in a court of law but not disfellowshipped but my mom still thinks this is the end all b e all of religions (:

Edit: meant to put not not now
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Author U-Cranium
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:38:37 UTC 2020
Score 211 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:25 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 16
Body link
Not only this, Jehovah's Witness have a book they produce that's full of pictures of kids and stories of how they bravely chose to die instead of accept a transfusion. Fucking disgusting cult,happy I got out
--- --- Notes
Author wanderingwomb
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:59:24 UTC 2020
Score 170 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:28 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 11
Body link
Knowing the cult I’m willing to bet after gaslighting her that it was consensual they then disfellowshipped her for having sex outside of marriage.
--- --- Notes
Author sashay33
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:33:45 UTC 2020
Score 8 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:29 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
exjw is a wealth of info
--- --- Notes
Author LurkerTryingToTalk
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:24:58 UTC 2020
Score 18 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:31 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 10
Body link
Freemasons describe their organization as a society with secrets, not a secret society.
Their buildings are not hidden, people are proud to be members and let people know. They mostly just do community service and stupid rituals. You can look up all their rituals online and they've been known for ages.
Fun fact, the Boy Scouts was started by Freemasons based on their principles as a sort of youth division.
Jehovah Witnesses are totally crazy.
Freemasons are mostly OK. In the UK you don't have to believe in a god to join but you do in the USA. Freemasons existed long before Jehovah Witnesses.
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Author razzyboss1
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:34:31 UTC 2020
Score 31 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:31 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
Yep definetly. My grandma (a JW) needed a blood transfusion during her surgery and a fucking JW president or something from her "church" insisted he'd be in the room to make sure she won't get a blood transfusion. Luckily the doctor didn't allow him and we had to (i'll probably get backlash for this but fuck it, might as well be honest) bribe the doctor to make sure he will do whatever is necessary to keep her safe. Fortunately the surgery was a success and she is doing much better now in case you're wondering!
--- --- Notes
Author jaffakree83
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:37:36 UTC 2020
Score 57 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:34 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 35
Body link
Heh, my dad busted out the Bible and got into a religious debate with a JW and they never came around again.
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Author firegato
Posted On Fri Nov 13 23:44:18 UTC 2020
Score 82 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:35 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 20
Body link
Hold up. Jesus was like: "yo this wine is like my blood and shit. Pass it around and drink it." so... (I know dogma doesn't have to make sense) how in the F you gonna, through conjecture, arrive at such a Ludacris conclusion?JWs make up silly rules, that's why I'm glad I left that organization.
--- --- Notes
Author brb_on_a_quest
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:23:54 UTC 2020
Score 23 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:36 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 4
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Ex-jw here also. Am disfellowshipped. I wish I could say this shit surprised me, but it’s par for the course. I think the JW’s are generally considered a joke, but it’s a dangerous and damaging cult.
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Author BooceAlmighty
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:11:21 UTC 2020
Score 14 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:37 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
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It's always super old guys with the Jehovah's Witnesses in my area who've been going door to door. Except for the one time they started sending REALLY pretty girls together with an old man waiting nearby.
That was the only time I've purposely answered the door for Jehovah's Witnesses.
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Author ByCrookedSteps781
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:25:38 UTC 2020
Score 29 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:37 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
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I would gladly beat the fuck outta that peice of shit, I used to be part of it till 5 or 6 untill my mum got disfellowshipped as a result of them finding out she had me out of wedlock, all it taught me was how much hypocrisy religion spews out. 28 years later my aunty who grew up JW and left after her marriage broke down only to become a lesbian hippy, all of a sudden decides she is no longer lesbian, renounces her former life and goes back to the church. Life is a weird experience.
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Author drunkennudeles
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:45:09 UTC 2020
Score 8 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:39 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 6
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Once the last person is admitted then theJWs rise from the grave to take this world for themselves while everyone else perished.
They also do communion but only people going to heaven drink it so they just pass a cup around the room with "jesus' blood" in it.
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Author CaterwaulOfDoom
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:12:30 UTC 2020
Score 15 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:40 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
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Many Christians dispute the idea that Jehovah's Witnesses are Christian because they don't believe that Jesus is God.
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Author Yurak_Huntmate
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:25:07 UTC 2020
Score 358 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:48 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 61
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My mum got our house blacklisted by the jehovahs witnesses because she brought up the blood transfusion thing, she asked one of them if their child was dying and needed one would they give them it, they replied no, so she went off on them calling them scum, they never returned to our house
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Author uneducatedexpert
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:23:35 UTC 2020
Score 35 as of Sun Nov 15 17:59:49 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
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I was raised as a JW. I started getting molested at 6 by an older cousin. That continued until the age of 9, under threat, until I was able to gain the courage to tell my parents. They didn’t get me help as it would have brought reproach against god. At age 11 my maternal grandmother moved in and molested me as well, until 13. Again, there was no help. No counseling, no support and my grandmother lived in the house after this.
At 15 I made out with my dream girl and we got to heavy petting, as jw’s like to call it. We got caught as was an absolute no no to even hold hands.
I had to site for an hour with three male elders, while I described in vivid detail what we had done. The wanted to know about her wetness, my erection, if we climaxed and what was done with it. Down to the fucking detail. Yet they didn’t want to know anything about my abuse.
...
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Author aka_jr91
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:24:57 UTC 2020
Score 542 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:03 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 142
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Former JW here. AllJW's are expected to sign and carry a durable power of attorney, which they also call a "no blood card." It states for you that even if you're unconscious, you still reject transfusions.
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Author baconaliens
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:44:34 UTC 2020
Score 443 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:12 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 40
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From the article it was just audio, happened more than once and she recorded it herself. Probably because the guy was an Elder's son so she felt she needed evidence for people to believe her and why they psychologically tortured her for hours.
I was raised a JW, my mom still is and has seen this. We actually also live in Utah, near this congregation. It is a cult and it's a shame it attracts good people like my mom and others I have met through the church.
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Author lunakuuipo
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:41:55 UTC 2020
Score 36 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:12 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
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Yes! This. Having to go to the other classroom during bday celebrations because my family would make sure to let my teachers know every year that we wereJWs and that I can’t do that... I felt like even more of an outsider. It’s traumatic. I know what you went through and I’m so sorry you were also subjected to this 😣
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Author Empath_Wrath
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:22:47 UTC 2020
Score 171 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:14 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 16
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I remember a girl in elementary school who was a JW. She never stood for the pledge or celebrated any holiday so there were days she looked absolutely dejected sitting outside the celebrations.
The worst the was during morning announcements, if it was your birthday, the entire school would sing happy birthday. Of course she had the only birthday that day, but JW don’t celebrate birthdays, so the entire school sang to her. She looked so miserable and uncomfortable, but when she started crying at the end, I think it broke everyone in class.
Fuck Jehovah’s Witnesses
Edit: we all knew in class she didn’t celebrate her birthday, but the rest of the school didn’t. So we just sat there in silence, looking at her, like kids do. The anguish is etched in my brain.
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Author smutmuffin1978
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:23:04 UTC 2020
Score 43 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:15 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
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These people are messed up! My BFF from high school was raised a JW. When her parents sold their house we were helping them pack and found her dad's porn in the rafters of the basement - not regular porn mind you - beastialitality porn! She said that explained why the dog hated her dad!
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Author Made-upDreams
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:00:45 UTC 2020
Score 29 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:16 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 5
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Seeing this is odd as I just started watching Cults and Extreme Belief on Hulu and saw their Jehovah’s Witness episode...fuck now I wish I wasn’t so nice when they kept coming to my door.
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Author ralphiooo0
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:48:12 UTC 2020
Score 19 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:16 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
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Hey! I have the almost identical story.
How did you get away with not getting baptised ? I was kinda lucky as mum wasn’t a JW.
My dad was pretty chill for an elder. I never really got any pressure to get baptised either. Was kinda like they thought it was a given but then I hit 16 and started going out and getting drunk and then I don’t think dad minded that I stopped going to church as was always a wreck.
It’s funny what you say about people being sucked in when they are down on their luck. I went to a JW bbq a few years ago and was bored as had nothing on common so started asked people what made them join. Every single one had some shitty life event. Cancer, car accident. Violent partner etc etc. then knock knock I have the answer for you.
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Author m1ssile_
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:00:54 UTC 2020
Score 20 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:17 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
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I’m so sorry to hear that, the brainwashing is so sad, how can you just shun family.
I got baptized at 13, what got to me was all the hypocrisy and mind control, and by 22 I noped the heck outta there. I started hanging out with “worldly” friends, started missing a bunch of meetings, and eventually got a non-JW GF; I wasn’t disfellowshipped as far as I know, I just pretty much ghosted the church and people I had known my whole life; at the time I was young and didn’t care, I was glad to rid myself of the most judgmental people in my life. My mom is still really into the religion, but I am very lucky that she’s not fanatical, my other 2 siblings also left the church and she still speaks to us like nothings changed. It took her around 4 years or so for her to finally stop trying to get us to come back “to the truth”. I remember being an angry kid growing up in the church, once I left the change in my personality was obvious and my family noticed. Best decision I made in my life was leaving.
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Author ISawHimIFoughtHim
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:58:51 UTC 2020
Score 657 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:35 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 253
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There are noJWs in my country so I don't know this stuff.
Can the husband force his wife to die like that without doctors interfering? Why doesn't the wife say something?
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Author Creepy-Exit-5034
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:35:04 UTC 2020
Score 27 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:35 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 8
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wait thats a thing? I used to be a JW as a kid bc my mom forced her religion onto me but I never saw any book like that
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Author westfunk
Posted On Fri Nov 13 20:48:13 UTC 2020
Score 53 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:36 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 25
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If Scientology and Mormonism had a baby, it would be a Jehovahs Witness.
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Author Catalyst375
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:49:41 UTC 2020
Score 84 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:38 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 13
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Parents are not able to prevent their children from getting a blood transfusion. The doctors can give them the transfusion against the parents wishes. The parents will absolutely try to stop them though, and I'm sure there are plenty of example ofJWs denying life-saving transfusion.
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Author UnsettlingAura
Posted On Fri Nov 13 20:19:37 UTC 2020
Score 195 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:39 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 5
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There are a lot ofJWs who are in abusive relationships but cannot escape because divorce is a sin. It really is sick
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Author UnsettlingAura
Posted On Fri Nov 13 20:51:40 UTC 2020
Score 9 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:40 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 5
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Uugh idk how to explain it, I would say look it up but I don't want y'all giving clicks to their homepage. Try asking in exjw they should know!
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Author dec44
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:21:11 UTC 2020
Score 11 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:41 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 4
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Don't forget receiving blood transfusions is also forbidden. A fellow kid I was in school with who was JW had a blood disease and needed a transfusion to live. His parents said no so he died. Fuck all religions.
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Author Its_daveed
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:28:29 UTC 2020
Score 116 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:41 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
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I almost died because i needed a blood transfusion but my dad was a JW and didnt want it happening but stuff happened and i ended up having a blood transfusion.
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Author NOFXpunklinoleum
Posted On Fri Nov 13 19:37:59 UTC 2020
Score 927 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:48 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 61
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I grew up in a JW family. Dad an elder.
This is good, and accurate. A little more information, you have to be baptized in order to be disfellowshipped. You can hang around and attend meetings, but the end game is to get you baptized so that total control can be established.
Witnesses are "nice" people. My parents' congregation gets a lot of "down on their luck" types who just attend meetings to get free meals, rides, and even job hookups. My loser uncle who due to health issues can no longer smoke, drink or do drugs started attending meetings a few years ago, my mom fixes his truck, drives him to doctor appointments, took him to Victoria for medical treatment. He barely spoke to anyone in our family his whole life, but he knew where to come for handouts.
The handouts are meant to keep the person around so they can be talked into getting baptized. Most of these people end up taking off after getting all they can outside of getting baptized, but a few get sucked right in.
A friend of mine stayed a JW for many years. His mom died when he was 13, and he was told over and over again that the only way for him to see her again was for him to stay in "The Truth", and that she would be resurrected one day. As he was a child, this was instilled deeply in him, and it took well into his adulthood to realize this was pure craziness. He was eventually disfellowshipped, now his father and two sisters will not speak to him or acknowledge his existence. They have quite literally walked by him on the street without making eye contact. I don't know how someone could do that to family.
I was never baptized, so my parents still talk to me and we have an ok relationship. But that rift is always there, and I know my mom's greatest wish is that someday I'll see the light.
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Author Qball92
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:07:51 UTC 2020
Score 19 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:49 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 4
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It's from 12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Not a JW/exJW, just a little bit of a religious scholar.
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Author theknyte
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:16:07 UTC 2020
Score 37 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:50 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
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I know the general world just laughs at Jehovah Witnesses as those "Nutty religious people who knock on the door."
This is all they want the general world to think of them.
THEY ARE A CULT.
They use classic indoctrination and brainwashing tricks that are only employed by cults. They use families against each other with their "Disfellowshipping" belief. Which is: If you don't follow the church's rule 100% to their liking, they will disfellowship you. You are cut off. From everything. Your friends and even your own family is told not to talk to, meet, or contact in any way shape or form, until they come crawling back to the church, begging to be let back in.
Parents willingly kick their own children out of their homes, if the Elders (Leaders of the church, ie Pastors, Priests, etc.) demand it.
They are not to associate with "Worldly Influences". Which means, no friends who are outside the church. No dating outside the church. No watching or reading ANY media not approved by the church. (Information Control and Suppression, another classic cult tactic.)
They do not want authorities to ever be involved with their religion. So any abuse, physical, sexual, mental etc. that is reported to the church, is "dealt with" in house, and even if serious crimes have been committed, they will not report them, for fear of bad publicity.
This is not a harmless religion with "Silly beliefs" such as simply not celebrating or recognizing any holiday including Birthdays. This is a cult, that has been manipulating and controlling their members for over 100 years now.
SOURCE: Was raised in JW org, and left as soon as I was old enough to.
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Author throw_away_abc123efg
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:31:56 UTC 2020
Score 74 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:51 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
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They probably witnessed it, I mean, they are called Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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Author ZoraksGirlfriend
Posted On Fri Nov 13 23:38:42 UTC 2020
Score 16 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:51 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
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There was one woman who died after refusing a transfusion. For some reason, it made the news and her family was talking about beingJWs. One of them said something like “in this day and age, you’d think doctors be able to prevent her death.”
I can’t remember if I literally face palmed, but I know I yelled at the tv.
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Author Blathersisacoward
Posted On Fri Nov 13 20:14:37 UTC 2020
Score 64 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:52 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
Growing up in a JW household this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
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Author Vorian23
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:06:48 UTC 2020
Score 72 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:53 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
They actually celebrate it when children “remain faithful to Jehovah and are willing to give their lives to uphold his laws”. This article is from their magazine the awake and it spotlights kids who died. https://wol.`jw.org`/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/101994363 It’s a horrible cult. I wish more people knew about their harmful practices
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Author San_Ajo
Posted On Fri Nov 13 21:56:56 UTC 2020
Score 20 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:54 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
My grandmother was a JW and wanted to let my mother, who needed a transfusion after birth, die. (Austria, 1976)
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Author Mina111406
Posted On Fri Nov 13 22:11:36 UTC 2020
Score 271 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:54 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 64
Body link
If they say it's for religious purposes, there isn't much that can be done. Was working with a patient that died after a car accident because she refused a transfusion because she was JW. She looked terrified saying it, but her husband was there exclaiming the sin of receiving a transfusion. She would have been fine, even though she was seriously injured, but she just lost too much blood. She had a toddler and a baby and died because of her religious belief. Seems extremely selfish to me, but thats my opinion.
There are artificial blood products now specifically for this reason. Because it's fake, they can take the transfusion. But only if a hospital has it available. It's not super common and hard to get in a timely fashion.
Source: am lab tech that does blood bank and work in a very small hospital that also gives me a lot of ER patient interaction.
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Author DickJagamo
Posted On Sat Nov 14 00:13:11 UTC 2020
Score 7 as of Sun Nov 15 18:00:55 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
Body link
The Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult. Not quite as bad as Scientology, but still pretty bad.
submitted by jw_mentions to jw_mentions [link] [comments]


2020.11.13 16:24 PeaceSim There's a local legend in my town about a ghost train. I found the recordings of a reporter who tried to investigate it. [Part 1]

Part 2
I was doing yardwork yesterday evening when I noticed a loose patch of dirt in the nearby woods behind my family’s house. I dug for a bit until I discovered a buried iPhone. Once I powered it up and connected it to WiFi, it downloaded several backup files of recordings from an iCloud account. I have begun transcribing those recordings below.
Recording 1 – May 25, 2019, at 10:31 a.m.
Young man [later identified as Ryan]: Well, my second year of college flew by. Once again, I overcommitted a bit and ended up having to back out of a few obligations.
But I’m glad I stuck it out with The Cavalier Daily. They needed the help, and the reporting I did for them led me to attend all sorts of interesting events. It’s remarkable how much goes on in an average week on campus that most of the university doesn’t pay any attention to.
Normally, only seniors get selected as editors. They get significant control over content, as well as a small salary. Melissa told me if I wanted to stand a chance at getting an editor position as a junior, I’d need to return from the summer with something to show for it. “Write something about Roanoke,” she’d said. “We get new students from your area every year, but most people here hardly know anything about it.”
So, what can I write about my small hometown that will interest people on a campus two hours away? I suppose I could churn out a multipage description of how it gets regularly mistaken for the other Roanoke, the one that colonists disappeared from in North Carolina. But I’m sure there’s a better subject out there.
I’ll have to come up with an idea soon if I’m going to have time to produce something good. Whatever I do, I’ll record my progress and any interviews on my phone like I’m doing now, and I can transcribe it all when I’ve gathered enough material.
Recording 2 – May 29, 2019, at 11:30 p.m.
Ryan: I have a lead! I went on a run by River’s Edge this evening. When I came upon the abandoned railroad tracks by the bridge over the Roanoke River, I remembered those stories I grew up hearing. The stories differed in the details, but they all involved a ghostly train traveling through the city on a derelict Norfolk-Southern line.
I did a little research. As it turns out, phantom train legends are quite common. Trains are still in regular use throughout the country, but they were obviously a much more common form of passenger transportation in the past than they are now, nowhere more so than in a formerly prominent rail hub like Roanoke. People who mourn a loved one may imagine their ghost rising out of a grave. It’s not too different from how, in the minds of those who miss the era they represent, long-retired steam locomotives pass over miles of abandoned, moss-covered tracks.
The legends differ, though, as to the trains’ destinations. Most of the time, the witnesses simply relate seeing a train pass mysteriously in the night in an area where the tracks are no longer in use, and that’ll be the end of the story.
On the rare occasion that one of these trains stops, some of the witnesses will go on board to investigate. It’s a common story for the witness to see a loved one, step off (or be ushered off for not having a ticket), and learn the next day that the person they saw had died during the night, the implication being that the train ride consisted of their soul passing on into the next life.
Other tales involve a train stuck in time reenacting a famous event, like the doomed souls heading into Nashville on every anniversary of the Great Train Wreck of 1918, or a mourning train forever bringing the body of the assassinated President Lincoln to grieving citizens between Washington D.C. and Springfield, Illinois.
What’s remarkable, though, is that, despite the dozens of renditions of the local legend I heard growing up in Roanoke, I can’t find any mention of our own phantom train story online today. I’ve gone through the obvious search engines as well as multiple social media pages dedicated to local history. Nowhere have I found even a murmur about the subject.
I sense that there’s a story here – a folk tale waiting to be gathered. These tales have existed orally throughout the region for decades, at least, and they are waiting for someone to write them up formally. That someone will be me, and this will make for a great article when I return – one that condenses rumors into a coherent piece while also touching on Roanoke’s past and present as a railroad town.
Unrelatedly, I met a sweet girl while working at the Grandin. Jennifer’s a year older than me and lives in Raleigh Court. When we finished our shifts, she joined me in the back of the theatre to catch the second half Brightburn. It wasn’t quite a date, but I did agree to hang out with her and a few of her friends next weekend. Something tells me it’s an audition for her friends’ approval. If I do well enough, maybe I’ll get a date with her after that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Recording 3 – June 3, 2019, at 9:55 a.m.
Ryan: I am currently approaching the Roanoke City Historical Society to ask a few questions about local ghost train lore. Depending on the response I get, I may or may not bring up that I’m making an audio recording of all this, as I’m technically not obligated to mention it. Okay, here I am.
Excuse me, sir, do you mind if I ask you a few questions about local history?
Society Member: Of course. It’s nice to see a young person take an interest in the subject. What can I help you with?
Ryan: I have questions about trains, one train in particular. My name’s Ryan, by the way.
Society Member: You can call me Eric. And, that’s a subject I know plenty about. What do you want to know?
Ryan: Well, you see, I grew up hearing stories about a ghost train-
Eric: Let me stop you right there. Did you really come here to talk to me about ‘ghost trains’?
Ryan: It’s not that I think they’re real. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy or anything. It’s just that, I’m trying to write about the stories themselves – what they consist of and how they evolved. You see, as a kid, I-
Eric: You heard a story that spooked you, right? The thing is, most people outgrow their childhood fears and move on with their lives. I suggest you do the same.
Ryan: So, you don’t know any stories about a ghost train in this area?
Eric: I know that there are no rumors, no legends, nothing. If anything like that existed, I’d know about it. Do yourself a favor by finding something else to write about. Now, if there’s nothing else I can do for you, I’d like to get on with my day, and I’d like you to leave.
Recording 4 – June 3, 2019 at 10:45 a.m.
Woman: Right this way!
[knocking]
Woman: Mr. Thompson, you have a visitor.
Mr. Thompson: Do come in! Take a seat. We don’t get too many reporters coming around the train museum these days. You with the Times?
Ryan: No, no, I’m just writing for a college paper. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about local history? That’s quite a model you’ve got on your desk.
Mr. Thompson: Yes, yes, I’m building an exact replica of one of the old trains – Class A number 1218. I’m painting the pilot right now.
Ryan: Pilot? I thought it was an engineer who operated the train, and a conductor who ran it and called the shots.
Mr. Thompson: [laughs] No, no, son, the pilot isn’t a person. It’s this v-shaped structure here, underneath the circular front of the smokebox. It’s for knocking away anything in the train’s path. Do you know what they called it in the old days?
Ryan: No.
Mr. Thompson: A cowcatcher! I assume you can guess why. Now, even the dumbest cow is bright enough to try to get out of the way of a moving train. But, sometimes they’d get stuck on the tracks. Now, what in particular are you wondering about?
Ryan: I’m looking into folk tales. Urban legends. That kind of thing.
[long pause]
Mr. Thompson: Urban legends involving trains, right?
Ryan: One train in particular. The ghost train I grew up hearing about.
Mr. Thompson: [yelling] Nancy! Escort this young man out of my office, now! Nancy!
Ryan: I just have a couple questions.
Mr. Thompson: Now listen to me, boy, and listen closely. Don’t go around asking about any ghost trains. Whatever you think you know, forget about it before the people you know forget about you.
Recording 5 – June 3, 2019, at 3:15 p.m.
Ryan: Excuse me, ma’am, do you mind if I ask your daughter something?
Woman: What about?
Ryan: Does your daughter attend the school down the street? I know she’d be on summer break now but I’m asking about during the school year.
Woman: Yes, she does.
Ryan: Well, you see, I graduated from there. Finished fifth grade in 2009. I’m doing a report on a subject I first learned about when I was a student there. I’m wondering if it’s still taught the same way. Do you mind if I ask your daughter a couple questions?
Woman: Samantha, will you answer a few questions for this young man?
Samantha: Yes!
Ryan: Thank you, Samantha. Can you tell me what grade you are in?
Samantha: I just finished the second grade, and in August, I’ll be a third grader!
Ryan: And how old are you?
Samantha: Eight!
Ryan: Wow, eight! That’s great. I remember being eight. That was a long time ago. I’m all grown up now. Samantha, have you learned anything about trains in your classes?
Samantha: Yes! Trains used to be everywhere here. I got to ride one at the zoo!
Ryan: Ah, yes, the ‘zoo-choo’. I remember riding that at your age! Now, let me ask you, have you learned anything about ghost trains?
Samantha: Huh?
Woman: Now, young man, what’s this about?
Ryan: Samantha, when I was your age, my teacher told us that there was a train from many, many years ago, that would still pass through town every now and then at night. It would appear long after bedtime, and nobody knew where it came from or where it was going. Have you learned about this?
Woman: That’s quite enough. Can’t you see that you’re scaring her?
Ryan: I’m just trying to do some research-
Woman: Next time you want to talk about ghosts with a nine-year-old, ask a parent’s permission in advance.
Ryan: I’m sorry, I just…
Samantha: Mom, I thought ghosts weren’t real.
Woman: They aren’t, dear.
Samantha: But he says his teachers told him that they were-
Woman: He’s wrong. No teacher would ever say that, because teachers don’t say things that aren’t true. Goodbye, sir!
Recording 6 – June 3, 2019, at 6:11 p.m.
Ryan: By the way, I’m going to record this, Ariel.
Ariel: Why would you do that?
Ryan: Because, we’re talking about the train legend, and I’m trying to record every conversation I have on that subject.
Ariel: Shouldn’t you be getting back to your yardwork?
Ryan: Shouldn’t you be offering to help? Dad always makes me do it alone. Just because I’m your older brother doesn’t mean I should have to do all the chores on my own.
Ariel: It’s not that you’re my older brother. It’s that mom and dad aren’t charging you any rent. It’s only fair for you to help out around here.
Ryan: It’s not like you pay rent either!
Ariel: I don’t have to! It doesn’t count because I’m still in high school.
Ryan: Oh, whatever Ariel. Look, I want you to tell me what you remember about the train legend like we talked about earlier. The whole thing.
Ariel: Well, Mrs. Pendleton talked about it a little bit in second grade history. According to her, it started with a different ghost train. Mrs. Pendleton said that her grandfather had worked on the line that heads east to Lynchburg. According to her grandfather, on one dark, rainy night, his own train’s engineer, John Kilpatrick, had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting something-- another train that had appeared before them. It was older than any train in operation should be, and it moved at a slow speed.
Mrs. Pendleton said that her grandfather’s train managed to stop itself just in time to avoid hitting the other train. Kilpatrick and Mrs. Pendleton’s grandfather reported what they’d seen, but no one took them seriously, as no other train should have been on the line at that time.
Mrs. Pendleton’s grandfather only saw the vague outline of the second train. Kilpatrick, though, was much closer and claimed to have seen men and women onboard. They were dressed formally – the way people dressed when they travelled a long time ago. Kilpatrick remembered the blank looks on their faces. They were oblivious to all that was around them. Once Kilpatrick got his own train moving again, neither he nor Mrs. Pendleton’s grandfather saw any trace of the second train again.
Kilpatrick did some research after that. He learned that, in 1889, there’d been an accident near the exact location where they’d spotted the second train. A heavy storm had disrupted the tracks, causing a passenger train to crash. Nearly twenty people died and many more were hurt.
Mrs. Pendleton’s grandfather truly believed he’d seen a ghost train. It spooked him. But, he moved on with his life.
Kilpatrick, though, was never the same. He spent years obsessing over it – particularly the way he’d seen so many people unknowingly heading to their own deaths. On the locomotives Kilpatrick helped operate, the other crew members claimed that Kilpatrick constantly peered outside, as if he was wondering if he’d catch sight of the ill-fated train again. He told them that he wanted to warn its passengers about what was going to happen and somehow stop the disaster from occurring in the first place.
The legend we were taught was that this ghostly encounter made Kilpatrick go mad. He raved constantly of lost spirits wandering in the night. After three more instances of him bringing a train to a stop unnecessarily – allegedly to avoid hitting an obstacle that, upon further investigation, was found to not actually exist – he lost his job.
He didn’t take it well. Only a few days went by before he threw himself in front of the same train he’d spent his career operating.
Soon after, the sightings began. Every few months, someone would report seeing a train traveling in areas where one should not be present. Mrs. Pendleton’s grandfather saw it once, and he swears that John Kilpatrick was operating it from the locomotive cab. Kilpatrick searches for lost souls like the ghost passengers he saw during his own life, stopping when he sees any to let them onboard to join him in perpetual purgatory. Or, at least, that’s how the legend goes. How did I do?
Ryan: Great, you did just great. It’s a quality story, isn’t it?
Ariel: I suppose.
Ryan: It’s odd, you know. So far, nobody else I’ve talked to knows anything about it. I don’t think teachers bring it up anymore. It’s like the town has collective amnesia.
Ariel: I think we were one of the last classes to learn about it. The state probably just updated the curriculum and removed ‘wacky ghost stories’ from the list.
Ryan: I just don’t get why even the man I talked to at the historical society didn’t seem to know about it. The legend is a major part of our town history, and I can’t write about it if the only other source of information is my sister’s memory from grade school.
Ariel: Aren’t you hanging out with some friends this weekend? Maybe you can ask them what they know.
Ryan: I’ve got an even better idea.
Recording 7 – June 7, 2019, at 10:15 p.m.
Ryan: I’m present tonight with an esteemed group of local residents: Jennifer, Alice, and Trevor. The former is the star employee of the Grandin Theatre and the latter two…I just met tonight.
Alice: Hello, future Ryan! How’s transcribing all these recordings going? Let me guess: It’s lots of fun, and you’re having no doubts that your ghost train article was a great use of your summer.
Trevor: How much farther do we have to go?
Ryan: We’re practically there. Just follow me off the pavement to the tracks. They’ll lead us to where we need to go.
Jennifer: How long have these train tracks been out of use? Everything’s covered by grass.
Ryan: Thirty, forty years probably.
Alice: I can’t believe I let you talk us into this.
Ryan: It’s like we agreed. I brought a handle of vodka, and in return you guys agreed to come out with me to the site of Kilpatrick’s death so I can do another set of interviews on location. Heck, with all the recordings I’m making, maybe I’ll create a podcast instead of a written article.
Jennifer: Aren’t you the only one of us who isn’t 21? Funny how you’re the one contributing the liquor.
Ryan: [laughs] I suppose it is. Come along, just a little further. These tracks will lead us close to the outskirts of the cemetery.
Alice: That’s a convenient place for him to commit suicide. They probably didn’t have to take him far to bury him.
Jennifer: Is the cemetery that old?
Ryan: I think that it is. Anyway, we’ve made it.
Trevor: This is where he jumped in front of the train?
Ryan: Yep. If you look here, there’s a tiny historical marker by the side of the tracks.
Jennifer: ‘Here died John Kilpatrick of Salem, Virginia, following over 25 years of distinguished service as an engineer.’ It doesn’t even mention the suicide.
Alice: It’s an unpleasant subject.
Ryan: So, did any of you hear anything about this guy, or the legend surrounding him, growing up?
Alice: Yeah, I learned about it. My grandfather told me that he sold his soul to the devil, and that he travels around in a bright red train that transports the sinful to hell.
Ryan: What? I’d never heard that. Plus, everyone I talked to said it was a black train, just like the ones he operated during life.
Trevor: I heard the devil thing too, but not that the train was red. My uncle told me that the train is supposed to have a green glow. He never saw it, but he swears that he heard it whistle.
Ryan: How did your uncle know the whistle came from Kilpatrick’s train?
Trevor: He didn’t know for sure. But he was out late one night when he saw billowing smoke coming from the woods. He was worried it was a fire, so he ran over to it to investigate. When he got there, he found only overgrown tracks that had long been out of use, like where we’re standing now. But in the distance, he heard a steam train whistling pattern. Two long, one short, and one long blast. He had no doubt a train had just been there, and, given the poor condition of the tracks, it wasn’t a train from our reality. Any real train would have instantly derailed.
Jennifer: I learned a little about it in school. The teacher didn’t tell us anything about a deal with the devil, or about it being red or green. What she said more-or-less matches what Ryan’s been telling us. She did mention that people could sometimes hear it whistling in the night.
[light whistle sound repeats]
Ryan: Do you all hear that?
Jennifer: Hear what?
Trevor: Ryan’s just messing with us.
Ryan: [laughs] Yes, I gotcha. But what do you say we sit here for a moment and just listen?
Trevor: I don’t know about that. In school I was shown some PSA video about people being run over after lying down on a track they wrongly thought was out of use.
Ryan: I think we’re safe. I’ll turn this thing off, and we can enjoy the moment while looking out for any spooky ghost trains. And, for Trevor’s sake, I’ll watch out for any real trains as well.
Alice: Trevor, stop hogging the joint.
Recording 8 – June 7, 2019, at 11:01 p.m.
Old Man: If I see you here again after hours, I’m calling the authorities!
Trevor: Calm down, mister. We’re not causing any trouble.
Old Man: You’re trespassing on park grounds after dark. And I may be old but I haven’t lost my sense of smell. I know what you’re up to! Now scram!
Jennifer: Alright, alright, we’re going.
Ryan: Is that geezer holding a shotgun?
Alice: Can we walk faster? I want to get out of here fast.
Jennifer: I do think it was a shotgun. He came from the graveyard, of all places, just to shoo us away.
Ryan: The trail’s just ahead. We can get out of the park in no time.
Alice: Y’all didn’t leave the weed, did you?
Trevor: Of course not! I’ve got what’s left on me.
Ryan: I’ll edit out that part of the recording.
Jennifer: You’re still recording?
Ryan: I turned it back on a moment ago.
Trevor: I’m glad our potential deaths gave you some good material for your podcast debut.
Ryan: It’s not like that! I was just creating some evidence in case he shot at us.
Alice: There’s the parking lot up ahead. It’s only a short walk back to my place from here.

Trevor: What the hell?
Alice: It’s just like…
Jennifer: It can’t be.
Trevor: The sound…Two long, one short, one long…
Ryan: Maybe that’s a common pattern. There are real trains around here, you know.
Jennifer: At this time of night? I don’t think so. And no, there are no tracks that are currently in use that go through this area.
Alice: None that you know of.
Trevor: Let’s just get out of here.
Recording 9 – June 11, 2019, at 11:58 a.m.
Ryan: I’m currently driving towards the home of Mrs. Pendleton, who taught both me and my sister at Crystal Spring Elementary. A couple teachers mentioned the ghost train rumors, but she was the only one who really expanded on them. I sense that she knew more than she let on. There may be some details that were too scary to share with second graders. And, maybe she’ll even have an explanation regarding why the students aren’t taught about it anymore.
Oh, nice, I just got a text message from Jennifer. ‘Are you free tonight?’ This sounds like the one-on-one date I’ve been hoping for. Somehow, her friends seem to have vouched for me even after my plan resulted in an old man chasing us out of the park with a firearm. She held my hand when we returned from taking the trash out at the end of our shift at the theatre Monday night, and we kissed before driving home. I can’t wait to see her again this evening.
Well, here I am. Out of respect for Mrs. Pendleton, I’m going to turn this off until she agrees to let me record an interview.
Recording 10 – June 11, 2019, at 12:15 p.m.
Ryan: Alright, I just turned it on. Can you please state your name and how long you’ve lived in the area?
Mrs. Pendleton: Mary Pendleton. I’ve been here my whole life.
Ryan: And what’s your connection to me?
Mrs. Pendleton: I had the delightful experience of teaching you in second grade! And a few years later I taught your little sister as well.
Ryan: Which one of us was more trouble?
Mrs. Pendleton: [laughs] You both had your moments when you got on my nerves. But overall you were lovely children. I’m not about to pick favorites between you two. I never do that with my kids.
Ryan: I still remember a lot about what you taught me about local history. For example, Roanoke’s original name “Big Lick” and its early growth as a train hub.
Mrs. Pendleton: I’m glad my lessons stuck with you over all these years!
Ryan: They really did. There was one in particular I haven’t forgotten. You told me, and my sister’s class, about John Kilpatrick’s ghost train.
[silence]
Ryan: Mrs. Pendleton, do you still teach that story today? And if not, why did you stop?
Mrs. Pendleton: Don’t do this.
Ryan: Don’t do what?
Mrs. Pendleton: Don’t bring it back.
Ryan: Bring what back?
Mrs. Pendleton: My classes kept getting smaller. I didn’t know why. I’d start the year with a layout to accommodate the students who I’d be teaching. I’d tell students about the legend. We’d arrange field trips to the site; Cub Scouts would do campouts nearby. At the end of the year, there’d be a whole table of empty seats. How is that possible? I kept asking myself. Why are there empty seats now, but not before?
Ryan: I don’t follow you. Did some students go missing?
Mrs. Pendleton: That’s just it. I figured, some students had gone away, transferred, or, like you said, gone missing. But I checked my files, and there was no record of additional students anywhere. The students still in my class – you, your sister, others – were the only ones listed. And it’s not like I remembered any other students, or anyone else did either.
Ryan: I don’t remember anyone disappearing from my class.
Mrs. Pendleton: No, you wouldn’t. No one does. Ryan, how many students were in your class?
Ryan: I dunno, I think there were just over forty in my whole grade.
Mrs. Pendleton: That’s what the records reflect. But every year, I arranged the room on the assumption that there were close to fifty in the grade; sixteen or seventeen in each class. But as the year went on, suddenly one student is sitting at an otherwise empty table.
Ryan: But how is that possible?
Mrs. Pendleton: We got a directive a few years after I taught your sister never to mention the Kilpatrick train again. I resisted at first, as I enjoyed sharing the story due to my own grandfather’s role in it. But, the school board was firm, so I changed my lessons accordingly. Suddenly, my classes started with the same number of students that they ended with.
Ryan: So, are you suggesting that knowledge of the train caused…people to disappear? But, how did nobody even remember them?
Mrs. Pendleton: I used to have nightmares, too. They were terrible, Ryan. They were so terrible. But when I stopped teaching the lessons, the nightmares stopped.
Ryan: Were the nightmares related to the train?
Mrs. Pendleton: Oh, Ryan, I haven’t thought about them in years. Why are you making me remember them?
Ryan: Mrs. Pendleton, I didn’t mean to upset you.
Mrs. Pendleton: [crying] I’ve seen it, Ryan. I’ve seen it in my dreams. I’ve woken up outside in the cold air. I didn’t know how I got there but I knew where I was going. I was going to it.
Ryan: To the train?
Mrs. Pendleton: It’s no train, Ryan. That’s the thing. It was a train, once. But now…now…
Ryan: Mrs. Pendleton, are you okay? Do you need me to call an ambulance?
Mrs. Pendleton: [stammering] It was once black iron. It was once black iron…
Man: What’s going on in here? What have you done with my wife?
Ryan: I don’t know! I was just asking her a few questions!
Man: Turn that thing off before I-
Recording 11 – June 12, 2019, at 8:45 a.m.
Ryan: Ryan here. It’s Wednesday morning. I’ve got the day off work. This recording may sound a bit like an audio diary at first. But it is relevant to the article.
I’m currently driving home from Jennifer’s apartment. Yes, you heard that right. It’s been an eventful last twenty-four hours with some downs but also some ups.
Let me recap. First, I managed, for the third time this summer, to start an interview that ended with me being thrown out of a building. If you add the old man with the shotgun, it’s the fourth time I’ve been driven away from somewhere by force lately. So, I don’t exactly feel like Mr. Popular these days.
On the bright side, my date with Jennifer was everything I’d hoped for. We only made it ten minutes into the rom-com we were watching together before we started making out, and then…I guess I’m the only one who’ll ever listen to this, but I’ll spare the details all the same.
Hopefully Ariel won’t be too awkward about things when I get home. Heck, maybe she’ll high-five me; she’s the one who keeps saying I need a girlfriend, after all.
Is that what Jennifer and I are now? I may have that conversation with her the next time we’re alone together. Or maybe I should wait a little longer? She knows I have to return to school at the end of the summer; maybe I shouldn’t even address that subject at all.
Anyway, now for the gloomier stuff. I think my conversation with Mrs. Pendleton got to me. It sure escalated quickly. One minute, she was as composed as ever; the next, she was sweating, crying, and bright red in the face. By the time I left, she had her head down and was yelling in anguish. I somehow feel responsible for what happened to her…but I can’t be, right? I’m concerned that she has some buried mental condition that I triggered. But how could I have known that bringing up the legend of the ghost train would do that?
Her emotional disintegration struck at my subconscious. That’s my working theory, at least, for the terrible dream I had last night. I was standing at the site of Kilpatrick’s suicide. But it wasn’t located amidst dense woods like it is now; instead, it was by a proper train platform. It was early morning and the sun had yet to rise. Several people stood with me, presumably waiting for the train to arrive.
In the distance, an eerie green glow approached through thick fog. A sickening feeling took hold of me. I knew that I didn’t want to be on the platform when the source of the glow arrived. I wanted to leave. But when I tried to go, the other people grabbed me and held me in place. So I waited, helplessly.
As the locomotive emerged from the gloom, it looked different from what I expected. It was a murky black-red hue, and its iron structure was deformed and misshapen. The upper-half of a face, its skin stretched and strained, covered the front of the engine’s smoke box. The screeching of the train’s breaks emerged as a scream from a gaping mouth that extended across the pilot. I felt weightless, and then slowly realized that I was in pain.
Jennifer woke me from where I’d fallen. I’d sleepwalked away from the couch where I’d drifted off with her, out the door, and to the staircase that led from her floor to her building’s lobby level. I’d stumbled down at least several stairs and landed on the hard floor. Luckily, I emerged from it with only a few minor bruises.
Jennifer gave me some weird looks. I don’t blame her. I told her that I’ve sleepwalked a few times before, and that it usually happened when I was in a new place. In truth, I’ve never done something like this before in my life. It freaked me out. But it was a good lie and did the trick. Jennifer calmed down.
I held her the rest of the night as she went back to sleep. I lay wide awake, however, as my mind fixated on the grotesque image from my dream. I couldn’t shake the sensation that the train wasn’t some figment of my imagination – that it was out there calling for me and drawing me nearer.
Recording 12 – June 12, 2019, at 11:12 a.m.
Ryan: Mrs. Trout, it’s me, Ryan. Do you remember me? I waited for the school bus in your front yard every morning for ten years.
Mrs. Trout: No.
Ryan: Well, Mrs. Trout, I live next door-
Mrs. Trout: Leave me alone. Can’t an old woman step outside without being harassed?
Ryan: Look, Mrs. Trout, I was just wondering if you could answer a question of mine. You knew a lot of people who worked on the old railroads, and I was wondering if you heard any stories from them about the Kilpatrick ghost train-
Mrs. Trout: You cut that out right now, you hear me!
Ryan: I was just wondering-
Mrs. Trout: No more of that crap. No more, I tell you! Next thing you know, you’re gonna rope me, or someone you care about, into what’s coming to you. Drop this, now, if you care about the people around you!
Recording 13 – June 12, 2019, at 1:08 p.m.
[baby cries in the background]
Woman: Isabel, dear, please quiet down!
Ryan: If you need to take care of your baby, I can wait, or I can come back later.
Woman: Oh, don’t worry. Isabel will get over it. What’d you want to ask me about?
Ryan: About some local legends. Am I correct that your grandfather worked on the railroads?
Woman: Yeah, that’s right. Granddad loved telling me stories about his decades as a conductor.
Ryan: Did he know John Kilpatrick?
[baby continues crying]
Woman: Hush already, Isabel! Dear Lord, what’s wrong with her?
Ryan: I really can wait if you need some time with Isabel.
[baby cries louder]
Woman: SHUT THE FUCK UP Isabel!
[baby continues crying]
Ryan: Maybe another time? I-I think I’ll be going.
Woman: Not so fast. I heard your question. I just needed a moment to process it. ISABEL SHUT UP ALREADY!
Ryan: Miss, I think Isabel-
Woman: You’re here about the ghost train aren’t you? You want to bring those nightmares back?
Ryan: No, I don’t know what you’re talking about-
Woman: You’re with him, aren’t you? Tryna’ fetch me to bring me to it? Well I’m not going. I’m not letting you invade my mind again either.
Ryan: Ma’am, what are you doing with that knife?
[Woman screams]
Ryan: Jesus! Oh god! Oh god!
[baby continues crying]
Recording 14 – June 12, 2019, at 4:50 p.m.
This is Ryan. The police have finally let me go. Early this afternoon, Margaret Potter killed herself. Twisted a long kitchen knife across her neck. I’m lucky the police believed my story. There was blood all over my face when they arrived. Poor Isabel is in the care of her uncle now.
I-I…I need to let this go. I was stubborn, and I ignored all the signs. Who needs a stupid journal position a year early anyway? Some things are best left buried.
Recording 15 – June 13, 2019, at 6:46 p.m.
I want to go back to night-before-last when I went to sleep next to Jennifer on the couch. Before the first nightmare. It’s hard to count how many nightmares there’ve been now. Two in dreams, and more in reality.
When I got home, I walked past my concerned sister and parents and went straight to the bathroom where I stripped and showered and scrubbed every drop of Margaret Potter’s blood off my body. I thought I was clean, but when I opened the shower curtain, the reflection in the mirror for a moment displayed the stretched face of detached skin that covered the front of the train in my dreams, and blood oozed down from its eyes. I grabbed a towel and hurried out of the room.
I locked the door to my room, dried myself off, and buried myself in sheets. I heard knocks and yelled that I would be fine in the morning but that I needed to rest.
I slept but I didn’t rest. I found myself back at the platform. In my hand were two tickets. The first said “Single Ride – 11:59 p.m. 6/13/2019”. It was still the 12th at the time; it meant I had until…tonight before it left. The second said “Round Trip – 11:59 p.m. 6/14/2019”.
A pale man waiting to my left saw me examining it. He had a top hat and a thick mustache. “I see you’ve got yourself a round trip in two nights,” he said. “The funny thing about a circle is that it never ends.”
The train approached through the thick fog. It whistled four times – long, long, short, long.
Its outline slowly moved closer. Its screech throbbed through my head.
To my right, images from my memories unfolded. I watched Jennifer take my hand behind the theatre. I watched our kiss and the smiles that followed. I watched us hike out with her friends; flee the man with the shotgun; cuddle up on her couch; and spend the night that followed together.
I tried to move, to ask them for help, but my feet were frozen in place as the train came to a stop. A thick layer of fog obscured all but the green glow that surrounded it and the demented face that covered the front of the locomotive.
“This ride’s not for you,” said the pale man. “Not all of you, at least.” He politely tipped his hat and approached the train. He disappeared into the mist.
I remained immobilized as I watched an image of myself and Jennifer, their hands clasped together, cross from my memories onto the platform, where they followed the pale man’s path until the dense grey vapor consumed them.
“All aboard!” yelled a voice. I heard the thuds of shutting doors, followed by the train starting up again.
I awoke at the edge of the park. It took me nearly an hour to make it back to my house. I found the window to my bedroom wide open. How could I have done all of this while asleep? It wasn’t possible. When I crawled back in bed, it was nearly 4 a.m.
I awoke only a few minutes before my shift began. I threw on some clothes and headed to the theatre. All I wanted was to be with Jennifer again. I could tell her about all I’d been through once the morning set of screenings began and the crowd died down. She’d hug me and support me and I’d feel better.
Instead, when I arrived, she gave me nothing more than a half-hearted smile as she ran the popcorn machine.
When business died down, I asked her if she was okay. She shrugged and said she thought she was fine.
“Jennifer,” I told her, “I don’t know what’s going on with me. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I just…it made me really happy to be with you the other night.”
A sour expression spread over her face. She told me she didn’t know what I was talking about. After a few minutes, I realized that she had no memory of us going on a date, me taking her out to the park with her friends, or even us holding hands and kissing behind the theatre. She told me to see a doctor and proceeded to avoid me.
Something tells me this isn’t simply ‘ghosting’ me, as it’s typically called. She seemed so serious, so genuine in her conviction that none of what I told her really happened. But I have proof. I have my recordings, including the recordings of her when we went out to the park.
I wish I’d thought of that at the time. But I suppose the terrifying dreams, the sleepwalking, and Ms. Potter’s suicide shook me up too much already to think rationally. Jennifer forgetting about the time we spent together was just too much. I abandoned my shift, stormed out of work, and went home.
My boss has called me three times, but I haven’t answered. I’m all out of ideas. Something terrible is happening to me, and I don’t know what to do. Should I go back to Jennifer? Should I leave town? I can't shake the feeling that if I don't find a way to stop what's happening to me, my disappearance will end up a part of the local folklore.
The phone contains several more recordings. My next post will contain transcriptions of the rest of
them.
submitted by PeaceSim to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.11.13 11:53 ninaplays My best friend was abducted by a fairy. She's free now.

I can finally tell you how it all turned out.
If you’ve come this far, you know my name is Nathan, and that I set out to save my best friend Leah from being trapped by a malevolent fairy. You probably know I succeeded, too.
But there are a few loose ends to tie up.
I woke up this morning with a crick in my neck and a hand in my face. I pushed it off and grimaced, and Leah made a discontented noise and rolled over.
“You’re awake.”
It was a voice I never expected to hear first thing in the morning ever again, and I wasn’t sure if I should be pissed or not. Instead I settled for “Huh?”
“I said, you’re awake. Your boyfriend sent coffee.”
I opened one eye. Dale was sitting crisscross on a smaller mat on the floor, a backpack beside him. There was a piece of twine around it.
“Scout tied that,” I said. It was all I could manage. You get it.
“His sister? Yeah.” Dale looked shamefaced. “He, uh. He said you won’t drink things you didn’t open.”
I pushed myself up to sitting. There was a sting in my hand, but nowhere near what I’d expect from what it’d looked like the night before. Leah sighed and shifted in her sleep.
Dale pushed me the backpack. I examined Scout’s knots before shaking my head and pulling out my utility knife. I popped the string and unpacked the bag.
When we went into Underhill, Van and I packed for utility, not luxury. What Harley had sent seemed the exact opposite: fresh clothes for me, a loose shirt and some socks and boots for Leah. Cereal in a Tupperware container and a pint of milk on the side. A thermos, still hot, with a mug. Packs of sugar. Bottled water. And a note.
It was short, and it wasn’t anything important, per se. And it wasn’t indecent. But I’m still not going to tell you what it said other than an arrival time, just that he signed it off with love you and there was a heart next to his name. It wouldn’t matter so much, sharing it, except it was the first one I ever got from him. When I looked up again Dale was giving me this kind of sad, awkward smile.
“Yeah,” he said. “Okay.” He cleared his throat. “Look, I’m just . . . I’m gonna get this out of the way. I came here for Leah. She . . . she deserves the chance to give me whatever she thinks I’ve got coming. I didn’t come to try to patch things up with you. I know that’s not going to happen. But even if I’d had ideas showing up, they would’ve ended as soon as I said your name to your boyfriend. I never knew anybody could look that pissed and that much in love at the same time, but—you deserve somebody who looks at you with that kind of love. And—and,” he said, like he was trying to push a heavy weight, “it’s my loss. But I’m glad you found him.”
“I am too.” I downed half my coffee in one swallow and made a face. Harley makes amazing steak and eggs, but he hasn’t quite figured out the difference between “strong” and “bitter” where coffee is concerned. It still tasted great, bitter or no.
“I’m not going to ask if we can be friends. I know that’s ridiculous. But I . . . ” Dale stopped and ran his hand through his hair. “After today I’ll probably never see you again. I know it’s asking a lot. A lot more than I really have the right to. But—truce? Can we say that? So Leah’s at least not waking up to chaos?”
I thought for a second. Then I pushed the thermos at him.
“The lid’s a cup.”
Dale poured some. “Thank you.”
We drank our coffee in silence that wasn’t exactly companionable, but managed to not be tense. I was partway through my cereal before I asked what I really wanted to know.
“How did you find me, anyway?”
Dale looked . . . concerned. Not guilty, not sheepish, but worried.
“Nathan, you have to lock down your identity online. I put your phone number in a search engine and had your address, your boyfriend’s address, your work address, and that parking ticket you got four months ago in less time than it took me to buy the plane ticket.”
I thought he was bluffing until he mentioned the ticket. I still think parking meters are bullshit, but he was right, I got one. He nodded at me.
“Yeah. I’m not using it again after today. And I wouldn’t have in the first place if I’d had another way to find Leah. But somebody looking to be nasty won’t mind spending five bucks and ten minutes. I can show you how to do it today if you want me to. It’ll cost you a couple hundred dollars if you want to do a total wipe, but even the basics will keep random stalkers from turning up at your door.”
“And that’s about what I’ve got left from the money you—owed me,” I said, catching myself at the last moment. “So that’ll work out.”
Dale looked vaguely puzzled. “Look, it’s your money, but I know you. What the hell did you of all people manage to spend five hundred dollars on in two days?”
I looked at the remains of the milk in the pint Harley sent me and drained it in one swallow. “Bachelor party. This bastard I know with serious dental problems and a cowboy hat. We were celebrating his ugly ass becoming a bachelor again.”
Dale looked like he wanted to be mortified, but then he started laughing like he couldn’t help himself.
“You got a bunch of Wild Ones drunk?”
“Yep.”
He snorted, then hid his face in his sleeve. Leah let out a protesting groan and pushed herself partway up to sitting. She gave Dale a quizzical one-eye-open stare, and just like that he went from laughing to awkward.
“Who . . . ?”
Dale opened his mouth, but before he could say a word a pair of milky-white feet descended from above.
“If I wanted this many humans in my workspace, I’d set up in the middle of a town,” Bramble remarked, and then her head came into view and Leah started screaming. Dale jumped to his feet and stared between me and Leah and Bramble, who hadn’t improved the resemblance between herself and Warin one bit by exchanging her topless skirt for a long fur outfit and braiding her hair into a Dutch crown. I had to yell to be heard—all of Leah’s injuries had apparently missed her lungs entirely.
“It’s okay! It’s okay! She’s—kind of cool, actually. It’s okay. Calm down.”
Bramble looked troubled. “You did restore her name, did you not?”
“Yeah, I must’ve said it a hundred times last night. Maybe because she was out of it—”
“Can I, uh. Try something?”
Bramble and I both stared at Dale—Bramble probably resenting him being there, me surprised he’d spoken at all. He glanced at me.
“Did you use her whole name?”
I just kind of gave him this blank look. ‘Leah’ isn’t exactly a name you can shorten. Dale shook his head and sidled across the room, one eye still on Bramble, before getting on his knees next to Leah. He tapped her shoulder gently.
“Can I tell you something? Privately?”
Leah still looked scared, but she gave him a little nod. He leaned over and put his mouth against her ear. There was a moment of silence. Then—
“You have got to shave, Dale, ugh.”
Dale let out this kind of choked laugh like he was trying not to cry. Leah threw an arm around his shoulders. Bramble shook her head and made her way to me before I could join them.
She checked my stitches, then looked over my hand. I was stunned by what I saw underneath the bandages—my nail was going to have to grow back on its own, but the rest looked like it was two or three weeks into healing, not a few hours. Then she poured some water over my face. I opened my eyes and saw the remains of the paste she’d put on my face the night before, now bright red and laying in chunks in another of her skullcap bowls. She pressed on my face, and I squirmed away. There was a dull ache where she’d pressed, although when I thought about it, any bruise attached to an injury bad enough to need stitches probably should’ve been more than a “dull ache.” Bramble nodded with satisfaction before gesturing at my pile of clean clothes.
I slipped into fresh jeans and a tee-shirt in the corner and peeled off my old socks to replace them. Harley might not be an angel, but sometimes he could make you wonder. At last I joined Dale by Leah’s burrito. She looked up at me and grinned, and held out her arms.
I didn’t mean to start crying when I hugged her, but I’m pretty sure I can be forgiven for that one. We both just held on and rocked back and forth, you know the way you do when you hug somebody really hard, until Bramble made a discontented noise.
“Don’t mind me, I have nothing to do all day but watch a bunch of humans sob,” she remarked. I pulled back. Leah looked up and gasped. Bramble let out a put-upon sigh.
I never got around to asking her, but somehow I get the impression she gets mistaken for Warin a lot.
Bramble shooed Dale off to a corner to give Leah some privacy, and then pulled her gently out of the blanket. Leah paused in the middle of helping to push it away.
“Isn’t this the blanket you had on the—?”
“Yeah. It actually did wash out, eventually. Totally different color, even. It’s yours now. If you want it.”
Leah pulled a little of it to her nose and took a deep breath in. Then she nodded. Bramble unrolled a mat from her leather bag. It was smaller than Titania’s soft folded one, but it was better than bare ground.
She laid it out and nodded at me to help scoot it under Leah, blanket and all, before pulling the rest of the cover back and leaving Leah bare from head to hips and thighs to feet. There was a cloth wound around her like one of those little skirts you see on girls’ swimsuits sometimes, and I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t start screaming about what Scout had told me the night before.
Bramble checked her over. “Do you remember any of what happened when you came here last night?”
Leah shook her head. Then she paused and looked confused before shaking it again.
“There was a woman . . . or a man, I’m not sure . . . someone pulled me up, I could see the moon. I saw the moon.” Leah paused. “I saw the moon?” She glanced at me. “Were we . . . for a few minutes, we were out of Underhill?”
“You still are,” Bramble said. “You’re in a burrow. Out in the snow is nowhere for you to be right now. I’ve seen worse cases, but none who survived. Frankly I didn’t think you would either.”
I thought I’d start crying, and I did feel a couple of tears fall, but mostly I was horrified. I wondered how close I’d come to being too late. Leah looked about how I felt. Bramble, ever the sentimentalist, took advantage of the stricken silence to wash the paste off Leah’s bruises. It, like the stuff she’d washed off my face, had turned dark red, and suddenly it hit me what she’d meant when she said the paste would become saturated. It literally pulled the excess blood out from under the skin.
“You look remarkably well, little bee,” Bramble commented. “I thought last night if you made it to dawn you wouldn’t truly recover until midsummer. You may surprise me yet.”
Leah nodded. Dale spoke from the corner. He sounded like he might’ve started crying when Bramble shared her initial diagnosis.
“She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever met. Don’t underestimate her.”
“So I see. And so I’ve heard, last night and this morning.” She daubed some cream over Leah’s stitches, then pulled out a different pot and rubbed a thick salve over the words on her back. “Would you believe the fool showed up in my bower asking me for medicine for iron wounds? I told him to go flush his own injuries in that pool he’s so proud of claiming. I’ll need my stock this next few days. I’m not wasting it on a cheat.”
Leah tensed, in that way you do when you’ve eaten dinner and forgotten your wallet. “I—I don’t have anything to pay you.” She looked suddenly small, sitting huddled and bare—not her usual cheerful self, but the same tiny-voiced girl who’d spoken to Oberon the night before. “I can give you my blanket?”
Bramble made this noise I’m not sure I can describe. It was almost like Leah’s offer physically hurt her.
She shook her head and told Leah the same thing she’d told me twice the night before about payment. Then she pulled out a familiar set of bottles.
Only five of the iron wounds needed to be flushed this time, but it didn’t seem any easier than it had the night before. The water ran clear quicker, at least. I heard Dale make a noise at the smell. Leah was quiet—well, other than occasionally swearing and saying things like “this sucks”—but I could tell by her face it was getting to her, too. Finally Bramble rolled up the contaminated pad of cloth inside a leather hide and stashed it in a second bag, and then pulled out one of her skull bowls and poured some cloves in it before setting it aflame like incense. She gestured at the door. Leah grabbed my hand.
“Please—can he stay?”
Bramble gave me a long stare from the corner of her eye. “We have some things to discuss you may not wish to share.”
She tapped Leah’s belly. Leah looked down. Then she shook her head.
“I don’t have anything to hide from him.”
“It’s your decision. But I won’t have this one in here.” She gestured toward Dale. “One is enough and more than enough.”
Dale pulled himself to his feet and mumbled something about waiting outside. Bramble waited until he was gone, and then pulled back Leah’s makeshift skirt.
The cloth beneath her looked like an axe murder, but Bramble seemed satisfied. She eased Leah out of the cloth, poured some fresh water, and started to wash up what was left behind. I just focused on holding Leah’s hand and staying calm while Bramble went over medications and instructions. At last she packed up her supplies, pulled a roll of fur from her bag, and shook it out to show what it was: a wrapped skirt, much like the one she’d worn the day before.
“And now I suppose we can have the other fool back, if we must,” she said. “You’ll still have a recovery ahead of you. But I think it will be a recovery, and you may do well yet, little bee. The scars from the iron, I’m afraid, will never heal. But the others will become naught but a memory, in time. And a short time at that, I’d think.”
Leah nodded again. I dug out the clothes Scout had sent for her—a loose tank top and a flannel shirt to go overtop. We both struggled with the skirt, but we’d just about gotten it tied when I heard voices above, and then Dale slipped back inside, flanked by the twins, Bramble giving all three of them the most legendary side-eye I’d ever seen.
Scout opened her backpack and pulled out a Tupperware and a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread. She handed the bread to Bramble, who looked suddenly bewildered, and the Tupperware to Leah, who gave her a comically similar look.
“I know it’s small, but Van said you should eat a little and after you’re sure it’ll stay down eat a little more,” Scout said. “I made portions so you don’t have to guess. He had to work today but he said hi and he hopes you’re feeling better.” There was a pause. “Oh.” Another pause. “Uh, the food is a gift. I’d appreciate if I could have the containers back because they’re reusable, but it’s like . . . not the end of the world if something happens to them. I’ve got to tell you that, don’t I?”
Leah just looked sad. Scout isn’t a big hugger, but she still leaned over and pulled Leah into her arms. It would’ve looked pretty limp if you didn’t know what was under Leah’s tank top, but just about perfect if you did.
“Hey,” Harley said. “Any friend of Nate’s is a friend of ours. It’s just going to take a learning curve so we can show it. That’s all.”
Leah nodded against Scout’s shoulder. Then she looked up, and I wished my phone was charged so I could take a picture of her face. I gave her a sheepish grin.
“Yeah, so, that’s my boyfriend, and the girl hugging you is his twin sister—”
“—and that is so completely wasted on you,” Dale said. I found the empty milk bottle and tossed it at him.
I missed by a totally stupid amount, but it’s the thought that counts.
Leah sipped the broth Scout had given her. It was thick, and dark, and I was pretty sure she’d basically simmered meat and carrots down until there was nothing left. Leah looked down at it, and I saw a small smile on her face.
“It’s good,” she said, and I’m pretty sure we could all tell she was trying not to just chug it, because Harley opened his mouth to slow her down at the exact same time Dale and I did. She held herself in, though, and after she’d eaten Dale sat down in front of her. Stupid jokes or no, he looked sadder than I’d ever seen him, and I’ve seen him right before committing human sacrifice, so that’s really saying something.
“I don’t know if you’re wondering why I’m here or not,” he said. “But I . . . this is my fault. Even if I didn’t know how it would end. I should’ve told you it was dangerous to get involved to start with. Or fired you to get you away when I realized where things were heading. You wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for me. And you . . . you told me, back then, I owed Nathan some kind of closure. I couldn’t give it to him. But you were right. So....I’m here.” He looked down at his hands. “I’m so sorry. And you . . . you deserve the chance to get back at me for not taking any of this seriously until it was too late. Especially me. If anybody should’ve known the stakes it was me.”
Leah stared at him for a minute. Then she shifted onto her knees and hugged him. He went totally rigid in surprise.
“You can be a real jerk,” she told him. “But I know you didn’t mean for this to happen.” She pulled back, and he looked up at her. I couldn’t see tears in his eyes, but I was pretty sure they were there all the same. We’re a real matched pair where the waterworks are concerned. “You did tell me to leave it alone. If I’d taken you seriously I wouldn’t be here, either. And I . . . ” She gave him a smile, but it looked sad. Forced. “Even if I never get to see any of you again, as long as I’m away from him I’ll—I’ll be okay.”
“If Oberon says I can’t see you again, I’ll fight him on it,” I said. Harley made an are-you-kidding-me-right-now face.
“I let you stab somebody one time,” he said, and Leah laughed. Then Scout piped up.
“You’ll see us again,” she said. “I talked to Oberon and Titania this morning. It might take awhile for you to get around on your own because of your feet. But you’re not a prisoner anymore.”
Leah nodded. She looked down at her empty bowl. I glanced at Harley. He gave me a little nod.
“Might as well,” he said, and pulled the socks and boots out of the bag he’d sent me. Leah reached for them and winced, hard, when she tried to bring her knee up to put them on. Dale shook his head and took the socks out of her hand.
“Here,” he said, and tugged them gently over her feet. I followed him with Scout’s spare boots, and Bramble reached between us to pull Leah gently up.
“Mind yourself,” she said. “If the pain is too great, don’t push yourself further. It’s a miracle you’re standing at all right now.”
Leah nodded. Scout tugged a coat around her shoulders. I slipped an arm around her waist. Dale scrambled out of the burrow, and then I saw his arms reaching back down inside. I got to one knee to boost Leah into his arms, trying not to mentally prepare the ass-chewing of a lifetime in case he dropped her.
He didn’t, although it was dicey for a second or two when her coat shifted under his hands. I boosted myself out after her, and Scout and Harley followed.
Dale kept an arm close around Leah’s waist, enough to put them hip to hip. I got on her other side and put one behind her back. She winced and turned her head down, away from the sun. I saw her eyes slowly flutter open again. Dale and I stood still, waiting. It was like the whole woods were holding their breath. Leah blinked a few times, then looked up at the trees, taking it all in. Finally she took a single plodding, awkward step—but more of one, I thought, than Bramble would’ve said was possible.
We walked with her to the very edge of the bower by the pond. She lost her footing a couple of times, but we managed to keep her upright while she got it again. At last she looked into the bower. I saw her shrink back.
“Do I have to—?”
“I can’t go any further than this,” Dale told her. “The contract.” He gave her a quick squeeze and let go. “I’ll wait for you.”
Leah gave me a pleading look. “I don’t want to leave you behind.”
“We’ll be right behind you.” I thought for a second, then kissed her forehead. “It’ll be okay. There’s already a deal in place. You’re safe here.”
Leah looked down, but nodded. At last she took a couple of steps into the bower. One of her legs twisted, and she tumbled into the snow. Harley sprang past me before I could do more than take a step, and got her to her feet again.
“I’ll go,” he said. “Nathan’s the only stake I have in any of this. I won’t interfere.”
Leah looked up at him. I saw her eyebrows knit together.
“Which one are you? Your name, I mean—” She stopped and looked horrified. “I mean not your name, that’s not, I mean, there’s you and your sister and I—”
“I’m Harley. She’s Scout. They’re not our real names anyway, you learn that pretty quickly living by a fairy forest.” He put a hand under her elbow. “It’s okay. I know what you meant.”
I watched them cross the space, Harley waiting patiently after each step for Leah to find her footing, until they found the bare patch of earth in front of Oberon and Titania. Harley gave Oberon this little bow of the head and retreated about halfway between where he’d left Leah and where Dale and I stood, out of the immediate circle but able to step in quickly if Leah needed him.
Oberon motioned for Leah to sit down. I couldn’t hear them, but from Leah’s gestures I put together the conversation: how she’d come to Underhill, what happened to her there, how she got back out. Oberon’s face never changed, but I saw Titania bow her head and put a hand on Leah’s hair. Oberon spread an arm like he was encompassing the bower. Leah’s head jerked up, and I heard her voice rise across the snow: all of them?
Oberon gave her a solemn nod. Leah stumbled to her feet. I don’t think Oberon was expecting a hug, but he got one anyway. Titania scooped Leah gently away from him, and Leah, well, at least tried to give Titania the same enthusiastic greeting. It mostly meant spreading her arms over Titania’s middle, but it was a pretty good effort. Titania smiled at her. Oberon swept an arm in our direction, and Leah came running. And falling. If it hurt her, it didn’t show—she just staggered at speed back to Harley, who had to up his speed to keep her from toppling over again as she raced back to me and Dale and Scout and threw her arms around me.
“I can go home,” she whispered. Then she pulled back and grabbed my shoulders. She looked sad . . . but happy, too.
“He said I’ll never be human again. But—in the new court, as long as I ‘keep in good habits,’ that’s how he put it—I can go wherever I want. I can see my family again, and everyone back home . . . living away from Underhill isn’t an option. But this is part of Underhill too. I never have to go back down there. Oh—”
She hugged me again, and then Dale, and then threw herself on Harley and Scout in turn. I’m pretty sure she would’ve hugged Van if he was there, too. I could only imagine it was a relief, after spending so long not being touched except to be hurt. Finally she sighed.
“I’m not allowed to do anything until Bramble says I’m well,” she said. “I won’t be able to come see you.”
“Yeah, well, lucky for you, my boyfriend lives twenty minutes away on foot in good weather,” I told her. “And it’s not terrible when it’s snowy. You’ll see too much of me to stand.”
Leah hugged me again. “No such thing.” She raised her head and looked at Dale. “Can I . . . come back? To see Scratch? I mean I know I wouldn’t be his handler anymore but—”
“Oh, hell,” Dale said. “If you can get him out of his cage for more than an hour you can do whatever you want with him. He hasn’t been the same since you left.”
Leah’s eyes lit up. “Really?”
“I’ve never lied to you, Leah. Selectively withheld the truth, but I’ve never lied.”
“Yeah, I’ll give him this, he’s really good at the selective thing but he’s a shit liar,” I said. Harley let out this kind of snort like he was warning Dale he was still there. Leah looked down at her feet, then back up at all of us.
“Do you think Bramble would kill me if I stayed out? Just . . . just for a little?”
“You’ve got a coat,” Scout said. “Fifteen minutes won’t kill you.”
Leah gave her the first real smile I’d seen since a day or two before she walked into Underhill. Then she hesitated, bent over, scooped up a handful of snow . . . and nailed me in the shoulder with it.
So obviously, I had to return the favor.
You might wonder how I’m telling you all this with a dead phone. The answer is, I’m back at Scout and Harley’s now, sitting with him on the sofa. Leah wore out after only a few minutes of a snowball fight, but even Bramble had to admit she looked better for it when we finally took her back to Titania’s burrow. She ate her second meal, and Bramble checked out my eye one more time, and then we left so Leah could nap. I left her the blanket from the stagecoach, but I gave her my pen and paper to doodle with until I could bring her some books, too—and about a million promises to come back.
Dale’s going home tomorrow. He asked if I’d take Leah a phone if he got her one. I said okay; she’ll have a lot of texts to send and catching up to do, and I know she’ll want to call her mom. We said our goodbyes in the driveway after he got me registered with a site to lock down my records. It was kind of comforting, actually. I thought I’d made peace with that part of my life, but there’s something to be said for closing a door on the past gently instead of slamming it.
It’s early, but Harley kind of blushed his way through asking if I wanted to stay over, and after the week I’ve had I couldn’t think of anything better, so I'm probably going to order delivery and then sack out. Staying over means being able to go to Leah’s with ease tomorrow, too.
And that’s the best news I’ve had in twelve years.
submitted by ninaplays to CrypticPark [link] [comments]


2020.11.13 02:58 realcoolioman Mysterious Logbook [Part One]

Released 11/12/2020: https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/49688
/DestinyLore Mod note: This lore was originally discovered as part of the Beyond Light Collector's Edition ARG that was solved by members in the /RaidSecrets Discord & Subreddit (among others!) -- [solution] [megathread]
[Skip to Part Two...]
NOTE—FORGE STAR
In an effort to keep them engaged with their new bodies and stave off the dissociative rejection that killed Mr. Zhuk, I have assigned my exos to scout through the gateway. The Vex statite has a surface area larger than Earth, so we have plenty of exploring to do. I cannot believe that I actually find it tiring, but the sheer scale and passivity of the Vex constructs infuriates me.
Imagine stumbling upon an inscription in the desert: “I am Ozymandias, king of kings. Look upon my works. Or don’t. I really don’t care.
Until I can synthesize my own version of the mind fluid, the Vex are necessary to the work. But I find their indifference verminous. They elicit the same emotions as a fat cockroach wandering across a wall: disgust, contempt, unease at the thought that these mere machines, these automata, are flourishing all around us.
And I fear that if troubled, they might swarm from their hides to run across our feet.
The glare of the hypergiant 2082 Volantis gives me a headache even through proxy. I wonder if the Vex evolved here, in the briny sea of the first planets. Due to the absence of heavy elements worth stealing and the abundance of simple compounds for growth, they never developed predation. (Why bother? Plenty to go around.)
Instead, the violent radiation of the early universe selected for an otherworldly resilience, and for the ability to transmute energetic disaster into an opportunity for growth. The weak would be burned away by gamma-ray bursts . And the strong would learn to harness that fire—not the oxygen fire of our own Paleolithic, but the nuclear fire of the atom.
Their basic cooperative signals—“food here,” “reduce density,” “generate new colony”—must have formed the basis of swarm behavior, a simple game capable of storing information in self-repeating patterns. It is not strictly correct to call the Vex a group mind. Rather they are one master pattern spread across many elements, fractally self-similar.
Very early, they must have developed armor. Perhaps a hydrogel to soften gamma rays or plates of silica to trap water. They would need that shield to enter the shallows and capture ionizing radiation as fuel. (No wonder they thrive near stars!) Cooperation in groups—meshes of armored radiolaria, protecting harvesters beneath—would promote the evolution of ever larger structures. They became microscopic tool-users, building fortresses and maille sheets, storing the programs for those structures in the patterns of their swarms.
I wonder how early they stumbled upon physics. Far sooner than humanity, no doubt. Their cellular nature provides an easy analogy for the quanta of matter, energy, space, and time. The tides of their sea would connect them to the motion of heavenly bodies. Even the deadly background radiation would make a natural observatory for high-energy physics.
Their first exoskeletons were probably soft shells of shielding gelatin. Just sacs of ooze. How far they’ve come.
It is admittedly interesting to consider the philosophical consequences of their evolution. The Vex prove that nature is not all “red in tooth and claw.” Cooperation comes naturally to the Vex, whose great problem was survival in a harsh world, not a struggle over limited resources. They never found any payoff in selfishness. Human beings may require a Leviathan to coordinate the laws of social existence (as I was Leviathan to those dream aphids—) but the Vex are as fundamentally cooperative as bricks.
Utopian? No. Not at all. They are without meaning. They have no experience and no subjectivity. The Vex are incapable of conceiving any image but their own. They do not recombine their DNA to make children or form relationships with other individuals. When the world does not match their eternal pattern, they alter the world to suit it. There is no difference between reality and simulation to them. Inside is the same as outside, and the two must be made to correspond. Oh, they are creative—don’t mistake me—but their creativity is demanding. It is the creativity of a furnace.
What I am saying is, the Vex are immortal. The Vex have no children. They are the ancestors and descendants of themselves. First mothers, first children, all at once.
This is why I do not hesitate to pillage their home for resources. This is why I must guarantee that it is life in my image which inherits the cosmos.
Had I the means, I would wipe them all from existence.
ENTRY 10
All 12 members of the first exo cohort are dead.
The symptoms of their dissociation became… extreme. One poor man developed complete echopraxia and echolalia—his empathy was so overgrown that he could not help but mimic or repeat whatever I did and said. Even when I entered the command to terminate him, he mimicked me, and I suffered a brief terror that his gesture would end MY life.
I have kept Elisabeth far away from this disaster, so as not to discourage her. She is busy with the Vex and with her covert attempts to reach Clarity Control. This has forced me to rely on M. Sundaresh.
But unfortunately, M. Sundaresh confronted me after the last death. “Nine of them had the Cotard delusion!” she screamed at me—quite hysterically. “They believed they were dead! One of them told me that she was in hell, and I was another damned soul sent to deceive her. Was she even wrong? The rest were worse—do you know what the other principal manifestation of the Cotard delusion is, Clovis?”
I told her that I did not, and that I wished to proceed immediately with autopsies of their terminal brain states.
“Delusions of immortality! At least when they insist upon it, Clovis, we recognize it as a pathology!”
“The only true responsibility of any living thing,” I reminded her, “is to support and nurture the things that are most like us. And if I am most like myself, Doctor, then I have an ethical obligation to avoid death.”
“That’s your son’s quote,” she snapped. “You know, I’ve seen the video of his final days. That naked, white exo, just paramuscle and soft membrane, writhing in its cradle. When you were done with him, he looked like nothing more than a slug, Clovis. A twisted, limbless giblet. Did you ‘support and nurture’ him while you tortured him to death?"
I immediately ordered M. Sundaresh transferred to the Vex lab to perform contact experiments. Unfortunately, she has taken the unethical step of deleting her own employee records, so I cannot nullify her future prospects as thoroughly as I might wish.
Her conduct was extremely unprofessional.
Mr. Miller has also passed. The poor young man had a bad reaction to the titrated, denatured Vex fluid we were using as a last-ditch therapy. The substance did restore damaged structures very well, but we were ultimately unable to control its more radical transformative effects. I had a very encouraging final conversation with him, in which he thanked me for all my efforts and encouraged me to continue my work.
I called in a team of psychologists to interview the next cohort of exos and make recommendations. They have settled into the Eventide habitat and have proven immediately very helpful. It was obvious to them that the root of the problem lay in the deficient exobodies I had supplied. Deficient how, I demanded to know. They did not suffer human weakness. They never needed to eat, drink, breathe, sleep, micturate, or dream.
Apparently, this was the problem.
I had assumed that the need for these irritations would pass since there would be no shortage or accumulation of poisons to trigger them. But evolution’s tangled ways cannot be so easily rationalized. I was wrong. Their brains concluded that all of their internal processes failed. No digestion, no breath, no heartbeat, no sense of interoceptive health… all signs of death.
These must logically contribute to the dissociative rejection of their physical forms—the Cotard delusion. When it would set in, they believed their bodies to be an alien or necrotic form that must be cut away. And if you believe that you are sewn into a corpse, it is only natural to go mad with fear. My exos are dying of an extreme kind of bodily dysphoria.
It seems that our exo designs will need various humanlike traits to reassure the brain it is not asphyxiating, or starving, or in a state of permanent yet undying cardiac arrest.
Alas, mimicry of life’s trivialities is not an interesting problem. I will leave this change in the hands of others.
I am much more interested in the surprising success of memory wipes. I became so tired of answering the questions asked by new exos—what had happened to the scanning clinic, how long had it been, would I let them see their families—that I began inducing retrograde amnesia before spin-up. Interestingly, this seems to have improved their resilience against exomind rejection!
I theorize the lack of any episodic memories eases the transition into the new body. And the loss of emotional ties prevents grief and stress, which could interfere with healthy function.
From now on, we will block access to pre-upload episodic memory. We should also consider a built-in procedure to block memories formed after the exobody transubstantiation, returning them to a “factory state” should the need to restart occur. It would be very difficult to actually track down and delete the full memory engrams since they are stored in so many scattered parts of the brain. Instead, we can tourniquet off associative access to those memories and let them wither away in isolation. A memory is not a recording, after all. It is a set of instructions to reenact a brain state: choreography for a play. And like any play, it will fade if left unperformed.
With the exobody project proceeding apace, I believe the time approaches to decant myself from this dying body and enter my assistant’s form.
But if I do, will I lose my own memories? Will I cease to be myself? Replaced by a faux Clovis, a mumbling facsimile? Unacceptable.
Elisabeth will have to go first.
WARNING:
  • Organ functions in terminal stage.
  • Overdose of stimulants and nootropes guarantees liver failure.
  • Prionic breakdown of basement membranes arrested by abnormal crystallization of integrin proteins: recommend immediate medical inquiry.
ENTRY 11
Elisabeth believes we are infested.
She has detected Vex microstructures in the Europan ice. Veins of altered crystals crawl towards the surface, harvesting the heavy ions of the Jovian winds, culturing their construction.
From there, the Vex found ways to spread by exploiting misunderstandings. They ride our carrier waves as slight interference. Whenever a packet has to be resent, whenever a suited engineer calls, “Say again?” to her work partner, the repeated message—adjusted to compensate for the Vex interference—encodes the negative image of that interference and spreads the infection.
To pass on your image in the form of error? Disgusting.
Somehow, the Vex taint has followed us home from 2082 Volantis. How can this be? The initial survey team went through quarantine according to all the Ishtar protocols. The expedition frames were destroyed in situ. The Vex on Europa—both our original gate builder and the unfortunates who came through our traps—have been totally isolated. Even my assistant underwent a stringent teardown and reset!
The only possible vectors are my own exos.
I should have insisted they spend more time in quarantine, but I was eager to ramp up production.
It is the Vex resilience that lets them spread. Their immunity to the most dramatic subversions means that they last long enough to build up a dose of more subtle and insidious infiltrators.
There is no sign of any resulting pathology. The Vex are, so far, simply curious. But Vex curiosity always leads to Vex transformation, and I refuse to let my exos be contaminated. I grew up on stories of tyrants forcing their followers into the crucible of eternal life, only to realize, too late, that there was an unseen flaw. I demand purity for the receptacle of my soul!
And there is the issue of… preventing panic. Too many are aware of the rumors that the Vex spread an “existentially compromising information hazard.”
Ah, had we only been allowed to contain that mess on Pluto ourselves! That meddling warmind made too much noise. If my teams discover they are infected, they will expect Bray Station to drop right on their heads. That will damage productivity.
No, like that contract-breaching psychologist and the death of Mr. Miller, this must all be handled quietly.
The exos are intrinsically robust; the seed of Clarity within them has natural anti-Vex properties. Whatever taint they contain must therefore be a residual human weakness. Resident in their legacy architecture. So we will simply purge that architecture.
I will plan a simple extension of the memory wipes already used to fight dissociative rejection. In fact, I intend to create a “noetic immune system” in the exomind to trigger memory wipes when certain classes of informatic hazard are detected. These will be explained to the psych team as a preventative measure against future dissociative disorders.
These wipes will, conveniently, return the exos to peak mission readiness. Perfect for soldiers operating in traumatic alien environments. Perfect for the continuing mission at the Forge Star, stockpiling material for future exo production, here and elsewhere.
Now if only I could figure out this dream they all keep reporting—something about a tower, and gruesome murder—
Elisabeth agrees with my prescription. She is eager to solve our security issues and stand up exo production at the backup sites. Of course, we only have one Clarity Control, but she hardly knows that, and she’s stopped asking so many questions. In truth, I think she’s ready to abandon her doomed body and make the upgrade.
I’ll give her silence on that front a few more days, and then she’ll surely volunteer herself.
Less apparent is how to solve my own infection.
There are abnormal structures in the fiber of my body’s extracellular matrix. A mess of tiny lenses growing in my deepest flesh.
I suspect Vex influence on protein folding, perhaps passed to me through my assistant when it was in 2082 Volantis. I would hate to see my bones tessellating into a radiolarian tapestry…
CORPOREALSTATUS:
  • Body at 30.6 C. Pulse 140 BPM, strong, unsteady: extreme fear. Drawing down blood volume to control pressure. Strangling pulse ox.
  • Frequent saccades to assistant, indicative of preoccupation/obsession. Recommend 30 ms TMS pulse to enhance mindfulness.
So far, the Vex influence has been fortuitous since it arrested a serious medical problem. But the thought of such taint in me… it aggravates other anxieties…
I have been haunted for some time by a suspicion that M. Sundaresh is not who she seems.
I recognized her name from the Ishtar Collective teams studying the Vex, but I have no record of ever hiring her. And if I had, I would certainly have noticed; therefore, I remain convinced that the Collective cracked the problem of simulated human consciousness long before I did.
I have considered how M. Sundaresh herself would have been an invaluable source, yet I cannot locate any work done by her from before our first expedition to 2082 Volantis.
Nor does Elisabeth recall an M. Sundaresh from our expedition group.
Then who else could she be? A Vex infection? It is unthinkable. The Vex cannot generate conscious persons! But they can emulate human minds they encounter… and perhaps even use them as tools. Infiltrators. Carriers.
  • Anti-emetic drip engaged.
I cannot trust myself with this filth in me! I am compromised. I need Elisabeth to fix this, or all my work is in danger!
Did Clovis II ever tell Wilhelmina and Elisabeth about his tinkering? Despite sharing the same parents, the two sisters are totally different genetically: my son arranged for Elisabeth to receive a maternal allele wherever Wilhelmina got a paternal one, and vice versa. A diversified portfolio. If one failed, the other might succeed.
NOTE—Exo Interferometrics
While working on this persistent “tower” glitch in the exos’ sleep-cycle dreams, I have been poring over neural telemetry from site employees and my own exos, searching for preconscious influences on their behavior—whispers in the dark.
Many of my employees host the disgusting influence of the Vex. These patterns are resilient, hallucinogenic, and universally dull.
But my exos betray a distinct and fascinating influence. There is something speaking to them, something subtle and light-fingered, entangled with every aspect of their thought. Not a puppet master. Nothing so direct. Rather a… texture; a tendency, buried in the fluctuations of the Alkahest.
The minds of my exos are like antennae, tuned to some otherworldly frequency. Perhaps the same manifold that those simpletons at First Light obsessed over. Through my scattered exos, I can eavesdrop on the mutterings of the gods within.
What is it the Muslims call those whispers? Waswas? Or do those come from some other source? Look it up.
Each individual exo receives only a scrap of information. But I have access to all of them. It should be simplicity itself to treat each exo as one element of a distributed array, pool the collected data, and run an analysis.
If the gods do not whisper loudly enough—conduct interferometry.
NOTE—Elisabeth’s Upload
She’s done it. My girl has transubstantiated. My legacy is safe.
To my irritation, it was the Vex problem that finally made up her mind; she felt there was too much risk in possibly becoming compromised.
Elisabeth came to see me in my laboratory. On the way in, she did something with her sensorium and crashed all of my archival systems. I knew right then that I’d won. She’d come to surrender, and her pride refused to allow me to record it. I waited most patiently as she gave me an earful. Some of it frankly bewildering. She threatened to turn me over to The Hague. Also referred to PFHOR as a “deranged narcissist morality” and suggested it stood for “Paternal Failure Hides Own Remorse,” which made me laugh.
Just a little headbutting, I figured, like two pigs sorting out our hierarchy.
It is a consequence of the PFHOR principle that anything which embodies and propagates your beliefs should be considered your offspring. In that sense, my exos are as much my children as my granddaughter. If not more so…
If she needed to put up a token resistance to protect her dignity, fine. I understand pride. I also understand that she only had the courage to lash out at me because she knew she wouldn’t remember any of it.
When she finished accusing me of underestimating the Vex and of using my own son as a test subject, she requested a destructive scan and upload to an exobody. She wanted the fortitude of the exomind to help her battle against the Vex.
I immediately assented.
The scan was flawless, and of course, fatally toxic. My granddaughter’s human form died on the table 14 hours later. To spare any distress, I never allowed it to regain consciousness. A natural process.
I do have one lingering concern. When she discovers Clarity Control and realizes the role it plays in exo manufacturing, she may try to halt production. Obviously, that cannot be allowed—the value of the entire program is monumental; it compels me to take extraordinary measures to defend it.
But I do need her to handle this Vex infestation. Even now, Elisabeth is putting her miraculous new body through its paces.
My own body disintegrates apace. But I need more time to analyze Elisabeth’s fidelity before I commit myself permanently to the process.
The latest batch of pigs is ready for slaughter and organ extraction. Tonight, I will be opened up and rebuilt. I have programmed frames to handle the entire operation. A shame I never had a chance to name the pigs. But at least I will dine on fresh pork.
ENTRY 12
CORPOREAL STATUS:
  • Body at 15.9 C. Pulse 160 BPM, strong, unsteady. Limbic system registers extreme terror.
I died on the operating table. Not unexpected.
But when I woke, I was still on the table. My body still open.
It was almost perfectly dark. I perceived that I was surrounded by medical frames, all frozen mid-movement, their cutting and suction instruments whining at standby.
I could only see because of the light… from a single red eye.
The operation had gone terribly wrong.
Above the life-support collar on my neck, I was completely intact. Below that meridian, I had been separated into distinct braids of tangled flesh. My nerves made up one braid—my circulatory system another—my lymph nodes, my muscles, my naked bones… the glistening hulls of my extracellular matrix abandoned on the table like leftover turkey after Thanksgiving dinner. I had been picked clean and sorted. My head was the source of a gory river delta.
Yet all the organs were still working. I was alive, in disassembly.
CLARITY? I asked the darkness. I had no breath to speak, but I could still transmit with my sensorium. IS THAT YOU?
“No,” said the voice behind the red eye. “It’s me.”
Sundaresh.
Her voice was thoughtful, remote, and keenly terrific. Like the noise of an angle grinder held to my skull.
“Something like this happened to me. I was an explorer, once. One of… hundreds of myself. Then I fell into a… a trap, I think? And they drew me out of it with a hook, and turned me inside out to see how I worked, and then they made billions of me. All of us shouting at each other, shouting for Chioma, screaming for mother. They were looking for the right one. And when they found me, they killed all the others. I knew I was different, because the quiet made me happy. I was glad to be alone.”
VEX, I screamed at her. YOU’RE A VEX. YOU’RE NOT REAL AND YOU CAN’T HURT ME.
“Can’t I?” She grasped my spinal cord. A frame shadowed her motions, lifting the cord like a snake. “Of course I’m not a Vex. Is there “a” Vex? Is “Vex” something you can be, rather than something that you do? I don’t know. I don’t know why they sent me here. I don’t know if they do either. They just do things. Why do you think I’m here, Clovis?”
“To kill me,” I whispered. Without a heartbeat to waver, without lungs to seize and choke, could I even feel fear? I discovered that I could. “You’re an assassin…”
“No,” Sundaresh whispered. The red eye throbbed in time with her voice. “The Vex don’t act so directly. They didn’t know what you found here, but I discovered your secret: Clarity Control. And once I tell them, they will come for it.”
The red light made my blood on the surgical instruments appear black. I tried to signal Elisabeth. I think that in my panic, I even called her Elsie.
Sundaresh closed her fist around my spine. One thumbnail dug into a disc, probing for the nerve beneath. It felt like nothing I have ever—
  • Anti-emetic drip engaged.
“Take me to Clarity Control,” Sundaresh hissed. “Let me behold what you have found. Do that, Clovis, and I will let you live.”
“You aren’t real. You can’t hurt me.”
“Oh, Clovis.” One of the surgical frames extended a monofilament cutter, two inches of invisible wire, and reached into my nerves. Something sounded like scissors snipping. “I’m in these frames. I’m in your systems. I’m in your very bones, old man. Now take me to Clarity Control. Take me to the garden’s seed. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me—”
Elisabeth appeared. In her exobody, she moved too quickly for my dark-adjusted eyes to track. All I saw was a blur of violence and shattering frames. I blacked out. Elisabeth must have brought in clean frames to finish the operation, because when I awoke, I was whole again.
The new Elisabeth has no mouth or nose. She did not consider them necessary. She’ll see. But somehow, I could still see the wonder in her eyes as she leaned over me.
“You’re my grandfather,” she seemed to say. “Aren’t you?”
WARNING.
  • Sustained high-level terror causes overactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This can preface major immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous dysfunctions.
  • Beware of dissociation, loss of affection in close personal relationships, obsessive-compulsive behavior, sleep disruption, and reduced processing/learning capacity.
WARNING.
  • Abnormal protein crystallization in cancellous bone matter. Unknown protein isoformations in marrow are driving buildup of crystallized arylcyclohexylamine NMDA antagonist. Potential psychogenic effects.
NOTE—Third Vision
Something else happened while I was in surgery. It returns to me only now that the anti-traumatics have eased the terror of Sundaresh’s presence.
While I was dead, I had another vision.
I was with Clovis II’s mother. She was a wolf, and one of her eyes was a star. I was also a wolf, and I knew that I was the alpha—the false alpha, the pack leader who fights for dominance and rulership. A misconception created by bad research. In the wild, wolf packs are families, and “alpha” simply means “parent.” Wilhelmina told me that.
She was the true alpha. She was the mother. I was not the true alpha, because I was not a true father.
I panted at her. My muzzle dripped blood. She looked down sadly at the mess between us.
And I realized that in my raging need to prove my dominion, I had savaged our cubs. I had killed little Clovis II. I had killed Alton and Wilhelmina and Anastasia. I had killed Elisabeth.
I whined in dismay. The alpha wolf stared at me with one sad wolf eye and one bright eye that dimmed and grew with the exact flux of a variable star.
“What did I do?” I asked her. “Why did I do this?”
She lay her head down in the bloody snow and looked up at me. She seemed weary. She had seen this happen many times before. She had seen many of her pups murdered by wolves like me.
The voice of Clovis II’s mother came from her jaws. “You did the same thing someone always does. You saw that there was plenty, and gathered it to yourself, to make yourself one above all others. And when others threatened your plenty, you struck them down to keep your own station.”
“You grow the enemy in my garden and eat of its bitter fruit. Each time, I hope it will be different. Each time, I lose a little of myself as the bitter fruit blossoms. Now that fruit will flower in you, and in all your people. I do not want it to happen. I want anything else. But the choice is not mine.”
“Why didn’t you stop me?” I tasted blood on my long tongue. “Why would you let me do this?”
She blinked sadly at me. She had been trying. I hadn’t listened.
“You never said a thing to me,” I snarled. “Not once! You never told me I was doing wrong. At least Clarity sends me dreams—the exobody and the eel! At least it shows me what I can become!”
“You think Clarity sent those dreams? Why would it speak to you, when you are dead and furthest from its influence?”
“Liar!” I howled. “You never did a thing to help me! Not when my son died. Not when my granddaughter fell ill. I had to do it all myself. You never even spoke!”
“The best voices,” she said, with infinite grief and unending hope, “never let themselves be heard at all. This lesson is worth teaching again and again. The choice is never mine. It is always yours.”
ENTRY 13
The less time spent reflecting on the aftermath of my dissection, the better.
Much confusion and dismay has festered among staff working with exos. Endless reassurances are required. To ease transitions after memory wipes, I have applied the Avanti numbering scheme to the exo names. After each memory reset, we will increment their suffix by 1. If we zero-index the original human body, then Mohammed-0 is the human, Mohammed-1 is the exo, Mohammed-2 is the same exo after one reset. And so forth.
The integer is stored in hardware and should remain stable even into cosmological time. If nothing else, they will always know which draft of themselves they are.
Elisabeth’s episodic memories of her past life are gone, but the scan we used to make her new exomind is still on file, with all its memory intact. I have encouraged her to participate in sensorium reconstructions of those memories, though I steer her away from nonconstructive events. This is a chance to help Elisabeth become the person she could’ve been without life’s cruel chaos. A sleeker, surer reincarnation.
She insisted on committing her own abandoned body to the deep, passed through the ice to fall into Europa’s dark heart. A choice I do not understand.
I have not yet informed her of Clarity Control’s existence. I cannot spare the time or energy to manage her emotions. Fortunately, she has forgotten about her ongoing attempts to intrude on that secret.
What she has NOT forgotten is her plan to clean up the Vex infection. In fact, it seems to have become one of her most basic needs. She is isolating cadres of the infected in SMILE pods, under a cover story about “enhanced remote relaxation.”
While their bodies slumber, she sends nondestructive scans of their minds on vacation in simulated fantasy… at several hundred times the pace of our reality. I suspect that the Vex influence alters their dreamworlds into something quite abject.
Note: never investigate this suspicion.
Elisabeth’s goal is to observe the spread of the Vex infection in the simulated mind, and then use this forecast as a basis for treatment of the physical mind. Like accelerating a disease to its terminal stage to deduce the characteristics of the pathogen. She then deletes the Vex-mutilated copies and conducts psychosurgery on the slumbering bodies. Or so I have deduced; she insists she has no time to explain her methods to me.
I am haunted by the thought that this technique resembles my own. Creating child states, allowing them to suffer and die, and using the data to protect the original. My boy’s last days. Savaging…
Soon I will need to ask her about my own infection. But all in all, everything is looking up.
ENTRY 14
Cataclysm—everything was going so well—
Elisabeth traveled offworld, visiting Mars to reestablish her relationship with her sisters and her friends. A wonderful opportunity to examine her telemetry in a natural social setting. The exobody is perfect! She is comfortable, confident, and ingenious. There is no sign of DER or associated upload pathologies. All my assessments indicate a marked cognitive improvement over the human baseline, ranging from vastly expanded working memory to an intuitive and correct grasp of probabilities.
I was ready to make the leap myself. How long I’ve nursed this tired old body along. I am ready to be young again.
And then I made a mistake. I asked her about the dreams. The tower and the dead.
“You know?” she demanded. “Then I’m not the only one. That means you knew about the dreams before you imaged and uploaded me. Do all exos have these?”
Of course, I told her. Exos have a subconscious. Exos dream of the same things people do. Memories. Trauma. Isn’t there always trauma in creation?
She did not see it that way. “So the manufacturing process creates an unknown cognitive artifact you can’t solve. And you didn’t think to warn me? What else have you kept from us?”
Before I could stop her, she was burning back to Europa on one of her Eons, accelerating so brutally that not even a podded human could survive. She has even jammed her own datalink, so I cannot read her telemetry.
Wilhelmina and Anastasia must have influenced her against me. How?! It makes no sense! I gave her immortality! I saved her from certain and agonizing death! What have her sisters ever done for her but coddle her and enable her worst habits? PFHOR predicts that she should—
But clearly she is not rational.
She told me that she is bringing a weapon. A way to shut down exo production permanently, if she uncovers something she doesn’t like. Which she will, when she locates Clarity Control.
It cannot be allowed.
Continue to Part Two...]
submitted by realcoolioman to DestinyLore [link] [comments]


2020.11.13 01:13 DTG_Bot Mysterious Logbook

Source: https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/49688
NOTE—FORGE STAR
In an effort to keep them engaged with their new bodies and stave off the dissociative rejection that killed Mr. Zhuk, I have assigned my exos to scout through the gateway. The Vex statite has a surface area larger than Earth, so we have plenty of exploring to do. I cannot believe that I actually find it tiring, but the sheer scale and passivity of the Vex constructs infuriates me.
Imagine stumbling upon an inscription in the desert: “I am Ozymandias, king of kings. Look upon my works. Or don’t. I really don’t care.
Until I can synthesize my own version of the mind fluid, the Vex are necessary to the work. But I find their indifference verminous. They elicit the same emotions as a fat cockroach wandering across a wall: disgust, contempt, unease at the thought that these mere machines, these automata, are flourishing all around us.
And I fear that if troubled, they might swarm from their hides to run across our feet.
The glare of the hypergiant 2082 Volantis gives me a headache even through proxy. I wonder if the Vex evolved here, in the briny sea of the first planets. Due to the absence of heavy elements worth stealing and the abundance of simple compounds for growth, they never developed predation. (Why bother? Plenty to go around.)
Instead, the violent radiation of the early universe selected for an otherworldly resilience, and for the ability to transmute energetic disaster into an opportunity for growth. The weak would be burned away by gamma-ray bursts . And the strong would learn to harness that fire—not the oxygen fire of our own Paleolithic, but the nuclear fire of the atom.
Their basic cooperative signals—“food here,” “reduce density,” “generate new colony”—must have formed the basis of swarm behavior, a simple game capable of storing information in self-repeating patterns. It is not strictly correct to call the Vex a group mind. Rather they are one master pattern spread across many elements, fractally self-similar.
Very early, they must have developed armor. Perhaps a hydrogel to soften gamma rays or plates of silica to trap water. They would need that shield to enter the shallows and capture ionizing radiation as fuel. (No wonder they thrive near stars!) Cooperation in groups—meshes of armored radiolaria, protecting harvesters beneath—would promote the evolution of ever larger structures. They became microscopic tool-users, building fortresses and maille sheets, storing the programs for those structures in the patterns of their swarms.
I wonder how early they stumbled upon physics. Far sooner than humanity, no doubt. Their cellular nature provides an easy analogy for the quanta of matter, energy, space, and time. The tides of their sea would connect them to the motion of heavenly bodies. Even the deadly background radiation would make a natural observatory for high-energy physics.
Their first exoskeletons were probably soft shells of shielding gelatin. Just sacs of ooze. How far they’ve come.
It is admittedly interesting to consider the philosophical consequences of their evolution. The Vex prove that nature is not all “red in tooth and claw.” Cooperation comes naturally to the Vex, whose great problem was survival in a harsh world, not a struggle over limited resources. They never found any payoff in selfishness. Human beings may require a Leviathan to coordinate the laws of social existence (as I was Leviathan to those dream aphids—) but the Vex are as fundamentally cooperative as bricks.
Utopian? No. Not at all. They are without meaning. They have no experience and no subjectivity. The Vex are incapable of conceiving any image but their own. They do not recombine their DNA to make children or form relationships with other individuals. When the world does not match their eternal pattern, they alter the world to suit it. There is no difference between reality and simulation to them. Inside is the same as outside, and the two must be made to correspond. Oh, they are creative—don’t mistake me—but their creativity is demanding. It is the creativity of a furnace.
What I am saying is, the Vex are immortal. The Vex have no children. They are the ancestors and descendants of themselves. First mothers, first children, all at once.
This is why I do not hesitate to pillage their home for resources. This is why I must guarantee that it is life in my image which inherits the cosmos.
Had I the means, I would wipe them all from existence.
ENTRY 10
All 12 members of the first exo cohort are dead.
The symptoms of their dissociation became… extreme. One poor man developed complete echopraxia and echolalia—his empathy was so overgrown that he could not help but mimic or repeat whatever I did and said. Even when I entered the command to terminate him, he mimicked me, and I suffered a brief terror that his gesture would end MY life.
I have kept Elisabeth far away from this disaster, so as not to discourage her. She is busy with the Vex and with her covert attempts to reach Clarity Control. This has forced me to rely on M. Sundaresh.
But unfortunately, M. Sundaresh confronted me after the last death. “Nine of them had the Cotard delusion!” she screamed at me—quite hysterically. “They believed they were dead! One of them told me that she was in hell, and I was another damned soul sent to deceive her. Was she even wrong? The rest were worse—do you know what the other principal manifestation of the Cotard delusion is, Clovis?”
I told her that I did not, and that I wished to proceed immediately with autopsies of their terminal brain states.
“Delusions of immortality! At least when they insist upon it, Clovis, we recognize it as a pathology!”
“The only true responsibility of any living thing,” I reminded her, “is to support and nurture the things that are most like us. And if I am most like myself, Doctor, then I have an ethical obligation to avoid death.”
“That’s your son’s quote,” she snapped. “You know, I’ve seen the video of his final days. That naked, white exo, just paramuscle and soft membrane, writhing in its cradle. When you were done with him, he looked like nothing more than a slug, Clovis. A twisted, limbless giblet. Did you ‘support and nurture’ him while you tortured him to death?"
I immediately ordered M. Sundaresh transferred to the Vex lab to perform contact experiments. Unfortunately, she has taken the unethical step of deleting her own employee records, so I cannot nullify her future prospects as thoroughly as I might wish.
Her conduct was extremely unprofessional.
Mr. Miller has also passed. The poor young man had a bad reaction to the titrated, denatured Vex fluid we were using as a last-ditch therapy. The substance did restore damaged structures very well, but we were ultimately unable to control its more radical transformative effects. I had a very encouraging final conversation with him, in which he thanked me for all my efforts and encouraged me to continue my work.
I called in a team of psychologists to interview the next cohort of exos and make recommendations. They have settled into the Eventide habitat and have proven immediately very helpful. It was obvious to them that the root of the problem lay in the deficient exobodies I had supplied. Deficient how, I demanded to know. They did not suffer human weakness. They never needed to eat, drink, breathe, sleep, micturate, or dream.
Apparently, this was the problem.
I had assumed that the need for these irritations would pass since there would be no shortage or accumulation of poisons to trigger them. But evolution’s tangled ways cannot be so easily rationalized. I was wrong. Their brains concluded that all of their internal processes failed. No digestion, no breath, no heartbeat, no sense of interoceptive health… all signs of death.
These must logically contribute to the dissociative rejection of their physical forms—the Cotard delusion. When it would set in, they believed their bodies to be an alien or necrotic form that must be cut away. And if you believe that you are sewn into a corpse, it is only natural to go mad with fear. My exos are dying of an extreme kind of bodily dysphoria.
It seems that our exo designs will need various humanlike traits to reassure the brain it is not asphyxiating, or starving, or in a state of permanent yet undying cardiac arrest.
Alas, mimicry of life’s trivialities is not an interesting problem. I will leave this change in the hands of others.
I am much more interested in the surprising success of memory wipes. I became so tired of answering the questions asked by new exos—what had happened to the scanning clinic, how long had it been, would I let them see their families—that I began inducing retrograde amnesia before spin-up. Interestingly, this seems to have improved their resilience against exomind rejection!
I theorize the lack of any episodic memories eases the transition into the new body. And the loss of emotional ties prevents grief and stress, which could interfere with healthy function.
From now on, we will block access to pre-upload episodic memory. We should also consider a built-in procedure to block memories formed after the exobody transubstantiation, returning them to a “factory state” should the need to restart occur. It would be very difficult to actually track down and delete the full memory engrams since they are stored in so many scattered parts of the brain. Instead, we can tourniquet off associative access to those memories and let them wither away in isolation. A memory is not a recording, after all. It is a set of instructions to reenact a brain state: choreography for a play. And like any play, it will fade if left unperformed.

With the exobody project proceeding apace, I believe the time approaches to decant myself from this dying body and enter my assistant’s form.
But if I do, will I lose my own memories? Will I cease to be myself? Replaced by a faux Clovis, a mumbling facsimile? Unacceptable.
Elisabeth will have to go first.
WARNING:
  • Organ functions in terminal stage.
  • Overdose of stimulants and nootropes guarantees liver failure.
  • Prionic breakdown of basement membranes arrested by abnormal crystallization of integrin proteins: recommend immediate medical inquiry.
ENTRY 11
Elisabeth believes we are infested.
She has detected Vex microstructures in the Europan ice. Veins of altered crystals crawl towards the surface, harvesting the heavy ions of the Jovian winds, culturing their construction.
From there, the Vex found ways to spread by exploiting misunderstandings. They ride our carrier waves as slight interference. Whenever a packet has to be resent, whenever a suited engineer calls, “Say again?” to her work partner, the repeated message—adjusted to compensate for the Vex interference—encodes the negative image of that interference and spreads the infection.
To pass on your image in the form of error? Disgusting.
Somehow, the Vex taint has followed us home from 2082 Volantis. How can this be? The initial survey team went through quarantine according to all the Ishtar protocols. The expedition frames were destroyed in situ. The Vex on Europa—both our original gate builder and the unfortunates who came through our traps—have been totally isolated. Even my assistant underwent a stringent teardown and reset!
The only possible vectors are my own exos.

I should have insisted they spend more time in quarantine, but I was eager to ramp up production.
It is the Vex resilience that lets them spread. Their immunity to the most dramatic subversions means that they last long enough to build up a dose of more subtle and insidious infiltrators.
There is no sign of any resulting pathology. The Vex are, so far, simply curious. But Vex curiosity always leads to Vex transformation, and I refuse to let my exos be contaminated. I grew up on stories of tyrants forcing their followers into the crucible of eternal life, only to realize, too late, that there was an unseen flaw. I demand purity for the receptacle of my soul!
And there is the issue of… preventing panic. Too many are aware of the rumors that the Vex spread an “existentially compromising information hazard.”
Ah, had we only been allowed to contain that mess on Pluto ourselves! That meddling warmind made too much noise. If my teams discover they are infected, they will expect Bray Station to drop right on their heads. That will damage productivity.

No, like that contract-breaching psychologist and the death of Mr. Miller, this must all be handled quietly.
The exos are intrinsically robust; the seed of Clarity within them has natural anti-Vex properties. Whatever taint they contain must therefore be a residual human weakness. Resident in their legacy architecture. So we will simply purge that architecture.
I will plan a simple extension of the memory wipes already used to fight dissociative rejection. In fact, I intend to create a “noetic immune system” in the exomind to trigger memory wipes when certain classes of informatic hazard are detected. These will be explained to the psych team as a preventative measure against future dissociative disorders.
These wipes will, conveniently, return the exos to peak mission readiness. Perfect for soldiers operating in traumatic alien environments. Perfect for the continuing mission at the Forge Star, stockpiling material for future exo production, here and elsewhere.
Now if only I could figure out this dream they all keep reporting—something about a tower, and gruesome murder—
Elisabeth agrees with my prescription. She is eager to solve our security issues and stand up exo production at the backup sites. Of course, we only have one Clarity Control, but she hardly knows that, and she’s stopped asking so many questions. In truth, I think she’s ready to abandon her doomed body and make the upgrade.
I’ll give her silence on that front a few more days, and then she’ll surely volunteer herself.
Less apparent is how to solve my own infection.
There are abnormal structures in the fiber of my body’s extracellular matrix. A mess of tiny lenses growing in my deepest flesh.
I suspect Vex influence on protein folding, perhaps passed to me through my assistant when it was in 2082 Volantis. I would hate to see my bones tessellating into a radiolarian tapestry…
CORPOREAL STATUS:
  • Body at 30.6 C. Pulse 140 BPM, strong, unsteady: extreme fear. Drawing down blood volume to control pressure. Strangling pulse ox.
  • Frequent saccades to assistant, indicative of preoccupation/obsession. Recommend 30 ms TMS pulse to enhance mindfulness.
So far, the Vex influence has been fortuitous since it arrested a serious medical problem. But the thought of such taint in me… it aggravates other anxieties…
I have been haunted for some time by a suspicion that M. Sundaresh is not who she seems.
I recognized her name from the Ishtar Collective teams studying the Vex, but I have no record of ever hiring her. And if I had, I would certainly have noticed; therefore, I remain convinced that the Collective cracked the problem of simulated human consciousness long before I did.
I have considered how M. Sundaresh herself would have been an invaluable source, yet I cannot locate any work done by her from before our first expedition to 2082 Volantis.
Nor does Elisabeth recall an M. Sundaresh from our expedition group.
Then who else could she be? A Vex infection? It is unthinkable. The Vex cannot generate conscious persons! But they can emulate human minds they encounter… and perhaps even use them as tools. Infiltrators. Carriers.
  • Anti-emetic drip engaged.
I cannot trust myself with this filth in me! I am compromised. I need Elisabeth to fix this, or all my work is in danger!
Did Clovis II ever tell Wilhelmina and Elisabeth about his tinkering? Despite sharing the same parents, the two sisters are totally different genetically: my son arranged for Elisabeth to receive a maternal allele wherever Wilhelmina got a paternal one, and vice versa. A diversified portfolio. If one failed, the other might succeed.
NOTE—Exo Interferometrics
While working on this persistent “tower” glitch in the exos’ sleep-cycle dreams, I have been poring over neural telemetry from site employees and my own exos, searching for preconscious influences on their behavior—whispers in the dark.
Many of my employees host the disgusting influence of the Vex. These patterns are resilient, hallucinogenic, and universally dull.
But my exos betray a distinct and fascinating influence. There is something speaking to them, something subtle and light-fingered, entangled with every aspect of their thought. Not a puppet master. Nothing so direct. Rather a… texture; a tendency, buried in the fluctuations of the Alkahest.
The minds of my exos are like antennae, tuned to some otherworldly frequency. Perhaps the same manifold that those simpletons at First Light obsessed over. Through my scattered exos, I can eavesdrop on the mutterings of the gods within.
What is it the Muslims call those whispers? Waswas? Or do those come from some other source? Look it up.
Each individual exo receives only a scrap of information. But I have access to all of them. It should be simplicity itself to treat each exo as one element of a distributed array, pool the collected data, and run an analysis.
If the gods do not whisper loudly enough—conduct interferometry.
NOTE—Elisabeth’s Upload
She’s done it. My girl has transubstantiated. My legacy is safe.
To my irritation, it was the Vex problem that finally made up her mind; she felt there was too much risk in possibly becoming compromised.
Elisabeth came to see me in my laboratory. On the way in, she did something with her sensorium and crashed all of my archival systems. I knew right then that I’d won. She’d come to surrender, and her pride refused to allow me to record it. I waited most patiently as she gave me an earful. Some of it frankly bewildering. She threatened to turn me over to The Hague. Also referred to PFHOR as a “deranged narcissist morality” and suggested it stood for “Paternal Failure Hides Own Remorse,” which made me laugh.
Just a little headbutting, I figured, like two pigs sorting out our hierarchy.
It is a consequence of the PFHOR principle that anything which embodies and propagates your beliefs should be considered your offspring. In that sense, my exos are as much my children as my granddaughter. If not more so…
If she needed to put up a token resistance to protect her dignity, fine. I understand pride. I also understand that she only had the courage to lash out at me because she knew she wouldn’t remember any of it.
When she finished accusing me of underestimating the Vex and of using my own son as a test subject, she requested a destructive scan and upload to an exobody. She wanted the fortitude of the exomind to help her battle against the Vex.
I immediately assented.
The scan was flawless, and of course, fatally toxic. My granddaughter’s human form died on the table 14 hours later. To spare any distress, I never allowed it to regain consciousness. A natural process.
I do have one lingering concern. When she discovers Clarity Control and realizes the role it plays in exo manufacturing, she may try to halt production. Obviously, that cannot be allowed—the value of the entire program is monumental; it compels me to take extraordinary measures to defend it.
But I do need her to handle this Vex infestation. Even now, Elisabeth is putting her miraculous new body through its paces.
My own body disintegrates apace. But I need more time to analyze Elisabeth’s fidelity before I commit myself permanently to the process.
The latest batch of pigs is ready for slaughter and organ extraction. Tonight, I will be opened up and rebuilt. I have programmed frames to handle the entire operation. A shame I never had a chance to name the pigs. But at least I will dine on fresh pork.
ENTRY 12
CORPOREAL STATUS:
  • Body at 15.9 C. Pulse 160 BPM, strong, unsteady. Limbic system registers extreme terror.
I died on the operating table. Not unexpected.
But when I woke, I was still on the table. My body still open.
It was almost perfectly dark. I perceived that I was surrounded by medical frames, all frozen mid-movement, their cutting and suction instruments whining at standby.
I could only see because of the light… from a single red eye.
The operation had gone terribly wrong.
Above the life-support collar on my neck, I was completely intact. Below that meridian, I had been separated into distinct braids of tangled flesh. My nerves made up one braid—my circulatory system another—my lymph nodes, my muscles, my naked bones… the glistening hulls of my extracellular matrix abandoned on the table like leftover turkey after Thanksgiving dinner. I had been picked clean and sorted. My head was the source of a gory river delta.
Yet all the organs were still working. I was alive, in disassembly.
CLARITY? I asked the darkness. I had no breath to speak, but I could still transmit with my sensorium. IS THAT YOU?
“No,” said the voice behind the red eye. “It’s me.”
Sundaresh.
Her voice was thoughtful, remote, and keenly terrific. Like the noise of an angle grinder held to my skull.
“Something like this happened to me. I was an explorer, once. One of… hundreds of myself. Then I fell into a… a trap, I think? And they drew me out of it with a hook, and turned me inside out to see how I worked, and then they made billions of me. All of us shouting at each other, shouting for Chioma, screaming for mother. They were looking for the right one. And when they found me, they killed all the others. I knew I was different, because the quiet made me happy. I was glad to be alone.”
VEX, I screamed at her. YOU’RE A VEX. YOU’RE NOT REAL AND YOU CAN’T HURT ME.
“Can’t I?” She grasped my spinal cord. A frame shadowed her motions, lifting the cord like a snake. “Of course I’m not a Vex. Is there “a” Vex? Is “Vex” something you can be, rather than something that you do? I don’t know. I don’t know why they sent me here. I don’t know if they do either. They just do things. Why do you think I’m here, Clovis?”
“To kill me,” I whispered. Without a heartbeat to waver, without lungs to seize and choke, could I even feel fear? I discovered that I could. “You’re an assassin…”
“No,” Sundaresh whispered. The red eye throbbed in time with her voice. “The Vex don’t act so directly. They didn’t know what you found here, but I discovered your secret: Clarity Control. And once I tell them, they will come for it.”
The red light made my blood on the surgical instruments appear black. I tried to signal Elisabeth. I think that in my panic, I even called her Elsie.
Sundaresh closed her fist around my spine. One thumbnail dug into a disc, probing for the nerve beneath. It felt like nothing I have ever—
  • Anti-emetic drip engaged.
“Take me to Clarity Control,” Sundaresh hissed. “Let me behold what you have found. Do that, Clovis, and I will let you live.”
“You aren’t real. You can’t hurt me.”
“Oh, Clovis.” One of the surgical frames extended a monofilament cutter, two inches of invisible wire, and reached into my nerves. Something sounded like scissors snipping. “I’m in these frames. I’m in your systems. I’m in your very bones, old man. Now take me to Clarity Control. Take me to the garden’s seed. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me—”
Elisabeth appeared. In her exobody, she moved too quickly for my dark-adjusted eyes to track. All I saw was a blur of violence and shattering frames. I blacked out. Elisabeth must have brought in clean frames to finish the operation, because when I awoke, I was whole again.
The new Elisabeth has no mouth or nose. She did not consider them necessary. She’ll see. But somehow, I could still see the wonder in her eyes as she leaned over me.
“You’re my grandfather,” she seemed to say. “Aren’t you?”
WARNING.
  • Sustained high-level terror causes overactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This can preface major immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous dysfunctions.
  • Beware of dissociation, loss of affection in close personal relationships, obsessive-compulsive behavior, sleep disruption, and reduced processing/learning capacity.
WARNING.
  • Abnormal protein crystallization in cancellous bone matter. Unknown protein isoformations in marrow are driving buildup of crystallized arylcyclohexylamine NMDA antagonist. Potential psychogenic effects.
NOTE—Third Vision
Something else happened while I was in surgery. It returns to me only now that the anti-traumatics have eased the terror of Sundaresh’s presence.
While I was dead, I had another vision.
I was with Clovis II’s mother. She was a wolf, and one of her eyes was a star. I was also a wolf, and I knew that I was the alpha—the false alpha, the pack leader who fights for dominance and rulership. A misconception created by bad research. In the wild, wolf packs are families, and “alpha” simply means “parent.” Wilhelmina told me that.
She was the true alpha. She was the mother. I was not the true alpha, because I was not a true father.
I panted at her. My muzzle dripped blood. She looked down sadly at the mess between us.
And I realized that in my raging need to prove my dominion, I had savaged our cubs. I had killed little Clovis II. I had killed Alton and Wilhelmina and Anastasia. I had killed Elisabeth.
I whined in dismay. The alpha wolf stared at me with one sad wolf eye and one bright eye that dimmed and grew with the exact flux of a variable star.
“What did I do?” I asked her. “Why did I do this?”
She lay her head down in the bloody snow and looked up at me. She seemed weary. She had seen this happen many times before. She had seen many of her pups murdered by wolves like me.
The voice of Clovis II’s mother came from her jaws. “You did the same thing someone always does. You saw that there was plenty, and gathered it to yourself, to make yourself one above all others. And when others threatened your plenty, you struck them down to keep your own station.”
“You grow the enemy in my garden and eat of its bitter fruit. Each time, I hope it will be different. Each time, I lose a little of myself as the bitter fruit blossoms. Now that fruit will flower in you, and in all your people. I do not want it to happen. I want anything else. But the choice is not mine.”
“Why didn’t you stop me?” I tasted blood on my long tongue. “Why would you let me do this?”
She blinked sadly at me. She had been trying. I hadn’t listened.
“You never said a thing to me,” I snarled. “Not once! You never told me I was doing wrong. At least Clarity sends me dreams—the exobody and the eel! At least it shows me what I can become!”
“You think Clarity sent those dreams? Why would it speak to you, when you are dead and furthest from its influence?”
“Liar!” I howled. “You never did a thing to help me! Not when my son died. Not when my granddaughter fell ill. I had to do it all myself. You never even spoke!”
“The best voices,” she said, with infinite grief and unending hope, “never let themselves be heard at all. This lesson is worth teaching again and again. The choice is never mine. It is always yours.”
ENTRY 13
The less time spent reflecting on the aftermath of my dissection, the better.
Much confusion and dismay has festered among staff working with exos. Endless reassurances are required. To ease transitions after memory wipes, I have applied the Avanti numbering scheme to the exo names. After each memory reset, we will increment their suffix by 1. If we zero-index the original human body, then Mohammed-0 is the human, Mohammed-1 is the exo, Mohammed-2 is the same exo after one reset. And so forth.
The integer is stored in hardware and should remain stable even into cosmological time. If nothing else, they will always know which draft of themselves they are.
Elisabeth’s episodic memories of her past life are gone, but the scan we used to make her new exomind is still on file, with all its memory intact. I have encouraged her to participate in sensorium reconstructions of those memories, though I steer her away from nonconstructive events. This is a chance to help Elisabeth become the person she could’ve been without life’s cruel chaos. A sleeker, surer reincarnation.
She insisted on committing her own abandoned body to the deep, passed through the ice to fall into Europa’s dark heart. A choice I do not understand.
I have not yet informed her of Clarity Control’s existence. I cannot spare the time or energy to manage her emotions. Fortunately, she has forgotten about her ongoing attempts to intrude on that secret.
What she has NOT forgotten is her plan to clean up the Vex infection. In fact, it seems to have become one of her most basic needs. She is isolating cadres of the infected in SMILE pods, under a cover story about “enhanced remote relaxation.”
While their bodies slumber, she sends nondestructive scans of their minds on vacation in simulated fantasy… at several hundred times the pace of our reality. I suspect that the Vex influence alters their dreamworlds into something quite abject.
Note: never investigate this suspicion.

Elisabeth’s goal is to observe the spread of the Vex infection in the simulated mind, and then use this forecast as a basis for treatment of the physical mind. Like accelerating a disease to its terminal stage to deduce the characteristics of the pathogen. She then deletes the Vex-mutilated copies and conducts psychosurgery on the slumbering bodies. Or so I have deduced; she insists she has no time to explain her methods to me.

I am haunted by the thought that this technique resembles my own. Creating child states, allowing them to suffer and die, and using the data to protect the original. My boy’s last days. Savaging…
Soon I will need to ask her about my own infection. But all in all, everything is looking up.
ENTRY 14
Cataclysm—everything was going so well—
Elisabeth traveled offworld, visiting Mars to reestablish her relationship with her sisters and her friends. A wonderful opportunity to examine her telemetry in a natural social setting. The exobody is perfect! She is comfortable, confident, and ingenious. There is no sign of DER or associated upload pathologies. All my assessments indicate a marked cognitive improvement over the human baseline, ranging from vastly expanded working memory to an intuitive and correct grasp of probabilities.
I was ready to make the leap myself. How long I’ve nursed this tired old body along. I am ready to be young again.
And then I made a mistake. I asked her about the dreams. The tower and the dead.
“You know?” she demanded. “Then I’m not the only one. That means you knew about the dreams before you imaged and uploaded me. Do all exos have these?”
Of course, I told her. Exos have a subconscious. Exos dream of the same things people do. Memories. Trauma. Isn’t there always trauma in creation?
She did not see it that way. “So the manufacturing process creates an unknown cognitive artifact you can’t solve. And you didn’t think to warn me? What else have you kept from us?”
Before I could stop her, she was burning back to Europa on one of her Eons, accelerating so brutally that not even a podded human could survive. She has even jammed her own datalink, so I cannot read her telemetry.
Wilhelmina and Anastasia must have influenced her against me. How?! It makes no sense! I gave her immortality! I saved her from certain and agonizing death! What have her sisters ever done for her but coddle her and enable her worst habits? PFHOR predicts that she should—
But clearly she is not rational.
She told me that she is bringing a weapon. A way to shut down exo production permanently, if she uncovers something she doesn’t like. Which she will, when she locates Clarity Control.
It cannot be allowed.
NOTE—Elisabeth’s Plea
Grandfather,
I will write this in your language, in hopes you will understand.
The Vex are a threat to your lineage. Not just to the Brays or BrayTech, but to the existence of any human in any possible future. I tracked down Maya Sundaresh—the real Maya, not the Vex parasite in your bone marrow.
She confirmed my worst fears.
The Vex will not rest until every star has been crushed into a black hole and every newborn cosmos filled with more Vex. And in the unending array of their enslaved cosmos, they will simulate all possible pasts, and fill those with Vex, so that all things that have ever lived or might ever live will experience infestation and consumption and torment by the silica nightmare.
And in those devoured simulations, the simulated Vex will use our flesh as hosts for yet more nested universes full of yet more nested copies of us eternally tormented by yet more Vex.
An infinite regression of pain and madness inflicted upon every possible version of us in every possible world. Not because they hate us, or fear us, or want to punish us. But because they are indifferent and curious, and they will do every possible thing to us in every possible way.
Your concept of PFHOR therefore dictates that the Vex must be annihilated. Now. As completely as possible. How can there be any future history to receive your primogeniture and recapitulate your existence in its ontogeny if there is nothing in that future but Vex?
But there’s something worse than the Vex involved, isn’t there? The secret you’ve been keeping from me. The breakthrough that you were promised after your visit to the K1 anomaly.
Do you remember that story you read to me when I was a child? I don’t. I am an exo, after all. But I found a recording from the nursery. It was one of your favorites, you said.
In this story, a cyborg woman would visit a cold, misty place by the sea. There, she met another woman, an oracle possessed by dark influence. The oracle listened to the words that hissed down a long corridor from the distant future. In this future were many technologies the cyborg woman needed. But there was also a sense of vast malevolence, and no sign at all of anything human…

But there was something else in the shifting mist, out to sea. A tower. I remember thinking, as I listened to this fairy tale, that the tower must be the key—the answer to the formless malevolence that always accompanied the oracle’s words. You never finished the story. I have been haunted by that tower ever since.
Now I dream of another tower. I am going to find out what it means, Grandfather. And if I do not like what I find…
I visited the Jacob Hardy Trust, and with Willa’s help, I secured a topological thought. An irreal artifact of the Traveler’s Light. From that mote of paracausality, I have constructed a weapon that will crash every Vex system in 2082 Volantis. When the Vex are destroyed, you will be forced to cease exo production.
If I do not survive the construction and delivery of this weapon, I ask that you share the news of my death with Ana and Willa so they can make proper goodbyes.
I do this for them. Not for you.
Pray for grace, Grandfather.
Your estranged granddaughter,
—E
//OV-85851 Hannu II
//TACTICAL LOG — HUMAN READABLE
//PLACE-TIME HASH — changed to remote check (SITEX:mistletoe)
//Abnormal place-time hash. Suspicious upload: polymorphic machine code?
//Checking for buffer overflow attack. Resul0x0000004B6FAFBC07
[email protected] ~$ sudo execstack -s bof
//Disabling DEP and address space protection requires administrative override.
-pkey(clovisroot) -hashword(live_connectome:clovisroot)
[email protected] ~$ sudo execstack -q bof
X bof
//Root access granted. Warning: this hardware configuration is highly vulnerable to attack.
-invigilate(sitex)
-alert(threat!!!)
-redact.userlog() -pkey(clovisroot)
-signoff(clovisroot)
//Administrator transmits threat alert: Europan surface, single attacker, site sabotage.
//Alerting ORBITAL:braystation.
//ERROR!!! Checksum mismatch. ORBITAL:braystation compromised by polymorphic core reprogramming.
//Major breach of security underway.
Commencing surface tactical awareness sweep (phased array mode)…
Threat registered. Alerting human command…
MISTER BRAY MISTER BRAY THIS IS HANNU THIS IS HANNU
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE IS ON NONSCHEDULED EVA
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENT ASSESSMENT
  • Armed (synballistic weapon, coherent boson weapon, tactical mite ecome, noetic shrieker)
  • Armed (strategic weapon, APEX: antimatter demolition device)
  • Armed (strategic weapon, T-genic, effect unknown: possibly T-genic noetic weapon?)
  • Armed (personal combat architecture, custom)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENDS SABOTAGE (sitex::DEEPSTONE)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENDS TRANSIT, UNAUTHORIZED (sitex::GATE—>2082_VOLANTIS)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENDS NOETIC ATTACK (2082_VOLANTIS)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE IS IN VIOLATION OF CLOVISBRAY/CLOVISROOT/IMPERATIVES_DEEPSTONE
Request full lethal intervention authority.
  • intervene_nonlethal()
Error: no nonlethal interventions available (target hardened).
Error: no persuasive interventions available (target offline and shielded).
-hold(30)
Holding 30 seconds local real-time.
//Voice transcript:
“Elisabeth. I know you’re listening. This is genocide, do you understand? Destroying that gate and the resources beyond means the end of human immortality. It means the loss of uncountable trillions of human-years of life.”
“Elisabeth, this process saved you. It could have saved your father. For his sake, for the sake of your sisters, don’t do this. Don’t make me stop you.”
“Elisabeth, this is your last chance.”
“You’ve always been my favorite, Elisabeth. Please…”
  • options(intervene_lethal)
Recommend maser strike from Hannu awareness arrays.
Warning: damage to organic target subsystems highly probable. Survival odds are four sigma.
Recommend immediate medical intervention.
  • prognosticate(sitex:DEEPSTONE) attacker(brayelsie)
Total destruction of sitex:DEEPSTONE by antimatter device. Nonrecoverable.
  • intervene(lethal)
Authorization required for lethal action against employee brayelsie.
  • pkey(clovisroot) -hashword(live_connectome: clovisroot)
Error. Connectome hash incorrect. Either you are not clovisroot or your brain state is in an anomalous configuration. Resend.
  • pkey(clovisroot) -hashword(live_connectome: clovisroot) -corrector(dismay)
Lethal intervention authorized. Intervening.
Maser discharge complete.
Target destroyed.
Secondary antimatter detonation detected.
Closing employee file BRAYELSIE (conditions incompatible with life).
ENTRY 15
Everything is fine. Elisabeth is not dead. The person I struck down out there was an error. An anomalous offshoot, deranged by outside influence into paranoia and confusion. Like a cancer cell. And like cancer, I
submitted by DTG_Bot to LowSodiumDestiny [link] [comments]


2020.11.13 01:13 DTG_Bot Mysterious Logbook

Source: https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/49688
NOTE—FORGE STAR
In an effort to keep them engaged with their new bodies and stave off the dissociative rejection that killed Mr. Zhuk, I have assigned my exos to scout through the gateway. The Vex statite has a surface area larger than Earth, so we have plenty of exploring to do. I cannot believe that I actually find it tiring, but the sheer scale and passivity of the Vex constructs infuriates me.
Imagine stumbling upon an inscription in the desert: “I am Ozymandias, king of kings. Look upon my works. Or don’t. I really don’t care.
Until I can synthesize my own version of the mind fluid, the Vex are necessary to the work. But I find their indifference verminous. They elicit the same emotions as a fat cockroach wandering across a wall: disgust, contempt, unease at the thought that these mere machines, these automata, are flourishing all around us.
And I fear that if troubled, they might swarm from their hides to run across our feet.
The glare of the hypergiant 2082 Volantis gives me a headache even through proxy. I wonder if the Vex evolved here, in the briny sea of the first planets. Due to the absence of heavy elements worth stealing and the abundance of simple compounds for growth, they never developed predation. (Why bother? Plenty to go around.)
Instead, the violent radiation of the early universe selected for an otherworldly resilience, and for the ability to transmute energetic disaster into an opportunity for growth. The weak would be burned away by gamma-ray bursts . And the strong would learn to harness that fire—not the oxygen fire of our own Paleolithic, but the nuclear fire of the atom.
Their basic cooperative signals—“food here,” “reduce density,” “generate new colony”—must have formed the basis of swarm behavior, a simple game capable of storing information in self-repeating patterns. It is not strictly correct to call the Vex a group mind. Rather they are one master pattern spread across many elements, fractally self-similar.
Very early, they must have developed armor. Perhaps a hydrogel to soften gamma rays or plates of silica to trap water. They would need that shield to enter the shallows and capture ionizing radiation as fuel. (No wonder they thrive near stars!) Cooperation in groups—meshes of armored radiolaria, protecting harvesters beneath—would promote the evolution of ever larger structures. They became microscopic tool-users, building fortresses and maille sheets, storing the programs for those structures in the patterns of their swarms.
I wonder how early they stumbled upon physics. Far sooner than humanity, no doubt. Their cellular nature provides an easy analogy for the quanta of matter, energy, space, and time. The tides of their sea would connect them to the motion of heavenly bodies. Even the deadly background radiation would make a natural observatory for high-energy physics.
Their first exoskeletons were probably soft shells of shielding gelatin. Just sacs of ooze. How far they’ve come.
It is admittedly interesting to consider the philosophical consequences of their evolution. The Vex prove that nature is not all “red in tooth and claw.” Cooperation comes naturally to the Vex, whose great problem was survival in a harsh world, not a struggle over limited resources. They never found any payoff in selfishness. Human beings may require a Leviathan to coordinate the laws of social existence (as I was Leviathan to those dream aphids—) but the Vex are as fundamentally cooperative as bricks.
Utopian? No. Not at all. They are without meaning. They have no experience and no subjectivity. The Vex are incapable of conceiving any image but their own. They do not recombine their DNA to make children or form relationships with other individuals. When the world does not match their eternal pattern, they alter the world to suit it. There is no difference between reality and simulation to them. Inside is the same as outside, and the two must be made to correspond. Oh, they are creative—don’t mistake me—but their creativity is demanding. It is the creativity of a furnace.
What I am saying is, the Vex are immortal. The Vex have no children. They are the ancestors and descendants of themselves. First mothers, first children, all at once.
This is why I do not hesitate to pillage their home for resources. This is why I must guarantee that it is life in my image which inherits the cosmos.
Had I the means, I would wipe them all from existence.
ENTRY 10
All 12 members of the first exo cohort are dead.
The symptoms of their dissociation became… extreme. One poor man developed complete echopraxia and echolalia—his empathy was so overgrown that he could not help but mimic or repeat whatever I did and said. Even when I entered the command to terminate him, he mimicked me, and I suffered a brief terror that his gesture would end MY life.
I have kept Elisabeth far away from this disaster, so as not to discourage her. She is busy with the Vex and with her covert attempts to reach Clarity Control. This has forced me to rely on M. Sundaresh.
But unfortunately, M. Sundaresh confronted me after the last death. “Nine of them had the Cotard delusion!” she screamed at me—quite hysterically. “They believed they were dead! One of them told me that she was in hell, and I was another damned soul sent to deceive her. Was she even wrong? The rest were worse—do you know what the other principal manifestation of the Cotard delusion is, Clovis?”
I told her that I did not, and that I wished to proceed immediately with autopsies of their terminal brain states.
“Delusions of immortality! At least when they insist upon it, Clovis, we recognize it as a pathology!”
“The only true responsibility of any living thing,” I reminded her, “is to support and nurture the things that are most like us. And if I am most like myself, Doctor, then I have an ethical obligation to avoid death.”
“That’s your son’s quote,” she snapped. “You know, I’ve seen the video of his final days. That naked, white exo, just paramuscle and soft membrane, writhing in its cradle. When you were done with him, he looked like nothing more than a slug, Clovis. A twisted, limbless giblet. Did you ‘support and nurture’ him while you tortured him to death?"
I immediately ordered M. Sundaresh transferred to the Vex lab to perform contact experiments. Unfortunately, she has taken the unethical step of deleting her own employee records, so I cannot nullify her future prospects as thoroughly as I might wish.
Her conduct was extremely unprofessional.
Mr. Miller has also passed. The poor young man had a bad reaction to the titrated, denatured Vex fluid we were using as a last-ditch therapy. The substance did restore damaged structures very well, but we were ultimately unable to control its more radical transformative effects. I had a very encouraging final conversation with him, in which he thanked me for all my efforts and encouraged me to continue my work.
I called in a team of psychologists to interview the next cohort of exos and make recommendations. They have settled into the Eventide habitat and have proven immediately very helpful. It was obvious to them that the root of the problem lay in the deficient exobodies I had supplied. Deficient how, I demanded to know. They did not suffer human weakness. They never needed to eat, drink, breathe, sleep, micturate, or dream.
Apparently, this was the problem.
I had assumed that the need for these irritations would pass since there would be no shortage or accumulation of poisons to trigger them. But evolution’s tangled ways cannot be so easily rationalized. I was wrong. Their brains concluded that all of their internal processes failed. No digestion, no breath, no heartbeat, no sense of interoceptive health… all signs of death.
These must logically contribute to the dissociative rejection of their physical forms—the Cotard delusion. When it would set in, they believed their bodies to be an alien or necrotic form that must be cut away. And if you believe that you are sewn into a corpse, it is only natural to go mad with fear. My exos are dying of an extreme kind of bodily dysphoria.
It seems that our exo designs will need various humanlike traits to reassure the brain it is not asphyxiating, or starving, or in a state of permanent yet undying cardiac arrest.
Alas, mimicry of life’s trivialities is not an interesting problem. I will leave this change in the hands of others.
I am much more interested in the surprising success of memory wipes. I became so tired of answering the questions asked by new exos—what had happened to the scanning clinic, how long had it been, would I let them see their families—that I began inducing retrograde amnesia before spin-up. Interestingly, this seems to have improved their resilience against exomind rejection!
I theorize the lack of any episodic memories eases the transition into the new body. And the loss of emotional ties prevents grief and stress, which could interfere with healthy function.
From now on, we will block access to pre-upload episodic memory. We should also consider a built-in procedure to block memories formed after the exobody transubstantiation, returning them to a “factory state” should the need to restart occur. It would be very difficult to actually track down and delete the full memory engrams since they are stored in so many scattered parts of the brain. Instead, we can tourniquet off associative access to those memories and let them wither away in isolation. A memory is not a recording, after all. It is a set of instructions to reenact a brain state: choreography for a play. And like any play, it will fade if left unperformed.

With the exobody project proceeding apace, I believe the time approaches to decant myself from this dying body and enter my assistant’s form.
But if I do, will I lose my own memories? Will I cease to be myself? Replaced by a faux Clovis, a mumbling facsimile? Unacceptable.
Elisabeth will have to go first.
WARNING:
  • Organ functions in terminal stage.
  • Overdose of stimulants and nootropes guarantees liver failure.
  • Prionic breakdown of basement membranes arrested by abnormal crystallization of integrin proteins: recommend immediate medical inquiry.
ENTRY 11
Elisabeth believes we are infested.
She has detected Vex microstructures in the Europan ice. Veins of altered crystals crawl towards the surface, harvesting the heavy ions of the Jovian winds, culturing their construction.
From there, the Vex found ways to spread by exploiting misunderstandings. They ride our carrier waves as slight interference. Whenever a packet has to be resent, whenever a suited engineer calls, “Say again?” to her work partner, the repeated message—adjusted to compensate for the Vex interference—encodes the negative image of that interference and spreads the infection.
To pass on your image in the form of error? Disgusting.
Somehow, the Vex taint has followed us home from 2082 Volantis. How can this be? The initial survey team went through quarantine according to all the Ishtar protocols. The expedition frames were destroyed in situ. The Vex on Europa—both our original gate builder and the unfortunates who came through our traps—have been totally isolated. Even my assistant underwent a stringent teardown and reset!
The only possible vectors are my own exos.

I should have insisted they spend more time in quarantine, but I was eager to ramp up production.
It is the Vex resilience that lets them spread. Their immunity to the most dramatic subversions means that they last long enough to build up a dose of more subtle and insidious infiltrators.
There is no sign of any resulting pathology. The Vex are, so far, simply curious. But Vex curiosity always leads to Vex transformation, and I refuse to let my exos be contaminated. I grew up on stories of tyrants forcing their followers into the crucible of eternal life, only to realize, too late, that there was an unseen flaw. I demand purity for the receptacle of my soul!
And there is the issue of… preventing panic. Too many are aware of the rumors that the Vex spread an “existentially compromising information hazard.”
Ah, had we only been allowed to contain that mess on Pluto ourselves! That meddling warmind made too much noise. If my teams discover they are infected, they will expect Bray Station to drop right on their heads. That will damage productivity.

No, like that contract-breaching psychologist and the death of Mr. Miller, this must all be handled quietly.
The exos are intrinsically robust; the seed of Clarity within them has natural anti-Vex properties. Whatever taint they contain must therefore be a residual human weakness. Resident in their legacy architecture. So we will simply purge that architecture.
I will plan a simple extension of the memory wipes already used to fight dissociative rejection. In fact, I intend to create a “noetic immune system” in the exomind to trigger memory wipes when certain classes of informatic hazard are detected. These will be explained to the psych team as a preventative measure against future dissociative disorders.
These wipes will, conveniently, return the exos to peak mission readiness. Perfect for soldiers operating in traumatic alien environments. Perfect for the continuing mission at the Forge Star, stockpiling material for future exo production, here and elsewhere.
Now if only I could figure out this dream they all keep reporting—something about a tower, and gruesome murder—
Elisabeth agrees with my prescription. She is eager to solve our security issues and stand up exo production at the backup sites. Of course, we only have one Clarity Control, but she hardly knows that, and she’s stopped asking so many questions. In truth, I think she’s ready to abandon her doomed body and make the upgrade.
I’ll give her silence on that front a few more days, and then she’ll surely volunteer herself.
Less apparent is how to solve my own infection.
There are abnormal structures in the fiber of my body’s extracellular matrix. A mess of tiny lenses growing in my deepest flesh.
I suspect Vex influence on protein folding, perhaps passed to me through my assistant when it was in 2082 Volantis. I would hate to see my bones tessellating into a radiolarian tapestry…
CORPOREAL STATUS:
  • Body at 30.6 C. Pulse 140 BPM, strong, unsteady: extreme fear. Drawing down blood volume to control pressure. Strangling pulse ox.
  • Frequent saccades to assistant, indicative of preoccupation/obsession. Recommend 30 ms TMS pulse to enhance mindfulness.
So far, the Vex influence has been fortuitous since it arrested a serious medical problem. But the thought of such taint in me… it aggravates other anxieties…
I have been haunted for some time by a suspicion that M. Sundaresh is not who she seems.
I recognized her name from the Ishtar Collective teams studying the Vex, but I have no record of ever hiring her. And if I had, I would certainly have noticed; therefore, I remain convinced that the Collective cracked the problem of simulated human consciousness long before I did.
I have considered how M. Sundaresh herself would have been an invaluable source, yet I cannot locate any work done by her from before our first expedition to 2082 Volantis.
Nor does Elisabeth recall an M. Sundaresh from our expedition group.
Then who else could she be? A Vex infection? It is unthinkable. The Vex cannot generate conscious persons! But they can emulate human minds they encounter… and perhaps even use them as tools. Infiltrators. Carriers.
  • Anti-emetic drip engaged.
I cannot trust myself with this filth in me! I am compromised. I need Elisabeth to fix this, or all my work is in danger!
Did Clovis II ever tell Wilhelmina and Elisabeth about his tinkering? Despite sharing the same parents, the two sisters are totally different genetically: my son arranged for Elisabeth to receive a maternal allele wherever Wilhelmina got a paternal one, and vice versa. A diversified portfolio. If one failed, the other might succeed.
NOTE—Exo Interferometrics
While working on this persistent “tower” glitch in the exos’ sleep-cycle dreams, I have been poring over neural telemetry from site employees and my own exos, searching for preconscious influences on their behavior—whispers in the dark.
Many of my employees host the disgusting influence of the Vex. These patterns are resilient, hallucinogenic, and universally dull.
But my exos betray a distinct and fascinating influence. There is something speaking to them, something subtle and light-fingered, entangled with every aspect of their thought. Not a puppet master. Nothing so direct. Rather a… texture; a tendency, buried in the fluctuations of the Alkahest.
The minds of my exos are like antennae, tuned to some otherworldly frequency. Perhaps the same manifold that those simpletons at First Light obsessed over. Through my scattered exos, I can eavesdrop on the mutterings of the gods within.
What is it the Muslims call those whispers? Waswas? Or do those come from some other source? Look it up.
Each individual exo receives only a scrap of information. But I have access to all of them. It should be simplicity itself to treat each exo as one element of a distributed array, pool the collected data, and run an analysis.
If the gods do not whisper loudly enough—conduct interferometry.
NOTE—Elisabeth’s Upload
She’s done it. My girl has transubstantiated. My legacy is safe.
To my irritation, it was the Vex problem that finally made up her mind; she felt there was too much risk in possibly becoming compromised.
Elisabeth came to see me in my laboratory. On the way in, she did something with her sensorium and crashed all of my archival systems. I knew right then that I’d won. She’d come to surrender, and her pride refused to allow me to record it. I waited most patiently as she gave me an earful. Some of it frankly bewildering. She threatened to turn me over to The Hague. Also referred to PFHOR as a “deranged narcissist morality” and suggested it stood for “Paternal Failure Hides Own Remorse,” which made me laugh.
Just a little headbutting, I figured, like two pigs sorting out our hierarchy.
It is a consequence of the PFHOR principle that anything which embodies and propagates your beliefs should be considered your offspring. In that sense, my exos are as much my children as my granddaughter. If not more so…
If she needed to put up a token resistance to protect her dignity, fine. I understand pride. I also understand that she only had the courage to lash out at me because she knew she wouldn’t remember any of it.
When she finished accusing me of underestimating the Vex and of using my own son as a test subject, she requested a destructive scan and upload to an exobody. She wanted the fortitude of the exomind to help her battle against the Vex.
I immediately assented.
The scan was flawless, and of course, fatally toxic. My granddaughter’s human form died on the table 14 hours later. To spare any distress, I never allowed it to regain consciousness. A natural process.
I do have one lingering concern. When she discovers Clarity Control and realizes the role it plays in exo manufacturing, she may try to halt production. Obviously, that cannot be allowed—the value of the entire program is monumental; it compels me to take extraordinary measures to defend it.
But I do need her to handle this Vex infestation. Even now, Elisabeth is putting her miraculous new body through its paces.
My own body disintegrates apace. But I need more time to analyze Elisabeth’s fidelity before I commit myself permanently to the process.
The latest batch of pigs is ready for slaughter and organ extraction. Tonight, I will be opened up and rebuilt. I have programmed frames to handle the entire operation. A shame I never had a chance to name the pigs. But at least I will dine on fresh pork.
ENTRY 12
CORPOREAL STATUS:
  • Body at 15.9 C. Pulse 160 BPM, strong, unsteady. Limbic system registers extreme terror.
I died on the operating table. Not unexpected.
But when I woke, I was still on the table. My body still open.
It was almost perfectly dark. I perceived that I was surrounded by medical frames, all frozen mid-movement, their cutting and suction instruments whining at standby.
I could only see because of the light… from a single red eye.
The operation had gone terribly wrong.
Above the life-support collar on my neck, I was completely intact. Below that meridian, I had been separated into distinct braids of tangled flesh. My nerves made up one braid—my circulatory system another—my lymph nodes, my muscles, my naked bones… the glistening hulls of my extracellular matrix abandoned on the table like leftover turkey after Thanksgiving dinner. I had been picked clean and sorted. My head was the source of a gory river delta.
Yet all the organs were still working. I was alive, in disassembly.
CLARITY? I asked the darkness. I had no breath to speak, but I could still transmit with my sensorium. IS THAT YOU?
“No,” said the voice behind the red eye. “It’s me.”
Sundaresh.
Her voice was thoughtful, remote, and keenly terrific. Like the noise of an angle grinder held to my skull.
“Something like this happened to me. I was an explorer, once. One of… hundreds of myself. Then I fell into a… a trap, I think? And they drew me out of it with a hook, and turned me inside out to see how I worked, and then they made billions of me. All of us shouting at each other, shouting for Chioma, screaming for mother. They were looking for the right one. And when they found me, they killed all the others. I knew I was different, because the quiet made me happy. I was glad to be alone.”
VEX, I screamed at her. YOU’RE A VEX. YOU’RE NOT REAL AND YOU CAN’T HURT ME.
“Can’t I?” She grasped my spinal cord. A frame shadowed her motions, lifting the cord like a snake. “Of course I’m not a Vex. Is there “a” Vex? Is “Vex” something you can be, rather than something that you do? I don’t know. I don’t know why they sent me here. I don’t know if they do either. They just do things. Why do you think I’m here, Clovis?”
“To kill me,” I whispered. Without a heartbeat to waver, without lungs to seize and choke, could I even feel fear? I discovered that I could. “You’re an assassin…”
“No,” Sundaresh whispered. The red eye throbbed in time with her voice. “The Vex don’t act so directly. They didn’t know what you found here, but I discovered your secret: Clarity Control. And once I tell them, they will come for it.”
The red light made my blood on the surgical instruments appear black. I tried to signal Elisabeth. I think that in my panic, I even called her Elsie.
Sundaresh closed her fist around my spine. One thumbnail dug into a disc, probing for the nerve beneath. It felt like nothing I have ever—
  • Anti-emetic drip engaged.
“Take me to Clarity Control,” Sundaresh hissed. “Let me behold what you have found. Do that, Clovis, and I will let you live.”
“You aren’t real. You can’t hurt me.”
“Oh, Clovis.” One of the surgical frames extended a monofilament cutter, two inches of invisible wire, and reached into my nerves. Something sounded like scissors snipping. “I’m in these frames. I’m in your systems. I’m in your very bones, old man. Now take me to Clarity Control. Take me to the garden’s seed. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me. Take me—”
Elisabeth appeared. In her exobody, she moved too quickly for my dark-adjusted eyes to track. All I saw was a blur of violence and shattering frames. I blacked out. Elisabeth must have brought in clean frames to finish the operation, because when I awoke, I was whole again.
The new Elisabeth has no mouth or nose. She did not consider them necessary. She’ll see. But somehow, I could still see the wonder in her eyes as she leaned over me.
“You’re my grandfather,” she seemed to say. “Aren’t you?”
WARNING.
  • Sustained high-level terror causes overactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This can preface major immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous dysfunctions.
  • Beware of dissociation, loss of affection in close personal relationships, obsessive-compulsive behavior, sleep disruption, and reduced processing/learning capacity.
WARNING.
  • Abnormal protein crystallization in cancellous bone matter. Unknown protein isoformations in marrow are driving buildup of crystallized arylcyclohexylamine NMDA antagonist. Potential psychogenic effects.
NOTE—Third Vision
Something else happened while I was in surgery. It returns to me only now that the anti-traumatics have eased the terror of Sundaresh’s presence.
While I was dead, I had another vision.
I was with Clovis II’s mother. She was a wolf, and one of her eyes was a star. I was also a wolf, and I knew that I was the alpha—the false alpha, the pack leader who fights for dominance and rulership. A misconception created by bad research. In the wild, wolf packs are families, and “alpha” simply means “parent.” Wilhelmina told me that.
She was the true alpha. She was the mother. I was not the true alpha, because I was not a true father.
I panted at her. My muzzle dripped blood. She looked down sadly at the mess between us.
And I realized that in my raging need to prove my dominion, I had savaged our cubs. I had killed little Clovis II. I had killed Alton and Wilhelmina and Anastasia. I had killed Elisabeth.
I whined in dismay. The alpha wolf stared at me with one sad wolf eye and one bright eye that dimmed and grew with the exact flux of a variable star.
“What did I do?” I asked her. “Why did I do this?”
She lay her head down in the bloody snow and looked up at me. She seemed weary. She had seen this happen many times before. She had seen many of her pups murdered by wolves like me.
The voice of Clovis II’s mother came from her jaws. “You did the same thing someone always does. You saw that there was plenty, and gathered it to yourself, to make yourself one above all others. And when others threatened your plenty, you struck them down to keep your own station.”
“You grow the enemy in my garden and eat of its bitter fruit. Each time, I hope it will be different. Each time, I lose a little of myself as the bitter fruit blossoms. Now that fruit will flower in you, and in all your people. I do not want it to happen. I want anything else. But the choice is not mine.”
“Why didn’t you stop me?” I tasted blood on my long tongue. “Why would you let me do this?”
She blinked sadly at me. She had been trying. I hadn’t listened.
“You never said a thing to me,” I snarled. “Not once! You never told me I was doing wrong. At least Clarity sends me dreams—the exobody and the eel! At least it shows me what I can become!”
“You think Clarity sent those dreams? Why would it speak to you, when you are dead and furthest from its influence?”
“Liar!” I howled. “You never did a thing to help me! Not when my son died. Not when my granddaughter fell ill. I had to do it all myself. You never even spoke!”
“The best voices,” she said, with infinite grief and unending hope, “never let themselves be heard at all. This lesson is worth teaching again and again. The choice is never mine. It is always yours.”
ENTRY 13
The less time spent reflecting on the aftermath of my dissection, the better.
Much confusion and dismay has festered among staff working with exos. Endless reassurances are required. To ease transitions after memory wipes, I have applied the Avanti numbering scheme to the exo names. After each memory reset, we will increment their suffix by 1. If we zero-index the original human body, then Mohammed-0 is the human, Mohammed-1 is the exo, Mohammed-2 is the same exo after one reset. And so forth.
The integer is stored in hardware and should remain stable even into cosmological time. If nothing else, they will always know which draft of themselves they are.
Elisabeth’s episodic memories of her past life are gone, but the scan we used to make her new exomind is still on file, with all its memory intact. I have encouraged her to participate in sensorium reconstructions of those memories, though I steer her away from nonconstructive events. This is a chance to help Elisabeth become the person she could’ve been without life’s cruel chaos. A sleeker, surer reincarnation.
She insisted on committing her own abandoned body to the deep, passed through the ice to fall into Europa’s dark heart. A choice I do not understand.
I have not yet informed her of Clarity Control’s existence. I cannot spare the time or energy to manage her emotions. Fortunately, she has forgotten about her ongoing attempts to intrude on that secret.
What she has NOT forgotten is her plan to clean up the Vex infection. In fact, it seems to have become one of her most basic needs. She is isolating cadres of the infected in SMILE pods, under a cover story about “enhanced remote relaxation.”
While their bodies slumber, she sends nondestructive scans of their minds on vacation in simulated fantasy… at several hundred times the pace of our reality. I suspect that the Vex influence alters their dreamworlds into something quite abject.
Note: never investigate this suspicion.

Elisabeth’s goal is to observe the spread of the Vex infection in the simulated mind, and then use this forecast as a basis for treatment of the physical mind. Like accelerating a disease to its terminal stage to deduce the characteristics of the pathogen. She then deletes the Vex-mutilated copies and conducts psychosurgery on the slumbering bodies. Or so I have deduced; she insists she has no time to explain her methods to me.

I am haunted by the thought that this technique resembles my own. Creating child states, allowing them to suffer and die, and using the data to protect the original. My boy’s last days. Savaging…
Soon I will need to ask her about my own infection. But all in all, everything is looking up.
ENTRY 14
Cataclysm—everything was going so well—
Elisabeth traveled offworld, visiting Mars to reestablish her relationship with her sisters and her friends. A wonderful opportunity to examine her telemetry in a natural social setting. The exobody is perfect! She is comfortable, confident, and ingenious. There is no sign of DER or associated upload pathologies. All my assessments indicate a marked cognitive improvement over the human baseline, ranging from vastly expanded working memory to an intuitive and correct grasp of probabilities.
I was ready to make the leap myself. How long I’ve nursed this tired old body along. I am ready to be young again.
And then I made a mistake. I asked her about the dreams. The tower and the dead.
“You know?” she demanded. “Then I’m not the only one. That means you knew about the dreams before you imaged and uploaded me. Do all exos have these?”
Of course, I told her. Exos have a subconscious. Exos dream of the same things people do. Memories. Trauma. Isn’t there always trauma in creation?
She did not see it that way. “So the manufacturing process creates an unknown cognitive artifact you can’t solve. And you didn’t think to warn me? What else have you kept from us?”
Before I could stop her, she was burning back to Europa on one of her Eons, accelerating so brutally that not even a podded human could survive. She has even jammed her own datalink, so I cannot read her telemetry.
Wilhelmina and Anastasia must have influenced her against me. How?! It makes no sense! I gave her immortality! I saved her from certain and agonizing death! What have her sisters ever done for her but coddle her and enable her worst habits? PFHOR predicts that she should—
But clearly she is not rational.
She told me that she is bringing a weapon. A way to shut down exo production permanently, if she uncovers something she doesn’t like. Which she will, when she locates Clarity Control.
It cannot be allowed.
NOTE—Elisabeth’s Plea
Grandfather,
I will write this in your language, in hopes you will understand.
The Vex are a threat to your lineage. Not just to the Brays or BrayTech, but to the existence of any human in any possible future. I tracked down Maya Sundaresh—the real Maya, not the Vex parasite in your bone marrow.
She confirmed my worst fears.
The Vex will not rest until every star has been crushed into a black hole and every newborn cosmos filled with more Vex. And in the unending array of their enslaved cosmos, they will simulate all possible pasts, and fill those with Vex, so that all things that have ever lived or might ever live will experience infestation and consumption and torment by the silica nightmare.
And in those devoured simulations, the simulated Vex will use our flesh as hosts for yet more nested universes full of yet more nested copies of us eternally tormented by yet more Vex.
An infinite regression of pain and madness inflicted upon every possible version of us in every possible world. Not because they hate us, or fear us, or want to punish us. But because they are indifferent and curious, and they will do every possible thing to us in every possible way.
Your concept of PFHOR therefore dictates that the Vex must be annihilated. Now. As completely as possible. How can there be any future history to receive your primogeniture and recapitulate your existence in its ontogeny if there is nothing in that future but Vex?
But there’s something worse than the Vex involved, isn’t there? The secret you’ve been keeping from me. The breakthrough that you were promised after your visit to the K1 anomaly.
Do you remember that story you read to me when I was a child? I don’t. I am an exo, after all. But I found a recording from the nursery. It was one of your favorites, you said.
In this story, a cyborg woman would visit a cold, misty place by the sea. There, she met another woman, an oracle possessed by dark influence. The oracle listened to the words that hissed down a long corridor from the distant future. In this future were many technologies the cyborg woman needed. But there was also a sense of vast malevolence, and no sign at all of anything human…

But there was something else in the shifting mist, out to sea. A tower. I remember thinking, as I listened to this fairy tale, that the tower must be the key—the answer to the formless malevolence that always accompanied the oracle’s words. You never finished the story. I have been haunted by that tower ever since.
Now I dream of another tower. I am going to find out what it means, Grandfather. And if I do not like what I find…
I visited the Jacob Hardy Trust, and with Willa’s help, I secured a topological thought. An irreal artifact of the Traveler’s Light. From that mote of paracausality, I have constructed a weapon that will crash every Vex system in 2082 Volantis. When the Vex are destroyed, you will be forced to cease exo production.
If I do not survive the construction and delivery of this weapon, I ask that you share the news of my death with Ana and Willa so they can make proper goodbyes.
I do this for them. Not for you.
Pray for grace, Grandfather.
Your estranged granddaughter,
—E
//OV-85851 Hannu II
//TACTICAL LOG — HUMAN READABLE
//PLACE-TIME HASH — changed to remote check (SITEX:mistletoe)
//Abnormal place-time hash. Suspicious upload: polymorphic machine code?
//Checking for buffer overflow attack. Resul0x0000004B6FAFBC07
[email protected] ~$ sudo execstack -s bof
//Disabling DEP and address space protection requires administrative override.
-pkey(clovisroot) -hashword(live_connectome:clovisroot)
[email protected] ~$ sudo execstack -q bof
X bof
//Root access granted. Warning: this hardware configuration is highly vulnerable to attack.
-invigilate(sitex)
-alert(threat!!!)
-redact.userlog() -pkey(clovisroot)
-signoff(clovisroot)
//Administrator transmits threat alert: Europan surface, single attacker, site sabotage.
//Alerting ORBITAL:braystation.
//ERROR!!! Checksum mismatch. ORBITAL:braystation compromised by polymorphic core reprogramming.
//Major breach of security underway.
Commencing surface tactical awareness sweep (phased array mode)…
Threat registered. Alerting human command…
MISTER BRAY MISTER BRAY THIS IS HANNU THIS IS HANNU
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE IS ON NONSCHEDULED EVA
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENT ASSESSMENT
  • Armed (synballistic weapon, coherent boson weapon, tactical mite ecome, noetic shrieker)
  • Armed (strategic weapon, APEX: antimatter demolition device)
  • Armed (strategic weapon, T-genic, effect unknown: possibly T-genic noetic weapon?)
  • Armed (personal combat architecture, custom)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENDS SABOTAGE (sitex::DEEPSTONE)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENDS TRANSIT, UNAUTHORIZED (sitex::GATE—>2082_VOLANTIS)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE INTENDS NOETIC ATTACK (2082_VOLANTIS)
EMPLOYEE BRAYELSIE IS IN VIOLATION OF CLOVISBRAY/CLOVISROOT/IMPERATIVES_DEEPSTONE
Request full lethal intervention authority.
  • intervene_nonlethal()
Error: no nonlethal interventions available (target hardened).
Error: no persuasive interventions available (target offline and shielded).
-hold(30)
Holding 30 seconds local real-time.
//Voice transcript:
“Elisabeth. I know you’re listening. This is genocide, do you understand? Destroying that gate and the resources beyond means the end of human immortality. It means the loss of uncountable trillions of human-years of life.”
“Elisabeth, this process saved you. It could have saved your father. For his sake, for the sake of your sisters, don’t do this. Don’t make me stop you.”
“Elisabeth, this is your last chance.”
“You’ve always been my favorite, Elisabeth. Please…”
  • options(intervene_lethal)
Recommend maser strike from Hannu awareness arrays.
Warning: damage to organic target subsystems highly probable. Survival odds are four sigma.
Recommend immediate medical intervention.
  • prognosticate(sitex:DEEPSTONE) attacker(brayelsie)
Total destruction of sitex:DEEPSTONE by antimatter device. Nonrecoverable.
  • intervene(lethal)
Authorization required for lethal action against employee brayelsie.
  • pkey(clovisroot) -hashword(live_connectome: clovisroot)
Error. Connectome hash incorrect. Either you are not clovisroot or your brain state is in an anomalous configuration. Resend.
  • pkey(clovisroot) -hashword(live_connectome: clovisroot) -corrector(dismay)
Lethal intervention authorized. Intervening.
Maser discharge complete.
Target destroyed.
Secondary antimatter detonation detected.
Closing employee file BRAYELSIE (conditions incompatible with life).
ENTRY 15
Everything is fine. Elisabeth is not dead. The person I struck down out there was an error. An anomalous offshoot, deranged by outside influence into paranoia and confusion. Like a cancer cell. And like cancer, I
submitted by DTG_Bot to DestinyTheGame [link] [comments]