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2014.07.06 09:26 reithescout Ronin is love, Ronin is life.

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2023.05.29 05:32 Resident_Loan3983 What can I do to help reverse/reduce impact of dementia my grandfather is currently experiencing?

My grandfather, (78, M) is currently experiencing what we think is dementia. Doctor’s in our locality haven’t really been of much help. We live in a developing nation. There are basic things available, but in all honesty, it’s as if there’s a lack of knowledge in dealing with such things.
He’s not only forgetting things but just bringing up random conversations from the past. He had expressed concerns about this before. That he was “forgetting himself” as he put it. So, I tried to do my best by sitting and chatting with him about current affairs and interesting topics he liked. I didn’t know how else to deal with it. I really thought having brain stimulating conversation would help. I am a full time double major student, and m constantly busy with work and school…and life’s been tough…so I am not able to visit him as much so i had talked it over with my mom and younger brother, if they could please chat with him from time to time so he doesn’t feel so alone with his thoughts.
IT’s been difficult getting doctor’s to visit him, as it’s been difficult to get him to the hospital because he’s a stroke patient and bedridden. His only care-taker is my mom, so it’s been tough. Apart from that, there’s been som every upsetting incidents in the family that i fear have upset him and put pressure on his mind and led to what it is right now.
HE doesn’t want to sleep, he keeps calling for random people and then he admits he knows where they are but he just wants to call and has nothing to do. Other than that, at times, he really doesn’t knw and forgets. he keeps himself awake by using his good hand (the other hand a bit weak from the stroke ) to fiddle with things like banging on the wall and fiddling with the door. It breaks my heart seeing him like this. I dont know what there is that we can do to lessen the impacts or reverse them , or help him regain sense of reality. Just some background, my granddad has no family history of this sort of thing. His father passed at age 96, very sound of mind and only a little forgetful, while his sister passed at 105, the same. My granddad has always been strong and sound of mind through his whole life and very active. He’s been a stroke patient for almost ten years now, suffering about 4 minor strokes which the doctor says was just due to stress.
He had slowly adapted to not being able to move around but did not like really like it much. He doesn’t quite like it much. Every now and then, he brings up how he doesn’t like how people think he’s crazy and that he’s just bored with nothing to do, or that he’s forgetting things and doesn’t like it. It’s really hard seeing him like this, but I’m not sure what to do.
All these dementia like experiences are very recent. He'd gradually say random things before and my mom would chalk-it-up to him being looney but really, she's a conversation hog, and he was actually commenting on a conversation we were having before she'd walk into the room. Little incidents like that. So him being this bad, like random ramblings and whatnot is quite new. He'd never get the chance to talk before and converse since he had no one to talk to, and was left at home from time to time from what he used to tell me (as I don't live with them). So, I really don't believe he should be experiencing this at all and this is the impact of posssible stress and neglect. HE had constantly spoken about how he felt like he was a burden and just felt alone, and now this is happening, I don't really know how to help him at this point or understand how this could have happened. Just two to three months ago he was completely fine and having sound conversation. Is this supposed to happen ? Is this normal?
Are there any forms of medication or maybe natural treatment that could help him? What can I do to help him?
78, M . Around 50kg-70kg. He was arnd 6ft 2 but now, it's like he's shrunk. So it really feels like 5ft 6 now
Medication: Enalapril, SImvastatin, Amlodipine and currently Diazapam.
Country: Fiji. Race: Rotuman (Ethnic Polynesian similar to Wallisan)
Doesn't smoke, drink or any of the sorts.
submitted by Resident_Loan3983 to AskDocs [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 01:05 weirdmountain [US-NJ] [H] Rare books. Weird books. Disorganized list. [W] PayPal.

I’m a little flexible with prices, so if you disagree with a price, don’t feel bad about making an offer. I’d prefer to stick within US only, because international shipping is expensive and kind of a pain in the butt with customs and all that. Flat rate shipping of $5. Unless you want more than $50 worth of books, then shipping is free. Please forgive the list being such a mess. I combined a few old posts into one.
Anything that doesn’t have a picture, please ask, and I’ll happily provide!
I’m not really looking for anything in trade, unless somebody’s got the Silver Surfer Parable anniversary treasury sized hardcover they wanna trade.
Please comment to dib, and I’ll DM you to get your email so I can send an invoice.
Tomb Of Dracula Complete Collection TPB set of Volume 1, 2, 3. - True first editions from 2010/2011(All the ones I've seen on ebay are the 2017 editions, with a different cover design). The paper is not fully glossy like in the omnibus editions, and they look amazing. These three books cover the same material as Omnibus 1. These are read, but reasonably well cared for. Volume 3 has damage near the bottom of the spine, as shown in pics. Asking $130 shipped
Immortal Hulk OHC lot, books 1, 2, and 3. Book one is in excellent condition. It’s opened, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually read this copy. Books 2 and 3 are sealed and beautiful. Asking $105 shipped.
Pictures of Immortal Hulk and the now-sold Centifolia. I haven’t updated this pic
Essential Web Of Spider-Man Vol 1. $25
Essential Web Of Spider-Man Vol 2. (Cool for Kraven’s Last Hunt complete in black and white). $25
Take both EWOS for $45 shipped
Marvel’s Mightiest Superheroes VHS, flip comic reprint, silver coin of Namor. I bought this thing new, watched the tapes once, and it has slept in a closet for over 20 years. It’s pretty cool. $60
BPRD Hollow Earth & Other Stories TPB (first print). $6
Nick Fury Agent Of Shield TPB. Printed on nice, not-glossy paper. $20
Thor Masterworks 1 (Comiccraft cover). $25
Thor Masterworks 3 (Comiccraft cover). $25
Take both Thor Masterworks for $45 shipped
Doctor Strange Masterworks Vol 1 first printing. Included is an extra dust jacket for the later printing. I bought a copy of the later printing from someone on eBay, and when the book arrived, the actual book was Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks 3. I always put the newer Dr Strange dust jacket over the OG one. $60
Aliens Salvation/Sacrifice TPB. Great book. Pretty rare Mignola story/cover. $55
(Marvel) Taskmaster The Right Price. $5
Dead Dead Demon's Dededede Destruction, Vol. 1 - $2
Fingerless. Spugna. Signed $10
Lowriders Blast From The Past. $2
Spera Volume 1. $2
King Of Nowhere Vol 1. $2
Power Rangers Vol 1 TPB. $3
Hunters. $2
Blackout Vol 1 (Dark Horse) $2
Odds Off. Matt Madden. $2
Lowriders Blast From The Past. $2
Doorknocker. $2
Croc N Roll with signed bookplate and ashcan. $2
Marvelous Land Of Oz. Skottie Young. $2
Suicide Squad Rogues TP. $3
Strip Search. Dark Horse. $2
Black Candy. $2
Granny Candy. $2
The Family. Pat Higgins. $2
Becoming Horses. $3
Horror Vacation. Edition of 150. $2
Good Boy Magazine 1. $2
Ghost Hog $2
Big Book Of Thugs. $2
Scumbag For Hire. Keenan Marshall Keller. $2
A Bleeding Cut. $1
Montana Diary. $2
The Freak. $2
Gun Land 3. $2
Destroyer. Kirkman. $2
East Of West Hardcovers 1, 2, and 3. 1 and 3 are sealed. 2 is the DCBS variant and not sealed. 1 is in perfect shape. 2 looks great. 3 has a small ding on the bottom of the back cover. Asking $240 for the set. Pics
Comment if you’re interested. I’ll DM you for your email address for PayPal. IST is my standard for packing and shipping, so the books will get to you in the same shape they left me.
I usually ship within two days of payment.
Thanks for checking this out.
submitted by weirdmountain to comicswap [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 16:03 missyfaceohtwo Big Islang - May trip report

Hi! Just came back from a magical 10 days on the Big Island and put together a trip report with some commentary. Hope this is helpful for others planning trips, happy to answer questions about any of it
Sunday 5/14
Previously checked into Kona VRBO condo
Breakfast at Kona Haven Cafe
Kona Farmers Market - unimpressive market but the one fruit stand there had soursop and mangosteen which we were looking for
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park
Drive down coffee coast w/ GyPSy (now called GuideAlong)
Dinner at Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill Kona - walked in during dinner service on mothers day with no reservation, was seated at the bar immediately, food came quickly and was delicious
Monday 5/15
Coffee at Kona Coffee & Tea - quickly became our favorite coffee spot
Drive up coast w/ GuideAlong
Lunch and tour at Hawaiin Vanilla Co. - okay lunch but amazing tour with owner
Honoka's Chocolate Co. - didn't do the tour but stopped by the storefront for a superb tasting
Waipio Valley Lookout
Dinner at The Fish and the Hog - locally recommended, didn't wow us
Drive through hills & cattle pastures @ golden hour - highly recommend
Tuesday 5/16
Coffee at Kona Coffee & Tea
Snorkel rental at Snorkel Bob's
Snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach Park - great snorkeling, just need to be mindful of the reef and not stand despite shallow water
Lunch at Da Poke Shack - amazing poke, expensive but worth it
Shave ice at Gecko Girlz
(Stargazing cancelled)
Wednesday 5/17
Coffee at Kona Coffee & Tea
Lunch at Broke da Mouth - another great meal, classic Hawaiian plate lunch
Tour at Big Island Bees - a little nerve wracking if you are not fond of bees as I am but the tour was excellent, honey was amazing, we shipped a bunch home
Tour at Greenwell Farms - convenient timing (free tours ongoing all day) and did not require reservation, very informative tour guide, free tasting of many coffee flavors
(Stargazing cancelled)
Thursday 5/18
Coffee at Kona Coffee & Tea
Snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach Park
Checked out of Kona VRBO
Lunch at Da Poke Shack
Drive down coast w/ GuideAlong
Punalu'u Bake Shop - underwhelming malasadas, maybe because we were there in the afternoon
Punalu'u Beach - black sand beach, saw turtles in the waves
Checked into Hilo Airbnb
Dinner at Tetsumen - great quality Japanese food
Friday 5/19
Coffee at Sirius Starseed Coffee - best coffee of the trip Akatsuka Orchid Gardens - amazing variety of plants, shipped a few home
Volcanoes National Park:
Steam Vents
Sulphur Banks
Kilauea Overlook
Ili Overlook
Thurston Lava Tube
Chain of Craters Road
Dinner at Moon and Turtle - some dishes were amazing and some were ok. Limited by few menu offerings
Wandered through Hilo Night Market
Saturday 5/20
Breakfast at Popovers - worst coffee of the trip but breakfast was good
Rainbow Falls
Boiling Pots
Akaka State Park
Honomu Goat Dairy
Hawai‘i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden - highly recommend, beautiful wandering gardens
Lunch at Tetsumen
Big Island Pearl Tea
Free samples at Big Island Candies
Richardson Ocean Park - black sand beach, decent snorkeling, a bit colder water than we would've liked due to areas being spring fed
Sunday 5/21
Maku'u Farmer's Market - stumbled on this by chance and it was amazing. Many fruit vendors, food vendors, arts and crafts
Coffee at Kohala Coffee Co.
Richardson Ocean Park
Stargazing with Epic Tours - Mauna Kea Stargazing - owner was very flexible and rescheduled us twice due to cloudy weather, expensive excursion but thought it was worth it
Monday 5/22
Breakfast at the Sippin Siren Coffee
Scenic drive from Hilo to Kona
Checked into Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kings’ Land Waikoloa - last minute booking due to wanting to spend more time on Kona side before we left, we were actually double booked with the airbnb for this night
Lunch at Da Poke Shack
Snack shopping for home at Costco
Drinks at Kona Coffee & Tea - had a life changing matcha latte this day
Dinner at Ippys Hawaiian BBQ Waimea - another great classic hawaiin plate meal
Tuesday 5/23
Coffee at Kona Coffee & Tea
Kayak rental from Kona Kayaks - owner was so nice, we originally rented for Monday but got there at 1 thinking they were open until 4 (per google) when they really closed at 2, he was willing to stay open later but we decided to just come back the next day
Captain Cook Monument snorkeling - first experience being out snorkeling in deep open water, scary but fun
Lunch at Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill - had some amazing fish tacos here
Checked into The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Dinner at Canoe House - we went with the chefs tasting menu, $155pp came with 6 courses, decent portions, beautiful oceanfront location
Edit for formatting (on mobile)
submitted by missyfaceohtwo to VisitingHawaii [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 17:48 DryRun96-2 Elden ring erotica I wrote

In past lives I've killed executioners and dragon slayers alike. I've slayed an eldritch God imprisoned in the moon of a dream. I've crawled up from ashes to usurp the fire. But these lives have all started and ended long ago. Now I must start a new and this time it is a whole new world and a whole new me. This time a toned but not chiseled body of a woman with short blond hair and an eye wrap as a motif to my past life as a wearwolf hunter in Yharnam. As is my custom I awaken with little to call my own, just a club and rags that barely keep me modest, I guess you could call me depraved. After crawling my way out of a tomb my first instinct is to find some cloths and maybe somthing sharper than this stick. Looking along the fields beneath me I notice some enemies that my club makes short work of. By the time I've killed a decent amount of them I've managed to find a helmet that fits ... probably the least of my worries right now but I'll take what I can get. Some more exploring and I've found a cave surely with treasure in it possibly somthing I could use to cloth or arm myself further. Sadly just a few wolves which prove hard to read and with a miss step here and a careless action there I'm little more than another body littering the cave. Back at the last sight of grace I am reborn. Blush fills my face, ashamed of loosing to things that aren't even intelligent enough to use weapons or wear armor. I AM strong enough to beat them it was just a fluke. Now back at it again I'm finding it easier to drag one out at a time and after a few failed attempts and a few more frustrated rebirths I've cleared the first room of these wolves. A quick scan of the area and I find a tunnel which leads me to an opening where I'm fighting my first true adversary the Beast Master. I miss step twice and with ease he already he has me beaten. With his weight on my back I feel the flush of embarrassment fill my whole body. I'm better than this, ive slayed wearwolves and eldritch gods, How is this so tough. My inner monolog is cut short as I feel his warmth press along my backside. I shudder as it grows further clearly well endowed. With little to call cloths I'm unable to rely on these rags to hide my modesty. Defeated I have little energy to fight back and this beast master knows it. Removing its weight from me I have no ability to run or move as it takes stock of me. With a motion I wouldn't call gentle or fluid it removes what little I have to call cloths leaving my whole body exposed to the cool cave air. I get little more than a moment to let the shame sink in before it's back on my crushing my wrists to the cold stone floor of the cave as I feel it's member press along the valley of my back end and the tip dripping a viscous fluid at the arch of my back. With a rock of it's hips I can tell it's pulling back angling this inhuman thing towards my entrances. Thoughts race through my head of which one am I going to loose and which one would be the bet... too late to think any further the beast master has chosen either on accident or out of some cruel sadistic desire with the first thrust my back entrance has been taken. I attempt to scream but little more than a low groan escapes my lips. Little time is given to adjust before it pushes further, and further in until I feel it's sack press against me. Tears are welling up in my eyes as I feel it starting a ruthless rhythm with its hips stretching me more than I could imagine. After a few thrusts my body begins reacting positively to this shift in power and my untouched snatch begins clenching down as if the void of attention is what was pushing it over the edge. In little time it's rhythm begins to become erratic and the base of its shaft starts to swell. With a sharp thrust my backside has been knotted to it and I can feel it flooding my stomach with its horrid seed. Another orgasm wracks my body as I feel myself squirt all over the beastmasters sack and the cold stone floor. My embarrassment complete I let out one last moan before I'm sent back to the beginning of this cave. This defeat has shaken me. Even though I am as I was before entering the cave I can still feel the beastmaster's cock stretching my backside beyond its limit but a quick check and I'm as I was before. Gathering my courage I attempt the cave again, this time my distracted efforts get me caught by the wolves again before I can even make it to the beast master. Again back at the beginning I find a short cut that sidesteps most of the wolves and this time it just a one on one battle. I take it slow and safe keeping my distance from the wolf until it's definitely open for an attack. 1 hit, 2 hits. This 3rd one should do it ... not wanting to rush I'm keeping my distance... from out of nowhere behind me one strike to my back and already almost done for. Before I can even react the second strike lands me face down on the cave floor. A weak attempt to stand and I feel a fuzzy body push my chest back down onto the cave floor. Before I even have time to breath I feel the sharp teeth of the wolf on the back of my neck and a growl from behind me. A pathetic whimper escapes my lips in response. Once this white wolf confirms my submission it starts thrusting hard against my upturned backside poking my thigh, then the cushion of my rear, finally landing its blow it skirts between the cloth of my lower rags and my upper thigh sliding right into my snatch making me squeek a pathetic attempt at a yell. Realizing it's found a hole to fuck it starts going hard and fast beating my insides with the sheer size of its member. With just a few thrusts it's forceful pennitration has become welcomes by my rebellious snatch. I feel the smaller but still sizable knot forming at my entrance well aware what that means for me. I ball up my fists as I feel it push in. A scream would escape my lips but I'm far too lost by this point and the beast is nearly done with me. The thick ropes of its animalistic seed paint my inner walls as I feel my body betray my situation one last time and clamp down on the rod that forced its way into me. Less than a moment later I'm back at the cave entrance with my body as it was before. Yet again a physical inspection proves I am untouched by the horrors that I just experienced. With a quick glance around and I realize I'm alone in this small room and with that confirmation I begin to strip down. Getting in the position I was just in with my face against the stone and my now bare ass upright facing deeper into the cave. As if I was giving the beasts a show I start exploring my unspoiled body pennitrating both my lower holes with my fingers feeling the tight resistance from just my fingers my mind imagines what those primal beasts must have felt. With those thoughts bouncing around in my mind it doesn't take long before I'm spraying the floor of this safe haven with my juices.
How long has it been since I made the mistake of crawling into that beastial cave? Days? Weeks? A month? The days blend together after a while and a few things happened. With the help of some merchants I have a outfit more suitable for combat than a pair of rags doing little more for me than covering my privates. My new outfit is primarily tanned leather with the top fashioned into a corset using straps and belts to hold it snugly in place along with slots to keep an array of throwing daggers on my person. The pants are covered with thick leather chaps and two katanas rest sheathed on my left hip. My eyes remain wrapped in the same fashion as when I first began this life but now a red hood cascades from my shoulders about halfway down my back. I chuckle to myself thinking of how far I've come from the bumbling idiot with a stick. I've even managed to get info on a camp not far from here that's set up in some ruins. I might be able to get some good supplies if I'm lucky. Upon scouting the Perimeter I can see 2 wagons and a bunch of infantry standing by. Luckily for me I've found sites of grace near by so even if I fail I can always try again. The easiest point of entry seems to be from the north since there is only one guard there and all he is doing is protecting the front of one of the wagons. I am easily able to sneak up behind the guard and with one strike he's dead. I'm barely even able to remove my sword from the corpse before I hear the sound of a war horn alerting everyone in the camp an intruder is here. My head snaps to the one with the horn and as quick as I can I dash to cut him down too ... but as I'm bringing my blade up trying to finish him off everything gets fuzzy. I'm able to fight off the claws of unconsciousness long enough to see that I've been clubbed on the back of my head by the blunt end of a warpick. My vision fades as my head drops, my consciousness is gone before my head even hits the ground. Surprisingly I don't wake up at the site of grace but instead I'm face down in the mud, tied up like a hog and I can feel the warmth of a fire against my legs. Listening I can hear chatter by the fire, then laughter. They are probably retelling the story of how they bested a ditzy lone thief. Red creeps across my face as I replay the events leading up to my capture. Deep in my own mind I'm jerked back into reality as I feel a boot land hard into my ribs launching me a few feet onto my side. The wind knocked out of me I cough and wheeze. The one that kicked me raises his foot and stomps his boot on my breast keeping me gasping for air. If only they had killed me I'd be back at the site of grace and not hog tied naked in the mud subject to this torture but here I am. With one more kick they get me back on my belly and pick me up like a sack of vegetables by the rope binding my wrists and ankles together. Apparently they had fashioned a suspension frame under one of their war tents while I was out and now they are tying me so I'm dangling from the roof. A roar of laughter can be heard from behind me, Problem from the view they are getting of my snatch. Shame has clearly caused my body to betray me once more as i feel the slick presence of my arousal. A soldier grabs me by the calf and swings me around so my face is away from them as I feel the forceful pennitration cramming his member in my snatch with ease thanks to my body's betrayal. I inhale sharply but this is hardly the roughest thing I've endured though my body remains untouched by the experiences to prove it. The display clearly has this soldier excited because within a few thrusts he is painting my inner walls with his seed. After a quick half hearted smack to my buttocks he withdraws his spent member and walks off and another one grabs me by the hips but he is just grinding himself between my thighs. A bit confused at first, not that I mind the unintentional attention my clit was getting, it became clear his goal was to slicken his shaft by rocking his hips for a few moments along the wet remains of the last invasion of my body. He then slammed himself about halfway in my back entrance and I cried out but the noise was met with a sharp slap to my buttocks. I bit my lip to stifle the noise which seemed to be enough to prevent another one. He then started to pull out at an agonizingly slow pace until just his tip remained inside me. As expected he returned to his previous depth and then continued to bottom out burying the whole thing in my backside though not as large as the beastman he was still the largest thing my body had felt back there. I can feel the effect these defeats are having on me, my mind landmarking the conquests of the past where as my body has no clue it had ever been conquered. Once he adjusts to the tightness he starts brutally hammering away at me with a cruelly efficient rhythm and the noises that escape my mouth are as farel as they are vulgar. I guess a soldier seeing an opportunity grabs a fist full of my short hair yanks my head up to level with his semi erect member. With my mouth agape from the moaning of a bitch in heat he easily smashes his member past my mouth and straight into my throat. With the invasion of my throat I heave in response making my whole body tensing trying to free my airway this causes my backside to clamp down on the soldier behind me. Clearly enjoying the reaction I'm giving, or the noises I'm making the soldier in front of me starts pounding away at my throat amplifying the effects of the gaging making a mess of my face as saliva starts dripping out of my nose and mouth onto the ground. My body begins to tingle with the build up of a mind shattering orgasm clearly appreciating the effort these men are giving to destroy it. In no time at all I feel the one in my backside bottom out as he drains himself repeatedly deep inside me marking me as his conquest. Not even a moment later I feel the man using my throat as if I were just his hand on a cold night burry my face in his crotch befoee he shoots rope after rope of his seed into my throat. My gaging and heaving is doing little at this point besides clamping down on the two men as I feel the last bit of stimulation needed to push me over the edge. The orgasm begins to wrack my body right as my consciousness fades ... I'm back at the site of grace fully clothed and untouched by the ordeal just as I've grown to be acoustom to but this time. I slam my fist on the soft grass out of fruatration. If I only could've lasted just a few more seconds I could've felt the euphoria that would have made it all worth it in the end. The feeling as if those brutes had robbed me of the one ounce of enjoyment I would have recieved from that hellish encounter makes me scream out into the empty field. I truly felt defeated in that moment.
submitted by DryRun96-2 to u/DryRun96-2 [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 22:18 Various-Cut-1070 Receipt Scanning App List (May 2023)

Hey guys, I thought I’d put this together to help some of you that want to get started with receipt scanning/cashback apps.
The following apps allow you to scan ANY receipt. Some of them have special offers which you can activate. Others do it all automatically.
Fetch, Merryfield, Microsoft/Bing Deals/Rewards, AmazonShopperPanel (waitlist access), Pogo, SwagBucks, CoinOut, ReceiptHog, ReceiptJar, ReceiptPal,
The following apps require you to purchase specific products that have active offers:
Ibotta, Coupons, Tada, Shopkick, Upside (Gas)
Please comment any that I may have missed! Im sure there are others that I haven’t discovered ✌🏼
submitted by Various-Cut-1070 to beermoney [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 07:15 noinnocentbystander My best friend still hasn’t called to check on my dad with cancer after 3 months

I have borderline personality disorder and I’ve been in therapy for years and have been actively working towards normalcy for about 7 years now. It’s an every day battle internally, but I’m so much better than I was 7 years ago! A lot of it comes naturally now but the one thing I don’t know if I’ll ever get a hold of is knowing if my feelings are valid or if my BPD is making them seem valid and they’re actually not (very common with BPD). Before I got help, I basically lost all my best friends and pushed them away. It’s my fault, I am aware. For the past few years my best friend is all I have emotionally. I have friends, but he is who I go to for the serious stuff. He has always cheered me on in my growth and I know he genuinely loves me. But I don’t know if I’m taking this too far.
He used to work from home during the pandemic and it was one of those jobs where you get away with doing the bare minimum and watch Netflix all day. We would have a great phone call for about 2-3 hours 3x per week. I know this is a lot of call time and I don’t expect that considering we are not in lockdown anymore. He got a new job that is in-office so obviously that arrangement won’t work anymore. No problem, totally makes logical sense. However I noticed he stopped calling all together and never answered my calls. If he did, he’d talk for 5 min and say he has to go get ready for the club. He is very big into clubbing and partying even though we are in our late 20s. He does this every Friday, weekend night, and during the week he is always at a get together or even a club/bar.
He hangs with the same group of people each time. I started to feel really hurt, honestly. He sees them every day and only sees me in person once per year (we live in dif states). Because of my therapy, I am doing my best to not put any burden onto him, and I have not said something like “you’re the only friend I have” in years because I see now that it can be manipulative and guilt tripping. So I have truly taken a back seat and not brought it up at all.
He leaves 100% of my texts on read but still posts to his social media just fine. After 7 weeks of not talking he called to see how I was. We talked like no time had passed but my heart was hurt. I decided to be honest and let him know how I felt. I told him “It feels like you prioritize your in-person friends over me. I don’t expect priority over anyone, just equal value. I don’t see why you can’t call me once every 2-3 weeks for an hour to catch up. Just an hour…” and he kind of understood and said sorry and that it wasn’t like that. Ok… I took what he said at face value.
He said he is looking for a change and wants to move since he felt he was about to be fired for his job for not reaching a deadline. I was about to move across the country and I offered for him to come live with me for 3 months, rent free, to get away and see if he likes it where I moved. He was all on board, saying he’s ready to move and can’t wait! Then 2 days later he ended up meeting the deadline and his job was saved. He was shitfaced drunk calling me from a loud bar at midnight. I was hurt because I felt like I was being used but I told myself I was probably being irrational and told him I was happy for him.
Now we are almost 3 months after that call and that was our last talk. I can’t tell if I’m crazy. I try to call him once every 2 weeks or more often at a respectable time (after he gets out of work or on a Sunday around 4pm). He never picks up. During this time, I was so hurt because I had a scare where I thought that my other friend died (turned out to be a false alarm), I texted him for support and told him what happened. No response. My dad’s cancer came back 5 months ago and during this time he’s had a major operation and radiation treatments spanning over the last 2 months. My own best friend didn’t even call me to see how my dad was doing. He never even checked after the MAJOR surgery on Christmas Eve to see if he survived it because we were not sure he’d wake up.
Now I am 2 months into my move and no phone call, text, nothing. I don’t have friends here so it’s a bit isolating, but I understand that’s not his fault and not his fault that I have no other friends but him. I tried to call him 4 weeks ago to catch up. No answer, but this time I got a text! I was so happy! He said he’d call me back later or the next day with a heart emoji. I waited a week and nothing. I wake up the next Sunday to see a missed call at midnight. That means it’s a drunk call after clubbing. I tried to call at a decent time 3x over the next week and nothing. He then tries to call another time while I’m sleeping (midnight) on a week night. The midnight calls really hurt me… do you not respect me enough to call me at a regular time? We haven’t spoken in 3 months, I moved across the country alone, my dad just went through an intense surgery and cancer treatment … and the only time you ca find to talk is midnight? Ugh I am just so sad over this. I do not want to be a time hog and I never want him to feel obligated to talk to me because I have no one else. So I try to give him space, but I just feel like he isn’t being a good friend.
I can’t tell if my feelings are valid or not, I genuinely have no way to tell. What do you think? How can I say something without coming across as I used to (my biggest fear) and not be taken seriously? I am genuinely in pain over this, it’s really hard to not have someone to talk to about your shitty day or a funny thing that happened or a big accomplishment. My mom is a narcissist (the reason I have BPD) so we do not talk, and I can’t talk to my dad about how I feel regarding the cancer for obvious reasons. When I have a great day I just want to pick up the phone and have someone to tell. Everything is bottled up and it hurts so bad. I just go through the motions every day, with no one to vent to or tell good news to. Looking back I realize he contacts me when it’s convenient and when he comes home to visit his mom in our home state, he hangs out with me, coincidentally I’m the only one with a car and free time during his stay. Ugh I’m just so hurt and seeking advice on how to have a tough conversation if anyone has any. Thank you to anyone who has read this far.
submitted by noinnocentbystander to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 19:28 PerpetualHillman Types of people you see at an airport 6x5 wojak compass

Types of people you see at an airport 6x5 wojak compass submitted by PerpetualHillman to PoliticalCompassMemes [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 19:28 PerpetualHillman Types of people you see in the airport 6x5

Types of people you see in the airport 6x5 submitted by PerpetualHillman to WojakCompass [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 14:41 SevereDegeneracyHere I don't know what to do

Just a warning, this is an alt used for stuff you can guess just by my username.
I don't know how much I'll cover here, I just vented to my sleeping SO (text, long distance) an hour ago and cannot sleep
I've been doing nothing I should be doing, I should be completing my school work, but I haven't, I've been in 12th grade years now. I should be getting a job somewhere, starting my life, but no, I'd rather sit on my ass playing games on my fancy computer and VR headsets, yes, plural.
I'm being paid by children's aid for being in school, but because I am over 18 I believe they cannot check in to see my progress, which there is none of, and they will stop paying me when they find out about that, I live off the money they send, and I know my life will just go further downhill when that ends.
I live with my mother in community housing, but her leg is fucked up from a nasty fall years ago, despite knowing about the constant pain she is in, I dislike doing the dishes, it's a pain, I know I should clean them, I want to clean them, but I can't fucking force myself to clean them, I don't know how.
I don't know how to force myself to do what I need to do, but I know there is so much I need to do. I just constantly feel like shit with this weighing on my mind, and I haven't spoken to anyone but my SO about this, so I don't know what the fuck I have, if anything. I did have a therapist, but we only spoke about day to day stuff as far as I can recall, which I'm surprised I could recall at all, that was years ago, my memory has been shit, can't remember what I ate for dinner two nights ago.
Speaking of, I would rather eat three packs of "raw" pop tarts and a coffee for dinner than the only thing I know how to cook, a grilled cheese. A fucking grilled cheese. I don't know how to cook, there's a lot I don't know, I don't know how to write up a resume, or get a job, or send physical mail, or do my taxes, or anything fucking important, but I'm a pro at setting up a fucking Minecraft server, or a containerized instance of pihole to block ads on my home network, but that's it.
There is nothing I am good at that will help me in life, and I'm fucking lazy, I can't remember shit, I haven't had a haircut in months because I don't feel like getting one, I also haven't gone to pick my glasses after I got an updated prescription because I'm too fucking lazy, and my eyesight is suffering because of it, I couldn't see what the guy climbing the ladder into the tree was doing yesterday, and I was at the bottom of the tree, he was just a blue.
All I do day in and day out is play videogames, rewatch an old anime, read manhua or manhwa on asurascans or reaperscans, wait for my SO to come online and play games with her for hours.
And now onto my SO. She's the one. But I'm taking too much of her time, she wants to spend all of her time with me online, physically isn't possible right now, but she ruins her sleep schedule doing so despite working, she tries to get out of doing things with her family and friends and co-workers to do stuff with me, and I know I'm just holding her back, but she just dodges that when I bring it up with "I want to spend time with you".
It gets worse, sometimes when she does have an opportunity to do stuff with a coworker, friend or family, and there's even a hint of her not wanting to go from the way she mentions it, I'll try to make up excuses she can use, because she's just not the kind of person to lie, she can't come up with an excuse as good as I can, it's not in her to do it, just earlier today we were playing with her coworkers on a Minecraft server I had set up and sent to her with a fancy java version that runs ever so slightly better than openJDK and when she mentioned meeting up with her coworkers I sent a playful "noob giving them excuse to hog more of ur time", but thinking back on it, she 100% took that serious to some degree and I feel terrible about it.
This has happened in several ways over the years. There are issues I need to deal with, and I'm not dealing with them, I don't know how to force myself to deal with half, and the other half I legitimately do not know how to deal with, I don't know if this is depression, I don't need to fake a smile, I do smile, but I haven't cried in a while over anything serious, not in a long time, not even at my grandma's funeral, I cried after though, but because I was having another one of these episodes because I didn't cry at the funeral.
I don't know where I was going with this anymore, I can't remember. Sorry for the wall of text, and don't look at my history please, it's all just porn and hentai stuff and me pointing out bots in subs for said stuff.
Just remembered I should also add, my SO wants to spend her life with me in my country, she is in a neighboring country, but my life is going nowhere, and she knows no one here but me. This is all stressing me out.
submitted by SevereDegeneracyHere to depression [link] [comments]

2023.05.22 13:23 Null_Trooper Boost Fields is the worst Game-Mode ever.

You can’t even use 2/3 of the Map and it Doesn’t Extend if you take a Tower.
Plus, you can’t even use Buildings properly to block Hog Rider and Log and Barbarian Barrel are useless.
I haven’t tried Goblin Barrel, but I can bet that won’t work at all.
Plus X-Bow and Mortar don’t work.
The Spells Expire before they do anything meaningful.
How the hell did this thing make it into the Game?
submitted by Null_Trooper to ClashRoyale [link] [comments]

2023.05.22 02:22 AcanthocephalaNo4218 [WTS] Mathews phase 4 33” 31.5 dl 75lb

Timestamp: https://imgur.com/a/S6rwRvs
Bought bow new post season last year set draw weight length at my local shop off a whisker. Bought the epsilon and spot hog in February haven’t even set the bow up yet. All you need is a peep and some arrows to get shooting.
G&S only buyer pays fee
submitted by AcanthocephalaNo4218 to GunAccessoriesForSale [link] [comments]

2023.05.22 01:22 Emergency_Ad_2231 Season 7 reworks?

I haven’t seen anyone talk about this. Am I the only one who finds it absolutely insane they are now putting all resources into PVP and we still won’t see Hog and Sombra reworks until season 7?
I understand it take a lot to rework a character but seeing as how we’re in season 4 since OW2’s launch we won’t see it for about another 6 months?
This is behavior I could expect if they’re were still developing skill trees and hero progression but it feels inexcusable now. Maybe I’m wrong though.
submitted by Emergency_Ad_2231 to overwatch2 [link] [comments]

2023.05.21 17:17 Bellasbubbles Perfume nook

Perfume nook
Finally semi-settled in my new place and wanted to show off my collection that I’ve placed in my closet for now. It’s been a fun journey and it’s nice to see all of my perfume on display. I can’t wait to start shopping my stash and dive back into my samples which haven’t gotten much love during my move. Recently, I got a wax melter and I’ve decided that this will be a fun way for me to try different scents I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. Right now I have HOG Cozy Sweater melting and I’m expecting to purchase more melts from Black Hearted Tart a house I haven’t tried yet. If anyone has any questions regarding my lil stash or recommendations for strong wax melts please let me know!!
submitted by Bellasbubbles to Indiemakeupandmore [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 23:52 indicas_world I only work here 2 months but I think I’ll quit soon

Pharmacists in charge hired me to be a tech trainee but unfortunately I got told yesterday I sucked at the job or slow on the uptake. After 30 days more they can let me go at the pharmacy or I can work at the front store. I think front store gets paid a dollar less I’m not sure. I understand there sentiment but I wasn’t trained adequately! Only once on pick up and production and the modules honestly didn’t help much. She pointed out about things or mistakes I made like voiding transactions but how is it my fault there shitty coupons won’t go through or the system itself of CVS was malfunctioning?!!! She did says she wasn’t saying I’am incompetent and everybody makes mistakes. But that doesn’t make me feel better about myself. And that I need to help more in the back with production but they’re the one who keeps pushing or calling me to do pick up ?! Sooo wtf ?! And everyone hogs or stay at the production area almost the whole day. And compared me to people there that has been working 5-10 years and asking me if I can contribute like them. When the training was so poor and my drop off training haven’t been scheduled yet. The store pharmacists also plays favorites with the employees & favors this other worker that started a month before me. This job is honestly such a toxic & uncomfortable environment for me. And I’ve worked retail for years !!! I never felt this kind of stressed over a job in my life. Yesterday I didn’t point out these things to the pharmacists in charge. I told them I understand and not to worry. Honestly felt too exhausted to tell her and reasoned there the ones who didn’t train me adequately and keep putting me at register. She was also gone for almost a month so she didn’t even see how they treated me or how I had to deal with stuff. I told her beforehand also that I don’t have pharmacy experience. So the expectations she put on me is laughable when they play favorites and expect me to know everything without training is so ridiculous for a busy store. I’m honestly done with this place & they think I would wanna transfer in the front….. Lol🤣bye CVS
submitted by indicas_world to CVS [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 21:09 Kfreddy98 Build feedback

What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.
Big rpgs( hog warts, cyberpunk, Skyrim , gta), also games like cod and rocket league. Also looking to get into vr
What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?
Build rn is a little over $5k wouldn’t mind trimming that down where possible
When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.
Ready to buy now
What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc)
Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?
Us, in Va, but will be using best buy
If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.
Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?
Possibly down the line, not sure when it’s necessary.
Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)
Look for a high performance, low temp build. Just trying to not be overkill.
Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?
Mid-tower possibly full
Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?
This is the build I have picked out right now:
CPU- 9 9750x Gpu- Msi gaming trio 4090 Mobo- asus rog strix 650 e-f CPU cooler- nzxt kraken x63 Ram- Corsair vengeance 2x16gb Ssd- wd black sn850x w/ heat sink Psu- msi a1000g 1000w Case fans- haven’t found some good ones from Best Buy yet, open to suggestions Case- Corsair 4000d airflow atx Os- windows 11 home Peripherals Monitor- samsung odyssey neo g8 32” curved Keyboard- Corsair k70 mk2 Mouse- Corsair m65 wireless Speakers- steel series arena 7 2.1 gaming speakers. Please let me know if you see any possible compatibility/size issues, any components I could get for cheaper and get the comparable performance, or if my build is just straight overkill. Thanks!
submitted by Kfreddy98 to buildapcforme [link] [comments]

2023.05.18 03:54 CreepyCelery NEW receipt scanning money-maker app

I'm sure you've already heard of the other apps that pay you to scan your receipts (but if you haven't, the list and my codes are all at the bottom of this post), and now there's even more money-making possibilities with a new receipt scan app. Merryfield - https://merryfield.app.link/PnXUNcBHbzb - gives 50 points per scanned receipt and 2000 points per referral and for signing up with a referral!
Other receipt scanning apps:
Receipt Hog: code giv14334
Receipt Jar: Code BRITWTP23
Fetch: https://fetchrewards.onelink.me/vvv3/referraltext?code=B0MJR
ReceiptPal: https://app.adjust.com/oqlq9t9?label=2JTGZ4RG
Coinout: https://coinout.com/referrals/new?r=VW49RPH (referrals paused on Coinout)
submitted by CreepyCelery to refshare [link] [comments]

2023.05.16 19:43 JoWatsup45 My neighbors reckless actions could have gotten someone hurt or killed

I have loud and inconsiderate neighbors. I live in an apartment complex on the second floor and have to constantly wear ear plugs and noise canceling headphones (at the same time) to live peacefully in my home. Every weekend they hog the pool to throw huge parties and play loud music. Last Sunday was the worst of it.
At 12:00 I ran downstairs to yell at them to turn down their music that was so loud I could hear EVERYTHING from my apartment. They did, for a bit, before turning it back up. At about 4:30 my friend came over and told me she could hear them down the street in her car with the music blaring. She also said that they had driven their car ONTO THE LAWN OF MY APARTMENT. I don’t live near the parking lot so they drove a bit to get out there. Needless to say, police were called.
To make matters even more scary, they immediately started grilling in front of my door on the second floor. As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of room in the walkway of the second floor of an apartment. I tried really hard to get in contact with some authority but the police never came and the apartment complex was closed.
I’m genuinely freaked out by they’re actions Sunday. It’s one thing to be loud and disruptive, it’s another to drive recklessly onto the lawn (again, I was not close to the parking lot) and to grill on the second floor of your apartment. I did contact the complex, but they haven’t been able to get a hold of my neighbors yet. FYI, I didn’t confront my neighbors directly because I don’t speak Spanish and they refuse to talk to me to begin with. When I do they just wave me off in Spanish. I really hope they don’t try anything this weekend and especially Memorial Day. My nerves need a break.
submitted by JoWatsup45 to Vent [link] [comments]

2023.05.16 15:33 NurseRyanS Nurses are hated by everybody

“Why is this patient on oxygen and why haven’t they gotten up to walk today?” - PA’s
“I feel like I’m all alone, you never come in here.” - Patients
“My mom hasn’t been repositioned in an hour! She can’t tell you when she needs help (yes she could). Let me speak to your charge.” - Patient’s family
“I’m too busy to help and I need to chart my hourly rounding. You only have 3 patients right?” - PCT/MA’s
“I know it’s shift change, but I’m gonna hog the one Omnicell on the floor for 30 mins because we need to restock Meemaw’s q8 subq Heparin.” - Pharmacy
“If the patient is refusing the bed alarm then you, charge, and the attending need to provide education (individually and in that order) and have the patient fill out this contract stating they are refusing the bed alarm, and then you need to scan it in.” - Admin
“I need verbal confirmation that I can use the pt’s PICC for lab draws.” - Me. “Yeah, that’s what it’s there for.” - Hospitalist
Everyone hates nurses.
submitted by NurseRyanS to nursing [link] [comments]

2023.05.15 02:03 awisemathlady Let me (f) play my VG!!!

I (f) got a new game. My partner plays his own all the time on the big screen. Hogs the TV night and day to play VGs or watch what he wants to watch. Told me he’d like to watch me play (but won’t complain if I play on my own) and it has to be on our big screen. Weekend is mostly him playing his VGs.
Finally I get to play on the big screen, and he leaves when he sees I’m not at the Temple of Time again. I’m happy on my own for a few hours. He comes home and is annoyed I haven’t prepped dinner the way he would’ve. He gets done correcting my “mistake” and asks me if I’ve reached the Temple of Time. I say no, but I’ve picked up new skills, beat some other temples, and I’m on my way back to the Temple of Time. He complains that I’m once again not where he’d be interested in watching me play. He’s huffing and puffing and saying how he thought we were going to do this together. The nerve. Then he keeps asking me what I’ve been up to in the game, as if he could forsee it being a lame answer. I answer, he sees it’s not lame, and he’s annoyed I’m not peppy talking to him about the game. No doy!
Back tracks his attitude later but I’m honestly over it. FUCK men are annoying when you, a female, are trying to play a VG. Assuming my ass is doing it wrong just because I’m not doing it at what would be his pace… Like, god DAYUM, get out of my face with your fucking lame ass expectations on how I explore a world or play. I’m not trying to speed through this shit! I want to enjoy the world the creators made! Rawr. 🐲🔥
submitted by awisemathlady to Vent [link] [comments]

2023.05.14 07:47 GreenApplePaste Hassle definitely wanted to get up in Sylvia’s grutz, right?

Haven’t been watching last couple days but is this the consensus ? He make a move on the hog yet?
submitted by GreenApplePaste to fishtanklive [link] [comments]

2023.05.14 04:02 Kazevenikov Cryptid Chronicle - Chapter 28

A special thanks to u/bluefishcake for the wonderful original story and sandbox to play in.
A special thanks to my editors LordHenry7898, RandomTinkerer, Swimming_Good_8507, and CatsInTrenchcoats
And a big thanks to the authors and their stories that inspired me to tell my own in this universe. RandomTinkerer (City Slickers and Hayseeds), Punnynfunny (Denied Operations), CompassWithHat (Top Lasgun), CarCU131 (The Cook), and Rhion-618 (Just One Drop)
Hy’shq’e Ay Si’am (Thank you noble friends)
Chapter 28: From Tiny Seeds…
“What a beautiful mess.” That was the only thing that Rhaxiid had said to him when the distraught human stormed off to goddess knew where, but the look he’d been given by his old friend had spoken entire volumes. Akil’eas had covered as best he could, and while Kalai had nearly thrown herself at the impertinent officer, the good Colonel had helped him transition the guests to the next dance after taking the woman aside. Once everything had been settled and the party put back on track, he’d asked Kalai to step up to play hostess while he volunteered to go look for the barbarian.
It served its purpose. She could be the face of the family and network with the movers and shakers in this region who had connections back on Shil. It would give her the leg up she would need as she prepared to enter society. It also meant that he could separate his daughter from the human. He’d played the ‘man-card’ with his daughter and the ladies, while he’d played the ‘host-card’ with Rhaxiid. To the rest, he was going to find and coax the poor man back with assurances that the officer would be reprimanded for her breach of etiquette in the dance.
Akil’eas had used the excuse to go to his private lab, where Dr. Sel’wa had bowed out at the beginning of the party to prepare the samples. Long familiarity had bred efficiency, and when Akil’eas had entered the lab, Sel’wa had presented him with the pill.
“It’s a three stage swarm. The first is the virus delivery and liver monitoring set. Once he reaches Stage One, the monitoring swarm will trigger the second stage and provoke an immune response while suppressing the viral load with the current generation of treatments. Once the virus load has hit the suppression threshold, the third stage will deliver the antibodies from Subject 3239-CA and trigger replication in the host…but doctor, this will only work if he is actually related to the original host! And only if he carries the same genetic markers! If you’re not one hundred percent sure, this treatment will not work, and I’m not sure if we can make another batch of antibodies! The original sample is so degraded!”
Akil’eas nodded and took the pill and a placebo in a case with him. He shoved the problem of how to get the savage to take the pill to the side as he searched for whatever corner it may have crawled into. The resultant hurried search through the house for wherever the savage was hiding left him in a state of near panic as the seconds felt like hours. As he was on his way to the south wing, he glanced out at the Atrium and sighted his quarry.
The human was in one of the little private alcoves hidden by the Wampam tree and the King’s Hedge Roses. Akil’eas hurried down the stairs and as he passed through the kitchens, he was struck by an idea that could solve his problems.
Andy sat cradling his head, fighting to regain his composure. He’d broken, here of all places, and humiliated himself and his patrons, and all he could feel was shame. These purple bitches were all the same, but he couldn’t let go and be pleasant for even one evening. The scene replayed itself in his mind over and over again, from Char’dania to Ms. Mor’lanan.
“I’m just a fucking token Indian-”
“I wouldn’t exactly say that. Unique, certainly, but not a token.”
Andy looked up to see Kalai’s father holding two low stemmed, wide brimmed glasses in one hand, and a black frosted imitation of a wine bottle in the other. There was a look of unease on the man’s face and an unsteadiness in his stance.
“Please, don’t rise on my account.” Andy hadn’t realized he was halfway to rising from his seat as the doctor shook his head. “I came to offer my sincere apologies as a host, and I beg you accept them, along with a peace offering.”
Andy blinked a few times in confusion as he returned to his seat. The man smiled wanly as he set the glasses and the bottle on the side table that sat between Andy and an empty seat in the alcove.
Andy swallowed once and nodded as the man opened the bottle and left it to breathe. “I believe it is I that owes you an apology, sir. I have not behaved as a good guest, nor have my actions reflected well on my patrons, nor on you as host.” Andy opted for formality, though it came out more stilted than he’d meant it to.
“The insult is borne by you, Mr. Shelokset, you did not give it,” Dr. He’osforos stopped and gave Andy a look that he couldn’t interpret. “Take it from an old socialite, you held up rather well, considering the circumstances.”
“You are too kind, your grace.”
The man inclined his head and sat down next to Andy. A silence, neither comfortable nor uncomfortable, fell for a moment. “My daughter seems quite taken with you…”
Andy let the statement hang unfinished while he considered his response to her father. “Kalai…that is Lady He’osforos…is a friend, your grace. She’s considerate, kind, and courageous. In the short time I’ve known her, she’s been a perfect lady to me and my people.”
“Hmm…that is high praise.” The doctor seemed satisfied with that answer before he poured a small amount of the burgundy liquor into a glass to taste it. “My daughter is… precious to me. She’s all I have left.”
Andy let his eyes fall to the ground, and he felt a wave of sorrow for the man wash over him. “I’ve heard of your loss, your grace. I can only offer you my sincerest condolences for your wives and child.”
When Andy looked back up at the sudden silence, afraid he’d said something wrong, it was to see a look of pain on the Duke’s face. He seemed far away, as though his soul had gone wandering. Andy waited for what felt like an eternity before He’osforos spoke again. “It’s an old wound, but one that has never healed.” His voice was pained, and he suddenly seemed a bit frail. “It wasn’t just my wives and my daughter, it was the majority of our family, on all sides.”
“A bioterror attack, I’ve been told.” Andy sat back up straight as his host poured out two glasses and set the bottle down.
“Yes.” the man took a shuddering breath. “An Alliance bio-weapon in the hands of Roaches. Cerulean Pox to be specific. The terrorists detonated two of their bombs in the Ancient Quarter and…well, both my daughters contracted it immediately, and from them it spread to the rest of the family. I was working with a few doctoral candidates in a secure lab when they locked us in. By the time they let us out… I’d… I’d lost…”
Andy took the offered glass and stared down at the burgundy liquid. It had a spicy bouquet that he couldn’t place, but he raised it all the same, “To family. May they live forever in the mansions of our memory.”
Andy had taken the glass he’d offered him, but before He’osforos could say or do anything else, the human had raised his glass and invoked Memory, of all things. It means nothing, these creatures have no understanding of matters of faith. “To La’rala, Su’lenia, and Gadea. Gone, but never forgotten.”
As He’osforos raised his glass, the human spoke again. “May their memory be eternal.”
He’osforos nearly choked on the six year old Oborodo. To hear those words, the healing refrain of the Dirge of Krek, spouted by a faithless creature like a human was impossible. “That…that’s a prayer, a Shil’vati prayer from Krek! How could you know this?”
“It’s also a Christian prayer, your grace. One that I’ve found… comforting when…” Andy trailed off before covering his loss of reserve with a sip from the glass.
“To think… that Memory of all things…” Akil’eas’ mind whirled at the implications, but he shoved them back. A broken clock is right twice a day, as these humans say. “But what about when the memories become too painful, Mr. Shelokset? That is a question I have wrestled with for quite some time. My people have an answer to that question… Do yours?” Here is the test. Are you, like the rest of them, afraid to shoulder the memories? Or do you have the capacity to stand astride the River Of Time?
“When memories become too much… When they allow the past to intrude on the present… I’ve heard it called nostalgia. The pain of an old wound, your grace.” Andy took another pull from his drink. He drank a bit longer than was polite, but that didn’t matter to Akil’eas as he listened intently. The human, that is the boy, had a weight in his voice that Akil’eas knew all too well from having borne the same weight himself for so long. “I lost almost everything, your grace, and all I have left are memories. My own, and the memories that were handed down to me. Good, mixed with bad.”
Akil’eas closed his eyes and fought as his own memories threatened to intrude on the present. “But what to do about them? What do you do when the pain of the past threatens to overwhelm your present and tear down your future?”
“Learn to live with that pain… Make peace with it, I guess… but some days are harder than others. I don’t think I’m all that… Well, my people haven’t had the best track record with handling painful memories.”
There was a sudden tenseness in Andy that he recognized as a tell from a patient who didn’t want to admit to something. “May I ask? As a medical professional with all confidentiality guaranteed, of course." Akil'eas tried coaxing the answer from Andy.
“Substance abuse. Alcohol, drugs… Anything to numb the pain. Pain beyond just… just our bodies, although we had that too…” Akil’eas had two simultaneous observations as Andy spoke. The human was speaking about himself, obviously, but the subtle involuntary movement of the hands to his arms and the slight flinch when he described pain. Long dormant training from his residency in pediatrics kicked in, and Akil’eas felt something snap inside him. This boy was abused. “...a pain and emptiness of the soul. An amputated spirit.” Andy’s words lanced straight into Akil’eas’ heart.
“Nostalgia…amputation…those are apt descriptions.” Something started to stir in Akil’eas as he stared at Andy. “I hope you won’t think it rude of me to offer you more Oborodo, Mr. Shelokset? It’s been one of my escapes when those old wounds become nigh unbearable.” Akil’eas picked up the bottle and offered to top off Andy’s glass again, seeing as he was low. The case with the two pills in his coat jostled slightly, calling his mind back to his objective.
“I can stand another round, though if you don’t mind, I’d offer a toast to the memory of Mom and Dad.” Andy lifted his glass again after Akil’eas had replenished it. “To them, to all my cousins and family now gone up the hill…and to those who’re still lost, but will return.”
“May their memory be eternal,” Akil’eas intoned as he raised his glass and drank with Andy. There was a moment of silence as the human stared off into space, leaving Akil’eas there with his own swirling thoughts. Curiosity and concern compelled him to break the silence. “May I ask how?”
Andy seemed to come back to himself and turned to look at Akil’eas. Those eyes, those were the same eyes he’d seen in both his dreams and his nightmares when the memories of that little feral human and the cure it possessed haunted him. “Most of my family was killed in a single day. My parents died when dad’s Aircraft Carrier was sunk at Pearl, and all of my aunts, uncles, cousins were killed in the orbital strikes and the resultant firestorm.” The boy drained the glass and set it aside. “I, um…I helped my grandma bury them before they took us away.”
A lump formed in Akil’eas’ throat as memories of burying his own family rose to meet Andy’s words. “Goddess… I had no idea… but you said some survived?” Akil’eas asked somberly, hoping for something good, something to hold on to against the tide of nostalgia the two of them seemed to be adrift in. The pills were utterly forgotten.
“There were four of us. My paternal grandparents… and my older brother.”
Akil’eas’ breath caught in his chest. “Older… brother?” His heart began to race, and he looked at Andy with the appraising eye of a doctor, searching for and finding the similarities, while adding the effect of time as best he could.
“Yes, my brother-”
“Konstantin?” Akil’eas didn’t wait as the name fell from his lips before the human could say it. The effect was immediate.
“You…you know my brother?” The human stared at him, wide eyed and tense. Like Akil’eas had slapped him in the face.
“Konstantin Shelokset? Guardian named Wiley-”
“Grandpa Wiley, yes! You know them? Do you know where they are? If they’re alive? Please! Please tell me!” The boy was on his feet now, and he was pleading as he stood over Akil’eas.
Dr. He’osforos looked up into Andy’s eyes, and something inside him rose up and rebelled against all good sense and logic. This is no barbarian, no savage. Here is a person, a child, lost and alone. A child who was forced to bury his own family before being carted away to be beaten and abused. Empathy, that emotion he’d worked so hard to kill in himself to do what he’d had to do to save the last of his family, his last daughter, stirred. That old, almost vestigial piece of his soul tried to resurrect itself in him as he stared up at the desperate boy begging to hear news of the family that had lived. NO! That is not a person! That is a base creature! A test subject and a means to an end to save your-
The stench of death threatened to overwhelm him, even through his rebreather. Akil’eas was suddenly back in his home, seeing everything through the face shield of the hazmat suit. He could barely see through the tears, unable to wipe them away. Behind him lay both of his wives in their Navy parade blues. The crisp uniforms were stained by the sores on their bodies and their hands had already turned black. They lay on the bed with the door bolted and locked from the inside, and sheets had been stuffed in the cracks of the door. They’d known they were sick, and had tried to keep it contained, dying together. Akil’eas tried to compartmentalize his grief as he ran to his daughters’ rooms. Perhaps they’d succeeded and stopped the rest of the family from contracting the Pox. He found the door to Gadea’s room open and fear threatened to stop him from confirming what he suspected he’d find. Akil’eas tried to steel himself as he turned the corner, but his heart shattered then and there to see his lifeless father, cradling the body of Akil’eas’ daughter Gadea. Their faces were magenta and marred with weeping sores.
He stood transfixed as he saw the bodies of his Kho-mother, their servants, and all the rest gathered together in the room. They’d all gone together and he began to despair. From the other side of the bed he heard a groan, and clambered over the bodies of his family to see Kalai on the ground, sick but alive. Fatherly instinct overrode his grief and Akil’eas ran to her. She was sick, he could see, but miraculously in the early stages of infection. There was still hope, maybe, if he could get her to the hospital he could requisition the emergency treatment his team had been working on. It would give her a fighting chance, but he’d have to move quickly. If she passed the threshold, there would be nothing he could do. Akil’eas scooped his little girl up and sprinted back to the transport. Panic and desperation to save Kalai gave him strength and endurance beyond the point of exhaustion. “Krek, Lord of Death and Memory, turn thy face away from my daughter! Spare this one and take what you will from me! Spare her, I beg you!”
She stirred in his arms and grasped at his suit. “Papa? Where’re my mamas? Where’s Gadea? Please, I want my mamas! I want my sister!”
“Please! Duke He’osforos, I’m begging you, tell me Konstantin and Grampa Wiley are alive! Tell me you know where he is! Where is my Grandfather? Please! Where is my brother?” Akil’eas felt himself return suddenly to the present at the boy’s pleading tone.
That voice inside his head, the one he’d used to kill the voice in his heart, that allowed him to do what he’d had to do, fell silent. Try as he might, Akil’eas could not look at Andy without seeing his daughter Kalai. There but for the grace of Hele and the forbearance of Krek is my child.
“I…I don’t know if they are currently alive, but I treated your brother some eight local years ago.” Akil’eas stood up and sidestepped the young man. He deliberately turned his back on Andy as he pulled the case with the pills out to look at it. What have I become? A sense of deep shame and disgust in himself threatened to overwhelm him as he shoved them back into his pocket, unopened.
“Eight years? He… He would have been-”
“Eleven or twelve.” Akil’eas turned and poured himself a full glass and drained it to steady himself. The spices of the Oborodo burned his mouth and throat, and he coughed slightly to clear his palate of the stinging. “I remember him, because he’d been brought to me badly malnourished and sick. I treated him, and he attacked me…nearly taking my life.” The voice in his head muttered against the gale force screaming of the voice in his heart. If you tell him the truth, he will finish what his brother started and condemn Kalai to death. Tell him what he needs to know and no more!
“Why would he do that?” Andy’s voice was incredulous and Akil’eas turned to face him.
“It… might have been the fact that the Interior was present, and were looking to arrest him. He escaped-”
“THAT’S MY BROTHER! Ts’uh un’stommish uh’ti’uh’qai’es!” The sudden burst of joy and the barbaric language made Akil’eas nearly jump out of his skin. Andy twisted in joy before turning back to see how badly he’d scared Akil’eas. “Forgive me, but… I will make what restitution I must on his behalf for any pain he caused you, of course… but he’s ALIVE! I knew it!” Andy’s joy was infectious, and Akil’eas couldn’t help but smile awkwardly at the strange happy dance the boy was doing as he celebrated the news.
“Eight years ago, yes, and the Interior’s been looking for him ever since. I know the officer who wanted him quite well. There’s a warrant out for his arrest still-”
“Maybe that’s why he hasn’t come home! Kay Tee and Grandpa won’t risk ol’ Scarface kicking our door in.” Akil’eas felt the need to be pragmatic and remind Andy that it had been eight years ago, and that Si’catreese had assured him that she would eventually find Konstantin. She’d not had the evidence, but she suspected that his Shil’vati guardians had hidden him away somewhere. Andy’s statement, however, brought a measure of hope he’d not felt in a long time.
“Do you mean to say… your brother would come home… if he’s still alive-”
“I know he’s still alive! He must be! I can’t believe it! You know him, and you treated him!”
“You think he’d come home if… the Interior was no longer looking for him?”
“It’s the only explanation! It must be!” Andy crowed happily, before looking around and suddenly seeming to go shy. “Doctor… Your grace… I tell you this in confidence, but… my brother and my grandfather are part of the Resistance. I’ve been trying to find them and get them out so they can come home. You see, they monitor those warrants and the movements of the Interior and-”
Akil’eas held up his hand to stop Andy from continuing, “Mr. Shelokset, I…as it turns out, I may be able to repay you after all. You see, I know the Agent who issued the warrant for your brother. If your brother still lives, and if he is still associated with that organization, then perhaps a subtle invitation home can be arranged.”
“You… What do you mean?” Akil’eas couldn’t help the pang in his heart as he saw the hope written all over the boy’s face.
“I mean, that if the only thing keeping your family separated is an Interior Warrant, then if it were to go away…” Akil’eas spoke guardedly, calculating what it would cost him to have Si’catreese pull the warrant.
Andy stood there and stared at Akil’eas in shock for two heartbeats before throwing himself tearfully at him. Akil’eas was wrapped up and pulled into the air by the now sobbing human.
“You have no idea what this means to me. To my people! You may have just saved us, your grace!
“I’ve done nothing yet, young man!” Akil’eas squeaked before Andy placed him back on the ground. The boy stood there, awkwardly while He’osforos adjusted his suit and tamed the one or two loose strands of hair that had fallen loose. “But this…I feel that…well I…” Akil’eas felt himself at a loss for words as he watched the play of hope and anticipation play out over Andy’s face. “For saving my daughter, and for bringing her home…Losing your loved ones is a fate I’d not wish on even my worst enemy. That kind of loss…it can…it will…”
“Twist you, bend, or even break you,” the boy finished what Akil’eas could not bring himself to confess. Looking in his eyes, he saw that the young man knew and understood.
“I’m sorry that you understand that so well. I offer my own sincere condolences for the loss of your family, and for what you have had to endure.” Akil’eas replaced the cap on the Oborodo and made a show of tidying up their area. He turned to fix Andy with a soulful look before speaking. “Andrei, would you honor me by returning? The lieutenant will be punished, and she will bother you no more. Please?” He gestured to the main entrance of the atrium and canted his head, expectantly.
Andy stepped off the back porch with Sitry as they took a stroll down the path to the lakeside. She’d been hovering ever since he’d returned with Dr. He’osforos, with only a few minutes to himself at the dinner table, sitting between Aftasia and Sakalbi. He didn’t mind it really, her general demeanor toward everyone else that tried to approach him did wonders for keeping people away. Besides that, Andy was happy.
He felt like a huge crushing weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Now it all made sense! If the Interior was actively hunting him and knew that Grandpa Wiley was his guardian? No wonder they’d stayed away with no contact. A small part of Andy spoke out against the doctor having the ability to quash an Interior Warrant, but the man was a Duke, and Andy had saved his daughter, Kalai. With the way the Resistance fought and evaded the colonizers, they had to have spies in the Interior and the Marines. They’d know, and once attention was focused elsewhere? They’d make their quiet way back in their own time when Scarface wouldn’t be looking. Now he wouldn’t have to be any kind of leader to anybody. No more sleepless nights or sitting in the front. He could fade into the background with his hero brother and grandfather taking the responsibility. No more would he feel compelled to represent the Shelokset name whenever they went out on raids, or protest the governess and whatever new moronic edict she’d made.
He’d do a year, just one, working for the Vaidas, and then he’d quit. He’d be able to fade into obscurity as just another young man, another tumulh, in the wings with a quiet life. He’d introduce the Vaidas to the right people who could tell them what to do, and be done.
A bottle of Jack Daniels…no, not Jack. This calls for a celebration. I’ll go get some thousand-credit-a-bottle of bourbon…no, TWO bottles…and kill one for the warrant, and save the second to share with grandpa and Kay Tee. The Orca Sheloksets are coming home!
“Andy? Are you alright? You look like you’re on the verge of tears.” Sitry had brought the both of them to a stop. The moonrise over the Cascades and the fading light of evening reflecting off Mt. Rainier to the southeast and made the whole vista like one of those cheap postcards in the tourist areas.
“Wha…oh, no, I um…I’m actually really happy.” Andy mentally slapped himself as he pulled his thoughts back into the here and now.
Sitry scoffed in disbelief. “Happy? After that bitch-”
“That bitch has been chasing me for years now, and it isn’t sex she’s after, Sitry. She wants me to join the Marines because she thinks that the rest of the young people of the tribe’ll see me do it and join too.” Andy patted her arm that was linked with his, and he walked off the path to a little seating area under a gazebo.
“That’s…wow. That’s stupid!” Sitry trotted alongside him as he took a seat on a bench and leaned back. “They wouldn't, would they?”
“No! No they wouldn’t…at least I hope not,” Andy shifted slightly as Sitry took a seat next to him and not so subtly batted her eyelashes at him. “No offense, Sitry, but we kinda hate the Imperium.” Fuck, why did I say that? The happy feeling fled and in its place a palling started to fall.
“So…why work with us? I mean, I’m grateful, and my parents love you…you’re like the First Bloom to them right now…but…” Sitry didn’t seem put out in the slightest, but she did shoot him a concerned look over her shoulder.
Andy took a steadying breath and decided to be truthful. “I guess I’m just tired. Tired of watching my home change for the worse, tired of fighting, tired of being scared, tired of being angry…tired of people thinking I’m something I’m not. I’m not sexy, I’m not a leader, I’m not a savage, and I’m not a…I’m not an expert on anything.”
Sitry twitched her tail, cocked an ear, and shot him a disbelieving smirk. “So what is it you want? How should I think of you?” Andy couldn’t help but appreciate how pretty she was. Her long dark red hair fell in cascades down her back and contrasted perfectly with her green dress.
Andy gulped a bit, suddenly feeling warm despite the breeze. “I don’t know…I guess I just want to be…I don’t want to be the me everyone wants me to be. I guess I just don’t want to be where I’m at anymore.” Andy couldn’t help but think about all the pressure his grandmother put on him to step up and be a Clan Chief. The pressure the other tumulhs put on him to step up alongside the Elders, leading and advising the Clans. The pressure of trying to keep the hopes of the Exiles alive and bring them all home. It all terrified him, because what if he failed? He didn’t even want to think about it.
“Do…do you hate me?” Sitry’s voice was small and vulnerable, and Andy suddenly saw that she’d taken his meaning very differently.
“No, no I don’t hate you! You…” Andy quickly stammered. You’re fucking gorgeous and I don’t know what to do or say around you because I don’t want to be a creep, but I just keep coming off as this broken loser to you! “I guess I’m just…I never thought I’d be friends with a hwun’eetum.” DAMN IT, YOU COWARD!!!
“A friend?” She perked back up at that and got a dreamy look in her eyes. “Well after only knowing you for a few days, I can work with that. Maybe we could be something more before I go back home to Shil?” She twisted around to give him a look over her shoulders and batted her eyelashes at him again. Those big silver gray eyes flashed playfully and her noticeably red lips quirked up in a smile.
AAAAGGGGHHHH! “Maybe? Who knows, but I think Kalai and your parents…not to mention your brother would have something to say about that.” Andy could only pray that he sounded calm and collected in the face of Sitry’s advances. The incident the other day had left him with very embarrassing thoughts, and now here she was again, leaning closer and closer into his personal space. A part of him deep down wanted to reciprocate, but it felt like a hundred reasons jumbled in his head for why he shouldn’t.
“Mmm…maybe…” She retreated back to her side of the bench, but with a satisfied smile instead of a pout. “But I promise you this, handsome, if that Cambrian lumberjack gets near you again I’m kicking her stupid tusks down her stupid throat.”
Andy laughed heartily and the tension snapped, letting him return to that feeling of happiness again. “You know? I’d love to see someone put that hog-faced stalker in her place.”
“Consider it done, laddie, though I hope ye won’t tar th’ whole lotta us with th’ same brush.” The new voice with that hated Cambrian accent nearly made Andy jump out of his skin. Turning around, he saw Colonel Pic’tia standing behind them, outside the gazebo. Andy felt like a suddenly wet cat as the large woman made her way quickly around and stood before him with a bow. “I came te make an apology on behalf o’ me officer. I dinnae know she were harassin’ ye, but I’ll be keepin’ a clear eye on ‘er from now on. Ye have me word onnit.”
Andy instinctively inclined his head, while Sitry was clearly sizing up the woman and making calculations. “Thank you, Colonel, I’m appreciative.” Andy was pleased that his voice betrayed none of his emotions.
“I mus’ say, It’s a right bonnie place ye’ve got here. Reminds me o’ te Eastern Lowlands. Green an’ rainy like…Enough te make a woman miss home.” The Colonel turned and took a sweeping look at the vista around them, sighing appreciatively.
“Well, Seattle isn’t ours, hasn’t been for two Occupations.” Andy quipped with a look at Sitry.
“I know, laddie…an’ me and me lassies can relate, funnily enough. Still, home is home, and just because some Empress plants Her flag dinnae mean it stopped bein’ yers, ev’n if it’s only true in th’ stories ye tell.” The Colonel turned and smiled back down at Andy and Sitry.
“May God bless and keep the Empress-” Andy started.
“Far, far away from all o’ us. Goddess fer Queen an’ Cambria!” The Colonel finished with a flourish. Andy’s jaw nearly hit the floor and he felt his heart nearly stop in shock. The cheeky smile she flashed at the both of them got even bigger. “Yer not th’ only one’s been shit on by th’ Empress. We do wha’ we can fer our people and hope ye do a bit more good than bad in th’ process.”
Andy had no words as he continued to stare up at the big woman who guffawed at the horrified look on Sitry’s face.
“Right, I dinnae wan’ te overstay me welcome, an’ iffin ye have any more trouble with Char’dania, ye have my express permission te boop her ‘er right inna snoot. Only leave a poor lassie her tusks fer her dignity? There’s noone smart wan’s te get inna kickin’ match with an Erbian lass protectin’ her boyo. Ye ‘ave as good a night as ye can git, now!” The saucy wink she gave Sitry turned the bunnygirl nearly as red as her hair and Colonel Pic’tia sauntered out of the gazebo, off along the lakeside, whistling a tune.
Andy felt as embarrassed as Sitry looked. “So…should we go back to the party?” he ventured, suddenly not really able to look her in the eye.
“Yes, I think that would be…yes,” she seemed to dither about offering her arm to him, so he did it for her. He suppressed a laugh as she seemed to go even redder as she took him by the arm and began leading him back to the house.
Just as they reached the back porch, Sitry stopped and seemed to nearly hop from foot to foot. “Um, so Andy, I was wondering if…well I…you…oh fuck it!”
Andy stopped and looked down at her in confusion. “Sitry wha-umph!” She’d jumped up and kissed him, not deeply or well, but she’d done it. She put her hands on his chest and stood on her tiptoes to reach up and plant her lips on his.
Andy froze as everything short circuited in his brain and body. She held herself perfectly still, still mashing her lips against his for what seemed like an eternity before she lowered herself down. She stared into his eyes, and he saw fear written all over her face. “I…I’m sorry, but I…I just-mmph-ow!”
He’d wrapped her in his arms and pulled her back into him to kiss her back. Only when he had, he’d been slightly off the mark and they’d clicked their front teeth together. The both of them recoiled, clutching their faces and rubbing their smarting teeth.
How could I have fucked that up! Son of a rat fucked sperm-burping gutter-
Sitry began laughing, light and giddy, almost like a machine gun until she snorted twice and hiccuped. “By the Sacred Grove, Andy…you are…perfect!
“Wait…what?” Andy felt the floor fall out from under him as he rubbed the last of that tooth on tooth feeling away. He was so embarrassed, but for some reason, the urge to flee wasn’t there.
“Can we try that again?” Sitry’s voice grew husky and she stepped back in, laying her hands on his shoulders. Her eyes fluttered at him as she got closer and closer.
“Kissing?” Andy asked, finding his arms wrapping around her again.
“You taking me!” she growled with a feral smile and a twitch of her ears.
The door banging and something or someone slamming into it caused her to jump with a squeak of surprise. When she did, she had nowhere to go but up and forward, right into Andy. There was a thunk and for a moment Andy saw the cosmos as stars danced in his vision and they fell backward into the bushes.
“No, no, NO! I don’t give a damn! You are paid to keep tabs on any humans that they’re scouting and inform me before they make an offer!” Andy lay on the ground, flat on his back with Sitry laying on top of him, completely dazed. The voice of a Shil’vati woman that seemed familiar hissed and spat from the other side of the bushes, out of sight. “This is gross incompetence on your part, is this what I pay you for? Now I don’t care how, but you will give me everything you have on him and anyone that he has connections with.”
Sitry started to stir with a groan, and Andy quickly covered her mouth and shushed her quietly. “They’re fucking savages living in fucking wooden huts! Threaten them, then dangle more money than they’ve ever seen! It’s how you can get any greedy little creature to do what you want.”
Sitry, having got the message, went stock still and looked up at Andy. He could see the goose-egg forming on her forehead, while it felt like he had gotten a black eye. “Fucking useless incompetents!” The voice cursed before the sound of storming feet and a slamming door signaled the owner’s retreat.
“I think that maybe we should go back a different way,” Sitry mumbled, exploring her new lump as Andy helped her to push off him to her feet.
“Perhaps after we get some ice?” Andy replied gingerly, poking at his sore eye as she offered him a hand to pull him up.
Dr. He’osforos stood in the entryway, watching the last of his guests take their leave. All in all, the soiree had been a success, even with the little unexpected drama. Or perhaps a success in part because of it. Kalai was fussing over Andrei as the Vaidas were preparing to leave. She had attached herself to him for the whole evening while making snide comments about poor Sitry after the two had come back from their little walk after supper; a bit filthy and sporting a bruise and a bump respectively.
She was saying her farewells to the Vaidas, who were returning to their hotel with Andrei, while she had elected to stay here with him.
“Doctor, is it done? None of the instruments have recorded any data at all.” Dr. Sel’wa appeared at his left shoulder, muttering only loud enough for Akil’eas to hear.
Akil’eas frowned as he pulled the pill case out of his pocket and rattled it once for his aide. “Recover the samples and the swarms.”
The poor man sputtered incoherently for a moment before swiping the case from his hand. “What happened? Was there no opportunity? Is the subject not related to the original-?”
“Andrei is Konstantin’s younger brother, and would therefore be a perfect incubator…but I couldn’t do it. Andrei is…he is…it’s not right.” Again, the memory of young Kalai in his arms, magenta as he cradled her to him in the hazmat suit jumped in his mind when he thought about Andrei.
Dr. Sel’wa scoffed, “That has never stopped you before, doctor-”
“Perhaps it should have.” Akil’eas turned to look at him and saw that same iron determination that had been his refuge for so many years, and suddenly doubt began to creep into his mind.
“Doctor He’osforos…Akil’eas! We are this close to replicating the key treatment that will give us both cure and vaccine against Cerulean Pox!” Dr. Sel’wa put his hand on Akil’eas’ shoulder and squeezed, pleading with him. He had also lost family in the Virus Bombing, and had dedicated himself in their vendetta against the virus that had robbed them and so many others of their families. “Billions of lives hang in the balance! Your own daughter’s life hangs in the balance!
Akil’eas stared at the man and the voice in his mind came slithering back. The whispers in the depths of his mind were so clear against the storm inside his heart. So many years he’d relied on that voice to keep him going. Thousands of experiments. Tens of thousands of man hours. Your daughter is there, alive, because of what you’ve done.
Akil’eas closed his eyes and turned to walk back into his home. Andrei is a servant of Krek! Here is proof positive that he has a soul! That these humans are not savages, nor are they base animals-
A soul? One sympathetic human does not redeem the whole race. They’re just as guilty as the Roaches and the Alliance! Their history is soaked in the blood of their own kind, and given half a chance, they would certainly unleash weapons of mass destruction on us. They have no qualms about using atomics specifically on men and children, nor have they shied away from medical experimentation on themselves in far less ethical and noble pursuits!
Akil’eas stopped in the hallway and put out a hand to steady himself against a door frame. His chest felt heavy with the two voices roiling back and forth inside his mind. His rational mind and his conscience fought bitterly, leaving him short of breath and nearly shaking.
I’ve laid my course. It’s too late to change it now. If I didn’t balk when I joined Purity Control, then I certainly can’t balk now. For my daughter…for Gadea. For La’rala and Su’lenia. For my father, my mothers, and all the rest. I couldn’t save them, but I CAN save Kalai. I’m already lost, and my hands are already red and blue with blood, what’s a few more drops if it means my daughter is saved?
He straightened and steadied himself. His mind reasserted itself and he could again see clearly. “Dr. Sel’wa, you are right. I’ve come this far…I must see this through.” Akil’eas didn’t need to turn around to know the man was behind him, hovering.
“You’re saving lives, doctor. You’re saving Kalai’s life. What’s one more human weighed against the billions of Shil’vati who will be saved?” Akil’eas turned to look the man in the eye. There was relief on the man’s face.
“I think…I think I need to take a week or two off. Spend time with Kalai while she’s here.” Akil’eas looked back towards the front entrance, and could see Kalai standing there, waving and watching what he assumed was the Vaidas driving away. “Yes, a nice little vacation. I’ll take her sailing, just the two of us.”
“An excellent idea, doctor. It will help refocus you.”
Dr. Sel’wa retreated quickly back to their lab and left Akil’eas there, watching his daughter and thinking of the possibilities she’d have when she no longer needed to fear for her life. He would save her, and she would carry the He’osforos name and legacy forward. She would live, have children, and pass the traditions and memories of her mothers and her mothers’ mothers down. He would ensure that none of his loves would suffer the final death of being forgotten.
Even if I long for that death for all that I’ve done.
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2023.05.12 22:53 wbistuer Dan Snyder has agreed to sell the Washington Commanders to the group led by billionaire Josh Harris

Fuente: Hogs Haven
Via Telegram Channel (bvacio)
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