Muskegon food truck rally
2010.08.29 22:36 sli Lakeland, FL
Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, located along Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando. According to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 112,136. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.
2013.07.19 03:28 zomboi The Official Jacksonville, Florida Subreddit.
The official Jacksonville, Florida Subreddit. This subreddit is the hotspot for all things Jacksonville. Local news, events, or anything relating to Jacksonville are found here. If you are new to the city and want to know more, come over and ask! Do you have bad reviews or good reviews about businesses? Looking for something to do? This is the place to ask and find out! Feel free to subscribe and join the discussion with the rest of the J-ville residents!
2023.05.29 23:43 idccmdmd 🚛
2023.05.29 23:27 CuriosTiger Long read: An expat's life story across 3 decades abroad
I see a lot of expats posting about problems and challenges in their new country, and I am not objecting to that. When you're unhappy, this can be a good place to find some support or at least a sympathetic ear. But I've lived outside of my home country for nearly three decades now, and I'd like to share my story and some of the positives I've experienced.
I was born and raised in Norway. By all accounts, that's winning the birth lottery. I'm proud to be Norwegian, and that will always be a part of my identity. However, in my teens, small town Norway felt kind of boring, and I wanted an adventure, so I went on a pilgrimage.
I was a computer geek before geeks became popular. When you're a computer geek, Mecca is in Silicon Valley, or at least it was back then. And so for my first real trip outside of Scandinavia, I moved to California as a high school exchange student.
High school was different. There was homesickness, but there were also new friends, new activities and a whole new climate. I arrived proficient in reading and writing English, but my spoken accent was very characteristically Norwegian. By the time I left, I was basically fluent. A slight accent remained, but it was no longer a barrier to communication.
I came home with a very pro-US viewpoint. I was dazzled by this land of opportunity, and in retrospect, I was overlooking some of the negatives, even back then. But I decided that I wanted to go back to the US for college.
I did exactly that. This time, I moved to Texas and enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. This was my first experience really trying to live on my own (in California, I had had a host family) and it would be a lie to say that the international factor didn't make it extra intimidating. My dorm roommate told me he couldn't imagine what it would be like to be that far away from his family. Then his parents moved from Houston, Texas to Fairbanks, Alaska, so I guess he got to find out.
Even I can't find anything positive to say about dorm food, and there were some other problems. Surviving and thriving on a student budget could be tough, for one thing. But there's a silver lining to every cloud. I was able to obtain an off-campus work permit by showing the US government that the strengthening dollar had left my scholarship (in Norwegian currency) inadequate. Work permit in hand, one of the easiest student jobs I could find was a bus driver position with the university shuttle system. Not exactly your typical job for a computer science student, but it paid surprisingly well and I could schedule my shifts around my classes, so it proved a great fit. The only drawback was that junior drivers got no work over the summer when the university ran a much reduced bus schedule.
I solved that conundrum by going into trucking...helped in part by a really nice road trip I had stumbled into with a trucker friend the previous year, and by statements from him and others that I wasn't the trucker type and would never make it in that industry (challenged accepted!) Over the next few years, I was a college student from September through May, and drove trucks coast-to-coast every summer. I made it through 46 states and got paid to see the country.
That likely wouldn't have happened in Norway. Not because Norway doesn't have truckers, but because that kind of random detour from the "ideal" career path wouldn't sit well with Norwegian society. Norway likes social order. America likes individualism. I found that American friends found my little detour into trucking cool while Norwegian friends mostly just found it...odd.
Fast-forward a few years, and my first job offer out of college landed in my lap very unexpectedly. Through a friend in Norway, I landed my first full-time job. However, it wasn't in the US. Or in Norway. It was in Vienna, Austria. And it was too good to turn down, especially in an IT job market on life support after the .com bubble burst.
So I packed my bags and moved to Vienna. I still had an overly positive view of the US, although the way the US conducted itself in the wake of 9/11 would shake those convictions to the core. The job in Austria was fantastic in every way, I had fun at work, I had supportive coworkers...and then I had a few challenges.
One of them is that I have asthma. And in Austria in 2001, people still smoked inside. The first thing that happened in my new job is that I had to walk in and tell the three people I was sharing an office with that they could no longer smoke in the office. Thankfully, HR backed me up, but that didn't exactly win me any popularity contests I tried to be humble and explain as best I could that the asthma was beyond my control, and that did work...eventually. The ice thawed, and I settled into my new job.
But what about when it was time to go home? I did not have much of a social life at first. In the beginning, I could blame the language barrier -- much like my school English, my school German was inadequate at first. My coworkers were mostly fluent in English; the rest of Austrian society, not so much. And after all, I was in their country, it was only proper that I should learn THEIR language. So I put a lot of effort into that, speaking German with my coworkers and with anyone else who would put up with me. This was when I ran into another typical expat problem: Whenever I encountered an Austrian who spoke English, he/she would detect my foreign accent and switch to English unprompted. It took me a while to pick up on Austrian accents in general and Viennese German in particular, but eventually, I did.
That still didn't help my social life. Nor did the fact that bars and other similar venues were off-limits due to the aforementioned asthma. My coworkers were nice and polite, but Austria seems to have a bit of a taboo against socializing with coworkers outside of work. Truth be told, this is a nut I never quite did manage to crack. I did eventually make a number of friends in Austria, but the majority were fellow expats.
One of those friends was an American who had moved to Austria for personal reasons, but still tried to run a business along with a business partner of his back in Florida. To make an already-long story somewhat shorter, they hired me on a skilled worker visa and I moved back to the United States. I was excited to be in the US again, and I was not sorry to leave Austria behind. But I also don't regret taking the opportunity I was given in Vienna. I learned a lot from my years there.
Since then, my career path has been more normal. I've mostly lived in Florida since, with the exception of a few years back in Norway during the Great Recession. Even then, I wound up working for a well-known US company, so I'd sit in Norway fielding conference calls from Oklahoma and Texas. Then I moved back to Florida again because my wife (now ex-wife) decided she didn't want to live in Norway. At this point, I've lived in Florida continuously since 2012. And while I miss friends and family in Norway, life in Florida has been good to me. I've met great people here, and I've had adventures that wouldn't have been possible back home.
My asthma likes the Florida climate. Warm and humid sounds like a nightmare to some, but that warmth opens up my lungs and the humidity keeps the worst of the pollen out of the air. On the social scene, many Europeans call Americans "superficial", but I find that makes it easier to break the ice and make friends. So not everyone you meet is going to be your new BFF, but what's the harm in meeting them anyway?
People often ask me why I would leave Norway when the quality of life there is "so much better" (their words, not mine.) But quality of life is subjective. Sure, there are things I like better in Norway than in the US, but the reverse is also true.
Life has not been the straightforward path I'd envisioned in my teens, but it has been an adventure so far, and I can't wait to see what's around the next corner.
submitted by CuriosTiger
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2023.05.29 23:26 MagmaticDemon I LOVE CHEESE, IT'S THE BEST FOOD NO CONTEST
Okay so i just need to start this by saying cheese is absolutely incredible, it's actually insane how good of a food it is overall. Cheese is like the only food that works with almost anything, it's so ridiculously versatile that not meals on average have cheese in them far far more often than not. It even works with straight up stupid combinations like one i saw the other day, "pear and cheese salad". It was just pear, cheese and mayonaise but supposedly it worked surprisingly well together (according to my sister who's quality of tastes vary greatly. I don't fully trust them truthfully). All the best foods also make great use of cheese as well, let me give you a few examples here: Spaghetti, Pizza, baked potatoes, mac-n-cheese, chicken alfredo, lasagna, cheeseburgers, and many many more. Don't even get me started on the various different cheese types and qualities such as: cheddar, swiss, feta, blue cheese, provolone, pepperjack, white cheddar, ricotta, brie, gouda and so many more as well. There are some people who just don't get it, some aliens perhaps that hate eating cheese on anything. I cannot understand them in the slightest, how can you not foam at the mouth when someone offers you a cheesy meal like mac-n-cheese? How do you eat hamburgers without cheese on them or eat sandwiches without any cheesy flavor? Insanity, truly.
Reminds me of a meme i once saw about southern american men gifting their girlfriends massive cheese wheels as a gift on dates, and they weren't appreciative!! WHAT? People need to get their fucking priorities straight, any sane person would prefer a cheese wheel over a ring or fancy dinner. Some people just don't understand true southern values and the amount of hard work that goes into fiddling cow nipples for some milk to make cheese with. They just don't get it. Fuckers are blind to the wonderful world of cheese and milk, they'd rather eat hot chips and drink tea and coffee. They're in their own world of darkness, unaware of the beautiful basting light of cheesy goodness. Okay maybe SOME of those hot chips have cheese but they don't even notice!! they eat chips that are so spicy that they can't even taste the fucking cheese so it doesn't count. I swear if one more person gives me another negative opinion about cheese, i'm gonna put holes in my wall. Many many holes, with my fists and with weaponry, even guns. Nobody insults my favorite fucking food, EVER. I play the game skyrim JUST because it has cheesewheels in it. I buy a house in the game and just explore the world collecting every single cheese object in the game and storing it in my house, i don't even play the game the way its intended or to progress the story, JUST CHEESE. A peek into my cheesy mind would make one simply go insane, they can't handle a reality as yellow as mine, the average brain is unable to accurately comprehend the true omniscient godliness of cheddar and swiss. I am enlightened, i am gifted with divine cheesy knowledge of the universe and it's most delicious food.
I sleep on a pillow padded with cheese, filled with cheese. I sleep on a water-bed and.. you guessed it, it's filled with cheese too of course. I even go as far as to wash my clothes in cheese sauce (no soap, it ruins the cheesy aroma). But if you thought it stops there, oh boy, you are sorely mistaken little one. I broke my leg one time, shattered the femur bone into a billion pieces and i had the surgeon replace my femur with a solid cylinder of hardened cheese, a massive concrete cheese pole, sturdy and built for walking. I am one with the cheese, i'm becoming cheesy, cheese-man they sometimes call me (no they don't, i just made that up). But hey did i ever tell you about the time i built a car out of cheese, FROM SCRATCH!? That's right, i shit you not, i built an entire car by hand entirely from cheese. The wheels were cheese wheels screwed on with carved cheese bolts and nuts, the motor was a standard piston motor made out of beautifully aged gouda cheese, and it didn't run on gasolinr either. What it ran on was a specialty type of cheese sauce (surprising i know) but it was a kind of cheese sauce that apparently they don't sell around here anymore so i can't drive my car anymore, yay. Also i made a second grave error that ruined my car, the gasoline tank was made of swiss cheese, i'm not sure uf you've seen swiss but its typically full of holes and you know, in hindsight maybe making my gas tank have millions of holes in it was kind of barely a slightly godawful idea perhaps. I was driving one time unaware of the disaster i had created and was currently driving on the road when suddenly i smelled an interesting yet stenchy odor. It hit me like a truck (the smell did, i didn't get hit by an actual truck, that part of thr story comes later on) but yeah i smelled a stinky cheesy aroma and like a smoky smell too? It smelled like someone was genuinely smoking cheese in my backseat, so i turned around and i kid you not, the back of my car was fucking flaming and my back cheese wheels were melting off. Let me tell you, there's no doubt about it, i almost shit my pants. But i'm not a pussy so i turned around and hit the emergency eject button to launch myself out through the sunroof in the ceiling of the car and i flew through the air probably miles high. I nearly got hit by an incoming plane (dipshit). Then i deployed my parachute i made in case of emergencies but damn i'm stupid as shit, i made the same mistake twice. My parachute was made out of swiss as well, all full of holes, so i started plummeting. I started panicking not gonna lie but i remembered something! My backup cheese slices! (I keep thousands of cheese slices in my right pocket just in case i get hungry while im out). So i ripped those bad boys open and started patching the holes of the parachute and you wouldn't believe me normally but im living proof since im typing this... I lived! I lived through that catastrophe, but don't get the wrong idea, it wasn't the cheese's fault, it was my own. I just don't want you getting the wrong idea about cheese, they're a good fellow.
Did i ever mention the time i accidentally crippled an elderly lady with cheese? So, funny story, i was setting up a hilarious prank for my friend (i don't have friends, i fully intended on crippling this lady) and i laid an extra slippery puddle of liquid cheese on the sidewalk when nobody was looking. Then i covered it in a thin layer of leaves, in hindsight that makes no fucking sense and basically anyone with half a braincell would notice the pile of leaves as an obvioud trap or pitfall, I'm just lucky the old lady is absolutely not intelligent like me. Anyways, i camp up in a nearby tree with binoculars and watch from afar while snacking on my tiny cheese cubes. I see this old lady, about yay high and covered from head to toe in floral patterns and colors that make me feel like im on a drug trip. She takes a few steps with her cane in hand before stepping on the cheese and man.. SHE WENT FUCKING FLYING BRO LMAO. That poor mf went skateboarding down a hill but using her face as the skateboard. I choked on a cheese cube from laughter and ended up spilling them all over the place, hate to waste them but that laughter was uncontrollable. All the nearby pedestrians rushed to help the old lady and i just started throwing cheese cubes at them for fun, hitting them in the head. I remember vividly one guy shouting, "WHO IN THE FUCK IS THROWING CHEESE CURDS AT MY FUCKING HEAD?" and then i threw one into his mouth-hole, he stopped yelling after that and kept his mouth shut. Anyways, after a day's work i went home and eventually i heard on the news that the lady broke all of her legs (she should get cheese femurs like me fr) and that they were putting a bounty on the head of the "Cheese Trapper" Kind of a shitty nickname but whatever, i'll take what i can get i suppose. God, i love cheese.
submitted by MagmaticDemon
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2023.05.29 23:17 kloc_ [HIRING] An illustrator for a Food Truck card game I am designing
Hi everyone, I'm looking for someone who can illustrate a variety of different food trucks in a isometric layout. The project would be around 30-40 different illustrations (not all food trucks illustrations but different assets for the game as well). Not sure what type of art style I am looking for yet but open to all art styles until I find one that matches the games design.
submitted by kloc_
to starvingartists [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 23:15 fkingyoung_perfect crazy guy ch*ked me out at a party and egged my car part 2
jake still liked me obviously, but i did not. it was all good and he was nice and funny and almost never did anything wrong or made me mad. around october 2022, i developed a trauma bond with him. i told him i didn’t want a relationship with him because i have committment issues. november 2022 it got even worse. the highs were high, but the lows were sooo low. we would argue every single day and he would verbally and emotionally abuse me. he also demanded sexual favors, which i would decline. this would frustrate him, so i made it clear that i didn’t mind if he messed with other girls because we weren’t even dating so he had no reason to be “loyal” to me. of course, he did mess with other girls, but he confessed that it was never fullfilling because the only girl he truly wanted was me. february 2023, we got in a heated argument and out of anger, he revealed that he did in fact have my pic from last year. this obviously enraged me and i almost cut him off again. we took a short break of around 2-3 days before he apologized again. i felt that i was already in too deep, and there were 3 months of school left, so i should just push through and might as well continue using him for rides, food, and gifts. beginning of april 2023, we got in another argument and he said “go get r word by your dad”, referring to my personal trauma (my dad did not r word me btw). friday april 14, 2023, 2 days before my birthday, he dropped me off in the middle of nowhere and almost made me walk to school (not the first time he had done this.) that same day, he told me to come out of class so we could discuss what happened, and i told him i didn’t want to because i didn’t trust him and i didn’t want to get dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to walk back to school. he told me he would park at school so i had nothing to be afraid of. i agreed to go talk to him as long as he parked at school. i got in his truck and he immediately started driving off campus. i told him to turn around and he said he would but of course, he didn’t. i did what i had to do to avoid getting dropped off far away, so i jumped out of his moving vehicle and walked back to school quickly. it was pretty traumatizing and i had to cover my face in class to hide the fact that i was uncontrollably crying. fast forward to may 26, 2023, i finally got to go to my first party, and jake was there. we were on good terms and actually having a lot of fun. it was a pool party, so i had a bikini on, and lots of guys were coming up at me and hitting on me, which jake very much noticed and was trying to get the guys away from me, despite us not even being in a relationship. towards the end of the party, some guy and i were super drunk and we kissed but i pulled away really quickly. jake witnessed it and you can already imagine how furious he was, which is beyond stupid because not only has he kissed other girls, he has also effed them. he grabbed my arm and dragged me away to a corner away from the party scene while continuously asking me “why the f did you do that”. he pushed me against the wall and began choking me with both hands. i couldn’t breathe. i said “stop choking me i can’t breathe” and thankfully the host’s mom got there quickly and said “what are you doing?” in an angry tone. jake said nothing and let go of me. the host’s dad started yelling at jake in front of everyone and told him to get the f out. i tried to de escalate the situation by saying he only grabbed me, but no one was buying it. i went to jake’s truck with him to talk but we hardly did any talking. he was breathing heavily and taking deep breaths in hopes of calming down. my friends walked over to his truck and told me to get out because they didn’t trust jake. later that night, jake sent a video of him effing another girl in hopes of making me jealous or just to help him feel better (neither of which happpened.) he blocked me on everything and went around saying i kissed a homosexual in hopes of embarrassing me. he and justin messaged my mom via instagram to try to get me grounded or in trouble. in the early hours of may 28, 2023, he came to my house while everyone was asleep and egged my car. he continues to go around spreading lies about me and recruiting people to dislike me and make fun of me. everything he has done to me and almost all our arguments have been about other guys on my social media because he’s so insecure. he has always tried to justify his actions by saying it was a reaction to what i did, or i shouldn’t have made him mad in the first place. he’s mentally ill and takes any opportunity to go all out and release his demons. [today is monday may 29, 2023]
i have emailed his college twice with proof of him being racist, homophobic, having an underage girl’s explicit photo, and entering private property to egg my car. i also texted his mom to tell her to stop her son from coming to my house again. i can handle the harassment, but coming to my house is too far. a few days ago he said he told his stepdad about how i’m going around “lying” about him choking me and how they’re going to take me to court. i’m pretty sure he lied about that though. i’m looking for revenge ideas, so let me know what i should do.
be mindful of who you allow to be in your life and don’t settle for less than what you deserve. be careful and don’t surround yourself with dangerous people
submitted by fkingyoung_perfect
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2023.05.29 22:27 Aisling_The_Sapphire Subnautica: Below Zero - The Definitive No-Spoilers Guide For New Players
Updated May 2023
After changing reddit accounts and about a year since posting it, it seemed prudent to throw this up for visibility. :)
Few things are worse than not knowing what happened to a loved one. Which is what convinced Robin Ayou to get into a drop shuttle with a lifepod with basically nothing, then fire herself down onto an ocean planet where the only place that she could investigate was a tiny little patch of barely-even-land and pray she can survive long enough to find a way to get off the planet.
Nobody ever told Robin she was great at forward planning. https://subnauticamap.io/belowzero
- This map will provide direction/orientation for this guide, but BEWARE! It marks spoilers if you turn those on!
Once you've landed, you'll find some food and water to start you off scattered around the ship. You won't have to worry about getting cold, since standing next to your now-burning ship will warm you up and the meteors coming down don't actually paste you, they're mostly to stress you out.
Note that may not be the case later. The weather in this game is a serious thing.
Once you have your stuff, you'll find the drop pod on your HUD. Don't go straight to it, though. As soon as you hit the water, look for an indentation in the ground. You'll find some copper in there. Then, follow the northern glacial wall (That's to your right when you're looking at your lifepod) until you find a small cave, which will have some silver and gold. That'll get you started off nicely. Get to your lifepod, take a look at your fabricator. You'll find that the items you have blueprints for can be pinned to the top-right in your PDA by clicking on them in the blueprints tab, a useful feature when hunting for materials.
Your goals right now are your basic survival tools. Note that the kelp forest is a bad place to hold your stuff in your hand. The sea monkeys are kleptomaniacs and will gank your stuff. You can totally get it back though, it just means chasing after them a bit, which is annoying and wastes time. However, if you pull out a flare and hold it in front of them, they freak out and run away from you for a little bit.
Time To Get Rolling
Your first task, as indicated by the PDA, is to find Delta Island. This becomes relatively easy once you find a compass. If you've gone to the emergency cache you'll have the beacon blueprint so stock up on them before traveling so you can mark things. You're going to be making a lot of these but since you can toggle them it's not so bad, you'll just need a lot of beacons. Its south of where the drop pod lands.
As you spread out your searching range you'll find that the sea floor drops down among twisty coral structures.
This area is called Twisty Bridges. It's the main go-to for coral samples and you'll want those. There's small bits of Alterra stuff scattered around the area. It's here you'll find mobile vehicle bay, sea truck and seaglide fragments.
When you've been in the area for a bit, you'll hear what sounds like an SOS. It's worth checking that out and
you'll find that this spot goes deeper than you might suspect. Makes you wonder what's down there, doesn't it?
Beyond Twisty Bridges lies the thermal spires, an area of volcanic activity and thermal smokers. Many sea truck fragments are here.
The wildlife here is noisy and menacing sounding but if you don't hang out next to them they're easy to avoid. Smacking one with a blade will made it instantly turn and get the hell away from you. They don't like being hit. On the border between thermal spires and twisty bridges someplace is a small foundation platform with external grow beds for you to scan, but you can get these at Omega Station later if you're not sweating on it.
There are large crevices and a few volcanic fissures out here. Beware the heat vents, but exploring those areas can pay off, later.
On the island, you'll find blueprints you need, as well as some materials like sulfur and horseshoe nuts. The latter are very useful to plant in the seabase you'll be wanting. Take care to look around thoroughly for blueprints you'll find useful, as not all of them are inside the buildings. Also, keep a sharp eye out for music disks which you'll find scattered throughout the game, especially in bases. On the south-west corner of the island is a precursor artifact you can scan. Look for the beach with all the pengwings on it. The habitat builder can be found on a box outside Delta Station. Make sure to scan the map inside the sea base. There's also a PDA up by the comms tower.
Let's Go Explorin'
So, by now you've visited Delta Island, have had a good look around Twisty Bridges and you've probably discovered the sea monkey caves in Kelp Forest. If you haven't gone exploring in those, you really ought to. You'll find more MVB fragments there but that's also where the propulsion cannon blueprint can be found, the laser cutter, as well as a fair amount of gold and some precursor artifacts as well.
Once that's all done with and taken care of, you've probably got at least a tiny seabase, but if you don't... what are you doing?
Go on, shoo. Go make a base.
Okay, got one now? Good! Hopefully it's someplace nice. Your basic sea truck can't get down to where you want to be going next but a depth module will take care of that. A MkII depth module will let you get to the very bottom of where you want to go. Where do you want to go? Koppa Mine. You'll find it on the western side of the island.
Take care to look around when you find the door eventually, since there is a databox
just inside the main doors, before you head down. It has the moonpool
and will allow you to get that much earlier than you would through scanning it. To drive the seatruck inside the mine, drive north from the entrance of Koppa mine, you'll come across a volcanic fissure in the seafloor nearby which has JUST enough space for you to fit your seatruck through it. The fissure leads right into Koppa Mine, allowing you to drive the seatruck inside!
The other alternative is actually spare air tanks. Totally a viable solution so long as you remember to refill them by equipping them once you're out of the water. You can swap them out mid-dive and extend your breathing time, which is handy since the prawn fragment
blueprints you require are kinda far down there. If you're free diving in this way, note that the bottom chamber of the mine has a hole in the ceiling leading to a small cave system which will lead you back to the surface, as well as having a number of oxygen plants to keep you from choking on the way. The entrance to that is almost right next to the Delta Station docks
Also note that Site Zero, which has useful blueprints, can be found by hugging the northern glacial wall and heading east along it. You can find it by checking breaks in the ice, one of them leads up to a small hidden cave where the base lies.
But if you don't find it, you'll be directed here later. It just has some useful things to scan and a lantern fruit tree. There is a music disk here.
Way Down South
By now you've probably answered the SoS. If not, go do that. As you hang out with Al-An, he'll give you prompts to artifacts that you haven't found yet, if you dawdle in looking for the required number.
At this point you should have the following:
- A sea base, even a basic one. The databox in Koppa Mine's entrance will grant you the moon pool but if you missed it, you can get the blueprint later following the storyline.
- Seaglide, knife, propulsion cannon, beacons, repair tool, scanner, flashlight, builder tool
- Seatruck with at least one depth module
- Prawn blueprints
Building the Prawn is surprisingly easy, but requires lithium, a material you probably haven't seen a lot of yet. There's a little scattered around in thermal spires, but only a little. You can find a lot at purple vents, but be careful to avoid the doom shrimp. A chelicarate hangs out here.
There are other things in this area which are relevant to you which you'll want to mark out for later. There is a small seatruck crash site with a variety of fragments out here, if you find it, look around carefully for the music disk that's here.
Following the marker for the unknown pilots last position, you will find a green area rich in confusing cave systems. This area is the lilypads zone. Old girl can be found down near the signal, just look for the shimmering things on the wall, the hive minds. She's near them. Grab the seatruck defense module she has in there. Be sure to pick up the databox directly outside her base to get the stillsuit as well and if you follow the caves down where they turn blue you'll stumble on an old thermal plant of hers, where another databox lies.
There's fragments scattered all over this zone as well as The mercury II stern, which lays on the border between lilypads and purple vents, as well as the bow, which is a little further in on the western side of lilypads.
Be sure to explore the area thoroughly and take note of the massive crevasse near the middle of the zone. Inside the chunk of land here is Omega Lab, which will net you the external grow beds, nuclear plant, nuclear disposal as well as a couple new beds and the antenna plants.
It's in this area you'll need to search for nickel later, so building a scanner station here is a good idea. Deep Lilypads holds an Al-An body part you'll require.
Deep Lilypads is also the only place you can acquire the materials to manufacture benzene.
Don't go too close to the Lily Paddlers, unless you like being off your face, in which case go say hi, it's hilarious.
Trust me. ;D
In order to disable the satellite for Dances-With-Reapers, you're going to need to wreck dive the Mercury II. Two of its sections can be found in purple vents, while the bow - the largest - can be found in Lilypads, west of Omega Labs floating island.
You'll need the laser cutter for this. Your goal is to scan the parallel processors in the wreck, but there's all kinds of really useful stuff in there too, not to mention all the titanium. ALL the titanium. So be sure to drop beacons on these things, bring a spare air tank and bring your pathfinder tool. If you don't have the pathfinder tool, go look around in the caves full of emeralds between Phi Robotics docks
and Phi Robotics
itself. There is one up on a small ridge in one of those caves. If you can't find it, don't worry though, just bring flares and use them as breadcrumbs while diving to prevent yourself from getting too lost. The alien containment tank, reinforced dive suit, parallel processor can be found in these. A music disk is in the bow section on a bridge console.
Aaah, glacial basin. How I hate thee. The basin is split into four sections, two for each part of the basin, north and south. South is where you'll probably end up first. You can find the docks to access this area by tracking along the northern glacial wall and continuing west until you come to the eye jellyfish. Check the radio tower next to the docks, there is a music disk there.
The upper southern area is where Phi Robotics
lays, as well as frost vase plants and spicy peppers. Both of those are excellent crops to grow, as they net you useful things. The spicy peppers scattered throughout the entirety of glacial basin essentially means that you'll not starve while out here so long as you're paying attention to what you're doing. Note that snow stalkers REALLY HATE FLARES.
They'll make your trips out here annoying, even in the prawn, which is the best way to ensure the weather isn't a factor for you. Sometimes they're in the caves. Flares will make exploring these much safer.
You can get to lower glacial basin through the upper part, but it's a bit confusing and I prefer to access it via the glacial tunnel. Head south along the western glacial wall from the glacial basin docks and you'll find a tunnel which eye jellyfish are hanging out near.
This tunnel leads directly to lower glacial basin and provides a convenient way to access the area without needing to travel through upper GB every time.
Northern Glacial Basin can be accessed by scanning the hydraulic fluid on the bridge, then
repairing the bridge to cross it. DO NOT GO HERE WITHOUT THE PRAWN. SERIOUSLY.
The grip arm is very handy to have out here and if you haven't found it, use a scanner room in Lilypads to find the sea monkey nests
but it's not necessary so don't stress if you don't have it. Just don't use the snow fox. It's useless and handles like crap.
The iceworms here are dangerous if you stay still too long. Take your time, explore thoroughly and mark out any Alterra sites you find with beacons. A couple of these have the blueprints for the Thumper and this is your ticket to working in this area safely. A thumper will keep the iceworms away within a radius, ensuring you don't get whacked while picking stuff up outside the prawn. Along the western wall of this zone is a small cave with three large ion cube deposits. Keep a sharp eye out for it, you definitely want those. At the north-east tip of the zone you'll find ice worm corpses you can scan that don't put you in mortal danger during the attempt.
Really funny seeing them pop up and chow down on snow stalkers, though. Pay back sucks, don't it? Al-An's body part is out here. Keep an eye out for the precursor cables and make sure to check all the caves, because the master gateway leading to Phi Robotics is here as well. The room containing the gateway leads to a small docks and tunnel with an ice wall you can cut through to easily access the middle of northern glacial basin from the docks. There is a music disk at those docks as well.
By now you're probably wondering where to go. Remember purple vents? The engine part of the mercury II has a crevasse leading down to where you need to go next.
Once you've found the crystal caves, you better hope you picked up the defense module at Marg's base. It's sitting inside her room and sometimes gets knocked to the floor when Preston jumps you.
You'll be wanting it for what's down here.
The Shadow Leviathan.
Ohhhh boy are they ever aggressive. Good news for you though, they patrol around on a set route and
they don't go through the whole of crystal caves. You'll be looking for fragments here, as well as materials. Lots of gold, silver and kyanite in the crevasses in the floor of these caves. An Al-An body part, the final one, can be found at the bottom of a tunnel which is mouthed by a circular formation of crystals. Once you have it, you'll want to go even deeper to find the fabrication facility, forcing you to wander crystal caves until you find the blood crystal caves.
Oh Yeah, It's All Comin' Together
So, you now have everything you need to build your home boy a body
. Once that's done, you'll be wanting to wrap up the bit with Sam. If you've explored lower southern glacial basin, you'll have found the cave with the frozen leviathan. Oh, and grab the music disk in the security bunker.
Exploring this cave gets you some useful stuff. You know the little caves here with the blinking markers? Explore these with spy penglings! There's some useful stuff in some of them, actually. Including the antidote Sam hid. You can use that on the loader located on the upper part of the leviathan in the cave.
And... that's that! That's the whole game.
Tips and Tricks
- The air bladder can pull a tiny amount of air into your tank. It's not very much but those 10 seconds of extra air can save your life in a deep pinch.
- You can find lots of quartz if you hug the northern ice wall and roam east of west, but be careful of the brinewings. They'll freeze your ass, which can be inconvenient if you're low on air.
- Frost Anemone Hearts are actually a really great food source and should be picked up any time you can get them. They'll last forever in the fridge.
- Made your base with some helpful sea monkey neighbours? After awhile they stop stealing from you and begin trying to help you - but they don't know what you want! If you mark blueprints in your PDA, they'll try and bring you materials for that if they can.
- Most predators will back off if you feed them a fish before they bite you. This includes leviathans. You might still get hurt from them slamming into you or something but feeding them a fish will usually cause them to stop attacking you. This doesn't work against the shadow leviathan, it hates you and everything you hold dear. It doesn't know what those things are, but it doesn't care either. It just does.
- Spare air tanks are great and can be kept stocked in your sea truck, but remember to put them on to refill them.
- Animals will react to your behavior in some instances. Feel tree to try new things with them like feeding fish. You can even ride on glow whales! Some of them really hate flares too, like sea monkeys and snow stalkers.
- Surface bases are a completely viable thing in this game and some of the ice sheets have holes in them, allowing you to have a surface base with a dropped section for moonpools and water filters. Water filters will work outside of the water, but you don't get salt and they're much slower.
- Get the cold suit as soon as you can. It's in Phi Robotics. It changes your outside time from 2 minutes to 7 minutes, which is a huge difference. Without it, the prawn is the only way to explore the surface without constantly stressing about freezing to death. You can find the tufts of fur in snow stalker caves where the pups are, make sure you have a flare if you don't like getting nommed on.
- Can't figure out how to get on top of the ice sheet, but you want a base up there? Swim down deep and use the air bladder to get some height. You can build a hallway up there, then drop a ladder down into the water to make a surface base with an underwater docking section. Alternatively, you can probably get up there with the prawn and the grip arm.
- Speaking of the prawn and grip arm, you can totally launch yourself with it. Attaching the grip to the ground and using it to pull yourself into a jump will get you some serious air time, which is helpful for getting up small ridges on the surface. If you break the map and managed to get above it in the prawn, return to the player area. Being up there breaks progression completely and the only interesting thing is a leftover animation testbed east of glacial basin. The collision on terrain is also patchy here and it's possible to fall through the ground into the void. In your prawn. So don't screw around up there too much.
- Spicy peppers and coffee will both warm you up while on the surface, which makes the spicy peppers scattered all over the place pretty valuable.
- The greenhouse you get sent to can be found in Lilypads on an iceberg. The three large icebergs here all have things to find so be sure to search thoroughly.
- The crashed ship is a great place to get a lot of metal very quickly and will basically hand you a free sea base so long as you're willing to go keep picking it up. If you've already looted it all, give it awhile and check back later, sometimes new scrap shows up as the wrecks continue their eventual rot.
- Drop emergency caches of food, water, medpacks, batteries, power cells and flares along with a beacon and never be caught short on supplies because you went out looking for stuff and forgot to bring rations. D'oh!
- A small base specifically for replacing vehicles is very helpful when you lose one. Have the materials gathered beforehand and you won't have to spend a long time struggling to get them together after the bad feeling of having your stuff crunched.
- Be sure to look for creature eggs out in glacial basin
- Rock punchers are jerks and will kill stuff in your containment tank, so now you know, and knowing is half the battle. And the lives of your fish.
- There is no good way to scan the leviathans, but your scan progress gets saved if you don't scan other things, so letting it chow down on your seatruck and scanning it while it's distracted, then repairing your vehicle after, will allow you to get the whole scan after a couple rounds.
- Make scanner rooms everywhere. Solar panels and bio reactors are your friend. Nuclear power is better but not viable in early game. If you need magnetite, go to the glacial tunnel and look at the ice walls just where the tunnel curves upwards, you'll find ore fissures there with magnetite inside.
- Beacons, beacons, beacons. I can't stress this enough, litter them EVERYWHERE. You can toggle them on and off in your PDA, so having a bajillion around the map isn't really a problem and they're really useful.
- There are more precursor artifacts than Al-An mentions to you. Keep a sharp eye out, look everywhere and scan for ion cubes. Check icebergs for moulins, AKA hollow chambers inside. You'll need a laser cutter to access the ones you find.
- Tree Spires has a hell of a lot of uraninite in its cave systems, it's a good spot to stock up on it. Beware the chelicarate in the zone.
- The crystal caves are roughly the shape of a spiral. Knowing this makes navigating them a lot less mystifying. Mind you, it's still difficult. As usual, use beacons a lot. Also make sure to explore the cracks in the floor of the cave!
- Penglins/Pengwings drown if you leave them in the alien containment tank after hatching :( They have to hold their breaths. If you breed them, make sure to set them free.
- There are no large nodes for lead. You must search for galena outcrops with the scanner room. It's pretty much the only way to stock up on the stuff. The other one people have a lot of trouble with is Magnetite, which can only be found in lower glacial basin. You'll want a scanner room to find it. Upper glacial basin has a TON of lithium if you can handle the ice worms... as well as three large mining nodes for ion cubes hidden in a cave.
- Keep exploring Upper Glacial Basin even if you find the precursor body part. There are ice worm corpses and a slipgate out here for you to find. The slipgate links to the Phi Robotics slipgate and has a tunnel which leads directly back out to the docks that you can only cut open from the inside. There's also a music disk down there on a crate so keep a sharp eye out when you find it.
Good luck, Robin!
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2023.05.29 21:29 AlienNationSSB #Alien-Nation Chapter 168: Now or Never
Alien-Nation Chapter 168: Now or Never All Chapters First Chapter of Alien-Nation Previous Chapter
Chapter summary: Elias wanders the grounds inspecting everything he can, has a fatheson moment with Larry then sends Vaughn to go try and spring people from jail. It had been easy for me to see during the speech I'd given roughly how many had already arrived up the narrow pass, and as I stood from inspecting a firing port in a trench, testing whether the old cast iron cannon would roll back far enough on its rails after firing.
I gave it a pass after measuring against a rod. Certainly it was far from the highest of technologies at our disposal, but certainly it would be either lethal, injurious, or at the very least, extremely loud. The gathered mishmashed array of weaponry pointing outward was impressive enough, but the real piece de resistance was the sheer number of railguns we'd had returned to us, frequently carried by a two man team. I signed off on it for final inspection, noting the plug in place over the end, and went to the railgun positioned further down the trench near the intersection.
This was one I recognized. This shared at least something in common to the cannon, insofar as it was far from the latest model at our disposal. I spotted some of my own extremely crude handiwork, a far more rough set of welds performed along the plate's protective, unsanded metal edges. Mister Singer, if he were ever presented with it, may have recognized the shoddy, unstable hand that welded together some of the protective casing. The service flap told me the model without needing to even open it, the household door frame hinges pulled from Verns' stock of spare parts bin, before we implemented something even so basic as refined latches with catch points.
That had to make this a Mk. II. Sentimentality had no place on the front lines. I sucked in a breath at the sight of another old muzzle-loader being carried into the workshop for upgrades, already laid out on the timber worktable and ready for use and sucked in a breath.
I just hoped the earliest design of managing power flow wouldn't give out from the faster firing. Complex but beautifully arrayed piping had given way to simpler, more streamlined designs as we incorporated a greater number of readily available alien parts. Some of which we were supplied an initial batch of in the bag with the blueprints, and then we were told how to work free those same parts from various broken pieces of technology we'd reclaimed off the Shil'vati, or even the freely given away omni-pads. With every iteration we demonstrated a degree of adaptation to using the parts we had available, and each generation marked a leap forward in our own understanding of Shil'vati technology, courtesy of G-Man and his father's handiwork.
The final barrels of the extremely limited run of the second batch we'd paid handsomely for were marked 'present,' too. They had gone the least far afield, with one already slagging itself during the attack on the data center. I frowned at the spreadsheet, as if my impression of it might cause their fate to improve.
The latest blueprints could maintain a decent rate of fire without burning out its power management system located in the welded together case. Or, rather, the barrel gave out first. For the first time, perhaps as a result of being coupled with the magazines and a relatively rapid-fire exchange meant the neosteel barrels we received had finally become the weak point in the design.
It was only after we'd returned to Camp Death that I'd noticed the difference.
The new batch we'd paid dearly for seemed somewhat altered from the first batch we'd been building all the others out of, made from an alloyed material that shone somewhat dimmer under the sun as George and I worked in the shed elbow-to-elbow, though the contrast was not immediately obvious until one held the two against each other. It was slightly thicker, too, all of which to me indicated a change in supply in some manner, but our supplier had hardly announced themselves to Sam.
This was a troubling puzzle to me. I still couldn't be sure it was the new microbatch of barrels alloys being far from equal to the originals we'd finally finished building out? Or was it the expanded magazines and power couplings' ability to fire faster creating an overall volume of fire that overheated the barrel from overuse? Or was the power management design faulty, generating more heat per shot? Were we misusing them?
I measured the barrel of the Mk. II, just to be sure the shelf life of the barrel hadn't come due. So far, inspections of the original batch of barrels had mercifully indicated they'd all been brought back here were in comparatively great shape, with this one being no exception. That lent me some comfort that these new barrels were just not up to the task of heavy, sustained fire. I couldn't know that for certain, and an unreliable weapon was cause for anxiety.
Indeed, there was almost no wear on this version at all, disproving the worst case scenario that these were only good for a certain number of rounds before they'd be worn down to uselessness. Certainly, they'd eventually give out, but it seemed we were still far off from that point.
"Sir?" Asked the gunner, staring at me.
I stared at him, then down at the spreadsheet. "This thing fires three rounds a minute. Do you think that rate of fire is sufficient?"
I could tell he wasn't sure whether a 'no' would have him replaced with someone professing to be more accurate.
"Get it upgraded." I took the white gel pen and scribbled on it- make ready for an upgrade as soon as the final repaired railgun clears the shed. Assigned to casemate #4, Operator... "Call sign?"
"Brut," he answered.
"Brut...with the Umlaut?" He gave a thumbs up and I added them. Costing nothing but a drop of gel ink for a little personalization if it made for a happy gunner was a good investment. "Use it well. Get it upgraded if there's time, keep an eye on the work shed. Once the repairs stop, you can take this to the front of the line, Brüt."
There was no point dismantling all our old ones and creating a backlog while some still needed repairs. I wrote on the hatch Upgrade from Mk. II to Mk. IV. That would give it a magazine and more than triple its firing rate. Anything more than that, I quietly held my doubts for the feasibility of upgrading in a timely manner. The Mark V's took too much time and effort to build their complex power management systems for not enough gain, stuffed too tightly into the protective case to be completed quickly. The Mark VI's tended to overheat their crude fire control circuitry, the consequence of an overcorrection back to simplicity; they could maintain a high fire rate, but were too delicate. The VII's were the ones with the new barrel. Promising, but those barrel faults...I still worried it might have been the power management system.
We'd started considering adding water tanks to help maintain them, but it brought the weight higher than that of a Mk. I, and successfully swapping a boiling hot tank off a delicate, electronically-loaded railgun in combat seemed like a very questionable use of the time. We'd just have to ask the crews manning the railguns to be a bit judicious in our fire, and hope that the flaw was limited to the new little batch of barrels.
How many rounds, exactly, and exactly how fast was yet to be determined; we hadn't conducted the amount of testing a proper military might carry out, but while we had no shortage to man, we also did not have so many as to test dozens until their point of failure, weighing and comparing all their possible conditions.
All this uncertainty kept bouncing around my head. How many troops did we have here? How many rounds for every type of rifle, including the more exotic variants? How reliant on them were we to deal damage, and was it all stored somewhat safely? On the less direct side of things, how many tons of food did we have stored, and was it distributed well? How many thousands of gallons of water could we draw? How many pounds of soap to wash utensils, cups, wounds, and shower with? How many pounds of food over how many men, to last how many days? If it rained, some of these might be alleviated, and yet might kick off a whole host of other issues. There was no way of knowing, no way of taking a perfect stock. But I could estimate.
We had a lot of people. And a lot of guns. And a lot of defenses, and literally countless tons of high explosives, triggered by various means and methods. And we were mad as hell. While exactly how mad was less concrete a figure, I knew this many men away from home could end poorly.
Ultimately, whether it was the fault of the new barrel or the design had finally reached the limitations of its potential rate of fire without causing other issues, I couldn't say for certain. So I had to do my best.
I gave the railgun a clean bill of health to operate if needed, 'priority upgrade,' and noted the rate of fire for the defensive position at 'three a minute.' This one being one of our oldest models, I left it to the operator with my blessings, and made a mental note to add the next railgun we had to be stationed nearby, just so that we weren't under strength from that angle.
I craned my neck from the trench to behold even more insurgents trickling into the old clearing. The arrivals always came in ones-and-twos, their body language telling me the story of the journey it had taken to get here. They'd had to have abandoned their vehicles to the traffic-snarled roads almost certainly some miles away unless they knew the path George and I would occasionally take;.
Those who brought their own heavy weapons lay them down at their feet before collapsing. Water and food was distributed, though I couldn't speak to the quality, and a trash run would have to be made, tossing the empty tins into ammunition containers.
Of all the newcomers who had yet to be organized into place, I counted two mortars, several more volunteers grouping up to retrieve ammo after taking down descriptions of the vehicles from their exhausted owners and sprinting back out into the night to fetch whatever had been left behind.
The resourcefulness lifted my spirits. No one entertained the notion that these men were taking their leave to flee a certain doom. All present felt some degree of faith, understood who they were, why they were here, and what we were setting out to accomplish. Cells worked to find one another in the darkness, congealing themselves into a more coherent, practiced fighting force by virtue of familiarity with one another. Discipline was sharp and needed little enforcement past an initial reminder. No flashlights switched on inside the premises or campfires were lit despite the encroaching edges of the cold front. Insurgents were guided to whatever defensive positions, pillboxes, trenches, battlements, or bunkers still sat empty, depending somewhat on their expected role after detailing their skills to sentries or those otherwise familiar with the camp carefully explaining sight lines and our overall defensive strategy.
Whispered word overheard from those arrivals seemed to indicate a mixture of panic and outrage was fast spreading through the state's populace, carrying them on frightened wings as they took flight in the night, from here to the southernmost beaches and bays. It seemed word had gotten out successfully, then. That knocked down one more obstacle to our success, or at least set the pieces in place. Soon, all that would remain would be the ugly business of following through, and hoping, no praying that I hadn't massively miscalculated in my hubris.
I took the ramp out of the trench so they could pour some loose gravel into it, helping ensure that if those threatening looking storm clouds opened and if the drains clogged, we still would have some footing, and retired to the command cabin, eyeing how empty it felt with all the finished products being set into defensive arrangements; only the workshop still retained all its rather explosive concoctions.
The manpower situation was such that those familiar in reliably manufacturing complex bombs were spending their time setting up defenses in the fields beyond and settling in our new arrivals.
And then I had the couple hostages, weakened by months of captivity, restrained and kept under guard, but still sitting right on top of the half-done armaments.
I told myself that we had taken precautions- the most reactive sets separated by a thin membranous bag of water to prevent chain reactions from taking root and a few emergency containment systems, but they relied on someone present. I'd need all hands on deck- and what if a direct lance of energy landed from some heavy weapon hit the shed, perhaps to try and make a point? No mere bag of water would make a difference then.
Then again, if they brought that king of weaponry to bear, then the outcome would be certain. The Shil'vati would still lose their hostages, and have tacitly admitted I'd forced their hand, and that they'd declared we were enough of a threat to sacrifice noblewomen just to put a stop to.
I hunched over a smaller map in the command cabin, pinning down the garrisons and jails Verns might be held in. Perhaps I'd been premature in my assessment in lacking a future need of a good map when I'd jumped atop the table for my little motivational speech. I'd gotten caught up in the moment; I hadn't foreseen the need for an offensive element.
I was sorely missing my Lieutenants. Vendetta wasn't here, which was one of the greater anxieties weighing on my shoulders.
The one word I'd whispered in his ear all that time ago to bring him around to believing I did, in fact, have a plan: Victory. He should be here already.
He'd sprinted off across the field in glee back when I told him of this plan's possibility, that "Plan C" might come about due to a few cells going dark and my suspicion that it wasn't moles. The null hypothesis, that there were in fact moles, had put him in direct danger by sending him to double-check.
I cursed my blindness. My eagerness to take a night off, to get him out of the way so he wouldn't clash with the others, so I could be a 'normal boy' for a night and attend a party- one I wouldn't be kicked out of, To find social acceptance.
All part of a 'coming of age,' even after I'd already spilt blood, led a war campaign effort, kissed, earned more money than most would see in a lifetime, and mentally cut ties with my family. By almost any account, I already was a man, yet I'd gotten obsessive in imitating the modern trappings of defining such things. I should have seen the cells reporting members' absences and even going dark as a whole for what it was. I could have called off Town Hall, started assembling even more people here.
Then again, if I had, then perhaps...the shil'vati might not have started grabbing everyone. I hated to think of Verns as 'sacrificial.' They likely didn't have much on him, just a neighbor's report. Then again, we'd had that meeting right after the bar fight at Lucky's, right? How thoroughly had George cleared out his house, if they went back to rummage around and investigate? How well could George cover his tracks? We'd left that ammo crate in the hallway, for starters- clumsy of us, yet we were in a panic. Like children. I tensed as I remembered so vividly the sudden sharp report of the gun, watched Patrick's empty eyes stare up. But not children.
There was nothing I could do for Vendetta. We'd sent the Bat Signal out. Either he'd be here, or he'd miss it.
I weighed the value of sending George away once he got here. The order would certainly annoy him after he'd just arrived, something of an arduous task given how far backed up the traffic had become. I also knew it meant I'd have one fewer lieutenant here, where I desperately needed him. I could hardly ask him to burn down the childhood home, and it would certainly reek of hiding evidence.
"Sir," A sentry stood in the door frame, and I stretched from where my muscles had tensed up, pulling my shoulders back and yawning silently beneath my mask, lumbering toward him.
I didn't realize how tall I'd gotten until I realized he was staring up at me and had taken a half-step backwards- not to make way so I could lead from the door, either, but almost defensively.
"Yes, what is it?" I asked, stopping in place.
"We've received a message for you, sir. Radio is reporting that a 'Hex' has checked in from her position. She and Binary report 'Green as Grass,' sir."
I wasn't used to being called 'sir,' and it caught me off guard. I realized he was standing there, waiting for a response from me of some sort, too.
What should I say for him to send back to Hex? I momentarily remembered the sensation of the kiss, the warm, slightly wet softness, the tenderness, and felt a bit of a blush under my mask. While every instinct screamed at me to not air even a hint of my romances or inner turmoil about a kiss over the unencrypted connection, there was a level of 'not talking about it' that I was unfamiliar with and hadn't planned for. Could my message back be coded into something subtle? Nothing came to mind.
"G-good," I finally stuttered a little awkwardly. "That's very good."
"What does it mean, sir?"
I pushed the distractions out of my head. This was no time to be thinking about girls- and my mind stubbornly disobeyed, wandering right back to Natalie. At first to the hug she'd offered me, when I was scared. Frightened of the mind-wiper device. That tenderness she'd offered- I pushed the memory from my mind, too. This wasn't the time to fantasize, either. I had to live in the world that was before me, here in the present. People were relying on me. I could figure out all that other stuff- girls, hope, my future- sometime later.
"It means the operation can proceed as planned."
If the Twins stopped reporting or got caught with the hostages, then we'd have a lot less leverage stopping Azraea from blowing us all sky high. A couple noblewomen- who I wasn't terribly familiar with and seemed to be somewhat less important, provided they were truthful to me of their station. This unfortunate pair had relied on connections to already-stationed family members to arrive, rather than on their raw political power to muscle their way to Earth's then-closely guarded secret coordinates, and were present only for evidence of said hostages' presence.
"Sir, beg your pardon," I could sense something bubbling under his words, against his better judgment, but some sense of desperation demanded he ask me this anyways. "But what is the operation? I've been manning the airwaves with Radio, helping spread word, but everyone I make contact with seems to want to know."
"I don't see the wisdom in broadcasting the finer details of our plan, I'm sure you understand."
I sensed the inner conflict by the way he froze up. He wanted to object, probably, to swear he wouldn't leak more than the minimum. The problem was, anyone listening for long might take a morsel here, a morsel there, and bring it all together and undo us.
"You have all you're meant to have at this point, frustrating though that must be to try and inform others of the going-ons. Our objective is right before us. When the time comes and the enemy appears, blast them." I didn't want to say there isn't much else to plan. At least, not for them to consider.
"And you, sir?"
"I'll be right here, alongside you," I promised. That seemed to ease some of his pressing curiosity, at least. "We'll be here together, to watch the birth of a miracle." That, or we'd die together. Those words didn't quite have the same catchy ring, though.
I looked over my shoulder back at the map. What more good could be wrought over pondering what jail he might be in, without more details?
"Another matter. Hex said G-Man should arrive in a few minutes."
"Thank you. Anything else to report?"
"No sir, the shortwave beckons." They gave a hand-on-heart and stepped out, leaving the doorframe empty.
I told myself I may as well follow. There was no good to come of disappearing into a tent, secluded for long periods, not when anxiety might run through the gathered troops. I had to make myself seen at least periodically. Besides, it was easier to get a more complete picture from out here than in there.
Radio looked like a one-man-band by the way he was surrounded by boxy electronics of varying sizes, their glows dimmed slightly by thin pieces of fabric taped over the tiny glowing screens, and the trap stretched over his head. Wires snaked their way along the ground, a trooper trying to lay the cable into a thin channel of dirt with a spade to reduce the tripping hazard.
Pierce crouched next to him with a laptop plugged into something wired together, the final outlet of which looked vaguely like an international travel inverter, her fingers flying across the trackpad.
"Radio, how are we?"
"We've made lots of contact, I think. So much traffic on the airwaves it's actually hard to find a clear channel to broadcast on."
"Do they have our encryption keys?" I asked, the question almost automatic.
"No, having one kind of defeats the purpose of being heard and getting the signal out. Besides, encrypting's probably easy for the Shil'vati to crack. Less easy for human intelligence agencies, but impossible for the people who we want to hear us."
I already knew most of this, but humoured him. Little entertained radio quite like his namesake.
"What's our chance of discovery, then? Rough time to them figuring out it's us here, and finding the signal's origin."
"At least with a somewhat uncountable number of HAM signals being thrown across the airwaves, we are a really big needle in a gigantic haystack. Besides, how many times have we actually been where we're broadcasting from?"
That was a point I hadn't considered.
The Shil'vati would likely regard our signal as just a relay point, rather than the source, let alone the destination.
Would they strike it just to silence the orders, once they figured out how many of them were originating from the same point?
I comforted myself by staring upstream of the creek that wandered to the south of Camp Death, following its course with my eyes to where it flowed under the concrete tunnels under the highway, under the train tracks, to where it ultimately ran back to where Radio and I had visited Saint Michael's. Then I turned my head back across the field, toward where the foundation of Mojo and Mister Pasta's had been, where Vaughn had called in the kill team on the Fed's sting operation,
We'd certainly set up plenty of remote broadcast towers before, to entice them into launching strikes on collaborationists. That Saint Michael's was still standing after we'd broadcast all kinds of propaganda from there meant they'd almost certainly learned to be a bit more cautious about lashing out blindly.
In the darkness I saw a familiar figure materialize, and with a bit of relief, I ran up to greet Larry. I wanted to give the old mechanic a hug, but knew that expressions of intimacy while standing near the middle of the camp's defensive perimeter in front of everyone was more than a bit inappropriate, and settled for a nod of acknowledgment.
"I cleaned up the mess at Jules place," he said, going back to referring to his friend by their code name, glancing at Pierce.
I felt a moment of shame. We'd panicked and grabbed everything. Perhaps we were like children after all, leaving our toys out and in the hall. "Thank you."
"Patrick saw," I said back. "Patrick- called."
Whatever Larry was about to say, that brought him up short. "Oh. Oh." The words seemed to leave him pained. He'd known Patrick, too, and I felt the weight of guilt. It seemed he moved on faster than I could, because he changed the topic quickly.
"What's up?" He gestured at the radio setup.
Pierce seemed to be quite engrossed in her work, trying to connect the laptop to a radio via a USB cable, fumbling with the port in the dark. The laptop's screen was showing a shaky handheld video of a mass arrest- and I thought I could hear my own voice echoing the words I'd spoken just a short while ago.
"Just uploading the speech. I've spliced it up to some footage that one of the newcomers brought. We'll also be exporting raw versions of both- just the audio, the video, make sure people have the record and can decide for themselves."
Sometimes the truth was the best propaganda.
"How are you getting video out? I thought the internet was down."
Radio held a hand up, and then put it down, as if I'd been a teacher asking a question and he'd been chasing extra credit. The next few sentences were practically a foreign language to me, uttering a series of numbers in rapid succession, followed by what sounded like a name. That may've been a model, an edition of a model, a make, a special form of broadcasting- all of it may well have been bounced off the ionosphere for how far it went over my head. I wasn't used to being so completely out of my depth, but everyone seems to have specialized in some skill or another. I'd preferred getting involved in all aspects of the revolution, but at a certain point delegation was a necessity, and I was watching not just the task's needs, but also the capabilities of my lieutenants grow well past my ability to offer useful insight and guidance.
"I...see." I didn't, but I wasn't sure what else to say. I wanted to express curiosity, but I felt like this new capability was something we'd discuss later, if there was a later. "And people can receive high definition video over shortwave? It just takes a long time?"
It seemed to me to be an apparently somewhat technical process to perform over shortwave, and only when finally pressed for details, Radio at last admitted something I did understand: "I am not sure most people know how to collect the signal, or have the right equipment to, but I'm sure someone will, Maybe that person will redistribute the videos."
There. Actionable, useful information.
"Then continue," I said. "At least unless anything more pressing jumps up to do."
"Let's hope it's good for more than the history books," Pierce commented mildly.
"The world has to know, and I am certain the shil'vati have no interest in putting such footage out there. That's reason enough for us, isn't it?" I watched Radio nod and then scurry about the camp, tracing one of the wires toward the antenna array nearest the highway. I turned to Larry, breaking off from the amusing spectacle. "Do you remember my promise?" My question was genuine, but he seemed to waver slightly, now that the possibility of actually delivering on it was here and present. Perhaps the aura of our inner circle's invincibility had been shattered with the loss of his neighbors, and it would be best to set his mind to something productive. "If you want it to come true, see to it that the mortar teams are trained. Get the cannons in position, and make sure we're good for more than just one wave."
Larry snapped a salute, fingers on brow, and I clumsily approximated one in return, though I had never done a salute before in my life. I could sense the slight smile from behind his mask, and with a quick check over his shoulder that no one was watching, he reached out, straightened my palm out slightly, then brought the edge of my palm higher until it was a bit more level. "That's better," he judged, then leaving me alone once I dropped the hand a few seconds later.
George showed up a few minutes earlier than Hex had predicted, out of breath and escorted by a sentry. "Ditched the truck," he wheezed. "The huge bags of claymores and equipment were really heavy. Had to haul it under the interstate." His shoes shone with creekwater; He'd almost certainly taken the path Larry had forbade us from trying, and I couldn't imagine doing it in the pitch black darkness at any speed.
I motioned to the sentry. "Help him get that bag into the workshop." He was the best bomb maker, but he also had helped build this place. I wanted to pick his brain, but I would give him time to rest, first.
"Hey, Radio. Radio!" I heard the shortwave radio he'd set at the top squawk to life with a familiar grumble on the other end, distorted somewhat by the tinny speaker. I scooped it up. Someone with a vocoder- Radio gave those out sparingly.
"'E' here," I answered for him, but didn't want to announce myself. Not right away.
A moment's pause.
"What are your orders?"
"Vendetta?" I wanted to confirm.
"I'm here with over fifty people waiting at Warehouse Base for something to do," I knew the transmission would likely be monitored, but the time for subtlety was over. "You're on speakerphone, by the way."
The line was likely tapped, or at least would be intercepted, its contents determining priority for being passed upward or presented to someone with authority, possibly even Azraea herself.
Whatever orders I gave, they'd have to be in code, or at least sound like something unimportant, low-priority so that we might give him as much opportunity to get the drop on the enemy as he could be afforded.
"Don't bother trying to come here yet," I quickly supplied. "By now, if you're not on your way here, you have your own party to go to." I took a moment to survey the grounds. "We've practically got a full house. See about getting a house party of your own, though you'll have to pull the guests out of their own company. Or something to flank."
"Any idea where to start?"
The map fresh in my mind, I found the answer sprang to me.
"There's a rest stop along Route One. If you've got any party poppers, you can get them to open up to you like a can opener. You know, it's all about introducing yourself well."
I heard him laugh mirthlessly, the sound coming through like a cheese grater run over the asphalt.
"That one's a big bite, maybe more than we can chew without choking. Why don't we start with something smaller?"
I wanted to protest, to direct him to the biggest ones first. Then again, how much did they have on Verns? How likely was he to be somewhere heavily defended?
"What do you have in mind?"
"Well, right across the river from where the naughty girls all get sent. Why don't we start there? Every party needs a few ladies, right?" I could hear a roar of assent from the background.
I wasn't quite sure what he meant by that- was he going to try and attack the Shil'vati base? Surely not those women? He wasn't that insane. Then it clicked- the Women's Correctional Facility in Wilmington, just upstream of the Christina River from where he was broadcasting from at the old Warehouse Base. Easy to get to, certainly, and right near the interstate with pedestrian bridges and neighborhoods to scatter in after the strike made it an excellent candidate. Almost certain to succeed.
The strike wouldn't yield us Verns, though forcing the Shil'vati to admit that they couldn't both take and hold their prisoners at the same time might force them to at least pause rounding up ever more people.
If I gave it my blessing, I would be sacrificing any chance of rescuing Verns for...for what? The tradeoff strained my soul to even consider.
"If you feel that's best, you know your crowd. That said, they got Jules- we want him back." He'd helped build Camp Death. He knew its ins and outs, though my real reasons were somewhat sentimental. "Keep an eye out for Morningstar and a few other cells. I've little doubt they can party with the best of them." They were one of my heaviest hitters, routinely bragging they could go clay pigeon hunting with an unguided RPG, yet I was pretty sure I'd never rallied them to Camp Death- if they were to rally, Warehouse Base was where they'd be.
There was a moment of silence, until Vaughn reported back- "Yeah, they're here. They were going to move up to you once they got everyone together. Should we leave instructions for where to find us, or to find you?"
"Do it- supplies are overall good here. Lots of...uh, balloons, confetti..." I felt like I was stretching the analogy too far, so I gave up trying to equate weaponry to party paraphranelia. "...you know, the works. Take Morningstar and use 'em as you see best fit. What've you got for your party? Any good party supplies?" We certainly could make a trash run and see if we could also deliver them some RPGs at the same time.
"Got some Bump-n-Grinds, and you know those are always good for an up-close-and-personal encounter."
I laughed. "From what I read about bumping and grinding? The closer, the better." Their accuracy left a fair bit to be desired. Still, it would be a good, even vital carry just in case those dreaded Security Forces Technicals made an appearance, and would probably be 'good enough' against a stationary target like a wall, especially in the hands of a capable squadron like Talonstar.
"What time are you thinking?"
"I'd say as soon as we're all ready. You really overestimated how many people know where Camp Death is. A fair number showed up here, and are still trickling in."
"Enough to throw several parties at once?" I asked, suddenly hopeful.
"Well, I suppose, maybe, but I'd be wary of partygoers without someone in charge to, uh..." the metaphor seemed to be breaking down, but I got what he was going for.
"Yeah, I see."
"Are you thinking if there are too many noise complaints at once, it'll keep the party going longer?"
"That's part of it, but I'm hoping we might find a particular person we're missing, lost him when we were playing unexpected host. Someone of G-Man's, you'd know him as Jules. A divide and conquer might maximize our odds of finding him."
"Plus, maximize the number of partygoers we pick up as we move. I like it. A few small house parties for every big house. Any special orders?"
"None. K.I.S.S. principle applies. Good, bad, I want it all out on the streets. 'KISS' 'em until they can't see straight." Keep It Simple, Stupid.
"You're certain?" I could hear the hesitancy in his voice. "This is going to be the greatest thing we've ever done, and I want to be by your side for it 'til the end. I don't want any last-minute cancellations, and I sure as hell don't wanna miss it. How long should I party?"
We'd be letting absolute chaos loose. Fire. Looting. The worst of humanity, turned loose, with Vaughn potentially at its head if he decided to recruit for some reason. Could I still claim to be the good guy if I turned those kinds of people free to wreak havoc on the state I claimed whose denizens I was protecting?
Blackstone's Ratio holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. It would still hold me no less accountable for whatever followed from this mass prison break, though.
I looked over to the recently arrived George, and hung my head.
So be it.
"Confirmed, Vendetta. I'll next talk to you when you're here in person- call it when you start either getting tired or if the hosts hire a doorman, a bouncer, or something you can't handle. Bring any good partygoers and favors you find, guide them here, O Pied Piper. Over and out." The signal went quiet again, and I turned off our radio, standing and yawning. The hour was late, and it would be my last opportunity for some shuteye.
I pulled aside a few sentries to my first order. I felt it was a strange one, and likely futile: I asked everyone to 'try and get some rest.'
The sentries were going to be exhausted, and I needed them to start working in shifts if we were to maintain our vigil and perimeter. Doubtless, more would be coming, and giving them at least some rest might be a difference-maker. G-Man helped lead the newcomers to the subterranean bunkers and tunnels, trying to make sure everyone had a place to stay the night and resources got split, even if it was throwing tarps and blankets on hard-packed dirt. I eyed the tunnels, knowing which one of them would spit me out near the stream, itself running so low I might as well refer to it as a ravine. Digging that had been cramped, paranoia-inducing, but we'd dug out so much of the hill and filled it with enough weapons to wage a full-scale war. What had begun as almost make-work and a place to store things when we'd started out
I couldn't sleep well on the cot that night, tossing and turning- I even tried resting with the mask off, held in my hands, but the risk to my identity if anyone barged in caused me enough stress. Eventually, I stood and donned it, making my rounds around the camp, trying to calm myself. Instead, I felt eyes following me, and I had to force myself to stand tall. For the thousandth time, I thought of this as my Valley Forge.
The sentry at the door to the command cabin gave me a hand-on-heart, and I returned it.
As I patrolled, I could hear whispered prayers, muttered plans of action, and mercifully, snores. At least some were getting some sleep. I could see orange lights reflecting off the clouds, near where I knew Wilmington lay.
I almost jumped a foot in the air when I felt the tap on my shoulder, only to find G-Man's mask staring into mine. How strange that such a haunting visage was a comfort to me.
"Hey. Can't sleep?"
"I can't," I confessed. "G-Man, I'm sorry what happened with your father. Hell of a birthday." I hadn't even had a chance to give him the present I'd bought him- a couple new filters, and vintage craftsman toolkit, "from before they sold out," Verns had told me. The memory of his voice already felt distant somehow- no. I'll see him again.
"Wasn't your fault. Even if Town Hall wasn't your big idea to get them to retaliate, you know? Then they'd still have done something. But, uh, thanks for saying that. And thanks for trying to get dad out. I'll remember that." George said quietly, then the conversation ended when he turned away and went to the edge of the embankment. Just like that.
I could never quite get a read on him.
I went inside, and tried to force myself to get at least some shut-eye.
Thanks to Terran-Armored-Core and DeltaNu for helping with some decisions and spellcheck.
Thanks to Inmutabilis-Ratio for helping with the site, it was very helpful in importing the text.
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2023.05.29 21:26 Interesting_Log3237 A food truck straight from manga spotted in Taiwan.
2023.05.29 21:18 cadenwolfie I’m never working in fast food again.
So I’ll start this by mentioning at the time of this story I was 20 years old, and I’m 21 now, which ends up being pretty crucial to the story. When I was 18 I got my first job at my local Subway sandwich shop and quickly learned how awful fast food jobs are. When I started, we had a pretty small team of around 10 people total including myself. My General manager who I’ll call GM and my District manager, who will be DM were two completely different people. My GM quickly became my friend and the DM became someone who I wanted to look up to until she started showing her true colors.
So I ended up working this job for about two years, becoming a shift lead at one point. For those of you who know, most subways range from shift lead, to GM, to DM. I didn’t stay shift lead for long, but since I worked both days and nights, I knew this job inside and out. I was one of the 5ish people who knew every task and job there was, other than just making food.
Since I knew every job, I was expected to come in and pretty much anytime. At the same time I had just started college and Covid was at its peak in the US where I live. The stress of college and work was getting to all of us, not to mention the thought of getting sick. The first issue I had, among many, was the first time I got the Covid-19 booster, I became super sick like many others did at the time. I was still expected to come to work and got so dizzy from running around that I almost passed out.
Once I got better, I was expected to come in all the time, sometimes going from closing one night, working an 8 hour shift and opening the next morning, meaning my sleep suffered as well. It eventually got to the point where I had to step down from shift lead to focus on myself, which the DM did not like. To give more context about the DM, she would complain jobs weren’t being done on the shift I happened to be on pretty much ever week. There was always something for her, that most of the time turned out to be a plain lie. This DM also had a favorite saying “I can do this job by myself, and you’re all replaceable.” This is when the petty revenge comes into play.
After enough of the rude remarks from the corporate and customers. I said I would need to take some time off for a few days to focus on my mental health. I brought this up to my GM, who was perfectly fine with it since it was 2 weeks in advance( standard requesting time off practice) by my DM wouldn’t accept it. She claimed that “it’s too short notice,” and “we need you for truck those days. Btw none of those days were when our truck comes which was on Thursday’s. I finally had enough and said if she wouldn’t accept I needed time off, I would be forced to put in my two weeks notice and quit. She gave me the same “you’re replaceable,” bullshit and I decided I was done. I waited for a Friday, our busiest day, and noticed that the other people scheduled for our shift consisted of one other person who knew how to do most jobs accept close the safe (which I could do) and two minors who couldn’t even work the oven by themselves. Fine, you wanna say I’m replaceable? You can find someone else. I purposely turned my phone on silent and blocked their numbers, refusing to even answer them. I know this makes me the asshole for screwing them over, but if she said she could run the store all by herself, she could come in on a day she wasn’t scheduled and drive almost an hour to come in and take my spot. After not coming in, I learned she had to come in and fix everything, which serves her right. Screw you DM, you can do all that by yourself for all I care.
I guess my main message for those who read this far is please by nice and mindful to your fast food workers. They’re overworked and stressed enough as it is. So think of how you want to be treated and show some kindness next time you order fast food.
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2023.05.29 21:06 HopsGrowler Food Trucks being ticketed downtown on a holiday
2023.05.29 20:34 3rats1frog Any one here in KC play at Jaegers
2023.05.29 20:30 SHBMarietta Hot Cars and Cold Drinks (Exotic Car Show) Schoolhouse Brewing this Sunday
2023.05.29 20:26 Lulupoolzilla I am going to try panhandling with a sign for the first time and I am nervous.
I check the laws and it isn't illegal, but I'm afraid of someone trying to grab me, or hitting me with there car. I will have someone with me, but they will be far away and I'm still nervous. I was keeping my food at my dad's place but he threw it all away because it wasn't food that he eats, and I don't get my food stamps until the 10th. It's the third day of not eating anything other than the half a pack of soda crackers we found in the truck and split, the cat food is starting to look good so I figured I have nothing to lose except this relentless headache. Wish me luck.
Update: I got there and had a minor panic attack and chickened out. The best way I can put it is that I am so tired of having to do things that make me uncomfortable just to survive. I don't like selling naked pictures of myself or begging, but I have to do I can eat, feed my cat, and put gas in the truck to get to odd jobs. I hate it. I have nothing against sex workers, but I am not comfortable doing it, and yet I've had to. I'm at my wits end. I don't know how much longer I can last doing it.
Edit: I am not offering anything, I am stating some of the things I've done that I don't want to do. It is not an offer at all.
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2023.05.29 20:26 paulsfo Free parking day at the Presidio for Memorial day!
2023.05.29 19:57 chriscjj [US] [SELLING] manga lot everything for $165
Preferably would like to sell all of it in one go. Or if you wanna buy everyone minus one or two that’s an option. Everything for $165 Retail price is $240.
Minimum you can get is any two sets.
Mashle 1-7 $55
Kaiju 1-5 $40
Silent voice box set $40
Astra lost in space $40
Crazy food truck $20
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2023.05.29 19:52 Legitimate-Level567 How are the Sproul food trucks already gone!!
Like we rlly arent gonna have em next year ig
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2023.05.29 19:41 metooeither I always cook on my truck except for...
...2 places in the country I've been able to get really good vegan food. (I drive a semi, so food places have to be walking distance from a truck stop. That makes it challenging to find good vegan food.)
Neither place is vegan, but they sell food I've been able to cobble together and make a vegan meal I didn't have to cook, yay!
Omg, one of the places has the BEST beans and rice. Aaaand today i discovered, the fucking beans- the beans!- aren't vegan.
God dammit. Never fucking occurred to me to ask, lol because they are black beans, I assumed from a #10 can. Probably beans, water, salt is the entire ingredient list.
So I skipped the rice today and only got the beans so I could refry them on my truck, and discovered when i tasted them without the insanely delicious cilantro lime rice, that they are not generic black beans from a #10 can.
They are homemade, w chicken stock or boullion or soup or whatever.
😭 so fucking sad. I feel so fucking cheated.
Goddammit. So I guess I know 1 place I can park a semi & get really good vegan food.
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2023.05.29 19:41 tulpacat1 To Kill a Predator, Chapter 20
To Kill a Predator is a work of fan fiction set in the Nature of Predators universe originally created by SpacePaladin15
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Depiction does not equal endorsement.
Hope you enjoy it!
--- Memory transcription subject: Martin Russo, Human Refugee Date [standardized human time]: November 30th, 2136
Three of us are riding in the back of the truck with the bound and gagged bird. We’re all ignoring him. The other two are inside. I’ve put my mask on just to avoid getting grit and dust in my eyes, mouth, and nose.
“So I know why the predator and the uplift are stuck back here, but why’d Slavik exile you?”
Hanya looks at me before scoffing. “Predator Disease, remember? Or maybe she doesn’t want my quills to scuff the upholstery.”
I sigh. “Jesus Christ I am so sick of Predator Disease. From the sound of it, you’ve got something like PTSD, you’re not a freaking serial killer!”
“Part of that didn’t translate.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s an acronym for stress as a result of trauma: literally ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’, finding yourself unable to let go of the traumatic event and thus being stressed out.”
“Oh, we’ve got something like that!” Mosun chimes in cheerfully. “We call it Recurrent Hysterical Exhaustion, and it happens sometimes to people who’ve been in accidents or returned from wars.”
I nod. “Actual mental health, huh. God, I hope with the Yotul aligning with humanity instead of the Federation you can recover your culture from them…”
Hanya scoffs again. “What, and get their trains back?”
Mosun looks surly. “Why is it that you people always think our culture is nothing but trains? They were a great way to transport things over long distances, but it’s not like we worship the damn things. There’s a lot more to our species than our technology!”
I try to interject, cutting off the incoming argument with a more positive question for him. “So what’s something about your culture that you’d like to restore?”
He responds immediately, ears perking up with excitement. “Combat Dancing!”
I lean forward. “What’s that?”
“You know that kick you were so impressed with? Well it’s part of a system that some Yotul learn to fight without weapons.”
I give an ‘oh’ of understanding. “You guys have martial arts!”
“Oh, that’s a good name too! Dancing is a sort of art, after all. And… Well, we did. We used to have entire schools dedicated to learning the Dances. But it turns out knowing anything about Combat Dances is ‘Predator Disease’, so they burnt all the schools down and threw the teachers and students in their facilities. My mom used to be a teacher, and managed to lie to their assessors… She taught me as much as she could. In secret.”
Hanya snarls. “Well, on that count the Federation was right! Fighting shouldn’t be a dance, or an art! It’s a dirty, horrible last resort!”
“Combat Dancing isn’t just about fighting! It’s about self-control, and being smart and effective! Its most important lessons are about when and how not to fight!”
I helpfully add “It’s also a good form of exercise. I was taught some of the basics of boxing at the shelter, but I haven’t been able to get a setup at home since I started living with the Venlil. I sort of miss the full-body workout.”
Mosun responds, tilting his head curiously. “’Boxing’? The translator picks that up as ‘a punching contest’, but a lot of Combat Dancing involves using your legs and tail too. Do you humans only use your paws?”
“No, boxing is just one martial art out of… well I’m not sure how many. Dozens and dozens at least. Boxing in particular focuses on using our hands. It’s also practiced as a competitive sport.”
Hanya gets a bit agitated, leaning forward. “A sport?! Absurd! You beat each other up for fun and call it a dance, or an artform! It’s savage!”
Mosun looks at the protesting Gojid shrewdly. “Your people probably had something like it too, before the Kolshians got their slimy tentacles on you. Those claws of yours are no joke. Without learning how to fight properly you could get someone seriously hurt with them.”
At this, she gets less irate. Instead she glances down at her own rather long claws thoughtfully. “So your ‘combat dancing’ would be about… not using claws?”
The Yotul moves closer to her. She doesn’t move away. But I suppose he’s just an ‘uplift’, not a predator like me. Mosun’s the first non-human I’ve been able to hang out with without first having to take days to acclimatize them to my presence.
“It’s about knowing what your body is capable of, and training until you’re doing the right thing even under stress. You flew space ships, right? If you panic the results can be catastrophic. I bet you were taught safety protocols over and over. They were drilled into you until they were an automatic reflex, right?”
Hanya sighs sort of wistfully. “Yeah. In pilot school they’d bang the walls or play loud sounds while shouting questions, so we’d be able to respond correctly even under stress. A few times they’d even wake us up at night by screaming scenarios at us, and have us take repeat lessons if we didn’t immediately answer with the right procedures.”
Mosun is animated, moving his paws around as he talks. He’s in debate mode. Since he’s prey, Hanya doesn’t flinch back. “Right, so it’s the same thing here… You learn how to respond to different circumstances, so you don’t lash out and cause more harm than necessary. But at the same time if it does become necessary… you learn exactly how to do what you gotta. Figuring out how to best use your claws for self-defense isn’t something you want to start doing when a hungry Arxur is rounding the corner, any more than you wanna start figuring out how the fire suppression system works while your ship’s burning! See, you view the vessel as a complete system, and train yourself in its use… so that you can operate it safely in everyday situations, avoid dangerous situations if you can, and guide it through them in one piece if you can’t!”
She looks down at her claws for a while with a blank expression. The claws on her other paw tap the truck’s flatbed bottom thoughtfully. “…Could you teach me some of it?”
--- Memory transcription subject: Jarkim, Krakotl Civilian Date [standardized human time]: November 30th, 2136
Slavik spoke up after a while of silent driving. “So the people we’re up against are all Exterminators, right?”
She flicked her ear in irritation. “Fucking government bastards.”
I tossed my head back a bit to show disagreement. “They’re not with the government; they believe it’s been subverted by the humans.”
“They’ve only got their weapons and training because of the government. They broke into a home in the middle of town and kidnapped and assaulted Venlil with impunity because they’ve had government backing all this time, and nobody’s allowed to question the pricks when they’re in uniform. These ‘Liberators’ are only still operating at all because it’s too embarrassing for the government to admit they’ve lost control of the Exterminators.”
I sighed. “Fair enough…”
With an air of satisfied finality Slavik said “So, fucking government bastards.”
I signaled appeasement with a wing. “Alright, alright. They’re fucking government bastards, happy?”
Slavik huffed with annoyance. “Tell me about them.”
“As people, you mean?”
Slavik flicked an ear in the affirmative. “Good to know going in.”
“Mm. Well… Karta and Luarik were my friends back on Nishtal. Karta’s always been confident, outgoing, and brash. Luarik’s been his shadow for as long as I’ve known them. If anyone’s going to listen to reason to get Luarik back, it’ll be Karta.”
After a moment of thought, I added “Honestly they may be dating, but if they are they’ve been keeping it quiet.”
“Alright, what about the rest?”
“Never worked with Serni or Vira. Vira worked… uh, administration and statistics, I think. Serni’s been doing education, going around in schools to explain to students what Exterminators do, and a lot of seminars teaching new parents what signs to look out for in their children.”
“The kinda asshole who recruits everyone to help keep an eye out for outcasts.”
I couldn’t disagree, so I just continued. “Vilrak’s been bouncing between desk duty and the front line for cycles. He’d get rough with some PD occasionally and they’d put him behind a desk for a couple of paws to cool off.”
Slavik tightened their grip on the steering, their jaw tightening. But they remained silent.
“Ilnek’s always been a model Exterminator. Always made her quotas, worked well with everyone. She did a lot of the disposal jobs at the office, like running the bone-crusher and driving loads to the ash dumps.”
Slavik grumbled quietly before finding something to latch onto and complain about. “What quotas?”
“There’s a set number of people in a population that’ll have Predator Disease, and the guild’s figured about how many an office can be expected to find each cycle based on, uhh, stuff like population density, species diversity, if you’re diverting too far from the One in Thirty ratio, local political affiliations… that kinda thing.”
“And if you’re short…”
“It generally means the budget goes toward re-training rather than better chairs or fruit baskets. Sort of a gentle incentive to keep your ears up when you’re out and about.”
Slavik’s voice was filled with disgust, and I shrank a bit in my seat from the unspoken implication in their simple response of “Uh-huh”.
Of course they were pissed. Slavik ended up in one of the cages after a coworker of theirs reported them for not filling out their sex on employment forms. And for a lack of interest in partners. A disinterest in the basic biological urges of companionship and procreation was a sign of PD, as was an inability or unwillingness to fit into your species’ standard sex distribution. If Slavik was a Krakotl it wouldn’t have been a problem, but mammals are less fluid about sex.
It wasn’t politically advantageous to make a big deal of Slavik’s case, at the time they were arrested. So I helped smooth it out. One of the good things I’ve done, but it was just to keep the office’s paws clean.
Because the media caused a gale wind about it when it turned out a couple of the Predator Disease cases over in Dawn Creek had been in that damn facility for the same reasons, I put in some words with the assessor to get Slavik out and keep them out of the records before anyone could start making noise about it here too.
There’s no way they would’ve been dragged in so aggressively to begin with if it weren’t for someone needing to polish their numbers.
“…Anyway. Last’s Renak. For my money it’s even odds whether he or Karta is the leader. Almost as many burns on wild preds as the rest of the office put together. He understands their minds, can track them better than anyone else. He can tell if there’s a nest nearby by how one behaves when it’s cornered. He can even hear if there are mature ones around a young by burning it slow and listening for how it screams.”
Slavik looked sick and pale. “…Protector… I know they’re predators, but… Why don’t you kill them before you burn them, at least?”
I knew the answer, of course. “Because… Because standard doctrine holds that they don’t feel pain or have souls the same way other animals do, so it doesn’t matter.”
Slavik gave a scoff. “After Celany’s interview, do you seriously believe that?”
“I used to.” I paused, and then told the truth instead. “No. I didn’t. I just ignored it. There were a lot of things I had to just ignore to do my job, a lot I had to be complicit in.”
--- Memory transcription subject: Vansi, Venlil Civilian Date [standardized human time]: November 30th, 2136
It was scary to be moved suddenly, of course, but my son knew best.
He had his friends take Thiva to safety here, and was working on helping cure her sickness.
The screams were the worst part. She was restrained in one of the bedrooms, he had explained, because in her diseased state she might hurt herself or try to escape. My Renak’s a dutiful and attentive son and brother, and he made sure to stay with her and keep her fed.
Next to me was one of his friends, Ilnek. A cute girl with her short Exterminator-cut fur a lovely cloud-white color. She was flicking her tail idly while fiddling with some electronics.
“So… What is going to happen next?”
“Next, miss Vansi, we’re going to drive the humans out of Greenmeadow entirely. Without a civilian presence to safeguard, their military will have to either relocate or give up the pretense entirely. Either way suits our purpose just fine.”
She was polite, sweet, and dedicated. And such a lovely color. I wondered if my son had considered a possible relationship? They must’ve had a lot in common, and I’d love to have some grandchildren before I was too old to appreciate them. I decided to try and play matchmaker, and wagged my tail gently. “What do you think of Renak?”
She didn’t look up from her work. “Your son’s a genius. He understands the evil we’re fighting, you know. Really understands it. That’s why he’s taken his sister here. She’s a test case for our plan.”
“I… don’t understand?” I asked politely, tilting my head.
“He figures, with the human going after Thiva again after you drove it out of your home… they’re probably mated.”
A sense of deep revulsion filled me, and I recoiled with horror. “N-No! Oh Protector, No!”
Her voice was grim. “Oh, yes. It’s quite common… Plenty of humans out there apparently like to play with their food. Those are the ones we’re going after first, and the easiest way is to use their victims as bait.”
“It’s something we learned. The way we figure it the humans didn’t fake the empathy tests. Even the non-sapient predators… they either feel something like empathy, or they have a sunk cost to continue their species. If you catch some offspring, or a mate, you can dangle it by a leg… and lay in wait. The predator comes for its own, and then you can burn both at once.”
Now she looked up, smugly. “Of course, in the humans’ case the bait are gonna be their Venlil girlfriends and boyfriends, so we’ll be more… judicious. But after that, the humans will think twice before they try to mate with their pets. Then we move on to the humans who pretend to be friends with the Venlil. They’ll turn away from forming relationships with us at all and start making all-human packs separate from the Venlil… and that’s when we hit them all at once, like with the ‘shelter’.”
The idea of Thiva being used to bait the human was… “But… how do you make sure that the Venlil you’re using for bait don’t get hurt?”
“Miss Vansi, when someone is already in a predator’s clutches… collateral damage is a given. Most people who survive direct predator attacks would end up with the predator’s taint anyway.” She paused while finishing the last detonator. “…But I’m sure Renak has a plan to keep his sister safe, don’t worry. Alright, I’m going to get something to eat.”
As she walked out of the room, I was left to sit with the feeling of uncertainty and fear. Hearing the faint echoes of Thiva’s screams from the room up above, I wondered if perhaps Renak could be mistaken? No, that’s simply not possible. I just don’t see it yet, I need him to explain it to me. He’s smarter than I am.
If I couldn’t see the plan, if I didn’t have the stomach for the cost, I simply had to trust in my son’s strength of will and vision.
I closed my eyes and listened for the next scream. She was saying the human’s name, calling out for it. Not her brother or her loving mother, but a filthy predator.
I imagined the sounds as akin to bleeding a festering wound. A deep, cleansing pain as you force out the insidious poison coursing through the veins. Burning out the infection and leaving room for renewal.
I prayed for her, fervently. I begged passionately to the Protector for power and wisdom for Renak and his cause, and for the downfall of the humans and the erasure of the taint they’ve left on the world.
Most of all I prayed my daughter could still be saved, and for the strength it would take if it turns out she could not.
submitted by tulpacat1
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 19:40 sleepyraccoon77 The Training Table
Hi, just wondering if anyone has actually seen one of the Training Table food trucks? I live in Tooele County so I'll never randomly see one but I really need some cheese fries.
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to SaltLakeCity [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 19:32 sandstormshorty Island Noodles is mid
😂😂 best food so far has been the falafel from the black truck! Thanks to this sub for the rec! But I repeat, island noodles was mid yesterday around 6pm!
submitted by sandstormshorty
to MovementDEMF [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 19:27 ieatalphabets Avalanche of the 'baj overnight.
Here's my cozy-ass 250k city
just as it was the night The Event occurred. What you can't see is that beautiful Springdale had the capacity to process 1.6 million units of garbage, or that the city only generated 1.3 million units. If you lived in the city, though, you wouldn't believe those numbers. You'd be a 'Baj Truther, and for once, you'd be right. Because between one sunset and the next sunrise? The Event swept across Springdale. Garbage exploded out of goddamn near every building on the map. Pedestrian districts that were perfectly fine the day before were suddenly swamps of dirty diapers and half eaten fast food containers. People were kayaking in their own filth. To be fair that is not a lifestyle I'm set against, but I want it to be a person's choice, you know?
I surveyed every single one of my recycling centers and found most were using between 7-10 trucks. My six incinerators were using 2-8 trucks. Traffic was 71%, but honestly it wasn't that bad. I did notice two oddities. First, that I had a set of power lines crossing open country with a trash icon above them. That was odd, but it eventually went away after I removed all traffic with with TM:PE. The second oddity was that I had one newly placed recycling center that would not operate. No mater where I placed it, no mater how many times I reloaded the save or restarted the games, and no mater how many times I disabled it and re-enabled the center. I deleted it, and placed a new center down exactly where the first one had been and it worked fine for a little while... then 'Baj Explosion. I'm wondering if the two are linked.
Does anyone have any suggestions? My traffic between districts is fine. It can be a little fucky in spots, but this is one of my best managed cities. I've never lost a city to a bug, though I do hear people claim it happens... I'm kind of at a loss here.
Additional Fuckyness: On loading today, I noticed in the trash view that two of my oldest recycling centers were not operational. I tried replacing them with incinerators, but those wouldn't work either. One remains at 0/15 trucks in use, but the other flickers between 1 in use and 0 in use. I've got a city killing bug, don't I?
submitted by ieatalphabets
to CitiesSkylines [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 19:26 cnirvana11 Looking for great outdoor access and a vibrant town/city under $500k for a house. Do you have any suggestions?
Happy Memorial Day, all!
Ok... Someone please tell me where to live. I have been searching different factors for a couple of years now and have not found the right place.
What I am looking for:
- vibrant (small or big) town. I don't do a lot of night life, but cute coffee shops, restaurants with good ambiance (outdoor seating is a plus), and even little events that have live music and food trucks are great.
- a house for less than $500k. At least 3 bed, 2 bath on a bit of land (close to an acre would be ideal).
- great access to outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.
Those are the most important things that I have narrowed my sights to.
Please, please help. I am so lost and I am so ready to move on from where I am.
Thank you! Have a safe holiday!
submitted by cnirvana11
to SameGrassButGreener [link] [comments]