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A recent feature in New York Times Magazine chronicles the story of RuPaul Charles, arguably the most successful drag queen of all time, along with a brief history of how drag queens came to find ... W endy Napoles is getting a rude awakening. Napoles, mother to the celebrated eleven-year-old drag queen known as “Desmond Is Amazing,” recently discovered that a convicted pedophile is ... In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the 'scourge of war' so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress. Data collected among gay and straight participants support a costly signaling reading of the drag queen cultural phenomenon. Participants generally agree that successful drag queens typically incur costs, while gaining specific social benefits. Ongina (Drag Queen) Bio, Age, Height, Husband, Gay, Net Worth, Drag Race. Posted by Admin1 On June 13, 2020 0 Comment. Ongina (Drag Queen) Ongina Biography. This is what you need to know about Ongina born as Ryan Ong Palao. She is an American drag performer and HIV activist, who came to international attention on the first season of RuPaul’s ... Chi Chi Devayne Death – Dead – Obituary : Drag Queen Dies at 34, See Cause of Death. The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” family is mourning the loss of one of their own. Zavion Davenport, best known as Chi Chi DeVayne, has died at age 34, Zavion’s mother, Tina Davenport, told CNN. “It is with tremendous sorrow… Read More » Data shows a far higher rate of suicide ... Drag Queen Storytime provides an opportunity for parents to begin to have conversations with their kids about respecting other types of people and ... The Drag Queen Story Hour is a nonprofit that depends on the help of volunteers, including 10 drag queens, to survive. Hogin said the queens face constant struggles for being themselves, and ... Jan (Drag Queen) Photo Jan Sport Biography . This is what you need to know about Jan Sport, mostly known as Jan, an American a drag performer and a contestant on season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She shortened her name to “Jan” for Drag Race, adding that she loves Jan Brady from the sitcom “The Brady Bunch.” I collected 3000 drag queen photos and 3000 selfies, but not all of them had a clear frontal face and not all of them were cropped properly to only exhibit the facial area. To prepare the data, I leveraged Open-CV’s Cascade Classifier and wrote a python script to identify the faces in the dataset and crop them so that the faces are in the middle.
Fantasy Drag Race Holland Results - 9/18
2020.09.18 16:52 MemeFarmer314Fantasy Drag Race Holland Results - 9/18
The results from the first episode are in! You can check out all the raw data here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lXnUIZk3q52WIdRinunaoDQFn7pC2FtTNGq9pQ0tiUs/edit?usp=sharing Update: fixed the link so everyone can view But here's a summary: How the System works: As a reminder of how this system works, each queen recieves 2 points for each challenge win, 1 point for each high placement, -1 for each low placement, and -2 for each time in the bottom. You earn triple points for your winner, double points for your finalist, and single points for your players. That is a double edged sword, as a challenge win for your winner earns you 6 points, but likewise a lipsync will lose you 6. In the case of any ties, I have a formula that has calculated how much each queen was chosen. If you and another entrant both had 5 points, you bet on queens who had been picked less, you would win the tiebreaker. First and Last Place Our current leader, with 9 points, is WinsMcGee. Their bracket consisted of all the queens in the top three, and their season winner won the challenge. None of the queens who found their way to the bottom were on their bracket, ensuring that they didn't lose any points. We have a tie for last place. Both Sirhc_knil and Nugless had -9 points. After looking at the tiebreaker scores, Nugless takes the last place spot this week. Both entrants had one bottom two queen as their winner, and the other as a finalist. Sirhc_knil did manage to have one of the queens in the top on their bracket, while Nugless had the challenge winner, but also lost an extra point from having the third low queen as well. How you ranked the Queens After you all chose your queens, I assigned each queen a rating. They earned 3 points for each person who picked them as their winner, 2 points for each finalist pick, and 1 point for being picked as a player. Overall, one queen has emerged as the clear frontrunner among the fans.
Miss Abby OMG
Envy Peru clearly has the attention of the audience. While historically with these polls I can say that Shea Coulee and Priyanka were also the top rated contestants for Fantasy All Stars and Canada, I am wary of the fact that Tynomi Banks, a well known and beloved Queen, was the second highest rated contestant for Canada, yet placed 9th after her third lipsync. So while popularity does seem to garner votes in this poll, all skills don't necessarily translate to the Drag Race Stage. Other fun stats: Of our 93 entrants, 44 people avoided having the eliminated queen on their ranking. 41 people managed to not have the queen who won the challenge. Only 5 people who entered did not have Envy Peru on their bracket. Two of them are my friends from real life. There are 7 sets of people who chose the same exact bracket as each other. 6 of the 7 are groups of 2 and one is a group of 4.
2020.09.18 08:16 OculusfluffySteamfluffs by Oculus (xpost from fluffybooru)
Originally posted on: https://www.fluffybooru.com/post/view/58039 https://preview.redd.it/dgs158n1kun51.png?width=550&format=png&auto=webp&s=a35926cb48f68530383320e90f8717c144bb0f3d STEAMFLUFFS ~or Steampunk Fluffies~ By Oculus ~CHIMNEY~ >You are Chimney >You are a fluffy >You are given the name Chimney by your owner, Oliver >Oliver is an orphan. Oliver never knew his father, and his mother died at childbirth. Word around the boys is that he’s the son of a common whore >at the age of six, Oliver was scouted by the Master Sweep to work for his business, sweeping the many chimneys and vents in a burgeoning London >it is a hard job but, with no parents, and without a cent to his name, working as a sweep is the only way Oliver can eke out a living >Oliver remembers the first time he went up a chimney >A boy two years older than him, a veteran, recommended going in completely naked, as the clothes would only drag him down. Oliver balks at this idea > the space was thin, as he used his knees and hands to slowly worm his way up >with brush in hand, he keeps sweeping away the cakes of soot in the chimney, following the instruction from the master >surviving the first ordeal, Oliver comes out >Coughing. With tears in his eyes >but alive. He hadn’t fallen, and he had been careful >it was during his third sweep that Oliver met you >The Master had been tasked with cleaning the factories owned by Hassenfeld Biochemical >the chimney of this particular factory is long and arduous >more than one boy was needed to clean the chimneys, and there were nooks and crannies that had to be taken care of >the briefing was unusual as an official from the enterprise was also present >with top hat, clean clothes and gloves, he was clearly a gentleman. And he seemed to be talking to the master about something >it seemed like a minor oddity at first, but the reason behind this became clear later on >The chimney of this factory was filled with vents, all of which were caked in soot, and aside from the main chimney, which had to be cleared, some of the younger boys had to crawl into these vents >it was in one of these vents that Oliver noticed an odd peculiarity >horse hooves, in the soot >Oliver had seen horses, but he could not imagine how a horse could fit itself into a vent >and not too long after he pondered that, he discovers you >a grey coloured fluffy, but blackened by the surrounding soot “H-huwwo nice yung mistah. Fwuffy am scawed. Fwuffy nu wan twubbwe, onwy wan nummies an’ pway.” >Oliver should have screamed or cried. Or anything unexpected, given the bizarreness of finding a miniature horse in a vent. And one that was talking “What a most peculiar thing.” >but Oliver had read a book about a talking horse. And that same book also mentioned the island of Lilliput, and its miniature denizens. >not knowing the book to be fiction, he takes it that this horse belonged to that island of Liliput “Pwez! Nu huwt fwuffy!” >you cover your eyes with your hooves “Don’t cry, you poor thing. You must be a long way from Liliput." "Wha' am Wiwiput?” >Strange, thought Oliver. The creature knows nothing about that island. >No matter >In an act of kindness, Oliver carries you, as he clears the final bit of soot ~ “Ah, splendid job, Mr Gamfield! I see that your boys have managed to recover a few of our fluffy ponies.” “Ponies? By jove! Are you telling me that these miniature babbling creatures are horses?” >indeed, Oliver was not the only who found a pony in the chimneys and vents >some of the other boys had found similar fluffy ponies in the chimney of the factory “Indeed! We have been experimenting with these creatures as a means of augmenting the labour force. As you know, the young boys are needed to run the vents, but some of the vents are particularly tight and hard to crawl through. Then, I received word that some of our subjects had escaped into the chimneys of our factory. Considering their survival, and how their fluff has helped soaked up some of the soot, I can see the potential in providing your boys with our lovely ponies.” >Oliver is holding you in your arms. He feels a bit curious >in a rather independent fashion, Oliver raises a hand and asks “Can we keep these ponies?” >The Master was about to lower Oliver’s hand forcefully and chastise him, but the official stops him >with a smile on his face, the official says “Of course! The fluffies are for you to keep." >he then turns to master sweep "As a matter of fact, Mr Gamfield, I would like to offer a minor proposition. Something that can help you and your boys earn a bit more than the paltry amount you get for clearing soot.” >And so, every boy in Gamfield’s business now has a fluffy pony >including you, who now belongs to Oliver >the work is difficult, and you have to run the vents that Oliver can’t, to collect the soot in your fluff >then return to the base, where you are washed down by a washerwoman, and quickly dried, before going up the vents again to check for blockages “Nu wike wawa.” “Be still, you little rapscallion!” >as the mistress washes you down, Oliver is currently reading a book regarding identifying blockages >lately, the Master has found a new job and occupation for the boys to take up >aside from the usual chimney sweep business, the development of the analytical engine in recent years has seen the implementation of more elaborate and complex structures in London. > the vents have started to be more complicated, to reflect the clockwork and steam machines integrated into the architecture >aside from clearing soot from chimneys and vents, there is now a business in looking for leaks in steam vents, as well as identifying blockages in said vents >its hard work >but every day, after a long day at work, the boys are given their pay >with you in tow, Oliver takes you to the soup kitchen, where he manages to buy a bowl of soup, and a bit of bread >it is not enough sustenance for a young boy "Please sir, can I have some more?" >the cook eyes Oliver, feeling a little furious >but, and despite being washed down, Oliver's clothes still have the charred remains from the chimney >and he is holding you in his arms "You're one of Gamfield's boys, aren't you? Your lads did a pretty good job on one of the warehouses. Here's an extra piece of bread for the good work." >the additional morsel is barely enough for one boy >but Oliver still divided the bread between the two of you, and make sure you get your fill of soup and bread "Fank 'ou, daddeh." >as you slowly nibble at the piece bread, drenched in soup, you contemplate on the day that Oliver had found you >unbeknownst to Oliver, you were actually part of a contingent of rejected ponies that were going to be sent to the incinerator >the biochemical factory that chimney boys were cleaning also doubles as a breeding mill, with much of the breeding down in the bowels of the factory >the mares held at this mill are all belong to the third to fourth generation of Hassenfeld Biochemical, or Hasbio's, continued fluffy breeding programme >currently, the programme has managed to sustain the breeding and sale of high quality fluffy ponies that can be kept as pets >however, every litter of foals always has a runt, as well as a few fluffies of an undesirable colour, notably the colours of grey, brown, mottled green and so on >on the day that you were supposed to be incinerated, a careless worker had forgotten to lock the cage some of your kin were housed in, and the lot of you scampered away into the labyrinthine maze of vents within the factory >obviously, the factory workers were prepared to chase you down, and have the lot of you exterminated >but one of the Hasbio officials has noticed a potential purpose for you lot >as you keep chewing at the piece of bread, you can feel Oliver rub the back of your head, then your face >despite having little in the world, he cannot help but beam as he sees you appreciate the morsel of food >the two of you then return to a workhouse, where both of you retire for the night "Fwuffy wuv 'ou, Owivah." "I love you too, Chimney." >clutching you in his arms, both of you fall asleep ~ ~ZWEISTEIN~ >You don’t really have a name >Some have called you “Zweistein’s Monster” >But one thing is certain >You are a Progenitor >you live a simple, but mundane life >in the shed that Zweistein owns, you sleep, you wake up >graze and ruminate >day by day, the doctor and assistants assess you for your mental and physical health >and then, you sleep again >Donovan Zweistein is a kind man >he is also a brilliant man >and one of the most captivating discoveries, a decade or so ago, was the full and complete development of the Difference Engine by Charles Babbage >and its successor, the Analytical Engine >these mechanical devices, intricate and byzantine, yet beautiful, are capable of computations and formulas far beyond the understanding of the average man >and its application in modern science cannot be underestimated >in fact, one of the first discoveries utilizing the Analytical Engine, was the complete sequencing of various animal genomes >something that Zweistein has been involved in >this discovery has motivated Zweistein >for Zweistein is, himself, contracted to Hassenfeld Biochemical >you have been many things, in many lives before >but your strongest memory was as a horse >a Shetland pony, owned by Donovan >miniature yet proud. Loyal and strong >and very, very fluffy >and one day, you died >you cannot remember how. Perhaps it was an accident. Or perhaps it had been an altercation >whatever the case, the life had been taken from you in a snap >Donovan was heavily affected by this loss, and wept for your soul for ages >Donovan is a brilliant man, and he has been working with the sequencing of the genomes, as well as various chemicals >and, fueled by his memory of the time he spent with you, along with a hypothesis funded by Hassenfeld, Donovan is about to do a most daring, and possibly profane, experiment >he has taken the body parts of various animals >the feathers of a selkie chicken. The sinew of a boar. The ears of a rabbit. >the blood of a guinea pig. The blood of an orangutan. The blood of a dog. >and the brain of his Shetland pony >suspended in a preservative until this right moment, he has now removed it, and placed it within a skull he had fashioned for this purpose >affixing two bolts to each side, and wiring the body that has been stitched together, Zweistein waited for a violent rainstorm to come, while setting up the conductor >and like Prometheus bestowing fire upon humanity, a flash of lightning sears through the sky, and starts up the beating heart >when he first saw you, he at first felt disgust at you >a wretch >a miserable monster he had created. >Zweistein held up the curtain of the bed; and your eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on him. Your jaws opened, and you muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled your cheeks. >And for a few days, you could only manage a simple, silent cry, your first words “Wan…. Die….. wan…. Die….” ~ >your routine as a progenitor is simple >you graze the fields >you speak with your master >but there are times when your master has need of your one talent >as his hands dig into your thick fluff and massage your back, your mind goes back to the days following your awakening ~ “Wan…. Die….. wan…. Die….” >Zweistein is a bit concerned >the readings from the engine were supposed to be right >and he had already ran the tests on simpler reactions with the chemicals on the other bits >however, when put together into this being that has been stitched together from the various parts, the chimera wasn't responding >was the brain affected, by years of stasis in the fluid? Were the parts all rejecting each other? >it would be the case, but the introduction of certain chemicals was supposed to keep that in unison together ideally >ideally, that is the key word >Zweistein is at his table, frustrated. His hand is on his forehead, his posture slumped, looking over the compilation of notes, and the readings from the analytical engine >in the background, the engine could be heard, as it clicks and clacks away, processing more genetic data for the doctors studies "Wan... die..." >oh god, how he wished this bastard would shut up >in a fit of frustration, the doctor grabs a piece of paper, crumples it up into a ball, and throws it at you >looking at the crumpled paper, the roughly spherical shape registers a memory in you, speaking to the part of you that once had a life as a canine >and for the first time, you manage something new in your vocabulary "Wan.... pway?" ~ >the mare is primed >she is a bit nervous >but Zweistein received the mare from a colleague of his about a week ago >a telegram that had been sent prior to the delivery revolved around a discussion he had regarding the exposure of genetic material from an older source to a newer bloodline, but from a different progenitor >and this mare was a descendant of that different progenitor >Donovan had already administered a hormone to her half an hour earlier >the mare, once frightened by the sight of you, is also in heat “Fwuffy nu wike dis… bu…bu… fwuffy wan speshuw huggies….” >to ease the mare, Zweistein places a blindfold over her >upon seeing the mare, her rear exposed to you >the one instinct in you, unique to all heterosexual life forms, reacts "H….huggies….” >your virility is strong, a reproductive organ that the doctor had carefully developed >as you mount yourself upon the mare, your virility penetrates the mare’s organ, as the unmistakable sounds of sex filled the stable “Enf… enf…. Enf.” >the mare, still blindfolded, is frightened. But being in heat, the act is still consensual, and she is largely unaware of who, or what, is mounting her “Fwuffy a-a-am scawed… b….bu….. feew guud….” >over time, her fear gives way to pleasure "Enf... enf... enf...." >and you release >the mare collapses. Exhausted, but satisfied >as for you, Zweistein slowly guides you aware from the mare, and back to the shed, where an assistant will massage you, as well as examine you further >in time, the mare will give birth to a fresh set of fluffy foals, this time with DNA from a Progenitor >you have previously fathered a generation of fluffy ponies, which have, in turn, fathered their own generation, carefully managed and monitored by the company >and now, you have procreated with the descendant of a similar progenitor, exposing new genetic material to that line >for your efforts, Victor provides you with a meal that a part of you remembers “Sk-skettis…” >as you slowly eat the dish, morsel by morsel, Donovan strokes your mane >proud of his virile, yet bizarre, abomination ~ ~DOLLY~ >You are a fluffy >But you are not any ordinary fluffy >You are Dolly >You are the property of Laura Hassenfeld >Laura is the Daughter of Sir Percival Clayton Hassenfeld the Fourth of Haddockspike Manor >Sir Hassenfeld is one of the current proprietors of the Hassenfeld conglomerate >it was under Hassenfeld that the company had created its famous Biochemical subsidiary >and, more importantly, he had overseen the creation, and propagation of Hasbio’s Fluffy Pony product >You are Laura’s pride and joy >after years of extensive breeding and artificial selection, specific pedigrees of fluffies have been bred for the gentry >well-trained and well-mannered, you represent the heights of man’s mastery over the natural order, as a talking animal companion that distinguishes itself from a mangy dog or uncouth cat >you have been with Laura ever since her twelfth birthday, and she has always cherished you >and then, one day, the incident happened >while ice-skating at a lake, your mistress, in an act of poor thinking, decided to carry you across the ice >you, being the judicious fluffy that you are, refused >but that didn’t stop Laura >nor did it stop the bumbling Norwegian who crashed into the two of you >Laura survived, as did you, but the weight of the man’s body, as well as the blades of the ice-skates had damaged your legs, to the point that they could no longer be used >the veterinarian who attended to your wounds put your chances of survival as being slim >even though you did survive amputation, the loss of your legs indicate that you would be entirely dependent on your owners for the rest of your natural life >the veterinarian recommended euthanasia, to spare you the potential misery >but Laura refused this >she had grown overly attached to you, as a fluffy, and could not bring herself to see her fluffy die in such a manner >it just so happened to be that Laura is familiar with technology >while not well-versed in the scientific fields of biology, let alone biological engineering, Laura has a fascination for clockwork and steamwork >despite receiving training to be a gentlewoman, her father had allowed her study the mechanical sciences, provided it was as a hobby >this, however, has allowed Laura to tinker with various devices in her own private laboratory >one of the first things she attempted to invent for you was a wheeled sedan of sorts >placing you within the seat, the steam engine came to life, which startled you "SCREEE! NU WIKE! NU WIKE! Mummah, git fwuffy away from buwnie munstah!" >suffice to say is that it took quite the grace period before you could get used to this particular sedan >Laura is currently working on a device that while powered by steam, has our legs, and can actually be controlled by your muscles >that is one of Laura's pet projects >her other pet project has been working on your other set of legs >the ones you mainly use >your body, thus, is a complex thing >you still have your own brain and mind >but, and to accommodate the loss of your legs, your mistress added these weird clockwork legs >covered with a wool that matches your fluff >the legs are connected to an analytical engine on your back >because the legs are clockwork, and thus, inorganic, you cannot control your legs >to be able to walk, or just do about anything, your mistress has to insert a punch code to allow you to move ~ >You are currently at a tea party with your mistress >being a member of the gentry, Laura has to entertain the various guests that visit the Haddockspike manor >these can range to friends of her fathers, to her own childhood friends and fellow ladies "Have you heard Laura, of the business going on down in Leeds?" >that was one of Laura's friends >its late evening. The three one of you having a light evening meal of tea, biscuits and scones "No I haven't Catherine. What is going on in Leeds?" "They're building some sort of port at Leeds." "A port? But there's no body of water there." "Not for vessels, Laura. It is for airships. More people are traveling by balloon these days, and the government is seeing the need to create facilities designed for this mode of travel." "So, a port for aircraft. Like, an 'airport'?" "You could say that yes" "Dowwy tink dat big bawwoons am siwwy." >like all fluffies, you speak fluffspeak >but your fluffspeak has an air of elegance, noting your social status "Oh, is that so, Dolly? Why would you even consider that?" "Dummehs tink dat dey can fwy wike biwdies. Dummehs hab nu cawe for da huwties dey may git ib dey hab huwties from faww." "From a fall? Don't be crass, Dolly." >feeling a little bit concerned about your insistence on trying to have a conversation about a subject far beyond your understanding, Laura whispers into your ear the one request you dislike "Bu' now? Fwuffy nu wike, mummah.” “Please, Dolly. I always like it when you do this. And I think Catherine here hasn't seen you do this before.” >you want to refuse >but Laura pouts >she has this incredibly cute face that makes it impossible for you to deny her "Otay mummah." >you sigh, resigned to your mistress's decision >Laura then places you on the floor, arranging your legs such that they're no longer at rest, but are 'standing' on all fours >Laura proceeds to insert the punch code into the miniature analytical engine located near your abdomen >you "stand" on your prosthetic hind legs >you "raise" your fore legs >within the mechanical body attached to the legs, a music box plays >mimicking a stiff ballerina, you jerk through the motions, and mimic a part from Swan Lake >Catherine is laughing, remarking at the little ballerina display Laura is making you do “Your fluffy is the most precious thing! I wish my fluffy could do that!” ~ >it is night time >Laura and you have retired to her bedroom >she has removed your clockwork legs, and has currently placed you on your favourite pillow >she is stroking your mane >you puff up your cheeks, as you voice your protest “Mummah am a meanie! Fwuffy nu wike dancies!” “I’m sorry, Dolly. Would a hug make things better?” >as she embraces you, you feel a little better >you hate the dances. You hate the fact that you cannot control your legs >and you hate the fact that you are like a literal pillow >but seeing your mistress’s smiling face is worth the trouble ~ ~SWIFT~ >You are Swift >You are the fastest fluffy alive >you are the daughter of the fluffy pair of Whisper and Wind >your life has always been about racing >even at a young age, while raised with other show foals in the aristocracy, you always wanted to compete with others >this competitive spirit contributed to you being picked for the first fluffy races sponsored by Hassenfeld >and true enough, you won those races >some had have considered you to be as fast as Mercury >the suffragettes, knowing your gender, insist you are more like the goddess Iris >but there is one thing that you always wanted to do >and that is to conquer the air >your wings are useless, but that never deterred you >when you were a foal, you kept jumping, while flapping your wings >you got hurt a few times, and stopped after a while, but you never stopped dreaming >it is a good thing that your owner is none other than Captain Sullivan >the captain is a member of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force and has experience with the Airships of the British Empire >in recent years, and thanks to the development of better technology, they have mastered the creation of flying dreadnoughts >in addition to having the greatest fleet of passenger airships on the planet, the Empire also boasts the strongest air force >even the newly reunified German states have yet to compete with the might of the British Empire in the air >the captain often takes you aboard airships >the two of you are currently heading towards Calais, and are halfway through the English Channel >you are currently aboard a passenger airship. Thanks to improvements in airship technology, the craft is like a cruise liner, but held afloat by the giant helium blimp above it >the captain is wearing his flight jacket, his military uniform underneath it, as well as his signature aviator goggles >you too are wearing similar goggles, though the only other thing you’re wearing is your leash, and a rather odd mechanism strapped to your back >an inquisitive noblewoman notices that the captain has a cyan fluffy pony as she remarks “Upon my word, Captain, I had no idea that you owned one of these fluffy ponies!” >the captain smiles >he lifts you, and presents you on the table for the woman to see “Pweashure to meet ‘ou, faiw wady!” >even though you speak in fluffspeak, you maintain the courtesy that the captain has taught you, as you do a little curtsy “How polite! Better than those ragamuffin fluffies in the seedier areas of London.” “She’s magnificent, isn’t she? I purchased her as a showfoal from a while back. Said to be of good pedigree.” “She’s a Waggytail, isn’t she?” “That is correct, my lady. A Waggytail, one of the purebreeds from the Colony of New Zealand.” “How old is she?” >before the captain can answer, there is a loud shriek near the starboard of the airship deck “……my dolly!” >a little girl cries, as her favourite doll is swept by the wind >seeing this as an opportunity to act, you gallop off the table, and head straight out >the captains runs for you, but you’re a bit too fast >as you reach the railing, and with a quick moment of your hooves, you bring the goggles down to protect your eyes >and, within seconds, you jump off the ship >some of the people cry out, fearing the infamous stupidity of the fluffy pony >but they astounded by what they see next >although your actual fluffy wings are useless, Sullivan is also an aeronautical engineer >and his knowledge of aircraft also includes knowing about gliders, and ornithopters >while the wingspan of the fluffy Pegasus cannot support flight, the natural weight of the fluffy, as well as the similarity of the wings to bird wings, led Sullivan to test out a theory >one that worked, one fine day >within moments, the spring-loaded mechanism on the back of your body unfurls a strong set of canvas wings >these artificial wings are controlled by the muscles in your natural wings >and with grace, you reach for the falling doll, and grab it in your mouth >then, using the momentum gained from the free fall, you swoop up! >you can reel the rush of air going against you, as you enjoy that thrill of being able to defeat gravity, even for a temporary moment >and safely land on the starboard of the ship! >the crowd cheers! A flying fluffy – whoever would have thought such a thing? >as you return the doll to the little girl, she smiles, and pets you on the forehead >Captain Sullivan comes to see you >he is prepared to scold you later for pulling off such a dangerous stunt, but, at the same time, he does marvel and appreciate your daring “Fwuffy hab nu guud wing pwaces. Bu’ daddeh gib speshul wings, and fwuffy can fwy!” >alas, you can speak only in fluffspeak as you address the crowd >that, and despite your talents, you’re not that bright “Captain, how long has Swift been able to fly?!” “I have trained the little lass on this mechanism for a little while now. The Air Force is doing more research and testing on pegasi being able to fly with the aid of these mechanisms. Of course, the average Carpdime tabby fluffy wouldn’t be able to fly, but we’ve had some success with purebreds like the Waggytail.” >Captain Sullivan looks at you with pride, as you prance up and down, enjoying the attention >for the moment, you do not know what is going on in the depths of his mind >for the Captain, as well as the other higher-ups in the air force, have been looking at training similar pegasi to you as a means of carrying ordnance >as a potential weapon of war, dropping bombs over the enemies of the Empire >and given your unwavering loyalty, and your ability to accept orders without question, you would make a fine weapon of war >but for now, you are a happy fluffy pony, who just saved a little girl’s dolly ~ ~WORLD’S FAIR~ “Welcome to the World’s Fair in London!” It is 18XX. The British empire under Queen Victoria reigns supreme throughout the world in all the fields of science, technology and even the arts. To commemorate Great Britain’s status as a world power, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce conceived of this fair as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. The fair took place at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, and featured participants from around the world, from America to Japan, to come and display the technological and artistic marvels of the new age. The successful invention of the Difference Engine in 1824, along with the Analytical Engine, has seen a rapid development of the Empire, thanks to combined power of its navy, and its fleet of rigid airships. In addition, the existence of the analytical engine has seen the beginning of an Information Revolution little more than a century after Industrial Revolution. One of the devices being exhibited at the Fair is a prototype of an Analytical engine that combines information received by telegrams, with improved jacquard looms, to develop a potential international network of information. And of course, one of the bigger influences that the invention of the analytical engine has is on genetic engineering. The Hassenfeld Company has a few exhibits at this fair, to showcase the many developments of the company across its subsidiaries. But the most attention has been given to its well-known Biochemical subsidiary, which is at the current forefront of genetic engineering in the 19th century. It is, after all, the Hassenfeld Biochemical company that has invented the fluffy pony, with the invention being attributed to a collective of daring biologists across Europe, all under Hassenfeld. Dr Zweistein does not like the crowd of onlookers gawking at his creation. Nor does Zweistein’s Progenitor. At twice the height and size of the average fluffy pony, Zweistein’s Progenitor is a beast that, while having the fluff of a fluffy pony, and a mouth and shape matching one, moves at a sluggish pace. A chimera of different animal parts literally stitched together, some wonder how this beast can stay alive, not to mention procreate. “D…daddeh? Fwuffy nu wike…. Tuu many hummehs…” Zweistein keeps patting his creation, and whisper in its ear. “They’re not going to hurt you. Be calm.” Earlier, Zweistein had administer a sedative to keep the progenitor docile. Thankfully, it has worked, though the doctor is a bit concerned that his creation is still aware of its surroundings. Though faint, the doctor can hear a soft mumble from a rather scared fluffy. "M-munstah....." ~ On the other side of the fair is Oliver with Chimney. The master sweep, having managed to earn a little extra from the new service he provides as a repairman, in addition to chimney sweeping, is now able to take some of his boys to see the Fair, though in groups. “Su many bwightie pwaces, daddeh!” gasps Chimney, as Oliver himself is taken in by the sights. Of course, Mr Gamsfeld is also here on official business. While the fair has its own engineers, Mr. Gamsfeld has the additional task of making sure the vents and machinery on display at this fair go without a hitch. But it doesn’t hurt to let his boys have at least one great pleasure, before they go back to their miserable lives of sweeping chimneys. Swift is having the time of her life. There is a fluffy pony talent show going on, and Swift is one of the fluffies that was entered for the competition. Aside from a rather instinctual ability to use her canvas wings properly, Swift is able to show her other talents, including being able to balance a plate on her head and body, and later, break the record for the number of times a ball can be bounced by a fluffy pony on its head. Swift is in the limelight, and she is loving it. And then, she meets her rival. Swift has met Dolly before. Laura’s elder sister is the fiancé of Captain Sullivan, and, occasionally, the two fluffies have met together, whenever Captain pokes his head around Haddockspike Manor. One would think that, with fluffies being social creatures, they would naturally bond. “Oh. It am onwy, Swiff, da wuffian. How uncoof(uncouth).” “Nu! Dowwy am a dummeh!” The relationship between Swift and Dolly is a bit complex. But for today, they must put aside their differences. Laura’s Dolly has garnered attention too. Her work on mannequin legs is part of a larger project in developing clockwork prosthetics for the disabled. And today, after months of preparation, the two fluffies are on the stage. Standing on their hind legs, the two fluffies perform a choreographed cake walk, occasionally bringing their forelegs together. The crowd claps, as both fluffies bow before the audience. Upon the falling of the curtain, the two fluffies blow raspberries at each other. “Dummeh!” “Wuffian!” ~ Oliver is currently in the garden next to the Crystal Palace. The crowds at the Fair have been packed and yet, remain oddly organized. For the poorer fairgoers remain at one end of the grounds, followed by the working and middle classes in the centre. Further on up, the gentry and aristocrats mingle around in a part of the garden cordoned off from the rest off the riffraff. In a reflection of the social strata of London, there is a clear but unspoken demarcation between the lines. Although Oliver has been enjoying the fair, he is still reading from the book that Glamsfeld had provided him. Despite working as a chimney sweep for many years now, Oliver has developed an interest in engineering, as well as the technical arts. He hopes to get better at the art of fixing difficult clockwork and steam engines. It is perhaps this focus that prevents Oliver from noticing that Chimney saw a Monarch butterfly. Like an excited puppy, Chimney races after the butterfly, trying to catch it. As he does so, he starts to get buried in the crowd. Oliver, sensing an absence, turns around, and notices that Chimney was running away. “Chimney! Wait!!” Chimney keeps running, oblivious to his surroundings. As he keeps running, he slowly passes by the various professions in London. Whore, Chimney sweep, worker, foreman, soldier, journalist, lawyer, teacher, engineer, businessman, officer and eventually, gentleman. “Haha! Fwuffy git yu!” But of course, the butterfly flies away, high above the crowd. Chimney looks left and right. Seeing the men in top hats and coats, and woman in elegant dress, he realizes that he is very, very lost. Most fluffies would cry in this instant. But Chimney, and with a little daring, walks to the nearest fluffy he can see in a nearby tent. “Huwwo pwetty fwen! “ Dolly is currently seated on a pillow in a special tent that Laura has rented for herself. After the rather exhausting dance her mistress had made her do, she is getting a much-needed reprieve on her favourite pillow. She is just about to sip some tea from a teacup when she heard the loud babbling coming from another fluffy. And judging by its accent, it is clearly not well-trained. “Wut ‘ou wan? Dis nu pwace for ‘ou,” asks Dolly. “Pawdon fwuffy, nice miss, but whewe am Chimney Daddeh?” If this was any other fluffy of the gentry, particularly a snobbish one, Dolly would turn her head up in the air, and continue her drink. However, Dolly, feeling a little empathy for a humble fluffy of the working classes, rings a bell next to her. This activates a minor electrical signal, which triggers a buzzing in the pocket of her master. Laura comes in and sees the fluffy on the ground. “Well hello there. I take it you’re lost?” ~ Oliver is currently outside the cordon and is facing a copper. “Go on about your business lad. This is a restricted property.” “But kind sir, my fluffy pony wandered into that area!” “None of my business, young lad.” As he says this, Laura comes past the cordon, carrying Chimney in her arms. “Chimney!” “Daddeh!” As boy and fluffy are reunited in a heatful embrace, Oliver looks to Laura in gratitude. “Thank you, miss!” “You’re welcome, young man.” For a moment, their eyes meet. Oliver, with his grey eyes, and his face holding some remnants of soot, with his hands, covered in callouses from climbing the chimney walks. Laura, with her blue eyes, and dainty hands, which have, at most, been exposed to clockwork, but without much risk. “Laura! Your sister is looking for you!” The captain’s call breaks the brief stare both parties had, as they return to their respective places in society. The one thing that Laura remembers is the book that Oliver is reading, and remarks to herself that the boy is reading a slightly outdated manual. Her own hope is that she can provide a more relevant and updated manual, should the two ever meet, unlikely as that may be. For Oliver, he has met the most beautiful woman in his life. However, knowing her to be a member of the gentry, he is resigned to thinking that he might never meet her again, unless he can do better as a technician. As both parties resume their proper place within the fair, the sun slowly sets. However, the gaslights go up, and the light from the pageantry illuminates the evening sky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRHWT6xdEU
2020.09.14 14:45 SoberanzaDevelopers to Players 28/07/2020 - 04/08/2020
A lot of players dont like the new items icons design this is not my oppinion but it is 80% of players opinion so that I hope animators make anothe new design for the items icon and make them look more realistic and epic instead of colorful and childish.
Reply: We have optimised some of the icon designs and will release another survey to collect players' feedback regarding the new designs. Thank you for your suggestion. Feedback:
i think that moonton should add a proper player report system that can allow you to report others outside of matches , players are becoming more toxic , and more cheaters are showing up , i think there should be a reporting system we can do outside of matches that would help us report more in depth about a player , be more specific about their actions , in and out of matches , also maybe add a feature to show screenshots of what the player had done / proper proof .
Reply: You can contact customer service from the main page, located at the top left corner. Please provide screenshots and description of the ill behaviours. Our team will take action based on the report. Feedback:
Make Blood Wings more useful, or atleast Holy Crystal more expensive so that Blood Wings can actually compete with it.
Reply: We recognised that Blood Wings is not very cost efficient. We will consider making adjustments. Feedback:
"Minshitar has so much potential as a Tank or Tank/Support. The fighter role just doesn't suit him, his wave clear isn't good, his early game damage is crap, he can't clear jungle fast and his late game sustane is decent and damage is fine too but not good enough. So just make him a Tank/Support. Improve his passive maybe? Skill 1 and Skill 2 are good, just need a few changes in his ultimate, increase the AoE or increase the slow (or both), increase the defence stats he gets inside his ultimate and add a heal whenever units/soldiers of his ultimate hit an enemy."
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. Minsitthar is part of the list of heroes we will be adjusting. Please wait patiently for the day he becomes strong again. Feedback:
"Give belerick's passive a heal for 1% of max/lost hp whenever it triggers,change the% chance to trigger for a 0,7s cooldown and increase his mana regen. Give alice some physical defense and magical resistance from her passive now that she's partially a tank, maybe 3 every 10 stacks. Increase the traveling speed of vexana's first skill by 15%, increase the radius of her second skill by 10% and reduce its mana cost. Make enemies currently chained to faramis deal 10-15% less damage."
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. These heroes are already part of the list of heroes we plan to adjust. Please stay tuned for the adjustments! Adjustments on Alice has already been released in Advanced Server. Feedback:
imAldric: Player has stated that Terizla has become very weak and is suggesting that he needs a complete rework to get him back uptop.
Reply: Terizila's ability to absorb damage is still considered high as a tank. There will be optimisation to his ultimate which is already available on the advanced server. Feedback:
Please increase Gatotkaca's HP. He is too squishy now.
Reply: Gatotkaca is currently a tank/fighter. Therefore, we increased his damage output and adjusted his HP as well. Feedback:
Buff the following heroes: Roger, Karina, Faramis, Hanabi
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. Karina and Faramis are part of a list of old heroes that we will adjust. Please wait patiently for the day he becomes strong again. Hanabi appears to perform well according to in-game data, therefore we will not be making adjustments for now. Roger is performing very well in high ranks, we will observe and consider if adjustments are needed. Feedback:
Revamp some old tanks like Johsnon, Akai and Lolita
Reply: Lolita is also a part of the list of old heroes that we will adjust. There are no plans to adjust Akai and Johnson for now. Feedback:
Revamp Aldous, Argus, Dyrroth
Reply: Argus is also a part of the list of old heroes that we will adjust. Additionally, based on in-game statistics, Aldous and Dyrroth are performing well most of the time. Therefore, they will not be adjusted for now. Feedback:
Please buff Harith, Argus, Gusion
Reply: Argus is also on the list of old heroes that we will adjust. There won't be changes to Gusion and Harith for now. However, there will be a bug fix on Harith's passive, which might be a buff for him. Feedback:
Please reduce the mana consumption of Roger
Reply: Roger is performing very well in high ranks. We will continue to observe and consider if there is a need for any adjustments. Feedback:
There is a bug on Ling, looks transparent when using the combo skill 1,3,2
Reply: Thank you for the heads up! We will review this. Can you possibly send us some videos about this as well? Feedback:
Additional skin updates for premium skin fragments (blue)
Reply: Yep! This will be updated in Version 08. Feedback:
Bug on Chou on his ult. Where it can be used on jungle monsters.
Reply: Oh wow. Thanks for telling us! We will review this. It would be great if you guys can give us some videos of this happening as well. Feedback:
Bug on Guinevere of the animation of the Ult. Where they take the affect of it but they don't show up in the air. Guinevere's Ultimate is bug or you nerfed her without any details in patchnote?
Reply: We have noticed this issue too and will provide a fix for this as soon as possible. Feedback:
Wait.. I just tank for my team so I get most Death but game detected me as Intentional Feeding. Why don't you look at my assist? Moreover than this, I was playing along 16.23 mins but game punished me as AFK and banned me for 1320 mins. What a logic!
Reply: We will optimise this in the upcoming patch 08. Feedback:
Player wish to increase the severity of punishments towards cheating players.
Reply: We have been optimising the punishment recently. Please look forward to some changes soon! Feedback:
Bug in the draft pick, the player doesn't type a message but a message appears and when the S1 player types a message that appears not in the S1 player, but instead appears in S3 or other players
Reply: Yep! We have noticed this issue too. A fix will be provided for this in the upcoming patch 08. Feedback:
:the second eudora skill could take longer or give her an acceleration to escape
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We will consider increasing the casting speed of Eudora's Ultimate. Feedback:
Hello ML I liked the hero Eudora since I start this game I try the new test project update and play the new Eudora she is great but I think there is something not right about the second skill the attack area is so short than before I see this is a problem since she is a mage and have nothing else to protect her except this stun if she gets so close hard for her to escape then why the hole changes if she still has the same problem I like playing Eudora even before the changes so I ask you to look again at the second skill form my opinion, I think you should make the area attack longer thank you. Also, the way she walks now is so weird I hope you return the old one I think she has long hands. Thank you
Reply: Previously, the targeted stun has a very long range that makes it hard for the enemy to respond. The current range is based on the data from advanced server, while considering the range of other similar heroes. Feedback:
Miya's Revamped attack speed is too overpowered. Reduce its passive to 4% gain.
Reply: We have plans to adjust the attack speed of Miya, but not necessarily adjust the passive. Feedback:
Hey and thank you for inviting me to project 'next' test! I'm enjoying the new stuff but i would like to suggest somethings： Alucard： is indeed a good hero in team fights however in solo he's skill dmg with the help of his passive are very bursty and can easily kill enemies without giving them a chance to react since he gets a lot of lifesteal i suggest to reduce his dmg on early levels and to reduce the rang of the next basic attack after using a skill bye a bit and to add an interesting thing to his 2nd skill since cc is very important in team fight because what about makeing some demon smoke after he uses his 2nd skill and after a delay enemies will be immobilized . So he could be more effective in team fight because cc is very important. saber: he's revamp is very impressive and he's amazing at everything however his skill have enough dmg to melt enemies squishy heroes but his passive reduce a lot of enemies physical defense and faster since his first skill have 5 swards now which could be a trouble for tank user and besides that saber's teammates can get advantage of his passive against enemies to balance that reduce his passive physical defense reduced from 7 to 5 which means 25 points of physical defense Lowered which is good for none tank heroes Miya: her 2nd skill is hard to use since it have a long delay and enemies can walk away . Miya doesn't have that much advantage of using that skill since the maximum rang cant cover that much area.so how about making miya able to move/walk while using that skill it would be much better to give her an advantage and in exchange for balance remove the slow effect after immobilize Zilong: to be honest I'm a bit disappointed with zilong's revamp he's almost the same so what about taking two steps forward and trying something more unique like what about making him a none mana hero? since his skills are a bit weak and he depends on basic attack dmg but if you wanna add something cool to him what about making his ultimate reduce dmg taking so he would have a balanced survivability? and to give him more physical damage for his basic attack to make him more effective"
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We will adjust the heroes based on the data from advance server. Feedback:
The new revamp of heroes was definitely awesome! But it would be much better if all the original heroes including Cyclops, Vexana, Lapu, etc. Will also be revamped so that there will be various heroes to choose from and more excitement in new rotations! Let's make use of what we have instead of keep on adding heroes ：)
Reply: We have such plans in place. Please stay tuned! Feedback:
:I suggest to lower the damage of the new Miya because her damage is massive if you compare it to Granger whose like an assassin,she has a almost full offense.But overall,good job moonton great revamp I hope that the revamped heroes will become meta.Thank you for giving me a tester to test the new heroes.That's all thank you!
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We will consider making adjustments based on the in-game data. For now, we would like to see how the new Miya will perform. Feedback:
Hello Mlbb, Today I tested the new Alucard for the N.E.X.T project. I really love his new design, his second skill looks a lot nicer like that. But, I preferred the old design of his first skill with the seal on the floor. Now I find that Alucard looks like Ling, The only problem is that he is very strong and he would need a nerf：
increase the cooldown of his first and second skills
reduce the range of his ulti
reduce his life theft
Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions and I hope they will be heard. Have a good day.
Reply: Thank you for your reaching out to us, your feedback is well-received and appreciated. We will adjust him based on the data from advance server. Feedback:
Mia has become very weak, she cannot even kill 1 on 1, because there is no def at all, and the damage has decreased. There is also a wish for Saber - make 1 skill, so that when you press it again, you can pull the surekens back to you, this will also improve the gameplay
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. The damage of revamped Miya is reduced when the passive is not stacked. However, the damage is largely increased when the passive is fully stacked. For revamped Saber, learning how to maximise the damage from recalling his flying blades is the fundamental playing style. I believe you will uncover the heroes' potential as you practice with them. Feedback:
Hi Thanks for invite me for project next test .This project next revamps are good for me the best things I like are Alucard ultimate and Zilong ultimate. Now their ultimates are more smoothly and Alucard skill 1 is more damage and new miya is become second Claude and will be one of best marksman.But I think Alucard skills animations are not very well (I test with viscount skin)and saber skill need more damage .Please make sure game ux system get more for more smoothly gameplay and lack of lagging. Thanks for bring us Mobiles legends bang bang😊😊😊. (sorry for my bad English)
Reply: Yep! The movements of various skins are still being adjusted. Feedback:
please dont change basic attack for miya legend skin i like it more than new one after update😔💔+I have a suggestion for Layla The sound of the basic attack has become very annoying. I hope you make it like before the update
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. The skill effects of Miya's legend skin will be optimised. Layla's voicelines will also be optimised further. Feedback:
I think what can be done so that the SMART CHOICE OF TARGETS WITH SKILLS is fixed on the heroes when you point at him! Since, without this, it is difficult to direct the hero to the need in the crowd! (Project NEXT)
Reply: We will try and implement this feature in the original server as soon as possible. Feedback:
Bring back summoner in magic chess.. So many player just use asassin to win.when i play. I cannot play until round 8 or 7 finish end....
Reply: The balance of Magic Chess has been adjusted in the latest patch. Players can experience the new adjustments. Feedback:
Hai Simadam, i am writing this form actually to complain about the new version of the CHESS GAME.. May i add that i have been playing the chess really really quite often.. and i”m really dispointed after you changed to this version.. from my deep inner self to have fun have slowly going down because of this new version.. before i’ve always played this CHESS GAME and that version (THE OLD VERSION) had made me enjoyed soo soo much about the game.. and i bet a lot of people had felt the same way as i do.. this NEW VERSION IS ACTUALLY MAKING THE GAME MORE COMPLICATED.. if its hard or something i dont mind because i love challenge but this version is JUST PLAIN COMPLICATED AND NONSENSE.. i hope u consider this.. and hope to get the old FUN CHESS GAME AS BEFORE! Thank you have a nice day hopefully better then the day i have today playing this NONSENSE CHESS!
Reply: Thank you for your feedback regarding Magic Chess. We will discuss this issue and hopefully provide players with the best Magic Chess experience. Feedback:
The magic chess update sucks! There is no balance, again the same problem with super-strong combinations that everyone collects and there is no way to implement an interesting combination of heroes. No variety, boring. The drops of heroes in shops are too random. And the game is like pure randomness, no matter how much you try, it all depends on how the store decides. I will pray to the store and go play, maybe he will be supportive this time!
Reply: There has been many balancing adjustments to Magic Chess in the newest update. Players can now experience these changes in game. Feedback:
chess tournament always in the midnight or early morning in Eastern standard time. People in Canada never have the chance to involve.
Reply: Sorry for the inconvenience. This will be fixed in the coming patch 08. Feedback:
Undo button when selling heroes in Magic Chess to avoid accidentally selling a hero
Reply: Yes! This sounds brilliant. We will consider your suggestion. Feedback:
:in magic chess pls doing statistics overall season and current season plsss.
Reply: A lot of players are enjoying the game mode and have been giving serious time to play the game. Thank you for your suggestion, we will consider it. Feedback:
Please change the basic attack of protti. I suggest that make his basic attack like benedetta wherein it hold the basic attack button and charge it. It was may better to protti if his basic attack is like that. Its difficult during team fight to attack opponent because sometimes it was so slow. And assasins will easily kill this new hero. By basic attack like benedetta protti will have a higher chance to commit in teamfight or even he is in solo lane
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. Slow attack speed is the signature of Protti. However, we will further optimise the game play experience of using him. Feedback:
:I would like Alice Queen of Apocalypse to have revamp on her skill effect like in the survey
Reply: We will implement this on the Original Server as soon as possible. Feedback:
Can you optimize the size of the male character.Or reduced the size of Alucard model to make it look equal. Thank you
Reply: Our heroes have different sizes and shapes. Therefore there will be differences to the size and height of various heroes. Feedback:
Remove helcurt from mayhem mirror. Can't play against him at all. Can't see, can't move, can't fight. It's a literal on sided-match. Black screen one time, half the team dead.
Reply: The winrate of Helcurt is not very high. However, we will have a discussion regarding this issue. Thank you for your suggestion. Feedback:
I suggest that you should put synergies in 5 versus 5 battles. And also for the items in battle, put some new features where you can upgrade the items to make heroes unpredictable and less boring to use so that meta won't matter anymore so even non meta heroes will be often used also in ranked games
Reply: Yes. We can add this as an Easter Egg. Feedback:
Please improve the Angela 'Summer Vibes' skin.. Comparing it with her 'Scream Doll' skin, and their prices. The 'Scream Doll' effects are better But the Summer Vibes skin is so pretty.
Reply: Thank you for stating your opinion about this. We will review this.
There is no exit button in new arrival... Just draw more, which draws more and use now...
Reply: We will be changing the rewards pop-up window design in September. The redesign will fix such issues. Feedback:
Let us edit our emblems and change the talents in game during draft pick
Reply: We are discussing how we can revamp the emblem system. We will put this into consideration when reworking the emblem system. Thank you for your suggestion. Feedback:
Reasons sea halberd sucks:
Not every physical hero can make good use of the 25% attack speed
The antiheal only procs on basic attacks unlike Necklace of Durance so it has worse spread
It costs too much for what it gives. +80 physical attack and +25% attack speed for 2350 gold. Compare this to necklace which is 2110 gold and gives +65 magic power, +10% cd reduction, and +10% magic lifesteal. Yes you can buy deadly blade first for the antiheal in the early game and finish halberd later but it doesn't mean that the halberd stats are good enough especially for the price.
Reduce sea halberd full price to 2100-2200 gold
Increase antiheal duration from 3s to 5s for both deadly blade and sea halberd. Since it cannot be spread on multiple targets using skills like necklace, it should at least last longer since it's single target.
Reduced deadly blade price to 1000 gold and adjust the crafting price of sea halberd accordingly
OPTIONAL buff if price is not reduced : Add +15 physical penetration, an additional stat that's useful for most physical heroes. If you won't lower the price then adding this will at least make it more worth it"
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. This item is intended for auto attack based heroes to equip. That is why this item also provides some attack speed stats for these heroes. As this item largely counters all heal and shield based heroes, we would not want it to have the same damage as other damage items of the same price. However, the antiheal effect is relatively weaker than Necklace of Durance. We will consider making adjustments to improve its passive effect. Feedback:
I would like the devs to censor the words "nazi" and "Hitler". Every 10th game (I'm from Germany and have the flag ingame) I'm getting called a nazi just because some people are waaayyy too toxic. It's bugging me for the past 3 years and still nothing happened.
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We're very sorry to hear that you experienced such harassment. We will collect and censor these words as soon as possible. Feedback:
Devs should really focus nerfing this strategy instead of just nerfing the heroes used in this strategy. Nerfing claude, karrie, kimmy and granger has done a great impact in this strategy, but there are other heroes capable of using this strategy, fighters especially. This strategy is fun for ranking up but it kinda feels boring because that's making the game just like MMORPG where the whole team goes to one lane and fight with the enemies most of the time instead of a MOBA... Devs should really nerf the strategy instead of the heroes used, considering u have so many heroes in this game, after nerfing one there are always more options who can be used as a hyper carry, let's not even talk about the old hero revamps yet. Even if you nerf the current fighters being used as a hyper carry, at that time those revamped heroes will be another alternative and this cycle just goes on and on. Many people might not like nerfing roam item but the whole point is to elimante hyper. Please nerf roam's sharing gold duration from 9 minutes to lesser, in such a way that the tank users will not be affected but carry will be affected. The only way you can eliminate this strategy is do an impactful nerf, remove lithowanderer or revert the old buff system. Ever since the release of two buffs, the game has not been balanced for quite some time. The mage meta long time ago where Esme Lunox Harith were top picks have more fun compared to now, at least not that boring. Devs are less likely to revert the 2 buff system, but devs please really eliminate this strategy entirely. MMs now can be late game heroes like what they are supposed to be, but still the enemies can play hyper fighters which make you stand no chance to drag late game. MMs are greatly affected by this update."
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We would not like to see the game having only one strategy. We are in the midst of making battlefield adjustments and hope this will introduce more strategies to the game. These adjustments will be implemented in the next season update. We will also continue to observe the strategies used and collect feedback regarding the gameplay to make necessary adjustments. Feedback:
An option aside from mmr,local and world rank. To be able to display current season WR instead of just overall WR or both. I can have a 90% WR of a hero in the current season but 51% in overall matches which doesn't really reflect how good im with the said hero currently
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We will add in this feature in upcoming patches. This feature is in its design phase, please stay tuned! Hope you can continue to give us your high quality feedback. Feedback:
This may be very minor, but please work on your hero randomization in brawl mode. I got Yu Zhong 4 games in a row, and the other choices I simply did not know how to use. I kept losing because I suck at using Yu Zhong, though I really tried holding out, and my teammates all hated me. I know I'll basically have to practice more, and I have no problem with that. I have zero background in games like MLBB, and I'm at Master rank so I'm really just starting out. I just feel like I wasn't given enough options
Reply: Brawl mode randomly picks heroes from the players' hero pool and free heroes available. The chances of getting the same hero multiple times will reduce if the player purchases more heroes. Feedback:
Can you nerf Esmeralda's shield? Imagine this getting full shield. Even though you have necklace of durance, it's nothing
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We have reduced Esmeralda's shield in the previous patch. Current in-game statistics indicates that she is relatively balanced. We understand that many players have been critical about the shield of Esmeralda. We are discussing different proposals to adjust the hero so that players are more satisfied. Feedback:
error chat while draft pick when we switch place with other players.
Reply: We have adjusted this previously. We will review this again. Thank you for informing us. Feedback:
Bug on draft pick where the hero UI doesn't show up. Players can't ban nor pick heroes of it.
Reply: Sorry about that. We have adjusted this previously as well, we will review this once again. Feedback:
Player asking for Female Tank Hero
Reply: Yes, it's been too long since a female tank was released. Thank you for your suggestion, we will consider it. Feedback:
A player suggested to add a female support hero whose ability is to restore mana with HP to allies.
Reply: Please stay tuned! ;) Feedback:
Bugs when Granger uses the ultimate and get an airbone or knockup effect from lord, resulting in the game display being a drone map.
Reply: We will review this. Thank you for informing us. Feedback:
The number of players complaining about not being able to change their avatar in the game is increasing
Reply: This will be fixed in the upcoming patch. Sorry for the inconvenience. Feedback:
Too much negative player said n look down to team or enemy team with their national words and shortcut ENG words
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. Having a positive chat environment for players has always been our aim over the years. We will increase the collection of curse words to censor in-game. We will continue to optimise this area of the game. Feedback:
Player felt that matchmaking is unfair, where low rank players are matched with very high rank players. The new Rank system in Project NEXT is worse than ever. Almost every mythic is being matched up with mythics. Players shared their experiences and are still asking that the matchmaking system of MLBB be improved/fixed. Players are still complaining about the matchmaking system
Reply: In the upcoming update, we will optimise the matchmaking algorithm, such as increasing the weightage of rank, adjust the calculation of the overall ability of the team, and take into account the in-game performance of each player. Please stay tuned. We will continue to explore the balance between fair matchmaking and matchmaking time. This is to provide the best possible matchup for all players. Feedback:
Players ask for more vouge skin style
Reply: This is limited to the hero's design. There are plans to design such skins. So we hope you look forward to it! Feedback:
Bring back boots in magic chess.
Reply: We will consider adding this back. Please stay tuned! Feedback:
Magic Chess TD, Survivor, should open everywhere, that what player want. Players are asking when survival mode will be made available again in arcade mode. Please open Chess-TD mode soonly
Reply: Please stay tuned! ;) Feedback:
Many players agree that systema shouldn't detect them or ban them with feeder behavior because sometime they just have lower skill than opponent and be killed easily so should let teammate report them and then punish
Reply: We are optimising the detection of intentional feeding. This will greatly reduce the chances of misjudgement. Feedback:
stricter measures for players who are defrauding the global ranking!!!!
Reply: We will review all reports and systems in order to punish players who are fraudulent in gaining hero winrate. We will increase the punishment towards these players in the future and display their profiles publicly to denounce them. Feedback:
Player hope to have stricter punishments towards cheating players.
Reply: We have been optimising the punishments for different violations. There will be an update in the near future to implement the new punishments. Feedback:
Add a charging/channeling time indicator for Brody’s basic attacks. for the hero protti if you could put a bar for its basic attact so their would be an idea of how long is the casting time of its basic attack just like benedetta thanks
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We will design an indicator that best suits Brody. Feedback:
Pls bring back the old Pharaa wherein she only has 7 seconds Ultimate CD, I kinda miss the old Pharsa. it really makes her unique in that way, She can zone/protect her allies from far a mile away because of her old ultimate but the new revamp Pharsa kinda OP but its not fun anymore to use Pharsa since her Ult CD is now longer. plsss Anything I would do just to bring the old Pharsa. please hear me out. This is the only and last thing I could wish for?
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. The revamped Pharsa is relatively popular at the moment so we will have to observe a bit more and see if necessary adjustments are needed. Feedback:
Please change the entarance stance of freya. Let her body face straight. It shows deatil of her wonderful body.Its much better than her current entrance stance.
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion, we will review this. Feedback:
Hi Moontoon, I just checked out Barats new ultimate skill. The first thing that comes in my mind is ""Tham Kench"". His skill looks almost similar to one of the League of Legends (LoL) hero called Tham Kench, especially the part when Barats use his tongue to devour enemies. Tham Kench also does the same thing. Even though I'm MLBB fan. I must agree with them that the skill is copied and no originality. You need to modify/change it ASAP before LoL fan bash you. Here my suggestion for his ultimate. -Instead of use tongue to devour enemy. Barats lock and charge towards enemy and devour him/her. Then give Barats movement speed bonus which allow him to escape. -Duration of digestion depends on Barats current size -Damage also depends on Barats size -After digestion, restore Barats health. If enemy not die yet, then spit it Thats all for my feedback and critiques Regards, MLBB Fan
Reply: Thank you for your in-depth suggestion and your care for the game, this has been fixed. Feedback:
Make minsitthar skill more damage. Because it's too hard to play solo
Reply: We have plans to revamp Minsitthar in September, please stay tuned! Feedback:
khaleed is to much, he can damage all enemies and tank their damage im suggesting that it should be nerfed, he can 1 shot enemies and escape like nothing happen and the cooldown is very low
Reply: Khaleed has many strengths such as high damage, sustain and tankiness. However, he can still be beaten. His first skill requires it to hit every time to maximise the damage. His second skill can be cancelled by crowd control. Players can focus on him with a crowd control skill in order to easily kill him. We will continue to observe the performance of the hero, and make necessary adjustments based on in-game statistics and players' feedback. Feedback:
"Mirror mayhem: Popol and kupa needs to be nerfed the damage or the CC
Reply: This has been adjusted. Sorry for that and thank you for the feedback. Feedback:
I would like for mlbb to add a custom emblem setting features while in draft pick in ranked or when picking hero in classic, what I mean is you can custom your own emblem while picking hero and not just in a lobby. This will make it easier for player to set up their emblem base on the situation that they are gonna face. This is because some player will not have a right emblem and talent that are suitable for the hero that they pick, and they can't change the emblem because it can only change in lobby. So by adding this feature, player will have a great opportunity to adjust their situation. My other suggestion is that you can remove the emblem page to make it more balance since you can already change the emblem while selecting hero.
Reply: We have plans to revamp the emblem system. We will consider your suggestions when revamping it. Thank you for your suggestion. Feedback:
You made me play in your next project test I could not play with who I want and then you just give me rewards that only new player need it I do not actually use it why? Why always your rewards are the same .I do not need tickets I do not need a battle point I have more than enough give me something I can actually use my account with high level I do not need all your rewards .I am not a new player thank you
Reply: Update rewards are intended for the large player base. Therefore we will prioritise items that are more common. However, we will consider adding some extra update rewards for large updates in the future. Feedback:
1st ： miya's passive should change depending on the color of her skills effects. Example ： Suzuhime should be pink not blue. 2nd ： Eudora conductor effects colors should be according also to the effect of the skin. Her ultimate wwith the conducter effect is a little bit slow so i think you should make it a little bit faster. 3rd： Saber is a little bit powerful in late game. You should make the skin effect better because the legend skin and epic skinbof saber is like the basic skin. 4th： The new Alucard is balance. You should also make the skin of him better because it looks like the basic skin also. 5th： Layla is super weak in the early game, she could be easily kill by a fighter, mage, and assasin. I think you should improve her skill to make her easily able to escape to cc skills of meta heroes right 6th： Zilong is super weak in both early game and late game you she could be easily killed you should improve his 1st skill and ulti. Hope you do well.
Reply: Miya: Thank you for your suggestion, we will design skill effects that are in line with her various skins. Layla: Thank you for your suggestion, we will make adjustments based on her in-game statistics. Feedback:
In my opinion, AI is unuseful, because even when he is trying to help he only interrupted the rest of the team. An iteresting solution would be the command bar for bots, where we could select what the bot should do like stay in base, defend the tower or attack. Awards in Heavenly Tasks don't motivate players to do them. In my opinion for the awards in these tasks should be mechanism like in the Lucky Spin. I mean in the prize pool should be statues and skins that are hard to get and things that helps us to take part in lottery. The prize pool should be changed every month. Nice for the players would be a chance to play more in the Arcade Mode. In my opinion for one season should be 3 modes. That will encourage new players.
Reply: We are continuously improving the performance of AI. We believe in the future, AI can provide the much needed assistance to get the win. Feedback:
The minimap displays the mid tower on the river. I think it is a bug. Also, is it really OK that you gain daily quest on AI games? Thanks
We will review this.
This is to cater for players who like to play AI games. Therefore, we will not make changes.
About Zilong： I noticed two strange behaviours
When Zilong has the Golden Staff the item's Passiv Unique-Endless Strike makes Zilong trigger the new passive after 2 strikes instead of 3.
When Zilong gets 14% of Cooldown Reduction (or more) the passive's new healing effect triggers 2 times instead of one.
The new healing effect of Zilong doesn't look like much of a help, since Zilong profit more on speed and critical. And in case you build it up with heavy atrack damage the amount if healing doesn't compensate at all, making him totally unsustainable. The healing effect in the mid/late game makes almost no difference on a big scale. I think that if the healing would work with some kind of level-scaling System, or depending on some HP% of the enemy being gutted, that would be more helpful.
Reply: Hey there! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will review this. Feedback:
I suggest adding an equipment for attack range. It will be very useful on Marksman charaters because some heroes are marksman but in very short range making them very easy target to assasins during team fight. I suggest fair matchmaking for example match players to there level players or maybe in accordance to their emblems level but still depends on their ranks.
Reply: Thank you for your suggestion. We will consider this when we release new items. However, we are now focused on optimising the performance of each item. Feedback:
I have encountered an issue with the new Eudora. Whenever I use the Elite Skin “Christmas Carnival”, it only stays in one pose. I would like you guys to fix this as it is quite bothersome.
Reply: We will require more information and screenshots in order to provide a fix for this issue. Feedback:
First of all, I was happy with most of the revamped heroes. I do have some suggestions regarding some of the heroes. I just feel like Zilong’s new passive is somewhat inferior to the old one. I would highly suggest to change the damage output for that one. Next is for Miya. Her damage output in the late game is just too much. I’m not saying that you guys should decrease it but given some extra mobility from the ult, and the new 2nd skill makes her a marksman that can do a turnaround kill which is somewhat not amusing. Lastly is for the battlefield. I have experienced a problem in the map “Celestial Palace” which the turrets appear as orbs when I have downloaded all of the resources. That is all THANK YOU!!"
Reply: Zilong: Regarding the damage of Zilong, we will make adjustments in the upcoming patch. Miya: We will slightly reduce her late game damage. Battlefield: We will review this.
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2020.09.11 22:47 severalcirclesPoll Results! CDR B-B-Bonus Season Wrap Up
Hello maple tarts! Can you believe there is no new episode of Drag Race on this week? Well don't worry, Drag Race Holland is just around the corner. My polls will be mostly in hibernation until CDR season 2, so you'll have to go back to seeing the word "favourite" spelled without a "u". (How uncivilized). Thanks for voting all season, and I'll see you hopefully some day soon! PS For anyone who is interested, I made a "single edit" of (Sorry Not) Sorry Aboot It. It cuts out most of the intro and all of the outro section, to create a radio length version perfect for your gay isolation zoom dance parties (or just doing laundry, whatever). You can find it here on WeTransfer for one week. Enjoy! https://we.tl/t-4Zc03GdSku https://preview.redd.it/gb0xftlwvkm51.jpg?width=1242&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=390954501acc0f3dcfead6e074de03265a30fcbd Category is... Jimbo! In honour of her slaying the runway in more than half of all episodes, choose one top Jimbo toot.
Canadian Tuck-She-Do — 199 (33.5%)
Que-Becky with the Good Hair — 145 (24.4%)
Night of 1000 Celines — 122 (20.5%)
Not My First Time — 86 (14.5%)
Canuck Couture Fantasy — 24 (4%)
Makeover (feat. Bimbo) — 18 (3%)
Category is... Best of the Rest! Choose your 3 favourites (with no Jimbo looks, to give more other queens a chance to shine).
Coronation Eh-laganza: Priyanka — 450 (75.8%)
Pageant Perfection: Rita Baga — 230 (38.7%)
Canuck Couture Fantasy: Starzy — 168 (28.3%)
Single-Use Queens: Rita Baga — 133 (22.4%)
Entrance Look: Lemon — 131 (22.1%)
Canuck Couture Fantasy: Kiara — 101 (17%)
Not My First Time (Glow-Ups): Lemon — 101 (17%) (Tied for 6th)
Que-Becky with the Good Hair: Priyanka — 101 (17%) (Tied for 6th)
Data Highlight: Priyanka cements her season win by placing first or second (per our polls) in 6/13 categories. Kiara and Starzy were both in consideration for this poll due to nearly tying for 2nd (behind Jimbo) in the Canuck Couture Fantasy category. Category is... Very Top Toot. Choose 1 ultimate favourite poll-topping look. (Jimbo included.)
Data Highlight: In general the order of the favourite episodes aligns with the favouritechallenges, with the exception of E4 (which may suffer from having only 1 combined runway/challenge and the third-least popular mini challenge). Snatch Game being placed with the poll-winning lipsync to I Drove All Night (and the reading challenge) gave that episode a decisive win, while Heritage Moments combined with the Nutsmacker Ballet and If You Could Read My Mind was an easy last place. If your friends ask, you can definitively tell them the show gets better after episode 2! Category is... Canadian Screen Award Statuette Category is... Other Side of the Table. Choose your 3 favourite Brooke Lynn Hytes ensembles.
B-B-B-B-B-B-Bonus Q: Canada's Drag is not too shabby, huh? Choose any you agree with.
CDR was roughly as good as (or better than) a typical US Season — 474 (80.2%)
CDR was roughly as good as (or better than) US Season 12, specifically — 269 (45.5%)
CDR was roughly as good as (or better than) DRUK — 373 (63.1%)
CDR was roughly as good as (or better than) most US All Stars — 330 (55.8%)
The CDR cast could compete on average against their US sisters — 421 (71.2%)
CDR had some of the best lipsyncs of any season. — 435 (73.6%)
I'll be looking forward to season 2! — 520 (88%)
Data Highlight: The phrasing of the questions was chosen to shorten the number of options, but some may suffer from respondees not having seen a particular season/series. In general I think we can mostly agree that CDRs1 was a strong season, but with room to grow to sit amongst the very best. Regardless, I’m glad most of you are looking forward to a second season—and I’ll see you all then!
Through gritted teeth and red blood-shot eyes, the servo assisted armoured boot, bedecked in lethal mono molecular blades that dripped in neurotoxins, smashed through the solid looking inch-thick bulkhead of the cripped strike cruiser, carrying the marine sgt of the Terran Void Forces through in to a vast cavernous armoury bay with a soul curdling scream. The heads of the surprised defending Zhao'la conscripts whipped around, carried on a wind of alarmed chittering which seemed to drag the mussels of their rifles around to target the armoured hissing bulk of the marine that had crashed into their operations. Bright blue laser bolts opened fire, in both rapid fire and sustained beam. The marine sgt's grin widened as she stood, taking every bolt and beam to the chest and faceplate. She became wreathed in electric blue fire as her force-shielded armour converted all that energy to bright incandescence. Seeing the ineffectiveness of their fire, and beginning to hear the echoing boom of laughter from behind that faceplate, the Zhao'la conscripts looked quizzically at each other before scattering for cover of the void armoured crates that untidily littered the storage bay of the armoury. The marine armour began multi-spectral scans of the storage bay, as cruel looking shoulder mounted lauchers deployed into place and clicked their ready noise, humming evilly over the background commotion. The marine sgt's face returned to that of grim determination as the shoulder-mounted lauchers began to fire HEAP fragmentation ordinance in rapidly expanding and contracting concentric circles, shreding armoured crate and Zhao'la chitin alike, splattering the wall with the contents of both, as the maelstrom continued. "I'm in..." said in an oddly sultry voice, her lips pouting slightly as a light sweat beaded on her brow. "Patch AI through, overlay scans and intel, and devine routine to the motherload". Neuro-optical cybernetics engaged her HUD, casting and integrating layers on information infront of her left eye, as she actively scanned with her right for survivors. A solitary head, dazed and desperate, began to crown from behind the slagged remnants of a crate. Without breaking away from studying her HUD, she whipped her tactical rifle around, fired a single HEAP plasma encased shot. It flew straight, landing between the eye stalks of the unfortunate Zhao'la trooper, penetrating deep through layers of plasticised-metallic armour, before spalling through the much softer hive-linked neural matter within. The rear half of the troopers cranial chitin exploded with a sickening splutch, softly splattering the corpses of his fellow recruits that lay shredding and prostrate around him. "They'll be the last things on his mind...." She grinned manically. Her HUD pinged her final goal at her, and in a hares breath, she was away, powering high above the carnage that rapidly disappeared behind her. Boosters engaged again, forcing one, two, three bulk heads and doors to yield before her armoured bulk, powering through the rooms beyond, casting HEAP ordinance around her as she went. The look of shock on the cowering Zhao'la troopers mandibles bearly had time to register before they were similarly slagged, along with their cover, as Humanity's avenging angel stormed past their prepared positions, leaving only the tink tink tink of cooling metal and visceral gloop of the dead in her wake. She arrived with a thunderous tornado of booster backwash swirling around her, licking at the walls of an evidently high-tech and secretive room. The plinth in the middle bore the oppressive weight of a multi-phasic trans-submentional rocket-mounted warhead, aimed squarely at her sweet Earth. She would let this stand, or its destructive ability come to pass. Against Earth anyway.... Her HUD informed her it could transubstantiate into the molten core of Earth, well below the mantle, and detonate, the shock waves effectively causing the break up of all Earth's tectonic plates. Her HUD rated estimated death toll of this event at 99.7%. "Not on my watch you slimy bastards.... " the sgt breathed to herself. She grinned. Smashed the huge red launch now override button. And straddled the huge rocket, locked her magnetic tether points to the rocket casing, and held tight as its engines fired up. "Yeehaw motherfuckers!" The thrust of the engines carried its murderous payload, beeping menacingly, and the marine sgt, through the forcefield at the end of the short launch rail, and out into space. "Just.... Gotta.... Reconfigure... Target...." Her HUD working in overtime to crack and decypher the target array. A tinny alien voice, interspersed with insectoid clicks and harsh S's transmitted into her comms 60 seconds to trans-location to target. Sub-mantle magma. Target confirmed “At least the language has come through... Come on come on... " Streams of code flashed past, shifting and altering, illuminating the vengeful grimace of Earth's finest Void Force sgt. 30 seconds to trans-location to target. Sub-mantle magma. Target..... Target.... Target input required. Verify User to continue "This is Earth's bitch queen from hell! Now sick 'em boy!" Targetting data code shifted, planetary target imagery blurred and skewed. A new target planet appeared in place of Earth's image. The new planet was dust rust red, and far larger. *New target accepted and locked. Thank you bitch queen from hell, user verified. Trans-locating to target in 6, 5, 4...... * "...Time for some pay back you buggy bastards. .." 2, 1... Engaging trans-location The rocket began to phase out from under the marine sgt, almost sinking into a red wreathed sub-space that extended out around the rockets hull, before winking out of existence. Earth was safe. Someone else was fucked. Her armoured suit alarmed as it began to warm rapidly as she flew through the void and started to meet with Earths atmosphere. "... shit..." She broadcast on her secure frequency to HQ. "This is Master Sargent-at-Arms Gunnar, 1st Marines, Terran Void Force. I'm coming in hot. Im gonna hard vent my atmos to slow my re-entry. I hope its enough.... And patch me through to spysat around the Zhao'la homeworld. I've sent them a little package. I hope they're in to receive it.... " As the temperature climbed in the sgt's suit, there was a sharp, loud hissing blast of highly pressurised air firing to slow her re-entry. She grimmaced against the deceleration as her HUD crackled to life, static interference playing at the edges of the image of that huge red planet as she crossed deeper into Earths gravity well. The rust red surface of the Zhao'la homeworld visably heaved with the sub-mantle detonation. Across the globe, great volcanic eruptions lasted for a few seconds before themselves splitting apart even more spectacularly, allowing billions of cubic metres of magma to force their way violently up and out across the planet's surface, scouring life and artifact as it went. Ships in the surrounding space, that had started to hurridly move towards the planet, now hung in the black, their crews no longer under the vice-like mental grip of the chorus of Hive-Queens. "I've saved two peoples today..... fuck yeah...." Master Sargent-at-Arms Gunnar passed out, but not before hitting the parachute deployment timer. Master Sargent-at-Arms Gunnar came to as her 'chute deployed, the final jerk of deceleration her wake up call. There below her was the green rolling fields, speckled shaded woodlands and glistening streams of a lush victorious Earth. She nodded to herself, slowly in deep consideration. "...I'm getting too old for this shit...." She tugged a paracord, turning left towards the setting sun. The camera panned back with a wide angle lens, showing the United Nations of Earth flag emblazoned on the top of her 'chute, and the small sgt below it disappear into the glimmering hue of the setting sun.
The screen faded to black.
"Well.... That was a pile of shit" said Sargent Gunnar as she stared down the round table of film executive producers, financiers and media relations managers, her scarred face carrying the full weight of a thousand engagements in a hundred battles on a score of worlds. "Unbelievable, impossible, insultingly moronic shit" The war with the Zhao'la had lasted years, and to trivialise its end and the wholesale slaughter of a planet to crack, once and for all, the pervassive and insidious hive mind that cowed billions of intelligent and ultimately co-operative souls, filled 1st marine sargent Gunnar with a mixture of righteously angered disgust. One younger executive meekly piped up "... But.... But.... The focus groups loved it...."
2020.09.01 03:36 severalcirclesPoll Results! CDR S1 E9 The Snow Ball
Hello ponytails! Giddyup! Victoria's best kept secret is out of the competition, and now it's anybody's game. Will the winner be Youth Television's Priyanka Love? Will it be grandmother figure Rita Baga? Or will it be a tie between those two? Shade aside, I have personally seen Scarlett Bobo perform enough to know she absolutely deserves a crown, even if she's going to have to wait until All Stars to pick it up. On the other hand, we have seen that in Canada's Drag Race, anything can happen--occasionally even some reasonable judging. See you next Thursday, when all will be revealed! Mini Challenge: Who served the best-worst Oh Canada Screen Test?
Rita Baga — 928 (67.5%)
Jimbo — 330 (24%)
Priyanka — 70 (5.1%)
Scarlett Bobo — 47 (3.4%)
Brenda from Ajax Category is... Executive (Holiday Party) Realness. Choose one category winner.
2020.08.28 00:28 CorvidTestedRoadside Reality 4: On Stranger Tides
I had way too much fun making this tower as rich as I could imagine. Back / Next Roadside Reality chapter 4 Another phase of exploration had begun and Styx had put in orders for more archaeologist teams from the Empire to man this project. Teams from all other sites of the exploratory fleet except mars had been reassigned to Earth so they could keep the current rate of exploration before they’d have to slow down and wait for a supply chain to come it with more people and equipment. Until then, teams on Earth still had a decent capability to investigate the tower interior. When the Princess entered, she’d had a ring of aurora-like lights circle her every step on the crystal floor, which everyone soon adjusted to. There was still a shaking suspicion by teams in the tower that they were constantly being watched though. On the Princess’ orders, the expedition progressed into the tower, documenting everything. The first room, the entrance hall was a massive ball room with portraits of sweeping landscapes and stellar conquests, ebony furniture, and a trio of sweeping staircases. Two were symmetrical and led up to another hall linking into what was so far believed to be a network of decorated hallways that spread throughout the tower. Teams spent hours in the halls, exploring and mapping their rough position inside the structures, eventually returning a marginally more comprehensive map of the internal layout. They found that 4 elevators brought them to another luxury level, but between the ground floors halls and the upstairs halls, which were elevated by about 3km, there was a massive currently inaccessible area that held no indication of what was inside. There was another elevator shaft inside the centre of the ground floors that would likely lead there, or elsewhere. The tower had become much more active, with magnetometers on people reading large spikes of activity when they were moved fast inside the tower. Other people reported shimmering visions in the corners of their eyes. The tower opened to the Princess, but some on the teams were wondering if she just got lucky with some fluke in old technology. To Asteria, the area for new discoveries was so large that it was difficult to figure out how to be on the front lines again, with every one of the hundreds of halls being a possible revelation. Most halls were carpeted, but they were all made of a misty quartz that reacted to them. She wanted to say they were just pressure sensors combined with grids of LEDs under the flooring, but something about them seemed too... richly detailed to be just a grid of LEDs. The colour was too fine, like an actual purple instead of the purple that is a composite of red, green and blue. Zelus had been dragging her all around the structure, doing an inglorious, if necessary, job. They were setting up electrical and magnetic monitors across every single crack in the walls and tiling gap they could find, of which there were few. Asteria was just constantly running back to the door camp to grab another cable to feed down 12 corridors. The idea was to wire them to avoid static interference, and use the monitors to get a real time feed on electrical flow and magnetic fluctuation across the structure. That data would then be included in the overall computer records of everything that happened during the expedition. The drives this would all be stored on would almost be heavier by the time they were done here. She doubted she would find out mysteries of the universe personally from where she was now though. She saw something move in the corner of her vision and she stopped again. Whatever it was, it was blue. She’d seen it before as well. When it’s on her left, it’s red, when it’s on her right, it’s blue. It annoyed her at this point. She was thinking the auroras might be holograms or something, she’d seen sci-fi were that was possible. But that wasn’t her problem right now. She needed to get this cable to Zelus before her greeting was a bollocking. -- Styx watched the team go about their various recordings while she contacted her staff connected to a part of the ring that could fit her docked battleships. Another 3 days had passed and the rudimentary ‘time breaker’ as it was called arrived on a drone shuttle that was intercepted by one of her corvettes docked at mars. At that point she found out that the administrators that coordinated the reassignment of staff to the Earth teams had sent the staff that knew how to reassemble the time breaker to Earth. Rather than go through the bother of giving the man a mouthful of abuse that would take 10 minutes to traverse space to the poor sod, she simply acknowledged it and told him to send the machine to earth instead. She dropped the panel onto the ebony table she sat at and rubbed her eyes. Corrective skin surgeries meant she didn’t have any natural blemishes on her skin, meaning she never used makeup unless she had to make a public appearance and look pretty. The last glance she caught in the reflection of the panel before it fell was shadows under her eyes, not over them. She needed sleep, but didn’t want to leave the tower for her battleship’s private quarters. Maybe this tower had an excessive bedroom somewhere befitting a noble like her. She looked through the records of the mapped areas, and pondered for a moment. The lower floors had far too many people, upper area is a must. She spotted a particular room in the current map and zoomed in, with the room being automatically linked to a series of images taken from inside it. She opened on up on her panel. A giant glass one-way-window was the outer wall of the suite. It was 3 km up from the ground, giving her a better view than her place back at Olympia over the surrounding terrain. The leadup to it was great too. Each of the hall areas had 5 floors each with each room being fit for THE presiding Imperial Monarch. But the symmetrical layout of the floor planning put emphasis on the leadup to the main doors for the opposing main suites. The floor planning just told her to go to this room; no better way to drive it home that she was important than taking the fanciest room in the fanciest structure on the most famous planet in the galaxy. Each and every one of her brothers and sisters would be so envious when she could brag without even fully covering the details She pointed it out to her guard, who was also the slightest split-second longer to react. “I’ll need some rest, you too by the looks of it. Get the night-guard planet side and have them meet up in this room.” She stated, flicking her panel display to the guard, who took several looks at it, then nodded. He put in a number of commands into his tablet, then followed after her, carrying her extensive luggage. She spent 15 minutes going across the upper floors trying to find the exact path to the top. Normally back in the castle at home there would be a servant that would know their way around the entire castle for each royal in the building, but then again, she didn’t have the time to bring along her favourite chef on the trip. She eventually got an idea of how to find her way around the floor plans using the hall structure to guess where she was. Location services weren’t up yet for this level. It was worth these delays to find this amazing bedroom. The most intrusive bit of all was that there were dust trails from dirty exploration team boots and cables laid along the floors to map what had been explored and what hadn’t. A necessary evil if she was to secure this planet and its riches, to put herself in history books with a long and prosperous reign. A reign in which she lived long and governed over the greatest home the Empire could ever have. Guiding the new path that the empire would not, could not be denied by any impudent rebellion or greedy subjects with the strength of true precursor technology at their backs. She made her way through the pompously cushioned living room of the suite. Queen’s suite, she preferred. She would call it that to herself from now on. She reached the main bedroom with a luxurious room with a crystal-clear faintly glowing quartz floor held over a liquid that cast the lazy ripples of water diffracted light to the ceiling. The bedframe was made of an actual wood, she presumed it was a local species of tree. The bed itself made her question her decision for a moment. It was made of ebony. The bed. Was made. Of ebony. Ebony blanket. Ebony mattress. Styx reached out to touch it, she hesitated for a moment; afraid she might feel it again. She caught herself fearing anyone but her siblings and pushed forward anyway. The moment she touched the bed, she felt her hand jolt at the course surface, like sandstone. Then it immediately transformed itself into a silk covered quilt, a fluffy pillow, and a fabric covered foam mattress. The remaining mass of ebony then realigned itself to readjusting the joints of the wooden frame to make space for her horns. All this happened mutely over the course of a second. She almost howled in fright, but she didn’t want her guard to come barging into the room. She held her yelp in her throat and touched the bed again. Now the bed was made out of what it looked like. It took her a while to comfortably sit down on it, never mind tear her gaze from it in case it did anything else. But she felt it was now relatively inert and sat down on it. By Home Beyond did those precursors know how to make a good bed. It was the comfiest thing she had ever sat into, as the foam forming the mattress gave way and moulded itself to accompany her. She looked out the windowed wall now. The sun was about to set for her, she glanced down onto the land at the base of the tower and how the sun was already hidden from it by the horizon. Her sun eventually set and she settled into the bed, the pillow giving her a sense of sleepiness she hadn’t known she’d felt since she first arrived. -- Pandora was gazing drearily out of the Exploratory flagship, the glass wall of her office having the LED screens display what the face of The Earth looked like past the ring. The ring’s outer hull was a bit dull to look at after a while, and it was so voluminous that even though her flagship was 700 metres long with an internal rotating habitat for 0.3g, the ship was a speck held by a wire in scale to the earth. A chime of more reports and requests kicked her back into the flow of work. She gestured a swiping motion to the glass wall and read over the state of investigation, scanning each word for anything that might look like insight into the nature of this system. Nothing. 50 or so notifications since were other teams requesting to be reassigned to Earth and saying there was nothing to find at their sites, with the absolute protection of the fields. She agreed wholeheartedly and quickly sent a message to her paper-pushers to reassign all other teams to Earth. Then she started to sift through the reports that had come from however long she had overslept. That tower was differently decorated, but it was filled with a treasure trove of new cultural discoveries that kept all her xeno-anthropologists ecstatic. Pictures of the paintings of the supposed precursor had a variety of opinions across the camp as to whether that was what the precursors looked like, or if they are simply another creation of the precursors. It split even the researchers that were metaphorically tearing apart these paintings down the middle. Some claimed that their... dull form was the most logical thing they could’ve descended from, that maybe all the species today were interbreeding of this probably wide-spread precursor. To that the other camp pointed out that every single sentient species in the galaxy shared at least 99% of their DNA with each other, pointing out how many nines came after the decimal point. From what she could see, there seemed to something in the conversation that neither side wanted to confront, but she wasn’t able to puzzle out what it was. That would have to be talked about later. Teams had charted large sections of the internal layout, which was designed with some form of inactive ebony as far as readings of the material went. This stuff was deemed safe to touch as well, with that cocky princess sitting down and sipping a drink when she found a table that suited her in the entrance hall. Since she had slept, some supply teams had taken the initiative to dispatch mobile LiDAR scanners and personal positioning systems that up until now had been used to chart the ring halls. Progress was speeding up far more now, but charting wasn’t answering any mysteries in relation to who built this, how and why. If that didn’t come soon, that Princess would have Pandora’s head to buy herself time. The ground level had 4 elevators that led to the cardinal directions, exactly 5 halls away from the cardinally directed tower doors that led to a smaller, more densely rich set of 5 levels, the uppermost of which the Princess had settled into. Given that the tower tapered gradually, the area of the upper floors was noticeably easier to chart. Not without some royal grumblings of course. The most curious thing was that fifth elevator in the chart reports. On the fifth floor of the ground level, there was a fifth elevator in the exact centre of the structure. It followed into the ceiling, leading people to believe this was the access to the unexplored median levels. The elevator itself was a break different from the hall aesthetic. It was made entirely from a cube of pure ebony. Blue waves were observed to pulse slowly from underneath it in patterns that were proposed to be luminescent fluid inside a previously observed porous layer. It had a freeze field protecting it. One explorer narrowly avoided being the first living casualty of the field when their glove become frozen from touching the surface, which somehow didn’t instantly freeze the person and the rest of the clothes and equipment on the person. Every single circuit of every device on him had been found later to be burnt to a crisp. Portions of the teams were starting to inhabit the areas the expedition deemed fully explored instead of the tents, but they didn’t reach far in. People moved in after finding the beds transformed from an inert ebony to a material that was as perceptibly soft as possible to whoever touched the bed first. Another report chimed in, adding to the virtual stack. Pandora opened it in a tab on the wall, read it, then looked at the past incoming orbital trajectories. Abruptly she ran down the path to the space elevator; she told the admin team at the bridge to take over until further notice. The tab was still open in her office, a private message from the researcher Zelus. “This is Zelus, during my duties today across the upper floors, I spotted the Princess roaming the halls. I overheard her saying she is going to try and break the freeze field around the fifth elevator with that time breaker. I don’t know if you should stop her, but you should be there when something happens. Over.” Okay, I swear, reveal is next chapter. Give me feedback, tell me what's cool. Cya in the next chapter.
2020.08.25 19:44 shiny_markFriends and Foes - Public Test Train - Patch Notes
This second major update for Monster Train adds new champions, new bosses, new cards, and new artifacts, which combine together to add a significant amount of new strategic options and replayability. We’ve also added a number of frequently requested player features like a personal run records page in the Logbook, an enemy wave counter in battle, and a preview of the ring 3 and ring 6 bosses at the start of a run. NOTE: for the Public Test Train, we are temporarily setting runs to always use the new bosses. When the update goes live, run generation will go back to normal and mix in the new bosses with the old. Also, all changes listed are still subject to change before the update officially launches. You are welcome to join us or feedback and discussion on the official Monster Train Discord server in the #public-test-train channel. How to join:
Make sure Monster Train is not running
Right click on the game in your Steam library
Click the "BETAS" tab
In the dropdown menu, choose "public-test-server"
Press close and wait for the game to update
Major New Features:
NEW CHAMPION - Shardtail Queen from the Hellhorned clan. Her starter card is the Queen’s Impling.
NEW CHAMPION - Wyldenten from the Awoken clan. His starter card is Rootseeds.
NEW CHAMPION - Solgard the Martyr from the Stygian Guard clan. His starter card is Forgone Power.
NEW CHAMPION - Primordium from the Umbra clan. Its starter card is Plink.
NEW CHAMPION - Little Fade from the Melting Remnant clan. Her starter card is Primitive Mold.
NEW BOSS - Talos, the Architect at the third ring of Hell. She attacks before the Relentless phase and her strikes give her benefits.
NEW BOSS - Archus, Darkness Incarnate at the sixth ring of Hell. He summons Darkshards, a new type of unit that you must counterplay to survive.
NEW BOSS - Seraph the Patient. A new Seraph variant that both attacks before the Relentless phase and applies Melee Weakness, a new status effect that increases combat vulnerability.
NEW ARTIFACTS - one new artifact per clan: Queen's Tail, Emblem of the Exiles, Kinstone Totem, Shadowbox, Fade's First Blade.
PERSONAL RECORDS - in the Logbook you can now view your personal run records.
NEW EXPERT CHALLENGES - 5 more Expert Challenges for players who have completed Covenant 25.
General Gameplay Changes:
New keyword: Phased. Phased units cannot attack, cannot be targeted, and cannot take damage in any way.
New keyword: Attuned. Spell cards with Attuned benefit from Magic Power at 5x the rate as normal. The goal is to increase late-game viability of certain cards.
New keyword: Melee Weakness. When applied a unit takes more damage from normal combat. It does not decay unless the unit takes combat damage.
New trigger: Rally. Triggers when you play a unit card on this floor.
Action trigger (previously called “On Turn”) is now used on some new player units. Triggers on the unit's turn, before it attacks.
When playing with a random primary and/or allied clan and you restart your run from the pause menu the clans will now be re-randomized. (player request)
Removed the keyword "Enhance" everywhere to increase clarity. By default, Status Effects never persist across death in battle. Stat changes always do. No functional changes to any game mechanic were associated with this text change.
Stackstone now increases Ember cost by 1 in addition to adding Doublestack. This is our one big nerf for this update. Overall the data and feedback showed that this was one of the biggest ways to swing a run easily and as it was relatively easy to pull off we added this drawback to bring it a bit more in line with other upgrades. We'll be keeping an eye on the results in the public test train and beyond and buffing any cards that seem to have had an outsized impact from this change.
Hope for Peace now only affects Spells to avoid common confusion with Monster Railspike.
Hellhorned Gameplay Changes:
Imp-pressive is Attuned.
Ritual of Battle Rage gain increased 8 -> 10.
Awoken Gameplay Changes:
Sting damage increased 5 -> 10.
Stygian Gameplay Changes:
Titan's Gratitude damage reduced 30 -> 25. The card is now Attuned.
Ice and Pyre is Attuned.
Crypt Builder is Attuned.
New keyword: Shard. Powers Solgard the Martyr’s abilities.
Umbra Gameplay Changes:
Feast now only triggers eating if there is a unit that can feed in the room.
New keyword: Buffet. Units with Buffet can be eaten more than once. Currently Primordium is the only unit with Buffet.
Melting Remnant Gameplay Changes:
Memento Mori rarity was changed from Rare -> Uncommon.
Intent on Death rarity was changed from Uncommon -> Rare.
Paraffin Enforcer health increased 15 -> 25.
Mortal Entrapment Daze amount increased 2 -> 3. The card is now Attuned.
Other Changes and Bug Fixes:
AUDIO - new music tracks for Talos and Archus.
TEXT - clarified that Dazed status blocks various triggers from occurring.
TEXT - changed the gambling event to make it clearer it is Pyre Health that is on the line.
ENGINE - updated to Unity 2019.4.
ENGINE - removed use of AVProVideo because Unity 2019 supports hardware decoding of video. Now muting the game from Windows Volume Mixer affects video volume.
UI - added ability to switch between Exiled and normal Champions for both primary and allied clans on the clan select and challenge creation screens.
UI - show which ring 3 and ring 6 bosses you will face on the run on the run start screen.
UI - added wave counter to battle. It shows the number of enemy waves until the boss comes out. (player request)
UI - added an easier way to cancel mutators and expert challenges with one click. (player request)
UI - increased the size of card subtype to improve readability.
UI - reordered the Logbook tabs to a more logical order with Champion Upgrade right after the Card tab and the Card Mastery Frames next to the Stats section.
UI - Don’t highlight any part of the champion upgrades in the Logbook so the whole thing is easier to read.
BUG FIX - fixed missing keyword tooltips on a few cards and artifacts.
2020.08.23 21:52 rmm1997Drag Race Survivor: Battle of the Seasons RESULTS
I would like to take a moment to honor the life ofChi Chi DeVayne. She was an outstanding queen who turned it out across two wonderful seasons of Drag Race. I send my deepest condolences to everyone who knew her personally and to all of her amazing fans. Without queens like Chi Chi, we would not have such a trailblazing and outspoken platform. Zavion will forever be loved and remembered fondly. Rest in Power. UPDATE: So sorry to say the in-depth post will be delayed. My dad just got COVID and my family and I are working out dealing with that. The post will come, just not sure when. Stay on the lookout for it, and thank you all for staying up-to-date with this game :)
THE RESULTS ARE IN!!!
All Stars 2, you're a winner baby! With 36.84% of the total votes (56/152), All Stars 2 wins! The runner-up, with 63.16% of the total votes (96/152), is Season 5. I am planning an in-depth post with detailed statistics and graphs that will be posted 3 days from now (mid-day Wednesday EDT/UTC -4). In the meantime, all the raw data for each round can be viewed on my GitHub page along with scripts I wrote to calculate the results. Each round has its own folder containing a csv file with the raw data, a Python script, and a text file containing the output of the aforementioned Python script. For example, the round1 folder contains 3 files: round1.csv, round1.py, and round1.txt. I recommend looking at the text files, as they contain all the necessary info for your viewing pleasure. Thank you everyone for participating day after day. This is something I have been wanting to run for a while, and it was so much fun! I really enjoyed seeing everyone voicing their opinions and having a kiki in the comments. And for everyone who downvoted the hell out of my posts, I'll catch you outside ;) Stay tuned for my post on Wednesday to get a more in-depth look at all the results!
2020.08.22 16:46 toni_inotRuPaul's Drag Race & Queens by Star Sign! ⭐ Data & Stats ⭐
Know I would have wanted to see all of this if it was around somewhere, so now I have it, wanted to share it with you all in case anyone is interested! I put this together in a spreadsheet, and I can't figure out how to paste it here very well, so screenshots of the list at the bottom of the post, and then all of the data can be accessed here :) Now I've spent hours doing it I've just found someone actually did this already in 2015, so shout out to that person!u/jwqualls Also, this is only sun signs (the same as jwqualls did) because I do not have the time to work out everyone's moon, rising, venus, mars etc. Also just some interesting things I thought:
RuPaul is a Scorpio, and only 5 of 155 Queens (that's less than 3%) who have graced the RPDR stage have been Scorpios! One of those was Sherry Pie, too, who was disqualified.
Scorpio is a water sign, and the other 2 water signs (Cancer and Pisces) have featured on the show more than any other sign.
2020.08.18 02:14 severalcirclesPoll Results! CDR S1 E7 Miss Loose Jaw
Hello glamazon zambonis! This weeks poll is food in the library! What does that mean? Is Jimbo falling out of our hearts for good? Will Scarlett ever win anything on this show? Maybe these questions will be answered next week... or maybe we'll all just get makeovers. See you then! Maxi Challenge: Who gave your 3 favourite pageant performances?
Data Highlight: This is Jimbo's first time not being in the top 2 runway looks. (Even the recycled paper look was voted top 2 despite the judges comments.) Who deserved, overall, to be in the bottom 2?
Ilona Verley — 917 (87.1%)
Priyanka — 672 (63.8%)
Scarlett Bobo — 223 (21.2%)
Rita Baga — 197 (18.7%)
Jimbo — 73 (6.9%)
Lemon — 24 (2.3%)
Who won the Lipsync For Your Life?
Ilona Verley — 56 (5.3%)
Priyanka — 950 (90.2%)
Double chantay — 38 (3.6%)
Double sashay — 9 (0.9%)
Data Highlight: Priyanka snags the most decisive lip-sync win so far, handily beating Ilona's record (against BOA) of 82.8%. Who are your favourite 3 queens remaining in the competition?
Priyanka — 797 (75.7%)
Lemon — 781 (74.2%)
Jimbo — 722 (68.6%)
Rita Baga — 554 (52.6%)
Scarlett Bobo — 305 (29%)
B-B-Bonus Q: "Hello" by Allie X...
...I know the song for sure! — 7.9%
...I've heard it once or twice? — 6%
...I'm not sure about this track but I’ve heard (/of) Allie-X in general. — 30.8%
...I don't know her. — 55.3%
B-B-Bonus Q: Let's chat about Jimbo The Drag Clown. Choose any you agree with.
She didn't kill the runway this time, and she took criticism poorly. — 48.8%
Her claws came out hard, but I don't blame her--the judging was a bit much. — 32.8%
She had no real reason to read Rita, and it turned me off a little. — 48.1%
Jimbo was right—Rita's lace line looked like barf. — 16.7%
She brought a little drama, but I'm bringing some popcorn! — 47.5%
B-B-Bonus Q: How do we feel about the CDR lipsyncs?
I love the long lipsyncs—the performances are great and I want to see them uncut! — 34.4%
I enjoy the long lipsyncs—they let us see the whole story and decide for ourselves. — 41.2%
The longer lipsyncs are good sometimes, but some of them could have been edited down. — 15.4%
I prefer the tighter US Drag Race lipsyncs overall. — 3.1%
2020.08.12 00:12 LuciferiaV[Song of the Depths] Chapter 22
CoverFirst chapterPreviousPatreonPublished BooksWebsiteDiscord An hour passed before there were any further updates regarding the malfunctioning shuttles, and even then…it was a ‘please wait a little longer’ sort of answer. I fidgeted occasionally to keep things from falling asleep, and because I was so infernally hot. In the hour I’d been wallowing silently in my own misery, I’d narrowed the cause down to either Rel or Zafir. If I paid any attention to them, my temperature seemed to skyrocket, and my mind wandered. If I ignored their existence, I mostly returned to normal…until Rel’s voice hit certain low pitches during his conversations, anyway. After careful observation, I realized that one of the two—if not both—appeared to be having the same effect on Xilen, her guards, the other Syldrari representatives…and some of the other guests as well. If either Rel or Zafir were aware of the issue, they didn’t show it. Okay, this almost never happens. What other things could be causing this? I wiggled my toes in my shoes to keep myself from squirming visibly. Thinking back on the rare instances of feeling overheated, I couldn’t think of any consistent factors other than Rel’s presence—though he’d only ever shown concern over me overheating. He was good at bluffing, so I had to keep him as a possible instigator. “Elder Rel, please,” one of the other Syldrari implored him, “I know you’re young and wish to wet your fin with whatever strikes your fancy, but you should return to Syldra. Your mother needs her elder sons—” “She needs to give us away as political currency to other queens, you mean?” Rel shifted in his chair in an impressively dismissive fashion. “I have my own ambitions and desires—ones she clearly approves of, seeing as the V’shir haven’t been declared rogue.” “Speaking in front of a queen with such neglect!” The annoying woman I didn’t know leaned toward Rel as if chastising a child. “You should be grateful that—” “I agree with Rel—Clan V’shir is a valuable asset to Syldra. Without them, we wouldn’t have any trade agreements with the empire, or a foothold here.” Xilen crossed one leg over the other, a dangerous smile coming to her lips. Rel looked away, clearly disgruntled, but wise enough to know when to shut up. “And you are forgetting an important facet. If his mother decides to…arrange for him to serve a queen, Clan V’shir would be part of the agreement. It gives her great political leverage. As such, Rel is unfortunately quite correct in his ‘political currency’ statements. After all, how many of her children weren’t given to other queens?” “E-even so…” The other woman wilted. “You should be applauding Rel’s intelligence and thorough grasp of his situation,” Xilen continued, her smile becoming slightly sadistic. “It is rare for a Lun’iri to understand and accept their situation to such a degree.” Zafir abruptly rose to his feet without a word and strode straight past me, heading for the ongoing buffet. I glanced after him briefly, then back to the troublemaker queen I was supposed to be escorting. I really hope they fix those shuttles soon… After several minutes of awkward silence, Rel pulled out a communicator and scanned something on the screen. Then, he stood up and approached another guard—who promptly escorted him over to our rather standoffish ‘hosts,’ wherever they were. Zafir returned first, toting a questionably large slice of chocolate cake and a glass of red wine. Xilen giggled at that development, then shifted her attention to me. “So, Elara dear, what do you think we should do to pass the time?” Xilen asked sweetly. Images of the room littered with human body parts briefly filled my mind’s eye, and I shook my head slightly. Remaining silent, I simply shrugged. After all—I wasn’t supposed to talk, and by now my throat was so dry I didn’t want to try. “I have a matter I must attend to on the surface,” Rel spoke formally when he returned with two human guards accompanying him. “Queen Xilen, if you and your party would like a ride down…” “Certainly!” Xilen smiled cheerfully, pulling herself to her feet. She thwacked Zafir on the back. “Bring your cake. I’m sure they have boxes.” Everyone was mostly silent on the way to whatever shuttle Rel had acquired. The moment I sat down inside, he tossed me two bottles of water—both of which I quickly drained. “It’s as if they were trying to make you ill.” Rel shook his head, his face twisting with disgust. “Damned creatures…” “They wanted her to break role,” Zafir spat, clearly just as agitated. “Someone among the brass doesn’t like the project, I’d wager.” “I just want to know who to kill for making it so damn hot in there…” I grumbled, crossing my arms and turning to look out the window as we descended toward the planet. It might have been beautiful if the city below and the surrounding industry didn’t mar the surface so vastly. “It wasn’t,” Rel stated flatly. “Quite frankly, you should have been shivering, not melting.” Xilen smirked and looked like she was going to make a sly comment, then appeared to change her mind. Instead, she leaned toward me with a small frown. “More importantly, your clothes are self-regulating and don’t appear to be malfunctioning. So—” “I’ll be fine. Let’s just get somewhere we can talk in private about the footage we need to have Rel look at.” I crossed my arms and gave them a mildly frustrated look. “Maybe we can find something a bit looser and lighter for me to change into.” Rel and Zafir both studied me with odd expressions on their faces. When they realized I noticed them staring, however, they both abruptly looked away. Xilen leaned up against my left side and giggled. “Now, now boys. You’ll get to see her unclothed soon enough. There’s something you need to see.” “You said yourself it’s a bruise. I’m sure it’ll be fine.” I shifted to give Xilen a challenging look, which just made her smile. “What do you mean, ‘a bruise?’” Zafir, suddenly, was all business. “There haven’t been any activities in the past two weeks that should have resulted in bruising. Where is it? Does it hurt? How—” “It’s on her back,” Xilen offered with an amused smile. “On her back…?” Zafir frowned at me. “Elara, I don’t recall you getting thrown or grappled in a way that would cause such a bruise.” “Bruises are normal. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.” I flapped my hand dismissively, even though I didn’t believe the words coming out of my own mouth. “Are you sure it isn’t just…” Rel paused as he seemed to search for a word. “I believe humans call them ‘love marks?’” Zafir twitched. “What you’re implying is against regulations. None of the survivors are permitted to have relationships—romantic or physical—with each other, the staff, or their bosses. There’s surveillance everywhere to ensure they don’t.” “Is that so?” Rel raised an eyebrow at Zafir. “Then, you naturally behave like a taruc?” “I. Do. Not.” Zafir growled at him. “The wellbeing of the survivors is my responsibility. If Elara has been hurt in some way—” “Ah, so you meant ‘yes.’” Rel nodded sagely and patted Zafir’s head. Then, he gave Zafir a dangerous smile. “How about you fill Xilen and I in on what has you so concerned.” “Ah…that’s…” Zafir struggled with himself for a moment. “Ask your brother.” “I’m asking you.” Rel turned in his seat and gripped the nervous Zafir by the chin. “Start talking.” Zafir appeared to comply…but in their language, leaving me utterly in the dark. For that I snatched Zafir’s box of cake and helped myself to it, earning an amused glance from Rel and an agitated sigh from Zafir. Unfortunately, their conversation wasn’t finished until we’d reached the surface. “Did you leave any… Elara.” Zafir groaned when I tossed the box into a trash can. “I wanted to finish that.” “It was awful. Have Rel make you something instead.” I made a dismissive motion. “His cooking is much better, and it won’t be stale. Now then, you said you need to attend to something on the surface, Rel? Should we wait—” “Your business is what I needed to attend to.” Rel gave me an amused look. “We can talk after you’ve changed into something more comfortable.” “It is comfortable,” Xilen pointed out. “Yet she is overheating again. Find her something else.” Rel shot back. “Wow, I bet he only gets away with talking to a queen like that because he’s one of the R’selkti queen’s sons…” I heard someone murmuring. I glanced over to see a group of younger, purely androgynous Syldrari. “He gets away with it because we’re old friends and he’s right.” Xilen rounded on the gossiping group. “If your friends won’t tell you off or call you out, they’re not your real friends. Now. Shouldn’t you Vir’ildrod be in school?” “It was canceled today…cuz of…” The kid trailed off when Xilen crossed her arms. “Then go study at home!” Xilen ordered. “You have so many resources at your fingertips! Use them!” The kids fled, and the fuming Xilen returned to us. We made it back to Rel’s cafe without further incident, and he promptly locked the doors and shut the curtains. Xilen’s guards, for whatever reason took up positions outside. Next, Rel turned to me and narrowed his eyes. “Strip.” I glanced over at Xilen when a giggle-snort escaped her. “How do I do that, exactly?” “Ah, of course. Here, dear.” Xilen tugged the fabric at my waist then twisted, which seemingly told the fibers to let go of each other. I promptly pulled my top off then turned so my back was to the trio. “Xilen you know damn well that isn’t a bruise,” Zafir hissed. “Tch, how are we going to hide this from our bosses…” “Clothes that cover?” Xilen offered. “That won’t help when it comes to her monthly physical examinations.” Zafir let out a frustrated sigh. “I need a drink.” “And we could also use some real food,” Rel added. “Elara, why don’t you go with Xilen and get changed. We can review this footage while we eat.” “Sure…” I glanced over my shoulder at him, only to find he and Zafir were making their way toward the bar. As they walked, Rel’s outfit morphed back to leather pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Goddamn. That ass. “Off we go.” Xilen promptly dragged me into another room to change. “Let’s try…hmmm… See about peeling the rest of that outfit off while I look for a replacement, dear. There’s no way we’re letting you saunter around in your ‘standard issue.’” Sighing, but with no reason to argue, I proceeded to pull off the black and gold ensemble. I laid the pieces out over the back of a piece of furniture, then turned slightly when I heard the door to what I thought was a closet rattling. Before either of us had time to react, the door swung open and a rather furious Jysel walked out of the space—and I noticed some manner of glowing rune on the floor behind him before the door shut. “Rel, we need—” Jysel raised his voice to call his brother…then stopped abruptly when he spotted Xilen. He had started to scowl at her before noticing me—and clearly the fact that I wasn’t wearing anything other than my panties. His glow shifted from scarlet to a more fuchsia color, as he slowly realized just what he was looking at. “What…exactly is going on here?” “Jysel, what have I said about dropping in unannounced?” Rel demanded, storming through the opposite door. He, however, was much quicker to realize the situation—and the color his twin had turned. His glow flared a dark garnet red and he stepped aside, pointing to the door he’d just entered from. He narrowed his eyes at Jysel and spoke in an utterly murderous tone, “Out.” The annoying twin hesitated for less than a second before stalking past me, his slate blue face flushed slightly darker than usual. Rel didn’t even say anything before following his brother out and slamming the door shut. I raised an eyebrow after them, then glanced at Xilen when an unfamiliar laugh escaped her. A laugh that told me I was in trouble, Rel was in trouble, we were all in trouble. “Well, well,” Xilen remarked playfully, eyeing me up and down as if she were seeing me for the first time. “I think that gives me the perfect idea for what you should wear. Be a good girl and play along.” “I can already tell you’re not planning to give me much choice in the matter.” I crossed my arms and gave her a lopsided smile. “You should know that Jysel and I don’t get along well. It would probably be best if Zafir and I concluded our business here quickly.” Xilen smirked. “Oh, is that so? Perhaps you should rethink his reaction. What he ‘doesn’t like’ are women who wish to mindlessly exert power over him—like their mother. You see, queens have this terrible habit of using their power to get everything and everyone they want…” “And you don’t?” I challenged her. “I do my best not to.” Xilen chuckled as she turned to rummage around in a bag. “Of course, it would be for the best if you kept your distance from Jysel…but he’s taken an interest in you. I can tell. You won’t be getting rid of him for quite some time. So, just do your best not to anger him.” “Oh yeah? And how do I do that?” I sighed heavily. “All he ever goes on about is to, ‘keep my nose out of Syldrari business.’” Xilen shook her head. “Hah! Just ‘be you’ without trying to sway him in any particular way, and don’t try to get something out of him. He’ll come around eventually. The both of them are usually quite standoffish. Rel is the more difficult of the two. Considering you already got him… Ah! There it is! Here, you’ll wear this.” “Uh…that looks really see through. I’m not so sure—” I held up my hands and leaned back a little when Xilen rounded on me, moving a little too close for comfort. “You’re wearing this and that’s final! Don’t worry about showing too much. There are pieces that go over the top. Get this on while I fetch the rest.” Xilen shoved what, to me, was essentially a full body stocking. I swallowed an agitated sigh and started doing as she asked. The material was a little thicker than a pair of tights, and more opaque, showing just the barest hint of skin even when stretched over my hips and chest. Next, Xilen helped me into a little leather one piece with short sleeves, a plunging neckline, and very short shorts. Over that, attaching to the shoulders, she draped an asymmetrical cape thing that had curving patterns reminiscent of a sliced open seashell. For the finishing touches, she fastened a belt around my waist, then pulled out a pair of ankle boots with metal high heels. They were taller than my last outfit…but still manageable, thankfully. “There you are—one of my favorite pieces of hybridized fashion!” Xilen clapped her hands together excitedly. “On Syldra, we have widely varied fashions—it depends on more than simply region and season. We also have to take ocean depth, function, ranking, and work into account in our personal designs. In regions where swimming from place-to-place is still common, you’ll find that all our clothes are formfitting to reduce drag. “On land, however, we express our artistic freedom. We’ve been experimenting with incorporating fashion elements of other species—granted, those pieces are more popular with my alien clients and not the Syldrari, but…” I arched an eyebrow at her. “So, what was that thing Rel was wearing before, then? Not exactly conducive to sea life.” “Bah. He chooses the most unsightly things for formal events. Whatever he can do to make himself less desirable to power hungry queens, the better.” Xilen threw her hands into the air in exasperation. “With just you and I there, he should have embraced his daring side. Leather isn’t the only thing he looks good in.” Xilen winked and shot me a knowing smile before walking over to the door and motioning for me to follow. “Oh! And you can keep both the outfits, dear.” “Oh, thanks.” I moved to follow her, not entirely surprised by the offer at this point. “Well now!” Xilen declared as she looked from Rel, to Jysel, and then to Zafir. “Why do you all look so glum? And where are those cute boys you’ve got working here now, Rel? Don’t they live with you?” “They’re…” Rel trailed off, glancing past Xilen and straight to me. After a moment, he tore his eyes away and gave Xilen a suspicious look. “Just what are you up to?” “Darling, when am I ever up to something?” Xilen smiled sweetly. “I think the better question at this point is, ‘what aren’t you up to?’” I shot her a sidelong look as I walked past her and over to the bar. Then, I shifted my attention to Rel. “Should we attend to business before or after you’ve seen to whatever Jysel needs you for?” “He decided we should wait for you to finish.” Jysel swiveled his chair to look at me and rested his head against his fist. He slowly looked me up and down, though this time his glow remained a passive bright blue. “According to these two, it is related to my reason for being here.” “How is Sal’aphel?” I put one hand on my hip and leaned forward slightly. “What—” “You’d better be giving him plenty of attention.” I prodded Jysel’s shoulder. “In fact, you should give him a juicy treat on my behalf, since he’s such a good boy. What’s his favorite?” “He’s not a ‘good boy,’ he wants to eat half my—” I crossed my arms and gave him an impatient look. “Yes, yes, like master like cute-fuzzy-murder-thing. That doesn’t answer my question.” Jysel slumped back in his seat and sighed irritably. “Jihgsar. He likes jihgsar.” “That would be the meat you yourself are so fond of,” Rel offered dryly as he slid from his seat and offered it to me, then moved behind the bar. “I’m sure you’re still parched after what the humans put you through. I’ll make you a drink.” “Thanks.” I shot Rel a smile, then took the empty seat next to his instead. “Though, should we really conduct our business here? I don’t exactly see any secure computers or monitors.” “I need a drink,” Zafir whined after staring at me for a moment, promptly collapsing on the bar counter with his head in his arms. “Not a chance. You’re still on duty.” Rel smirked at the miserable man, then shot me an even more amused look. “Besides, if you keep that up, Elara here may get the wrong impression from us all.” “Did someone say ‘Elara?’” Aldiner crept around a corner, with Ciheri right behind him. “Oooh, you’re all back! Now then—” “Back to your room.” Rel shot the pair a sharp look. “B-but…” Ciheri inched toward me, but when he finally spotted Xilen, he hid behind me instead. Almost too quiet to hear, Ciheri murmured, “E-Elara, I apologize for the other day. I was inappropriate. Um…I wanted to talk more, but…” He peeked around me at Xilen again, glowed grey, and fled back to where he and Aldiner had come from. Aldiner sighed and shrugged, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Well, that was what we’d come back down for. I guess it’ll suffice. I’ll just be getting out of the way now before certain people kill me with a look. Yup. Later.” “What was that about?” Xilen remarked, sounding mildly concerned. “…from what I understand, Ciheri was sold by his clan’s queen to the fighting arena Elara saved him from,” Rel answered after a moment, then looked to me. “Though, I’m not exactly sure what he’s apologizing for.” “How about we don’t go into that? Seems he’s learned his lesson. That’s not the first time he’s apologized to me.” I shook my head before leaning forward a bit. “Enough distractions. Zafir and I have been waiting all day to show you this footage. We recorded it around the same time as Jysel’s address was happening.” “I don’t recall giving you permission to call me by name,” Jysel remarked. I gave him a sour look. “I recommend you don’t bitch about it. You won’t like any of the other things I’d consider calling you, and with that attitude, I’m pretty sure I’d stab you with every pointy object in this sector over any of your recommendations.” “Hmph.” Jysel glanced away from me. “Here you are,” Rel chuckled as he placed a large, neon blue drink in front of me. “As for your original concern about screens—here. This will suffice. You have the disc, I assume?” I pulled it out of a pocket and handed it to him, then turned my attention to my drink. After Rel had set everything up, a large screen slid down from the ceiling. He walked back around the bar with two large platters in hand—both filled with what I had to assume were some sort of cookies. One of the platters, he placed on my half of the bar. The other, he placed over by Zafir and Jysel. Xilen hesitated for a moment before coming over and sitting to Jysel’s right, leaving the three men sandwiched between us. When I was confident that Jysel was done with his quips for the moment, I started talking, “This footage was captured at one of the imperial facilities outside the city. Initially, our colleague thought that Jysel’s faction was getting to work early despite the content of his address. On closer inspection though, she recognized that their behavior was strange—and test subjects weren’t the focus of their hunt.” They all remained silent for the first two plays of the footage. When someone finally spoke, it was Rel, “All former R’selkti, certainly, but no one that I recognize…and I don’t recognize this bond they now have.” “Agreed,” Jysel murmured, his eyes narrowing at the footage. Then, he glanced down the bar at me. He seemed to consider his phrasing a bit before stating, “I would like to see the controller.” He may have left out ‘please,’ but it was an improvement. I slid out of my seat and walked over, offering the controller to him. Jysel hesitated to take it directly from me, and seemed to take extra caution to make certain he didn’t come into contact with my skin at all. When I turned around, I noticed Rel scribbling something on a napkin—which he slid over to rest in front of my seat when he was finished. I returned to my stool and perched on it, then read what Rel had written on the napkin. Huh. ‘Some women exert more power through touch. He’s being cautious out of fear.’ Really? Some women…or some queens*, I wonder? Have they not realized that they just keep making me more and more suspicious?* “Elara, about your ‘bruise,’” Zafir began slowly, finally looking toward me. “We still need to discuss a way to hide it. However, it will likely spread. Especially as you spend more time—” I shook my head, and he fell silent. Turning my seat slightly, I decided to give him a partial answer, “I’m confident in your ability to falsify whatever records you have to send in for the higher ups. Keeping it secret from the other survivors and others is going to be difficult if it really does spread. However, given your skittishness, I have to assume you knew this was going to happen.” “Of course he did. A human doesn’t simply cough up blue blood,” Jysel muttered absentmindedly as he watched the footage in slow motion. He was so focused, though, that he didn’t catch the others all turn to give him sharp looks. “Are they searching for some manner of military pharmaceuticals, perhaps? If they’re a new group and wish to acquire funding…” “Blue blood?” Rel demanded. “What else are you not telling me?” Zafir coughed into his hand, drawing Rel’s attention to him, as Jysel clearly wasn’t paying attention. To my surprise, Zafir slid his data pad over to Rel. The agitated Syldrari skimmed what seemed to be my medical record—though I couldn’t read a damn thing on the page. I felt pressure against my left arm and discovered that Xilen had gotten out of her seat and circled over to my left at some point so she could lean against me and peek at the data pad. Something caused a look of surprise to cross her face, her lips parting. “I see—hiding it should be the last of your worries, dear.” Xilen patted my arm before sliding the platter of cookies to me as if it would distract me from the issue. “Care to explain?” I asked, the corner of my eye twitching. “There is no point in worrying you with it right now.” Rel gave me a dangerous look. “Allow us to look for a solution. You should focus on doing your job and making certain the imperials don’t retire you early. Until a solution is found, refrain from showing your colleagues more of your body than necessary. You can trust Zafir to inform you of any spread… In fact, Zafir, I would recommend you begin regular checks. Perhaps once per week?” “I…might be able to swing something, if I suggest all the survivors undergo more through checks…” Zafir pressed his fingers to his temples and sighed heavily. “Elara, Rel is right. Let us worry about this matter—you should worry about keeping up appearances and training the others. If they don’t fully tame their ferals—” “Must you keep calling them that?” Jysel turned sharply and glowered at Zafir. “You and I both know the correct term is kuhir-dal. This ‘feral’ nonsense…” “Yes, yes, kuhir-dal. And how, exactly, am I meant to propose to the imperials that they use a Syldrari word for…anything?” Zafir slammed his hand against the bar counter and turned to glare at Jysel. “I am supposed to be undercover. If I begin tossing Syldrari terminology everywhere, especially for such a prominent hurdle of the Resonance Project, the brass will begin to suspect me, and all the survivors—especially Elara—will be in greater danger. That is an unacceptable risk. You can spout off about kuhir-dal all you like, but I have habits that I must maintain.” “Sooo,” I leaned forward on the counter and peered down it at them, “kuhir-dal, you say? And this is more accurate than ‘feral’ because…?” Zafir groaned. “Elara, please. Do not get him started—” “Kuhir-dal doesn’t translate into other languages. Kuhir-dal is kuhir-dal,” Jysel stated flatly. When he turned to me and saw my expression, though, he became slightly less defensive. Perhaps he realized my question was genuine. Or perhaps he just wanted to talk about it that much. I wasn’t sure. “It is the word we use to describe the phenomenon where a specific section of the mind has separated itself from the whole. Kuhir-dal encompasses primal instincts—such as fight or flight and the need to gain, protect, and fight for territory—as well as more complex feelings and instincts that humans simply do not share with Syldrari. “Various forms of accidents can result in the separation of the kuhir-dal. Most commonly, those who are exposed to certain types of resonance and harmonic weapons. The phenomenon was first encountered when our engineers were developing a harmonic art illustration for the capitol—during testing, they misaligned several key components, and the frequency caused the kuhir-dal to separate in those exposed to it.” Rel sighed heavily and rested his head in his hand, his eyes focusing on me. “And you’ve witnessed firsthand what that same frequency does to humans and their cities. However, the kuhir-dal is a distinctly Syldrari trait…or, at least we thought it was. Zafir?” “Evidence suggests that not all the survivors share Elara’s…unique traits,” Zafir answered after a moment, his delicate tone making me want to punch him. But he was way over there, and I didn’t want to get up quite yet. “Most of the ones I suspect of being human are still in isolation because they have yet to stabilize. However, given Elara’s strong, negative reaction to one of them…I am working under the assumption that anyone she reacts to in such a way is likely truly human.” “I wasn’t that bad,” I scoffed. Zafir shot me an unamused look. “You wanted to kill her, decided she wasn’t worth the effort, and told her to drink bleach. Care to claim that again?” “Like I said! I wasn’t that bad.” I shot him a small smile and watched him grow pale. “That was me being nice.” Rel let out a long sigh and put a hand on top of my head, giving me a reprimanding look. “You should try to behave in a manner that is actually nice, if you’re going to maintain your cover and Zafir’s. Shall I use positive reinforcement with you, or do you require a…different method?” I pouted slightly, then motioned at the screen in front of us. “Weren’t we supposed to be discussing that.” “Don’t change the subject.” Rel leaned a little closer and narrowed his eyes at me. “Behave. For all our sakes, but especially yours.” “I will try,” I grumbled, relenting, before reaching for a cookie and focusing my attention on that. “I’ll have my men look into this supposed new clan, but it is likely a new group of outcasts instead,” Jysel spoke up, motioning loosely at the screen. “Either way, it is distinctly business for Elara to keep her nose out of. If the imperials must send her to interfere, I would appreciate a warning first. It’s so very hard to tell when she’s been sent versus when she’s simply being a pain in the—” “Trust me. You’ll know when she’s being a pain in your anything, dear,” Xilen spoke up slyly, leaning around me with a smile. “From what I hear, none of your encounters with her have been her meddling, yet. Each and every one has been while she’s attempting to work. In fact, it sounds to me more like you are always getting in her way. Ah! Don’t tell me—you have a crush? Is getting in the way of her work your way of—” And just like that, Jysel got up and stalked out of the room. A moment later, I heard a faint sound that I could only assume was the transporter he’d used to get to Rel’s cafe in the first place. Xilen burst out into delighted, malevolent laughter. Rel and Zafir, on the other hand, both looked thoroughly done with playing host to the trouble-making queen. “Well. That wasn’t exactly as productive as I’d hoped it would be.” I crossed my arms and let out a soft sigh. Sure, I’d learned a lot—too much, even. Too much to process all at once. Yet, what I’d wanted to talk about the whole damned day? Barely touched on. I doubted it was even enough for Amara’s needs. “I’m afraid it’s difficult to give you more, when we ourselves don’t know who these Syldrari are,” Rel offered in a mildly apologetic tone. I glanced at him, and he gave me a faint smile. “I can only speak for myself, but I will assure you that, once it is safe to do so, I will answer whatever questions you have. You’ve proven that you are a true ally to the Syldrari and, though you may be playful, you don’t have ill intentions. “For now, however, it is getting late. You and Zafir should return to headquarters before your superiors grow suspicious about your extended absence.” “Ah! I’ll go put your things in a bag for you, dear,” Xilen exclaimed, tapping me briefly on the shoulder before hurrying off into the other room. “Elara,” Rel spoke quietly as he stood up, and I gave him a questioning look. “I meant it. Be careful. You need to pretend, as best you can, that you’re merely a human who acquired more power. It doesn’t take much for the wrong people to begin asking questions, and ‘rescuing you’ is nowhere near as easy as Xilen likes to make it sound. Promise me.” I simply stared at him for a moment, a little taken aback by the seriousness, but more so by him asking for me to promise. Finally, I gave him a lopsided smile. “Alright, I promise I’ll be more careful.” “I half expected her to say no,” Zafir muttered bitterly. He’s just asking for me to torture him more, isn’t he? I eyed Zafir for a moment, though my attention turned to Rel when he cleared his throat. Perhaps Rel knew what I was thinking, seeing as he was giving me a rather stern look. He left it at that and returned to fetching the disc for us. Unfortunately, we all agreed that taking dinner home would be too suspicious, and for multiple reasons. “We can pick up some human fare for you on the way,” Zafir informed me as we walked through the Syldrari District and toward where a craft would pick us up. “It would do the others well to see you eat something other than Rel’s cooking for once.” “It’s not my fault he’s so damn good at what he does,” I pointed out. “Yes, yes, I’m aware. However, there are plenty of others who excel at the culinary arts. Perhaps it’s time I introduced you to them.” Next
2020.08.10 06:57 Kyronius-LARGE Growing Compilation of Mostly Minor Changes/Adjustments to Destiny's QoL we want to see with Beyond Light
With the announcement of Destiny 2 receiving: Beyond Light, Lightfall, and The Witch Queen; we know we will have this game for a while. So, I made a compilation of things that bothered me and others about the game that should be implemented over such time, the sooner the better. Some of these are very petty, others are fairly important or useful, while some are things that simply should have existed since the beginning... For the items that will be going into the Destiny Content Vault, these changes still apply and will want to be seen when they are returned at the designated "unvaulting" times for us to enjoy once again. Links within post are to BungiePlz Megathreads.
• Option in settings menu to toggle on/off auto-dismantle/convert Blue engram contents into materials. (Just like D1 where green engrams turn into materials once you're high enough light/level. The option to toggle this on and off is needed for when we are leveling up and blues aren't actually completely worthless, versus when they are no longer helpful and can be auto-dismantled). • Weapon Kill-Trackers should inherently track both PvP and PvE, the toggle chooses which one you prefer to display. All legendary weapons should track kills, but are only displayable once MW tier 6+ is achieved. Exotics should have a tracker without catalyst that transfers data to your character and will display the same number on every gun if you have multiple, and will not zero-out if dismantled. The numbers for all exotics should also would be viewable in Collections > Exotic Weapons tab. • A few more destination landing zones. Tower: Hanger (for the millionth time, please). And Dreaming City: Rheasilvia and The Strand). • Delete/Apply/Use action. Revise and speed up action length times for various consumables and items. Old Consumables no longer worth anything should be instant dismantle for the whole group of the item. • Visual button indicator for "Compare" at bottom that when holding RT/mapped key will then compare the item in your inventory or vault to your currently equipped item. (Outside of your vault, only Equip, Details, and Lock/Unlock buttons are shown on the item. Some players do not know this option exists). • Faster menu loading (mainly console), like keeping main character inventory on ram for instant access rather than waiting to load gear each time. (My PC with a HDD loads menu 3x faster than my Xbox One X using External SSD, and the Xbox using SSD loads twice as fast as using internal Console HDD. Locating time is a factor in this but root issue is in-game coding priorities. In testing RAM usage, loading main menu of your characters gear uses 110MB at 1440p settings). Logic says: If I'm able to hit start and access my character during any in-game activity, then there's room to keep it on the RAM for faster access. Also, if the interactive nodes load and can be selected while using director, but the wait is on visual indicators, then destination/director menu loading can also be faster. At least speed the animation scale up. • Ongoing live feed for incoming teammates joining game until they arrive (like, say someone leaves during Menagerie and we sit around waiting for the 6th to arrive before we can start the next area, some people leave thinking its bugged instead of waiting for the 6th because they don't realize someone is on the way). Instead of "Cayde-69420 joined the game" and it fade out, it would say "Cayde-69420 is joining the game..." either stagnate or slowly fading in and out until the player arrives. It's just good courtesy knowledge. PvP included, but ofc the players name would be blue or red to indicate if they will be friend or foe. • Won't kick you off viewing a player menu while starting or after finishing an activity via roster tab (mainly console). • Controller sensitivity options expanded. This includes Acceleration, overall sensitivity, outer radius/inner radius sensitivity differences, and various trigger scales. Fortnite has more options than Destiny, and we are far better than Forknife, so let's see some expansion of options in the near future (button mapping was a great first step that already improved my destiny QoL). Even if it's just allowing sensitivity to go to 50 with an acceleration option, anything is better than a single scale of 1-10. • ValoGlory/Infamy Rank-up screen covering obtrusive banners are very annoying and much too long. Maybe move the banner to the bottom where they aren't covering anything if you must have them, just like when we unlock any triumph. • Fix the bottom screen banner alerting the player to insert runes into the Chalice every time they open a Menagerie chest, as though they just barely unlocked it. The banner often appears several times, and sometimes well into going to orbit. When this returns with DCV, I don't want to see the same problems persisting it had before. • Ended playlist Activities like crucible/strikes/Gambit orbit menu appearing on time; so we have the ability to leave matchmaking sooner. It's uncommon but sometimes you get caught in the same match because it wouldn't allow you to leave (mainly console). • Emblem username characters given a darker thin stroke outline (not very legible on brighter emblems like Settle the Score. This actually will allow Bungie to use more emblem types that they normally avoid due to illegibility, like white or bright shaders in general. Simple graphic design discipline). • While previewing Ships, add the booster effect, and allow us to rotate the ship under preview like we can our sparrow. • While previewing Sparrows, add sparrow booster effect and initial sound when boosting that dies off to silence whenever you press "Preview" button while already previewing the sparrow (the button currently does nothing, same button performs emotes/finishers each time you press it when previewing them). • While previewing Eververse ornaments, allow for us to preview a shader with the item as well. • Change all 150 speed sparrows to 160 Why do 150's even exist? • If seasons where earning certain engrams must be decrypted like current Umbrals, then Add 1 more row to inventory holdable Engrams (increases capacity from 10 to 15) • Postmaster available from Director Menu just like the Eververse.
• Shader inventory changed to shader Favorites. Why have inventory we have to manage deleting unwanted shaders or keep buying ones we use regularly? Just allow us to favorite a shader into a Favorites inventory that is infinitely reusable, at the cost of 1-2 legendary shard(s) per application or use. This will stop the issue of repeatedly receiving shaders you have earned but do not want. • With the Favorites menu (mentioned above), hovering over a favorited shader will give you 2 options: Unfavorite and Apply to All for 5-10 legendary shards. Giving us both individual and blanket utility. • Consistent Armoweapon shader primary/secondary colors displayed on shader thumbnail when compared to actual application They don't all line up, making it confusing and forcing us to preview every shader to see what it actually looks like. • Along with previous bullet point, a fifth shader color spot in the middle for the thumbnails on shaders that seem to have an additional color not displayed... (Looking at you Jacarina) • Make all armor elements shaderable IE: Wormgod Caress, The Supremacy sniper, many exotics in general, iron banner robes and cloaks, many warlock bonds with glow effect, any armor with glow effects (transversive steps can't change but geomag stabilizers ornament can...?), etc etc etc. Just be consistent. • Exotic Weapon Shaders. If I can preview it while one is equipped, then let it happen for real. This will NOT decrease the number of ornaments purchased, if anything it will increase the number of purchased ornaments. This is because ornaments change the shader type, texture, and display primaries/secondaries, allowing a single shader to have multiple looks, just as ornaments allow items to have multiple looks. (Imagine the Jade ornament for malfeasance with a pearl white shader, or Outbreaks yellow ornament shaded blue, or... The possibilities are endless.) If I can put a shader on an exotic armor piece, then I should be able to put one on an exotic weapon.
CONSUMABLES & QUEST ITEMS
• Forge weapon Radiant Matrix auto-applied to weapon frames when earned, rather than revisiting Ada. Every. Single. Time. • Either get rid of Finest Matterweave and just have an enhancement core drop instead; or, change the reward to something more rare or harder to obtain. Like an Upgrade Module. • Increase Modulus Report inventory quantity to 99 • Override Frequency locations should drop by process of elimination, whether before Beyond Light or after Mars is returned with Destiny Content Vault. • Rainmaker rewards drastically increase • Pure Matterglass Lens doubled chances of drops while weapon telemetries should start dropping no matter what. Ghost telemetry abilities increases chances on top of that and/or Septuple (C'mon Bungie, I said 7, you like that right?) the progress of weapon telemetries with Banshee leveling so they may actually be worth something to get and use (or just get rid of them altogether if that's asking too much). • If all mods have been obtained, stop dropping Black Armory Schematics and allow for dismantle of all leftovers or automatically remove them from inventory. No longer purchases Forge Polymers • Forge Polymers now purchased with legendary shards. Armor drops in sequence (head, then arms, then chest, etc) rather than random due to rare bounties. • Rare Bounties capable of being taken to Ada and changed to another random rare bounty for 2 modulus reports or some other purchase exchange. • Ascendant Shard inventory limit increased to 25. • Enhancement Prism inventory limit increased to 99. • Instead of "Discard" as an option for Ascendant Shards, let it be "Dismantle" and the shard is broken down into 6 Enhancement Prisms. Same goes for the Prisms being broken into Cores. Allowing backwards-compatibility • Dismantling an Enhancement Core should yield either 10 Bright Dust or 5 legendary shards. If we allow them to become bright dust; then 1 Ascendant shard broken down completely is equivalent to 36 enhancement cores or 360 bright dust. An actual grindable way to increase bright dust. Slow enough it wouldn't ever break the game (about 3 GM nightfalls for 1080 bright dust) but one would finally exist, and maybe put use to some players excess of these items. (Dismantle times would be very fast for cores, medium for prisms, and slow for ascendant shards. Or banshee would have a way to do it through him.)
• Bulk purchases like spiders materials with x5, x10, and x25 options, OR a slider 1-100. (Could be done by hovering over an item like glimmer, then a drop-down menu of the same item but a slider or bulkier quantity options show up. Now you can hover over the one you want and purchase it multiple times if you want to convert say... 1000 legendary shards into 5000 destination materials, you can do it in 40 clicks or 10 slides of 100, instead of 1000. That's saving about 25x more time and effort). Either • 1. Give us three Token Turn-In options for ALL token vendors. (A x20, the x10, and then a x1. That way we can even out our token bar and also hand in 20 tokens in one shot for an engram/package rather than; 10 tokens, 2 times, every time, for every vendor.) Or • 2. Vendor package rewards can be focused either to exact items, or a package at a chance of 2 items where one is what you desire (like current Umbral Focusing). This is at the cost of extra tokens. 20 Tokens for current random engram. 25 Tokens for a choice at an engram for either armor or weapons (The engrams cannot exceed 5 items, so if 8 weapons are available from the vendor then 2 different weapon engrams containing 4 each will be offered along with the armor engram). 30 Tokens for an engram that drops 1 of 2 possible items that you choose from. And lastly, 40 Tokens for a random roll of the exact item you desire. Fulfilling cost/reward incentive. I prefer number 2
Mods and Effects
• Allow Obsidian Radiance effect on forge weapons to be unlockable and applicable to any forge weapon once earned, and removed from inventory. • Allow dismantling of old mods to unlock the unlimited version if any are left (like raid earned mods). Simultaneously allowing old 1.0 armor to use the unlocked unlimited versions, just incapable of using newer season mods like normal. • Void/SolaArc Resistance mod should be an inherent bonus when MasterWorking the armor piece according to the elemental type the armor is, and removed from the list. Literally no one uses it over recovery/mobility/discipline etc. (This would mean for example: level 10 masterworked void arms would have inherent void resistance, whatever the small value Bungie has assigned it).
• Grapple/mantling parameters revised (moving objects, a slight bump doesn't reject the grapple, or a ledge's certain angle disallows grapple) • Uneven surfaces kill us guardians instantly with the famed "misadventure" or dreaded "architects". Please review physics parameters to reduce or eliminate these instances. Falling 2 meters and touching an edge shouldn't insta-kill a god-slayer. (This may be centered around rebound/reflection physics values, likely the ones greater than 45°.) • Jumping backwards when standing on something with an angle... Just get rid of this, or severely reduce the angle it occurs. Very very annoying when jumping forward usually over something, then suddenly you're going backwards which sometimes leads to falling behind or your death. • Destination Materials you physically farm need to drop 5 of the material, not 1-2. Chest materials need to drop 5-15.
PS5 and Series X
I have not seen any current plans from Bungie how to address these new powerful consoles, but I'd like to point out a few key things that MUST be options as well as possible issues. The new consoles will have much faster CPU and far more capable GPU's of course. But the main difference will be their NVMe memory bus speed. It will be at least 30x faster (current consoles use 5400rpm HDD's that seem to perform at 35MB/s average, up to 90MB/s. While NVMe will be 2500MB/s+) than current consoles! This is such a big difference that this alone may require separation from old consoles. UI/UX for these consoles should easily rival PC options. That means they will need: + FOV slider up to 105. + Graphics toggles for Low/Med/High settings in order to properly respond to their FOV and increased framerate, especially when larger sensitivity options should be available for the controllers as mentioned before. + Drastically improved load times for destinations, menu, previewing, etc. I do NOT want to see these be handicapped. If they remain in the same playing pool as older consoles, then (outside of framerate and load times) old consoles will need an FOV slider as well. So as not to be completely outplayed by the incoming consoles, and therefore subsequent graphics quality reductions to compensate. These toggles will be forced to change to lower settings for older v1 consoles, and for consoles like the One X and Pro, medium and some high settings can still be achieved with higher FOV if the player decides to change that.
I will be adding nuisances or long-awaited features below that are not already on the list if I think of or read any after posting. Feel free to express recurring pet peeves for me to add here: • Vault changes for personal organizing and all consumables are able to be stored (currently some are not able to for no known reason). • In-Game LFG options should exist if Bungie calls their game an MMO. • Option to adjust Character appearance again in game, whether through menu or an NPC. One understanding if you came from D1, your character appearance was decided based on those designs on previous characters. Changing your appearance in D2 would then separate that linkage and not affect your D1 characters. (Think of this as a hairstylist for D2) • Charged distance melee abilities given a second mappable key option. Like Hunter's throwing knife and smoke bomb. Allow single press to be normal knife melee, while a long press/remappable option uses throwable ability. • Return Proximity in meters to destination patrol beacons, adventures, public events, and all Icon viewable locations. • Reduce fireteam Player collision especially when jumping or nearing them. Ever gotten shoulder charged off heavy ammo? Pushed off the map? Blocked from an entryway? Fell to your death on a jumping puzzle because someone brushed your warlocks robes? No more of this. • Jumping while enemies are below you (especially warlocks) adjusted so that you don't get stuck on their heads unable to move until you die. (Seems to be like the previous collision model that warlock jumps get canceled out when touching another player or enemy.) • Warlock jumps should never float downward on immediate airborne press of jump button. If direction falls below horizontal decline, default to horizontal glide. No negative-angle glides. That's like a hunter pressing jump while falling and they just fall slower for a second, it's useless. • Slightly speed up warlock Rift animation as well as adjust how it drops so that it doesn't fall below you like it sometimes does when standing on an elevated object. • Clan browser added to Clan tab, it's just common sense. • Phalanx boop physics revised/reduced. Getting hit by their tailbone while they swing in the other direction shouldn't send me across the map, or their swing barely touching my gun turns you into a puddle of light... Yeah they hit hard, but not HULK hard. • Boss Stomp mechanics should be more creative and unique to the boss, and not universally obnoxious. Unique boss attacks and defenses would be less annoying and more fun. This would be an implementation that would take more time but guaranteed to have positive feedback. • Add option in settings for themed menus like Dark Mode, or a select color of choice, while your equipped emblem determines the theme. Personalization is everything. • Allow for a re-roll of masterworked weapons just like we can rework our armor. Have it cost similar materials as compensation (which is: 1 upgrade module, and all materials currently used in the MasterWork. Which would be glimmer at lvl 1, and the appropriate amount of glimmelegendary shards/enhancement cores at lvl 6+) • All Exotic Leg armors should have inherent traction. However only armors that increase sprint speed should also increase slide distance (transversive steps, stompeez, dunemarchers). • Start with full ammo when loading in any activity, excluding PvP modes. There's no reason we should have to find a banner or go to the Tribute Hall (which is disappearing anyway and we need a replacement of some kind). • If Champion mechanics are going to stay in destiny, then add various champion stopping perks to many current exotic weapons. Doesn't have to be all of them, but a lot more exotics may be seen to be used in high-game activity's where champions are present. (Like Riskrunner having inherent Overload Rounds, or Jotünn with an Unstoppable effect.) • Add ability to Ping enemies or Add waypoints visible to fireteam. Especially critical for the Deaf/Hard of hearing community, helps Sherpa situations and overall improved communication. If addable by map, proving critical we need to increase map and menu load times. • Ability to choose to either enter matchmaking or solo strikes just like we had the option with Haunted Forest activities. Default is matchmaking, but ability to change when loading a strike or strike playlist. Sometimes players are helpful, and other times they are a burden. Major. Burden. • Give heroic stories viable rewards. Some stories are fun, but give you no reward incentive. • Veteran Dialogue accessable across all platforms, or implemented to everyone with a toggle. • Crucible and Vanguard Boons should be able to be used anywhere, acting as an effect that is relieved once a match or strike is completed. • Crucible matchmaking slightly revised. The CBMM is good for playableness, but when you hit sweaty 6 stacks, most players lose desire to play. Petition to adjust crucible so that "team stomping" or "win streak grinding" is challenged. Suggestion would be something that recognizes a team of 4-6 and analyzes their gameplay. If wins happen, especially by a large margin, they are put into a pool of similar stacked winning groups (still closely abiding by CBMM). This way they end up matching against other 4-6 stack sweats more often, and less against kinderguardians with already low self esteem, discouraging that mindset to farm crucible (if the 6 stack are all really good players then they will probably end up winning every time even against other stacks anyway right? So if you're a stack stomper, what would you have to be worried about?). Though uneven matchmaking I'm sure would still happen regardless; this would reduce the occurrences. Disclaimer: 4-6 stacks that are simply friends and aren't there to stomp players, but just to have fun, will be protected based on game stat feedback the same way, and left in normal CBMM. This is NOT just SBMM, its AMM (adjusted matchmaking) which resets under losses. • Hunter jumps (but also other characters) sometimes do not activate initially and end up using a jump charge over slightly uneven surfaces, messing them up. Perhaps adjust Character jump activation as a small distance between them and the ground they are near, using a normal jump before an ability jump to bring it to a minimal or eliminate this occurrence. • Drifter shouldn't announce that the envoys are dead when they aren't. Associate his voice with them actually being taken out. If the team starts in late and the team is given an extra couple stacks of damage booster as a handicap compensation triggering his false announcement, then have him say something else that won't confuse the team like, "You're startin' with a little extra energy... Get those envoys!" • Add a small Personal Score Indicator near team score in PvP. Just a simple common sense courtesy to let us know how we are performing during matches. • Add an Exotic Armor Ornaments Collections tab within the Exotics section. There's one for exotic weapons... and even legendary universal ornaments have a tab. So where's the one for exotic armor? • Allow Aim Assist to be adjustable by intensity (including off) respective to the system play of choice. And/Or Aim Assist needs to be tuned to allow something moving by that is nearer with greater aim assist to not drag reticle off an enemy already in your sights.
2020.08.10 05:50 Ralts_BloodthorneFirst Contact - 268 - P'Thok & The Great Ice Cream Raid
[first] [prev] [next] Delmek-4 was a standard agricultural planet. They produced wheat, sorghum, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, potatoes, and tobacco. There were sheep, pig, cow, and other animal farms. Factories took the raw food and turned it to foodstuffs, from bread to steaks to mutton to ice cream to cigarettes. True, it was near the Treana'ad Disputed Zone, but it wasn't exactly a priority military target and the close proximity of Mestacalla and the Republic Navy base there at only 7 light years made sure they could scream for help. The Republic shipped the goods of Delmek-4 all over the Republic, supporting the colonies of Terra. P'Thok was more than a little nervous. Terra Sol was only thirty light years away, the Disputed Zone and Treana'ad Space only ten light years behind him. While Terran Space wasn't big, only roughly 50 light years, and they had possessed nearly fifteen colonies in addition to their heavily protected Core World, P'Thok was still very nervous. He did not mind admitting it to himself, although he found that contemplating it over a bowl of ice cream topped with butterscotch sauce and then smoking a cigarette made it easier to think about. The Terrans had attempted to colonize two worlds that the Hive Worlds had slated for being used for expansion. Both worlds had been prepared, with the proper creatures in the sand to give grubs a good meal as they grew and the proper vegetation. The Treana'ad couldn't believe the temerity of the Terrans and so they had declared war. They had even managed to wrest two star systems, both of them with red suns, from the Terrans, and even take two colonies on disgustingly wet worlds underneath dangerous yellow suns. But unlike every other mammalian race the Treana'ad had discovered, the Terrans could fight. They could fight, and fight hard. Even Mantid warriors and speakers were not as dangerous as a Terran, as the Treana'ad had learned during the two years of warfare. Which is why P'Thok carefully studied the maps of the primary target that the ship's scanners were able to discern. P'Thok had to admit, the Mantid vessel had amazing scanners. He had not expected a Mantid trading vessel to have scanners able to read the dataplate on the back of a ground car from orbit, but he was glad the ship possessed them all the same. The Matron had agreed, this mission was of great importance. She approved of P'Thok's targets. The Goody Scoop Ice Cream Company for one. That was the primary target. The Whachagotta Lose Tobacco Company was the newest target. P'Thok managed to identify a distribution point for both companies, where trucks full of product came in and were unloaded before the contents were loaded onto a ship to distribute the product around the Republic. Finally ready, P'Thok entered the bridge and gave the signal. The pilot, a talented worker caste male who was a good shot with a plasma rifle in addition to being a gifted pilot, glanced at the worker caste at the communications computer, who nodded, a cigarette held in his mandibles. The communications specialist opened a channel to ground-side. Right as it was answered the pilot looked at P'Thok. "Sir, your cigarette," he said. "Oh," P'Thok took the cigarette out of his mouth and handed it to the pilot. The screen cleared, showing a beige skinned human with dark hair. "Thontaire City Space Traffic Control. How can I help you?" "Yes, we need landing permission. We are here to discuss trading with the Mantid Hive Worlds," P'Thok said. On the side of the screen the overlay of a Mantid Speaker repeated what P'Thok said, using Mantid body language instead of Treana'ad. It was an excellent piece of software. "Berth-9," the human said and cut the channel. "Well, that was rude," the Matron said, puffing out a cloud of 'blueberry cream' around herself, easing everyone's agitation. "No matter. I will wrest the ice cream and smoke from them despite their rudeness," P'Thok promised. He looked at the pilot. "Take us in, Klikatikit." "As you command, sir," the pilot said. He motioned at the cigarette in his mouth. "Do you wish this returned, great one?" "Keep it. Piloting this ship must be stressful. I for one am grateful for your skills," P'Thok said. He headed for the lift. "I'll be with my men." The Matron eyes P'Thok as he entered the elevator. Yes, he would father many grubs. ---------- The Mantid tradeship landed in the dark of night. Two security drones moved close, just in case there was a problem. Two accurate shots from a heavy plasma rifle gutted them and the two teams of Treana'ad warriors bolted for the two different warehouses while a third sprinted at nearly fifty miles an hour at the spaceport control center. P'Thok fired his plasma rifle twice, caving in the doors, and rushed in. There was a sign proclaiming which way to security and he waved two men that way. "Stun only!" he reminded them. The other five men followed him as he charged down the hallway, shooting open the door to the control room. He had carefully examined human media to make sure anything he had to say to humans would carry the most weight. He'd chosen to go without a helmet, instead wearing a cloth head covering like a Terran engaged in nerfarious deeds would, as well as a snazzy hat. He charged into the room, seeing a half dozen Terran females and a dozen Terran males sitting at work stations. "REACH FOR THE SKY!" P'Thok yelled out, firing two shots into the ceiling. "THIS HERE'S A HOLD UP!" The Terrans stared at the six Treana'ad warriors, easily almost ten feet tall, all of them wearing baclavas and cowboy hats as well as Treana'ad combat armor and carrying Treana'ad plasma rifles. The raised their hands. "Keep your fingers off the silent alarms. No cops!" One Treana'ad, excited over it all, ordered, waving his plasma rifle around with one hand and clacking his bladearms together. "I see a cop, all of you are dead!" another Treana'ad warrior threatened, running over to crouch down and look out the window. "Nobody do anything stupid and you'll all live to go home to your kids," P'Thok promised, scuttling over to a Terran with the most elaborate decorations, including facial tattoos and piercings. P'Thok pointed at him. "You, Facility Manager, you will do my bidding!" "I'm the janitor," the impressively decorated human said. "Oh," P'Thok turned around, reaching into his combat harness. The Terrans flinched. "Who's the manager?" A Terran human gulped and raised her hand. P'Thok pulled out his pack of cigarettes, opened it, then lit the one he retrieved. The humans seemed to relax as P'Thok put the pack away. "Come over here, stand by me. Anyone pulls anything, I see any cops, and you'll be first," P'Thok threatened. The terran female nodded, moving over by the massive Treana'ad. "Smoke?" P'Thok asked. Now that he had them all cowed and submissive, the movies had shown that he should be polite and sociable. "Um, thank you?" The Terran said. She lit it and handed the pack back. P'Thok watched two of his men quickly search the desks for passwords, finding them, and then going to work on the computers. One man was to get the robotic system to lay the loading tracks to the ship, the other was to start listing freight to be loaded. A third man crouched down in front of a terminal and began furiously typing, searching the Terran InfoNet for the information that the Treana'ad so desperately needed. The fourth and fifth crouched down by the windows, peeking out, watching for 'cops'. One opened the window and stuck the barrel of his grenade launcher out, an EM-homing grenade loaded up. After a moment, P'Thok realized that the room had both male and female Terrans in it, and the Terran next to him was the largest of them. Thick of body and limb. "You have many males here. Are they all yours?" P'Thok asked. "Uh, they work for me," the shift manager said, her mind whirling at what was happening. "No, no, are they yours for when you are overcome by breeding lust?" P'Thok asked. "What of the lesser females?" "Um, I don't get overcome by breeding lust," the Terran said. P'Thok turned and looked down at her. "You don't? Does that mean you don't enter breeding heat and... what's that thing mammals do... ovulate! right, don't you ovulate and devour the lesser females and then breed with your males?" "No. I use birth control," the female said. "Birth... control?" P'Thok said. He tapped his bladearms nervously against his chest plate. "What is 'birth control'? Tell me, and perhaps I will reward you." The Terran female just stared. "Um, it's just an implant. It releases hormones into my bloodstream that keeps me from ovulating, releasing eggs into my womb, so I can't get pregnant unless I want to turn off the implant." P'Thok thought for a long moment. That seemed impossible. Controlling breeding cycles? Why, you might as well try to control pheromone... ... P'Thok pulled out his small datapad and handed it to the Terran. "Write down everything you know about this 'birth control' and when we leave I will spare all of your lesser females and captive males." "Of course. Just... don't hurt them, OK?" the female Terran said. P'Thok just nodded, his mind spinning. Controlling egg production? It's crazy. It's insane. It's impossible... but what if it isn't? What if it can be done? "Sir! I've got it! They left that part of the database unsecure! There's hundreds of recipes!" his warrior searching InfoNet said excitedly. "Download it all! We are indeed lucky, men," P'Thok said. "The hold is 90% full, sir," the one watching the robotic loading systems said. "Sir, we need to know something," the one tagging inventory to be loaded. "What?" P'Thok asked. "Where does 'milk' come from?" the warrior asked. P'Thok turned to the lead female. "Where does milk come from?" "Cows. Moo-moos," the Terran said. She tapped the notepad. "Those." P'Thok stared. There were millions of the brown furred four legged herbivores on the planet. Of course! It made perfect sense! "Stop loading!" P'Thok said. "We need to save room!" he turned to the human. "Input the care and feeding of moomoos." The shift leader was completely confused as she did it. Complying with hostage takers was the best way to survive a hostage situation, but what they wanted was so confusing. She handed the small datapad back. "Signal the teams! Withdraw to the ship. We must carry out an additional mission!" P'Thok said. When the two watching the window counted that all the Treana'ad were aboard the ship, P'Thok busted out the window with the butt of his plasma rifle and had his men climb out. He looked at the Terrans. "Thank you for your cooperation," he said, then raced off at top speed for the ship. The Matron watched as P'Thok entered the bridge, exhaling smoke from his legs. "Find a large grouping of these creatures," P'Thok ordered, tossing the image from his datapad to the main viewscreen. "Set down, quietly, near them. They are easily startled and weigh as much as warrior." "What are those?" the Matron asked, exhaling blueberry cream, which seemed to calm the bridge crew the best. "Moomoos. They are the animal that produces the substance known as 'milk', which is mammary gland nutrient fluid. It's the secret ingredient to ice cream!' P'Thok said excitedly, taking another drag off his cigarette. "Located. Not far away," the pilot said. He looked back. "We're setting down." "We'll collect some males as well as females," the Matron ordered. "I shall have several old grub hatcheries converted to habitats for them!" she could imagine the envy of all the other Matrons, including the local Hive Queen if she built lavish moomoo habitats to ensure the production of ice cream. "As you command, Matron," P'Thok said, still thinking over what the human had said. She wasn't consumed by breeding frenzies, she could control her urge to breed and give birth. Treana'ad society, since the dawn of time, had centered all around breeding cycles. Wars had been fought over breeding grounds. The majority of males were fated to die at the mandibles of females. Controlling breeding, as insane as it sounded, as impossible as the concept seemed, could break that cycle that dominated Treana'ad life. And P'Thok knew he'd really really like to keep his head uneaten, especially with the Matron's spoken desire to mate with him. "I must go command my men," P'Thok said. The Matron waved idly, exhaling smoke, as she imagined the incredulous rival Matrons who would gnaw at their own bladearms with envy at the lavish habitats she would construct. The ship landed with a bump and the rear cargo hatch lowered. The moomoos paid no attention as the Treana'ad warriors rushed out to meet them and stopped. "Get on the ship," P'Thok ordered, waving his plasma rifle at the moomoo. The moomoo opened one eye, looked at him, and closed its eye again. "Sir, the moomoo is ignoring my commands!" one of his men said, rubbing his wings in agitation. P'Thok stared at the mammal. It was huge, massing maybe even more than a warrior. It was heavy with muscle, a thick furry hide, a large head, and a ring in the nose. It was studiously ignoring him and he realized with surprise that the creature was asleep. Curious, he reached out and grabbed the ring. It was warm and slightly slimy and the moomoo opened its eyes. "This way, moomoo, this way," P'Thok chittered, gently tugging the ring. The moomoo followed. "Emulate me, men," P'Thok ordered. He led the moomoo onboard the ship, then rushed out to another one. And another. And another. He sent ten of his men out to grab the large bales of grain, something called alfalfa and yellow ones called 'hay', and then approached one of the even larger ones with horns. He grabbed the ring and said "follow me, moomoo, follow me." The large moomoo's eyes opened, it glared, and suddenly rushed forward, slamming into P'Thok and knocking him into the air before stopping, passing gas, and going still again. One hoof pawed at the ground for a moment. "Sir!" one shouted, leveling his plasma rifle. "No, just stun it! Get a graviton loader, we'll carry it and put it in a stall," P'Thok ordered. They had nearly all of the moomoos loaded up when P'Thok heard a human shout. He turned and saw a human with a rifle. "CATTLE RUSTLERS! BOY, CALL THE SHERIFF!" the human yelled, leveling the rifle and firing. The round whizzed by P'Thok. "Men, retreat! We must hurry before the Sheriff arrives!" P'Thok called out, imagining a huge warmech with a star painted on its chest. He and his men rushed back onto the ship, one pulling a grav-dolly with an unconscious mean moomoo on it. The human chased them, waving his rifle and firing shots that kept missing. Once aboard P'Thok slapped the com button. "Lift off! Hurry! The cops are coming!" The ship lifted off even as the cargo ramp slowly raised. P'Thok breathed a sigh of relief as the ship screamed into space, breaking orbit and vanishing into jumpspace. He slumped in relief as he lit a smoke and sought out the Matron. She was just finishing a small bowl of ice cream, the room full of the scent of bubblegum. "Matron, our raid is even more successful then we thought," P'Thok said. "Oh?" The Matron signified interest. She had to admit, P'Thok was quite handsome. She fluttered her wings and gave him a coy look, feeling like a young matron again. P'Thok checked his notepad. The Terran had put information about 'birth control' on it, including describing it, describing the mechanism by which it worked, and even the different brands and types, many were confusing and obviously intended for mammalian biology. "Keep an open mind, as you did about ice cream and smoke," P'Thok said. He handed her the notepad. "Another human secret I wrested from them with guile and cunning." The Matron looked at the data and suddenly stopped. She exhaled bubblegum scent slowly then took a deep drag off of her power smoker. "The concept is insane!" she blurted out. "But... but... how did we never think of this? How did we never think of any of this?" "Would you do it if you could, Matron?" P'Thok asked, tensing to run out of the room if she took offense. "I mean, if you could break the tyranny of the birthing chamber, would you do it?" The Matron nodded. "Yes. It consumes a Matron's life. This... this seems so impossible, yet so simple. An impossible concept, an easily achieved medical research project." She sighed wistfully. "To be freed." "Then accept that notepad, Matron, with my undying awe at your presence," P'Thok said, backing out of the room. The Matron didn't even notice, puffing absently on her power smoker and reading the articles downloaded from the Terran InfoNet and the testimony of a Terran Shift Leader, an obviously important and grand station. To be free... she thought as she ship raced for the space station. [first] [prev] [next]
2020.08.09 08:09 Ralts_BloodthorneFirst Contact - TOTAL WAR - 268 (P'Thok Smokes a Pack)
[first] [prev] [next] The small trader only weighed a handful of megatons, with the standard sextant of jump-drives in the rear section, vast cargo holds (for its size), and a bridge and crew quarters jammed into the nose. It was of Terran make, its transponder squeaking a Terran code, and its drive signatures were on file as being from an older space trading corporation. While it was unusual to see civilian vessels this close to Treana'ad Space, it wasn't unheard of, since war zones could bring profit to the daring. The vessel looked a little weird, and the computer control was hard to understand, but the station chalked it up to the vessel's age and upkeep. The space station control gave permission for the small craft to dock at one of the main umbilicals and relaxed. There wasn't anything to worry about. It did pause for a moment, the computer system claiming it had to reorient, that a hiccup made it slightly confused on the precise maneuvering required to dock. That wasn't unusual, traders, even Terran traders, weren't exactly known for their upkeep, so the station wasn't worried as the trader paused, slowly rolling then turning in space to reorient itself on the stellar mass at the center of the system. P'Thok was a warrior caste Treana'ad of some experience. He had infiltrated Terra-Sol itself and pulled off a daring daylight heist of an armored transport on a Terran rim world, even taken part in two successful military campaigns against the Terrans. Which is why he had no fear as he engaged the thrusters of his exo-pack, oriented himself, and jetted toward the space station. He had practiced in virtual reality until he no longer felt fear at the idea of drifting across nearly ten miles of vacuum, aiming for a small point on the space station. It helped that the Matron aboard the craft, who was overseeing the delicate military operation, code named 'I'll Take That', had flooded the warrior's senses with pheromones to instill courage and remove fear. Still, P'Thok was the only Treana'ad warrior of the ten man assault force not to feel fear. After all, he had escaped a pursuit by literally dozens of Terran larvae during his daring heist two years before, why would he fear a space-walk. Time moved slowly as P'Thok, clad in stealth armor, coasted toward the station. His bladearms were sharp and honed, his hands gripped a well maintained plasma rifle, and his armored vac-suit was capable of shrugging all but military grade Terran weapons. He had faith in his stealth equipment, after all, it had worked for him to land on Terra itself. Eventually he reached the space station, throwing out a magnetic grapple on a plas cable. IT only took two tries for him to latch it and he reeled himself in, his squad mates following him. When they landed they activated the magnetic boots and moves slowly across the surface of the station toward their goal. While graviton boots would have been more reliable and easier to use they might have been detected by the stations graviton sensors, the same reason the exo-packs had used compressed atmosphere rather than graviton. P'Thok reached the target first. A hyper-comm relay, which could be used to alert any nearby military forces to the fact the Treana'ad had arrived to take control of the station. P'Thok carefully opened the relay's control panel and moved aside for D'Rok to disable the hypercom's output mechanism while still allowing incoming transmissions. Once that was done, the group moved through the silence of space to the next target. Although they all felt nervous, keeping an eye on their atmosphere, they quickly disabled all eight of the automated weapons emplacements, simply cutting the command lines, that way they would react to diagnostic requests and show green but were unable to actually be used for defending the station. That left one target. The most important. Once they had arrived at the target, P'Thok faced the ship and flashed his suit lights four times, letting the ship know that it could stop with the masquerade and dock. The ship flashed its lights once and reoriented to make dock at the docking spindle. P'Thok entered the airlock with his squad and cycled it, the system already disabled so that the main computer would have no idea the airlock was being used. The nitrogen was low, almost non-existent, and P'Thok shook his head. His men would have to remain suited, but that was expected. He made motioned, reminding his men not to use radio, and led his two subordinates toward his goal while the other two leaders led their teams toward their objectives. The station had no idea that P'Thok was even on board. The first hint that Harry Dendles had was when the door opened and the huge armored insectiod stepped into the control office and threw a stun grenade. The Treana'ad didn't move through executing everyone, instead used heavy cargo straps to tie the humans down. "Which one of you is the station commander?" P'Thok asked, trusting his translator. "Me," Harry said from the floor, where he'd been virtually mummy wrapped by the Treana'ad, who were taking no chances with the legendary primate strength. "Bring him," P'Thok ordered. "Can I ask where?" Harry asked, visions of being roasted over a fire and eaten dancing in his mind. "I have questions to ask you," P'Thok asked. Personally, he was glad he was in armor. He could see the status of the other members of his squad and see that their stress pheromones were high. The Matron's blessing must be wearing off. He changed channels to talk to his men. "Flush your pheromones, I don't want you to become overly anxious or aggressive," P'Thok ordered. Each one flashed an assent over their armor and he watched as their anxiety levels dropped. Being trapped with one's own pheromones could cause problems. His armor suddenly updated with a map of the station and P'Thok knew that D'Rok had managed to hack into the station's computer core. He led the human to his own office as his two men carried the properly trussed up human. Once inside he motioned at his two men to put the human in his chair. At first the bindings posed a problem, as the human was stuck at full body extension. Since the straps were wound all around his body, unwinding the ones around his waist meant undoing some of the windings around his arms or legs. After a moment K'Lana'at looked up. "Um, sir, we can't undo the straps," the Treana'ad warrior said. P'Thok sighed, filling his suit with the smell of frustration. Luckily, he'd learned a bit about humans when he had valiantly infiltrated Terra. "If you give me your word not to 'be stupid', to use your phrase, I'll untie you," P'Thok said. He saw the atmosphere was steadying out and opened his face shield. The human nodded. "You've got the plasma rifle, man. No problem, I'm just a station supervisor." "Excellent, human," P'Thok looked at the desk. "Harry Dendles," he looked at his men. "Untie the human, he has promised to behave." His two men nodded excitedly. Of course the human had agreed, he must have recognized P'Thok, Hero of Ice Cream. They untied the human, who sat in his chair, rubbing his arms. "You aren't going to blow up the station, are you?" Harry asked. P'Thok could smell fear and anxiety pouring off the human and had to resist the urge to shoot the human before it could attack him. P'Thok shook his head, another thing he had learned on Terra. "No. That would run counter to my purpose and my mission." "Oh," Harry said. He sighed and pointed at a rectangular package on his desk. "Look, my nerves are shot. Do you mind if I smoke?" The two warriors looked at P'Thok. Why would the human be asking if he could emit smoke or maybe even smoulder. P'Thok remembered cigarettes, dimly, from his time on Terra. It was something humans did when stressed and trying to maintain their emotional comfort or attempting to relax. He nodded. "Of course." Harry tapped the pack on the desk then opened it, pulling out one. He lit it with a lighter and looked at the big Treana'ad who had its face plate open. He held out the pack. "Want one?" P'Thok felt a surge of panic as he realized the two other warriors were staring at him. He tried to show no trace of the anxiety he could feel surging up and smell in his own pheromones as he nodded and reached out. He took one, put it in his mandibles, and then accepted a light. He inhaled the smoke and waited to die. Instead, when he exhaled, the smell of anxiety in his armor faded away, replaced by the soothing smell of the 'smoke'. Standing up straighter, he took another long puff on it, exhaling some out of his mouth. The smoke rushed down his secondary breathing system, into his big lungs in his abdomen, and filled his blood and ichor system with nicotine. He exhaled through his legs and some out of his mouth, feeling himself calm. "Do you have another package of smokes?" P'Thok asked mildly. "And a lighting device?" "Um, sure?" Harry said. He dug an extra pack and lighter out of his desk and handed it to the big insect. P'Thok's mind felt much clearer, much calmer, as he stood in the station commander's office. He could no longer smell the Terran's fear and anxiety, which made him calmer. His men stared in shock. They knew P'Thok was a legend, but the fact he was standing there, a lit tube of some kind of plant wrapped in cellulose paper in his mouth, inhaling the smoke, and not dying was incredible. They felt awed in being in his presence. "What do you need?" Harry asked, realizing he might be able to get out of this with his skin intact. Not only that, he might even be able to convince the Treana'ad not to blow up the station and kill all fifty personnel aboard it. "When is the next Mantid transport due in?" P'Thok asked, exhaling smoke. His armor was whining a bit about having to push the smoke out of the leg atmospheric ejectors since it ID'd the smoke as an environmental hazard, but he overrode the armor to no longer produce an alarm and to use the ejectors around his footpads. "I'll have to check the records," Harry said. To be honest, the big Treana'ad warrior, with smoke wafting out around his feet from the cigarette, was a little intimidating. He didn't fidget like the other two, he held perfectly still, staring at him with his compound eyes from inside his helmet. "No tricks, human Harry Dendles," P'Thok warned, emulating removing the 'smoke' from his mouth and tapping the ashes into the small tray on the human's desk. To be honest, P'Thok was enjoying not having the mission jitters. Harry just nodded, bringing up the data on his terminal and turning the screen so the big warrior could see it. "Later today." "Excellent," P'Thok said. "I will be leaving men to guard the station. Once we accomplish our mission we will leave," P'Thok felt a moment of confidence come over him. "Cooperate with me and I will even leave without blowing up your station, sparing all of your lives." Harry nodded. "I want you to run a search of your stores. I wish to know if you are in possession of this substance," P'Thok said. He leaned forward and used one bladearm to tap out what he wanted. Harry checked. They had plenty. It was easy to make and it improved morale. "Yes, we have plenty." P'Thok nodded. He took another drag and realized he was getting close to the brown end. He tapped one entry on the screen. "Have a container of that brought to the docking bay along with proper implements and some of..." P'Thok leaned closer. "That. Bring a bottle of that." "Um, of course," Harry said. "I'll have a robot do it. No tricks." "Do not hurt the human, just guard him," P'Thok ordered, stubbing out the 'smoke' like the human did. He closed his faceplate. "I will be speaking to the Matron." The others signalled assent, still amazed at how calm P'Thok had been while dealing with the Terran, who still looked fearsome to them. P'Thok moved through the station, arriving as the rest of the strike force boarded the station. He ordered them to ensure the humans could not interfere with the mission, but otherwise not to impede them in their tasks. In the docking bay a robot was waiting and he ordered it to follow him. He started to feel anxious as he moved through the ship, heading for the Matron's quarters. The pheromones didn't help so he opened his face plate and lite another 'smoke' from the pack. By the second drag he didn't feel as anxious and breathed a long inhalation and exhalation of relief. He tapped a control and his helmet folded up around his neck. It was not permitted to enter the chambers of a matron with one's head shielded and armored. He touched the signal pad and waited. The door opened up and immediately the rich thick smell of Matron pheromones filled his senses. And withdrew when he took a drag off the smoke. The Matron eyed P'Thok as the large male warrior entered. The sight of him, and his delicious looking head, made her quiver. Once the mission was over, she fully intended upon mating with him and eating his head. She let the pheromones of excitement flow from her, knowing that it would transmit to the big warrior caste Treana'ad. Instead, he just stood there, some kind of white tube with a beige end in his mouth, the far end burning and wafting a thin stream of smoke. "Your mission?" The Matron asked, puffing out more pheromones. "Part One is complete, oh Matron," P'Thok said, feeling smugness deep inside. Her pheromones were easy to ignore! The smoke leaking out of his collar and wafting up from the burning end masking the pheromones. The Matron stared at P'Thok, sensing nothing but a deep calm form the warrior. Perhaps the other Matrons are right. Perhaps there is something special about this one, she mused. After all, he planned this raid, promised us something we could never dream of. P'Thok was keenly aware of the Matron's inspection of him but didn't feel the fear that most males felt in the presence of a Matron. He wasn't afraid that she would suddenly eat his head, and knew that if she moved toward him, he would calmly refuse and run away like any sensible male. "What is that robot holding?" the Matron asked. "Proof that what I claim is true," P'Thok said. He turned to the robot, opening the container. He filled a bowl, added some sauce, and put a spoon in it. "Do not eat the bowl or the metal eating implement. Just the soft stuff. Go slowly, it can cause pain if eaten too fast." He handed the bowl to the Matron, who looked at the small amount in the bottom. "This is the miraculous substance you promise will change everything?" P'Thok nodded. "Yes, Matron." "Hmm, you better be right," the Matron said. She picked up the metal eating implement, noting that it was freezing cold. She took a single bite. It was cold, but tasted amazing. Tastes blossomed in her mouth, when she exhaled through her mouth to warm it the complex protein chains were sensed by her delicate antenna, bringing more pleasure coursing through her mind. P'Thok smelled the pheromones and quickly lit another cigarette, so he had two in his mouth. The Matron heeded P'Thok's advice, looking at the male out of the corner of her eye. He was much more handsome than she had previously realized. Virile too. She could tell in the fearless way he looked at her, admiring her beauty. After all, what wasn't to admire. She was a powerful and wise Matron, who had laid many broods of eggs and eaten a hundred heads. The bowl was empty too quickly and the Matron held out the bowl. "More?" she asked coyly, fluttering her wings, knowing they were flushed with blood. "More will make you intoxicated to the point of delusions of grandeur," P'Thok warned. "The humans call it 'being high' and it should be avoided." "Oh," the Matron said, pouting slightly with a droop of the antenna and a sad clacking of her mandibles. She realized something with a start. While she definitely hoped that such a fine specimen as P'Thok would realize just how attractive she was, even for an older Matron who's carapace color was beginning to fade, she no longer felt the driving urge to mate. No longer felt the hunger to mate and devour his head. The idea of mating was more a dreamy, drowsy thing that made her abdomen warm rather than a burning desire she couldn't wipe out of her mind. She looked at the bowl. "This substance..." she said softly, rubbing her wings together and luxuriating in the drowsy sensual pleasure of it. "This substance is amazing. You were right, we must seize more of it, show it to the Hive Queens, the High Matrons." P'Thok tapped out a smoke. "Try this, Matron. Another human secret I wrested from them with guile and cleverness." The arousal and excitement pheromones were thick and the Matron was amazed that P'Thok dared to lean close, put the tube in her mouth, in her sharp and deadly mandibles, and then light the tube. She inhaled and then exhaled like he suggested. She felt a calm come over her and the smell of her pheromones receded. Her antenna raised in surprised. "I will assign one of my men to you, Matron," P'Thok said. "I know they will be safe with you now." The Matron nodded. To be honest, she'd rather have another little scoop of that wonderful substance and another 'smoke' than eat a male's head. At least there wasn't a body to dispose of or bury for the grubs to eat when they hatched. As for himself, P'Thok searched out the stores and found whole cartons of packs of smokes, even little machines that could have liquid added for the same effects. He ordered his men to carry a pack at all times, to have a lit one in their mandibles when approaching the Matron. He took one of the machines and convinced a human to decorate it with precious stones. The Matron looked up as P'Thok entered her chamber again. She felt a little silly about how she had tried to seduce the big warrior before the mission was over and hoped he would not berate her. Instead, he just knelt down and held a small device and a bottle infuser out to her. "What is it?" she asked. P'Thok realized he had no idea what to call it. He thought fast. "A power smoker. Fit only for the wealthy and sophisticated such as yourself, oh Matron." whew, he thought to himself when he saw her antenna perk up. She took it and examined it. "What does it do?" "You simply put the tube in your mouth, press the button, and inhale as if you are using a smoke. I have it loaded with something called 'bubble-gum treat' flavored smoke," P'Thok said, his own basic smoke keeping away the slight tang of misery pheromones. The Matron followed P'Thok's instructions. She felt a sudden relief as the slight nagging feeling of being a failure left her and her own pheromones receded. The taste was absolutely delicious. She started to take another hit off it and looked at P'Thok. "May I take more than one 'hit' off of it?" the Matron asked. "The human who showed me how to use the device, on pain of death," P'Thok lied about that part, "Showed that you can inhale more and completely surround yourself with a thick cloud." The Matron inhaled deeply, exhaling through her legs as hard as she could. The entire room filled with a cloud of vape smoke. It banished old lingering pheromones, wiped away scents of thoughts and discussions before. The Matron rubbed her wings in shock. "The humans have been keeping this from us?" "Yes, oh Matron," P'Thok said, exhaling his own smoke. The Matron approved of that. It let her senses know he was there, unlike pheromone maskers, but it was easier to handle. "Then I hereby approve of your dangerous raid into human space," she said. Her wings quivered slightly. "First, they dare think they can wrest those valuable planets from us, deny us the cold warmth of the red sun and the soft feel of sand and the sweet smell of nitrogen, then they withhold two wondrous secrets?" P'Thok nodded. "I see more clearly than I have my entire life, P'Thok," the Matron said. "You were right. We must wrest this from the humans. We will commit this raid, show the humans that the Treana'ad are to be taken most seriously," she paused for a moment. "Then we will make our demands to them." P'Thok nodded slowly and the Matron approved of how solemn the human gesture looked. "We will demand they cede control of the planets we desire, and give us the secrets of ice cream and smoke," the Matron commanded. "As you will, oh Matron," P'Thok said. He saluted and began to leave. "Oh, P'Thok," the Matron called out. P'Thok slowly turned, feeling fear but the smoke preventing the pheromones from being scented. "Yes, oh Matron?" "If your raid is successful, you and I shall breed," the Matron said. P'Thok wanted to scream and run away. He knew it would happen sooner or later. He was doomed! "What kind was the third variant taste I tried with that sauce?" the Matron asked. "Strawberry ripple with hard chocolate shell sauce," P'Thok said. "Mmm," the Matron hummed, rubbing her wings in please. "Bring that. It tastes better than your head ever could and the shell was pleasantly crunchy. And more of this liquid for my power smoker." "As you wish, Matron," P'Thok said. He saw the Matron ignoring him, preferring to stare at the star chart. He hurried out, sagging slightly in relief as he walked down the hallway. His men saw his relaxed saunter and knew that if P'Thok was that sure of the plan, there was no way it could fail. Soon they would raid the Terrans and the secret of Ice Cream would be theirs! As for himself, P'Thok raided the store rooms and made sure he took half of the power-smoker liquid. After all, when a Matron has expressed interest in you, it never hurt to make preparations. When the Mantid trader docked, their airlock cycled to open up to the umbilical and the Mantid crewmen stared in shock. A huge Treana'ad warrior stood in the airlock, a cigarette in his mandbles and a plasma rifle in his hand. "I believe you have my property," P'Thok drawled out, just like the Terran in his favorite Tri-Vee show. He exhaled smoke and motioned with his plasma rifle. "If you comply, you will come to no harm." The Speaker aboard the vessel weighed the chances. A cigarette smoking Treana'ad with a plasma rifle with at least a full military squad behind him could easily kill his entire crew. The Speaker cursed himself for not bringing a few warriors with him, but all of the warriors were being held back at the Hive Homes. With a sigh the Speaker gave over command of his ship. The Treana'ad warriors were unusually focused to the Speaker's psychic senses. The Matron was not the barely repressed ball of breeding urgency, but rather calm and focused on something. It was strange. And the Speaker didn't like strange. He let the usually focused Treana'ad take his ship, trusting in their promises to return soon. He watched as the ship vanished into jumpspace. He thought, for a second, about overwhelming the minds on the station and taking the Treana'ad ship, but changed his mind. Revealing his abilities now would ruins decades of planning. ----------- Delmek-4 was a standard agricultural planet. They produced wheat, sorghum, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, potatoes, and tobacco. There were sheep, pig, cow, and other animal farms. Factories took the raw food and turned it to foodstuffs, from bread to steaks to mutton to ice cream to cigarettes. True, it was near the Treana'ad Disputed Zone, but it wasn't exactly a priority military target and the close proximity of Mestacalla and the Republic Navy base there at only 7 light years made sure they could scream for help. P'Thok stood on the bridge, a cigarette in his mandibles, surrounded by the smell of bubble gum as the Matron stared at the planet below. "You're sure this is the planet we want?" she asked, puffing on her power smoker. "Positive," P'Thok said confidently. He pointed at the two flattened container labels. DELMEK ICE CREAM AND DAIRY CORPORATION was written on one. MANUFACTURED ON DELMEK was on the other. P'Thok removed the smoke from his mandibles and gestured with it to the pilot. "Take us in for a landing and get ready." The Matron rubbed her wings together with glee. And exhaled pink bubblegum vape across the bridge. She had completely forgotten the burning, all consuming desire to breed. "The secret of Ice Cream and Cigarettes will be ours!" she crowed. P'Thok left the bridge, smoke in his mandibles, to gather his men. A daring raid was waiting. [first] [prev] [next]
2020.08.09 03:02 LuciferiaV[Song of the Depths] Chapter 21
Take two. This time, with correct title. CoverFirst chapterPreviousPatreonPublished BooksWebsiteDiscord I walked into the lounge section of the mess hall with a cup of coffee in hand and sunk into a chair with a small sigh. It was pretty early in the morning, but Zafir was already there mulling over his data pad. Sarah and Maelor were there as well but were busy stuffing their faces with breakfast while watching TV. “What are you working on, Zafir?” I inquired after a few moments. “Ah… Elara. Good morning.” Zafir glanced at me briefly then back to his work. “I am reading reports regarding the last Resonance Incident. I believe I mentioned it to you…?” “Happened a bit over a month ago, right?” I nodded and leaned over my armrest to peek at his screen. “Do they usually take so long to report?” “No…but I can see the source of their hesitation. The effects of this weapon are vastly different from previous attacks. The victims were torn into large chunks—not reduced to goo. Parts of the buildings are still standing, and some went unscathed. There are more survivors, most of which show no signs of change…” Zafir trailed off into a tired sigh, and his voice dropped to a barely audible whisper, “Something isn’t right. This isn’t Syldrari work.” “Eep! What the—!” Sarah yelped suddenly when an obnoxious screeching sound, accompanied by brief static, came from the TV—interrupting the morning the news. My heart stopped for a moment when the screen was briefly filled with an intricate spiraling gold-on-black logo, which promptly slid out of frame to reveal a very familiar face. Jysel’s piercing eyes were focused straight at the camera, showing the full detail of their yellow-to-white gradient and strange pupils. His medium-dark blue-grey skin shimmered faintly under the lights, making it clear the texture was not like that of a human. His hair was parted off-center and swept into a somewhat formal looking style. Finally, the underside of his hair and what was visible of his body glowed what I’d come to know as their ‘passive’ cyan. The look on his face told me that passivity was the last thing on his damn mind though. “I am Jysel, formerly of Clan R’selkti. It has come to my attention that this planet’s government has been so terribly naughty…” He shifted slightly, giving the world an alluring, dangerous glare as his lips pulled into a smile. “You have taken many of our queens and their guardians captive for experimentation. We will not stand for this insult. You have a week of this planet’s time to return them all to us—or we will begin using force to reclaim all the poor souls you have stolen from us. “I recommend you comply before more clans begin to intervene.” With that, the feed cut off—but the previous show didn’t come back on. Instead, it was merely static. As if on cue, Zafir’s communicator began ringing, and Amara soon came trotting into the room in her pajamas. Noting that our boss was on the phone, she motioned me over instead. “That was a prerecorded address. I just picked up hits at several facilities—they’re already on the move.” Amara showed me her screen, and a video feed of Syldrari infiltrators. “Rather, that’s what I’d say if I hadn’t zoomed in. I’m pretty sure they’re from some other clan, and they’re acting weird. They seem to be looking for chemical compounds, not weapons or queens. Think you can get this verified for me?” “I’ll arrange for Xilen to meet Elara at Rel’s cafe, then,” Zafir spoke up, walking over to us. He gave me a stern look. “Rather, she will be meeting us there. The party is still on for this afternoon. The only change is that the higher ups want me to act as your…handler, just in case.” “Going to handle me, are you?” I gave him a pointed look. “Then you’d better change into something more suitable. Off you go.” “This isn’t…?” Zafir frowned down at his lab coat. “Zafir, please. It’s a party featuring government officials from multiple species—including a Syldrari queen. Of course that isn’t suitable.” I placed my hands against his shoulders and guided him in the direction of his room. “Now, go find something formal. Don’t make me dress you myself.” Once Zafir was in his room, I turned and leaned back against the wall by the door. I would be going in military dress. There had been some discussion about the possibility of bringing me as Lethe, but Zafir wanted to try and keep Xilen from realizing who I was. While we both agreed she probably already knew, he claimed there was a chance she didn’t. A 0.01% chance is still a chance, I guess… I shifted to look at Zafir’s door in irritation. “Come on. You have to have some sort of business suit or otherwise snazzy attire, right?” “I hate human clothes.” Zafir opened the door, sulking, seeming entirely unaware of me checking him out from top to bottom. “So infernally itchy and tight in all the wrong places…” “You could get a tailor to fix that last problem.” I nudged him with my elbow, earning a disgruntled pout. “Your glasses are crooked.” Zafir sighed and adjusted them before straightening to his full height. Or well, what his human disguise made his full height appear to be. He seemed much taller the one time I saw him in his real form. “We will need to discuss this morning’s news…later, of course, after we’ve attended to formal business.” Zafir crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at me before asking, “What are you staring at?” I gave him a light smack on the ass, then began to walk in the direction of the lobby. “Good choice in pants. We should probably get you some more options though if you get dragged to formal events often.” “Elara,” Zafir reprimanded me. “Such behavior is incredibly inappropriate toward your boss. You should refrain from—” “Oh, I’m sure it is.” I made a dismissive motion as I listened to him hurrying to catch up to me. “Consider it part of my payment.” He sighed in aggravation. “Payment for what?” “For dragging me to this bullshit formal party nonsense!” I held up a finger and gave him a bright smile, waiting for my phrasing to click in his brain. Alas, we’d gone up four floors in the elevator before he asked, “What did you mean by ‘part of’ your payment?” “That depends on how much this affair bores and/or offends me!” I gave him an innocent smile before stepping out of the elevator and into the main lobby. Zafir slumped and put a hand over his face. “I’m cursed…” “Or maybe you’re blessed?” I winked at him. “We’ll just have to see.” Zafir let out a distressed groan and followed me out of the building, where we caught a hovercar that would take us to the Syldrari Sector. I figured I’d see how long it’d take to make Zafir realize my ‘uniform’ was the reason I’d decided to torture him. Uniform my ass. Should be called, ‘that thing you put an escort in to make her look military-but-hot because she’s just a cheap side piece.’ I glanced down at my thigh-high boots briefly. Or well, expensive side piece in my case. Zafir got out first and offered me a hand up despite my teasing thus far. I accepted the help, then led him through the Syldrari Sector to Rel’s cafe. To my surprise, no one whistled at me—I got plenty of strange looks though. That was about where it ended. I’d expected a much more pronounced reaction, though perhaps human ‘norms’ were coloring my expectations. “Ah there you two…” Rel’s glow turned brilliant scarlet tinged with traces of pink, and the glass in his hand shattered. “Elara, by the Abyss Father! What are you wearing?! Zafir! You allowed this?” “What…ah, are you referring to her uniform?” Zafir glanced at me, then at Rel. “This is standard issue for—” “Elara, dear, let’s go get you changed.” Xilen walked over and pulled my right arm into her cleavage. “Rel, perhaps you can educate Zafir while I take care of this little problem, hmm?” “Hold on. There’s stuff we need you to look over first!” I protested, attempting to reach for the footage Amara had given me. Xilen shook her head at me and loosened her grip to move my hand away from my pocket. “Absolutely not. It can wait until after you’ve changed, and after we’ve been to the party. We are cutting it close as it is.” “If she wears something else—” Zafir started to protest. This time, the flames of the grill leapt into the air. “E-Elder, please calm down. This—” Aldiner and Ciheri poked out to see what was going on, spotted me, seemed to think twice about saying anything, and immediately retreated. “Come along, dear.” Xilen guided me to a private room where several outfits were already laid out. “I had a feeling this would happen—I’ve seen this ‘standard issue’ before. Luckily for you, I have just the right contacts. You won’t get into trouble for wearing something I personally requested.” “Xilen, that footage—” I tried to change the subject, but she shushed me. “It’s important!” “I’m sure it is, dear, but the consequences for being late to or missing a party like this are not good for your health, mine, Rel’s, or Zafir’s.” Xilen crossed her arms and blocked the door. “We can look it over after, I promise.” Sighing, I turned to look at the multiple outfits laid out in the room. I knew better than to ask just how it would make things worse for us with the imperials. Finally, I forced myself to focus on selecting one of the outfits she’d apparently acquired for me. “Still a little on the sexy side…but at least they’ve got pants.” I immediately gravitated toward an outfit that had a pair of shiny black leggings. Then, I felt the material and sighed. “Or not. I wouldn’t be able to fight in this.” “Come now, darling! It’s a party!” Xilen dragged me over to a black and gold ensemble, a playful smile on her lips. “What about this? They’re less shiny, but will these leggings suffice? Ah, and don’t you worry. They’re made of the finest materials on Syldra. I’d wager they’ll protect you more than human armor would!” Doubt that, but… I glanced around, noting the other options were dresses. The black and gold ensemble had some seemingly cutout panels, but with a few prods I realized they were a clear material that I simply…couldn’t see. “What about this part?” “The same material as our under armor,” she answered sweetly. “We know the tastes of humans and other lesser species, dear. They love to show certain parts of the body. With my techniques, you can flaunt yourself in such fun ways…” “Alright, this set it is. Though, with a revealed back and cleavage…” I shrugged to myself and then started stripping. It wasn’t my problem if Rel decided to rage at her too. “Goodness! Those bruises!” Xilen traced her fingertips down the left side of my back. “You’re turning blue, dear. Get into a nasty fight?” Bruises? From what? I thought for a moment, my stomach tightening. “I sparred with the guys yesterday for a few hours to work on their training. Probably from the grappling.” “Oh? Is that all?” Xilen asked slyly by my ear. Here we go again… I pulled the leggings on, eyeing the transparent panels that went from ankle to waist. Those same panels were zigzagged with laces. The tight top required Xilen’s assistance to get in place, and once it was, the hem appeared to fuse with the pants. “Uh…” “And now you’re suited up.” Xilen winked at me, then nudged a pair of shoes with a manageable heel at me. “These will do the same. I figure these should do the trick of looking ‘correct’ to the humans while letting you still do your thing if you have to.” “…and you said this material is strong like Syldrari under armor?” I questioned, then tried to back away when Xilen pulled a knife out of nowhere. She sliced at my arm, and I yelped, “Hey!” “See? So strong!” Xilen tossed the knife aside. It landed tip-first into the wall, and she clasped her hands together. “Now then! The party awaits! Let’s go show them our beauty can be just as deadly as our…well, everything, I suppose.” Xilen dragged me back into the cafe. Zafir promptly buried his head in his arms when he spotted me, as if he could hide at the bar. Rel covered his eyes with one hand and massaged his temples, his tail swaying back and forth. “Why did I trust you of all people with this matter…” Rel groaned as several shades of pink, fuchsia, and yellow fought for dominance in his glow. “Careful there, you’re getting awfully pink,” I teased, crossing my arms under my bust in a way I knew would lift them up a bit more. “Oh my, I’m going to have to let you go shopping through my ship’s wares at some point!” Xilen giggled, circling me once before turning to look at the poor miserable, flustered men. “Come now, centuries old and with the title of elder? The only thing that should be able to fluster you at this point is a quee—” “Whoa! From monster bait to seductress huh? That sure is an upgrade!” Aldiner declared a little more loudly than necessary as he came strolling out of the back room, hands in the pockets of his apron. He grinned at me, looking me up and down as his colors sparked all over the damn place. “Heh. Maybe I should come along to this party too. Xilen’s usual guards might not be enough—” “I’ll be joining them,” Zafir and Rel both spoke up in unison. Of the pair, though, I looked over at Rel and raised an eyebrow. “Are you, now? Won’t that be problematic due to the whole…” “My ID clearly differentiates us, and I was already invited,” Rel stated flatly. He walked around the counter, his clothing shifting into a looser garment that I had no name for. It revealed part of his muscular chest and abs. The sleeves stopped around his elbows, yet the ensemble somehow came across as formal. “Aw, and here I was hoping you’d try to impress us!” Xilen whined with mock disappointment. Rel, however, gave her a rather serious look. “Were there one of you, yes, and I believe you’re well aware it wouldn’t be you.” “Yes, yes, we’re better as friends and business acquaintances, I know.” Xilen motioned to her to guards, then glanced back at Zafir. “Aren’t you coming as Elara’s ‘handler,’ dear?” “Abyss Father lend me strength…” Zafir slumped in his seat briefly before reluctantly leaving it to join us. “Not a word, Elara. Not a word.” Once we were all seated in the shuttle that would take us up to the government’s ‘party ship,’ I crossed one leg over the other and looked between Rel and Zafir a few times. Both were doing their damnedest to look anywhere that wasn’t me. “Sooo, about this party… What am I doing, exactly?” “Ah! Well, you see,” Xilen began cheerfully, “you will be acting as my imperial escort and guest. You have full authority to drop anyone who tries to attack me or treat me like meat! The imperials are so keen on making it appear that they’re cracking down on xenophobic and xenophilic assholes, you know.” “So, what? Zafir is here to keep a tight leash on me so I don’t kill anyone important or ‘go feral?’ What about Rel?” “A reluctant, but official, guest,” Rel answered with a grimace. “None of the other V’shir elders wanted to go.” I’m never going to get used to him being called an ‘elder.’ I eyed Rel up and down, then studied his face for a moment. Sure, all the Syldrari I’d seen looked to be the human equivalent of in their 20s and 30s, and I knew that sure as hell wasn’t the case. On second glance, that outfit isn’t half bad. I do miss the leather pants and tank top from that one time though… Hmmm. “The poor dear could use some pleasant company to cheer him up!” Xilen gave Rel a mischievous smile. “If he didn’t shrug off anyone who might have power over him, anyway.” “I mean, I can kinda understand that though. Isn’t it better to know you’re attracted to someone—physically or otherwise—because it’s your own feelings, and not whatever it is Syldrari…” I fell silent when Xilen pressed a finger over my lips. She smiled cheerfully and shook her head. “Syldrari…men? Ah, no, but them too… Ah, I know! “Any Syldrari that has a dick and nothing else are on the lowest rungs of our society. Compared to human societies, of course, the peoples of Syldra are a utopia of freedom. Alas, Iri are just so rare… If you were to visit Syldra, you would meet people who had never met a Iri before—you would be their first! “It isn’t merely a queen’s draw that flusters them so badly, you see. Many simply don’t know how to react to an Iri beyond…reverence and desire. Even if you took a queen’s power out of the equation, there would still be many…problems, if you will.” One of Xilen’s guards spoke up next, nodding at me, “It’s why so many of ‘em end up tricked into serving ladies of the court or working in brothels on other planets—like this one. It’s an issue for sure. But that’s why Xilen is out here buying up anyone she can rescue—and trying to keep all her friends safe. Don’t let the sultry persona fool you.” “Oh, ruin my fun why don’t you.” Xilen pouted. Even so, I don’t think any of those issues quite explain Rel and Zafir… I glanced at the two men. Rel had stopped pouting and seemed to have sunk into intense thought, his glow swirling lazily between shades of blue and green in a way that reminded me of someone tossing a ball back and forth between their hands. The pattern made me have to ask, “Rel? Are you playing with your glow?” A jolt went through him and he looked up in surprise, his glow abruptly stopping at sage green, and the lower portion of his tail smacking into the base of his seat. “Ah…yes. It helps me stay focused when I think. More importantly, how did you…?” “I have a farfetched idea.” I leaned forward in my seat, watching as Rel’s pupils briefly fluctuated in size, and his demeanor shifted back toward the one I was more used to. “Humans are stupid, right? If you can control your glow, why not pick a color other than the color your brother showed on TV? With the color being different, that may be enough to make the humans understand you’re totally different people.” “I don’t know if they’re that…” Rel sighed and gave me a sheepish smile. “I don’t think I can convince any of you even if I do finish that sentence. Well then, what color do you suggest, seeing as this is your idea?” “Well, you don’t have to convince us of that at least.” I gave him a sweet smile when he bristled. “Let’s see…what emotions can result in deep purples?” “Various forms of arrogance, confidence, suspicion, feeling like a god…” Zafir muttered, finally returning to the conversation. He looked over to Rel. “She’s right. The color would likely be enough. Most humans I’ve met think that the glow color is dependent on the individual or the clan—and nothing has ever been done to reeducate them. We just need to find something you can sustain.” “I have just the thought for that!” Xilen exclaimed, leaning over to put an arm around me. “Just think of how much discipline this cutie pie needs for all the trouble she’s put you two through!” “Or how much you’ve put them through,” I growled back at her. In an instant, Rel’s glow turned a vibrant royal purple. Huh. So, I’m more well behaved than Xilen. Good to know. Xilen pouted, though the corners of her mouth still curved up, giving away her amusement. “Aw, I guess I haven’t rubbed off on you enough yet. Don’t worry, we can fix that and have them begging to—” “Thanks, but I don’t like my men to beg,” I scoffed, dismissing the notion before I fully realized the words were coming out of my mouth. …too late to take that back now, I guess. “Ahhh, I see, I see. Yes, giving them power from time to time can be fun too.” Xilen leaned in a little closer, apparently crossing some distance threshold that earned her glares from both Rel and Zafir. “Now, now, weren’t you boys trying to be discreet?” She says, as if I wasn’t already suspicious of multiple things before ever meeting her. I kept the thought to myself and instead glanced out the nearby window. “Let’s keep it professional, shall we? We’re there.” “Oh boo. Professional? And here I was hoping someone would start a brawl for the right to dance with one of us!” Xilen sulked and grasped my arm. “Oh! Or you and I can dance!” “I don’t dance.” I brushed her off easily and rose to my feet. Both of Xilen’s guards and both Rel and Zafir promptly blocked my way. The quieter guard bowed slightly. “We will make certain it is safe. Please wait here until we’ve finished.” Xilen pulled me back down onto the seat with a smile. “Now, now. You’re with a queen today. You must be patient.” “…fine.” I crossed my arms. “They’re not driven just by the fact they’re male and you’re female, you know.” Xilen took on an oddly serious tone. “Have anything to do with all these ‘queen’ insinuations?” I shot her a foul look. “They are both more than capable of protecting themselves from most queens if they need to. You have a certain…presence to you. One I have no doubt the R’selkti queen would notice were you to have the unfortunate pleasure of making her acquaintance…” Xilen tilted her head faintly, her pupils all flaring slightly. “You don’t approve of the power imbalance among Syldrari. That will attract certain types of men to you more strongly than being a queen would. You should be careful about how freely you speak about your beliefs. There are rogue Syldrari, and they may be just as dangerous to you as the R’selkti queen would be.” “And why is she so dangerous?” I frowned at Xilen, who hesitated. “She…would be considered an extremist, perhaps, had she not gained full control of our government.” Xilen shook her head slowly. “I get away with what I do because I’m buying the poor souls. It is a troubling situation, but not one for you to concern yourself with, dear. Keep the people you like close and keep yourselves as far from that woman as you can.” I wanted to ask her more, but a soft knock on the shuttle door made it clear our time was up. Xilen went first, escorted by her guards. Zafir and Rel both seemed to consider offering me assistance…but stopped themselves. While I might have enjoyed the attention under other circumstances, it was a little soured after my exchange with Xilen—and I was supposed to be playing guard dog. “I hate to say this, but our bosses want you to play the silent type…” Zafir murmured to me, earning a sharp look from Rel. “They’re terrified about ‘letting’ a resonance survivor ‘roam free’ in an event like this. They’ve given us strict orders for Elara to remain silent unless it’s imperative to talk. I’m meant to speak for her.” “Tch.” Rel glanced away, his jaw tensing. I shrugged and followed the group through the drab ship and into the main room the damned party was being held in. Dozens of humans were present, but only two to five each of any other species. There were quite a few human species present aside from the Syldrari, including the Brihl. Then…there were other things. Many of the more…unique species either carried tanks with them or rolled around inside clear, gas-filled orbs. Noting me glancing around, Zafir leaned down by my ear. “Many species do not contend well with the type of atmosphere humans require…or with that of their neighbors. Thus, they designed ways to bring it with them. Much as humans will bring oxygen down into the depths…as if it will help them there.” I glanced to the side at him as his voice took on a darker tone. He smiled slightly, a more sinister look than anything, and straightened. “My! Zafir, dear, you should do that again. Those pants pull in all the right ways,” Xilen teased as she fell into step with us. I did my best to stay in the role of a stoic, silent soldier as she continued, “Rel, you should have— Ah, where did he slink off to now?” Damn, he ran off somewhere? I crossed my arms and propped my cheek against my fist. Ugh…and why is it so hot in here? I followed Xilen and Zafir to their table, which was being shared with several Syldrari I didn’t know—and an empty seat for Rel. Looking around, it became quickly apparent that tables were set by species. Some part of me wondered if it was for ‘security’ purposes…or to quell problems by annihilating a single table. The conversations held were oddly quiet. Multiple representatives came to speak with Xilen, but their conversations were always so hushed I couldn’t determine what was said. Meanwhile, I was feeling hotter by the moment. My outfit breathed well enough, and no one else appeared to be hot, so I just did my best to suck it up. “Here,” Rel murmured by my ear, surprising me into turning toward him. He smiled in amusement and grabbed one of my hands, placed a bottle of water in it, then gave me a knowing smile. He left it at that and wandered over to his seat at a leisurely pace. “This should be over soon.” One of Xilen’s guards gave me a small smile. “These dinners are always just that…dinners.” Sure enough, about a half hour later people began leaving to return to the surface. Xilen pranced over and put an arm around my waist. “Aw, were you lonely over here without me?” “No,” I stated simply, eliciting a giggle out of her. “Let’s head back.” Rel gave Xilen an unamused look. “You can tell as well as I that her issue isn’t loneliness.” “Honored guests, I regret to inform you that the shuttles are experiencing delays…” An older male voice rang out over the comms system. “Thankfully, we have plenty of food, drink, and entertainment on board for you to enjoy while you wait for this hiccup to be dealt with*.* “Please return to the main hall and your tables and enjoy the rest of the party.” “Zafir?” I spoke quietly, glancing to the side at him as he whipped out his data pad to scroll through his messages. “A system malfunction in the shuttles. No one’s been injured,” Zafir answered after a moment, lowering the data pad. “They’re working on repairing the affected shuttles—and bringing others in from other parts of the city. After checking that their systems are in working order.” Xilen hung onto my arm and pulled me back in the direction of her table, “Well then! We’ll just have to make the most of our time together, won’t we dear?” “I’m on duty, ma’am,” I answered flatly when I noticed several of the military brass eyeing us. “Come on,” Xilen purred, squeezing my arm into her chest. Zafir followed my glance and promptly got the hint. “I’m afraid that is against regulations, ma’am. Elara must be allowed to do her duty—which is to protect your party, should you require it.” Xilen let go of me with a bratty sigh and plopped into her chair with another huff, though she shot me an amused smile after doing so. However, she thankfully said nothing, and I returned to my post. “Here—Ah…” Rel was about to offer me a new bottle of water, but a human man stepped between us and shook his head. The human grinned as he spoke, “The girl is on duty. She can wait until she’s off the clock.” “Sir…” Zafir let out a soft sigh and then bowed slightly. “Is everything alright? Should you need assistance, I can have Elara oversee me as I work on a solution.” “Bah, it’s nothing to worry about. Enjoy your wine and company, lad.” The human’s grin broadened, then he glanced at me. “So, this is the Resonance survivor I’ve heard so much about? She certainly seems well-behaved enough.” Zafir nodded slightly and pushed his glasses up his nose. “Indeed, sir, and as I’ve attempted to explain to the brass, she’s plenty capable…so long as regulations are followed.” “Ahhh, I see, I see. Then we have filth wanting to break regulations, do we?” The human rubbed his chin, scowling. “I will look into it. Castrating the project just because they want to have a few rounds…that won’t do…” Without another word to anyone, the human wandered off. I kept my expression utterly passive, as the other humans present were still keeping an eye on me. A little fact I was disliking more and more by the moment. “I suppose this means our dance will have to wait,” Rel remarked, bringing his forefinger and thumb to his chin, resting the elbow of that arm in the hand of his other. He examined me, his lips pulling into a mischievous smile. “I know, I know. ‘You don’t dance.’ That merely means you need a good teacher…and I can teach you many things.” With that, Rel pivoted with a flourish of his tail and returned to his seat. I did my best to shake off the deep, soothing tone his voice had taken on—without actually shaking, of course. Ugh… If he’s trying to get payback, I think it’s working. Next
The ants were working. It was a different experience running this mound of constructs. The worms had been a construct that Fid had merely needed to build and release. Once the worms had been activated they had just devoured everything Scrrsk in their way. He’d found boss beetles that were still dealing with the infestation a couple of days after he’d released the initial wave. The Scrrsk had solved that problem of course, no longer suffering from the aftershocks of the caterpillars. But the ants were different and in their own way, fun. Each node that made up the Prrsk hive network required the attention of the ants. The compromised territory would seep back out if ignored, attempting to damage and dampen the network around it. It was like a sort of goop that needed to be constantly pushed away. So he sent his ants in, marching through these nodes and sweeping tunnels clear through the network, reinforcing the system as they went. Once they’d dug in far enough and pushed back the influence of compromised nodes, Fid spiked the device with a cleaner. Fid shifted his attention as one of his ants pulsed a message at him. Pushing his awareness to the node in question. He ants had pushed back the creeping influence of the corrupted portions of the network, laying the node bare. Fid raised a hand and brought it down, spiking the node with a simple reset and reformat program. The connection rippled and shook before dropping away as it shut off. Moments later it popped back in, cleaned of Scrrsk influence and transmitting as it was made to do. It was getting easier as he worked. The further he went, the more familiar Fid became with the idiosyncrasies of the Prrsk dataspace. The further he went, the less the rest of the network could fight him. The Prrsk interfaced on a deeper emotional level, their senses tied closer to their conscious awareness. He was probably going to have a much easier time talking to Prrsk after this. But the interactions were definitely much different. Interactions that had required high class like Fid to have an implant or program that allowed him abilities the low-class soldiers didn’t have. As far as he could tell, this was one of the main differences between himself and individuals like Rom. The cleaned zones inside Fid’s area of influence were noticed by the Prrsk. When Fid was looking at the Prrsk wandering the tunnels he could see the drones hesitating whenever they had to cross that threshold back into the compromised network. They didn’t like the thick, smothering feeling of the dataspace the Scrrsk had filled up with their junk. Another message pulse arrived and Fid shifted his attention again. One more spike and another node reset, coming back clear and clean. And just like that, Fid could see the Bearer and the Nymph that had come with Ath and the new SI. Whatever was going on there was consuming any spare capacity available in the node. As soon as Fid cleared it up, the drain on the closest nodes spiked. Well fine, he’d made enough progress for him to consider the rest of the work as mop up. He’d just have to make do. It seemed the Bearer still had some attention to spare. [Human operator, We see you.] Fid had started to shift his attention away. He recentered his attention and pulsed acknowledgement. [We have received the appropriate authority exceptions. Clear the area We are designating, and you make take the large transports in Our possession.] Fid frowned as he looked at the area the Bearer had indicated. Some of the worst rubble had covered the access doors she’d shown him. But the transports looked really big actually. Able to carry tons of food or quite a few soldiers, they couldn’t afford to leave the four vehicles behind. The Prrsk hive had been in the process of loading up the latest harvest when Rom’s Firstborn had arrived. Rom would be happy. [I will see to it, thank you.] [You have our Thanks in return, Human.] The Bearer shifted away, concentrating once again on the Nymph. [Ah, one more thing. We are sending back one of your injured.] With that last casual note, she went back to whatever she’d been doing. The high-class. She was sending back one of the new arrivals.
Spinal Rank Zoicite - Sees Worth in Numbers
“Ced!” Thinks of Gathering Moss shouted out, rushing to the injured Human. Sees Worth and Gathering Moss had sat staring at each other, not seeing any reason to speak. Sees Worth had liked it that way. Gathering Moss was an ignorant civilian, unrelated to Sees Worth and the Feraylsen military. Sees Worth had worked hard to obtain her position of luxury and authority, she had nothing to say to an uneducated girl like Gathering Moss. The four Prrsk who’d squeezed through the crack in the wall set the Human down on the ground, careful not to disturb the unconscious soldier. As soon as he was down, the four drones departed the shelter. Another Human had followed him in. No one important as far as Sees Worth could tell, the figured popped their helmet off to reveal a feminine face, but this wasn’t Rom or anyone Sees Worth could remember encountering. “Don’t worry,” the Human said calmly to Gathering Moss, “He’s injured, but stable.” While Sees Worth and Gathering Moss watched, the Human female reached down and pulled his helmet off, revealing the Human in question, a male with blond hair. The tone of his face was faded, pale. The tender placed her hand on his chest and Sees Worth could feel the tickle of close-range communication on her implants. “Will he be okay?” Gathering Moss asked. “That’s what I’m here to find out,” the tender informed Gathering Moss. “Hmm. There are still some active nanites in his system. That’s good, means I can remove this without major blood loss.” As she spoke she took careful hold of the severed blade still embedded in his hip. She took a deep breath, put a knee on his thigh and ensured she had a solid grip. Once set, she pulled hard. The blade ground against the armour now serving to hold it in place, then gave way all at once, scattering droplets of red blood. The male Human didn’t even react, but Gathering Moss certainly did. The young adult gasped, her hands balling up near her chest. Sees Worth had to admit, he’d taken some impressive hits. The right leg had taken that blade and another jagged strike closer to the foot. His left side had a deep slice that sparked with damaged components. There were several bite marks along his arms and the tip of a beak still lodged in his upper left arm. A deep gouge on the helmet next to him served as another testament to his skill. Or his luck. The tender moved around and removed the sharp point of the Scrrsk beak from his arm next. That done, she stood up and stepped over him. “I’m going to remove his armour, your help would be appreciated miss…” Gathering Moss looked up at the Human tender who stared back at her. The Human prompted again. “May I ask your name?” “He calls me Moss.” “Moss, cute name, If you could move behind him and help pull him from the armour that would be appreciated. And you too Sees, if you wouldn’t mind.” “I am still unsteady,” Sees Worth replied, annoyed at being called. “You’re injured, yes, but you are no invalid. He’s heavy, come lend a hand.” Sees Worth bit off what she’d been about to say. Leading the Humans to his tower had given her a bit of leeway and attention, improving her standing. But being difficult could compromise that effort. She slid her legs off the cot recovered from the wreckage. Sees Worth stood, gingerly testing her wounded leg. She took an unsteady step and immediately stumbled, only to be caught by Gathering Moss. Sees Worth clamped her teeth, held her ears from twitching and accepted the help. With the help of Gathering Moss they were soon both kneeling behind the unconscious Human. The tender grabbed the shoulders of his armour and pulled him into a sitting position. “Watch yourself, the back piece lifts up.” Sees Worth and Gathering Moss leaned back as the whole back unit shifted with the hissing of releasing components. With the help of Gathering Moss and the Human female gently helping guide his head out under the back piece, the two of them pulled the Human out the back of his armour. The armour itself shifted as panels on the buttocks, legs and arms also opened. The two of them struggled, slowly working the Human free Until he was far enough out for the tender to drag the damaged armour away. “Okay, lay him back down,” the Human asked as she returned. Looking down, the Human seemed to be sleeping, tired but at peace. A strange contrast with the sound of combat carrying on outside. Although the worst of it seemed to have subsided. The Human woman placed her hand on the chest piece of the wounded soldiers undersuit, monitoring his vitals and status. Sees Worth had to admit the large patches of deep red blood on the Human’s undersuit was alarming at best. He’d bled quite a bit before arriving here. The silvery glitter of nanofix on his flesh stood out in stark relief to the pale soft pink that was his skin. “Food, water and rest,” the tender spoke, “he’s not going to die, but that armour is probably only good for spare parts now.” “Thank you,” Gathering Moss spoke with genuine gratitude. “The least I could do, but I have others to tend to, look after him and I’ll be back when everything has calmed down.” Gathering Moss nodded as the Human woman replaced her helmet and headed back outside. Sees Worth looked at the only other Feraylsen she’d seen in days, but Gathering Moss didn’t seem interested in saying anything else as she lifted the Human’s head so she could move forward and rest it on her lap. That was it, Sees Worth decided she wasn’t interested in talking with this deviant anyways. With a hand on the cracked wall next to her, she climbed to her feet and slowly walked around the room until she’d returned to the cot. She carefully stepped past the Yesinglez tails sticking out from underneath the cot, where the pets had taken to hiding when the sounds of combat really ramped up. One of the tails twitched at the sound of another muffled explosion. The sound of light snoring was the only sound she could hear at the moment, a gift to be enjoyed while it lasted. Sees worth lay back in the cot and delved back into the shared space to watch Captain Rom guide her company. Sees Worth knew she’d never wanted to actually experience combat, but if she was to be involved in the war, this was an opportunity to learn. Eyes closed, she watched the progress of the battle as Rom saw to the clean-up of the remaining Scrrsk. What little she could hear between the operator Fid and his Captain suggested the Scrrsk in the tunnels were all but scoured away as well. It was from here that she watched things change. A pod of hardened flesh and organic metal slammed down onto the surface in the distance, followed by another, then another. Moments later the pods disgorged more Scrrsk, these ones full of energy and ready to fight. One pod suddenly vaporized, a lance of plasma striking down from the sky and exploding in a great ball of fire.
Eleventh Day 3rd Human Fleet - Admiral Wod Ayf
[Finished Burn, we have arrived.] “Thank you Tup, Okay, we’ll have to be quick about this,” Wod replied, glancing at the girl in the glass, “What’s the general situation?” The naked form of Tup Edd hung upside down within the orb, her eyes closed as she communed with Core Three. [Situation is within expected simulation scope. Scrrsk fleet has divided into three to begin planet siege. Two are spreading out to suppress ground forces and one is on track to engage with the Fifth, although they appear to have noticed us. Scrrsk have just begun the process of dropping reinforcements planetside. We will have to act quickly to prevent what losses we can.] “Hmm,’ Wod replied simply, closing his eyes and dropping back into the command dataspace. His form floated in a reproduction of space, hanging just above and to the front of his ship Reborn Pride. Windows popped into sight around him as he browsed fleet statistics and key ship viewpoints. More windows popped in detailing nearby ground engagements indicated by reports coming in through the beacons. Third Fleet had arrived first to clear out any Scrrsk hanging over Si’Tsunit in the initial awakening. After that came the waiting for the Scrrsk reinforcements Wod’s Second Fleet had followed in. The Scrrsk had the advantage of position over him, but Wod did have more leeway to distribute his forces. He reached out and tapped several smaller windows. “Redirect Faded Memories, New Sunrise and Second Dream to interrupt Scrrsk efforts at ground reinforcement here, here and here. He took a moment to plan out the make-up of the flotillas. I’ll depend on you to pick out who will be their escorts Tup.” [Understood, reorganizing.] “I wish you good fortune in hunting,” Wod sent to the three temporary flotillas as they began moving. Orders crossed the dark void between them, ships shifting into new positions as the core fleet compensated for the loss of battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Windows flicked into existence as his Captains accepted their orders and started moving. “Third Fleet, ahead slow, prepare for Scrrsk engagement,” Wod ordered, frowning at the sheer weight of Scrrsk they’d chased here. It had been a close thing, Chasing them down. And a very unpleasant prospect as well. More Scrrsk had split off for Si’Tsunit than originally projected. The initial plan only was for the Fifth Fleet to come to Si’Tsunit alone. That plan had changed. On the bright side, With him giving chase to the much larger Scrrsk swarm, there was an opportunity to catch the living ships in a pincer. “Fifth Fleet is hailing us Admiral!” “Put it through.” The severe face of a young woman popped up in front of Wod. Her eyes met his and she spoke in a voice that lacked even the slightest quiver of emotion. “A pleasure to see you Admiral Wod, as was discussed, I will be taking the lead.” “Y-you too Admiral Sib,” He returned to the Third Fleet admiral aboard the My Luna. Somehow he’d expected slightly more… inflection, from the person who’d thought up the romantic name her ship carried. So far they’d only exchanged basic strategy over the beacon. They’d yet to meet in person. “I’ve had time to study Scrrsk habits. If you would please, I have a couple of tactics that may be worth attempting.” “Thank you admiral,” Sib replied as if she’d already had this conversation twenty times. “I will review upon synchronization.” [Hello Admiral Wod! Hello Tup! I’m Liv! Oh, we have the same second name!] Wod winced for a different reason as the partner of Core Five connected. He hadn’t realized a dataspace projected voice could have a volume setting. [Please accept dedicated Beacon connection!] [Similar is not the same, I am Tup Edd, you are Liv Edp. Synchronizing Beacon.] [Don’t be that way! Signal synchronized! I look forward to playing with you Tup!] [Likewise Liv.] Liv disconnected along with Sib even as combat projections and fleet organization from the Fifth rolled in. Wod opened his eyes and discovered Tup had done the same. Even with Tup floating upside down, for a moment they shared a look of understanding. Working with Fifth was going to be interesting.
5th Human Fleet - Admiral Sib Ucq
Sib sat in her chair, strapped in and hands holding fast to the armrests. My Luna shook under the pounding of guns as concentrated fire smashed into the hardlight sail. “Guns at 73% heat!” “Portside sail is failing!” “Begin combat roll,” Sib ordered. “Rolling to starboard facing!” Sib watched bemused from her dataspace perch as the ship rolled underneath her. The emitters on the belly of her ship changed orientation as My Luna flipped over, the hardlight sails soon overlapping the starboard side emitters. Overheated guns and stressed hardlight emitters now facing away, the rested side of her ship went to work. Effective as it was, the trick would only work for so much longer, The Scrrsk didn’t like to fight from afar and rolling was a long-range tactic. The opening salvos from Third Fleet had done as Sib hoped, surprising and confusing the Scrrsk. Sib had held her own fire, letting the Scrrsk debate whether they wanted to chase the opponent who’d opened fire or chase Sib’s massed ships. Ultimately Sib’s fleet was the smaller, the tastier target. But she’d already been blooded in combat, the Scrrsk would have had more luck pressuring Wod. She’d opened fire just as the Scrrsk seemed to be making their decision, solidifying that decision in whatever passed for their heads. It wouldn’t do to let them make their own decisions. That and she didn’t want Wod to pull ahead too much. Even if he was a little cute. [Love Unknown is taking hits. Strange Horizons is overheating.] Sib acknowledged Liv’s warnings, issuing orders to nearby ships for formation changes. The two ships moved as Sib ordered, displaying a far greater level of discipline than Sib had seen from her fleet in the first engagement. The Captains of her fleet hadn’t reacted well to their first meeting with Sib. It had taken a hard-fought battle to change that opinion. She still wasn’t sure what the problem had been. [Scrrsk are coming in! Shifting projection for close-range combat.] “Pull in the formation to overlap point defences and watch for spawners. Liv, report on Wod’s herding?” [Scrrsk forces appear to be moving as expected, Wod’s good at this!] Sib felt a slight tug of amusement in her cheek. She did enjoy Liv’s spirited company.
2nd Human Fleet - Admiral Wod Ayf
The lances of plasma fired out from the grey ship, burning holes through the Scrrsk whale that had dared take up position next to the Human flagships. Great bolts of acid streaked through space as organic metal spikes fired faster than the eye could see. Every solid strike on the hardlight sails shook the ship while sprays of acid filled space around the dueling ships. When possible the shifting of emitters swept the acid away in an attempt to remain mobile. Wod had overlooked the danger of floating acid, but Sib’s update package made the danger clear. Moving the ship into that floating mass of corrosive liquid could do a very impressive amount of damage. Wod hung on as Reborn Pride shook, clenching his teeth as he weathered the experience of his first true battle. The officers of his bridge rattled off reports as the battle around them shifted. “Primary Sails are down! Secondaries are up! Sweeping aside acid spray!” “Burst pods are flying in! It’s more than point batteries can handle!” “Escort wing has finished resupply, launching!” “Scrrsk Spawner is burning off! Killing strike successful!” Tups reports came in, transmitted directly to Wod in dataspace. [Brynhildr’s Spear, is drifting, Steady Hand is moving to assist. Bright Star was boxed in by acid clouds, the ship is compromised. Losses are as expected. Admiral-] He didn’t even have to let Tup finish, Wod was already on the same wavelength. “Tup! Give Sib the signal! Second Fleet, close the net! We’ve driven them close enough!” Wod ordered. The ships of the Second shifted, suddenly contracting. From the moment they’d joined the fight, Wod had carefully sliced pieces off the Scrrsk fleet as if carving a ball from a chunk of lumber. He could only carve the side available to him, but each planned poke and prod had slowly jostled the Scrrsk around as he’d hoped. Concentrating on the apparently larger and more dangerous Fifth Fleet, the Scrrsk hadn’t seemed to notice Wod spreading out his ships in order to squeeze the enemy fleet. The sudden shift went unnoticed at first. The Feraylsen liked to charge in with weaponry and hardlight fields that were frankly superior to what had been put on the Human ships. From there the Feraylsen would continue to divide the Scrrsk into digestible chunks, taking apart their hated enemies piece by piece. Being boxed in was an entirely different tactic. “Adjust for full broadsides,” Wod ordered, his voicing rising with the excitement of the moment. “Get as many guns pointed at them as possible! Unleash missile batteries!” [Signal received, closing the net.]
The Scrrsk Brood Queen let the sound of her anger echo through the dreadnought as this new hated enemy unleashed their withering hail of missiles. She hadn’t known they used missiles! They’d saved the surprise just for this! It was moments like this that she missed having limbs with which to strike out. Instead, she settled for directing all of her rage at a single dull drone in sight until it fell limp suffering from an induced aneurysm. It spasmed, limbs flailing and giving away. In mere moments it lay on the ground squeaking pain and twitching with pained dying aftershocks. That helped, slightly Her dreadnought rocked as more and more missiles slammed into every side, pummeling the hull until massive fragments of flesh, bone and metal sheared off, lost to the void. Simple megaton explosions made up the bulk of missile impacts, with bomb-pumped hardlight shaped blasts cutting through her ships at unexpected moments. She’d let them bunch up, let her fleet become an easy, compact target! Streams of plasma lanced out using the cover of burning missile scarred ships. Mass drivers tested weakened vessels, suddenly massing fire to finish targets that no longer benefited from deviation fields. Her Fleet was burning! The Humans were stripping away her escort! The Queen pushed out her authority, radiating imperious rage and deadly purpose. They would tear out the throat of their enemy! She had the means to crush those who’d waited! More ships burned up, screaming, panicking intelligences crying across the void for her to do something as they died. She could, but that would be the end of her. No, rage wouldn’t help here. This enemy was different. Old learnings wouldn’t work. These Humans didn’t outnumber her forces, but they had certainly outmaneuvered her. She needed to escape this net and regroup.
5th Human Fleet - Admiral Sib Ucq
My Luna rocked as the Scrrsk ship smashed into her port side. Bulkheads gave way, decks collapsed and the ship groaned under the assault, but she held up. The lights of the ship flickered and Sib could feel the compression of dataspace as the Scrrsk attempted a different avenue of attack. [Oh oh OH! I was waiting for This!] Liv’s voice shifted from the bubbly friendly tone that Sib usually heard to something much darker. [Oh you’ve gone and let me in. Let me show you what this little girl can do.] The follow up giggle raised the hairs on the back of Sib’s neck. “Scrrsk boarding parties detected, activating hardlight barricades! Marines moving to engage! The net closed in tighter, Fifth Fleet’s counter push against the squirming Scrrsk, squeezing the bugs even tighter together. The Third and the Fifth pounded on the Scrrsk with everything, pushing weapons to the brink, overheating plasma batterings and draining missile racks. The Scrrsk were packed so tight it was hard to miss, plasma and mass drivers biting even when deflected from their original targets. The small Scrrsk ship lodged in My Luna’s port side barely slowed her down. Sib’s capital ship was just that, a Capital ship with the size and fury needed to lay waste to that which got in her way. An ailing, panicking little bug ship wasn’t going to stop anything. “Push in. If you can see it, shoot it.” [Scrrsk fleet pattern has changed! I think they’re running away!] Sib shifted to the command dataspace and immediately widened her point of view for a broad look. Liv had called it correctly, the Scrrsk were moving. And they were going straight for Reborn Pride. “That is less than ideal,” Sib noted to no one in particular. “Liv.” [YES AD-, yes admiral?] Sib shifted her view from observation to simulation, adjusting ships from both fleets en masse and forecasting the possible result. It was crude, but they couldn’t expect the Scrrsk to always do as they pleased. [Oh, OH! You want me to tell Wod?!] “Yes Liv.” [OK!] Liv responded before ranting at the dataspace opponent who’d thought they might have a chance, [Message sent! Ha stupid bugs, too bad for you that you aren’t all organic!] Sib watched the field, constantly shifting the ships under her command to push the Scrrsk here, to release there, doing her best to shift the direction of the enemy fleet how she liked. She did so with With Liv narrating her dataspace fight against the thorn lodged in her side. Sib watched carefully until, finally, Wod also started to react. The Scrrsk didn’t co-operate as much as Sib would have liked, but being squeezed from all sides like they were, the bugs couldn’t afford to hesitate. They had made for the largest enemy, Wod’s flagship, but it couldn’t last. Finally the Scrrsk broke, accepting that they couldn’t afford to be attacked from every possible angle. The Scrrsk changed their tack, accepting the offered escape and burning hard to get away. Still raining plasma, missiles and mass drivers, Wod peeled his ships away carefully to minimize losses. He couldn’t prevent all the damage. One ship, already badly damaged, couldn’t take itself out of the way and ended up plastered with metal eating acid, its decks melting away and opening a whole side of the ship to the void. Another with dead engines provided the largest Scrrsk ship an opportunity for some stress relief. The Scrrsk visibly shifted course in order to ram its armoured bulk into the Cruiser. The decision didn’t cost them much, the keel of the Scrrsk dreadnought was heavily armoured and reinforced, made for exactly this sort of thing. The last casualty of Wod’s third fleet ruptured and exploded as its reactors went critical. [HA HA! Pacified! Hope you stupid bugs like your data lobotomy!] Sib frowned at the unfortunate timing of Liv’s narrative, but it wasn’t Liv’s fault. “Liv, start collating damage reports and organizing for needed repairs.” [Okay! But oh, take a deep breath and relax, you won!] Sib took a deep breath as Liv suggested and slowly let it out. Suddenly she could feel the tension in her neck and she took another long moment to let that out as well, purposefully letting go of her neck, shoulders and arms to relax. [Here’s Wod!] Liv crowed happily. The admiral of the third fleet popped up before Sib. He looked more than a little dishevelled. Reasonable, his Reborn Pride had taken something of a beating. Sib allowed herself a little smile to see he was safe. “Your plan did well, but you failed to make allowances for a vindictive break-out.” It was slight, but he deflated, his shoulders dropping just a little. “I’ll just have to do better next time. Glad to see you made it even with that tick in your hide.” “It is good to see you safe as well.” Wod nodded, “I need to see to repairs, we have to be ready for the next move.” With that he blinked out of sight. [Aw, you could’ve given him a smile!] Sib involuntarily raised a hand to her mouth. “I thought I was smiling…”
As Lakshmi walks down the corridor of Neo Chaldea, she is noticed by Nemo.
Nemo: Hello. Are you doing fine?
Lakshmi: Ah, Captain Nemo. Feels like it has been a while since we last met.
Nemo: Is that so? ...That may be the case. Seems like you can't help moving around constantly like a tuna would either. ...So. You've been passing the time here for a while now. Is there something bothering you?
Lakshmi: .........No. There is nothing in particular.
Lakshmi: T-that's how it is. Yeah. Really.
Nemo: (If that's the case, then why has she been sighing as she walked down the corridor────Good grief.)
Lakshmi: I've been carrying out my duties here full of energy. I've no worries. You are the one who's been spending his days busy with the responsibility and strong pressure that comes with being the captain tasked with looking after the ship. You shouldn't push yourself. Your work might be hard, but make sure to take a rest. If there is anything I can help with, just say so. No, it may be better to avoid leaving important thing to me in terms of crisis management. It should be something that's simple and won't affect a great number of people in case I mess up. Still, I recommend it to be work that is troublesome and must be forced on someone in the end. ────Well then, Captain Nemo. I'm happy we could exchange a few words. See you later.
Lakshmi departs which Nemo watches in silence.
Nemo: And that's what went down.
Guda: She's hiding something, isn't she
Captain Nemo: Right? That's why I gathered everyone in secret like this, including you. Now then...the Nemo Meeting shall commence!
Nemo Marine: There's something troubling a friend from the same country and same period as us, right--? Of course we'd help her out~!
Nemo Professor: Yes, I approve~. According to the analysis of the data you've shared with us, there is a 99.999% chance of something troubling her; there is no mistake of it.
Nemo Nurse: That is an alarming situation. We must resolve both the troubles of the mind and the body.
Nemo Bakery: Umm, first of all, as expected, should we divide into groups and inspect Bai-chan~?
Guda: (This is a Nemo Paradise...)
Nemo: ...That's true. Given her attitude, I doubt she'd naturally confess it herself. I feel sorry about it, but let's examine her movements in secret like a clownfish and gather some hints. If it's us, we should be able to do it.
Nemo Marine: Leave it to us~! We are everywhere, after all~!
Nemo Nurse: I'll use periodic medical examinations as an excuse to get closer to her. If I go with Asclepios-kun, she won't be on guard.
Nemo Bakery: She might let it slip if she's fed delicious bread! I'll go bake some~!
Nemo Engine: I can't lend you a hand from the engine room, but I'll keep a look out in case she drops by!
Nemo Professor: Nfufu~. We have this many of us. When gathered up piece by piece, we might be nothing but a scrap of thread, but if we are bound together, we'll become a splendid true mooring rope.
Guda: I should pay attention and keep a look out too.
Nemo: Yeah, it will be a great help if you lend a hand too. It's not like you have to look for secrets like a spy. It'll be enough if you can just make a guess.
Nemo Professor: Yes, she might be earnest and strong-willed, but she's no fool. If you grasp the gist of it and press her for the disclosure of information based on it, she might give up, thinking she won't be able to hide it anymore.
Nemo Marine: Alri~ght, let's do this~!
Nemo: Then, let us begin. The "Great Strategy of Investigating What Troubles Lakshmi" starts now! Hoise the anchor!
And so the strategy commences. The Nemo Marines follow Lakshmi in secret wherever the latter goes; Nurse keeps a close eye on her whenever Asclepios gives her a checkup and Bakery stay close-by as Lakshmi eats in the cafeteria.
~ Inside the Environment Simulator ~
Guda: Hm? That's...?
We notice Professor and approach.
Nemo Professor: Aah, Master. Your timing is perfect. "Did something happen" is what your face is asking. Hide here and take a look at that.
Guda: That's Lakshmi-san...
Nemo Professor: Yes, that's right. And then let us check that thing further ahead. That one.
Like Professor instructed, we take a look and see...
Jeanne: ...Is that a garland?
Nursery Rhyme: That's right. We tried making one, but it wouldn't turn out well...
Bunyan: That's why we asked you to teach us if you knew how to make a good one.
Jeanne: Of course, I don't mind. Let's try making it together, shall we?
Nursery and Bunyan: Yay!
Some time later.
Nursery Rhyme: We did it!
Jeanne: Yes, you make a really nice one, you two. By the way...where is the little me and...Jack who are always with you?
Nursery Rhyme: Those two have something to do from time to time so they aren't here.
Jeanne: I see. ────If you could, please teach those two how to make a garland too.
Bunyan: Of course! This time, we'll make it together with everyone!
Watching this scene from a distance is Lakshmibai.
And watching her from a distance is us and Professor.
Professor: Did you see that? Did you hear that? That expression. And that sigh containing complex emotions with that "Hmm...". That must some kind of hint────wait, a shadow approaches our target...what is that?
Said shadow in question is none other than Gilles de Rais whose unexpected appearance surprises Lakshmi.
Gilles: Oo, ooh, Jean---ne! My beautiful holy maiden!
Gilles: I have heard it, I have been allowed to hear it. That despondent sigh pregnant with significance... Indeed, it is a special skill of mine to read and understand her thoughts from the smallest of her gestures. If that were not the case, I wouldn't be able to support her from "good morning" to "good night". She just needs to clear her throat once and I'll immediately buy her a cola from the vending machine! If she stumbles on a pebble underfoot, I'll pick up that pebble and put it through torture! That is I!
Lakshmi: No, like I said...
Gilles: Hohoho. You can not deceive my eyes and ears. Nonetheless, I have no idea what she was looking at since I was captivated by her every single action in this manner. Still, I know of the reason for her sigh, indeed. Precisely! She...was envious!?
Exposed so easily, Lakshmi starts to tremble in surprise, but quickly regains her composure. Or at least tries to.
Lakshmi: N-no, just what are you talking about? More importantly, listen to me. I feel like I've told this countless times already, but you have the wrong person. I am────
Gilles cuts her short.
Gilles: I understand. Speaking of which, you've acquired quite a tomboyish look for yourself, Jeanne. Yes, yes, this also has a healthy radiance to it. Coming into possession of a novel charm by coming here, as expected of MY! JEAAAAANNNNEEEE!
Lakshmi can't help but stare in exasperated silence. Suddenly, Artoria (the Saber version) appears behind the widely smiling Gilles.
Artoria: It might be coming from a passer-by like me, but this man's eyes are rotten. It's better if you don't pay attention to him. This is how you deal with it. I've been taught this by Irisviel.
Lakshmi: (A peace sign...?)
Artoria: Well then, I wish you good luck.
Gilles: Oh my? I thought I felt the presence of a new Jeanne... Well, it's fine. The supreme concept of Jeanne is omnipresent in this Chaldea. It is an extremely excellent thing. And so! Her brilliance is my brilliance. If there is anything causing you distress that you can not help but envy, ooh, please, please, command me! I'll use anything even if it is the lifeblood of a maiden!
Lakshmi: Eei, don't sidle up to me!
Fed up with Gilles' nonsense, Lakshmi beats him up. [This is where the Battle occurs.] But then, while doing so, she realizes something.
Lakshmi: Hah...I get it. The meaning of that peace sign from before...Like this!
Lakshmi charges forward and pokes Gilles in the eyes.
Gilles: Hou!? This is the eye poke of Jeanne when she admonishes my eyeballs! There is no doubt about it; a new Jeanne has appeared after a long time and that is you!
Smiling broadly, Gilles collapses.
Having taken care of the nuisance bothering her, Lakshmi departs.
Nemo Professor: Hohou. Feels like we've caught a glimpse of it. Since we've got the chance, let's get in contact with the children she was looking at so we can gather some proof. Miss Jeanne might have left already, but since I feel like the children are the important part, that won't be a problem.
And so, we approach Nursery and Bunyan.
Nursery Rhyme: Ah, Master and glasses Nemo! What's wrong?
Bunyan: We're making flower crowns! Wanna make them together?
Nemo Professor: That is a very interesting endeavor, but let's leave it for another conference. I'm here to ask you a question today. Have you...played with Madam Lakshmi before?
Nursery Rhyme: That's the Indian big sister, right? Hmm...
Bunyan: We haven't played together.
Nursery Rhyme: She always has a scary look on her face so it is hard to call out to her──── No, even so, I invited her to play with us and to tea parties several times. Since she was close-by a lot of times. But she refused each time, saying she was busy or that she had something to do.
Nemo Professor: Umu... I see, thank you very much. That's plenty for what I wanted to know.
Nursery Rhyme: Is that so. I'm happy if we were of some help.
Nemo Professor: Now then, Master. Let's pursue her. This information alone will ensure she won't be able to feign ignorance. I'll call Captain and switch with him. Pressure is important when it comes to things like this.
Next, we find Lakshmi inside the library, reading books with a troubled look on her face. Murasaki makes note of this and wonders if she should call out to her. Then she notices us.
Murasaki Shikibu: My, Master and Nemo-sama. Welcome.
Guda: We have some business with that person over there who's reading with a frown on her face.
Nemo: Hello, Lahmsi Bai. What are you reading?
Our appearance catches Lakshmi by surprise.
Lakshmi: H-hmm? That's, um...this.
Guda: "Flawlessly! The excelling superior officer's way of communicating!"...
Nemo: ...Did you pick this book, librarian?
Murasaki Shikibu: No, um...it is an anthology belonging to Lakshmi-sama herself.
Nemo: ...I see. As expected, it is according to our investigations.
Lakshmi: Wh-what is?
Nemo: You managed to fool us before, but you are troubled about communicating with others, aren't you?
Lakshmi falls silent.
Guda: The gig is up, you know~
Lakshmi: ...So that's how it is. So that's why Master is here too. In that case, now that it has come to this, it would be disgraceful to deny it. Aah...that's right. Lately, I've been worrying about how to associate with others. Of course, I have talked with others on cordial terms and there are many people I get along with. But when it comes to those who fall outside these categories, especially Servants who resemble children, it slightly feels like there is a wall between us.
Nemo: A wall? How come?
Lakshmi: That's it. The problem is that I don't understand the reason why. I intend to do it normally, but it just won't go well. We are companions who face the same purpose. New comrades in arms and kindred souls. Despite that, for me to not be able to even communicate with them properly, I become worried if this won't lead to a great failure when it matters the most. If I don't do something about this...
Murasaki Shikibu: ────I apologize for butting into the conversation. "If I don't do something about this..." is what you said, right, Lakshmi-sama. That intense emotion is what creates the "wall" between you and the children... Don't you think that's the case?
Nemo: The Servants who take on the shape of children. Obviously, there are many of them who aren't actual kids, but still, like a fish capable of mimicry, children sense the tension in the surroundings and create a wall. The tenseness of your atmosphere, and the way ou stiffen your shoulders gives birth to a vicious cycle...perhaps.
Lakshmi: I-is that how it is? Even though I intended to approach them with a gentle atmosphere and a kind countenance... (squeezing her cheeks)
Guda: (She's squeezing her own cheeks to check on her mimetic muscles...)
Nemo: The way I see it, the problem is not with your strategy. I wonder if the root of the problem lies at a source you aren't aware of. That's right, for example...do you make sure to take a breather?
Lakshmi: Taking a breather, huh. From time to time, I amuse myself by playing tabletop strategy games with Qin Liangyu-dono... I also train my swordsmanship on horseback in the Simulator. ........ Could it be that I was taking too many breathers?
Gudao: No, no, no.
Murasaki Shikibu: This is similar to the warrior personages... Should I say she is always steeling herself or...
Nemo: Yeah. Tension, concentration, and a sense of duty. These have been indelibly ingrained into her body. The problem might be that she took that way of being as natural too much. You can tell when a person has gotten too used to the battlefield just from their bearing, can't you? Like always wrapping yourself in an oppressive impression unconsciously... That might become a wall when it comes to communicating with others.
Lakshmi: I-I see. But...then what should I do?
Guda: As expected, there is no choice but for you to play around properly.
Nemo: That's right. Naturally, an activity that "lets your mind wander" will be important for you. And so, the hand to play here would be────
As if on cue, the Nemo Marines appear out of nowhere.
Nemo Marine 1: Here, he~re! Like we thought, it'll be fine if we teach her how to put it into practice!
Nemo Marine 2: Taking a breather is important on a long voyage! We are professionals when it comes to taking breathers!
Nemo Marine 3: If you play with all your might, your shoulders will lose their stiffness and your atmosphere will surely turn gentle~!
Lakshmi: T-truly? In that case, I am ready to request for your teachings. It's just, I'm a little worried. You know about it, right? The current me has received the blessings of the goddess of misfortune...
Nemo: I am aware. However, did you think we would care about such a thing after coming this far? I have thoroughly experienced it in India. I'm already used to it.
Lakshmi: ...Understood. If you'd go that far, then I'll be in your care. I have resolved myself. To obtain smooth communication skills... With all my might────I will relax and enjoy myself by taking a breather!
Murasaki Shikibu: (Aah, that resolution has already! Completely stiffened...!)
Nemo: ...Having said that, we aren't professionals either. To make doubly sure, I have called for a pro at playing around.
Said pro turns out to be Ushiwakamaru (Summer version).
Ushiwakamaru: Hahaha! When it comes to matters of playing, leave them to this Summer Ushiwakamaru! From racing to tree-climbing, from hide-and-seek to red light green light...bring on anything. To think the training I did in the mountains would come in handy like this!
Nemo Marines Master Nyotengu~! Master Nyotangu~!  (They are having fun for some reason)
Ushiwakamaru: Oh my. My Master would go "What's with you getting called Master when your techniques are still immature!" and give me quite the thrashing if he heard so please cut me some slack with that.
Lakshmi: I'll be in your care, Ushiwakamaru-dono. I might be a novice, but I am fully intent on giving it my all.
Ushiwakamaru: Such an earnest approach for playing around, I see! ────Still, yes, just like I've been told, for some reason, it feels she's way too serious, no...?
Nemo: We're depending on you to do something about that. I heard you're a master of playing, no? We're expecting much from your abilities.
Guda: So, is it okay to play here?
Nemo: The simulator would be a bit dull for moving your body and playing around. Among sailors, it is important to reduce the lack of exercise on the deck during a boring voyage. The dock goes without saying. ...However, I can't endorse using the section belonging to the ship's engine for hide-and-seek. Nemo Engine's wrench will come flying at you. The one hurts more than my, the Captain's, attack.
Ushiwakamaru: Naturally, games need rules. Let us be careful. Now then, let's move our bodies and get to playing, shall we! Hmm, hmmmm. Since we have so many people gathered here... I know, let's play the high-level game of tag from the modern age that I was taught by My Lord before. If I remember correctly────it was called cops and robbers!
Guda: The dream-like combination of hide-and-seek and tag...it is a game that both the cops and robbers can enjoy.
Ushiwakamaru: Seems like you are confident in it. That's how it should be! My Lord, please explain the rules to everyone!
As Ushiwakamaru asked, we explain the rules to the others.
Nemo: I see. A contest of opposing teams.
Nemo Marine: It sounds fun!
Nemo Professor: I'll just become a hindrance to the teams. I'll act as the judge.
Ushiwakamaru: How is it, Lakshmi-dono? Are you ready to play?
Lakshmi: Heh, it's alright. I have perfectly understood everything.
Lakshmi: In short, this is something that imitates the never-ending battle between the authorities and the criminal forces. A game which juxtaposes the absolutism of judicial process with the pitfalls of practical applications of punishment, via demonstrating how simple oversight in guarding convicts could render all efforts moot, even after a sentence of incarceration have been put into action────right!
All present: (...Seems like there are many difficulties in store...)
Ushi: We-well, let's begin for the time being! Let's have fun with all our might!
The Nemo Marines run around with big smiles on their faces with Ushi in hot pursuit.
Ushi: Ahaha! So you think you can compete with the mobility of a tengu! You'll end up getting caught, you know!
Ushi's chase is interrupted as an odd creature who goes woof despite claiming to be a cat appears before her.
Tamamo Cat: Stop right there! When you speak of playing, one must not forget the whimsical carefreeness of a cat! Eat the secret technique of Cat who suddenly became the main pillar of the team as a result of happening to pass by! Hidden Technique: Cat Clone!
Side-stepping rapidly, Cat multiplies, and the clones dash off in different directions.
Ushi: How mysterious! Well, I can do something similar as well. Since it has come to this, it won't end until we catch everyone. Lakshmi-dono, please provide support!
Lakshmi: Leave it to me. I circle around from the left and cut them off! (Having said so...this is way too chaotic. It can not be compared to any battlefield.) (As a commander, I was planning to make use of my experiences as suits the occasion, but just what should I do────?)
Cat appears behind the contemplating Lakshmi.
Cat: (Are you trying to read my movements? Having never even trained a cat, how pitiful of you.)
Cat: (The ones who win the game are those who empty their minds...) (That's why, it isn't a game, but a blood-surging, flesh-pounding, brain-splattering contest...understand that...) (Cat is the truth of the universe. The truth are with the people...at any time...as long as you get cat food...)
Lakshmi: (Empty...empty...empty as in the empty space, in other words 0 and nil which is the beginning of everything in the universe, which means just what in the world────) (...In the first place, why did I hear Cat's voice in my head...) Fu...fufu...fufufufu! I don't really get it, but it's getting interesting!
Guda: (Did she overthink things and run around in circles?)
Cat: I expected her to go "Kya!", but it feels like it's heading in a different direction from that; oh well, as long as it's fun, that's all that matters woof!
Ushi: That's right, if it's fun, it's fine! Now then, here's your chance, Lakshmi-dono, move your body as your instincts command!
Namo: And so, seems like the time has come to seriously run away. Should I dash away speedily like a swordfish or should I conceal myself like a righteye flounder...
In the distance, an unexpected guest comes into sight.
Gilles: Oya? That is...
Gilles eyes chance upon Lakshmi.
Gilles: I see, I see. I understand. Seeing Jeanne returning to her childlike innocence and play around is also quite splendid. I shouldn't get in her way. However, yes...as far as I can see, there seems to be an imbalance in the number of forces, no? That can not be allowed. A passionate and lively charge is what Jeanne's battles are really made of. Let me provide some assistance here as the hidden Daddy-Long-Legs. Ooh, how refined...Certainly, I am the one who understands Jeanne the most! And so, let me flip through my book.
Due to Gilles well-intended, but definitely unneeded machinations, a monster appears before Lakshmi.
Despite her surprise at the sudden appearance of the monster, Lakshmi cuts it down without hesitation.
Ushi: ────Splendid! What a skillful slash despite the starfish monster's unexpected entrance!
Cat: (However...the cut part is spinning around...? I got a premonition! Something is about to happen woof!)
The spinning monster bit hits the ceiling and...
Nemo ! It hit the ceiling and the impact has turned on the sprinklers! Also...!?
The starfish monster begins to multiply.
Nemo Marine 1: Waah! Look at that, how gross! Regular starfish are our friends, but that's just no good~.
Nemo Marine 2: It's somehow sucking up the moisture and multiplying vigorously~!
Nemo Professor: Dear me, this is a bit...unforunate, isn't it?
Those words have a bad effect on Lakshmi.
Lakshmi: So I've done it...once again...
Nemo: I know who's the main culprit behind this. It's that telescope-eyes Caster, isn't it. Sheesh...
The Marines run around in a panic as the sprinklers keep pouring water on everyone and the siren blares in the background. Eventually, we receive a transmission from Nemo Engine.
Nemo Engine: Hey, yer bein' damn loud! Wait, the heck's that gross thing!? If you let those slimy things enter the engine room, I won't forgive you!? S-stay on the dock and get rid of 'em there!
As Nemo ENgine ends the transmission the other sprinklers turn on too.
Nemo Professor: For some reason, the other sprinklers have turned on too in a chain reaction. And so, there is even more moisture... I know this, I know this. It's like the monster panic movie from the library.
Ushi: Well, even so, events like these happen a lot in Chaldea! Turning even this into a part of training, let this Ushiwaka draw her sword too!
Nemo: That's right. Getting rid of these creatures should be our first priority.
Lakshmi: Apologies...! I have brought you trouble!
And so we engage the starfish monsters and clean up the mess that Gilles cause. Afterwards...
Guda: Lakshmi-san, over there!
Lakshmi: There, huh! Once again, with my fingers like this...TOH!
Subjected to the Jeanne-family's true and tested sure-fire method of disarming him (getting poked in the eyes), Gilles collapses. Soon, MHXX arrives in full armor.
Heroine XX: I came running after I heard the report! The suspect is him, right!? The villain Caster controlling the creatures from the universe of mystery... I'll take him in for questioning while helping ourselves two portions of those famous interrogation room unagijuus!  Thank you for your assistance! Goodbye!
While MHXX grabs Gilles by the scruff of his robes and drags him away, our resident creepy Caster muses in wonder.
Gilles: (Ooh...? Is there a faint presence of Jeanne even in the depths of this silver armor? Oh, lovely holy maiden...!
After MHXX and Gilles leave, Lakshmi apologizes to us.
Lakshmi: Phew...apologies. As expected, what just happened was due to that. Because of my misfortune, something like this happened again────
Noticing something, Cat comes closer to the camera as if to cover up Ushiwakamaru who lands on the ground behind her.
Ushi: Ahaha! It is fine, no need to worry about it! Rather, it turned into a fine exercise! Unforeseen situations occurring is one of the true charms of playing. It's fine if we enjoy everything as our hearts dictate. Ah, there was still one here. Soi!
The sound of stabs echos in the background and blood splatters.
Cat: Since she is smiling while her whole body's drenched from the blood spurts of her victims, her image looks like that so we can't show it upfront woof! Instead, make do with Cat's cute and happy appearance! I ask for your understanding!
Nemo: Well, many things happened halfway through, but how was it?
Lakshmi: Yes. It feels like I have returned to my childlike innocence for the first time in a while. Moving your body without thinking about anything is enjoyable. I have reaffirmed that. It was time well-spent. ...However...
Nemo Professor: Yes, that's enough. Let's leave it at that for today. We still have something planned, after all. Let's have a taste of some indoor games next time~.
Translation note(s):  The Marines are saying 'Nyotengu' in hiragana here which would be "女天狗" with kanji. It means "female tengu".  Broiled eel and rice served in two separate stacked boxes, with eel in the top box and rice in the bottom box. Note: I reached the character limit so I will have to post these in two parts. I am halfway through the last arrow so I'll be posting the last part later today.
2020.08.06 23:54 IronWolveDemocrats deployed swat snipers against moms and grandmothers protesting drag queen story hour. Same democrats let cities burn for Antifa/BLM, hurting police with explosives and blinding with lazers. Leftist news keeps calling these growing riots into neighborhoods as peaceful protests. 🤡🌎
FBI has opened 300 'domestic terror' investigations as a result of riots, attorney tells Capitol hearing on Antifa
The FBI has opened more than 300 domestic terrorism investigations since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis kicked off nationwide unrest and riots, a federal attorney revealed Tuesday in a hearing on Capitol Hill on Antifa and violent protests.
foxnews Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa in domestic terrorism hearing, Andy Ngo says
Ngo claims Democrats 'struggle' to draw a line against the far-left
Tensions ran high at a Senate hearing on Antifa on Tuesday as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, blasted Democrats for not condemning the leftist extremist group more directly for the violence that has erupted in certain U.S. cities in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. Andy Ngo, a conservative journalist from Portland who has documented the movements of Antifa for years and was allegedly attacked by members of the group in 2019, said they have 'mastered the art of making its violence appear innocuous.' “I don't think Congress currently is equipped to handle domestic terrorism because it's so politicized and that's very dangerous for this country,” said Ngo, who testified as a witness on Tuesday’s hearing. During the hearing, there was a refusal by Democrats to condemn Antifa, according to Ngo. “I think Republicans have by and large done a very good part with speaking very honestly and openly about far-right extremism and making sure that the sort of world views and ideologies of racist extremist movements don't find root in grounding in the mainstream conservative movement,” Ngo told Fox News. “Whereas Democrats really struggle with drawing the line on where they feel okay about far-left extremism. As of right now, I don't see them drawing the line anywhere.” There are two contrasting narratives being painted about the realities of what is taking place in Portland and around the country, said Ngo. “If you listen to the local press in Portland, the establishment media, they will talk about how things are peaceful everywhere else around outside of this area. If you follow my work and you see the videos I put up through myself or through tweets from others, that's absolutely not the case,” explained Ngo. According to the Portland journalist, the notion that the riots and violence have stopped is a falsely painted picture by the ‘mainstream media.' fox news Antifa Hearing Was Rampant Partisanship, Democrats Are Carrying Water For The FAR Left Timpool Antifa Attack Woman At Her Own Home On Night 70 Of Rioting, Democrats LIED And Its Getting Worse Timpool 'Enough is enough' Police chief says Portlanders are tired of violence, at protests and elsewhere
Peaceful protests and community pressure led to city council defunding Portland police by $15 million in June. Funding was cut for the GVRT, which many believed was racist because it stopped more Black people than anyone else. Chief Lovell said the narrative is wrong and that the unit was not racist. “I disagree with that, the stops data," he said. "The numbers are the numbers, but I think if you look at major cities that do that type of work, the numbers are similar."
kgw At least 140 DHS and federal police deployed to Portland have been injured since May
“At least 140 federal officers have been injured in Portland alone. At least 113 federal officers have suffered injuries to their sight after ‘peaceful protesters’ have deliberately attempted to blind them with lasers and other weapons,” said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, during a hearing on the department’s deployment of personnel to Oregon.
A SWAT team of two snipers was stationed on the roof of a public library in Spokane, Washington June 15. Their mission, along with 30-40 police officers, was to defend Drag Queen Story Hour from 300 concerned mothers and allies protesting the event.
Islamic Republic of Iran stands with Antifa and BLM, calls American law enforcement “vicious dogs”
jihadwatch SHOCKING REPORT: ANTIFA Worked With ISIS, Al-Qaeda
Evidence is emerging of a working relationship between American ANTIFA activists and terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The connection was uncovered during an investigation by the FBI into the “resistance” movement that is driven by college anarchists and socialists. But it has emerged as the “greatest challenge to law enforcement since the Weather Underground and the Black Panther Party.”
thefederalistpapers US left wing groups travelled to Germany for the G20 Summit last July to meet with Al qaeda and ISIS leaders and plot the destruction of President Trump, secret FBI investigation reveals
A secret FBI investigation of the violent 'resistance' movement on college campuses against President Trump has led to an alarming discovery—the collusion between American anarchists and foreign terrorists in the Islamic State and Al qaeda, according to a confidential 'Informational Report' by FBI field offices.
In June, @tedwheeler disbanded @PortlandPolice's Gun Violence Reduction Team in response to George Floyd's death & antifa/BLM riots. Now, Portland is experiencing a surge in gun-related homicides. There are also triple the number of shootings in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
Graph @ Andy Ngo on Twitter DHS chief Chad Wolf testifies to Senate committee on response to protests, riots: live updates
"Unfortunately what we saw in Portland was a lack of that, that allowed these violent individuals to attack a federal facility night after night with no repercussion, no-one holding them accountable so they became more emboldened night after night. He says weapons became more sophisticated, starting with bricks and cans but increasing as they face no consequences. "Then they come back with commercial grade fireworks, then they come back with IEDs, then they come back with power tools. They keep coming back because there's no accountability."
fox news America’s Civil War - It doesn’t have clear front lines, but it’s real.
America is as close to civil war as it has come since 1861, and once again the central driver is America’s founding stain—deep, persistent, brutal racism.
Radical leftist professer @ prospect Today during the DHS hearing, the democrats wouldn't say Antifa but all kept spouting boogaloo and proud boys, the agenda against you by democrats is on full display. Antifa violence good, peaceful right bad. MSM: Peaceful Protesters doing Peaceful Violence and Peaceful fires and peaceful murders, totally peaceful. Oh look, Hawaiian shirts!
Hello Siwanators! This week Jimbo snagged an extremely decisive challenge win, while Priyanka took an unforeseen tumble. Is this Jimbo's Drag Race now? Or is she setting someone else up for an underdog victory? Was this week's final poll question completely redundant? Well unfortunately there's no Miss Cleo here. See you next week! Let's throw in one top toot that isn't Jimbo for a change. Mini Challenge: Who [-s-o-l-d--s-u-n-g-l-a-s-s-e-s-] read the best?
Lemon — 1362 (71.5%)
Rita Baga — 343 (18%)
Jimbo — 140 (7.4%)
Scarlett Bobo — 18 (0.9%)
BOA — 15 (0.8%)
Ilona Verley — 11 (0.6%)
Priyanka — 10 (0.5%)
Kiara — 5 (0.3%)
Main Challenge: Snatch Game! Who gave your 3 favourite performances?
Jimbo — 1833 (96.3%)
Lemon — 1420 (74.6%)
Rita Baga — 1302 (68.4%)
Scarlett Bobo — 723 (38%)
Ilona Verley — 407 (21.4%)
BOA — 12 (0.6%)
Priyanka — 10 (0.5%)
Kiara — 5 (0.3%)
Main Challenge: This queen's Snatch was so tight, she made me (blank).
Jimbo — 1274 (66.9%)
Lemon — 322 (16.9%)
Rita Baga — 208 (10.9%)
Scarlett Bobo — 29 (1.5%)
Ilona Verley — 27 (1.4%)
Priyanka — 23 (1.2%)
BOA — 12 (0.6%)
Kiara — 9 (0.5%)
Category Is... Night of 1000 Celines. Choose your top 3 favourite CDs.
Data highlight: The third place spot in the previous question went to Scarlett, but Rita snagged it here. Scarlett got more likes, but Rita got more loves. Who deserved, overall, to be in the bottom 2?
Kiara — 1742 (91.4%)
Priyanka — 1026 (53.9%)
BOA — 927 (48.7%)
Ilona Verley — 81 (4.3%)
Lemon — 15 (0.8%)
Scarlett Bobo — 7 (0.4%)
Jimbo — 6 (0.3%)
Rita Baga — 6 (0.3%)
Who won the Lipsync For Your Life?
Kiara — 74 (3.9%)
Priyanka — 1105 (58%)
Double chantay (both deserved to stay) — 712 (37.4%)
Double sashay (both deserved to leave) — 14 (0.7%)
Who are your favourite 4 queens remaining in the competition?
Jimbo — 1761 (92.4%)
Priyanka — 1687 (88.6%)
Lemon — 1429 (75%)
Rita Baga — 1409 (74%) (Near tie)
Scarlett Bobo — 861 (45.2%)
Ilona Verley — 307 (16.1%)
BOA — 166 (8.7%)
B-B-Bonus Q: Let's talk about the reading challenge.
It was hilarious—Canadian queens are ice cold! — 50.2%
The reads mostly weren't that funny, and yet the segment still was? — 42.2%
It was like when Kyne left. I didn't care. — 4.4%
I mean I'm gagging... from the smell. 👀 — 3.1%
B-B-Bonus Q: Let's Kiki about Kiara's lipsync.
I'm a sucker for kicks, splits, and tricks. She should have won! — 5.1%
She wasn't perfect but she was better, than Priyanka. — 7.5%
She had a lot of energy, but sometimes less is more. :-/ — 71.1%
Drag Queen Storytime for Children Psychology Today
IBM Cognos Express Advisor Demo posted by nexDimension Technology Solutions
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