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2020.09.10 15:51 MakegooduseofMy 10(ish) days of non-professional, home iPad-only life
I dropped off my MacBook for a battery replacement, and due to parts shipping and whatnot, I was Mac-less for almost two weeks. I figured I would take that time to see what an iPad-only life would be like. For context, I have a conventional five-day workweek, and I do not bring work home. Any computing done at home is for entertainment or personal education needs and wants. I thought a bit about how to organize my thoughts, and in the end, decided to have sections dedicated to different categories of apps and activities. Since I leave my work at home, there is a greater focus on entertainment, which comprises of gaming and media consumption. Another common theme in my impressions will be how I have been able to consume my own offline content. I am not subscribed to anything at the moment, but I do have a standing trial offer for Apple TV+ (which I should probably activate soon).
My oft-used accessories with my MacBook:
Elecom DEFT Pro trackball (Seven buttons; can be connected via Bluetooth, dongle wireless, micro-USB wired)
Western Digital 4TB MyPassport HDD (contains all my media - videos, ebooks, comics, music)
Elecom trackball: mostly no. The iPad says it paired successfully with Bluetooth, but there is no mouse movement whatsoever. In wired mode or dongle wireless mode, pointer movement, left/right clicks and four-way wheel manipulation is possible, but no customizations (this model has 7 buttons in total). 5 buttons all register as left click, 1 as right click, and 1 doesn’t even register at all. If you’d like to use a trackball with the iPad, don’t bother looking at models with more than two buttons.
WD 4TB: mostly yes. My HDD was already formatted as exFAT to begin with, and I don’t have access to another PC to reformat a spare USB flash disk or SD card as FAT32 or NTFS to check for compatibility. Therefore, it remains to be seen as to whether you can immediately use a hard drive the moment you buy it and open the packaging. Also, it cannot be bus-powered, and requires a powered hub.
SN30Pro+: Yes. Because of the multi faced nature of the controller, there are a few more steps you need to get through before it’s paired. You can refer to this link to learn more about pairing it: https://mikeknoop.com/8bitdo-ios13/ And as a bonus, the controller will connect with a USB-A to USB-C cable!
USB 3.0 hub: Yes. Nothing much to say here - plugging in devices in whatever port worked. Any power issues that may arise due to too many power-hungry devices would be prevalent regardless of whether you’re connecting the hub to a Mac, PC, iPad, etc.
HyperDrive compatibility: partial and it needs to be powered. What works:
Micro SD/SD. Not simultaneously, but this could be a dock issue. When it works, though, Photos doesn’t open up automatically like in past iOS versions, which I kinda prefer personally.
3.5mm headphone jack. Side note: a TRRS jack (mic/headphone combo) had issues with making a solid connection on the dock.
Ethernet. interestingly, when the iPad recognizes an Ethernet NIC, the wireless symbol does not show up next to the battery indicator.
What doesn’t work: HDMI out. I connected the other side to a 720p Samsung TV, but there was no signal whatsoever. This might be a USB-A limitation, so no fault on the hardware. Unknown: DisplayPort, because I don’t have a DP-capable monitor, but I’m willing to bet that it won’t work since HDMI won’t work. Overall, as far as hardware is concerned, the iPad is great for the lowest common denominator. Anything that is not part of the “standard” - that is, the extra button or two on a midrange mouse, the software macro keys on an extended keyboard, etc. - is likely not to be recognized and will be a waste. I imagine Apple-branded devices may be the exception.
Productivity and/or studies
One of my favorite features here is how, app dependent, keyboard shortcuts pop up when you hold the Command key for a few seconds. This is quite handy when you would rather not have to remove your hands in the middle of typing something. It was also nice to see that a lot of shortcuts have remained the same on iOS apps. But on the topic of keyboard shortcuts, I miss being able to create or modify them for each app. For example, on Evernote for Mac, Command-T triggers a new tab, but I had no use for that function, so I remapped it to strikethrough. Keyboard observations aside and going back to the iPad, I’ve come to fully realize that an iPad Air is way too small for split screen if you use the Apple Pencil to scribble notes. Half an iPad Air’s screen is roughly equivalent to an A6 sheet, and for me personally, that isn’t big enough to scribble lecture notes down. This will be highly dependent on the nature of whatever class you’re taking, but the roundabout that worked for me was to use my iPhone to stream the lecture material, while using my iPad to scribble away. The visual wasn’t anything “intense,” like an instructor using a blackboard - rather, it was the equivalent of a fancy PowerPoint presentation with an audio overlay, so this roundabout did not bother me that much. YMMV.
Entertainment - audio
When the iPad has not been synced with a computer running iTunes, or if there is no active subscription to Apple Music, Spotify or any other music streaming service, the iPad is a very poor jukebox out of the box. And in the case of the iPad Air, the speakers on the single side do not help matters. I imagine my experience would have been better had I opted for the iPad Pro, or waited for the (expected) Air 4th generation. Without any third-party apps, you can use Files to individually tap on a song and listen to it until it’s over, and then you’ll need to manually tap on another song to get it playing. It probably goes without saying that there aren’t any extra features you’d usually expect from a music app like EQ, playlists, and all that. Not great for listening to most music, but good enough for podcasts or recordings of spoken material. And Files will play music in the background. Foobar2000, VOX, VLC: Cannot access local drives from within the app, but I’ve noticed that you can force audio to play via these apps by tap-holding on at least VLC; a list of random audio and video files pop up. NPlayer, Flacbox, Evermusic, Wave : So, these can access the external drive. The biggest thing to note here is that the music will not play straight from the hard drive; you need to import the files to the iPad’s internal storage. There’s also no way to one-tap-add folders if you decide to copy over everything. That said, I did notice a common pattern with these four apps above. They all use the Files interface to access the drives, and this made me wonder whether it’s an iOS limitation that the developers have no way getting around. Now...buying music from a store that isn’t iTunes is another can of worms. I came across a game soundtrack I really liked on BandCamp and bought it. The buying process was fine; it’s like buying something from Amazon. Actually consuming the music? Hahahahahaha. This is BandCamp-specific. If you’re using Safari, the website doesn’t let you download the music directly. Instead, you have to download BandCamp’s app, make an account and stream it that way. The other alternative is to use a browser that allows you to change the user agent (once again, iCab comes to rescue here), change the user agent to something like Safari Mac or any other Mac/PC-based user agent and then get the straight download link. From there, you unzip the album, and start listening. But here’s the kicker: you cannot add these songs into your stock music app. Unless you migrate your entire collection to one of the third-party apps listed above or an NAS, your music collection is fragmented. This has made me seriously consider giving up the usage of iTunes on my Mac or any other future computer going forward. On the one hand, it’s great that I can make all the Smart Playlists I want with all kinds of conditions, and they are seamlessly synced with my iPhone. I haven’t jumped on the streaming subscription bandwagon because I’m happy with my collection, and there’s plenty of music that I can never remember everything. On the other hand, all that is useless when I don’t have a Mac or PC at hand. I’ve been reliant on using Smart Playlists to automatically rotate through my collection by using play counts and dates last played, but again, what good is all this without a conventional computer?
Entertainment - video
With video, things are much more like what you’d expect from a Mac or Windows system. You tap on a video file in Files, and depending on the file type, either play it directly, or open up another app. MP4 files will open directly in Files, and MKV won’t. For MKV, I use Infuse. It supports built-in subtitles, enabling or disabling them, as well as multiple audio tracks. If I were to be nitpicky, the only extra feature I’d want is the ability to add multiple files simultaneously to a playlist...but I’m starting to notice a pattern here in conjunction with the music apps. As for online videos, it is very disappointing that Safari does not allow users to disable Fullscreen Video API on iOS 13. In other words, you don’t get the built-in play/pause and 15-second back/forward controls anymore unless a website allows it. This indeed makes fast-forwarding and rewinding much more of a chore, and on some poorly designed webpages, those buttons are tiny. And to add insult to injury, I can’t use the arrow keys on my Combo Touch keyboard to fast-forward or rewind, either. One of the solutions found online is to use a Shortcut to force a video to show those controls in full-screen. For me, I have a second browser (iCab), with its user agent set to iPhone, and by doing this, I get the older, more usable controls. This is pretty much my video browser. The downside of iCab is that ad blocking has to be done in-app, and I’m still working on getting all ads blocked; some still get past. Once again, though, if you had to jump through hoops to download and listen to music, well, these hoops become rings of fire and the platforms are narrower with spikes on both sides when it comes to downloading most videos. Short of being given a straight-up .mp4 link, it’s just plain impossible to download videos, regardless of legitimacy (unless it’s from Amazon or iTunes). And good luck ripping that DVD or Blu-Ray you bought off the shelves.
Entertainment - reading
I’m sure this has been mentioned a lot already, but thanks to the versatility of orientations, the iPad is definitely the superior reading experience compared to a Mac. Sure, if you have the right monitor, you can rotate it 90 degrees and read there, but you can’t just pick up a monitor from the desk and bring it to your sofa or bed. Chunky is a great CBCBZ-supporting app, with support for right-to-left and left-to-right reading as well as auto-double-page when reading in landscape mode. It also can access files locally, but the file has to be copied over into the app.
I’ve touched on the SN30PRO+ controller earlier above. I imagine that it will be easier to pair a DualShock 4 or XBox controller since Apple openly supports those, and the extra gaming features coming in iOS 14 will only enhance the experience further. As for the actual games, this one is going to be the most subjective of them all, and I also imagine the least fleshed out in my post since I do not subscribe to Apple Arcade or any other game streaming service. As most enthusiast users may know, for almost as long as iOS has publicly existed, gaming has been a source of much controversy and discussion, what with predatory micro-transactions to Fortnite/Epic. There is also the issue of whether iOS can ever be a “true” gaming platform because of the App Store economics and the prevalent notion that mobile apps are not “real” apps. In my case, I very much doubt I will treat my iPad as my **primary** gaming machine by any stretch. I still like my Marios, Zeldas, Resident Evils and Halos, and while there are quite a number of games that started off as console or PC games on the iPad now, of which I dare say a fair number has been ported efficiently (Sega AGES, Star Wars KOTOR, Marathon trilogy, Castlevania SOTN, Final Fantasy 1-7 come to mind), I feel that overall, they aren’t exactly the gaming experiences I get from my Switch. I don’t say this purely out of merely looking at the App Store offerings; I have spent at LEAST a couple hundred dollars on premium, single-payment games or games with episodic content as IAP since the release of iOS 4, so I have at least SOME personal experience to go by. Furthermore, retro enthusiasts will be the most hamstrung when using an iPad. Apple won’t allow emulators on the App Store, so you’ll need to go the builds.io route or re-sideload emulators from a Mac or PC every week. Or jailbreak. Having said all that, I’m quite sure that for others with different gaming tastes, gaming on the iPad will be the smallest of issues. More than anything else, taste is truly subjective.
This is my catch-all term for things like managing personal photos, scheduling appointments, to-do lists, grocery lists, etc. Overall, I see general parity between iOS and desktops, and iOS would have the edge if portability is important. Photos: since I pay 99 cents for more iCloud space, and I’ve backed up my photos to iCloud besides my external hard drive, photo management is pretty straightforward. I don’t have much to say here. Appointments and errands: Shortly after dropping off my MacBook, I downloaded Agenda for making shopping lists and keeping track of appointments. I found that the combination of notes and to-do lists makes it more convenient to have dates and details in one place; it’s as if the stock Notes app had Reminder features. That said, there’s also a Mac version that I’ll give a shot at once I get my MacBook back. Date tracker: Besides life-related milestones and anniversaries, we all have a lot of non-holiday, arbitrary dates to keep track of, such as date of purchase for tracking warranties, or the last time you cleaned out the cat litter box. I’ve always used spreadsheets for long-term things like warranties, and for more frequent things like the aforementioned kitty litter, an app called “Days Ago” on my iPhone, which seems to be unavailable for purchase anymore. I find that after some initial setup by establishing that a column will be nothing but dates, Numbers can be surprisingly easy to use for this. When not using a physical keyboard, you can tap an empty cell, and in the pop-up keyboard, there’s a big fat button that says “today.” Journaling: I have a grandfathered account on Day One after they went subscription-only. There doesn’t seem to be any major difference between the Mac and iOS versions.
This is where I see the most glaring of issues. Files being a poor substitute for FindeExplorer is a given and plenty has been said about this, so I’ll skip it. Firstly, there is no option of safe removal of external drives. On my Mac, when I disconnect the hard drive without a second thought, it takes a good while for it to be mounted again, and sometimes I need to go to Disk Utility to bring it back. I notice this on my iPad as well, but there isn’t an option to unmount a drive first before physically removing it from my hub. Secondly, say goodbye to local iPad backups. It’s iCloud backup or no backup, and it ain’t no Time Machine (as Apple points out here). There’s no concept of system images like Time Machine, and if you’ve held off on app updates because the new updates take away features or make extreme changes, well, that’s out of your hands. That might be fine just for the iPad, but what about your external drive with your documents and stuff? The only roundabout I see to this if you’re going iPad-only is to purchase a NAS and set up Backblaze or another backup service that way..and I’m not sure whether a NAS is a mainstream-friendly option yet.
Using the iPad, I came to realize that what constitutes "mainstream tech" has changed. When external hard drives became regular stock at everyday retailers like Target, Wal-Mart or their equivalents in other parts of the world, and not just tech specialty shops, I thought that was the point when Macs and PCs truly became mainstream, household items. Now, it's online and the cloud. iOS devices are closely tied with iCloud. Android devices make it easy to upload files to Google Drive. Microsoft provides one-touch access to OneDrive when you install Windows. Dropbox provides an online, platform-agnostic intangible flash drive. You don’t have to buy boxed software and CDs that often, but you go to the App Store or the developer’s store page and download the software and provided codes that way. So the answer to Apple's question of "what is a computer?" is "the gateway to the cloud." Whether the content is yours or not, they are now in the cloud, and you use the iPhone, the iPad and the Apple Watch to bring everything to your fingertips. This is Apple’s vision of a computer: a smarter terminal to the digital world. If you’re like me and coming from years, if not a couple decades of desktop OS paradigms, there’s a big question of “how much of these so-called inconveniences are the iPad’s fault, and how much of them are because I’m inflexible and too set in my ways?” Maybe I’m just too set in my ways and not open to change...or maybe the iOS paradigm is just not right in more than one way. As I adjusted and/or came up with workarounds, I am reminded of one of Buddhism’s tenets: desire leads to suffering. My desire to approach the iPad with OS X in mind has led to “suffering” (I use that term as an analogy; I would not say that I suffered any kind of mental anguish or anything like that during the past two weeks). Probably the most stress-free way to enjoy an iPad is to adhere to Apple’s dogma, embrace iCloud fully, do away with dongles and enjoy your services (Apple Music or Spotify, etc. for music, Apple TV or Netflix, etc. for shows, whatever). For me personally, unless there are other OS changes in the pipeline, I feel I will always have some kind of a conventional personal computer, be it a Mac or something running Windows, in my digital life. My digital life collection is something I cannot easily give up, at least not yet. To finish this off, if you’re one of those people who have fully ditched your older computer and transitioned to iOS-only with next to no issues, more power to you, and I mean that with absolute sincerity. You have an all-in-one device with unparalleled manufacturer support, battery life, portability and (model-dependent) wireless connectivity. tl;dr: iOS is not optimal for managing offline, local files.
2020.09.09 16:33 niryasi(Controversial perhaps) - What Ashes can (and should) learn from WoW
As a wow fan, hearing fans of other MMOs obsess about how they hate WoW is just background noise at this point. Happens everywhere and in many ways is similar to how people from some countries are obsessed with how they and their country are not Americans or the USA. I absolutely want Ashes to be unique but being not-WoW for the sake merely of being not wow is just stupid because there's a reason WoW was so successful and at its peak - Burning Crusade / early Wrath of the Lich King - was truly a force to be reckoned with. I'm someone who deeply hopes for Ashes to succeed and for it to fulfill all the deeply moving promises and aspirations that fellow MMO fan Steven has articulated in the videos. What are some of the things that made WoW succeed? Things that occur to me as someone who used to be a great fan of WoW, plays Classic for the community and can't stand WoW Retail?
a very smooth, refined and reactive combat model that is relatively immune to latency differences
accessible hardware requirements
a little bit of something for everyone while allowing people to excel at their chosen niche - PVE / PVP / Raids / Dungeons / Heroics / Arenas / Battleground / Professions / RP / twinking / solo / group / large group play.
a decade + of pre-existing lore that was built on by some truly excellent writers, cinematic designers and voice actors.
a structure that allowed rivalries and community to form on a server that in many cases have last for over a decade.
systems that were accessible and yet deep - you could log on to raid, do a couple battlegrounds and heroics and have fun with friends and at the same time there was a competitive scene for many of these activities.
Is wow perfect? absolutely not - neither classic nor retail is and yet check out this graph of MMO populations from 1998 to 2013. Lineage 1 was really popular. Lineage 2 got off to a fantastic start. But why did so many people abandon it for Classic WoW? This isn't to say that AoC should be a WoW clone but it would be foolish to deliberately not take smart decisions because WoW took them before you. I'm deeply grateful to Steven for AoC and I want it to succeed but there's a part of me that is a bit apprehensive that it will be too much like Lineage 2 and not enough like WoW to really make it more than a vanity project, all so that AoC will draw and retain new players and not just bittervet dads. There, I said it. edit: a lot of people are flipping out about my saying that systems need to be accessible. What I mean by accessibility is stuff like:
icons for spells being easily distinguishable at a short glance. Far too many other MMOs have icon graphics that end up a smear of similar-looking colours
audible cues unique to each and every spell so that people can identify from the sound what spell is being cast and where.
clear in-game help text and icons so people do not have to use external resources to find out what stuff means. a thoroughly documented in-game interface with optionally visible mouseover help for all elements.
a new player experience that gradually introduces players to every new system - EVE, a sandbox game, has a notoriously bad NPE.
novice mistakes not being overly punitive
a difficulty level that is not boring and yet is challenging, scaling up as the game progresses -- for example, having optional, more challenging bosses that players can group up to take down but can leave alone if need be.
a profession system that is immediately understandable and useful, both for new players and for sale to players of similar level
These are all things that are from wow and too many MMOs have tried and failed to be different from WoW in these respects and have suffered. For the record, I don't want fast travel (not even AoC's already announced family system fast travel), rapid levelling, consensual-only PVP, instanced content only, duty finders, or everyone's-a-winner participation trophies. Players willing to pay a sub for an MMO are a limited portion of the pool. I want AoC to be more compelling, enjoyable, popular and succesful than any other MMO on the market. I want it to be its own game and not a clone of any other game. And to do so, all i'm saying is that it retain some of the more compelling features of the most successful game of its genre so far, not try and rebel against everything WoWlike like a petulant child. That's all, nothing more, nothing less.
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2020.09.06 03:55 WarmDishWaterDestiny 2's Crucible experience is the worst it's ever been between both Destinys.
Preface: I am a day one Destiny player and a Day one destiny 2 player. I am currently at 4.7k Glory Rank after resetting twice and I only Solo queue for ranked. I only play Elimination, Freelance: Survival, and Showdown when its in rotation. In Destiny 1, I had gone flawless countless times and in Destiny 2, I have both the Unbroken and Flawless titles, and 90% of my time in game is spent in Crucible. I know a lot about this game, its mechanics, and its downfalls. I play both Playstation 4 and PC. I truly do care about this game and i've been a supporter of the Destiny franchise for years. I've made and lost friends, had moments where i've screamed at the top of my lungs because i've gotten a piece of gear I had been dying to find, and i've had moments my heart felt like it would explode from tension and stress of clutching 1v3 on the last win of a Flawless trials card. As much as I love this game, I want to give my honest criticisms and possible solutions to the problems I find myself and most other players having with the part of the game I indulge in most. Why Crucible is in the worst state it's ever been in: In Destiny 1, Crucible was not perfect, but I can boldly say it was far more balanced than Destiny 2's Crucible. The reason it was better balanced was simple. You did not spawn with special ammo, therefore each of your engagements for the first part of the match required you to outplay your enemy in direct primary combat. Spawning without the potential to instantly kill your enemy meant gunfights lasted longer, positioning was more important, kills and picks were far more meaningful, different playstyles and builds were encouraged, and if you've watched or played Destiny 1's PvP, on every kill, you generated a rather substantial amount of super energy and were rewarded for outplaying your enemies and using your kit to its highest potential. Crucible was ruined with the introduction of weapons that break the ammo economy, low-skill instant-kill weapons, the Destiny 2 Weapon slotting system, hackers, and connection based matchmaking, and sword peeking (let me explain before you get the pitchforks and torches, please). I will go into each of these problems further below. I'd advise reading through as one thing kind of chains into the next but feel free to skim and scan it. Why is Crucible important? Unfortunately, Crucible isn't for a large part of the player base as it was in Destiny 1, but for myself and many others, after I complete the raids, find my god rolls, and my top of the line gear, I play Crucible to test my skill. When there is no endgame left because you've completed all there is to do, all that's left is Crucible. I may sound like I no-life this game but I go to work, and socialize, and see friends. I also don't care to play with others and to get most of the endgame gear, i'm forced to find fireteams and do things i'd rather not do just to enjoy myself in crucible. I just enjoy playing against other players and getting better with my two fireteam buddies that I run trials with. Crucible's major pitfalls in matchmaking and mechanics. Connection based matchmaking is a terrible idea. The reason being, is when you're a high skill player playing against people lower than you in skill, it doesn't help you play better. It just becomes a game of bully the less experienced. I'm sure its not fun for them and its not helping you, however I also can understand not wanting to fight other crucible demons every single match which is why I think Showdown should be permanent for skill based matchmaking, and control should remain for connection based matchmaking. If your connection isn't good enough to run a stable game of Crucible, i'm sorry but you should be kicked from the game and replaced. While it isn't your fault, people can and still do abuse connections to win and it should be eliminated entirely by removing the player. Now Control isn't skill based but your shots also aren't magically not harming the Hunter on the enemy team because they're running a constant 129 ping. 6 stacking should also guarantee you to be matched against other 6 stacks or at least a 4 stack. 6 stacking against 6 solo players on the enemy team nearly guarantee's a win as you have good coordination, call outs, and team play while in most cases, they do not. As for in-game mechanics: Any player who really looks to do well in specifically Ranked or Trials, will 99% of the time agree with the notion that there is nothing more important than super energy in high skill game modes. What incentive do I have in engaging the enemy and potentially losing, forcing my team into a disadvantage in a high skill game mode, when I can just spec my armor for 100 intellect and stay behind whilst sword peeking and taking occasional shots here and there with my Revoker and Gnawing Hunger, or Last word and Beloved. I'll get my super first, and if I expect they're running roaming supers, Ill use something to deal with that. (Nightstalker for hunters, Hammers or Thundercrash for Titans, Slowva bomb or Chaos Reach or Dawnblade for Warlocks.) This is why you see people in Trials more often than not, always running 100 intellect. It's great for PvE, but it has no place in Crucible. It forces longer more drawn out games and rewards randomness of hit-registration and who hit who with what super ability first. It's not a fun way to play. Next is how you would go about fixing this problem if ever looked into seriously. Other than maxing out the intellect stat and waiting, special ammo on spawn and enemy kills allows for instantaneous kills, which throws a wrench in the gears of what Crucible should be: A test of your skill against other players of the same caliber. It should be removed altogether and replaced with regular Special Ammo spawns. How would you fix Crucible with realistic, easy changes that wouldn't completely force the game into an overhaul? Simple. Remove Special Ammo from start, and allow for Special Ammo to spawn, after time has passed in the match. Reward kills with more super energy, tone down some supers in Crucible, and make intellect mods only boost the super energy you get on kills, rather than making your super timer go lower. Don't allow players to hold swords if they do not hold sword ammo. Nerf weapons accordingly. The step by step breakdown. Like I said in the beginning, in Destiny 1's long lasting reign, Special Ammo boxes would spawn after 3 minutes into a Crucible match, then for 2 minutes consecutively afterwards as stated by the Destiny Wiki. Because you were forced to fight with your Primary weapon from the start of the match, your skill was the ultimate decider of whether or not you won. Winning gun fights with primary weapons felt rewarding back then, and kept you on your toes and gave the developers to allow for extra super energy on kills, as they weren't as easy to get. Special Ammo boxes were so beneficial because when special ammo did spawn it allowed players of one team to potentially overtake the other team in points and would give you an advantage if you knew how to use your special weapon, as when you died you lost all of your Special Ammo. Special weapon spawns also forced the opposing teams to engage because whoever got ammo first was almost always the victor of the round. Special Ammo and Heavy Ammo drops caused critical turning points in matches where you could catch up if you were behind, provided your team played well with their special weapons. "Okay but there was still a Primary weapon meta that ruled Destiny 1! Remember Last Word and Thorn and and Hawkmoon and what about the Red Death?". Yes. I do. And you're 1000% right. Which is why they were exotic weapons. And do you know why that system still wasn't broken and the Dev's truly don't consider it broken? Because as of 5:40 PM August 5th, the Thorn, Last Word, and Red Death have all been added to Destiny 2, albiet the Red Death was turned into a hand cannon and the dev's have already released news that they intend to add Hawkmoon back into Beyond Light with different perks but still strong. But it also wasn't broken because the weapons that broke the Ammo Currency in Destiny 1 were also exotic. That meant I can choose Last Word and a random sniper that I have to wait to get ammo for, or I can choose to use the Icebreaker sniper rifle, which literally REGENERATED AMMO as the game started and a far less potent primary. Same idea with the Invective, which was rendered useless in Year 2 iirc. Oh! I know! No Land Beyond and Universal Remote took primary ammo which meant you could use a Sniper or Shotgun from the start of the game! What about those?" Weapons that broke this rule, (Universal Remote and No Land Beyond) would use primary ammo but they were Exotics. That meant that you had ammo to start, which would allow you to get easier kills, but you could not equip other top-of-the-line exotics, and you didn't have a true primary and even if you picked up Special Ammo you either had: A: A shotgun and a fusion rifle. B: A shotgun and a sniper rifle. C: A shotgun and a shotgun. D: A shotgun and a sidearm. (abysmal use when compared to Destiny 2) Replace "shotgun" with "sniper rifle" above, and you have the same choices if you wanted to use No Land Beyond (sniper) instead of Universal Remote (shotgun). The two Exotics that were slotted as primaries and consumed primary ammo, also had their own quirks to prevent them from being overpowered in high-skill PvP games. Universal Remote was a great shotgun, but only when you aimed down sights as it gave you a significant buff to range and headshot damage, and No Land was a single-fire, slow reloading, iron-sighted sniper rifle that gave you increased precision damage on kill, but you had 12 shots to start with iirc. The Destiny 2 weapon system completely ruined Crucible with the categorical changes from Primary, Special, and Heavy, to Kinetic, Energy, and Power. Going back to the importance of weapon slotting, lets look at the difference between Destiny 1 and Destiny 2 weapon slotting, by using an example out of primary slot snipers and shotguns from both games. Universal Remote#:~:text=Universal%20Remote%20is%20a%20level,decrypted%20from%20Primary%20Exotic%20Engrams).- Primary weapon, Medium range, High precision damage, but only when aiming, and you start with 12 shots. (Destiny 1 shotguns don't even compare to Destiny 2 Shotguns since they were nerfed, but the Universal Remote was still very viable.) Astral Horizon (Destiny 2)- Primary Weapon, Very high range, Average Precision Damage for a Destiny 2 Agressive-Frame shotgun, and you start with 2 shots, but can stack Ammo Scavenger Mods, Shotgun Ammo Finders, and Shotgun Ammo Reserves Mods, and Special Weapon Mods to pick up extra ammo on enemy kill (as long as they have heavy ammo). The Astral Horizon is better than the Universal Remote in every. Single. Way. It also allows you to get random rolls on it as it is a Legendary weapon, meaning you can have the worse possible roll on it and it would still contend with Destiny 1's Universal Remote. This is problematic because instead of the Astral Horizon not needing me to pick up ammo before I can use it, and because its not exotic, I can run ridiculous weapon combination that doesn't require me to play smart or carefully. If i'm being rushed, I have a shotgun. If they're out of shotgun range, I have an auto-rifle or a hand cannon (I use Sun Shot for extra damage over range), and with having a shotgun and hand cannon or auto-rifle, i'm not challenging snipers anyways so there's no risk there. Having special ammo means you don't need to always play smart or play with your team. Don't believe me? How many times how you been rushed down by a hunter or titan using Astral, Mindbenders, Chaperone,First In Last out, etc. Exactly. Do you not like Trials of Osiris or can't seem to get the god roll Astral Horizon that I was talking about? No worries, everything worthwhile and hard to earn in this game are easily replaceable. Here's some other shotguns for those who don't play Trials or use shotguns in PvE. Most are sunsetting as of November 10th for the Beyond Light release, but are still plenty viable in non-light based crucible (Everything but Iron Banner and Trials). I personally use a god roll Imperial Decree, which is very easily farmable and is the same archetype whilst still remaining in the Kinetic slot. Even though I have a God Rolled Astral Horizon, I really don't need it unless i'm playing Trials or Iron Banner because I can just substitute it for a more easily obtained Imperial Degree with similar stats. Why even play the end game content if you can get equal or better gear by doing something much easier. Still not seeing the problem with D2 weapon balance? Lets talk about Revoker. I'm not even doing a comparison between Revoker and No Land Beyond. I don't need to. The No Land had high zoom, clustered sights, slow reload, slow ready time, high headshot damage, a relatively useless perk, was exotic, and started with and used primary ammo. The Revoker however, has low-zoom, clear sights, slightly slower than average reload, average ready speed, high headshot damage, an EXOTIC TIER PERK THAT ALLOWS ANY MISSED SHOTS TO BE REFUNDED AND IS LEGENDARY. IT CAN ALSO BE GREATLY ENHANCED BY MODS. Why, if i'm looking for a great kinetic sniper rifle, would I do any raids, farm iron banner, play gambit, or run Trials, if i can just play Comp and kill enemies with snipers and get a free sniper with no drawbacks? That's a problem. There is literally no reason to use anything else because this sniper is the best at everything. If you have a massive impact sniper rifle and you have decent aim control in conjunction with never losing ammo on a missed shot, whats stopping you from taking those aggressive shots that you can still miss? After all, in only a few moments, your missed shots are returned. You can take a shot that has a great chance of missing or hitting and either way you benefit no matter the outcome, forcing the enemy to play you to a stalemate. Your average Crucible player knows not to push a sniper lane if they already are sighted in on you, as you can be one shotted and they cannot. "Yeah but you can cancel out a sniper with a sniper!" Not if i have a Revoker to slide around the corner with, trade shots, force you to back up while you're waiting for your next shot to ready all while I get my wasted shot back. Now you're down to a single shot, and i have two. If we both miss our next shots, I get mine back and you don't. Now you can't counter me unless you rush, then you're still at the disadvantage because I can either: A: Body shot, swap weapons and one shot you and still have another shot for your teammates. B: Headshot you and still have another shot for your teammates. C: Miss a shot, swap weapons, team fire you and kill you, and STILL get my bullet back. If that wasn't bad enough, it can be combined with the single most ridiculous and flat out stupid idea Bungie has ever made into reality. The Gnawing Hunger. Gnawing Hunger can roll with better stats than its solar counterpart, the Summoner which you have to play Trials to have a chance at winning, so why am I able to completely avoid Trials for a better reward than what Trials of Osiris has to offer? Not only that, but on console, the Gnawing hunger reigns supreme over everything. It flinches hard, it fires fast, reloads fast, and can kill in 8 shots with most having around 40-50 shots in a single mag. Its incredible at close and medium ranges, but can quickly close distance and take large chunks of health out from scout rifle tier ranges. If you thought it stopped there, it also can be combined with Revoker because Gnawing Hunger is an energy weapon, and can roll for EVERY DAMAGE PERK, ZEN MOMENT, CAN COME WITH A STABILITY MASTERWORK, AND CAN STILL BE EQUIPPED WITH A MOD. There is LITERALLY no way to beat this gun if you are on console, unless you are able to land the first shot, switch to Gnawing HungeSummoner, surprise the enemy, or use a special weapon, in which there's still a strong chance you'll be flinched to all hell and won't land your shots. (even shotguns) On PC, its a slightly different story. In Trials on PC, and even the regular game modes for that matter, snipers reign supreme. Top players of high-skill game modes (i'm talking to all you IFrostBoltI players out there) struggle with facing off against Revoker, Beloved, Gnawing Hungers, Dire Promises, and Hackers. Even if you have the most competent and high-skill ceiling set up completely mastered, all it takes is someone with decent accuracy and a Gnawing Hunger with Zen Moment and Hi-Caliber Rounds to completely eliminate you as a threat. Read these viable weapon combo's for Crucible. Last Word, Beloved, Bad Omens Last Word, Felwinter's Lie, Bad Omens Thorn, Beloved, Bad Omens Thorn, Felwinter's Lie, Bad Omens Revoker, Gnawing Hunger, Wardcliff Coil Okay....So? Beloved, Gnawing Hunger, and Bad Omens are easily farmable for god rolls at the Menagerie and Prismatic re-castor. I intentionally left out swords because majority of players don't use them for kills, they use them to sword peek. The Last Word, Thorn, and Felwinter's come from quests (although Felwinter's isn't obtainable anymore), and the Wardcliff coil is a world drop but you can still get it from decoding unfocused umbral engrams once you've upgraded your Prismatic Re-castor enough as they give every unfocused umbral engram a 10% chance to drop an exotic when decoded. Well whats the problem with that? 6 of these weapons account for 40.4% of all competitive crucible kills, and if swords were used as intended they would be higher on the total crucible kill chart too (remember this!) All the values are listed here, but ill list the percentage of the ones i used below. Gnawing Hunger- 11.7% Revoker- 8.2% Felwinter's Lie- 6.12% Beloved- 5.14% Dire Promise- 5.10% SUROS Regime- 4.14% These 6 weapons make up over 40% of all competitive Crucible kills. 6. Out of how many weapons in this game? And why is Beloved and Gnawing Hunger so easily farmable but have the best rolls out of any auto-rife and sniper-rifle respectively? (excluding revoker) And why is Felwinter's no longer accessible to everyone? If you're going to put a weapon in the game that doesn't have worthy opposition, then not give everyone a chance to earn it, you create a problem in which most players cant cross a skill threshold because they don't have anything strong enough to contend with the apexes. I wont address anything from Beloved or below because obviously some weapons are going to be a much better option than others, but I will say that for how easy it is to get a god roll beloved, there should be a grind or more effort to get it. I got mine in 14 menagerie runs. Fluted Barrel, Appended Magazine, Snapshot, Quickdraw, Handling masterwork. I excluded addressing Felwinter's Lie because its supposed to be incredibly strong but it needs to be available for all players if its going to seriously outclass anything else i should pick. Make Saladin give you an alternative, more difficult quest whenever Iron Banner is in, so everyone can get it but you actually have to earn it. I don't even have Felwinter's and I don't feel its so problematic to the point of ruining the game. Out of the hundreds of Legendary weapons and the 48 exotic weapons, why is gnawing hunger responsible for 11% of all competitive and non-competitive crucible kills? Because Bungie chooses not to individually balance weapons but instead is choosing to make new content. However, i'm not complaining about the new content, i'm complaining about the fact that instead of listening to community feedback, instead of sandbox testing, and instead of working towards fixing the current game we all know and appreciate- not love- instead they're adding more when we need to work on what we have now too. Sunsetting is making Revoker and all the other top class PvP weapons useless so it doesn't matter anways? You're right and you're wrong. Non of the weapons being sunset are going to be useless in PvP outside of Trials and Iron banner. It, along with every other gamebreaking weapon will still exist and that's fine, but not for the Survival game mode (ranked). Fine, how do you fix Revoker. No aim assist, no reserves. Landing headshot kills will grant a shot to return to the magazine. If your sniper has the potential to never run out of ammo, then you don't need aim assist. You get ammo from missing shots, so why should you be rewarded for that? You should be rewarded for getting your precision. If you're upset about it being nerfed and how that could effect PvE, I say its not meant for PvE. Many weapons in this game are not ideal PvP weapons so for you to get a sniper that requires you to play ranked PvP and get sniper kills in PvP, it needs to be balanced for PvP. and kills I understand it's a pinnacle weapon but it isn't fair or fun to try and play against and it forces people to just stay back and camp for supers and sword peek. It's also the reason people for the most part never run any other Kinetic snipers. Eye of sol is a trials weapon, Bit of the Fox is an Iron banner weapon, Silicon Neuroma is a nightfall weapon, Supremacy is a raid weapon, and I have no reason to go for them because this is better than every legendary and exotic sniper for crucible and you can still run S tier energy weapons with it. You got the sniper from being a good sniper, so you need to be a good sniper to use it to best ability. Archetype fixes. Hand Cannons are also a much larger presence and problem in PvP Crucible, as the fast pace of the gameplay in conjunction with needing only make minor aim adjustments make the 150rpm hand cannons near unbeatable in the hands of dedicated PvP players. I understand there must be a skill ceiling where you reach the peak of your personal skill and for your skill you should be rewarded which is why i don't gripe over hand cannons as much. However, saying it isn't problematic when everyone swaps to Spare Rations or Dire Promise would be a lie on my part. In all honesty I don't know how you could balance hand cannon's besides buffing the other hand cannon archetypes to make them more viable. I really don't know. Cheap weapons and hackers. Mountaintop should not be a one shot kill in Crucible. Mountaintop should not have sticky grenades that take eons to detonate. Mountaintop should not be a top pick for any ranked game mode. Players should not have to use Mountaintop with sticky grenades to counter hackers, because Bungie has failed to do something about them for this long. Whoever has allowed The Mountaintop to go unchanged in the Crucible for this long needs to be fired from the balancing department along with the guy in charge of getting the Anti-cheat up and running, along with his boss. For PvE Mountaintop is great and should remain unchanged, but as long as there is Special Ammo on spawn, Mountaintop should not one shot or be nearly as viable as it is. Please comment and tell me how, in a gamemode such a Trials where the best of the best go head to head for the ultimate victory, is a weapon that can one shot anywhere to the body, flies straight, and can be switched to mini proximity mines, allowed. That is an incredibly dumb decision and in fact, when people don't use it for the whole game, then switch to it when they start losing because they KNOW its a crutch? It shouldn't be in Crucible at ALL in my opinion but I think i'm just biased against it. And the excuse that it's difficult to get isn't viable. I got mine in 3 days of average playtime in Mayhem Control while using Colony, Militias birthright, and truthteller. Sword Peeking. Stop allowing players to hold a sword with no ammo. It serves no use and its melee attack does less than a regular melee. Id love to head replies and talk to you guys about what you think. Thanks for reading.
2020.08.27 15:37 MSH0123Meet my Foster Dog: Hicks! A Belgian Shepherd / Malinois
I hope this is an OK thing to post on here. My husband and I (and our dog, Stella) have been fostering this pup via Heidi's Legacy for a few weeks. Since he's a unique breed, he hasn't had a lot of search hits on his PetFinder profile so I thought I'd share his sweet face with a wider community! Hicks is about a year old (one vet aged him at 2 years, one vet at 9 months, so likely somewhere in the middle). He's super sweet and just wants to be near his "people" at all times, and he would spend hours chasing a tennis ball if we'd let him. Like any shepherd, especially a shepherd puppy, he has a lot of energy but he's also surprised us with how easy-going he can be as well. When we're working quietly or just lounging on the couch, he's either play-wrestling with our dog or they are both taking a little snooze. He's extremely smart, has been great with our dog, and he's met friends, aunts, uncles, and a fragile grandmother who have all been smitten with him! Not sure about his compatibility with cats or kids. https://preview.redd.it/v63a1jmlsjj51.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5f236e6b104028e14ca3542dc60e2561c2e74638 Heidi's Legacy is a great organization and entirely foster-based, so if you or anyone you know are looking to adopt a dog- check out their adoptables page on PetFinder: https://www.petfinder.com/search/pets-for-adoption/?shelter_id%5B0%5D=FL307&sort%5B0%5D=recently_added If you want to see Hicks's perfect face every single day, check out his profile: https://www.petfinder.com/dog/hicks-48590078/fl/tampa/heidis-legacy-dog-rescue-inc-fl307/ Heidi's Legacy requires applications to be submitted and approved before any scheduled meetups with the pups, their online application can be found here: https://www.heidislegacydogrescue.com/application
2020.08.24 05:21 FromAshes2NewYSK: There are apps and online resources that can help manage your mental health if you can't afford and/or get to a therapist right now.
Times are tough for everyone. I work in an ER, and was put on a team tasked with finding apps and resources to send to coworkers to help them manage their stress levels, especially now. It slowly evolved into a list to help with different mental health struggles like anxiety, depression, stress, and more. People wanted apps, but they wanted online therapy apps too, so they went on the list. Therapy doesn't have to be extremely expensive, and sometimes visiting an online group is less scary than visiting in-person for some people. So far, many coworkers have said that having an arsenal of tips and tricks to handle and track how they're feeling can help them recognize negative thought patterns and manage any symptoms they're having. Addiction
Quit That! – Habit Tracker - Free for iOS devices. This app lets you track as many things as you'd like and find out how many years, weeks, days, hours, or minutes it's been since you quit.
Twenty-Four Hours a Day - Free for iOS and Android. There are 366 meditation choices on this app that can help you focus on sobriety.
Self-Help for Anxiety Management- Free for iOS and Android. You can build a personalized 24-hour anxiety toolkit, track anxious behaviors and thoughts, and there is 25 self-help techniques you can learn. The "Social Cloud" lets you connect with other app users for support.
MindShift - Free to iOS and Android. Targets young adults and teenagers with anxiety. It encourages users to face challenges, ride out emotions, and change how you think about anxiety.
CBT Thought Record Diary - Free for iOS and Android. Document any negative emotions, reevaluate your thoughts, and analyze and thinking flaws you see.
Pacifica - Free for iOS and Android. You get a toolbox to help you deal with daily stress and anxiety, and there is a large supportive community. It can help you with unhelpful thought cycles and behaviors using mood tracking, mindfulness meditation, CBT, and relaxation.
Iona Mind - Free for iOS and Android. This app will help you identify patterns and track your moods. It has a toolbox to help manage stress and anxiety, and there is a Smart Journal and Guided Mental Health Check-Ins.
eMoods- $2.99 for iOS and Android. Users are allowed to track their psychotic and depressive symptoms throughout the day, irritability, and elevated mood. You can use a color-coded monthly calendar to see how your mood changes, and you get a report to help identify triggers.
iMoodJournal - $2.99 for iOS and Android. You can record everything from sleep and medications to energy cycles, mood, and symptoms. Summary charts will help analyze your feelings.
Mood Tools= Free for iOS and Android. This app supports people with clinical depression by having videos to help lift mood. You can use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy principles to log and analyze your thoughts, and there's an option to develop a safety plan for suicidal thoughts.
Talkspace - $65 to $99 a week for iOS and Android. You can text message licensed therapists as often as you need with this app. There are couple and individual services, and your family and friends can download the app to learn support skills.
Recovery Record - Free for iOS and Android. This app is for people recovering from an eating disorder to help develop a more positive body image. You can keep meal records and complete various questionnaires. It's also an outlet to vent.
Rise Up + Recover - Free for iOS and Android. You can track your meals and your feelings when you eat, and you can transcribe any progress you have in a PDF. There's also quick coping strategies.
Breathe2Relax - Free for iOS and Android. This app comes from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It teaches users how to perform diaphragmatic breathing and manage stress to help with the fight-or-flight response.
PTSD Coach - Free for iOS and Android. The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the VA created this app, and it gives self-assessments, positive self-talk, support opportunities, and anger management. You can use your needs to create customized tools to help too.
UCSF Prime - Free for iOS and Android. This app comes from Danielle Shlosser, a psychiatry professor. If you have schizophrenia, you can use it to connect to other people who have it. You can track challenge goals as well.
10% Happier - $12.99 a month for iOS and Android. It has over 500 guided meditations and videos on topics ranging from stress and anxiety to sleep and parenthood. They add new content every week, and there are small stories.
Calm - $12.99 a month for iOS and Android. This app provides sleep stories, guided meditations, relaxing music, and breathing programs to help with anxiety or stress.
What's Up - Free for iOS and Android. It uses Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. There is a negative and positive habit tracker and a get grounded page that offers over 100 questions to help you figure out exact how you're feeling.
notOK - Free for iOS and Android. Designed to be a suicide prevention app, you get a large red button that you tap to let family, friends, or your support network know you need help. You can add five contacts, and you'll send an automatic GPS signal to them if you hit the button. It also sends a message that reads, “Hey, I’m not OK! Please call, text, or come find me.”
Super Better - Free for iOS and Android. You can use this app to help improve your coping skills, create new healthy habits, complete meaningful projects, strengthen your relationships, and set goals.
Wysa - Free to iOS and Android. This is a chatbot for mindfulness, stress, anxiety, and depression. You can track moods, and it incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy.
Woebot - Free for iOS, Android, and PC. This is a chatbot that gives you step-by-step guidance to think through situations, track mood, and use tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Online Therapy Apps
BlahTherapy.com - You can talk to a stranger for free or talk to a trained professional from BetterHelp in unlimited sessions for $40 to $70 per week.
iPrevail.com - This is a peer-to-peer model that will connect you to a trained peer specialist to talk or vent.
Huddle- This is an app in the iOS store that gives you the chance to talk to people around the world in safe spaces.
7Cups.com - The therapy app has thousands of listeners, or there are paid versions for $12.99 per month with an average cost of $150 per month. They offer text and email-based support too.
WeAreMore - Peer support app for free for people with chronic conditions who want to talk to someone who really understands. They also have a Therapy Finder feature.
PsychCentralForums.com - Will help you find a therapist anywhere in the world. They also have a free therapy forum, weekly chats, social chats, and more.
2020.08.23 05:57 Brain_evacuatedThe Meld II (19): Path-finder.
The Meld II (19): Path-finder. As the sun began sinking, Nahrl realised he had underestimated badly. On the other side of the basin the City seeming far closer than it actually was. The fault in review proving the madly towering scale of the splintered ruined towers, combined with far taller trees deeper along on this side as well. Both factors combining to deeply confuse his normally accurate sense of distance via bamboozling the measure of relative scales. There being a paradigm shift over here. Though occasional forced backtracking didn’t help them reach their destination quickly either. As if on cue he heard another approaching Drone. ‘To cover.’ Nahrl signalled. With deep reluctance, but necessary haste, the party hustling off the animal track. Each member - carefully - merging among the grown denser, stranger undergrowth. Ideally disappearing under the eaves of only passive large rubbery leaved plants. Avoiding contact with the increasingly prolific and problematic hanging vines and other menaces. Some of the trailing plants, lately waxing in numbers, moved in alarming ways. More carnivore, it guessed ancient science altered, plantimal forms. Judging on variations of feature and colour several species. A few deceptively beautiful, scenting richly attractive as well, probably luring occasional victims that way. Perhaps it cautiously looking upward rather than down tripped Gryll. The Rogue emitting a sharp wordless electronic burst of surprise whilst plummeting from sight. Their Korvax friend vanishing into a previously unseen drop, trailing a scatter of netted plant growth with him, a profusion once matted across the gap possibly only accidentally concealing the now exposed void. That event, in part, glanced under the optics of Efor, as rear guard, the Gek cursing out, ‘Gryll!’ over comms., whilst the Sentinel drew nearer. The machine floating down the natural path they had lately taken, only the Drone, red lens flaring, arriving upon them from the opposite direction. Akin to the Pentacle Minus One, the Sentinels currently also forced to patrol natural conduits, else, unlike the friends, they zoomed along high above the canopy. Efor easily understanding, given the hanging banes and so on, why some wise animals had created safer trails via habitual movements. Although the animals also ventured off trail to forage on occasion most doing so tentatively with great care. Nature a good teacher. They had all witnessed what happened to startled bolting animals rushing wildly off their own paths in panic. At this end of the jungle, the vines oft catching unlucky ones. Some manner of thorn injected neurotoxin suspected. Anyway, the deaths jerky, quick and loathsome. Presently the more usual in many woods semi clear space between the canopy and the undergrowth full with those tangling jungle style spilling liana like vines. Some of which, (confusingly far from all), retaining the aforementioned animalistic predatory qualities. Meanwhile, back in the perilous moment, the Drone gliding forward, drifting effortlessly upon a sophisticated anti gravity drive. The thing only pausing to smoothly pivot in mid air as if sniffing, though clearly attracted by the previous sound of Gryll’s fall. It then followed on with a slower virtually stalking level of creeping advance, shifting cautiously almost as if nervous while still buzzing ever closer orientated to the hole and via loose grouping the concealed party too. All the hiding above ground companions growing more tense and still. Thoughts of Gryll’s fate deferred momentarily by their own requirement to stay unnoticed. The Drone ultimately halting a little shy. The mechanical mind computing its best reactive options whilst listening for further discordant noises via sharp microphones. It wisely hesitant to advance deeper off the trail into the often lethal undergrowth beyond. Though the friends unsure how deadly the vines might be to a machine, perhaps it merely didn’t want forced to wound or destroy to break loose. That being one advantage here - for the Pentacle Minus One - the Drones seeming to know, and to avoid, deep jungle complications. Thus the friends as long as they stayed hidden and remained still might yet be safe. Although the sound of Gryll’s fall a bit of ill luck. Grim games of retreat or hide and seek presently too familiar. The area, nearest they guessed to the City limits, had ways suspiciously hiving with mechanised patrols. It as if the Sentinels intent upon keeping people out, else people or other unknowns cut off and imprisoned within. Many times Drones or Quads had forced the friends to stealthily backtrack and skirt around seeking a better gap in the defence only to be moved on again, primarily using those safer crisscrossing animal trails. Thus it would go until Nahrl, in deep frustration, would get a little bolder and chance them to slip around some judged narrow chink in another defensive ring. The cordon proving many layered, though really it was less geometric than a simple ring in action due to the random forest pathways. Nahrl oft fearing they would get caught in the middle of this dangerously monitored zone, exposed and attacked from all accessible directions with no sane escape off trail. Using a jetpack under the canopy a virtual suicide via vine. Even if the thorns did not penetrate shields, the tangling would immobilise and delay making anyone snared easy Sentinel targets. Luckily the Forest - for all its exotic menaces - especially towards Efor -, or so he still claimed, also provided ample cover on the slightly safer fringes of the well judged animal trails at least in selected spots. Machine noises by the Drones and Quads usually giving their approach away reasonably clearly in advance. The party however, in their traverse, forced to move slowly, constantly listening with their suit microphones turned up, or their ears straining. Whilst despite precautions a few too close calls kept everyone stressed. Yet, so far, they had remained undetected with the exception of one previous mishap: The event when Efor shot the shrieking initially hidden ground dwelling tentacle sprouting hunched plantimal thing that had ambushed him, no pun intended. That encounter precipitating an especially tense rout. The group fleeing - alerted - Drone attention down various tracks. The unholy hooting shrieks of the weird plant animal mix when it fought and died easily rallying Sentinel attention and ire. Despite the one aberration, simply stealthily retreating or taking to concealment for a time often proved good enough, whilst that lone chase occurred before they entered the main body of this apparent Sentinel cordon. It also happening before they got surrounded by especially dense masses of the troublesome hanging vines. As they neared the City outskirts matters ranging from bad to worse in multiple ways. If the SmugglerGek flew directly into the heart of the City they probably had no idea just how lucky they had been in avoiding a jungle trek. Although Nahrl, as ever, did a diligent Scouting job as a master of the path-finding craft, including being a Fox expert at avoiding rather than finding trouble. As Sentinel encounters waxed frequent, rather than sporadic, it getting harder work. Therefore they had toiled in increasing despair - anything but directly - towards their desire the sun steadily sinking, that blessed orb’s kindly presence waning early, its light diffused, horribly barred, by the barrier of the jungles intimidating growth. In a way the shade aiding their cover from angry machines, but it hardly boosted their morale. Meanwhile, the currently menacing Drone scanned a local berry heavy thorn bush with suspiciously luscious looking fleshy yellow fruit. Then seemingly content, began to float away. Efor felt he was sweating Gek stink inside his helmet, despite temperature controlling. To him the cursed unnatural predatory flora bad enough without machines congregating as well. Yet since he donned his helmet and turned his suit olfactory sensors off, the traverse had become more tolerable on one level at least. It a hard price for him to pay though - as a Gek: Not scenting his environment directly with his own nostrils that made him feel somewhat sense blind. Though he found himself naturally increasingly relying upon optical and sonic input instead. The sweaty weary Gek cursing inwardly, yearning to get away from the freakish claustrophobic living domain. The Damn Drone too typically taking its time about moving on, it only going a few Gek paces distance before pausing again, to scan some other relatively mundane object in the vicinity. Efor often wondering precisely what the machines scanned for, though maybe it something less obvious than it appeared. Perhaps it sought signs of material instabilities in the structure of reality: Fluxes in the quantum foam or other esoteric hokum well beyond his level of general science learning - well mostly - ignoring his occult days. Whatever the machine obsession, it left Efor desirous of screaming. Could such routines be programmed in, to deliberately test the nerve of any trespassers they hunted? A big part of him wanted to end his tense vigil by leaping up from his crouched cover to shoot the cursed thing down without mercy. He envisioned that action several times over, it seeming a grand Gek fantasy. Sadly although decisive martial action might appear the quick solution to move along unmolested, more probably it very much not so. Rash action only summoning more of the damned things, beginning a grim too standard escalation of hunting reinforcement. Truly, it would not surprise him if Drones did loiter - simply to act as tempting targets - offering themselves up as disposable bait. Coming under fire being a fine way to pinpoint and reveal hostiles to their wider conglomerate. If they did play such selfless games, it actually rather cunning for spawning bots. Given how it usually played out, Efor knew staying concealed the best option of all, yet every time they were trapped he struggled to retain his necessary immobility. The Gek now appreciating how much he lacked the Foxes - at need - almost meditative levels of deep inner and outer stillness. Their patience in particular when hiding and stalking both impressing and sometimes frustrating the spawn out of him. By comparison, staying perfectly still, for him as a Gek, often a battle of fraying willpower over natural fidgety inclinations. Worse, he personally also felt a betraying inner part of him yearned to give all their positions away in a deliberate devilish manner. A mad impulse perhaps of the former CultGek tempting him. How he hated that horrid being - he had fled away from - so long ago. Evil thoughts from that SurvivorGek still ironically making him itch to do dire things. Yet such simply his unhappy - once broken - mind being converse, when he dwelt too much upon haunting old matters best left to wither and die. Occasionally remembrance of an ill history can spawn with your better nature. Mocking the hard won successes, claiming there actually no hope and no escape from the Gek you used to be. As his Seniors had oft lectured: The pyramidal tiers of the Cult is all! Beyond such advancement only a soul devouring darkness. You fed the Darks, or the Darks fed upon you! That was the devil’s compact. Once in the Cult, always a Cultist… The Dark Taint - not a matter easily expelled - it seeped in deep to meld firmly with your being. Forbidden knowledge rooting in your cells as if some malignant cancerous mutating blight or roguish, (off kinder remit), invasive nanotech machines. How do you escape from yourself after you have become what you become? Of course, some of that a lie designed to help keep New Initiates bound to their New Masters, yet a shadow of truth in there too. The taint did stain you, you were never quite free of it or the same Gek you were before initiation. ‘Bah!’ He complained inwardly turning away from the old - too familiar - horror of his shadowed history. Turning instead to immediate concerns about the lone Sentinel and Gryll. Was Gryll alright? He must have fallen down a sink hole, perhaps dropping into a deep cave system or even an old Warren living space or tunnel, it being Hellespae after all. Unlike any other world he had traversed, this one a labyrinth of ancient and modern underground - manufactured workings - not just natural tunnels and caves though there remained plenty of those as well. In some ways, more occurring underground these days - in places - than happened above on the surface. Especially since the return of the Sentinels, the Hellespae Underdarks hiving with banished Tusk and Fox souls, although that not, he realised, the most auspicious way to consider it. Some of his nasty thoughts probably seeded by memories of the Forest Stink yet wounding his equilibrium. At least Gryll smart enough to remain quiet after his accident. Efor positive the silence just Gryll being sensible, not say the effect of him falling down some unholy ruinous abyss to lie broken. Bah! Gryll had a jetpack and active shields too. No mere fall would easily end the rare Traveller Korvax. Nonetheless, Efor itched to rush over to the hole to investigate the unexpected happening, even as a potential underground escape from the testing jungle trek. Yet he dared not move whilst the Drone yet lurked so close listening. Again he had to resist that urge to pop up and shoot it. It coming to his mind that if he destroyed the spawning thing they could all jump into the hole to hide from any deeper attention that action might draw. Yet he knew drawing that added attention - stupid - and leaping into an abyss might lead to other issues even if it presently seemed attractive. It proving a harsh wait indeed, when Nahrl lobbed a well aimed stone that had the Drone move off to investigate that sound. Now why didn’t I think of that low tech solution, Efor thought, then realising probably because it was low tech. Bah! You could get too dependent upon machines. When it finally out of range, Efor gave out a great sigh of relief and sprang into physical action. The movement an intense Joy, Joy. Yet he was careful enough to mind his own footing lest he tumble beyond some vegetative edge in an undignified and worse overly loud crashing manner. It was only belatedly that the Gek judged himself a fool. After all, he could have silently linked into Gryll at any time to ascertain his friends present status including during his hiding vigil. There being no need to rest in ignorant trepidation. Yet in the moments of concealment, thoughts of communication with others had abandoned him. Maybe a good thing, as sometimes it better to stay alert rather than be too distracted by a back and forth babble. Although he had kept up a busy inner monologue in his head with himself that somehow less bothersome distracting. ‘Gryll fell into something.’ Efor nonetheless broadcast by comms., to the others first. ‘Heard him drop.’ Nahrl sent back, soon moving over with Jhasq ranging behind him on one flank, something lethal tactical about that deployment not to mention hunting sinister. In the jungle the Foxes seemed to wax predatory. The way they stalked sending a natural thrill of alarm to the Gek almost activating a prey flight or fight instinct. Yet it was just Nahrl and Jhasq - his friends - he let the cowardly impulse go. ‘You alright down there.’ Nahrl sent, doing the obvious, before Efor framed and transmitted his own planned query. That being what he got for distracting thoughts of Fox Predators hunting him through the undergrowth. ‘Fine.’ Gryll replied lightly as if surprised at anybody even being concerned. ‘So what have you found down there?’ Efor sent turning his torch on to peer into a narrow round shaft that ran perfectly straight. The lengthy hole although well overgrown in places by normal creeping weeds - denoting possible antiquity - had all the signs of a once well cut Terrain Manipulator type escape tunnel. The sort of thing wanderers had a habit of excavating as short cuts to the surface when stuck deep underground. Though Efor mused it could also as easily be an old - no thrills - air shaft of some manner. Somehow it didn’t strike him as a sensible purposeful entrance. There being no ladder or even cut semi hidden hand and foot holes nothing of that aiding civil engineered nature visible anyway. ‘A Fox Warren area, of a sort, although…’ Gryll trailed off for a time. ‘…something else too.’ The Rogue added with a very different - far more serious - not to add mysterious tone. From above Efor could make out hints of his friends torch light flickering around below though it didn‘t really help him to see much more, not even when combined with some steadier plant based bioluminescence also present. Yet peering down as if through a long non magnifying telescope he did glimpse hints of a blocky overgrown shape directly below that instinctively disturbed him slightly, though he could not immediately appreciate why at that distance. He didn’t dwell too much on it though, partly because, of late, so very much disturbing him. Being half freaked out seemed his present mode of the moment. Strange what you can get used to, including a constant ambiance of terror. ‘Coming down.’ Efor stated before leaping in cushioning his fall via short taps of his jetpack. The Gek veering off slightly from the protruding object directly below. Although he landed a little awkwardly to one side of the block, Efor felt instantly safer with all the primary jungle growth now a good distance above, better yet with mostly a fine deep stone barrier between him and it. Truly Joy, Joy. Without a word Nahrl then Jhasq also slipped down to join their colleagues also using a little jet power to avoid colliding with the central object and to land well enough. ‘Does it run our way.’ Nahrl asked immediately, whilst looking around, his mind still set firmly on the journey ahead. Efor judging even their Scout happy to potentially get away from among the trees, in his case to avoid the increasingly troublesome Sentinel patrols now taxing even his stealthy guidance. Actually Nahrl had long been looking for ways underground ever since they entered the hanging vine jungle style part of the Forest biome, without luck in that side quest until now. The only hollows previously observed being some too obvious animal style - dug out - burrows that Nahrl considered best avoided, a choice Efor firmly agreed with not liking the idea of what might lurk in those locations. Something about those holes, maybe another smell, also giving him the creeps. It probably amusing Nahrl now though that Gryll - by sheer mishap - had perhaps found what he could not, despite all his scouting craft. Although that they had striven to avoid straying off the animal trails, (as much as possible), probably ill helping with locating underworld entrances. Efor took in the new area. It was a largish, mostly open, space ignoring the elevated central block. Certainly the Pentacle Minus One not crowding it, but it was not vastly huge either. The shaft actually at the apex of a smaller perfect but compact dome shaped void that then widened via a hard edged circumference into a broader flat ceiling. Directly under the shaft and dome now, he looked at it better, in dimensions a suspiciously alter like slab of dark heavily carved stone. The stonework rather overgrown with hardy opportunistic weeds even inside the shaded hollow. Yet glimpses between that unruly growth that also colonised patches upon the wider mud caked stone floor did hint at elaborate - Fox - skill level carvings. Unfortunately, the object itself and the shapes half glimpsed of the things carved in relief soon presented as less Foxy and suggesting nothing pleasant. ‘An old Gek Blood Cult Shrine.’ Gryll stated firmly - but plainly - as if that fact no big deal, whilst playing his torch over the offending weed encased sacrificial alter block. Not, thank The Stars, active Elder Tech, just regular old inert stone - as far as I can tell. No creepy emissions here whatsoever, beyond the natural reactions it causes via association in any dark lore wise mind, or simply any vivid imagination.’ He added. ‘Filthy work.’ Nahrl barked out via a sending. ‘I hate that any of my people were involved in crafting such abominable things.’ The Fox glared at the weed choked alter stone as if its presence alone deeply offended. ‘Grimly, even quite recently Tusks often used enslaved Fox Masons to carve out their unholy Tributes and Shrines to the Dark Dreamer. Can you imagine it? Being forced to do such vile labours knowing your own people likely to be tortured, sacrificed and devoured there - body, mind and soul - at least according to the worst dark myths.’ Nahrl looking like he wanted to spit, or maybe to blast the old relic into chips and dust. ‘I didn’t credit our Father Geskhan promoted such worship - in his time - yet I guess such as this, (as some off world scholars might say), is simply evidence of the old Imperial Blood Cult.’ Jhasq noted. Gryll shook his head ever so slightly almost below easy biological perception in that sometimes understated Korvax way. ‘I calculate not so deeply official.’ ‘Why not?’ Nahrl asked. ‘Many little things don‘t fit. I fear you might be surprised too how the corruption of such darkling worship can spread, even into the most unlikely of places, among the most improbable of folk.’ ‘An earlier Tusk corruption than the advent of the Dreamer.’ Nahrl ventured. ‘Perhaps.’ Gryll replied but he did not sound too convinced by that idea either. ‘You know there are even it believed Korvax that secretly worship the Darks and not just Rogue Korvax. Once deemed Lawful Convergent folk too, some at first innocently simply doing research but going a bit too deep in their studies. Some vile doctrines can infect even the cool headed - akin to a contagion - acting as if a disease of the mind. All it takes is to get too close to the same and to exhibit a little weakness of character.’ That idea made Nahrl shudder inside and feel slightly depressed too. Why did evil always seem so pervasive and strong? Corruption so rife? He glared at the stone again with its leafy semi hidden, best not described, hints of dire images of Elder Horrors from Beyond any sane Beyond. Meanwhile, Gryll gave a little start and gazed away for a moment. They could all too easily guess at the cause of that abiding twitch, it becoming too familiar to the entire party. Surely Gryll was not hinting that…, Nahrl thought, soon finding one fresh idea offended him deeper than the Alter itself - so deep - he could barely bring himself to name it even in the seclusion of his own head. For a time Gryll seemed distracted. Perhaps his thoughts drawn away by that distant pulse that only he felt. A little reluctantly but unable to resist Nahrl asked. ‘So what - exactly - is so unofficial about it?’ ‘For a start it lacks certain expected hints of the Grand Imperial scale also richness of finish. Plus it is clearly well out of the City proper, hidden away here.’ Gryll noted in full scholar mode. ‘So? The Cults like to lurk on the fringes. That is nothing new, or it could be a minor split.’ Efor injected. ‘In this age you are correct. After all in these more reasonable times sentient sacrifices are judged by most both crimes and moral abominations. Yet during the height of the Gek Empire it was, you might say, a State run franchise, probably even here on Geskhan’s world to some degree. Not practices occurring in hidden places during clandestine gatherings. Although the Cults certainly always retained some secret - sacred inner sanctums - that few ever witness, those even rarer sites well distinctive in their own right. Such housing impressive collections of weird Elder Tech objects and / or a lot of questionable texts.’ ‘Is the shaft here ritual then, given its - obvious - orientation with the alter? A tunnel cut out to the sky and all that rests - far beyond it - to those worshippers.’ Jhasq asked. ‘Well spotted. Very possibly, good Fox, you have a fine scholarly mind. Moreover, I suspect it a flue of sorts for the unleashing of unholy smoke. Burned offerings occurring here, not just blood spilling. See here,’ Gryll pointed with his torch, ‘to me that a well contained fire pit though obviously long lost to use.’ ‘As if gutting people not creepy enough they had to cook parts of them too.’ Nahrl noted. ‘Very probably whilst they were yet alive to view and smell it. It adds to the terror, the spectacle and the drama.’ Efor stated angrily. ‘I know of a few particularly nasty rituals that veer in that horrid direction. You might say an unspeakable sort of barbeque.’ The Gek possibly grotesquely half joked. Nahrl felt a bit sick at the concept especially having seen some Dreamer Cult Shrines. Sadly the one at Bhathag’s Fort destined to be only one of many he would later help to uncover, digging for survivors after the bombarding Wrath of the Sentinels. ‘Hateful - so unnatural - so cursed wrong.’ Jhasq complained. ‘Hating the Cults, when you know them, a too easy habit.’ Efor agreed. ‘Let’s not linger here overlong. Is there an underground way onward from this place? A path that might better suit us than the Forest above?’ ‘Possibly. As easily noted four equidistant exits depart from this room, each facing a cardinal point, though how far any of those go… That one in our general direction.’ Gryll noted pointing again with his torch. ‘Still that immediate directionality might mean little enough any distance beyond it. This place - given what it is - may have been concealed I will bet by cunning twists and turns beyond.’ ‘Give me a moment to scout a little ahead, to see if any of these paths are worth using.’ Nahrl sent. ‘If our luck holds access might be found from here into a main Causeway or some other direct underground route straight into the City Centre. Such a substantial site should historically be well serviced by many such routes. That being why I was so keen to find us a way down. This place despite its former usage a fortuitous find Gryll. You bring us good fortune.’ ‘I spawning hope so.’ Efor sent back. ‘I really don’t want to go back up there again, especially in the deeps of night, it gloomy and grim enough in daylight. Anyway, those Sentinels getting too much. We are tempting fate keeping pushing into those patrols. Sooner or later they are going to detect and surround us.’ Perhaps complaining about the gloomy Forest an ironic statement given their current location, yet to the Gek the old Shrine despite its former infamy, (in closer examination), seemed dead. The power of the site - if it ever had any beyond wishful thinking and mundane social manipulation - spent - long ages ago. Its ancient evil kindly banished and buried under healthier intruding growth. The weeds here alone, including a few glowing bulbs shining cheerily bioluminescent almost banishing the shadows of former menaces entirely. Though none of the light makers that brighter traditional Warren lightweed, the glowing flowers still seemed to have turned the place picturesque enough, verging on charming at least through a less tainted lens. You simply had to ignore its old purpose and not look too closely at the semi-hidden carvings. Though the far walls remained shadowy enough, those walls never meant to be well lit. Never dedicated to Light and Life always to Darkness and Death. Nonetheless, defiant life bearing its own light had reclaimed and in that small wonder Efor found cheering glimmers of hope - a rare - good omen indeed. Still whilst Nahrl departed to do - what he always did - hunting a generally safe way onward - they poked around the Shrine with a certain difficult to restrain morbid curiosity. Though none of them brave enough - not even Gryll - to get up close with the alter stone itself. They all let that arcane object be, not even moving some of those screening plants aside to better view the abominations rendered so skilfully possibly by Fox hands below. Maybe if they did not have more pressing issues Gryll would have taken pains to record it all, as an interesting Blood Cult archaeological find, but compared to the grander moment of the guessed mega archaeology of the City proper beyond, this place seemed an insignificant distraction not worth much effort. Efor nonetheless found himself scraping away some dirt with his boot at a spot where he had expected to find something more obvious. Then in the end he pulled out his Multi-tool and reducing its power output significantly used a Terrain Manipulator function to clear a layer of earth and plant growth away. It was the slow deposit of ages, soil and so on washed down perhaps from above sprouting seeds too. Not so deep that soil, just a skim really, the MT simply making a quicker, cleaner operation of removing that covering from the patch obsessing him. Rightly enough it cleared a bigger capping stone to the rest of the pattern tiled floor. Yet a block Efor suspected might be less substantive than it looked plus weighted and balanced for easy opening in some manner. Foxes with stone cunning engineers, Efor seen many of their works in action. Soon he was pressing and prodding around but having scant success at finding a hidden unlocking mechanism. Jhasq however noting his failing work intervened, the Fox seeming to know the exact spot and quickly had the stone door swinging down upon concealed hinges. Though it stuck part way until forced by Efor. The Gek’s violent stomp causing something to give way so that the whole stone block dropped but also tilted at an angle one hinge at the very least broken. There was a little billow of dry dust when the lowest corner’s edge struck down hard accompanied by unsettling snapping crunches. Jhasq inhaled sharply then coughed out a bark in disgust at the sight revealed, whilst waving offensive particles away given their now visible source. Gryll just nodded as if expecting nothing less, Efor registering little emotion too being yet hidden behind his almost First Spawn style helmet. Perhaps in all the excitement forgetting to take it off or yet still wary of Forest stinks. Apparently the Gek using his grasp of Blood Cult lore and architecture to uncover the Shrine’s Ossuary a ritual depository of sacrificial bones. They all gathered around to shine their torches down upon the ancient victims to get a better look. Thankfully, there was little in the way of a bad smell as often accompanied tall tales of such finds. Here the surviving bones including many broken chips, all dry and dusty rather than wet and rancid. Among them a few recognisable skulls, some still sporting long distinctive Tusks. Kneeling down to look closer, Efor noted a few of the fragments had charring upon them but far from all. Some also seemed to have wicked tooth marks as if hungrily gnawed upon many such broken open and hollow edged as if the marrow greedily sucked from within. Had some critters found there way in to feast on the dead? Efor doubted it but ran his torch around the circumference of the pit to be certain, it all seemed lined with unbroken well worked stone. ‘Surprisingly early Tusk cannibalism taken to new depths of - self - abusive horror.’ Jhasq stated. Efor and Gryll let that go. They both had other thoughts, but if choosing to believe the crimes here committed by Ancient Tusks made dealing with the site easier for Jhasq neither of them saw much point in shattering her delusion. Sometimes a lie arguably better than a truth, when the truth only wounds. In this instance correcting didn’t seem to matter, the crimes - as the owners of the bones - all ancient history. Sometimes the abused become the abuser. Though given the age of this place Efor not sure which party started any cycle, maybe it would never be known with any clarity. Besides, this specific Cult could be statistically some rarity rather than evidence of a deep trend or any broader movement. Too often singular finds causing wild fancies about an entire society or culture, whilst they might only pertain to a twisted tiny subset of the same. This was Gek Blood Cult work though - from its form - even more so than modern Dreamer Shrines. The Dreamer Shrines had many commonalities with Gek Blood Cults, as Efor better knew them, but they also had their own peculiar kinks that set them distinctively apart. As if the Dreamer Cultists only acting out a faith in part copied from older forms as mere inspirational points of reference. Perhaps the Dreamer once robbing occult lore from Shadow Library files then warping those ideas to his own equally grim cultural desires and purposes. This site to Efor purer worship of a Dark or Darks, well if you can ever dare to call such actions pure. ‘Come away from it Jhasq.’ Gryll sent as he moved back. ‘Some matters - too deeply studied - can only disturb a soul’s grip upon their better self. You need not go there, recording such evil is not your business. You are a healer, not an Archivist of Cults of the Outer Darkness.’ Jhasq considered that and nodded backing away as Gryll suggested to join him at the far end of the room against one wall. ‘So many.’ She whispered aloud. ‘Such places can be active for a long time thus accumulating a horde of victims even if the killing rituals are rare enough and say calendar based.’ Gryll stated. ‘I’ll never understand these insane arcane wastes of life.’ She confessed ‘Which is a good thing.’ Efor sent joining them. ‘It is a pity the stone broke. Yet I have filled the mass grave in.’ He added holstering his multi-tool after clicking it off the create function. It was amazing what nanotech could do. Some tool functions even making mass out of seeming thin air, although actually it was always about complex processes of elemental compression, decompression, transport and conversion. After the Geks comment none of them spoke for a time. Not even after Gryll gave another tiny start and habitually turned searching for his ghostly signal. What was it about it? The Rogue mused. Somehow it felt almost familiar, akin to some data deleted but whose void left a distinctive hole in an internal memory space. Why did he feel that pulse fitted as if a key into a gap within his digital mind and soul. The more he thought about it the more it bothered him deeply, again it felt oddly personal and somehow no one else’s business not even his friends. He did not really want to discuss that particular aspect of the experience with anyone else, even though earlier when he had spoken of the pulse in general that had made him feel a little better. Gryll knew he now felt less isolated in his escalating plight. It was no joke to any Korvax though to feel yourself malfunctioning even due to an external influence. What if the systems of his Casing failed altogether? He would be lost into the keeping of the Atlas and then the Convergence at least such his supposition of belief. With Nahrl likely gone awhile, they settled in to wait. In truth, they were all a little tired, well maybe not Gryll - not physically anyway - though maybe emotionally he was worn down enough by that periodic pulse through his systems. Soon the Rogue standing with his back to one wall, whilst the others sat sprawled on the floor nearby all far away from the alter. Efor considering eating something but realised he had no present appetite. The Gek did happily take his helmet off though eventually stowing it away in his backpack. First he sniffed at the air hesitantly though, it proving fine only a little musty with but a hint of the malignant jungle scent down here. In fact, the more local weeds predominantly smelling fresh to him - clean - natural - normal. Again, Efor thought of that simple joyous life intruding into this space as a benison. He felt a little bad about clearing some of it away when harvesting the ground to expose the cap stone of the Ossuary. Yet he let it go, done being done and no open pit in evidence had surprised him. Besides, he filled the grave in with untainted freshly generated earth and that might soon enough be re-colonised by seeds and spores. There being some innocent enough fungi down here too. At least one type of which scented edible raw. Yet he was not of a mind to gather either opting to let it be. They waited in a companionable enough silence, each lost in their own contemplations. None wanting to burden the others with some of their occasionally darker chains of thought. Although overall Efor brightened a little, with the Ossuary buried and if you ignored the alter this place as good a rest stop as they might hope for. No horrid vines down here. Ideally no carnivorous plants at all - at least he hoped so. When Nahrl appeared he just looked them over and gestured for them to follow. They complied falling into the same single file order of march as before. The immediate way proved as serpentine and tricky as Gryll had hinted. The Rogue also knew his Blood Cults and was perhaps growing well familiar with Fox Warrens as well. Without doubt to casual intruders coming the other way there were ways that would have been easily missed and slants that would naturally deflect. Yet such not designed to hide from the opposite direction. Still there were several side ways Nahrl ignored. Efor wondering if he had explored any of those paths during his initial scouting or if Fox signs, invisible to the Gek, had guided him invariable down the main direction he wanted to go. At times Nahrl's ability to navigate underworld spaces seeming to verge on the uncanny. Yet Efor positive it was just deep cultural awareness, experience and mundane training. Also now having already scouted this way - it was all mapped in his head - so he moved with even greater surety. For a while no stalking involved the party making good progress at a steady verging on vigorous walking pace. Though all things must come to an end, thus as Nahrl reached the confines of the area he had already scouted he slowed and grew more cautious again. Occasionally having his colleagues wait whilst he checked out a questionable junction or passage. At one point even delineating the confines of an ancient pit trap. Some age old Warren defence against ignorant intruders. Nahrl claiming it a later edition than the working of the passageway itself, though he was positive the whole area long since abandoned to active occupation. They did find some small signs of life long departed. Some stone urns, a bowl some flint arrowheads and other less definable things that Efor did not recognise but where clearly worked items perhaps once part of something larger rotted away. For example a spill of some stone discs too big to be practical coinage. There was even some lightweed in places overgrowing from its once well sited tracks in the walls. At times due to wild proliferation almost too bright to easily gaze upon. Rather strange to be dazzled by light in deep tunnels. Disappointingly though the ways, some natural looking others very much Fox architecture, still rather meandering. Occasionally an old route walled off some possibly deliberately, others looking more akin to effects of ancient earth movements. Nahrl seemed intent, whenever possible, upon leading them ever downward. Did all the main Causeways rest at great depths? Before now that a possible fact Efor had not really considered, but now going on previous experience it might prove true. Even Bhargle, thinking back, lay deep enough.
2020.08.09 12:22 habom81Best 3D Printers For Kids Reddit
Hey reddit 3d printing recommendation for kids. Here are best 3d printer under $500 and $1000 for miniatures reddit 2020-21. Best 3D printers for kids reddit community:
Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer.
QIDI Tech X-Smart.
da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer.
TRONXY XY-2 3D Printer.
Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer.
HICTOP IDEX Independent Dual Extruder 3D Printer.
For More Details : https://3dprintersmania.com/ 3D printing is still a bit of a wild frontier in technology, but the category has matured to the point that it’s now affordable—and even kid-friendly. Essentially, 3D printers connect to your computer and let you create just about anything you can imagine that will fit inside the printer. There’s also a vast repository of fun stuff to try out over at Thingiverse, a sort of Google for 3D-printable objects. So let your kids design, print and enjoy stuff they make. And if adults want to get in on the fun, there are options on this list for everyone in the family. Before you shop, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the basic terms used to describe 3D-printing technologies. Keep in mind you’ll also need to buy filament for your printer, which is like buying ink for your printer. Here are the best 3D printers for kids: FlashForge Finder The FlashForge Finder 3D Printer - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The FlashForge Finder is a real-deal 3D printer that both kids and adults can use with confidence. FLASHFORGE I like the FlashForge Finder 3D Printer because it’s packed with all the features I like in regular 3D printers, but it’s been resized and rethought for younger users. It uses a cold printing deck so burns aren’t really an issue, and the big touch panel makes operation a snap. You can print from Wi-Fi, the cloud or a thumb drive. Best of all, the prints look great. Plus, it’s quiet, a big bonus since you might want to let the printer work away on a big project overnight. For $299, this is a solid choice for kids, teens and adults interested in doing some 3D printing. Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer The Monoprice Voxel - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The Monoprice Voxel looks and works like a big 3D printer, making it perfect for older kids (and old ... [+] MONOPRICE If you’ve got tweens and teens with an interest in additive manufacturing (the fancy name for 3D printing), the Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer is a great choice. Less toy-like than some other printers on this list, the Voxel also features a wider array of features and printing options, along with a quick-swap print head system for even more creative avenues. While it’s a bit more expensive (starting at $399), the Voxel has enough power and flexibility to allow users to make more complex objects.Best 3d printer 2020 reddit QIDI Tech X-Smart QIDI Tech X-Smart printer - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The QIDI Tech X-Smart printer has a playful look but the all-metal construction and wide range of ... [+] QIDI TECH Like the Monoprice Voxel, the QIDI Tech X-Smart printer is a machine you can grow with. While the look appeals more to younger kids, the capabilities are there for years of learning and development. For $399, it offers multiple print material abilities, tough, all-metal construction and a nice touch panel for making prints sharp and easy. Transparent doors keep prying hands away while the printer is in operation, and the X-Smart also has a low noise level while working. da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer The da Vinci Mini 3D Printer - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The da Vinci Mini 3D Printer comes with everything you need to get printing, including filament. DA VINCI The affordable da Vinci Mini 3D Printer may be small, with 6"-by-6" print space, but for young aspiring printers it’s a great place to start. Simple to use and with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can dial up a print object online and get it working in a short time. It even comes with environmentally friendly filament in the box. Once set up, you push a button and watch objects come to life. TRONXY XY-2 3D Printer TRONXY XY-2 - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The TRONXY XY-2 is great for older kids as they are required to build the printer itself. TRONXY This is a printer for curious kids who are interested not only in printing objects, but understanding how a 3D printer works. It's an open-air style, so maybe not the best for younger kids, but it allows for those interested in the mechanics of 3D printing to see and understand “how it works” while it prints. Plus, you have to build the printer itself (which is not difficult). Once built, the XY-2 features a nice touchscreen and accepts several types of print media. Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer Dremel 3D20 - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The Dremel 3D20 is a bigger printer, but it's also a great choice for kids as they can grow into its ... [+] DREMEL From Dremel, the people that make those amazing cutting tools, comes the 3D20 printer. Bigger than most of the printers on this list (and at $590, somewhat more expensive), the 3D20 is still easy to use, but it can print much larger objects. Fully enclosed, the 3D20 is safe for little kids to use but flexible enough for teens and adults to enjoy. Plus, it comes from Dremel, so customer support is widely available and reliable. The 3D20 is also compatible with numerous 3D object libraries like Cura so you can access a huge universe of objects to print. HICTOP IDEX Independent Dual Extruder 3D Printer HICTOP IDEX Independent Dual Extruder 3D Printer - The Best 3D Printers For Kids The HICTOP IDEX Independent Dual Extruder 3D Printer can print a blended-color object, or a two ... [+] HICTOP While not specifically targeted at kids, the Hictop IDEX printer is part of a growing trend in 3D printing: multi-color or “blended” objects as well as the ability to print two identical items at once, and even make them a mirror of each other. Starting at about $730 on Amazon, it is an “open” printer so it’s probably better for older kids to experiment with, but it helps reduce the cries of “I want one, too!” from young scientists. Plus, you can create some very interesting objects while using two different filament colors. A large icon-driven touchpad also makes operation very easy.
2020.08.09 00:15 World_of_IdeasCybernetic Parts and Upgrades
Cybernetic Augmentations: Parts and upgrades that can be installed on a cyborg (human / fantasy or sci-fi race) Most of these could also be installed on an android, a robot, a mecha, or powered armor Body Parts: (full cybernetic replacement or addition) 1. Skull - skull is reconstructed around the brain 2. Torso - chest and abdomen, possibly shoulders and hips 3. Arm(s) - shoulder to hand 4. Fore Arms(s) - elbow to hand 5. Hand(s) - hand and part of forearm 6. Leg(s) - hip to foot 7. Lower Leg - knee to foot 8. Foot / Feet - foot and part of lower leg 9. Tail (lightweight) - tail and part of spine. Improved balance and prehensile. (cat, dog, monkey) 10. Tail (heavy) - tail and part of spine. Bludgeon and swimming tool. (alligator, dolphin, shark) 11. Tentacle 12. Wings - wings and back muscles. May allow gliding; likely too heavy to fly, unless original creature could fly Sensory / Communication / Information Related Augmentations: 1. 360° Vision - cyborg has tiny cameras all around its body allowing it to see in all directions simultaneously 2. Altimeter - height above ground 3. Auto Mapping System - generates a 3d map of any terrain the cyborg can see or detect with sensors. Uses orienteering software to determine the cyborgs current position on the map. Cyborg can set waypoints on the map. Map can store up to 100 square miles (10 x 10 block) of terrain. 4. Bomb Detector - Special chemical sensor designed to detect explosive compounds 5. Bullet Tracker - Detects and tracks fast moving objects; display path of bullets 6. Calculator 7. Clock - alarm clock / clock / calendar / stop watch / timer 8. Communication System - wireless phone / radio / sat phone 9. Communication Encryption System - Encrypt and decrypt communications 10. Compass (GPS / Gyro / Magnetic) - Determines what direction you are facing 11. Computer - onboard computer that can run various programs or applications. Mods: processing power / memory / programs / isolated or integrated with cybernetic systems 12. Computer Cable + retractable cord - Universal jack with a retractable cord. Plug into any computer or electronic system that has a universal port. Send and receive data / power small devices 13. Computer Cable + (non-standard) plug - computer cord designed to access a specific type of (non-standard, alien, foreign, obsolete, prototype) computer or electronic device 14. Database - Gives cyborg encyclopedic knowledge of a subject. Possible subjects: (city / companies / creatures / criminals / medical / military / police / races / vehicles / weapons / worlds) 15. Depth Gauge - Determines the depth underwater 16. Electromagnetic Sensor - Detects electric lines and electronic equipment 17. External Display Screen - Small screen about the size of a cell phone. It can display (anything on the cyborg’s HUD / anything the cyborg has recorded / cyborg’s medical biometrics / text messages), so others can see it. 18. Eye Camera (wireless) - Eye camera functions even if removed; wireless data transfer 19. Eye Retina Recorder - Record, store, and display eye retina patterns 20. Facial Recognition System - automatically scans faces and compares to (criminal database / personal database) 21. Flash Compensators - resistance to being blinded by bright light 22. Forward Observer System - receive targeting data from drones, cameras at a known location, or other forward observer systems. Allows the cyborg to accurately target something, that they have no direct line of sight on. Cyborg can make accurate indirect (artillery, bounced or lobbed grenade, high arc bow shots, missile) attacks on the target. If the cyborgs weapons can penetrate intervening barriers, the cyborg can accurately shoot through walls or other intervening barriers to hit the target 23. GPS Navigation System - Global positioning system; map + location + desired location + directions. Requires map download of current (country / world) & access to local GPS satellites 24. Ground Penetrating Radar - Radar emitter in the cyborg’s feet. Can detect object or voids in the ground to a depth of 3ft to 100ft depending on density and radar (absorbing, refracting) qualities of the ground or intervening material 25. Gyro Stabilizer - Improved balance 26. Hearing Enhancement - ability to hear (infrasound / ultrasound) frequencies 27. Laser Communication System - send and receive communications via laser beam (to / from) any device equipped with a laser communications system. Requires direct line of sight. Very difficult to block or intercept 28. Laser Vibration Sensor - projects a laser onto a surface which reads vibrations passing through surface. Can be used to covertly overhear distant conversations by projecting the laser onto a surface near those who are talking 29. Lie Detector - Checks voice stress, body temp, behavior; detect when someone lies 30. Low Light Vision - see in very dim lighting as if it was daylight. While low-light is active, bright lights cause blindness unless also using flash compensators or sensory filters 31. Media Reader - cyborg can access, read & write to a type of electronic media (memory stick / removable hard drive / memory crystals / etc) whatever the current technology has available 32. Media Reader (non-standard) - cyborg can access, read & write to a type of non-standard storage media (alien, foreign, high security, prototype) 33. Media Reader (obsolete / outdated) - cyborg can access, read & write to a type of outdated storage media (magnetic reel tape / cassette tape / 5 ½ floppy disk / 3 ¼ disk / CDs / SD card, ROM cartridge, etc) 34. Metal Detector 35. Neural Pain Filter - Cyborg will know when it’s being damage but will be unaffected by the pain 36. Projector - Project images or video onto a surface. Often placed in the eye for looks, but could be installed anywhere 37. Projector (holographic) - Project a 3d image or video in the air. Often placed in the eye for looks, but could be installed anywhere 38. Proximity Alarm - triggers an alarm inside the cyborgs head when any (creature above “x” size, drone, robot, vehicle, known threat) comes within “x” distance of the cyborg. System can use any of the cyborg’s senses for detection and can wake the cyborg from deep sleep 39. Radar - Cyborg can send out radar pulses to detect objects up to “x” miles away. Cyborg can also detect other active radar systems within its range 40. Radiation Sensor (Dosimeter) - Detects radiation. Gives alert if (dangerously high level / lethal level / current prolonged exposure is reaching dangerous levels) 41. Range Finder - Uses small laser to measure distance to target 42. Recorder (full sensory) - cyborg can record and playback anything is senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, extra cybernetic senses) 43. Recorder (sound) - cyborg can record and playback anything it hears 44. Recorder (visual) - cyborg can record and playback anything it sees 45. Remote Control System - remotely operate any device (android / drone / mecha / turret / vehicle) you have the security codes to or a device that you have hacked. Requires that the device have wireless access or the cyborg to be connected by a control line 46. Sensory Filter (sound) - filter out unwanted sound frequencies & sound sources until you are left with the sound source you are trying to hear / bonus hearing perception + resistance vs. deafen 47. Sensory Filter (vision) - filter out unwanted light frequencies & dim light sources until you are left with the source you are trying to see / bonus vision perception + resistance vs. blinding 48. Signal Repeater / Booster - cyborg can receive signals an rebroadcast them. Radios and wireless communication devices get increased range when near the cyborg 49. Signal Jammer - Jam radio, wireless, and cell phone signals, within “x” radius / may also jam active sensors such as radar 50. Social Enhancer - sensors read the targets biometrics data (blood pressure, heart rate, voice stress) and involuntary responses (blushing, eye twitching, nervous tells). It then compares all the data against a social database of known behavioral patterns. Bonus to (perceive the targets emotional state, tell if the subject is lying) / Bonus to sway the target for or against an proposed (action, idea, plan). Bonus to intimidate the target. The system also learns from the target subject. Improved bonuses after prolonged exposure to the target 51. Sonar - see using sound waves 52. Sound Dampeners - resistance to being deafened by loud noises 53. Spider Eye - Removable eye has small legs, allowing it to crawl around. It has a wireless transmitter allowing it to send information back 54. Tentacle Sensor - Sensor on the end of a thin flexible tentacle. view through holes, cracks, and small spaces / look around corners without exposing yourself 55. Translator - Translates “x” number of written, spoken, and gestured languages 56. Universal Remote - Control remote devices; ex: TV or garage door; copy signal & broadcast 57. Vision Enhancement - ability to see (infrared / ultraviolet) wavelengths of light 58. Vision Enhancement - microscopic 59. Vision Enhancement - telescopic 60. Voice Recognition System - automatically scans voices and compares to (criminal database / personal database) 61. Wire Tap - Allows cyborg to tap into a communications land line. Cyborg can covertly listen in to communications being transmitted through the line Body Augmentations: 1. Blood Filtration - Filters harmful chemicals & pathogens out of the blood stream 2. Camera Blind System - tiny laser pointer turrets, that automatically target and track any cameras that the cyborg can perceive. When activated the system temporarily blinds any camera(s) pointed at the cyborg 3. Cat Fall Reflex - fall more than “x” feet; computer triggers cat fall; always land on feet 4. Chameleon Skin - Change color like a chameleon; cyborg can choose to (blend in with the background / stand out from the background / alter skin color) 5. Cloaking System - Cyborg can project an energy field that makes it invisible to most sensors / At higher tech the cyborg can project an energy field that make it invisible to visible light 6. Cosmetic Change - permanent change to the cyborg’s appearance (cybernetic look / realistic lifelike look / different nationality / different sentient species look / alien look / furry look / super model look / intimidating look / innocuous look). 7. Disguise System - cyborg can alter: (height, apparent weight, apparent build, facial structure, breast size, skin tone, freckles, wrinkles, hair length, hair color, eye color); proficiency in disguise / bonus to disguise 8. DNA Spoofer - Small pocket of different DNA blood in finger tips & arm veins; genetic chimera saliva glands produce different DNA in mouth. 9. Emergency Distress Beacon 10. Enhanced Neural Transmitters - give the cyborg faster reaction times 11. Evasion System - small jets located at various points on the body and a sensor suit connected to a micro-computer allow the cyborg to dodge and evade incredibly fast. Bonus to dodge, evasion, and dive for cover 12. Extra Set of Cybernetic Arms 13. External Cyborg Control System - Allows someone else with the correct passcode to (control / influence) the cyborg. (activate limiter / activate return command / inflict pain / remote access senses / remote control / remote shutdown / self-destruct / sleep mode / tracking device / etc) 14. Fake Death System - Slows heart beat, gives the appearance of organic part death, may even leak out fake blood where injured. 15. Flight System - jet pack / jet boots / anti-grav system 16. Float System - Inflate external air bladders; brings the cyborg to surface & keeps it afloat 17. Forged Part ID's - Fake ID numbers or codes on cybernetic parts; “I’m not the cyborg your looking for” 18. Gas Filtration System - filters in the nose and lungs. Filters out allergens, dust, pollen, smoke, many air borne pathogens & harmful gaseous chemicals 19. Gill System - allows cyborg to breath underwater 20. Glider System - glider wings unfold from back / flying squirrel membranes stretch out from the cyborgs sides 21. Heating & Cooling System - The cyborg can function normally in a temperature range of (-30°F to 150°F / -34.4°C to 65.5°C), while suffering no ill effects. x4 time increase between intervals of temperature based damage over time effects
Mod: Extreme Heating - no ill effects in temperatures at or above (-250°F / -156.7°C). requires at least 1 level of cybernetic armor or full cybernetic body
Mod: Extreme Cooling - no ill effect in temperatures at or below (250°F / 121.1°C). requires at least 1 level of cybernetic armor or full cybernetic body
22. IV drug system - Built in system for delivering drugs to cyborg's organic parts; ex: (adrenaline / antidote / antifreeze / anti-radiation / general antibiotics / pain killers / stimulants) 23. Kip Up System - Small jets in back; throw cyborg back onto feet from a prone position / go from prone to standing without costing an action 24. Light(s) - light (visual spectrum / infrared / ultraviolet) can be placed anywhere on body 25. Live Wire Tap - Clamp onto a live power cable or electric (fence, rail, weapon) and draw power from it; without frying 26. Medical Injector - same as injector (weapons). Hypo injector or hypodermic needle designed to inject drugs into a patient. Ammo: drug (type) / nanite (type) 27. Medical Nanites (antibiotic) - microscopic machines that seek out and attack harmful micro-organisms and viruses 28 Medical Nanites (antitoxin) - microscopic machines that seek out toxins. (capture & contain / neutralize / remove from body) 29 Medical Nanites (healer) - microscopic machines that repair tissue damage of the host 30. Med-Scanner (internal) - Monitors biological systems; diagnose problems with cyborg's organic parts. Gives efficiency bonus to (IV system, medical nanites) 31. Nanite Cleaning System - nanites clean any dirt, grime, or blood off the cyborg. Cyborg also dries 50% faster. Reduce duration of any damage over time chemicals sprayed onto the cyborg. 32. Parachute - Parachute built into back or back pack 33. Plastic Printer - Chems mix together & heated to form plastic; layer by layer they form into a 3d object (tool, weapon) 34. Power Cable + retractable cord – power cable with “x” feet of retractable power cord. Ability to power or recharge external devices / Ability to power or recharge the cyborg’s systems from an external power source / Might also be used to jump start a vehicle 35. Power Cell / Battery Charger - External port; Holds and recharges external power cells or batteries / may also draw power from power cell to power or recharge cybernetic systems 36. Re-Breather System - Filters air in lungs; separates O2 from CO2; hold breath for “x” hours 37. Redundant Systems - 50% chance that critical hit to a vital (organ, system) only counts as a normal hit 38. Reinforced Skeleton 39. Safety Limit Override (biological) - Cyborg can increase the strength and speed of its organic muscles at the risk of damaging itself. Risk of hp damage / risk of crippled limb (torn muscles or broken bones), until healed 40. Safety Limit Override (cybernetic) - Cyborg can increase the power of one of its cybernetic sytems (strength, speed, energy weapon damage, force field HP or regeneration, communications range) at the risk of damaging itself. Risk of HP damage / Risk of burning out system being used, until repaired 41. Sensor Spoofer System - system detects active sensors such as radar and sends back a signal that causes the sensor to miscalculate the exact (nature, location) of the cyborg.
Location - Active sensors calculate the cyborg’s position 3d6 ft in a random direction from its true position. Penalty for sensor based (artillery, turrets, & guided munitions)
Nature - Active sensors incorrectly ID the cyborg (animal, different cyborg, different person, friendly, normal human, vehicle). Cyborg can appear to be anything other than what it truely is.
42. Skill System - Micro-computer that runs skill programs allowing the cyborg to perform skills the cyborg hasn’t learned. Rating: Max level of skill the Skill System can run / Rating: Max number of skills the Skill System can run at one time
Chip Slots - Skill system has “x” number of external skill chip slots.
Internal Memory - Skill system can hold “x” amount of data for skill programs in internal memory
43. Solar Recharge - photoelectric cells in the skin or armor slowly recharge the cyborg’s power cells over time, when exposed to light (30% to 46% efficiency). Can act as a weak emergency power source if the cyborg’s power cells are damaged or removed 44. Speed Enhancement (biological) - upgrades to the nerve fibers and muscle fiber 45. Speed Enhancement (cybernetic) - high speed cybernetics / high speed communication between cybernetics and brain. Level: (civilian / law enforcement or security / military) 46. Stealth Materials - Cybernetics are made from materials that absorb energy from certain types of sensors, making the cyborg more difficult to detect with active sensors 47. Stealthy Movement System - quiet cybernetics, sound absorbing pads built into soles of feet. Sensor array tells you how much noise your emitting, if shadows are sufficient to hide you from normal vision, if a particular surface will make noise when you put weight on it. Micro-computer adjust the cyborgs gait (walking, running, sprinting), tumbling, and jumping (jumping, landing) so that it is nearly silent 48. Storage Compartments - place to store things
Mods: size / hermetically sealed / refrigerated / signal blocking
49. Storage Compartments (concealed) - concealed compartments with sensor spoofing tech that conceals compartment & contents from most sensors 50. Strength Enhancement (biological) - upgrades to the muscle fibers and skeletal structure 51. Strength Enhancement (cybernetic) - Level: (civilian / law enforcement or security / military) +100 to 500 lbs / + 500 to 1000 lbs / + 1000 lbs to 20,000 lbs. Note anything past 1000 lbs is unmistakable as cybernetic body and limbs 52. Tattoo System - Skin can display, add, remove, or move a set of preprogrammed tattoos. Upgrade: Bioluminescent tattoos 53. Thermoelectric Generator - If the cyborg is exposed to hot and cold at the same time it can produce electricity (5% to 8% efficiency). This system can slowly recharge the cyborg’s power cells over time 54. Underwater Jets - Water jets; propel cyborg through water 55. Underwater Operations Mod - Nictitating membranes cover the eyes, nose can seal shut like a seal, webbing stretches between fingers, webbing stretches between toes, submarine style ballast tanks 56. Voice Augmentation - (commanding, intimidating, singing) voice 57. Voice Synthesizer - cyborg can disguise it’s voice / cyborg can copy & mimic other people’s voices 58. Walker Pack - a set of robotic (spider legs / tentacles) attaches to the back of the cyborg. The limbs fold up when not in use. When in use, they can be used for movement, manipulating objects, or combat (credit: Marvel - Dr Octopus) 59. Water Recycling System - recycles waste water. A mostly organic cyborg reduces its water consumption by 50% / 90% if combined with a heating & cooling system / 99% if full body cyborg 60. White Noise Generator - increases difficulty of someone trying to eavesdrop on anyone within “x” radius of the cyborg Limb Augmentations: 1. Cable Trolley Hand - panel opens in the palm to reveal small motorized wheels, panels in the fingers open to reveal a slick non-stick surface. With one hand the cyborg can grab onto any (cable, rope, rail) that they can fit their hand around and the wheels will propel the cyborg along the line. The trolley can also reel in any line that weighs less than the cyborg (more is cyborg is anchored). The trolley can also do a controlled lowering of any line the cyborg is holding. 2. Drone Hand - Hand can detach and be operated remotely. It contains basic visual and auditory sensors. It may also contain hand or finger based weapons 3. Drone Tail or Tentacle (snake) - Limb can detach and be operated remotely. It moves in the manner of a snake. It contains basic visual and auditory sensors. It may also contain weapons 4. Enhanced Joint Rotation - Ability to turn joint 180º or 360º; finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck 5. Fast Draw Reflex - cyber-limb can draw a weapon from its holster faster than most people can see 6. Finger Camera - Mini-camera built into finger tip. Covertly look at things, look around corners without exposing yourself. Bonus to pick pockets 7. Finger Lighter - cigarette lighter built into one of the fingers 8. Fire Extinguisher - able to put out small fires 9. Fishing Line and Reel - line, hook, & motorized reel built in an (arm, tentacle, or tail). May also have an extendable / retractable rod 10. Jump Assist - (hydraulic spring / short burst jump jets) in legs; increase jump distance 11. Key (electronic) - an electronic key / Key for specific lock(s), device(s), vehicle(s), or computer program(s). May have a connector that plugs into a port or may be wireless. May be combine with a mechanical key for additional security 12. Key (mechanical) - a physical key extends or retracts out of a finger. Key for specific lock(s), device(s), or vehicle(s). May be combined with an electronic key for additional security 13. Laser Pointer - typically installed in a finger or the eye 14. Light(s) - light (visual spectrum / infrared / ultraviolet) built into back hand, finger tip, palm, tail tip, tentacle tip, or wrist 15. Limb Stabilizer - limb remains steady despite cyborg’s other movement. If it is physically possible for the limb to remain on target it will do so. Reduce penalties to aim (cameras, guns, laser pointers, etc) while moving, even at a full run / Reduce penalties when doing delicate work in a moving or unstable environment 16. Magnetic Grip - Electromagnets in hands, feet, and knees. Cling to and climb metal surfaces 17. Med-Scanner (external) - Med-Scanner equipment in hands. Used on other people 18. Micro Manipulators - Small articulated robotic arms; used for delicate work 19. Nanite Trackers - cyborg can leave nanites on any surface that they touch. The nanites will broadcast a tracking signal that is detectable within “x” range. The nanites can also be set to quiet mode, where they wont broadcast until they receive a specific signal. Power is good for “y” hours of active broadcasting 20. Omni-Limb(s) - Easily detachable limb that can be easily replace with any other omni-limb(s), even one with different capabilities 21. Palm Print Recorder - Records palm and finger prints when you shake hands; alter your finger prints to match 22. Prehensile Feet - Cyborg’s feet are more like that of a gorilla. Cyborg can manipulate objects with his or her feet as if they were hands. 23. Restraint Cutters - small retractable disc cutters, built into the wrist and ankles 24. Roller Blades (motorized) - Powered roller blades; much faster running on smooth surfaces
Mod: Roller Blades (rail guides) - Extra drop down wheels cling to sides of rail; ride one rail of train track
25. Running Legs - Legs purpose built for running. A spring system transfers more energy on each stride. High speed hip & knee actuators allow the cyborg to move its legs faster. Note these legs make no attempt at looking like real biological limbs. Allows running speeds up to 40+ mph 26. Speed Enhancement (single cybernetic limb) - Level: (civilian / law enforcement or security / military) 27. Strength Enhancement (single cybernetic limb) - Level: (civilian / law enforcement or security / military) 28. Task Optimized Limbs - gain bonus when performing specific tasks or using specific skills 29. Telescoping Arm or Leg - Extend arm or leg “x” feet beyond normal 30. Tentacle Hair - long braids or ponytail is actually a mechanical prehensile tentacle 31. Toe Camera - camera on the foot or shoe of the cyborg. View the world from floor level, see things you might have otherwise missed. 32. Utility Arm - Arm with set of smaller arms, tools, & power tools. Tool sets:
Weapons, Offensive, & Defensive Systems: 1. Ammo Factory - Cyborg can create “x” number of rounds for guns per day; automatically reloads internal weapons; If used for an external weapon, the ammo is stored in a concealed compartment and the gun or clip has to be reloaded manually 2. Arm Cannon - arm that terminates in a large (energy, projectile) gun instead of a hand. Essentially the arm is just an aiming mechanism for a very large gun 3. Armor - Armored exoskeleton, detachable armor plates / fiber weave, impact reactive hardening gel, nanite-weave, subdermal plates. Armor Level: (civilian / law enforcement or security / military)
Mods: corrosive resistant / electric resistant / fire resistant / laser reflective / radiation resistant
Mods: corrosive resistant / electric resistant / fire resistant / radiation resistant
5. Blades - sword, scythe, or claw like blade(s). Typically installed on the forearms, but could be installed in other locations.
Mods: (chain saw blade / drug or toxin / electrified / heated / mono-molecular edge / retractable / vibro-blade)
6. Blade (energy) - (force blade, light blade, plasma blade, etc). Typically installed on the forearms, but could be installed in other locations 7. Blinding Flash - Light that flashes or strobes incredibly bright; Blinds opponents 8. Bolt Cutter Teeth - Bite through hardened steel bars 9. Breath Weapon (Gas) - Cyborg can breath out (drug / toxic) gas 10. Claws - claws on fingers or toes.
11. Clip Reloader - external clip plugs into a port. Ammo stored inside the cyborg is loaded into the clip. Works with one size (caliber) ammo / Works with multiple ammo sizes 12. Cloaking Field Disruptor - projects an energy field that disrupts cloaking fields within “x” ft of the cyborg 13. Cutter / Welder (arc / laser / oxi-fuel / plasma) 14. Detachable Body Part Bomb - eye, finger joint, hand, arm, toe, etc. larger the part the bigger the bang. Type: (EMP / explosive / flash bang / fragmentation / incendiary) 15. EMP Shielding - Cyberware is resistant to electromagnetic pulses; reduce effect of EMP 16. Energy Clip Charger - External port; Holds and recharges external energy clips / may also draw power from energy clip to power or recharge cybernetic systems 17. Explosive Armor Plates - Shaped charges in armor; destroys armor; fragmentation bomb 18. Finger Garrote - Finger or finger joint comes off; retractable garrote inside.
Mods: (electrified, heated, mono-filament wire)
19. Force Field - energy barrier that surround the cyborg like a second skin
Mods: ability to extend field to cover area “x” ft radius / higher damage capacity / faster recharge rate
20. Force Field Disruptor - projects an energy field that disrupts force fields within “x” ft of the cyborg 21. Force Shield - creates an energy barrier in the shape of a shield attached to the (palm, backhand, forearm) 22. Folding Shield - Armor plates on arm fold out into a small shield 23. Forearm Folding Crossbow - crossbow mounted to the forearm. Folds up when not in use. 24. Grapple Hand - Launches a drone hand attached to line and reel; hand acts as grappling hook 25. Grappling Hook Launcher
26. Grenade Launcher / Mortar - fire grenades or mortar shells
Mods: internal magazine capacity / can use external clips
Ammo Types: aerial camera / aerial drone / air burst explosive / chaff dispersal / EMP / energy shield disrupter / explosive / flare + parachute / flash bang / fragmentation / gas + drug effect / holographic decoy / incendiary / limpet (proximity, radio detonation) mine / nanite dispersal / shaped charge / smoke / spider drone / tear gas
27. Gun (Air Gun) - gun that uses compressed air to fire a projectile. Typically installed in forearm or shoulder turret but small versions could be installed anywhere
Mods: external mount / external mount (turret) / internal, only barrel exposed / internal, concealed until activated / internal magazine capacity / can use external clips
Ammo Types: dart + drug / dart + nanite / paint ball + chemical / non-lethal (bean bag or rubber ball) / sensor blocking chaff / spikes
28. Gun (Chemical Sprayer) - gun that shoots a chemical spray. Typically installed in forearm or shoulder turret but small versions could be installed anywhere
Mods: external mount / external mount (turret) / internal, only barrel exposed / internal, concealed until activated / internal magazine capacity / can use external canisters or clips / ammo type / ammo selector.
Ammo Types: acid gas / acid sticky goo / drug gas / drug sticky goo / entangling sticky goo / fire / fire sticky goo / fire extinguishing foam / nanites / paint / pepper spray / smoke / etc
29. Gun (Energy) - gun that shoots (ion beam / laser / maser / neural stunner / particle beam / plasma / non-visible laser / tachyon beam) Typically installed in forearm or shoulder turret but small versions could be installed anywhere
Mods: external mount / external mount (turret) / internal, only barrel exposed / internal, concealed until activated / internal magazine / recharge time / can use external clips
30. Gun (Projectile) - gun (small caliber / large caliber / shotgun / needler / magnetic rail gun / gravitic rail gun) Typically installed in forearm or shoulder turret but small versions could be installed anywhere
Mods: external mount / external mount (turret) / internal, only barrel exposed / internal, concealed until activated / internal magazine capacity / can use external clips / ammo types / ammo selector / silencer / flash suppressor
Ammo Types: standard / armor piercing / energy shield disrupter / flares / frangible / incendiary / non-lethal (bean bag or rubber) / non-lethal (taser) / scatter shot / subsonic / tracer / tracking beacon
31. Hacking System - micro computer with code breaking, counter-cryptography, and hacking features. Auto hack weak systems, bonus to hack more difficult systems. Requires access to a terminal, or connection via (cable, network, wireless). Contains programs for quick: data (download, erase, upload) / install backdoor / security (alarm override, camera loop, door override, lockout, shutdown, turret override) / system (crash, shutdown) 32. Hand Taser - taser built into the palm or knuckles 33. Holographic Decoy Emitter - Small device designed to adhere to nearly any surface. Can be placed or thrown. Projects 3d image and audio designed to attract an opponents attention 34. Hydraulic Ram Fist - hydraulics in the cybernetic arm allow the cyborg to punch much harder. Possibly extending the arm up to 6 inches at the moment of impact 35. Injector - hypo-injector or retractable needle, built into the (fingertips, palm, elbow, big toe, tail end, tentacle end, tongue).
Mods: drug selector / internal magazine capacity / can use external ampules or clips
Ammo: drug (type) / nanite (type) / signal release drug capsule (type) / tracking chip
36. Knuckle Spikes - Small blades or spikes on knuckles.
37. Leg Weapon Holster - leg panels open to reveal a holster (Robo Cop style). Can hold a large pistol, knife, energy blade, etc 38. Micro-Drone(s) - insect size drone(s) that detach from the cyborg. Crawling drones / Flying drones.
Ammo Types: anti-missile / armor piercing explosive / chaff dispersal / EMP / energy shield disrupter / explosive / fragmentation / gas + drug effect / incendiary / nanite dispersal / shaped charge / smoke / tear gas
Guidance System: straight fire / active sensor seeking / heat seeker / laser guided
40. Micro-Torpedo Launcher 41. Monowire Web - spinneret for mono-filament wire built into the (finger tip, tail tip, tentacle tip). Creates a small sticky glob as an anchor point and creates monowire between two points as a trap 42. Nanites (defensive) - microscopic robots that protect cyborg from (hostile / unauthorized) nanites 43. Nanites (hacking) - microscopic robots that invade computers & electronic devices. They attempt to bypass the normal control systems and give the cyborg direct wireless control of the device. 44. Nanites (offensive) - microscopic robots that invade an opponent. Types: (disassemble / attack biological / attack electronics / attack nervous system). Can be delivered by touch, melee weapon, thrown weapon, or projectile weapon 45. Omni-External Weapon Clamp - holds an external weapon, powers said weapon, gives cyborg targeting data and ammo count of weapon. Allows the cyborg to fire the weapon hands free. Can attach any weapon that is designed for omni-clamps. Usually located on the forearms or shoulder 46. Palm Secretion (drugs) - Tiny pores in fingers & palm secrete a drug. Mods: drug type, drug selector 47. Palm Secretion (nanites) - Tiny pores in fingers & palm release nanites.
48. Psionic Amplifier - activate latent psionic abilities / increase effect and range of psionic abilities. *if game or story contains psionics 49. Psionic Disruption Field - disrupts psionic abilities within “x” ft of the cyborg. Increase difficulty of using psionics / weaken effect and range of psionic abilities. *if game or story contains psionics 50. Psionic Shielding - Shields the cyborg’s mind from telepathy and mental attacks. *if game or story contains psionics 51. Porcupine Spikes - Small retractable needles / spikes extend out; covers most of body.
Mods: (drug or toxin / launchable)
52. Recoil Compensators - specialized hydraulics in arm compensate for weapon recoil 53. Sensor Lock-on Jammer - automatically detects sensor lock-ons from automated weapons and guided weapons and jams the signal. 54. Sleeve Weapon - hold-out pistol or knife held in a concealed compartment in the arm. When activated the weapon springs into the cyborgs hand. Once ejected it acts like a normal weapon. 55. Smoke Screen 56. Sonic Emitter - Infrasound: induce feeling of uneasiness, dread. May cause panic attack / Loud: deafening, disorienting, painful / Resonance Frequency: cause some objects to shatter 57. Thrust from flight or jump system - heat, wind, and knock back from jet pack or jet boots 58. Weapon Smart Link - Link for external smart weapons; aim, track ammo, friend or foe ID, etc 59. Whip - a whip extends or retracts out of the (finger, forearm).
Mods: (electrified, heated, mono-filament wire)
60. Whip (energy) - a whip made of energy extends or retracts out of the forearm
Hopefully you read Hunting 101 and found it useful. There was a ton of good stuff people added in the comments as well so make sure to go back and read them. I'll be updating and modifying the original OP to add stuff. Unfortunately, the post is something like 399xx characters already and Reddit has a 40K limit. The goal is to post roughly a section per week. These aren't exactly short and take a few days to write/edit. While they're hardly complete, I do want it to contain enough information and resources where it's useful to new hunters. I don't expect to be helping experts by any stretch (I'm no expert myself) so some of this stuff may be generalized. That being said I do need help from someone who can send me some info on pig hunting. I've hunted most species in California and I know pig hunting is popular and lots of people have questions about it; however, pigs are extirpated from San Diego and the only pig hunting I've done is on a ranch in Texas using thermals... which is not legal at all in this state. So if you can do a quick write-up and send me some good info, that would be great. I can edit it and get it into the format I'm rolling with throughout. Also if someone can provide some suggestions on getting started with air rifles that would be great (u/errorseven pointed out I forgot about airguns which is admittedly because I don't know much about them). I should add there is a natural bias toward hunting in Southern California just due to the fact I'm writing what I know and not what I've heard at the campfire. If people from elsewhere in the state have region-specific advice I would really appreciate it if you added it in the comments. After all, we're fortunate enough to live in a state where one can surf, snowboard and hit sand dunes all within 2 hours of each other. The next section will cover elk, coyote, rabbit, and quail. Anyone who has gone elk hunting knows it's very similar to deer hunting so that section will be mostly about the differences instead of a full write-up.
Part 5: Getting the Dream Tag and General Draw Strategies
If you need a quick background on tags please read 'Hunting 101: Part 2: Tags, Stamps, and Points. Oh my!' To start: each person has a different view toward hunting and you need to determine which view you hold. Most new hunters have a "meat in the freezer" attitude whereas people who have been hunting for a while tend to be more in favor of pursuing the trophy animal. What does this really mean? The longer you hunt the more likely you are to pass on the young 2x1 buck (if you don't know what that means quite yet don't worry) and wait for chance of the mythical old 5x5 to come walking up. That is not to say every hunter fits this stereotype or that one view is any better or worse than the other. It's just a generalization. That being said, your attitude will affect your draw strategy. I'll explain more below. Just keep it in the back of your mind for now.
Deer Tag Types - Premium, Restricted and Unrestricted. What it all means: Deer tags in California come in three flavors: 1. Premium - These tags are allocated via lottery. The state determines premium deer tags based on whether the quota of tags was met on or before the first business day following 7/1. In short: if the tag sold out before the draw it's a premium tag the next year. You are limited to one premium tag per year and it must be your "1st Deer Tag" (I'll explain this later). The vast majority of "good" tags are premium tags. 2. Restricted - These tags are tags which didn't sell out by 7/1 but sold out by 8/1. This year there were no restricted tags. These tags are first-come, first-served and take the place of a "1st Deer Tag" if you buy one as a "1st choice" on your "1st tag". If you didn't draw on your premium hunt entry (or entered preference point only), you're permitted to pick up a restricted tag as a second tag. It's a bit weird. For now, think of "restricted tags" as premium tags with 100% draw odds. 3. Unrestricted - These tags are tags which didn't sell out by the first business day after August 1st. These can be either first or second tags. They're sold on a first-come, first-served basis and can be either a 1st or 2nd tag--or both. Deer tags: 1st vs 2nd Explained: When you go to enter the lottery or purchase your deer tags you've got the option of two deer tags. The first tag costs $33.48 and the second is $41.86. The tags are not created equal as weird as it may sound. 1st Deer tag - Think of this as your lottery tag. It's generally a bad strategy to buy an unrestricted tag with your first choice on your 1st deer tag because you're just giving up (potential) points or better tags. You're only allowed to enter a single draw each season. This draw must be on the 1st deer tag. 2nd Deer tag - Treat this as an actual secondary "OTC" tag. If you hunt archery, the AO is your new best friend. Once you buy your second tag, the tag is yours. There is no waiting. If you enter the big game draw in April with a 1st tag premium entry and a 2nd tag unrestricted, the unrestricted tag will actually be mailed to you a month+ before you find out if you drew your first tag. Deer Seasons: General, Archery, Muzzleloading Rifle and Muzzleloading Rifle/Archery I'll keep this short. General - One can hunt with rifle, shotgun, archery equipment, muzzleloading rifle, or crossbow. Archery - One can hunt with archery equipment only. Crossbows aren't archery in California. Muzzleloading Rifle - One can hunt with blackpowder muzzleloading rifles. Muzzleloading Rifle / Archery - I'm sure you'll be shocked to know you can hunt with either muzzloaders or archery equipment. Deer Tags - which tag(s) do I enter for? FIRST DETERMINE YOUR ZONE FROM THIS MAP This is a very difficult question to answer; however, I will hopefully give you enough info here to make an informed choice. The following factors are going to influence your decision making a lot. 1 - Do you live in an unrestricted zone? If so, go with a premium draw on the first tag and grab your local tag for your second if you want to try and harvest two deer, otherwise make your 2nd/3rd choice the unrestricted tag. 2 - Do you want meat in the freezer or a trophy? If you want a trophy, the above D-16 tag is probably not for you. 3 - Archery, rifle or Muzzle-loader? Hunting archery opens up a lot (learn to love the AO) and some muzzle loader hunts in premium zones are easier to draw than equivalent rifle hunts. 4 - Do you want to travel and can you afford the time off? If not, don't buy a tag that's 12 hours away (i.e. X3b for San Diego). Lets give an example of draw strategy: Lets suppose you're a San Diego hunter who prefers to hunt locally for meat-in-the-freezer during deer season because you go trophy hunting out of state. You usually buy two deer tags because you enjoy doubling your disappointment. The tags for San Diego (using our handy map as a reference) are D16 (general, antlered), A-22 (either-sex archery split-season), G-13 (general, antlerless) AO (archery only, antlered), and M-6 (either-sex muzzleloader). Lets break down these tags a bit further.
** This was the first year A-22 was premium. Last year it was restricted if I remember correctly *** I ended up using goHUNT to do draw odds rather than calculate it from the state's data here except for G-13 **** Hunter success estimates from the state assume some who didn't return tags harvested. Take that for what you will. Side note: The reason it's antlered/antlerless is that very, very rarely Does will grow antlers. Kind of a fun fact for the campfire. First thing to check is the season dates. Are you going to be able to hunt those dates? If not, don't bother applying for the tag. Easy enough, right? In this case, for our totally-made-up hunter, he's hunting in Arizona during general rifle in part of October and November, but is otherwise going to be able to hunt most seasons. Second thing: meat or trophy? If trophy is the goal there's little incentive to enter G-13 as it's antlerless and most people don't taxidermy a doe. There's also an argument to be made that the A-22--despite the longer season--isn't worth entering as a premium draw when our hunter can just grab a D-16 or AO tag so he can harvest two bucks (theoretically). That being said, we can see from the table above, trophy bucks are very rare in San Diego. At the same time, we see that "meat in the freezer" happens to only 10.6% of hunters in D-16 (I excluded AO from this because it's impossible to calculate as it's a statewide tag). Third thing: equipment type. Our hunter prefers archery hunting but does rifle hunt. Therefore, the A-22 with the longer season is a good choice. Because the D-16 tag overlaps with the same archery dates as AO, but allows for rifle-hunting, it would make sense to choose D-16 over AO for our hunter as it opens up rifle hunting if he so chooses and he won't be hunting deer outside of the D-16 zone this year in California. Lets go ahead and come up with a draw strategy for this hunter. Since the hunter just wants to put meat on the table, the highest probability of success is the G-13 tag at 17%. However, the odds of drawing one is under 7%, which isn't great for a tag with a harvest rate of only 17%. Therefore, it's best to look at the other tags. We see the next most successful tags are D-16 and A-22. A-22 is a premium tag and D-16 is an unrestricted tag. Therefore, on our application we put for our first tag A-22 and for the second tag a D-16. Now when you go to choose your 1st deer tag it asks you for three choices. These are your first, second, and third choices. For the above, if we want to try and harvest two deer, we can put AO as the second choice. This way if we don't draw A-22 we can still get an AO tag and we still get a preference point for not drawing A-22. Preference points are awarded for not drawing your 1st choice on your 1st tag. But wait, is that really the optimal draw strategy for San Diego? No. The better strategy would be: 1st Tag
1st choice - G-13
2nd choice - A-22
3rd choice - AO
2nd Tag - D-16 If you don't get drawn on G-13 (which you probably won't), you'll be awarded a preference point and entered into the second round drawing on A-22. Since A-22 didn't end up selling out this would have been a 100% draw meaning you'd get the A-22, but also the bonus point for not drawing G-13. However, if you didn't get the A-22, you would then get your 3rd choice: AO. The flip side is you could also sub a D-16 for the A-22 and, assuming D-16 doesn't sell out, you could have two D-16 tags. If it does sell out, you'd get the AO tag with your first and the D-16 with the second. Confused yet? Sorry... I'm doing my best here. How else does choice affect things? Lets say you live in Redding and you're a rifle-only hunter. You want to hunt the area within a half day's drive. This opens up A, B, C and X-zones (plus the D3-5 which is actually a single tag)--lucky you. As a general rule of thumb bound to offend people, X > C > B > A > D(3-5) when you factor harvest rates, trophy size, and percentage of accessible public land... But that's only a general rule so take it for what it is. Therefore, for your 1st deer tag you may want to do the following draw strategy: 1st choice: X-9(a) 2nd choice: C (C zone is one tag for the confused D-zone hunters) 3rd choice: B, A, D(3-5) tag (or any "guaranteed" draw) Why? It enters you into drawing X-9(a) which has a ~1% draw chance on a 0 preference point entry. Assuming you don't draw this tag, it enters you into the second round drawing for C and you're awarded a preference point for not drawing your 1st choice on your 1st tag. C zone has 100% draw rate for first choice applicants. The remaining tags are then pooled into a drawing for the 2nd choice applicants. The draw rate for the 2nd choice varies from 15-40% depending on the year, but is usually around 25%. Not the best odds and this strategy is entirely subjective and that's sort of the point. Do what makes sense for you. For your 2nd deer tag buy a B, A or D3-5 tag or any unrestricted tag assuming you want to try and harvest two deer. Easy enough? Disclaimer: If unrestricted tags sell out before the big game draw, using them as the 2nd or 3rd choice on your first tag can leave you SOL. It's why it's usually better to get something like the D-16 (that could potentially sell out) on your second tag rather than risk losing it. Author's Note: This section took a long time to write because I couldn't figure out a way to explain it without making it super confusing. If it's still confusing please let me know so I can try and fix it. The goal is to make this as approachable as possible. I re-wrote this several times and I'm still not happy with it.
Species other than deer (i.e. elk, antelope and sheep)
1 - your chances will increase if you choose to enter for an archery or muzzleloader tag or you are a "meat in the freezer" hunter and willing to harvest a cow elk or a spike bull. What do I mean? If you enter hunt code 303 (Marble Mountains MuzzleloadeArchery either-sex) your odds are 0.90% to draw without points. If you choose to enter for the 302 tag (Marble Mountains bull general methods) your odds are 0.50%. However, this is only a general rule as the 486 tag (a rifle tag) has 0.2% draw odds while the equivalent archery tag is 0.1%. Another general rule of thumb is that muzzleloader odds are better than archery, which, in turn, is better than rifle.
2 - SHARE hunts. Without points, some of the share hunts actually have better odds than drawing without points. However, you do not gain any preference points when you don't draw a SHARE tag.
3 - Hunt out-of-state.
There is some good news for aspiring elk hunters. The state added several new elk hunts this year and the herd populations appear to be healthy and growing at better-than-expected rates. More tags should be available in future years. So just keep trying. Antelope - Strategies here are pretty much the same as elk. Case in point: 765 (Zone 6 archery) has 1.2% draw odds vs .1% for the equivalent rifle tag. This is another example of where there is only one tag available to those without points (the 765 tag that is). Bighorn Sheep - Same as above. There are 7 "random tags" and 19 "preference point tags" for the entire state. That's 26 tags and 11,627 applicants (not counting 5,641 preference point applicants). Your best odds are Zone 8 and we're still talking .15%. Also keep in mind the "best odds" zone changes most years as people will apply for what they think they'll win. So... should I just apply for preference point only? If you can afford the tag, the time off to hunt/scout, and are willing to put in the work the answer is a hard no. Any chance is better than no chance. I know someone who drew a Arizona Mule Deer "strip" tag as a non-resident with 1 point. For reference, the odds of drawing that are less than a zone 8 sheep tag here in California. Everyone knows someone who drew a dream tag with few/no points. You keep talking about out-of-state hunting... should I get points out-of-state too? Yes. Again, if you can afford to do it you should do it. For reference, I've got preference points for sheep and elk in California, Arizona, and Nevada, antelope in Nevada and California, and bison in Arizona at this point. I drew my Arizona and California mule deer tags this year so my only mule deer preference points are in Nevada at the moment. If you live in Southern California those states are good options for out-of-state hunts since they're easily drive-able.
Antlered - Basically a buck with 2 points on one side and one point on the other is the bare minimum for a "antlered" deer under current definitions.
Antlerless - In California, if there are no antlers or the antlers are shorter than 3 inches and not branched, it's antlerless.
Either-sex - Basically both of the above definitions combined.
What kind of deer are there in California? We have Columbian black-tailed deer and various subspecies of mule deer. This map shows the distributions as well as the mule deer subspecies. When do you start deer hunting? Frankly, you don't stop. If you're out for spring turkey keep an eye out for tracks. If you go out coyote hunting in January you should be doing the same. The more you know and the more time you spend scouting, the more successful you'll be. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who doesn't scout and still manages to punch his tag every opening day. People also win the PowerBall lottery. Doesn't mean I'm going to buy a ticket and quit my job. Hunting takes work. If you're just a "casual" deer hunter (and there's no shame in that) a good time to start scouting and placing cameras is 3 months before the opener if you're not running cameras or scouting year-round. It's just a good rule of thumb to follow but is far from a hard and fast rule and the more time you give yourself the more successful you'll be. Where do I place my game cameras? This question varies a lot due to a number of factors. The biggest being the kind of environment in which you're hunting and how good your cameras are. If you've got a camera that reliably detects movement at 80 feet, you can afford to place them at wider choke points than someone running cameras which are blind past 40 feet. Make sense? So here's a few rules of thumb when placing trail cameras:
The higher up you can place the camera the better, but don't place a camera where you'll need to carry a ladder out with you to get it.
Cameras placed on the ground/rocks will really test the waterproof claims of the manufacturer (really only applies to desert hunters though and I'm sure our NorCal friends are scratching their heads on this one)
Place trail cameras where you see deer tracks. I know this should be obvious but for a lot of people it isn't. It lets you pattern deer.
If you absolutely can't find tracks, place cams in natural draws and near sources of water (if you're hunting the desert look for guzzlers)
If you know the preferred food source place a camera there. Oak trees will start dropping acorns usually around the first week of October and are a great spot to start looking, but can be a disappointment if you're looking to see deer in July.
Finally, if you know a bedding area, place a trail cam there well in advance of the season and then check it the last time at least two weeks prior to opening day. Your behavior will affect deer behavior. That is not a myth.
Some people spray cameras with scent remover. This may or may not be a myth. I do it. To each his own. I think it's most important if placing one near a bedding area and otherwise doesn't really matter.
Make sure a branch isn't going to be waving in the wind right in front of the camera.
Don't make them super obvious. Deer will see them and so will people. If people see it, there's a decent chance your camera will grow legs and walk off.
Mark your cameras on GPS. Lost cameras are sad cameras. Don't make your cameras sad.
How often should I check my cameras? Assuming you're not running fancy LTE cameras just check your cameras every 3 weeks. That is unless you have reason to believe your SD card will be full or your batteries will die (this shouldn't happen though). What if I see nothing on my cameras? If you see nothing and don't see any fresh sign, move the camera. If you see absolutely nothing (not just a lack of deer), it would be smart to make sure your camera is actually working. How do I 'scout'? This really isn't as difficult as it sounds. In short, look for an area on OnX you think has deer and go check it out. Your best option is to arrive at mid-day the first time. WAIT WHAT? WHAT IS THIS HERESY? If you've never been there before you don't know the terrain at all. What you see on OnX or Google Maps can be incredibly deceptive. Especially in Southern California where brush can make entire areas inaccessible that otherwise look great from satellites. Arriving at dawn and just hoping to see deer is optimistic at best. You need to answer the following questions:
Can my vehicle get me within reasonable walking distance? How's parking? Will my vehicle be secure?
Is the hike in and out within my physical limitations and those of my hunting partner(s)--especially if the hike out involves packing out a deer?
Are there tracks or other signs?
Is there water nearby? What about food?
Are there places to set up game cameras?
If stand hunting, is there a place you can place your stand safely and within an ethical shooting distance?
If spot-and-stalk hunting, where are the good glassing spots?
Does this area look like it's hunted frequently or people pass through often? Look for used shells/casings, footprints, and game cameras?
Are there signs of mountain lions?
What is the dominant wind direction?
Where are the natural choke points?
All of these questions are far easier to answer after the sun has come up. For your first trip just go during the day. Also add extra time for getting in and out. What may appear to be an hour long hike may turn into three. Be prepared. Have water and a snack. Once you've determined a spot you want to hunt, it's a good idea to place cameras and then spend the next two weekends scouting other locations. When you come back to check your cameras after three weeks--and you're doing a spot-and-stalk hunt--it's a good idea to get there at sunrise and start glassing from the spots you think are good to glass from. Look for fresh tracks each time you come back. Don't be afraid to move your cameras either. What areas should I look for? This list is endless but a few quick ones are:
Areas within 1-2 miles of water
North-facing slopes when it's hot. South-facing slopes when it's not. As a rule for southern California, until about November, just avoid southwest facing slopes.
Food, food and more food. Find the food sources. Did I mention food?
Areas with shorter "brushy" trees under which deer can bed
Areas that burned within the last 3-5 years. Our fires are good for more than just having your out-of-state friends ask if you're OK.
Transitional zones (i.e. where desert chaparral meets oak trees).
Private property boundaries where deer may not have experienced hunting pressure in the past
How do I glass? Glassing isn't as difficult as some people think, but it's also not as easy as sitting and just looking through a pair of binoculars.
A couple of key ideas:
Start close and work your way out. Don't miss the buck 100 yards in front of you because you're busy looking a mile out
When picking a glassing spot you want to maximize how much you can see, but keep in mind optics have a range. You're probably not going to see deer 2 miles away with only a pair of 8x42 binos.
Open terrain is great, but if you're glassing where there's no food, water, or shelter; well, you probably won't see anything.
Use your GPS to mark (roughly) where the deer are.
Scan with your binoculars (preferably from a tripod) first. Use a spotting scope once you've found what you think is a deer. Scanning with a spotting scope is definitely possible but it will cause eye strain quicker and takes a lot more skill.
Try and find where the deer bed as well as identify what they're eating
Do a scanning pattern that will keep you honest and actually work for you. You want to cover all the ground you can.
Scan from right-to-left (assuming you read left-to-right). Things that don't belong will stand out more and this is a common tactic taught to the military because you've trained your brain to make images fit when scanning left-to-right. Of course, once you've scanned right-to-left, go back and scan again left-to-right.
Bring a comfortable seat/chair.
Go slow. It's not a race.
TAKE A BREAK.
Eye strain is real. You can reduce this through a few methods.
First and foremost is to use a tripod and try to avoid cheap glass
Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause vision issues... plus is generally bad.
Keep the sun out of your eyes. Wear a hat.
TAKE BREAKS. This is why hunting buddies are best buddies. Swap off glassing every couple of minutes. It's why in hunting shows they always seem so relaxed when glassing.
If your eyes start to feel tired or you start getting a headache just drink some water and take a quick 20 minute nap. Now you know why your grandpap calls it "resting his eyes." You'll thank yourself later.
Pro tip: If you have a laser range finder, you can use it to get the distance to the deer and then use OnX's line distance tool to get a pretty precise marking on where the deer is on your GPS. This is especially useful on a bedded deer you're stalking during archery season. This video by goHUNT is pretty good on how to glass and worth watching. Better than reading my wall of text anyway. How do I stalk a deer? Oh boy. This is a tough one. First and foremost, be patient. Be very, very patient. Then be even more patient. Assuming you're watching the deer through a spotting scope or pair of binoculars, try and wait to see if the deer is going to bed. If it's mid-morning you've got a decent chance of this happening. A bedded deer is going to be easier to stalk than a mobile one. Basic stalking goes like this:
Mark where the deer is as closely as possible on your GPS as well as other deer nearby
Know the direction the deer is heading
Know the range at which you need to get to in order to ethically harvest your deer
Know the wind direction. Stay downwind of the deer.
Look for natural barriers and concealment that can hide your movement. If possible, keep a ridge or hill between you and the deer.
Plot your route before you go.
Glass your route. Make sure you're not going to bump a bedded deer on the way or there is some natural obstruction which will prevent you from getting from A to B.
Have an alternate route. This one is highly underrated and will make you look like a pro to all of your friends.
Mark your glassing spot on your GPS (if you didn't already) and drop as much gear as you can--but make sure you have water and emergency gear... also don't forget your bow release.
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Start making your way toward the deer.
If the distance is more than a few hundred yards, it's important that you plan for stops where you can glass and check that your deer is still there and that you're still downwind. Wind direction changes and can be completely different from one side of a valley to the other.
If you're bow hunting, it's a good idea to remove your boots when you're 100 yards out or so. While I don't believe this makes you that much quieter, it will slow you down a lot.
Once you're where you want to be--and the deer is where you want the deer to be--make sure to check the range. Then take a shot!
One more thing: don't get too upset about a blown stalk. No one bats 1.000 when stalking deer. It's just impossible. When are deer most active and what about the moon? Deer are most active around dawn/dusk and tend to bed down when it starts getting hot. That doesn't mean to stop hunting in the middle of the day. Keep glassing. Just understand you're less likely to see them moving. As for the moon, when there is a full moon, deer tend to be more active at night than during the day. That doesn't mean you're not going to find deer during the day. It's just worth mentioning. What about scent control? Scent control is a hotly debated topic among hunters. My personal feelings are you should minimize your scent, but the extreme measures some take are unnecessary. The most important scent control is the wind. Don't be upwind of a deer you're trying to stalk. That being said, use scent-free detergent on your hunting clothes, scent-free deodorant, and scent-free body wash / shampoo and you're good to go. You can give your gear a spray down with a scent eliminator if you want. Some people will claim that this is actually extreme. Personally, I think it's all pretty easy to do and it doesn't really hurt anything. How helpful it is though can be debated. Where do I shoot a deer? First: Don't take a headshot. No offense: you're just not that good. No one is. You'll end up missing or wounding the deer. This site has the best infographics on where to aim, although it's specific to archery. You can shoot a deer straight-on with a rifle, but you risk ruining a lot of meat if you're shooting a rifle with some power to it. In short: aim for the heart and lungs. What do I do when I harvest a deer? First, take your pictures. Try and avoid a lot of blood in pictures. You're bound to share these eventually with non-hunters and blood makes many people uncomfortable. Be considerate. Once you've got your pictures tag your animal. Wondering how? Check out this video made by CDFW. If you're close to home and just going to drag the deer out, you don't have to field dress it; however, it's still a good idea to gut your deer. Wondering how? MeatEater's Steven Rinella has a great how-to video. If you're in the backcountry and need to quarter your deer, there's another MeatEater video which covers it, albeit briefly. There's dozens of other YouTube videos as well. It's important that you get your tag counter-signed as soon as you leave the field. This is a requirement and not a big deal. It can be a bit intimidating the first time, but plenty of people are authorized and most of them are going to be giving you a high-five and not a hard time. Don't forget: within 30 days you need to report your harvest but you should just do it when you get home. Finally, post your picture to Californiahunting so we can give you some well-earned upvotes. What if I didn't harvest a deer? First off, know that you're not alone. Most hunters are unsuccessful when deer hunting in this state. Just get started planning and scouting for next year. Make sure you report that you didn't harvest a deer no later than 1/31, but it's smartest to do it the day the season closes so you don't forget. You can do this online. It's super easy. There's no excuse and it's really helpful to Fish and Wildlife--and therefore helpful to other hunters. Be a good citizen.
Part 7: Dove Hunting
What do I need?
Valid hunting license
Upland Game validation
Patience and realistic expectations (notice a theme on this one?)
12 or 20 gauge shotgun with LOTS of #6 or #7 steel shot. Know what works best for you by spending some time at the range.
Bow with flu-flu arrows
What are the season dates? bigdistance1 has a neat google doc of the seasons. There's also the DFW site. This year the dates are 9/1-9/15 and 11/14 - 12/28. Please note that there is a no-limit open season on Eurasian Collared-doves. What are the bag limits? 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged doves for Mourning Dove and White-winged doves as well as a possession limit of 3x the daily limit. No daily bag or possession limit on Spotted Dove, Ringed Turtle Dove, or Eurasian Collared-dove. How do I know which dove I shot? This nice little doc from DFW makes it easy. Download it to your phone for reference. There's no shame in making sure you're doing it right. How do I scout for dove or where do I go for dove? Dove are present throughout the state. The best places tend to be the edges of agricultural fields. The best time to scout good dove fields is when you're scouting for deer or rabbit hunting. You'll see dove pretty much everywhere starting around June/July. Just start taking note. When looking on the edges of fields, look for perching/roosting/resting (not sure the right word) sites. These should be trees with few leaves or visual obstructions for the birds, but enough cover for some shade for the birds. Also look around power lines but don't shoot a power line. That will not end well for anyone. Seriously. Don't do it. Doves follow a flight pattern. If you watch where they fly in and out of fields from you'll know where to set up. Gaps in tree cover are pretty commonly the flight paths so start there. Water is another good option. If you've got a water source near a field, and the field is overrun with hunters, go set up by the water source. The best dove hunting in California is arguably Imperial County. The state maintains fields for this that are open to hunting. Important tips
Minimize movement. You can absolutely spook doves. Just be still.
Use a blind. It will help. Wear cammo if you have it.
Bring LOTS of ammo.
If you shoot a banded bird report it. You're not in trouble or anything. Brag to your buddies about it. Just be a good hunter and report it.
Why did you write all this shit? Hunting is an important tradition and lots of people who didn't grow up hunting are starting to get into it but are completely lost. Unfortunately, hunting is a hobby with a steep learning curve that can be downright daunting just to get started with. I'm a selfish person. The more people hunting, well, the better for everyone, myself included. I don't want this state to keep doing shit like banning bobcat hunting for no reason. The more hunters, the more voters, and the better our chances of preserving the tradition are and opening up more public land to recreation. I noticed a mistake! Great! Comment below and I'll fix it. We're all human and I don't pretend to be infallible. Can I get a tl;dr? If you need a tl;dr, sorry. Hunting isn't for you.
Hi everyone. I have a ~1700 total budget for two kayaks and was hoping y’all could give me some recommendations.
I want one to be open floor so the wife can easily take our 35lb dog with her and it needs to be stable enough to fish on in case I bring a friend to fish with me.
The other one is only for fishing (primarily on lakes). I’d like a smart design and something I can easily install a fish finder on.
My biggest problem is that my crossbars are only rated for 150lbs and I have a 20lb kayak attachment, so I need them to be really light. Let me know which kayaks y’all love and thanks for taking the time if you made it this far lol.
MacOS Catalina 10.15.6 Multilanguage ❤️ Latest Update ♻️ Free Download 🔰 macOS Catalina gives you more of everything you love about Mac. Experience three all-new media apps: Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. Locate a missing Mac with the new Find My app. And now coming to Mac, your favorite iPad apps. You can even extend your desktop using iPad as a second display. Now you can take everything you do above and beyond. Instructions : to avoid errors like system compatibility report or error code 195 or quit unexpectedly mac applications and more follow those instructions 🧹 Clean first your mac before you patch adobe Mac Keeper For Free 🍏 For everyone who can't patch Adobe Apps on Mac and to overcome applications errors you should first Clean your Mac Before you Install it Download Link :https://bit.ly/2zm3IQd Attention 😱 ! Before you start install process you should first install Adobe Flash Player 2020 ✅ Latest version to do not face any future issues also to accelerate graphics rendering. ▶️ Open the link by using Safari : https://bit.ly/2XMFxnk Download Link : Name : macOS.Catalina.10.15.6.19G73.dmg Size : 7.70 GB Files : macOS.Catalina.10.15.6.19G73.dmg [7.70 GB] : https://bit.ly/305apkg Apple Music
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What’s New: Version 10.15.6 macOS Catalina 10.15.6 introduces local news in your Today feed in Apple News and improves the security and reliability of your Mac. Apple News
Local news in your Today feed provides extensive coverage of San Francisco, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, and New York City
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This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements.
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2020.07.28 00:14 skitsnyggNeed help ending this three year long data recovery endeavor.
Sorry in advance for the lengthy post, this has been a very turbulent affair full of promise and disappointment. I have a 3TB WD Mybook 1230 I bought to use mainly for storing audio samples / libraries. This quickly evolved into me using the drive to store all the data from hard drives pulled from my old computers. While I'm okay with not being able to get the data back and likely would have accepted this and moved on years ago, it was pretty much an archive for ~15 years of my life and The directory structure and files are still very much intact. As elated as I am to have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on data recovery over the past three years trying to fix this on my own, I think it's time to ask for help because at this point, I've tried everything and still haven't been able to resolve the issue. Problems arose when I grabbed what I thought was the AC adaptor I had left at my friends and plugged it in without double checking the voltage. I continued to use the drive as normal until a few weeks later when my girlfriend bumped in to the table it was sitting on, the drive fell to the floor, and would no longer mount. I was traveling for work for the next couple of months so didn't touch the drive at all. I had about three weeks off and decided to figure out what was going on with a severely limited knowledge of anything data related. Google led me to ddrescue and testdisk. ddrescue said it was going to take thousands of days, likely because I was impatient and didn't experiment with different argument values. Eventually I convinced myself it was a partitioning issue but was too afraid to mess with the partition table on my own so I just pushed it aside and let it sit up until about a month and a half ago. I ordered a dock and put the drive inside. From what I remember, it showed only one partition - Fdisk partition scheme. I quickly figured out that was the result of the on-board usb-sata bridge encryption so I hooked it up to the original board, once again with the wrong power adaptor and although the drive would spin up, the indicator light stayed solid and the system log showed some i/o errors which after searching seem to stem from the usb bridge and not the drive itself. Bought a replacement board and then realized I was once again using the wrong power adaptor on the old drive, swapped it out with the new one from the WD external I had just purchased and was able to see all 3 partitions I remember the drive having. one was a time machine backup and the other a CCC clone of the internal SSD. Both have since been erased out of frustration. The sata bridge chip has an emulator and makes the drive appear as an AFN drive with 4096 logical sector size. fdisk -l threw a bunch of errors about misaligned partitions so being optimistic, I created a new PMBR and rewrote the partition table using gdisk, adding an EFI partition (which was missing). when I fired the drive back up for the first time recently. This helped and I was finally able to fsck my way to a successful rebuild of the partition table under Catalina. Unfortunately, despite the encouraging output, there was no change to performance. after re-writing the partition table, the drive mounted first try. I immediately initiated a clone using CCC which yielded ~2.5 gigs of data after 24 hours. After this, the whole ordeal became more about being a learning experience for me than successfully saving my data because I don't have the patience (or available usb ports) to wait for what will likely just be another dead end. If the Sata bridge encryption wasn't enough, the partition I'm trying to recover is a 2.5 TB CoreStorage volume which was definitely encrypted but since it fell, diskutil has never asked for a password when plugged in and just mounts it sporadically. Strangely, the partition does show up as being encrypted but is always unlocked. Sometimes it will mount after Catalina preforms the preliminary fsck but it causes finder and disk utility to become unresponsive for 1-2 hours. Although totally possible, prior to its fall, I don't ever remember trying to decrypt the partition until right before I started this clone. I tried to decrypt the volume both in terminal and diskutil on several different releases of osx but was met with "this volume is already reverting" cs info shows it stuck in a never progressing reverting phase. When attaching the drive to earlier versions of osx (from lion) up to El Capitan it's noticeably more responsive in the time it takes to mount but still has the same slow read speed. When I restarted this endeavor, smart tests showed the drive had 9 bad sectors and the drive was ok. For the past month or so, I have been running ddrescue under linux and today it finally completed recovering all but 1.6 MB of the partition. I knew it wasn't going to be as easy as mounting the image file and enjoying a joyous walk down memory lane but now the drive is reporting 450+ bad sectors and I'd like some input on how to best proceed as I'm pretty much out of options at this point. I'm currently cloning the backup to an equally sized partition on a newer WD 8TB drive I pulled from an easystore enclosure when I started this instance of ddrescue and I must say, it's it's pretty enthralling seeing a steady 20mb/s . transfer rate. I've ruled out the encrypted USB-SATA board I was using to be the cause of this by swapping it out with a new one but that doesn't mitigate my suspicions about it making this infinitely more difficult. I'm assuming once the clone to the new drive is finished in a few hours, the partition isn't going to magically pop up and welcome me inside with open arms. I attempted to create an encrypted HFS+ partition with the same information/login credentials as the failing drive but couldn't execute ddrescue (in osx) because the newly created output continually produced "resource busy". I'm sure is just a security measure due to the encryption and the fact that killing all associated processes didn't solve it. I ended up formatting as Journaled HFS+ and using gdisk to change the partition type to AF05. Both opening the img file in a hex editor and the data preview on the terminal output confirm the data is intact and mostly encrypted. There's a few lines I caught during the initial clone which were not encrypted and would support the menial ratio reported as decrypted under diskutil info. So, please correct me if I'm wrong here but considering I only cloned the partition to an image file instead of the whole drive, and then cloned the image file to the new partition, it could in theory work totally fine without any extra input from me? I kind of don't think that's going to happen but it sure would be lovely. I'm assuming I'll have to manually convert from 4096 to 512 and mess with the partition table some more but this is beginning to get somewhat beyond my scope and the last thing I want to do is drag this out any longer. Can anyone please offer me some insight on how to proceed? I'd love nothing more than to be able to wake up tomorrow knowing I never have to deal with this drive again.
2020.07.27 18:02 HoLy_CoWs2I looked my name up on the Urban dictionary and found THIS
Anna..........literally the best girl in the world. She is a very adorable, amazing, stubborn person. She has amazing humor and can brighten your day with just her smile. But there's also her bad side; you mess with her and you'll end up in hell. Anna is also probably the best person to date. If you get an Anna in a relationship, she will give all her effort, and will most likely get very attached to you; that is if she likes you enough, ´cause with the one, she gets ¨click¨ with, shes most likely in it for the long run. Anna´s also very sexy, tho she doesn't try to dresstoo nice, but either way, she'll take your breath away. She has all the right curves in all the right places and has sparkling eyes that just melt you away. Shes literally a goddess. She is also an amazing friend, probably the best friend in the group. So if you ever DO get her in a relationship, NEVER let her go, EVER!!! NO MATTER WHAT. When you have her heart, take care of your ¨Anna¨ cause shes only a once in a lifetime thing. Anna is the love of my life, my whole world, and if I lost her.....I´d LITERALLY kill myself! guy#1: Hey, I heard you were dating Anna?guy #2: ya, I was having abad day, then shewalked inthe room and kissed me, now I feel likea king.guy#1: awww, man! Lucky! I wish I was dating Anna! Anna is a person who makes you appreciate life for what it is. She has a smile and a twinkle that will light up a room imediately. She is a puppy at the core and let's everyone know it. Anna loves people for who they are. She is beautiful understanding and funny. If you fall, then Anna will either fall with you, or be the soft hand to help you up. You havenevermetapersonlike Anna An angelic being. She is the most beautiful person inside and out. She's sweet towards her friends and will protect them with all of her being. She is easy to fall in love with, whether I mean platonically or romantically is well...both! She's one of, if not THE best friend you will ever meet in your life. She's the one who has won my heart and is the most lovely person you will EVER meet in your entire life!! If you everhurt Anna, then...well, you'rehonestlyone of the mostfoolishpeople ever. An Anna's an intresting girl. Choses to not hang out with the popular girls even though she could be one. absoultley be one. stunning beyond belief and dresses well. she's very very smart and will let you cheat of her during a test only to tutor you on how to do it after. she's very funny and loud with her friend group but dosen't really bother talking to anyone else. has a mature style and personality. ''thatanna'sfunny she is''''is she? she's neverspokena word to me?'' Anna is the sweetest, most caring person you will ever encounter. She has a big heart and an amazing personality. If you need somebody to talk to, Anna is waiting with open arms and is ready to lend an ear. Anna is also one of the most intelligent individuals you could meet. The sheer amount of knowledge in her brain is pretty astounding. Whether it's about a great composer or a species of sea creatures, Anna has the answer to every question you could ask and more. She is smart without being pretentious, and she definitely has a bright future to look ahead to. Anna has a unique sense of humor that seems strange to outsiders, but when you get to know her, you can understand her jokes. All in all, anyone who has the opportunity to date or be friends with Anna is lucky asf, she is an amazing person. <3 I'm sohappywith Anna, I'm soluckyto have her asmy girlfriend! Anna is....god there are no words to describe how amazing she is. She is very cute, very stubborn, short tempered and a little psycho. Anna is also sweet, kind, soft hearted, crazy and outgoing. Anna tends to be hyper and annoying at times, cute, sweet, kind and helpful at times, but then there is Anna's bad side...she is psycho, crazy, and a total bitch. Trust me you don't want to get on Anna's bad side. Anna is a fun person to date. She has many different personalities but in a good way. Everyone wants to date an Anna. She will brighten your day. Anna also is very sexy, although she usually dresses lazily, when she tries it's amazing, there are no words to describe it. If you get a good Anna, in a relationship, she will give you her everything. Once she gets attached to you, she is attached to you, well probably for life. She will have a hard time getting over you. Anna's only "click" with certain people, so if Anna is dying to date you, there is a reason. And she most likely will get attached. When an Anna is in a relationship, she is dating you to marry you, and trust me when I say that she will only be about you. ( that is if you get a good Anna) Anna is the love of my life, she is my wife, and if I lost her I would literally shoot myself. She was my high school sweetheart and Anna's tend to get crazy sometimes but you need to trust her. I lost her back in high school and it was the biggest mistake of my life. I wishAnna wasmine!I woulddo anything to have her!
2020.07.25 18:01 Fals3_Pr0ph3tDisappearing UI (mod related bug>)
I fixed it by disabling like every single UI mod, loading the save, re saving and all was good again. ~ So my UI has disappeared and only reappears when I hover over an undiscovered area like a mountain. Secondarily the game does not respond to my mouse outside of the same areas. Here is my modlist, please tell me if there is a more readable way to post this. Harmony BetterLoading Startup impact Core Royalty SRTS Expanded HugsLib JecsTools More Planning RimSaves ED-Core Better ModMismatch Window Plant Growth Sync Spoons Hair Mod Designator Shapes Tables+ Blighted Alert Humanoid Alien Races 2.0 [SF] Priority treatment 1.1 Simply More Bridges (Continued) Craftsmanship Reunion Begone, Message! ResearchPal Vanilla Furniture Expanded - Farming Vanilla Events Expanded Loading In Progress Selectable Sculpture Graphic QualitySurgeon Something Different Wall Search and Destroy Go Explore! Stackable Chunks Avoid Friendly Fire Wearing Armor Info Armor Racks Underground Power Conduits Questionable Ethics Enhanced Simple Search Bar Ugh You Got Me Allow Tool Release Animals into Wild [1.1] Combat Shields Better Vanilla Masking Power Alerts Vanilla Furniture Expanded Vanilla Furniture Expanded - Medical Module RimThemes Down For Me Selected Reconnector Sparkling Worlds Addon - Mech Serum Crafting - Standalone Addon [KV] RimFridge - 1.1 LWM's Deep Storage [1.1] Razor Wire (With Damage) Show Draftees Weapon Rimsenal - Rimhair DontBlockDoorMod[1.0][1.1] Everybody Gets One Advanced Shield Belts More Linkables Real Ruins [KV] Show Hair With Hats or Hide All Hats - 1.1 Dubs Skylights Realistic Rooms [FSF] Filth Vanishes With Rain And Time Dubs Mint Minimap Rimefeller RT Solar Flare Shield 4M Mehni's Misc Modifications Rimsenal - Enhanced Vanilla Pack Rimsenal - Security pack ShowModDesignators Common Sense RandomPlus Rimsenal - Core Camera+ RimHUD Collapser Hunt for Me Kill For Me Raids For Me Alpha Animals Giddy-up! Core Giddy-up! Caravan Giddy-up! Battle Mounts Giddy-up! Ride and Roll MiningCo. MMS Share The Load Heat Map Simple sidearms Dub's Paint Shop Furnace Deep Ore Identifier Reverse Commands Snap Out! Door Mat [KV] Trading Spot - 1.1 Work Tab MendAndRecycle Fluffy Breakdowns Wall Light Defensive Positions RT Power Switch OgreStack Combat Training [SYR] Set Up Camp Interaction Bubbles Prepare Landing Roof Support 1.1 ItemListSelector Animals Logic Faction Discovery Hardworking animals 1.1 Skilled Stonecutting Replace Stuff Area Unlocker Achtung! 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2020.07.16 14:27 HybridPumpkinI Found a Phone on a Train. I Should Have Left it Alone.
I didn't normally take the 11:15 train, but, then again, I normally don't work that late. My boss had kept me late, yelling at me all night. Usually, I finish up around 10:00 and take the subway back to my apartment at 10:15. Tonight, however, I was forced to take the 11:15 train. There's a rumor in my town about the 11:15 train. They say that people who take that train experience untold horrors. Some say that the conductor is a ghost. I've even heard that several murders took place on the infamous vehicle. I have never believed any of those stories, though, I will admit, clambering onto a rusty old sub train in the middle of the night with no one around felt a little unsettling. I sat down on one of the seats as the train began to move forward. As the momentum of the vehicle increased and the outside lights in the tunnel flew past with growing speed, I leaned back and began to think back to the day I'd had at work. I am ashamed to admit that I'd been a...less than stellar employee. My boss had given me, "three strikes," meaning if I messed up three more times in the next six weeks, I would be fired. I had been working at my current office for the past month. This had been my longest lasting job. I had been off and on with different jobs for the past year. Moving out hadn't been easy, and I had been struggling to do basic things like pay the rent and eat. I didn't even own a cell phone. Just an old flip-phone my parents had gotten me for Christmas when I was thirteen. It barely even worked, but I couldn't afford a better device. I stood up and paced around the tiny confines of the sub train. Since it was empty, I wasn't bothering anyone by my anxious walking back and forth. I found myself staring blankly at the seats, just thinking. I hadn't done much thinking recently. I suffer from ADHD, which is one of the reasons why I lose jobs so easily. I can't focus on much of anything for very long. A loud SCREECH jolted me out of my thoughts as the train slid to a halt. I checked my watch. 11: 30. Not my stop. I would be exiting at 11:45. I dropped onto one of the seats and nearly leaped back out in surprise as a man darted past me. I heard a loud thud as he ran out of the train and into the station. As the sub train began to move once more, I peeked out the window at the man. He was dressed in a suit, complete with a pocket square and a blue checkered tie. However, the suit was tattered, and old. His sticking-up black hair was streaked with gray, and his brown eyes had bags under them. He looked like he was some homeless man who had found a suit in the dumpster. The train took off, and on the fifteen-minute ride to my stop, I found myself thinking more about the man. Why did he seem to be in such a hurry? What was that noise? Had he dropped something? I decided to investigate. I stood up and crept over to the closed subway doors. I looked around a little, searching for the source of the thud I'd heard. Eventually, after a few minutes of fruitless searching, I gave up. I collapsed back onto the sea and checked my watch. Only five minutes until my stop. Then, I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small, dark grey device, laying under the seat across from me. I leaned over and picked it up. I couldn't see any brand name at all. No logos. Nothing. It was fitted into a sleek black case. The camera on the back looked of rather good quality. There was only one button, positioned along the side. I pressed it. The display lit up. The first thing I noticed was that the lock screen was just a generic background of what looks like some random splotches of paint that comes default on most phones. The whole cell phone seemed new. It was almost funny, the idea that the ragged old homeless man had the newest iPhone. Well, it wasn't an iPhone. Like I said, there were no brand names on the phone of any sort. I knew I should return the phone to it's rightful owner, whoever that was. I wondered if it even had a password or fingerprint registered inside it. I hit the home button and, to my surprise, the device unlocked. An array of various apps littered the screen. Again, none of the apps looked customized, just basic stock apps. I scrolled through the apps. Clock, Photos, Notes. I looked through them, and they all looked like apps my friends had on their phones. I also checked the contacts. Completely empty. As if it had just been bought. I smiled. This was my new phone. The train came screeching to a halt. I had arrived at my stop. I exited the train and stepped into the dark subway tunnel. I exhaled, and made my way toward the escalator. As I was riding up the mechanical stairs, I pulled out my cell phone. Traversing the dark streets at night is not one of my favorite activities. I searched through the Settings app and the toolbar, trying to see if there was a flashlight. Bingo! There was a flashlight in the toolbar. I tapped the screen, activating it. The bright light illuminated the empty street in front of me. The flashlight was incredibly powerful, lighting up at least a ten-foot radius around me. I started walking up the sidewalk, occasionally taking quick glances to make sure I wasn't being followed. Being stalked is one of the things that terrifies me the most. I hate the idea of being grabbed from behind, your skin turning to ice as cold fingers wrap around your neck. I tried not to think such thoughts as I walked alone down the dark street. I turned a corner around a tall office building. I looked at me reflection in the lobby window as I passed. I looked like a complete mess, hair disheveled, clothes worn and even ripped in a few places. I sighed. If I lost my job, I would be done for. Working there was the only thing allowing me to pay the rent and put food on the table. I determined that from this day forward, I would be a good employee. Maybe even a great employee. I just needed to work for it. I briskly began walking again, now with a renewed sense of energy. I had a new phone, and a new purpose in life. I pushed through the cold night, proud of myself. I could see my apartment complex looming in front of me. The way my apartment is laid out, the stairway leading to the various floors is on the outside. I climbed up the staircase, taking the steps two at a time. I strode up to my front door. I pulled the keys out of my pocket, fumbling with them as I inserted them into the lock. My cold fingers struggled as I attempted to open my door. Then I heard them. Footsteps. Coming up the steps. I know, it was probably just another tenant coming home. But still, what with the eerie cold night, my nerves were shot. With my cell phone being the only thing to penetrate the darkness, I feared the worst. the footsteps got louder, nearer. I worked the key further into the keyhole. The sounds of the person's steps amplified in volume. They were coming up the steps. I dropped the keys. I grunted. The footsteps were too loud, pounding against the metal stairs. I grabbed the keys back up, shoving them into the lock. I twisted them hard. The door swung open. I ran inside, slamming the door shut just as the footsteps reached the entrance to my apartment door. The footsteps stopped. They just stood there, unmoving. I checked several times, making sure that my door was locked. It was. I stumbled back and collapsed on my couch. Maybe my pursuer had walked away and I hadn't heard him. Or maybe, it wasn't a pursuer at all. I needed to stop being so paranoid. I pulled out my new cell phone and turned it on. I opened the contacts app, and added my friends and family to the list, typing in their phone numbers. I signed in my own phone number and even downloaded some mobile games. The "App Finder," as it was called, contained every app I could think of, despite the fact that it was an unknown brand. I went into my room and passed out on my bed. -------- "Hey, Brad, how's it going?" my friend, Jacob, asked. It was the next morning, and I had tested out calling people with my new phone. "Yeah, hey," I said. "How would you like to come over to my place? Tonight?" "When? "Uhhh...Maybe 10:45?" I answered. Jacob was a night owl. I knew he could make it. "Yeah, I'll be there!" He hung up. It was six am, and I was about to go to work. I sat down at my counter and pulled my plate toward me, upon which were placed my breakfast: a piece of toast and a carrot. I crunched on my toast while I scrolled through emails on my new phone. As I was looking at some spam survey from some random company in my area when I saw the time. 6:10. I was supposed to be at work by 6:45. I quickly pressed the home button. As I stood up, I heard something which nearly made me leap out of my skin out of surprise. "How may I help you, Brad?" It was clearly a computer-generated voice, like any smart assistant that you find on most devices, but in the silence, it caught me off guard. I looked at my screen. It was dark gray, with the previously spoken words printed on the screen in blue. I pressed the home button again. Nothing happened. I had to answer. "Umm..Nothing." "Are you sure about that?" The answer caught me off guard. In the past, I'd had some fun playing around with voice assistants on my buddy's phones, and whenever you said something like that, they shut off. "Yes..I am," I said. "Alright." when she said that, it sounded almost human. The assistant screen was replaced by the home screen. I didn't have much time to think about it. I grabbed my carrot and left my apartment. I crunched on it as I entered the subway station. I barely managed to catch my train by less than a minute. I clambered on and sat down on the bench. I finished up my carrot. The underground train rumbled along it's track, vibrating in a relaxing manner. There were more people with me this time. The train was, in fact, full. I took a glance around the train, looking at the various commuters on their way to work. Everyone was staring at their screens, scrolling through texts or social media. Except for one of them. She was a lady. She had big, bright blue eyes. She had long, flowing blonde hair. She was clad in a blue dress and leather sandals. She wore no makeup, from what I could see, but she instead displayed natural beauty. And she was staring right at me. I quickly looked away. I didn't know who she was, and I didn't want to look like some creep. I pulled out my phone and pretended to use it for something. There was something unnatural about the way she was looking at me. I chose to ignore it, and to get on with my day. When the train slowed to a stop, I stood up, ready to get off and go to work. I stepped carefully over other riders, avoiding their legs and feet. I forced my way off the train, eventually. Once out of the sub-train, I ran. I could not be late for work. Not when my whole job, my whole livelihood, was hanging on a thread. I made it. Barely. I could see my my boss glaring at me from the other side of the office when I arrived. But I didn't care. I was just grateful that I had arrived at work by 6:45. I speed-walked to my cubicle and sat down at my desk. I turned on my computer, and started my day. The day was dreary and boring. I spent my day filling out spreadsheets and editing drafts. Everything was fine, until lunch. We all ate in a large room at the end of the office hall. There is a huge window that takes up the entirety of one of the walls. I always sit next to the window. I love the view I get of the city. I sighed and leaned back in my chair and stared out at the street below. I took a bite of my sandwich. It tasted bland, and cold. The combination of week-old egg salad and partially cooked ham made for a pretty nasty sandwich. Then, I spat it out. Not because of the taste, but because I saw something. A head. Peeking out from the around the outside of the window. The floor I was on was floor 6. It would have been next to impossible to climb that high, or at the very least, extremely difficult. The face ducked out of sight as soon as I noticed it, but in the second that it was there, I thought I recognized it. It wasn't for a few moments after the face was gone that I remembered what had happened on the train. I raced to the window, and tried my hardest to look down. I couldn't see anything. Nobody. I began to doubt what I'd seen. Maybe it was just my imagination. I had missed out on a lot of sleep recently. I sat back down in my chair, not even caring that some of my co-workers were staring at me. That was when my phone buzzed with a new notification. A text, to be exact. I pulled it out of my pocket. The text was from an unknown number, and it simply read, Hello, Bradley. -------- I sat on the train home, re-reading the message over and over again. Who had sent it? Was this a prank? I tried texting back, but received no response. I tried calling it, but got sent to voicemail, which, strangely, was just silence. Most voicemails include someone saying,"Hi, I'm (their name). Please leave a message," but this one was simply complete silence for ten seconds before ending. I looked around the sub-train. It was empty, in a creepy way. Normally, there were at least a few people. But not tonight. I shut off my cell phone and lifted up my feet, resting them on the seats across from me. Maybe I had time for a nap. After all, Jacob would be there tonight, and I probably wouldn't get much sleep. I closed my eyes, allowing sleep to take control of me. I wasn't sure how long I slept, maybe five minutes. I awoke to sudden movement. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was being shaken awake. I opened my eyes. "What.." It was her. The woman who was watching me on the train. The one I thought I'd seen through the office window. She was wearing the same blue dress, same leather sandals. Her crystal blue eyes bored into me. "Who are you?" I asked. She didn't respond, just grabbed my arm and pulled. I was forced to stand up. She motioned for me to follow her out of the train. I hadn't noticed that it had stopped. I followed her. I don't know why. I was so exhausted, I must have been delirious. The lady led me out of the train and into the street outside the station. I shivered in the chilly night air. A car flew past us. It drove straight through a puddle, splashing me with freezing cold water. It must have rained earlier, and I hadn't noticed. I brushed the water off of my face and looked over at the woman. She wasn't wet. The puddle had definitely splashed both of us. How was she perfectly dry? She began walking again, dragging me with her. I finally came back to my senses and pulled away. "Where are you taking me?" I asked. Then, she responded. She spoke, mirroring a voice I had heard earlier that day. "Hello, Bradley." It was stiff, robotic. Like an alien imitating a human voice. The sound of a voice assistant. I froze. "What is going on?" I turned tail and ran. I didn't want anything to do with her, or any of this. I ran, fast as possible, to my apartment. I darted up the stairs, to my door. I looked over the edge of the railing. The lady was chasing me. I heard her footsteps running swiftly up the steps. They sounded identical to the ones I'd heard the previous night. I fumbled frantically for my keys, pulling them out and cramming them into the lock. I twisted, but the door wouldn't open. I yelped and dropped my keys. I reached down to pick them up, and when I stood up, the footsteps stopped. I looked hesitantly toward the stairs. She was standing there, smiling. Her smile was empty, without amusement, without life. She stepped forward, slowly. I couldn't move. I wanted to turn around, to unlock my door, to run inside. But I couldn't. I just watched as she advanced. She walked up to me, and grabbed my hand, and reached her hand into my pocket. She grabbed the phone and pulled it out. The lady turned it on. I watched as she pressed the home button. Her finger seemed to melt into it, to mold itself around her. She was lifted off the ground and forced into the cell phone. The light from the phone illuminated her face, smiling still that emotionless expression. She was consumed and became one with the phone. The cell phone tumbled to the floor. The woman was nowhere to be seen. I picked up the phone. It was still in the Messages app, opened to the contact of the unknown number. There was a new text there, that sent shivers down my spine. I'll miss you, Bradley. --------- The next morning, I "dropped"the phone on the train, for a new victim to find. I feel guilty about it, but I can't live with that anymore. Every time I close my eyes, I see her, being consumed by that thing. It terrifies me to think that that phone is out there. That that lady's soul is with it. So, if you ever find a phone on a sub-train, do yourself a favor, and don't pick it up.
2020.07.06 07:02 SkettiFamineMaking a Monster: Arion's Story (1/2) by Draytini aka /u/Draytini12
It was pouring. The heavy sound of rain drowned out everything else, and the fluffies living in the alleyway huddled together under an overturned dumpster for warmth. The small herd contained only ten or so fluffies, not including their foals, two toughies, and the smarty. The dumpster was long abandoned by humans and had proved to be a safe haven for the urban herd. Curled up with her special friend, Sunshine hummed gently to herself and her tummy babies. Other fluffies hated the rain, huuing about “bad sky wawa” and “cowd wawa bad fow fwuffies.” Sunshine never minded the rain, as long as she was mostly dry. The gentle pitter patter of the storm soothed her, and she especially liked the funny noises it made when it beat against the metal side of the dumpster. Her special friend, a handsome dark blue pegasus named Blueberry, was gently sleeping. She smiled down at him. Sunshine had always been a feral and had led a hard life. She had witnessed death, disease, injury, starvation. She had seen good fluffies killed for no reason, bad fluffies live and prosper, and both left behind by herds that just couldn’t afford the resources to keep them. Now, having found the safety of Smarty Franklin’s herd, she finally felt content. She’d been given the okay to have babies by the smarty and had happily chosen Blueberry, who had been her friend since she wandered into the herd. Now she would have his babies, and they’d raise their babies to be the bestest, nicest, sweetest babies ever. Maybe her babies would become toughies? Or even a smarty! The thought of her babies succeeding in the herd filled her with heart-happies. The gentle rumble of her stomach snapped her from her daydreaming. “Speshuw-fwiend…” She said gently, not wanting to wake others. She padded at him with her hoofsie, trying to wake him. “Nnn…” Blueberry murmured, rolling over but not waking. “Bwubewwy… pwease wakies… Suh’shine nee’ make gud poopies…” She said, pushing him a little harder. Her stubby legs were barely able to touch the ground, and the effort of trying to move while also holding in her poopies was too much. Thankfully, Blueberry did wake up, coming to groggily. “Suh’shine?” He asked, “Wat am wong?” “Nee’ make gud poopies. Hewp soon-mummah to poopie-pwace?” “Otay! Sowwy fow sweepies.” He said yawing. Getting to her side, he gently began to roll her to the “poopie-place,” a storm drain that allowed for easy removal of fluffy waste. The smarty was very clear that all poopies went into the poopie place, any other poopies were bad poopies. “It am otay, mummah nu wan make bad poopies.” She said, happily humming as she was rolled so her rear was over the storm drain. Sunshine sighed in relief as she relieved herself into the drain. Being a soon-mummah was very hard. She couldn’t make poopies herself, she couldn’t get her own nummies, and she could barely move. Still, it was worth it. When her babies came she’d be able to move again and would have to be taking care of them nearly all the time. “Aww done?” Blueberry said, yawning. “Yesh. Fnak yu speshuw-fweind! Bwubewwy am bestest speshuw-fwiend, an be bestest daddeh.” Blueberry smiled sheepishly. He was very excited to be a daddy, and hearing Sunshine call him bestest daddy gave him lots of heart-happies. He rolled Shunshine back to their corner of the trash-box-nestie, curled around her, and fell back asleep. Content at last, Sunshine soon followed him to sleep. “Owwies…” Sunshine said, groaning. Her babies were wiggling a lot lately. It hurt her, but the other mares told her it was just because her babies were coming soon. She was very excited about that, but wished they’d come out already so the owwies would stop. “Speshuw-fwiend otay?” Blueberry asked, dropping a mouthful of flower and grassy nummies for Sunshine. “Am otay. Babbehs jus gib huwties. Wan babbehs come out soon.” Sunshine said, looking down at all the delicious nummies Blueberry had found. “Dese am su gud nummies Bwuebewwy! Yu am bestest speshuw-fwiend evah!” She said, beaming. It was the responsibility of all stallions with pregnant mares to collect extra nummies for their special friends, as to not deplete the stockpile the herd kept for emergencies. It was hard work, and dangerous, but worth it. Once the babies came, the mummahs would need the extra nutrition, and the stockpile would be tapped into. Sunshine finished eating the delicious pile of grassy and flower nummies, and looked out at the foals playing as Blueberry resumed his duties as herd nummie-finder. Another mare, Peppermint, had already foaled. Her babies were all so pretty. She had a white and red wingie baby - the same colors and type as Peppermint, a black just-leggy baby, an all white pointy baby, and a red and black just-leggy. Peppermint had given birth to one more foal, a really pretty all-red wingy baby, but it had been a dummy baby and went forever-sleepies after it was born. Peppermint had been really sad, crying for a whole dark-time about her dummy baby. It had made Sunshine sad too; she didn’t want any of her babies to go forever-sleepies. Sunshine watched the foals now. They were still drinking milkies, but they ran and played with a little ball, giggling as they rolled it to each other. Peppermint and her special friend, a black just-leggy fluffy named Darky, were sitting and contently watching as their children played and laughed. “Hewwo Suh’shine.” Smarty Franklin said, approaching her. “Oh! Hewwo Smawty! Was busy jus’ wa’chin Peppuhmint babbehs. Dey aww su pwetty!” Sunshin said, smiling up at the Smarty. “Yesh, dey am aww gud babbehs. How am soon-mummah Suh’shine? Babbehs am feew otay?” “Yesh Smawty. Babbehs am gud. Pway wuff in tummeh, gib some huwties, but am otay.” She said. “Dat am gud. Smawty hab Besseh come an’ hewp mummah get weady.” Bessie was the oldest mare in the herd. When Sunshine had found them, she had only been a weanling for a few bright-times. Bessie was the one who had comforted Sunshine and welcomed her, letting the then-young mare cry about the death of her mother. “How am Besseh, Smawty? Suh’shine… Suh’shine knu Besseh am sickies.” Sunshine said. The Smarty looked at her sadly. It was no great secret that Bessie was ill. The mare was old; older than any other fluffy in the herd. She had been there long before Franklin had been Smarty, and when he’d taken the title she’d already been old. “Besseh am… otay. Aways sweepy nao. Nu wan move much. Still hewp wif babbehs.” Smarty said. “Cwowdy am gud weanew tho. Am be gud new-Besseh.” Sunshine nodded. Bessie, in her wisdom, had taken a student under her hoof to teach all the things she knew about babies, mummahs, and birth. The student was a filly named Cloudy, for her pretty grey fluff and blue mane. There was something… wrong with the filly, though. She was much smaller than she should be, and there were rumors that she had been a dummy baby that Bessie had managed to un-dummy, somehow. “Dat am gud! Hewd need Besseh knowies. Gud dat Cwowdy am weawnin’!” Blueberry returned, having deposited what nummies he found in the nummie-hole, a safe dry place that held all the extra food and was guarded by two toughies. “Hewwo Smawty Fwankwin!” Blueberry said jovially. “Hewwo Bwubewwy. Find wots of nummies?” Blueberry’s ears flattened a little. “Nu find wots… bushies wif gud bewwies am gone. Buh… Smawty… dewe am hoomins wewe bushies shuwd be.” “Did hoomins see yu?” Franklin asked. “Nu, hoomins nu see Bwubewwy. Stay in shadey-pwace and move swow, wike Smawty say.” “Gud… Teww otha nummie-finduh fwuffies dat bushies awe gone. Scowts wiww find nyu nummie bushies watuh.” “Yesh, smawty!” Blueberry said, trotting off to alert the other gatherers in the herd. “Smawty… am nestie-pwace safe?” Sunshine asked. They had never been found by humans before, but Sunshine knew first hand how deadly and merciless humans could be. Her mother had fallen victim to their violence. “Smawty wiww keep hewd safe. Nu wowwies soon-mummah Suh’shine.” Franklin said. He didn’t look at her, and that made Sunshine a little nervous, but humans had never found them before, so maybe he was right. Content with her logic, Sunshine went back to watching Peppermint and her foals, now all taking a break to drink milk. Sunshine smiled; she couldn’t wait to meet her foals. Bessie considered herself a very lucky fluffy. She was the oldest fluffy she knew, having seen four and four cold-times, which was higher than most fluffies could count. She had been with this herd through four smarties; Smarty Pickle, a pretty dark green stallion; Smarty Angel, a rather mean but very smart white and yellow mare; and Smarty Red, a solid red stallion. Red had been the smarty before Franklin, and had been a good smarty. He’d taken Franklin under his hoof when the foal showed promise. Franklin’s mother had been a house-fluffy before she ran away, and had given all her babies weird human names. She said they were the names of her old-daddy’s babies. Franklin had turned out to be a very good smarty, never leading the herd into danger, choosing to stay in the safe alley, and never dishing out unjust or excessive punishments. “Cwowdy,” Bessie said in her raspy voice. “Come hewe.” The filly trotted over to Bessie. “Yesh Bessie-teachuw?” “Suh’shine am haf babbehs soon. Yu come wif Besseh an’ hewp.” “Otay!” Cloudy said excitedly. It was the best part of her job, getting to see babies. Watching mares give birth was scary, because it always seemed to hurt, but the little foals were so cute and precious. It made her so happy to see mummahs give love and huggies to their babies. Bessie groaned as she stood, shaking the blankie that Smarty Franklin had given her off. Her leggies hurt all the time now, and her see-places weren’t very good anymore. It was getting harder to do things. “Cwowdy… Bessie am gu fowevah-sweepies soon.” She said quietly. “Nu kno wen but am happen soon.” “Cwowdy knu…” The filly said. “Bessie… nu kno if weady to du Bessie job.” “Yu be a gud mummah-hewpuh. Bessie am pwowd.” Bessie said. It was true. Cloudy had lots of empathy and made other fluffies feel comfortable and calm. She was small, which helped her work more delicately and closely both with the delicate newborns and mummahs. The truth was that Cloudy had been a runt; a dummy, not-pretty-smelling baby. Bessie knew that most of the time, runts died for no apparent reason, and weren’t worth the resources if they were just going to vomit up milk or die in a few bright-times. Cloudy was different, though. She drank milk just fine, and wiggled and peeped and did everything a baby should do. Her mummah didn’t want to take care of her, but Franklin made her, and Cloudy had grown up perfectly fine. Some of the mummahs didn’t trust her, thinking she could “give” her old dumminess to their new babies, but Bessie knew that was stupid. Dumminess wasn’t like sickies, you couldn’t catch it. Still, stupid fluffies would be stupid fluffies. Sunshine would foal any bright-time now and Bessie needed all the help she could get in her old age. The day went by quickly for Bessie and Cloudy. Peppermint’s foals were all doing well and she had mostly recovered from the stillborn. She was eating enough and her babies didn’t have any complaints of tummy owwies. Sunshine was the only currently pregnant mare so there weren’t any soon mummahs to check up on, just those who had recently foaled. Daisy was sweet. She was a quiet fluffy who was well known in the herd for being gentle and child-like. Bessie had been worried that her naive nature would bode poorly for her foals, but even though Daisy was absent minded with everything else, she was very attentive to her foals. “Hewwo Besseh.” Daisy said. She spoke very softly and was looking at her children. She had three; a pure white earthie, a pale yellow wingie, and a pale orange earthie. Her special friend, an orange wingie stallion, had left the herd one day and never returned. Daisy had been upset, but hadn’t wailed or sobbed like other mares would have. “Hewwo Daisy.” Bessie said, “How am babbehs?” “Babbehs am gud.” Daisy smiled down at them. Like their mother, they made far less noise than other fluffies. “Dat am gud. Daisy haf enuff miwkies? Haf enuff nummies?” Cloudy asked. “Yesh.” Daisy said. Bessie rolled her eyes. While she didn’t love the incessant chatting of other new-mummahs, getting any information from Daisy was very hard. “Otay Daisy,” Bessie said, “If yu need hewp, jus’ find Cwowdy ow Besseh.” “Otay…” Daisy said, trailing off as she gently licked her babies. Bessie and Cloudy moved on to the next mothers, going one by one. Greenie with her four foals was doing okay, and all her babies were talkie babies now. Clara, a recent addition to the herd and a house-fluffy, had six good babies, and was taking good care of them all. Finally, it was time to check up on Sunshine. “Hewwo Suh’shine!” Cloudy said, smiling at the very pregnant yellow mare. “Hewwo Besseh an’ Cwowdy!” Sunushine said. Bessie smiled at her. It was clear that the mare was exhausted and in pain. The babies would be coming soon. “Babbehs am come soon.” Bessie said, looking at Sunshine’s bloated form. Her milky-places were swollen and red. “Suh’shine am su happeh!” The mare said. “Wan babbehs to come owt.” “Soon,” Bessie said. “Cwowdy, wiww yu stay wif soon-mummah fow wen babbehs cum?” “Yesh, Besseh. Wiww stay wif Suh’shine.” Sunshine stopped smiling. “Buh… dum-uh wittew Cwowdy nu need stay!” Bessie narrowed her eyes. It was clear that Sunshine was one of the stupid mares who thought Cloudy would make her babies dummy. “Dat nu am how dummeh wowk. Babbehs am dummeh ow not. Nu can cach dummeh. Yu babbehs am be fine.” Bessie said wearily. She’d had the same conversation at least twice each time there was a new soon-mummah. “Nu wowwy Suh’shine!” Cloudy said, smiling. “Am hewp yu babbehs come owt!” “Weww… otay…” Bessie nodded, happy the issue was settled. She helped Cloudy get settled in a small nestie close by, and made sure that she knew when Sunshine foaled to go get her. “Otay Suh’shine, Cwowdy wiww hewp wen yu babbehs come. Cwowdy wiww come get Besseh.” “Otay Besseh. Aw wong as yu dewe.” Sunshine said, aiming a pointed look at Cloudy. “Cwowdy am gud soon-mummah hewpuh.” Bessie said firmly. “Yesh… am gud… otay Besseh…” Sunshine said, still uncertain. Bessie sighed before giving Cloudy a gentle hug and walking off. She knew nothing bad would happen to Cloudy, but she was worried about how the other mare’s opinion would impact her job. Maybe Smarty Franklin could help. Sunshine was not happy. Yes, her babies were coming and she was very excited about meeting them, but having Cloudy nearby made her uncomfortable. Bessie and Smarty had both told her that her babies couldn’t catch dumminess from Cloudy, but she wasn’t so sure. How could they know if it was or wasn’t like sickies? Hopefully, when her babies came, Cloudy just went and got Bessie, and stayed far away. Over the next few bright-times, Sunshine felt more and more strained. Her babies were certainly coming, because she was ready to pop. She couldn’t even be rolled anymore for good poopies, so Cloudy had placed a piece of old newspaper under her rear to collect them. It happened in the middle of a bright-time, when Sunshine was lazily watching clouds go by. “Owwies! Bigges’ poopies!” She squealed, trembling as pain ached through her lower half. “Nu am poopies!” Cloudy said, quickly getting up. “Am yu babbehs! Cwowdy gu get Besseh!” The small filly ran off to get her teacher, leaving Sunshine slightly panicked until Blueberry rushed to her side. “Speshuw-fwiend! Babbehs am come!” She said, wiggling happily until another contraction took the wind out of her. “Huu huu… why babbehs gif owwies…?” Blueberry, to his credit, immediately curled up next to Sunshine, giving her something to rest her head on as she sobbed into his fluff. “Nu wowwy Suh’shine.” He said softly, “Bwubewwy am hewe.” Bessie ran over as quickly as her arthritic legs allowed, hobbling up to Sunshine. “Babbehs am comin’!” Sunshine shouted, her eyes screwed shut in pain. “Speshuw pwace haf bigges’ owwies!” Cloudy gave Bessie a cleanish piece of newspaper, something for the foals to fall onto that was softer than the ground. Bessie waited for the rush of fluid to come out of Sunshine’s special place before rotating her and placing the newspaper under her. “Nao, Suh’shine nee’ pushies wike makin’ big poopies, otay?” Bessie said. “Cwowdy, yu bwing babbehs tu Suh’shine fow wickie-cweanies an’ miwkies.” “Otay Besseh!” Cloudy said, getting ready to hand the first of the foals to their mother. Bessie watched as the first foal crowned, before slowly falling from Sunshine’s special place into Bessie’s waiting hooves. It was a pretty yellow wingie baby. She looked just like her mother, but with wings instead of a horn, so Bessie was sure she’d be a bestest baby. Bessie handed the baby to Cloudy, who quickly brought it to Sunshine. “Pwetty wingie babbeh! Su happeh!” Sunshine said, smiling. “Nu taste pwetty…” She began to lick her baby clean before cuddling it to her chest. The next baby to come was an earthie, all pale blue like his father. He was peeping almost immediately after birth, and Cloudy quickly grabbed him to bring him to his mother. “Ohhh! Pwetty babbeh am wook wike daddeh! Wook Bwubewwy!” Sunshine she said as she began to lick her baby clean. The yellow foal was already peeping for milk, so Bessie knew that she had to finish as quickly as she could. The last baby finally came out, and Bessie’s heart sank. “Suh’shine… am munstah babbeh…” Bessie said, gently handing the foal to Sunshine. The baby was very pretty; he had dark blue fluff and a few wisps of pretty purple fluff where his mane would come in. “M-munstah babbeh!?” Sunshine said, clearly frightened. “Nu wan!” Bessie grimaced. “Pwease gib babbeh wickie-cweanies, Cwowdy.” “Buh… am munstah babbeh!” Cloudy said. It was the first time she’d ever defied a direct order from Bessie. “Pwease, Cwowdy.” “Otay…” Cloudy said, licking the baby clean. Bessie was worried. None of the currently nursing mares would want to give a ‘munstah baby’ milkies, and she hadn’t produced milk in… many forevers. Once the munstah baby was cleaned off, Bessie placed him with Sunshine’s other foals. “Pwease, Suh’shine… gib munstah babbeh wuv and miwkies. Nu am bad babbeh…” “Nu! Dat am bad babbeh! Am steaw miwkies!” Sunshine said, placing her other two foals at her teats. Bessie sighed, and lifted the now-peeping baby up. Sunshine was fine, and her babies were healthy. “Cwowdy, hewp Suh’shine wif babbehs.” Bessie said, lifting the baby by the scruff and carrying him off. “Otay Bessie…” Cloudy said, eyeing the munstah baby nervously. Bessie sighed; clearly her lessons on ‘all babies are good babies’ hadn’t sunken through. She hurried as fast as her elderly legs could carry her, and eventually found Daisy. “Daisy!” She said after placing the squirming newborn on a soft pile of paper. “Hewp Besseh!” “Hewwo Besseh…” Daisy said, just as softly as ever. “Pewtty babbeh. Am youws?” “Nu, siwwy. Am Suh’shine babbeh. Buh am munstah babbeh. Pwease, gif munstah babbeh miwkies? Mummah nu wan gib babbeh miwkies.” “Oh… dat am saddies… otay. Babbeh can hab miwkies.” Daisy said, still just staring at the wiggling navy foal. She placed him on her milky-place, letting the baby drink long and hard. Bessie was worried that Daisy would force him off before he had enough milk, but she seemed fine, humming some song as he drank. Her absent-mindedness came in handy, for once. Finally, the baby was full and content. He quickly curled up, falling asleep. “Fank yu Daisy…” Bessie said, gently lifting the baby in her mouth. “Dat am otay… bye-bye babbeh…” Daisy said before returning to her own foals. Bessie trotted back to Sunshine. Her foals were also sleeping, tummies round and full of milkies. “Mummah wuv babbeh, babbeh wuv mummah, dwink wots o’ miwkies, gwow up big an’ stwong.” Sunshine sung gently to her foals. “Suh’shine,” Bessie said. “Munstah babbeh am fuww o’ miwkies. Pwease gib huggies an’ wuv?” “Nu! Nu wan! Am munstah babbeh! Twicky an’ steaw aww mummah miwkies!” “Babbeh nu wan steaw miwkies, jus’ nee’ miwkies fow gwow big an stwong. Nu am bad babbeh.” Bessie said. “Nu! Bad babbeh am munstah! Nu wan’!” Sunshine said. Bessie sighed. She had met a few munstah fluffies before, and they never actually seemed to be munstahs. They seemed like normal fluffies, just with both wingies and a horn. She knew other fluffies had a problem with them, and knew fuffies would maim or kill munstah babies if they could. She didn’t understand it; how could a mummah think a helpless little chirpy-baby could num them or their babies? If left alone, munstah-babies would go forever-sleepies just like any other baby. She had felt the same way once, when she was much younger, but she had seen so many of these so-called munstah fluffies be killed or die from tummy-owwies. If they were such scary dangerous munstahs, surely they could stop a mare who was exhausted from giving birth from killing them? “Suh’shine… babbeh am yu babbeh. Nu am munstah. Nee’ mummah fow wuv an’ huggies.” “Nu wan! Gib munstah tu mummah su Suh’shine can gib fowevha-sweepies!” Bessie pulled the baby close to her as Sunshine lifted a hoof to crush it. Fortunately, the movement knocked her other babies off her, and she turned to help them as they chirped and whined, forgetting about her other child. Bessie took the opportunity to take the munstah baby from Sunshine’s nestie, bringing him back to her little den. Cloudy was following behind her now, but seemed wary and afraid. “Cwowdy, babbeh am nu bad babbeh. Am nu munstah, jus’ am wingie-pointy babbeh.” “Buh… fwuffies hab wingine ow pointy! Nu hab bowf!” “Cwody… am jus’ wittew babbeh. Wook;” Bessie said, placing the baby in the center of her sleepy-place. She curled around him, smiling as the baby cooed and fell asleep, wrapped in her white and caramel fluff. “Besseh! Be cawfuw!” Cloudy hissed, watching the baby. “Cwowdy. Wook. Babbeh am sweepies. Nu am num Besseh, nu am huwt Besseh.” Bessie said, trying to explain to the wary fluffy. Before she could continue her lesson, however, Smarty Franklin came into her den, two toughies beside him. “Besseh,” Franklin said, staring at the baby curled up in her fluff. “Gib babbeh tu smawty.” “Smawty… pwease… babbeh am nu bad…” Bessie said. “Besseh… eben if babbeh am nu bad… make hewd scawdies… Nee’ gu fowevah-sweepies fow hewd.” “Nu! Babbeh am nu desewe dat! Pwease Smawty! Besseh wiw wach babbeh, wiw take cawe of babbeh!” “Besseh nu hab miwkies.” Franklin said, “Babbeh am stiww nee’ miwkies.” “Daisy gib miwkies.” Bessie said. “Besseh!” Frankin said, stamping his hoofsie. “Dis am not otay! Hewd hab scawdies! Suh’shine aweady teww hewd dat yu hab munstah babbeh! Dey nee’ feew safe!” “Dey AM safe!” Bessie said, rolling her eyes. “Dewe am nu dangew! Babbeh am babbeh! Wook!” Bessie kicked the baby. It rolled over and peeped, wigging in pain. Bessie kicked him a few more times, making sure not to cause any damage, but trying to hammer the point home.” “Stahp!” Franklin said, looking at the now hysterical baby. It wiggled and peeped, instinctively putting its small hooves over its unopened eyes as it cried. “See!? See Fwankwin! Babbeh am hewpwess! Nu am munstah!” Bessie said, panting. Her heart was aching and it took all her willpower not to cuddle the baby. “Besseh am owd an’ nu stwongies! If am munstah babbeh, Besseh nu couwd huwt babbeh!” The toughies were eyeing each other now, and Cloudy was also staring at the baby. The tension in the den was high, and Smarty Franklin was staring at the still-peeping baby. “Otay… Besseh… otay.” Franklin said. “Keep babbeh… smawty am cawm hewd sumhow…” “Fank yu Smawty…” Bessie said, quickly running over to the baby. She curled around him and licked his back, calming the distressed newborn. “Buh Besseh… if anyfing happen… nu can pwotect babbeh, otay?” “Besshe undahstawnd.” She said. Looking at the still-uncertain toughies. “Fank yu, Smawty.” “Besseh, Smawty onwy du dis becus Besseh am gud fow hewd an du wots tu hewp soon-mummah. Nu make Smawty wegwet dis.” “Besseh pwomise.” She said, smiling at the smarty. “Wets gu!” Franklin said, turning around and taking his toughies with him. Cloudy was still staring uncertainty at the munstah baby, but the display of its weakness had quelled some of her fears. Bessie sang gently to the baby, smiling as it curled into her fluff and fell asleep again. Bessie’s sleep soon followed, cupping the baby in her arms and enjoying its warmth. The next few bright-times went mostly the same. Bessie would wake up to the hungry peeping of the foal, bring him to Daisy, and let him drink. The foal was never full enough, and Bessie didn’t want to stretch Daisy’s good will thin by taking more of her milkies than she was willing to give. Bessie was sure to keep up her duties, of course, checking up on the new mummahs and their babies. Sunshine’s foals were doing well and growing up nicely. They were bigger than her munstah-baby of course, having been able to eat constantly. Every time Sunshine saw Bessie with her baby, she scowled and pulled her other children close. It went on like this until finally, the little baby opened his eyes. “M… mummah?” He asked, staring up at Bessie. “Nu am mummah, am Besseh.” Bessie said, smiling. “Besseh? W-wuv Besseh!” The foal said, smiling. “An’ Besseh wuv yu, babbeh.” Bessie said. “Woud babbeh wike tu meet mummah and daddeh?” “Mummah! Daddeh! Wuv!” The baby chirped, using its limited vocabulary. “Otay! Wet’s gu!” Bessie placed the foal on her back, and trotted off. She was concerned about how Sunshine and Blueberry would react to their child, but she hoped that hearing their baby speak and proclaim his love would help them see how good of a baby he was. Sunshine and Blueberry were curled around their other babies, gently cooing and playing with them. “Hewwo Suh’shine, Buwbewwy!” Bessie said, trying to be as friendly as possible. “Hewwo Besseh! Babbehs am aww gud babbehs!” Blueberry said, happily looking at his foals. “Hewwo Besseh.” Sunshine said, without looking up. She clearly still didn’t trust Bessie. “Besseh hab supwies fow yu.” Bessie said, gently letting the baby on her back down. He wasn’t a walkie-baby yet so just just wiggled a bit and flailed his hoofsies as he was placed on the ground. “Mummah!? Daddeh!? Wuv! Wuv mummah an’ daddeh!” The baby said, clearly excited to finally meet his parents. “Scree! Munstah babbeh am tawkie! Gib sowwy hoofsies!” Sunshine said, screaming in fear. Her own babies started to peep in fear, and cried out. “Mummah! Nu wet munstah num babbehs!” The little yellow filly cowered into her mother’s fluff and cried. “Bad munstah! Nu scawe mummah!” The blue baby colt said, puffing up his cheeks. “Babbeh nu am munstah!” Bessie said, shielding the baby from Blueberry and Sunshine. “Dat am bad babbeh!” Blueberry said, stomping at Bessie. “Gib mummah an’ babbehs scawdies!” “Buh babbeh am nu mean gib scawdies. Onwy say dat he wuv!” Bessie said. She was getting annoyed. Sunshine was getting herself upset for no reason. “Nu cawe!” Blueberry said, “Gib munstah babbeh fowevah-sweepies!” “Nu! Babbeh am nu munstah! Nu huwt!” Bessie said, getting between Blueberry and the munstah baby. Blueberry, however, was too riled up. He kicked his hoofsie into Bessie’s snout. “Owwie!” Bessie cried, boo-boo juice leaking from her nose. “Besseh!” The munstah baby said, wiggling in fear and stress. “Nao Bwubewwy gib babbeh fowevah-sweepies!” Blueberry said, stepping around Bessie, who was still nursing her bleeding nose. “Nu! Daddeh! Babbeh wuv! Wuv daddeh!” The munsta was wriggling and crying. “Nu wan munstah wuv!” Blueberry said. “Bwubewwy, stahp!” Blueberry turned just in time for a toughie to crash into him, sending him flailing across the ground. He cried out in pain as the toughie stood over him. Smarty Franklin, who had called out, was now beside Bessie, helping her back to her hoofsies and licking the boo-boo juice off her nose. “Fank yu smawty…” Bessie said, nuzzling into Franklin’s neck. The crying of the munstah baby snapped her out of it and she quickly returned to him, lifting him off the ground and carrying him to Franklin. “Say fank yu tu Smawty, babbeh.” Bessie said. “Fank yu, Smawty.” The little colt said, still crying. “Yu welcom,” Smarty Franklin said. He eyed the crying colt warily, but eventually nuzzled him a bit, calming the colt down. “Besseh, take babbeh fwom hewe. Tu nestie.” “Otay Smawtie…” Bessie said. Franklin lifted the colt onto Bessie’s back, and shooed her and the crying colt back to the den. He turned to Blueberry, who was huuing while his toughie had a hoofsie on his side, keeping the stallion down. Sunshine and her foals were staring at Blueberry, crying. “Owange,” Franklin said to the toughie. “Wet Bwubewwy up.” The toughie grunted, but relented, and got off Blueberry. Blueberry stood up, complaining of chestie owies, and trotting over to his family. “Meanie toughie gif owwies…” Blueberry complained. “Toughie gif owwies becaus’ Bwubewwy huwt Besseh!” Franklin said, annoyed. “Dat am yu fawt.” “Speshuw-fwiend owny huwt Besseh becaus’ Besseh pwotect munstah babbeh!” Sunshine said. Franklin sighed. He should not have allowed Bessie to keep the munstah baby, especially if it was going to cause more issues like this. Still, it was unacceptable for any member of the herd to hurt the mummah-helper. “Bwubewwy, becaus’ yu am nyu daddeh, nu get owwies.” Frankin said. “But nu huwt Besseh again.” “Den teww Besshe nu bwing munstah babbeh hewe ‘gain!” Sunshine said, clearly upset. “Nu wowwy, Suh’shine. Besseh nu bwing babbeh ‘gain.” Franklin assured her. “Dat am gud…” Sunshine said. She went back to her babies, both of which were peeping and crying. “Munstah babbeh gib gud babbehs scawdies…” Franklin sighed. “Smawty wiww teww Besseh tu keep babbeh away.” “Fank yu, Smawty.” Blueberry said, still eyeing Orange. “Take cawe of babbehs. Bwubewwy, if hab moaw owwies, come see Smawty.” “Otay.” Franklin summoned his toughie and walked off, back to the den. There, he found Bessie looking downtrodden. “Smawty… am sowwy fow cause twubwe.” Bessie said, head hanging low and ears flat. The little colt she’d taken into her care was still crying, and curled up around itself in her nestie. “Smawty kno, Besseh.” Franklin said. “Jus’ wan babbeh tu be wif mummah and daddeh. Thought if dey see babbeh tawkies dey undastawnd…” “Smawty kno, Besseh…” Franklin said, sighing. “Babbeh am… nu-bad munstah babbeh, buh gif fwuffies scawdies. Babbeh can nu weave nestie.” “Buh! Buh babbeh nee’ miwkies! Nee’ weave nestie fow make gud poopies an’ hab miwkies!” Bessie said. “Toughie an’ Besseh taek babbeh tu Diasy fow miwkies an poopie-pwace. Nu can go awone.” “O-otay… Fow keep babbeh safe?” “Yesh. An keep hewd safe.” Franklin said. “Hewd scawdies of babbeh. Wen babbeh am big enuf tu weave… babbeh go away.” “Buh… buh babbeh am gud…” Bessie said, clearly heartbroken. “Babbeh am gud. Hewd nu wan babbeh hewe tho. Nu can keep one babbeh if make aww fwuffies scawdies. Nu faiw.” Bessie looked up at Franklin. He could tell she was angry and sad. There wasn’t anything he could do, however. If one fluffy made the whole herd upset, they had to go. It was that, or risk hysteria. “Dat am dat, Besseh.” Franklin said. “Babbeh gwow up big an’ stwong, an’ den weave.” “Buh…” Bessie began, before seeing Franklin’s look. “Otay, Smawty. Babbeh get big, den weave.” Franklin nodded, and walked slowly over to the munstah baby. “Hewwo babbeh, am Smawty Fwankwin.” “H-hewwo Smawty!” The baby said. “Yu am gud babbeh. Nu wowwies, Besseh an Smawty keep yu safe.” “Fank yu Smawty…” The baby said. He yawned a bit, blinking his eyes. “Besseh, take babbeh tu nestie. Sweepy time fow babbeh.” “Yesh, Smawty.” Bessie lifted the baby by his scruff and carried him to her nestie. Cloudy was there too now, and Franklin could see the nasty look she gave the munstah baby. Franklin sighed. He should never have let Bessie keep the baby. The last thing he heard before the two fell asleep was “Wuv Besseh.” from the baby. Franklin hoped sending the baby away later would be the right choice. Link to Part 2
2020.07.01 12:40 AgamidaeToday's CK3 Q&A with the devs, July 1st
Q: Will there be new nicknames added to the game? A: Yes Q: will changing feudal contracts have any affect on stress? for example will content characters not want it to change too much? A: Some traits do give stress if changing the contract, just will give you stress if you change it in an unfair contract for example Q: how did the "shoe loving" event come to be? A: I worry about our Game Designer sometimes too. Q: what was the most challenging event/event chain to work on? A: The bastardy system has caused our content designers many many headaches Q: Will events such as the Bearly Legal event be returning? A: Well if any were we'd definitely not be telling you :wink: Q: doe the clan and tribal gov have contracts? A: No. Q: in Dev diary #33 there was a law concerning "coinage rights" which I assume has to do with whether or not you're allowed to mint your own coins. The reason why I bring this up is that I wonder if you can clarify what that law actually implies and how it will affect gameplay as it wasn't talked about in the diary? A: It increases the development growth of the vassal at the cost of development growth for the liege to represent the vassals own ability to mint their coins Q: How often is the AI likely to do something against character? A: For most purposes the AI treats the player the same as any other character. So if it makes sense for them to do something with or to the player, they're likely to do it. There's tweaks here and there to ensure it doesn't get overwhelming. Q: Will stress affect NPCs? A: Yes, the AI is affected by stress too. The AI will usually try to avoid gaining stress, but can definitely get mental breaks from things like family members dying. Q: Can we still rename provinces? A: All titles can be renamed. Q: Concerning the Feudal Contracts, how tribal relationship will work? Something similar, something different, or you will answer it in the future? A: Tribes do not use individual obligations, it is constant base heavily scaled by the prestige level instead of negotiated obligations Q: In the Event Scripting Dev Diary, it seemed that the scripting language is very similar to Imperator's Jomini. Does it mean that CK3 will have similar modding capabilities, including Scripted GUI? A: Yep! Scripted guis are fully functional in CK3 Q: will we be able to disable fantasy stuff? A: On release there's no fantasy content. Q: Will there be any downsides to coping mechanisms, and counter to that, will there be any upsides to not having any coping mechanisms? (e.g. finding out someone was a brothel addict would be a hook) A: There's downsides to almost all coping mechanisms, with the exceptions of Athletic and Journaller, and those are very rare. In fact, I think Journaller might have downsides too, if someone finds your journal. Anyway, some examples: going to brothels frequently can result in STD's, being Irritable and choosing to 'Lash Out' can damage your vassal's opinions of you, etc. Q: Will Forts work the same way as in EU4? Where certain paths are blocked unless you take a certain fort? A: No. You might call it a "soft" zone of control, where forts, or rather hostile counties, make you suffer an attrition hit if you enter a hostile county (from another hostile county) without controlling anything adjacent to it. This will still allow you free movement, but you'll have to take the attrition in mind if it's something you think you can afford or not. Q: Will the game have leap years? A: No. Leaving out leap years makes a lot of date math far easier, so we don't consider adding leap years worth it considering the bugs and issues it would cause. Q: Will I be able to prevent random courtiers (either generated by the game or banished from another court) from showing up at my court? A: You won't get random Courtiers except for at game start, the rest is handled by the Guest system. Q: Can vassals force their liege to change their contracts via factions or rebellions? A: They can force them to change crown authority levels, but factions cannot change individual contracts. That can be done through trading points (e.g. lower taxes for more troops) or risk gaining tyranny if you do this unjustly. Hooks will let you change them without having to trade off points! Q: Will Crusades work like they work now? A: By definition, yes. Now if you mean like in CK2, Crusades work quite similarly to how they do in Holy Fury, with some tweaks and bells and whistles added here and there. Q: Will the death of pets cause stress? A: It can do! Q: Can you suggest contracts as a vassal to your liege? A: Vassals can negotiate a different contract with their liege yes, they have the added requirement of proposing a fair trade unlike the liege who can make unfair ones and gain tyranny Q: will you be able to use stress as a weapon against your rivals A: Well, in a way. Murdering their close family if they're compassionate will definitely stress them out. Keeping them in your dungeon/torturing them will also induce a lot of stress. There are ways. Q: Will having several of your family members die within a short timespan give severe stress/depression A: Family members dying in short succession is very likely to result in one or more mental breaks, yes. Q: Will we be able to mod new Special Contract or Privilege options for Feudal Contracts? A: Yes. Q: In recent game-play footage we have been shown of King Alfonso of Leon, the holy site of Rome can be seen to give +1 stewardship to Catholics. In Dev Diary #20 it is said to give Orthodox characters +10% piety. Is this something that has changed during development or do the holy site bonuses differ depending on the religion that holds them? If the latter, are we able to change the bonuses when we make a custom faith or reform the religion? A: It would be due to it being changed. Holy Sites have the same bonuses regardless of Faith. Q: Can I marry my sister? A: With the right doctrines, yes. Q: Stress relief activities in CK3 that we were shown are certainly very extreme - flagellation, drinking, hedonism. What are some milder, more socially acceptable ways to do it? A: Of course. Your ruler might just enjoy themselves with a bit of exercise. Or can become reclusive, partake in occasional spending spree or just take additional stress hit with no long-term repercussions, but these can be much more severe if you decide to ignore them. Q: Is there anything prevent a player from making all of their vassals have the same special contract type? E.g. all vassals as Scutage if you're gunning for a Man-at-Arms-only army, or all vassals as Marches if you want to become really hard to conquer (though it's thematically a bit odd to have Marches in non-border regions). A: Currently no, though its also worth noting the downsides of the contracts and the requirements for that contract to be enacted such as innovations unlocked and the tiers of the vassals. So its not a super strong win to just give them something like that for every vassal, it is a trade off Q: Is thre any way to increase some NPC stress in order to.... shorten it's lifespan? A: I heard imprisonment is a really stressful experience, especially if ruler is of... particularly sadistic nature. Q: As we know, petting a pet can be used to relieve Stress, but what happens when a pet dies? Does the event of losing one's beloved Stress-sponge result in a Stress hit? A: It can do Q: Will the peace system resemble EU4 in any way? CK2s peace mechanics were pretty good, but easy to abuse and hard to take only specific plots of land. A: The peace system is essentially the same as in CK2, as we feel this is a better fit for the era than the EU4 system. Q: Some of the best fun in ck2 was playing as rulers I wouldn't have thought id enjoy playing (e.g. Bob who is a cannibal with 2 stats in every skill). With the new ability to disinherit how will this feature be balanced in a way that lets the player disinherit if they so choose but still be incentivized to "Give the bad heir a try"? A: Disinheriting costs Renown, which is the same currency you use to acquire Dynasty Legacies. You have to decide what's the most important to you. Also, Disinheriting costs Prestige too, which limits you a bit further. Q: Does the "forced partition" vassal contract option immediately change your inheritance? A: Yes, it forces you/vassal to adopt partition laws, regardless of your realm laws. Q: If feudal contracts can only be changed once per character, does that mean if I change the contract then later on get a hook, I won't be able to use that hook for the contract? A: Correct, the hook does not impact the once per lifetime per character rule Q: will we be able to resume the game time during events(like eu4) or will it be paused until the player chooses a decision to end the event (like non multiplayer ck2)? A: Like in CK2. Q: regarding modding, will we be able to create faiths dynamically in scripts? e.g. clone an existing faith but change one of the doctrines in scripting. This would allow mods to add a dynamic heresy system, which would be really cool A: That's not currently feasible, though we do have some vague ideas on that front. Q: Have succession laws and loss of land on succession been made any clearer for certain players who are not all that smart? Asking for a friend. A: Yes! The succession tab in the realm view will list out which titles are going where due to what succession reasons to help clear that up and make it less tedious to check every title manually Q: The character finder, although useful, always felt a bit gamey to me, sorting by skill and then picking the best. Does the new character finder have any solutions to this pick the best for the job way of doing things? A: Characters are much much harder to invite to your court than in CK2. Most characters will not be willing to move to your court since they have no reason to. Q: Can adult characters change their culture? A: Of course! Q: Can you demolish buildings in freshly caputured provinces, either for profit or becuase your long term goal requires a different building? A: You can't destroy them, but you can replace them with a different building. Q: It was said during the last DD that the feudal contract of a freshly landed courtier (i.e., an unlanded, claimless courtier being granted a title) would default to the average level of obligations. Wouldn't it be better if the liege could freely set that feudal contract to whatever they want? I mean, if they don't like it, sure, I'll find someone else to rule that land for me... A: That would be very easy to abuse and removes part of the fun of having vassals and being able to negotiate with them Q: Will counties adjacent to navigable rivers (e.g. Kiev) be able to embark troops onto boats or will they have to walk troops to the sea and then embark? A: If you can travel on rivers, you can embark on rivers. If you can't travel on rivers, you can't embark on them. Q: Can a vassal start a rebellion if the contract has been changed in a way that he hates it? Does that grant them a Casus Beli? A: They are free to join a faction or start a war like they would be for any act their liege does which they dislike Q: will there be heraldic stains for sins A: Coats of arms are tied to dynasties and titles, not individual characters, so we don't use abatements. The stain colours are also a bit anachronistic for our time period and so don't appear in the random list of tinctures. Q: How many coping mechanisms could we have by always taking the stressful decisions ? Is there a hard limit or can we theoretically get as many as we want ? A: You can get multiple coping mechanisms the more stressed you are, e.g. drunkard and reclusive. Q: how moddable is stress gain? Would a modder potentially be able to make certain cultural techs or religious tenets completely remove stress from things like child death? A: Stress gain is heavily moddable. The ideas you mention should be feasible to mod in. Q: will creating a custom empire/kingdom with 3 kingdom titles make the territories within the empire dejure to the title similar to ck2? A: Creating a custom title, say an empire, will automatically de jure drift any kingdom you hold. Q: will all beard styles be available at 16? A: You need to give nature a bit more time to grow a proper beard, which usually start appearing around 18 years of character's age. Q: Will you be able to walk through another country with your troops without military access? A: Like CK2, CK3 does not have a military access mechanic. You can walk through neutral countries. Q: In CK2 we had around 2 big chain events(the one with Robin Hood and the one with the Gate of Hell). Could you give us an estimate of how many chain events we will have in CK3 and if so, could you give some loose details of what they'll be about? A: We have some very long event chains in the game, mostly tied to interactions and intrigue. As to what they are - you will have to experience them yourself. But they are looooooooooong. Q: will pilgrimages reduce stress? A: Events during pilgrimages may increase or lower stress depending on the options you choose and your traits. Q: is the default obligation gains for new vassals moddable via scripting, so you could have event's that create new vassals with a set contract A: The defaults are scripted yes, and an event can change the contract a vassal has if they wish to Q: Is there a possibility that the position of "Dynast" could be renamed, e.g. to "Head Dynast" or "Senior Dynast", given that a "dynast" is normally any (eligible/male) member of the dynasty? A: We've changed 'Dynast' to 'Dynasty Head' for clarity. Q: Is CK3 more beginner friendly than CK2 or other CK series? A: Yes Q: With spouses, how many events are tied to loving or disliking your spouse and how often will they trigger? A: Events, their options and outcomes will be tied directly to what you think of your spouse and what your spouse thinks of you. That also impacts how you react about their natural or "natural" death. Q: Do feudal vassal levy laws affect Men-at-Arms stuff in any way, or do your feudal vassals only ever give you regular levies? A: Vassals only provide levies; men at arms are specific to their owner. Q: I am a little worried about the idea of 3 stress levels, they seem exploitable, wouldn't there be ways of making sure you're staying just under a stress level? A: There are plenty of ways to alleviate stress before you reach mental breaks, like feasting or hunting. These work especially well if you have traits corresponding with the decision, such as being gregarious! Q: how many events are culture/location specific? A: An amount greater than zero and less than the total amount of events in the game Q: Will ingame music depend on culture, religion or goverment type? (or a variety of those) A: Mood tracks no, but there is plenty of ambient sounds that are tied to regions and faiths (church bells for Christians, for example). Q: Can I get my vassals' men-at-arms if I revoked their titles or their titles go back to me A: No Q: Who did the plant pet in the last Dev Diary belong to? A: That is the beloved plant of one of our Content Designers, heptopus on the forums you may have read some of her previous dev diaries :slight_smile: Q: Since we won't have to raise fleets, how will raiding work. In ck2 fleet has its own wealth storage and you get event increasing province's output after arriving there with raid fleet. A: The raid loot is stored on the army, and you get it when the army returns to your lands. Q: If I conquer a county will I imprison everyone from the person's family and perhaps himself if he's there. Also in battle will there be a higher chance of imprisonments then from Ck2 ? A: Sieges, raids, and battles have a chance of imprisoning people. Q: Would it be possible to make it so that vassalizing someone or giving a landed title automatically starts a Feudal Contract negotiation to create the initial terms, rather than just giving us a default one? A: Its possible for someone to mod in, but for the vanilla game we feel like that would be to spammy for whenever you create a vassal needing to negotiate custom terms. If you wish you can just negotiate it optionally after landing them but it being forced would not be ideal in our opinion Q: Will "De Jure" realms and duchies be subject to change during a gameplay? A: Of course. Q: how often will the ai demand a contract rework? A: If they have a hook on you, they're reasonably likely to use it to change their contract. Q: is it more likely now that you actually have to manage your economy in ck3? A: Yes Q: Historically speaking, some terrain elements such as Caucasus mountains have prevented massive invasions throughout centuries (from north to east) by granting defending party a massive advantage to fight in choke points. Will these kind of choke points grant any additional bonus in combat, other than limiting the path from which enemy can enter your territory? (Say Georgia) A: Geographical bottle necks mostly limits the enemies movement, but that also allows you to easier know where they'll be coming. You can easily position your army to block their path, and if you happen to be standing in mountains, you'll get a significant advantage bonus in combat. Remember also that you are able to build defensive building, further increasing the advantage bonus you can get in combat. Q: Are Zunist and Bön in the Eastern or Pagan religious group? A: We have Religious Families now, rather than groups. They're in the Pagan family. Q: Is a hook inherited if unused (because for instance you already negotiated the feudal contract?) A: Hooks are not inherited. Q: how active will the AI be in renewing contracts? A: When they have a hook they will try to change the contract to benefit them, so careful who you shake hands with! Q: Can hooks be reused? A: Strong hooks don't disappear on use, but are instead not possible to use for a certain amount of time Q: Will the AI use the Disinherit option for unworthy heirs or this option is just for the player? A: It will disinherit only during extreme circumstances, such as if their heir has a very bad trait (Kinslayer, Cannibal, etc) Q: Will characters look like their parents even if their culture is changed? A: Yes, the dna and ethnicity are separate from the culture the character has, you can integrate into a culture and change that whilst ethnicity and dna remain the same and those are what determines the genetic look of children Q: I see in ck3 that some char pose like they are talking a picture it's usually the husband, wife and heir i assume ? what kind of feature is that ? A: It's showcasing the family from your latest save file! Q: Is the culture of a county fixed to a certain culture (group) or can a dedicated ruler "reeducate" his/her subjects? A: Culture can be changed if the head ruler is of different culture. Then the culture can be promoted to what the ruler thinks it should be. Ruler can also adopt local culture if they so desire. Q: Can we rename our children's children to ensure they dont break family naming traditions? A: Children can be renamed when they are born. Q: Will counties be able to de jure drift into other duchies, or will only duchies and kingdoms de jure drift into other kingdoms/empires, like in CK2? A: Only duchies and kingdom can de jure drift into other titles. Q: is there a music player? A: They will be no music player this time around, as the system is based on mood and cue tracks to make the experience more immersive. Q: It's very easy to unite two very big realms practically forever in CK2 by just changing them both to primogeniture, are there any measures taken to prevent something like this? A: You're going to spend more time with various forms of Partition succession. Getting Primogeniture is hard, and requires certain Innovations. This means that managing your succession is more important, and reuniting your lands post-succession is going to me a more present thing throughout the game. There are more tools to manage this though, such as Disinheritance. :slight_smile: Q: Can the appearence of the currently played character be customized in terms of clothing and hairstyles? A: Yes, via barbershop. Q: will a character get stress he inherits a title / can a non played character have stress ? A: As in real life all characters have stress, landed or not
2020.06.30 22:30 HybridPumpkinI Found a Phone On a Train. I Should Have Left It Alone.
This is the story on nosleep ------- I didn't normally take the 11:15 train, but, then again, I normally don't work that late. My boss had kept me late, yelling at me all night. Usually, I finish up around 10:00 and take the subway back to my apartment at 10:15. Tonight, however, I was forced to take the 11:15 train. There's a rumor in my town about the 11:15 train. They say that people who take that train experience untold horrors. Some say that the conductor is a ghost. I've even heard that several murders took place on the infamous vehicle. I have never believed any of those stories, though, I will admit, clambering onto a rusty old sub train in the middle of the night with no one around felt a little unsettling. I sat down on one of the seats as the train began to move forward. As the momentum of the vehicle increased and the outside lights in the tunnel flew past with growing speed, I leaned back and began to think back to the day I'd had at work. I am ashamed to admit that I'd been a...less than stellar employee. My boss had given me, "three strikes," meaning if I messed up three more times in the next six weeks, I would be fired. I had been working at my current office for the past month. This had been my longest lasting job. I had been off and on with different jobs for the past year. Moving out hadn't been easy, and I had been struggling to do basic things like pay the rent and eat. I didn't even own a cell phone. Just an old flip-phone my parents had gotten me for Christmas when I was thirteen. It barely even worked, but I couldn't afford a better device. I stood up and paced around the tiny confines of the sub train. Since it was empty, I wasn't bothering anyone by my anxious walking back and forth. I found myself staring blankly at the seats, just thinking. I hadn't done much thinking recently. I suffer from ADHD, which is one of the reasons why I lose jobs so easily. I can't focus on much of anything for very long. A loud SCREECH jolted me out of my thoughts as the train slid to a halt. I checked my watch. 11: 30. Not my stop. I would be exiting at 11:45. I dropped onto one of the seats and nearly leaped back out in surprise as a man darted past me. I heard a loud thud as he ran out of the train and into the station. As the sub train began to move once more, I peeked out the window at the man. He was dressed in a suit, complete with a pocket square and a blue checkered tie. However, the suit was tattered, and old. His sticking-up black hair was streaked with gray, and his brown eyes had bags under them. He looked like he was some homeless man who had found a suit in the dumpster. The train took off, and on the fifteen-minute ride to my stop, I found myself thinking more about the man. Why did he seem to be in such a hurry? What was that noise? Had he dropped something? I decided to investigate. I stood up and crept over to the closed subway doors. I looked around a little, searching for the source of the thud I'd heard. Eventually, after a few minutes of fruitless searching, I gave up. I collapsed back onto the sea and checked my watch. Only five minutes until my stop. Then, I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small, dark grey device, laying under the seat across from me. I leaned over and picked it up. I couldn't see any brand name at all. No logos. Nothing. It was fitted into a sleek black case. The camera on the back looked of rather good quality. There was only one button, positioned along the side. I pressed it. The display lit up. The first thing I noticed was that the lock screen was just a generic background of what looks like some random splotches of paint that comes default on most phones. The whole cell phone seemed new. It was almost funny, the idea that the ragged old homeless man had the newest iPhone. Well, it wasn't an iPhone. Like I said, there were no brand names on the phone of any sort. I knew I should return the phone to it's rightful owner, whoever that was. I wondered if it even had a password or fingerprint registered inside it. I hit the home button and, to my surprise, the device unlocked. An array of various apps littered the screen. Again, none of the apps looked customized, just basic stock apps. I scrolled through the apps. Clock, Photos, Notes. I looked through them, and they all looked like apps my friends had on their phones. I also checked the contacts. Completely empty. As if it had just been bought. I smiled. This was my new phone. The train came screeching to a halt. I had arrived at my stop. I exited the train and stepped into the dark subway tunnel. I exhaled, and made my way toward the escalator. As I was riding up the mechanical stairs, I pulled out my cell phone. Traversing the dark streets at night is not one of my favorite activities. I searched through the Settings app and the toolbar, trying to see if there was a flashlight. Bingo! There was a flashlight in the toolbar. I tapped the screen, activating it. The bright light illuminated the empty street in front of me. The flashlight was incredibly powerful, lighting up at least a ten-foot radius around me. I started walking up the sidewalk, occasionally taking quick glances to make sure I wasn't being followed. Being stalked is one of the things that terrifies me the most. I hate the idea of being grabbed from behind, your skin turning to ice as cold fingers wrap around your neck. I tried not to think such thoughts as I walked alone down the dark street. I turned a corner around a tall office building. I looked at me reflection in the lobby window as I passed. I looked like a complete mess, hair disheveled, clothes worn and even ripped in a few places. I sighed. If I lost my job, I would be done for. Working there was the only thing allowing me to pay the rent and put food on the table. I determined that from this day forward, I would be a good employee. Maybe even a great employee. I just needed to work for it. I briskly began walking again, now with a renewed sense of energy. I had a new phone, and a new purpose in life. I pushed through the cold night, proud of myself. I could see my apartment complex looming in front of me. The way my apartment is laid out, the stairway leading to the various floors is on the outside. I climbed up the staircase, taking the steps two at a time. I strode up to my front door. I pulled the keys out of my pocket, fumbling with them as I inserted them into the lock. My cold fingers struggled as I attempted to open my door. Then I heard them. Footsteps. Coming up the steps. I know, it was probably just another tenant coming home. But still, what with the eerie cold night, my nerves were shot. With my cell phone being the only thing to penetrate the darkness, I feared the worst. the footsteps got louder, nearer. I worked the key further into the keyhole. The sounds of the person's steps amplified in volume. They were coming up the steps. I dropped the keys. I grunted. The footsteps were too loud, pounding against the metal stairs. I grabbed the keys back up, shoving them into the lock. I twisted them hard. The door swung open. I ran inside, slamming the door shut just as the footsteps reached the entrance to my apartment door. The footsteps stopped. They just stood there, unmoving. I checked several times, making sure that my door was locked. It was. I stumbled back and collapsed on my couch. Maybe my pursuer had walked away and I hadn't heard him. Or maybe, it wasn't a pursuer at all. I needed to stop being so paranoid. I pulled out my new cell phone and turned it on. I opened the contacts app, and added my friends and family to the list, typing in their phone numbers. I signed in my own phone number and even downloaded some mobile games. The "App Finder," as it was called, contained every app I could think of, despite the fact that it was an unknown brand. I went into my room and passed out on my bed. -------- "Hey, Brad, how's it going?" my friend, Jacob, asked. It was the next morning, and I had tested out calling people with my new phone. "Yeah, hey," I said. "How would you like to come over to my place? Tonight?" "When? "Uhhh...Maybe 10:45?" I answered. Jacob was a night owl. I knew he could make it. "Yeah, I'll be there!" He hung up. It was six am, and I was about to go to work. I sat down at my counter and pulled my plate toward me, upon which were placed my breakfast: a piece of toast and a carrot. I crunched on my toast while I scrolled through emails on my new phone. As I was looking at some spam survey from some random company in my area when I saw the time. 6:10. I was supposed to be at work by 6:45. I quickly pressed the home button. As I stood up, I heard something which nearly made me leap out of my skin out of surprise. "How may I help you, Brad?" It was clearly a computer-generated voice, like any smart assistant that you find on most devices, but in the silence, it caught me off guard. I looked at my screen. It was dark gray, with the previously spoken words printed on the screen in blue. I pressed the home button again. Nothing happened. I had to answer. "Umm..Nothing." "Are you sure about that?" The answer caught me off guard. In the past, I'd had some fun playing around with voice assistants on my buddy's phones, and whenever you said something like that, they shut off. "Yes..I am," I said. "Alright." when she said that, it sounded almost human. The assistant screen was replaced by the home screen. I didn't have much time to think about it. I grabbed my carrot and left my apartment. I crunched on it as I entered the subway station. I barely managed to catch my train by less than a minute. I clambered on and sat down on the bench. I finished up my carrot. The underground train rumbled along it's track, vibrating in a relaxing manner. There were more people with me this time. The train was, in fact, full. I took a glance around the train, looking at the various commuters on their way to work. Everyone was staring at their screens, scrolling through texts or social media. Except for one of them. She was a lady. She had big, bright blue eyes. She had long, flowing blonde hair. She was clad in a blue dress and leather sandals. She wore no makeup, from what I could see, but she instead displayed natural beauty. And she was staring right at me. I quickly looked away. I didn't know who she was, and I didn't want to look like some creep. I pulled out my phone and pretended to use it for something. There was something unnatural about the way she was looking at me. I chose to ignore it, and to get on with my day. When the train slowed to a stop, I stood up, ready to get off and go to work. I stepped carefully over other riders, avoiding their legs and feet. I forced my way off the train, eventually. Once out of the sub-train, I ran. I could not be late for work. Not when my whole job, my whole livelihood, was hanging on a thread. I made it. Barely. I could see my my boss glaring at me from the other side of the office when I arrived. But I didn't care. I was just grateful that I had arrived at work by 6:45. I speed-walked to my cubicle and sat down at my desk. I turned on my computer, and started my day. The day was dreary and boring. I spent my day filling out spreadsheets and editing drafts. Everything was fine, until lunch. We all ate in a large room at the end of the office hall. There is a huge window that takes up the entirety of one of the walls. I always sit next to the window. I love the view I get of the city. I sighed and leaned back in my chair and stared out at the street below. I took a bite of my sandwich. It tasted bland, and cold. The combination of week-old egg salad and partially cooked ham made for a pretty nasty sandwich. Then, I spat it out. Not because of the taste, but because I saw something. A head. Peeking out from the around the outside of the window. The floor I was on was floor 6. It would have been next to impossible to climb that high, or at the very least, extremely difficult. The face ducked out of sight as soon as I noticed it, but in the second that it was there, I thought I recognized it. It wasn't for a few moments after the face was gone that I remembered what had happened on the train. I raced to the window, and tried my hardest to look down. I couldn't see anything. Nobody. I began to doubt what I'd seen. Maybe it was just my imagination. I had missed out on a lot of sleep recently. I sat back down in my chair, not even caring that some of my co-workers were staring at me. That was when my phone buzzed with a new notification. A text, to be exact. I pulled it out of my pocket. The text was from an unknown number, and it simply read, Hello, Bradley. -------- I sat on the train home, re-reading the message over and over again. Who had sent it? Was this a prank? I tried texting back, but received no response. I tried calling it, but got sent to voicemail, which, strangely, was just silence. Most voicemails include someone saying,"Hi, I'm (their name). Please leave a message," but this one was simply complete silence for ten seconds before ending. I looked around the sub-train. It was empty, in a creepy way. Normally, there were at least a few people. But not tonight. I shut off my cell phone and lifted up my feet, resting them on the seats across from me. Maybe I had time for a nap. After all, Jacob would be there tonight, and I probably wouldn't get much sleep. I closed my eyes, allowing sleep to take control of me. I wasn't sure how long I slept, maybe five minutes. I awoke to sudden movement. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was being shaken awake. I opened my eyes. "What.." It was her. The woman who was watching me on the train. The one I thought I'd seen through the office window. She was wearing the same blue dress, same leather sandals. Her crystal blue eyes bored into me. "Who are you?" I asked. She didn't respond, just grabbed my arm and pulled. I was forced to stand up. She motioned for me to follow her out of the train. I hadn't noticed that it had stopped. I followed her. I don't know why. I was so exhausted, I must have been delirious. The lady led me out of the train and into the street outside the station. I shivered in the chilly night air. A car flew past us. It drove straight through a puddle, splashing me with freezing cold water. It must have rained earlier, and I hadn't noticed. I brushed the water off of my face and looked over at the woman. She wasn't wet. The puddle had definitely splashed both of us. How was she perfectly dry? She began walking again, dragging me with her. I finally came back to my senses and pulled away. "Where are you taking me?" I asked. Then, she responded. She spoke, mirroring a voice I had heard earlier that day. "Hello, Bradley." It was stiff, robotic. Like an alien imitating a human voice. The sound of a voice assistant. I froze. "What is going on?" I turned tail and ran. I didn't want anything to do with her, or any of this. I ran, fast as possible, to my apartment. I darted up the stairs, to my door. I looked over the edge of the railing. The lady was chasing me. I heard her footsteps running swiftly up the steps. They sounded identical to the ones I'd heard the previous night. I fumbled frantically for my keys, pulling them out and cramming them into the lock. I twisted, but the door wouldn't open. I yelped and dropped my keys. I reached down to pick them up, and when I stood up, the footsteps stopped. I looked hesitantly toward the stairs. She was standing there, smiling. Her smile was empty, without amusement, without life. She stepped forward, slowly. I couldn't move. I wanted to turn around, to unlock my door, to run inside. But I couldn't. I just watched as she advanced. She walked up to me, and grabbed my hand, and reached her hand into my pocket. She grabbed the phone and pulled it out. The lady turned it on. I watched as she pressed the home button. Her finger seemed to melt into it, to mold itself around her. She was lifted off the ground and forced into the cell phone. The light from the phone illuminated her face, smiling still that emotionless expression. She was consumed and became one with the phone. The cell phone tumbled to the floor. The woman was nowhere to be seen. I picked up the phone. It was still in the Messages app, opened to the contact of the unknown number. There was a new text there, that sent shivers down my spine. I'll miss you, Bradley. --------- The next morning, I "dropped"the phone on the train, for a new victim to find. I feel guilty about it, but I can't live with that anymore. Every time I close my eyes, I see her, being consumed by that thing. It terrifies me to think that that phone is out there. That that lady's soul is with it. So, if you ever find a phone on a sub-train, do yourself a favor, and don't pick it up.
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