Hisuian growlithe alpha location

Operation PROMETHEUS; Or Why Alpha Fell

2023.03.23 22:00 EternalCanadian Operation PROMETHEUS; Or Why Alpha Fell

Shorter post than usual, and probably a needless one, or at least out of date, but I figured it would be good to get down, “just in case”.
A (thankfully not as common now) misconception is that Spartan III Alpha Company’s destruction was avoidable, that if they had been trained better, equipped better, they might have survived PROMETHEUS. This is refutably false, and this post is intended to demonstrate that their demise was almost completely out of their control, and, primarily, to show that Kurt couldn’t have done anything better to save them.
(Admittedly, there is a bit of theory crafting coming near the end of this post, and I’m not sure if it’s warranted, I wouldn’t mind Haruspis’ comments, if you do see this post, as it seems to be something brought up initially in MJOLNIR and now with SPI. I doubt I’ll get a response though, and I admit I may be making this a bigger issue than it needs to be or is intended to be with its inclusion, but I’m adding it in as another (potential) factor. That’ll be Point III, and clearly labeled as theory crafting.)
With that said, let’s begin with a deep dive into Operation PROMETHEUS:[1]
PART I: Sent from the sky
The Spartan III program has had more than a few threads made about it to deal with general misconceptions (I think we’re at like, 4 and counting now) so I’ll let those stand.
Alpha Company in general though hasn’t been delved into with much detail. Admittedly we know the least amount of their training, and etc, but we know it was both harder than their predecessors and an improvement of the Spartan II training, or at least, as mentioned by the Encyclopedia, it mirrored it in many ways:
Secretly based on the hidden world of Onyx, the SPARTAN-Ill program was operated and facilitated at Camp Currahee. a military site hidden deep within the planet's dense jungles. Much of the training regimen conducted at Currahee mirrored that of SPARTAN-II training, with intense physical and team-based exercises, as well as an advanced education conducted by an onsite Al.
  • Halo Encyclopedia 2022 edition
We know the first night of their training was drastically different from the II’s. The first night of the II’s training is detailed in chapter 3 of The Fall of Reach, the chapter notes the date and time as 2300 hours, September 23rd 2517.
In this chapter Doctor Halsey gives the II’s a speech about why they’re at Reach, why they’ve been chosen, and etc….and then they go to bed.
Chapter 4 begins at 0530 hours, September 24th, 2517, around 6 hours later. The trainees are woken up by stun baton if they didn’t wake by voice alone:
”Wake up, trainee!”
John rolled over in his cot and went back to sleep. He was dimly aware that this wasn’t his room, and that there were other people here.
A shock jolted him—from his bare feet to the base of his spine. He yelled in surprise and fell off the cot. He shook off the disorientation from being nearly asleep and got up.
“I said up, boot! You know which way up is?”
A man in a camouflage uniform stood over John. His hair was shorn and gray at his temples. His dark eyes didn’t look human—too big and black and they didn’t blink. He held a silver baton in one hand; he flicked it toward John and it sparked.
John backed away. He wasn’t afraid of anything. Only little kids were afraid . . . but his body instinctively moved as far away from the instrument as possible.
Dozens of other men roused the rest of the children. Seventy-four boys and girls screamed and jumped out of their cots.
  • The Fall of Reach, chapter 4
Comparatively, this is the first thing the III’s of Alpha Company do after their speech by Kurt:
”We cannot accept everyone, though," Kurt continued. "There are five hundred of you. We have three hundred training slots. So tonight. Senior Chief Petty Officer Mendez"—he nodded to the Chief—"has devised a way to separate those who truly want this opportunity from those who do not."
Kurt handed him a tablet reader. "Chief?" To his credit Mendez registered shock for only a split second. He scanned the tablet, frowned, but nodded.
"Yes, sir," he whispered.
Mendez yelled at the children, "You want to be Spartans? Then get back on those ships." They stood shocked, staring at him.
*"No? I guess we found a few washouts. You." He pointed to one child at random. "You. And you." The chosen kids looked at each other, at the ground, and then shook their heads. "No?" Mendez said. "Then get on those Pelicans."
They did so, and so did the others, a slow shuffling procession.
"Drill instructors," Mendez said.
Three dozen NCOs snapped to attention.*
"You will find Falcon Wing aerial descent units on the field. Load them ASAP and make sure your trainees are properly fit-led. Their safe deployment is now your responsibility."
The DIs nodded and ran toward the bundled Falcon Wing backpacks.
The Chief turned back to Kurt. "You're going to make them drop?" He raised both eyebrows in surprise. "At night?"
"The Falcons are the safest drop units," Kurt replied.
"With respect, sir, some of them are only four years old."
"Motivation, Chief. If they can do this, they'll be ready for what we have to put them through.”
  • Halo Ghosts of Onyx, chapter 6
Anyone who didn’t jump was disqualified from the program immediately:
A girl with pigtails and missing her front teeth stepped forward. "I'll go first, sir," she yelled.
"Good girl," he said. "Go right to the edge; hang on to the guide line."
She took the tiniest baby steps to the edge of the Pelican, then froze. She took three deep breaths and then with a squeak, she jumped. The wind caught her.
She vanished into the dark.
"Next!" the old Navy man said.
All the kids, Shane included, slowly formed a line. He couldn't believe they were doing this. It was nuts.
The next boy got to the edge, looked down, and screamed. He fell backward, and scrambled away. "No!" he said. "No way!"
"Next!" the man called, and didn't give the kid cowering on the deck another glance.
The next boy jumped without even looking. And the next.
  • Halo Ghosts of Onyx, chapter 6
Now, admittedly we don’t know what happened during their first morning, but I’d wager it would have been classroom instruction or some “light” activities. Even so, their first real activity was much more intense than their predecessors.
Their first test, in many respects, mirrored their deployment: dropped into unfamiliar terrain, forced to rely on their equipment and comrades above all else. They rely on each other, on the knowledge that they would not be alone when they reached the ground.
In later, proper, missions, sealed in armour, with the knowledge that their operations had to succeed, the knowledge that they had completed that first jump might have provided some small bit of comfort. If they could do that, maybe they could do anything.
This would be their main method of deployment, using droppods to get deep behind enemy lines, Strike targets of critical opportunity in places others couldn’t reach.
This is presumably how Operation FIREBRAND, IRON GREAVE, and the majority of their other operations were carried out. The standout and exception seems to be Operation HWACHA, which saw Alpha Company operating as boarding and counterboarding teams against Covenant fleet elements in zero-gee.
Whatever the case, the hallmark of a Spartan III deployment in future seemed to be a sudden, abrupt storm of drop pods appearing without warning to those on the ground.
PART II: Nightmares
A big element to why the Alphas seemed to be killed en-masse was, as Kurt puts it, “a loss of unit cohesion”. He notes that, as the battle continued on, Spartan III’s began to drastically deviate from standard formations and understood tactical doctrines. They would go at things alone, or neglect to cover their teammates, or be caught in a bad position that they should have seen and avoided:
The video from a helmet camera showed a dozen SPARTAN-IIIs limping and falling on a smoldering landscape of twisted metal. There was no unit cohesion. No two-man teams covering one another. In the heat-blurred background, Elites took up superior positions with good cover.
This was his fault. He had failed them. His training hadn't prepared them. He should have rectified the flaws in their Mark-I PR suits and fixed them faster.
  • Halo Ghosts of Onyx chapter 8
Kurt puts this down to poor training and a lack of upgrades and rectified fixes to their armour (more on this latter point in Part III), and while this is his motivation to push Beta and Gamma harder, I’m not sure it was their training, truncated as it was, that was the cause.
Instead, Halo Oblivion, either intentionally or unintentionally, might give us a reason for why this situation happened:
Altered mental states were a symptom of combat fatigue, especially in exhausted soldiers who were using too many stim-packs in an effort to maintain alertness.
John knew from his combat psychology training back on Reach that too much combat stress could sometimes result in mindless, murderous rages. But such episodes were heat-of-the-moment events that erupted without warning—not carefully prepared actions like the commanders were suggesting now. He turned to Bah’d. “What kind of combat stimulants are you using?”
“Stimulants?” Bah’d narrowed her eyes. “Be careful what you imply, John.”
“Major, I never imply.” John was puzzled by Bah’d’s testy reaction. Stim-packs were standard issue for UNSC special operations troops—who often had to fight for days at a time without sleep—but they were easy to overuse in the heat of a long battle. “Your commanders are focus-locked on a pointless goal. That’s a classic sign of stim-pack overdose.”
The human brain needed sleep to flush out the toxins that accumulated during periods of wakeful activity, and John knew that going even twenty-four hours without rest could lead to concentration and memory problems. After forty-eight hours, the brain started to shut down for microsleeps, which lasted anywhere from half a second to half a minute—all followed by short periods of confusion and disorientation that could prove disastrous in a combat situation. By seventy-two hours, the brain’s toxin load grew so acute that severe lapses in concentration, motivation, and memory were inevitable—and hallucinatory episodes were common.
The only way to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation was to temporarily increase the signal-carrying capacity of the brain’s synapses.
That was how stim-packs worked—and why they were sometimes necessary in combat. If there were natural methods for accomplishing the same thing, John had never heard of them.
  • Halo Oblivion, chapter 1
To reiterate, Operation PROMETHEUS occurred from 0700 July 27th to an unspecified hour on August 2nd, or, in short, 7 days, though it was likely much longer, as Alpha Company would have spent hours in Slipspace and free fall before the first Spartan hit the ground.
In terms of hours, that’s 168 hours minimum.
Because of the operation’s location and lack of other UNSC assets in the area, Alpha Company had no safe spaces to hide, or to rest. While it’s possible fireteams took up sentry in “secure” positions, only some of the teams could sleep, and if those members not sleeping were using stim-packs, they might not have been able to sleep once it was their turn. This would undoubtedly cause a rolling, cascading issue as teams were forced to abuse their stims in order to stay awake and functional, but it had the debilitating issue of impacting their higher brain functions.
In the end, the last ones standing were probably so hopped up on stimulants they’d have probably died from cardiac arrest even if they could be extracted.
Comparatively, Covenant forces were constantly rotating in fresh troops as reinforcements were brought in from existing ground units, and then troops stationed in orbit:
"After two days," the Admiral said, "seven rectors were rendered inoperative and a counterforce was finally organized by existing Covenant units."
”The Covenant counterresponse was neutralized," the Rear Admiral continued, "and over the next three days. Alpha Company destroyed thirteen more reactors."
”But," the Rear Admiral said, "a massive counterforce appeared in orbit and descended to the surface."
  • Halo Ghosts of Onyx chapter 8
This is, also, not taking into account that the final extraction craft were destroyed by the final day,if not earlier, trapping the Spartans on the asteroid. There was no escape, nowhere to run to, nowhere to go.[2]
Which is where part III comes in.
Part III: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
I’ve been a pretty big proponent of SPI armour over the years, one of the most notable (if not the most notable) on the subreddit, I think (and I don’t make that claim lightly). Admittedly, a lot of that has been via a steady increase of information gathered piece-meal from various sources. If you search up SPI in Halostory’s search bar, a lot of posts with comments will have me in there, defending or clarifying something based off of tthe information we have.
But I might have been misinformed, or at least, misjudged some of the information.
How does this relate to Alpha Company and their deaths? Well, I’ve sort of touched on it above, but this recent canon fodder has sort of cemented the idea in my mind:
SPI has lost its purpose and become the antithesis of what it was meant to be, and in an attempt to make it more interesting, it’s actually been made worse.
That is to say, over the years, we’ve learned that SPI isn’t an individual armour, but a program, a suite, of different armours all under the same umbrella of “Semi-Power-Infiltration”.
It’s noted in a few places (Encyclopedia, Mythos, various Canon Fodders) as being a stable of armour with different variants optimized for different needs. The most recent canon fodder took a look at some of those variants…kind of.
Initially, this might seem like a good thing, giving the armour more variants broadens it’s potential as a warfighting platform, increasing individual operators capabilities and providing synergy amongst team members’ individual specialities, and allows characters who wear it to stand out from one another in visual media (which I personally find rather humorous, considering the Armour’s intended purpose.)
But while it might be a good idea from an artistic standpoint, it’s a very bad idea from a logistical/in-universe one.
The newest canon fodder describes SPI as:
Though not as robust as mainline Mjolnir suits, SPI armor has proven to be an excellent platform for testing a variety of field attachments and upgrades that would be far more costly (and at greater risk of destruction) applied to Spartan-exclusive missions.
  • Canon Fodder: New Year, New Lore
It also goes into description of the different appearances we’ve seen over the years. Of particular note is this depiction from Mythos describing Operation PROMETHEUS. (I know, it’s long winded, but we’re finally back on topic).
The canon fodder goes on to say this about the image:
The top-right depiction of Operation: PROMETHEUS—the mission that saw the annihilation of Alpha Company (the first batch of three-hundred Spartan-IIIs)—seen in Halo Mythos likewise showcases two different variants. The central Spartan’s armor is notably more angular, lacking the traditional curves of the “baseline” Mark-I SPI, while the dead Spartan on the ground has a design which conforms more to baseline but has a much thinner “jaw” and lacks defogging vents.
  • Canon Fodder: Nee Year, New Lore
Here’s where this is a problem, jotted out for ease of reading:
You have 300 people sent very far away from any logistics and resupply points, sent to an area surrounded by enemies on all sides.
You have limited space in the drop pods that these 300 people are deployed in. Likely this is filled with weapons, ammunition. Stuff they can carry on their person.
You can send…some number of supply pods (as seen in The Cole Protocol). Larger pods, likely carrying additional explosives, heavy weapons, and, most likely, extra armour to replace damaged ones in the field.
You have these 300 people wearing unique special armour that - to work effectively - must have the plating overlap * perfectly* to achieve proper camouflage. They may all need replacement parts and pieces.
You’ve given some of them unique variants that do not conform to baseline and require different armour plating to work effectively.
I think where I’m going with this is obvious.
Their own specializations and uniqueness (seem to have) killed them….or at least could have contributed to their deaths.
If you’ve just been fighting for a day or two, and your team (or several) makes their way to a supply pod full of armour, and you crack it open to find armour pieces for “SPI Mark I Type B” suits…what do you do if you’ve got Type A? The Type B plating won’t work with your armour. Sure, it might “connect” and have the panels activate, but the plating won’t properly fit, it will give you a bad “seal”, and your camouflage capabilities will be compromised. What does this mean? In short, you must isolate yourself from your comrades in order to not give their positions away, but it leaves you vulnerable.
This isn’t like traditional paradrops of today or the past, this armour is fully sealed, it needs to be to function. It is the only thing keeping you alive. The more variation, the harder it is to supply, the harder it is to supply, the more people die.
It’s especially egregious when the differences seem so….minor. It seems almost needless, at least with what we see in Mythos. What benefit did that one more angular variant provide over the usual baseline? What benefit does it give that a supplemental attachment didn’t? Was it worth the trade off for added logistical woes?[3]
Additionally, though likely not intended (despite actually being noted in several points in the books) any particular variation based off specialty or designation would be a hinderance because it enables enemy commanders and intelligence teams to paint a picture of your capabilities.
If you can figure out that Squad leaders are wearing a particular type of armour, say, CENTURION, all you need to do is (generally speaking) target them, kill them, then kill their second in commands, then in the words of a damn fine soldier, “you can kill any poor bastard you like”.
Anything that makes you look like a more important target makes you a dead target - and for an armour based off stealth and invisibility, that’s a terrible idea.
You would think Kurt noticed this and immediately put a stop to it, because it’s getting his men and women killed…but we can see that it continues to happen in various forms
Admittedly, and to reiterate, this is likely just something we kind of need to accept as necessary for Halo’s visual media and how they’ve decided to design characters, but it still feels noteworthy to mention, especially because characters in universe mention it;[4]
The second companion made a beeline for Hamm. There was no rank insignia on his armor— it was never smart to help snipers identify high-value targets —but the name stenciled on his breast was CUVIER.
The company captain.
Cuvier stopped halfway between John and Hamm. Nobody saluted, but Hamm stood slightly more erect. Had one of John’s Spartan snipers been an enemy watching through a scope, even the subtle shift of posture would have been enough to get the captain’s helmet blown off.
  • Halo Silent Storm 8
Jones was only halfway up the side of the hill, but that was high enough to see the top of theopposite hill, and the tiny figures who stood there. Not the Grunts who were running this way and that, not the Jackals who lined the edge of the summit, but the shiny armor of the Elites. Those were the targets he wanted, and they seemed to leap forward as the Marine increased the magnification on his scope, and let the barrel drift slightly. Which life should he take? The one on the left with the blue armor? Or the one on the right, the shiny gold bastard? At that moment in time, in that particular place, Lance Corporal Jones was God.
He clicked the sniper rifle’s safety catch, and lightly rested his finger on the trigger.
  • Halo The Flood, chapter 6
New information that’s come to light regarding the operation comes from recent Halo Infinite Intel, about how Deep Winter had select Spartans pulled in secret ahead of PROMETHEUS.
Admittedly, this likely wouldn’t have drastically changed anything, but as John notes in Silent Storm, Spartan effectiveness is dramatically increased and heightened when at optimal team strength, and it seems Deep Winter pulled Spartans to make use of their individual skill sets, a cascading ripple occurs as teams would need to reshuffle and reorganize to fill in and make up to the gaps. The more Spartans removed, the less effective the Company will be, the less ground they can cover, and the greater chance of failure and death, noted here by John:
If the Spartans were attacking separate targets, they wouldn’t be able to support each other—and the efficiency of a Spartan team decreased exponentially each time a member was removed. Dr. Halsey estimated that a Spartan operating alone was only one-sixteenth as effective as a four-member team . . . and sixteen times as likely to get killed.
  • Halo Silent Storm, chapter 5
As Kurt himself notes, Deep Winter often operated from a perspective of basic morality functions, which Kurt considered inadequate and a sort of weakness:
What could an AI possibly know what it was like on a real mission? Bullets zinging so close over your head that you didn't so much as hear them hut felt them pass. Or what it was like to get hit, but still have to keep going, bleeding, because if you didn't everyone on your team would die?
  • Halo Ghosts of Onyx, chapter 9
Again, little likely changed, but the organizational hurdles and missing members might have effected how Alpha went about their mission, and how quickly they could have completed it.
Which leads us to our conclusion.
TLDR: Alpha Company faced a number of factors that led to their demise during Operation PROMETHEUS, and it wasn’t really due to a lack of training, or any sort of deficiency with the Spartans themselves, at least, not that we can see.
Instead, their deaths occurred due to stim-pack overdose, overwhelming enemy reinforcements, and difficult to maintain logistics hampered by additional, and unnecessary issues. While not technically a reason, the loss of select members saved by Deep Winter also probably had an effect on the Company’s overall performance,
In the end, the situation was doomed once the extraction craft were destroyed, and that only hastened Alpha Company’s demise. Kurt, despite his guilt, had nothing to be ashamed of, and their deaths couldn’t be placed on him or the others in the program. At the end of the day, Alpha Company died to factors outside their control and through no obvious faults of their own.
They may have died, cut off and alone, but they did what any Spartan would do, what any Spartan could do;
The impossible.
  • [1]: PROMETHEUS references the Greek God of the same name. A Titan who stole the fire of the gods and gave hope to humanity. In much the same way that Alpha Company gave hope to humanity by delaying the Covenant advance. Of course, this sacrifice went unknown by everyone. Interestingly, Alpha Company’s operations all involve fire in some way. PROMETHEUS has been explained. HWACHA refers to a Korean siege weapon from the 15th century, a cart with dozens of arrows/rockets that would be shot at a target, usually causing mass confusion and panic. Akin to a canister or grapeshot from a cannon. FIREBRAND doesn’t really need an explanation (but seeing as it was their most notable Anti-Insurrectionist operation…yikes, lol). While IRON GRAVE might seem out of place, it harkens back to Prometheus(the deity, not the operation) and his role as a smith. Iron needs to be forged into armour or tools, and based off the timeline, IRON GREAVE might have been Alpha’s first foray against the Covenant proper, hence, its akin to a baptismal experience, or a case of the Company being forged under fire.
  • [2]: The Mythos artwork depicts a battlefield covered in smoke and ash, but from what I can see, the ground is more or less completely flat with very little deviation on terrain, this means Alpha would need to belly crawl until they arrived at one of the reactors to make best use of their PR systems, slowing them down significantly and, at the same time, meant that once combat was initiated, moving from Reactor Complex to Reactor Complex would have been both incredibly exposed and provided no cover.
  • [3]: Mirage’s introduction to Infinte also introduces us to the AAP/K-ROC Ordinance Pack, an up-armoured cuirass noted to be cheap and easily available and intended to be worn by Mark I and II SPI. The overall shape makes it seem like it would have fit both Mythos depictions of SPI, and it’s almost certain everyone would have been wearing it, which would have mitigated some of the logistical issues. Assuming a Spartan needed only to replace this aspect of their armour, or their shoulder pauldrons were removed without compromising the rest of the suit’s stealth integrity, logistics issues might have been less of an issue. Other supplemental attachments, like RS/MOONGLOW, rather than entirely different helmets, would have also helped.
  • [4]: I go into further detail of Spartan appearances and their differing looks (sort of) in this post
With that, we conclude another “essay”. Next up (timeline permitted) a character study and a look at love.
~ EternalCanadian
submitted by EternalCanadian to HaloStory [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 21:51 SingularWorks Planting and Pacing - How to prevent open world from becoming open season on neurons

Planting and Pacing - How to prevent open world from becoming open season on neurons
The path of design for Escape from Norwood was one of learning a trade and breaking preconceptions. I had so many biased ideas that I could write a lot of these posts, but let’s focus here one the open-worldliness of the game.

It's the numbers, stupid!

This comes back to the MUD roots of Escape from Norwood: in the world of MUDs, just like in their MMORPG grand-children, content is a key driver of player interest and retention. Keep the players fed with new locations, new quests, new items, new challenges, and they will keep playing, sometimes paying.
So I set out to put a lot of content into Escape from Norwood, and was quite sad when I did the numbers and realized I could only include so much if I wanted the build phase to be a matter of months and not of years. I was lured by the magical appeal of numbers: that many quests, that much geography, such a gigantic number of hours of fun and play… I thought players would meh me if I could not boast impressive figures in that category.
It figures (early version of the website)
I also thought that this heap of content should be flaunted early on in the game to make the players want more and see how rich the game was.

Everything, everywhere, all at once

I had settletd on an open-world (or should I say « open city »?) design: I have personally loved open worlds back from the days of Arena and Daggerfall: the feeling of being able to go anywhere at anytime is sweet to the Explorer dominant in my player personality. I was not totally insensible, so I chopped down the game map in areas that would be more or less hard to reach and explore. The goal was to match the pace of players' discovery with the advancement of the story and its various acts. Obviously, this included exceptions and shortcuts depending on the order in which they did their quests and solved riddles.
Yet I thought that if a quest triggered in the beginning area it should be immediately available to taunt players. Even though it could only resolve after hours of play and unlocking new zones, it was sitting there on your diary from the first hour of play.
Does it not beg for exploration?
And I built it, and it was fast, and it was rich… and the first alpha tester spent 100 hours completing the game (without requesting hints; but still…). That particular player did not mind, but I thought something was clearly wrong.
Then more feedback came from testers about the difficulty to understand what to do next and to discriminate between a quest that was legitimately blocked due to a place / ability they could not discover yet and quests they should really focus on solving because they had everything they needed right there.

Easier, Better, Slower, Stronger

So I reworked the pacing through three means:
  • I multiplied the number of ways to do some actions / fulfill missions based upon what the players were actually trying and which made sense. For instance, even though I said this would only open using a carpentry tool, there was no diegetic reason to prevent the player from doing it with a knife or cleaver.
  • I added redundancy in hints, especially on the main quest track, so that the whole plot did not depend on the players being attentive to one single word in a NPC’s description. Vigilance and observation are key qualities for players to advance quickly, but if said players can be nudged from several places in slightly different ways it’s a nicer touch, it belays credibility, and some players may even not notice this altogether.
  • I pushed back triggers to quests that required advanced skills to a later stage in the game, while making sure the players would find said triggers at the right time, even in a zone they may have thought they had entirely scoured. It even increased the pleasure of rediscovering an area with hot new intel and context, instead of repeatedly hitting your head against a wall while trying to figure why you can’t make any progress for a late-game mission.

Dear old Baruk originally had a trigger for this quest during Act 1

A way out of the infodump

The same treatment was done regarding the plot: I wanted to show all stakes at once, shoveling an overwhelming heap of exposition in the early stages of the game. Since a fair chunk of this would only become relevant further down the line, it was cluttering the diary and memory real estate of the players.
So I kept the main plot elements early on to set the stage, albeit in a more subdued way, and pushed whatever was not immediately necessary later in the game. Discover who you are, where you are, learn about people, economics and social order before you are thrown in the middle of conspiracies and learn inconvenient truths about your past, then about the Empire itself.

Wait, who is Ahad?
The result is far more elegant, even if still not perfect. As the game relies on acute observation and thinking, players can still feel lost as to what to do next and enter crunch mode of trying the same thing in less and less obvious circumstances (or, even worse, give up on the game). This « 90’s point'n Click » flair may not be the most adequate to modern gaming and modern players, and I would probably be more lenient and branching should I do it all again.
Still, I hope this makes Escape from Norwood an enjoyable ride, if you are a fit for this style of game or not the one to shun an occasional peek at the game’s walkthrough on this sub.
submitted by SingularWorks to EscapeFromNorwood [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 21:36 Printedinusa Help with ode45 for a system of ODEs?

I'm very new to MATLAB and struggling a bit with a system of ODEs. While I've gotten my code to work just fine for only two ODEs, something seems to be going wrong for three or more. I'm getting an error that reads "@(T,Y)MYODE(T,Y,PARAMS) must return a column vector." If anyone could point out any obvious errors I'd be super appreciative.
clc; clear; mu = -0.0001; alpha = 0.8; beta = 0.5; a = 0.1; b = 0.2; k = 0.5; m = 0.25; Dv = 0.7; Dh = 0.7; Qv = 1.0; Qh = 1.0; params = [mu; alpha; beta; a; b; k; m; Dv; Dh; Qv; Qh]; y0 = [0.3; 0.3; 0.1; 0.1; 1]; tspan = [0 50]; [t, y] = ode45(@(t,y)myODE(t,y,params), tspan, y0); subplot(2,1,1) plot(t,y) title('PredatoPrey Populations Over Time') xlabel('t') ylabel('Population') legend('Prey','Predators','Location','North') function dy = myODE(t,y,params) mu = params(1); alpha = params(2); beta = params(3); a = params(4); b = params(5); k = params(6); m = params(7); Dv = params(8); Dh = params(9); Qv = params(10); Qh = params(11); V1 = y(1); V2 = y(2); H1 = y(3); H2 = y(4); Vb = (V1 + V2) / 2; Hb = (H1 + H2) / 2; r = y(5); dy = zeros(5,4,3,2,1); dy(1) = r * V1 * (1 - (V1 / k)) * ((V1 - a) / k) - ((alpha * V1 * H1)/(V1 + b)) + Dv * (Qv * Vb - V1); dy(2) = r * V2 * (1 - (V2 / k)) * ((V2 - a) / k) - ((alpha * V2 * H2)/(V2 + b)) + Dv * (Qv * Vb - V2); dy(3) = beta * ((alpha * V1 * H1) / (V1 + b)) - (m * H1) + Dh * (Qh * Hb - H1); dy(4) = beta * ((alpha * V2 * H2) / (V2 + b)) - (m * H2) + Dh * (Qh * Hb - H2); dy(5) = mu; end 
Error using odearguments (line 93) @(T,Y)MYODE(T,Y,PARAMS) must return a column vector. Error in ode45 (line 106) odearguments(FcnHandlesUsed, solver_name, ode, tspan, y0, options, varargin); Error in predatorprey (line 24) [t, y] = ode45(@(t,y)myODE(t,y,params), tspan, y0); 
submitted by Printedinusa to matlab [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 21:17 livesinabog LEJOG Shakedown

Current base weight: 9.2lbs
Lighterpack Link: https://lighterpack.com/0y95b8
Location/temp range/specific trip description: "Length" of UK, NOBO. Starting 11th April ish, ending early June. Probably low temps of around 5C/40F(?). Scenic route, about 1200 miles.
Budget: No specific budget, but not looking to replace anything big.
Non-negotiable Items: Not buying an air pad or bringing a stove. Too much faff.
Solo or with another person?: Solo.
I am 21M and started multiday stuff last summer and have about 800 miles' experience so far hiking exclusively around the south of the uk, mostly on south west coast path (630 miles) last summer. I will be doing at least one walk before setting off to test some gear I've not used yet, of 50-150 miles.
I would like my baseweight to get down below 9lbs, ideally below 4kg (8.8lbs). I'd appreciate feedback on my kit list in general but a few specifics:
  1. I have an exos 48 if you reckon I really need frame+hipbelt but I did a few days with an OMM Classic 32 (returned it since) last autumn with no hipbelt and heavier BW (e.g. gardening trowel and 1kg sleeping bag) and felt ok.
  2. My fleece is just a fleece. I could get an OMM Core which is similar to alpha direct which I've seen a lot of hype about, or use my heavier alpkit griffon which is similar to pat r1. I've read that grid fleece traps air in the channels and is thus warmer for the weight (needs a windjacket though) and more packable. I've also read that it is heavier and bulkier and the benefits are wicking as a baselayer and breathability. So conflicting stuff which I haven't been able to resolve, hence I've stuck with my lighter standard fleece.
  3. I will see how I get on on a shakedown walk but should I add a puffy (it would be a uniqlo UL down one) or a windbreaker (decathlon trail running one)? Or neither? The times I've gotten cold walking before was in extended wind and rain, wearing cotton long sleeved t shirt and nonbreathable £10 synthetic (not very) puffy jacket under my raincoat so I think the fleece will already be a big improvement as a breatheable moisture buffer.
  4. I'd love suggestions for lighter sunstick or some kind of balm for my feet, hands, and face. Can I forgo the suncream initially? I can use the UV lip stuff on nose and ears which are my problem areas until it gets hotter, then add it in again.
  5. I don't have any injury experience so my FAK is based on what I own and what I've read on others' lists. I'd be grateful for your opinion on it. Not sure if I need the lighter, safety pins, or ibuprofen (I've never found it does anything, but then again I've never been in severe pain). I have savlon which is an antiseptic cream but it's heavy (20g) and I've not read it on others' lists.
  6. My charging situation needs work. I have yet to research this though so would appreciate suggestions for plug and powerbank. My phone is USB-C and headtorch is micro-USB.
  7. My repair kit consists of duct tape, silnylon patch, and seamgrip which I used to seam seal my tent. I am unsure whether this is enough (do I need thread + needle) and would also like advice on transferring seam grip to smaller tube.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for you help. Anyone else heading out on lejog feel free to dm me, might bump into you on the trail and it would be cool to see what route you're taking.
submitted by livesinabog to Ultralight [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 20:52 Educational_Ice151 [Tutorial] How to Build and Deploy a ChatGPT Plugin in Python using Replit (includes code)

[Tutorial] How to Build and Deploy a ChatGPT Plugin in Python using Replit (includes code)

In this tutorial, we will create a simple to-do list plugin using OpenAI's new plugin system. We will be using Python and deploying the plugin on Replit. The plugin will be authenticated using a service level authentication token and will allow users to create, view, and delete to-do items. We will also be defining an OpenAPI specification to match the endpoints defined in our plugin.

ChatGPT Plugins

The ChatGPT plugin system enables language models to interact with external tools and services, providing access to information and enabling safe, constrained actions. Plugins can address challenges associated with large language models, including keeping up with recent events, accessing up-to-date information, and providing evidence-based references to enhance the model's responses.
Plugins also enable users to assess the trustworthiness of the model's output and double-check its accuracy. However, there are also risks associated with plugins, including the potential for harmful or unintended actions.
The development of the ChatGPT plugin platform has included several safeguards and red-teaming exercises to identify potential risks and inform safety-by-design mitigations. The deployment of access to plugins is being rolled out gradually, and researchers are encouraged to study safety risks and mitigations in this area. The ChatGPT plugin system has wide-ranging societal implications and may have a significant economic impact.
Learn more or signup here: https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt-plugins

Github Code


Purpose of Plugin

A simple To-do ChatGPT Plugin using python and deployed on replit.


To complete this tutorial, you will need the following:
  • A basic understanding of Python
  • A Replit account (you can sign up for free at replit.com)
  • An OpenAI API key (you can sign up for free at openai.com)
  • A text editor or the Replit IDE


Replit is an online integrated development environment (IDE) that allows you to code in many programming languages, collaborate with others in real-time, and host and run your applications in the cloud. It's a great platform for beginners, educators, and professionals who want to quickly spin up a new project or prototype, or for teams who want to work together on code.

Plugin Flow:

  1. Create a manifest file: Host a manifest file at yourdomain.com/.well-known/ manifest.json, containing metadata about the plugin, authentication details, and an OpenAPI spec for the exposed endpoints.
  2. Register the plugin in ChatGPT UI: Install the plugin using the ChatGPT UI, providing the necessary OAuth 2 client_id and client_secret or API key for authentication.
  3. Users activate the plugin: Users manually activate the plugin in the ChatGPT UI. During the alpha phase, developers can share their plugins with 15 additional users.
  4. Authentication: If needed, users are redirected via OAuth to your plugin for authentication, and new accounts can be created.
  5. Users begin a conversation: OpenAI injects a compact description of the plugin into the ChatGPT conversation, which remains invisible to users. The model may invoke an API call from the plugin if relevant, and the API results are incorporated into its response.
  6. API responses: The model may include links from API calls in its response, displaying them as rich previews using the OpenGraph protocol.
  7. User location data: The user's country and state are sent in the Plugin conversation header for relevant use cases like shopping, restaurants, or weather. Additional data sources require user opt-in via a consent screen.

Step 1: Setting up the Plugin Manifest

The first step in creating a plugin is to define a manifest file. The manifest file provides information about the plugin, such as its name, description, and authentication method. The authentication method we will be using is a service level authentication token.
Create a new file named manifest.json in your project directory and add the following code:
{ #manifest.json "schema_version": "v1", "name_for_human": "TODO Plugin (service http)", "name_for_model": "todo", "description_for_human": "Plugin for managing a TODO list, you can add, remove and view your TODOs.", "description_for_model": "Plugin for managing a TODO list, you can add, remove and view your TODOs.", "auth": { "type": "service_http", "authorization_type": "bearer", "verification_tokens": { "openai": "" } }, "api": { "type": "openapi", "url": "https://..repl.co/openapi.yaml", "is_user_authenticated": false }, "logo_url": "https://example.com/logo.png", "contact_email": "", "legal_info_url": "http://www.example.com/legal" } 
In this manifest file, we have specified the plugin's name and description, along with the authentication method and verification token. We have also specified the API type as OpenAPI and provided the URL for the OpenAPI specification. Replace the
placeholder with your OpenAI API key, and replace
placeholders with the name of your Replit app and your Replit username respectively. Finally, replace
with your email address.

Step 2. Update your pyproject.toml

[tool.poetry] name = "chatgpt-plugin" version = "0.1.0" description = "" authors = ["@rUv"] [tool.poetry.dependencies] python = ">=3.10.0,<3.11" numpy = "^1.22.2" replit = "^3.2.4" Flask = "^2.2.0" urllib3 = "^1.26.12" openai = "^0.10.2" quart = "^0.14.1" quart-cors = "^0.3.1" [tool.poetry.dev-dependencies] debugpy = "^1.6.2" replit-python-lsp-server = {extras = ["yapf", "rope", "pyflakes"], version = "^1.5.9"} [build-system] requires = ["poetry-core>=1.0.0"] build-backend = "poetry.core.masonry.api" 

Install Quart & Quart_cors

Go to the shell in Replit and run the following.
pip install quart 
Next install pip install quart-cors
pip install quart-cors 

Step your OpenAi Keys in the secrets area.

Here are the instructions to set up these secrets variables in Replit:
  1. Open your Replit project.
  2. Click on the "Lock" icon on the left-hand sidebar to open the secrets panel.
  3. Click the "New secret" button to create a new secret.
  4. Enter a name for your secret (e.g. SERVICE_AUTH_KEY) and the value for the key.
  5. Click "Add secret" to save the secret.
import os SERVICE_AUTH_KEY = os.environ.get('SERVICE_AUTH_KEY') 
Make sure to use the exact name you gave the secret when calling os.environ.get()

Step 4: Creating the Python Endpoints

The next step is to create the Python endpoints that will handle requests from the user. We will be using the Quart web framework for this.
Create/edit a new file named main.py in your project directory and add the following code:
# Import required modules import json import os from quart import Quart, request, jsonify from quart_cors import cors # Create a Quart app and enable CORS app = Quart(__name__) app = cors(app) # Retrieve the service authentication key from the environment variables SERVICE_AUTH_KEY = os.environ.get("SERVICE_AUTH_KEY") # Initialize an empty dictionary to store todos TODOS = {} # Add a before_request hook to check for authorization header @app.before_request def auth_required(): # Get the authorization header from the request auth_header = request.headers.get("Authorization") # Check if the header is missing or incorrect, and return an error if needed if not auth_header or auth_header != f"Bearer {SERVICE_AUTH_KEY}": return jsonify({"error": "Unauthorized"}), 401 # Define a route to get todos for a specific username @app.route("/todos/", methods=["GET"]) async def get_todos(username): # Get todos for the given username, or return an empty list if not found todos = TODOS.get(username, []) return jsonify(todos) # Define a route to add a todo for a specific username @app.route("/todos/", methods=["POST"]) async def add_todo(username): # Get the request data as JSON request_data = await request.get_json() # Get the todo from the request data, or use an empty string if not found todo = request_data.get("todo", "") # Add the todo to the todos dictionary TODOS.setdefault(username, []).append(todo) return jsonify({"status": "success"}) # Define a route to delete a todo for a specific username @app.route("/todos/", methods=["DELETE"]) async def delete_todo(username): # Get the request data as JSON request_data = await request.get_json() # Get the todo index from the request data, or use -1 if not found todo_idx = request_data.get("todo_idx", -1) # Check if the index is valid, and delete the todo if it is if 0 <= todo_idx < len(TODOS.get(username, [])): TODOS[username].pop(todo_idx) return jsonify({"status": "success"}) # Run the app if __name__ == "__main__": app.run(debug=True, host="") 
Now we can start our plugin server on Replit by clicking on the "Run" button. Once the server is running, we can test it out by sending requests to the plugin's endpoints using ChatGPT.
Congratulations, you have successfully built and deployed a Python based to-do plugin using OpenAI's new plugin system!
submitted by Educational_Ice151 to aipromptprogramming [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 20:06 SabatonBabylon The HEL Jumper Chapter 6.2

Book 1 of The HEL Jumper
Year 2 of The HEL Jumper
Year 3 of The HEL Jumper
Year 4 of The HEL Jumper
Year 5 of The HEL Jumper
Previous Patreon
Thanks to Darth_Android, Fern_Vale, Mamish, Vikairious, Gruecifer, Benjamin Durbin, Daddy_Talon, and everyone else supporting me on Patreon.
A/N: Thank you all for your patience.
“Well, that was certainly something,” Antoth remarked to himself as he looked over the sum of his people, who were obviously not ready to retire for the evening. Thanks to plentiful computational power aboard the ship, Io had not run into any snags synthesizing Cauthan language voice overs for The Princess Bride. Thantis had even gotten himself a cameo, his voice used for the role of the grandfather and narrator. Unfortunately for those interested in a quick dispersal, Io had forgotten to include any sort of disclaimer regarding the fictional nature of the tale, inducing a riot of discussion among the villagers. Ratha turned her nose up and wore a sour expression as even her hunters found themselves debating the best way to bring down an aggressive rodent of unusual size. The AI had a self-satisfied smile on her face as she approached the village leaders for feedback.
‘I’d say the movie was a hit. Did you like it?’ she wondered. Antoth spent some time gathering his thoughts, but Ratha shot from the hip as usual.
“This happily ever after business is nonsense. There were at least seven different opportunities where the pompous one could have permanently disposed of his rival. I suppose that idiocy is why he wound up where he did in the end though,” she said of the ignominious Prince Humperdinck. Antoth and Io shared a glance for the briefest of moments. The blonde haired woman smiled warmly.
‘I see the tale was quite captivating then.’
“It was. But there are other matters to attend to, as I may have mentioned earlier,” Antoth reminded her, looking up at the twin moons which shone brightly overhead. A leaden weight settled into his stomach as he contemplated a night sky without them. The Cauthan leader took a fortifying breath. “We are prepared to negotiate our departure from Mara. Please inform Natori at your earliest convenience. He has been mentioning more frequently that he feels the pressure of time.”
‘Oh I would not worry so much about that if I were you,’ Io told them with a wink, her green eyes reflecting a couple of the small fires scattered about the central plaza. ‘Certain circumstances have arisen that may lengthen our stay here, but that is no reason to delay talks. I have already notified the Admiral of your request. I assume you’d prefer for him to meet with you here?’
“I think that would be for the best,” Antoth agreed as Ratha remained alert but silent at his side. “There are notable items that Staroth and Nerazek wish to discuss. We must understand his vision on how we will be… acclimated to human society.”
Io nodded seriously and bowed to the two of them, doing her best to contain her excitement. ‘I understand. The-’
Antoth tilted his head questioningly as Io’s train of thought was derailed. “Spirit?”
She recovered quickly, however, and smiled at him. ‘There’s nothing to worry about. That was just Natori confirming that he would be happy to join you all first thing tomorrow morning, if it suits you.’
“The cub enjoys kicking me to the outhouse first thing in the morning,” Ratha grumbled. Io was happy to be deferential with someone else’s timetable.
‘Late morning it is! Should give everyone time to wake up and have breakfast at a minimum. I’ll just let the Admiral know that… hmm, that’s odd,’ Io said to herself, having suddenly lost connection to Natori’s personal device. While Ratha could have cared less, stalking over to her guildmates to oversee their conversation, the AI clarified for the sake of Antoth’s perpetually concerned visage. ‘It seems that the Admiral has entered an important and private meeting. I will be sure to confirm the time with him afterward.’
“That would be best, thank you,” the Cauthan replied before casting his gaze over his charges. “Looks like it’s going to be a long night. I hope not all of your… motion pictures are so captivating.”
Io chuckled as she crossed her arms under her bust, taking Antoth’s words as a compliment. ‘Oh just wait until they discover video games.’
“That is wonderful news, Admiral Kaczynski. When will the negotiations begin? I’ll need time to prepare my-”
“If I may be so rude, Emissary, I would ask you to kindly hold your proverbial horses,” the dark-skinned man requested of the horned alien, who had stood abruptly in his haste. Kaczynski gestured for Qul’Roth to take his seat once more, his expression passively polite. Even with the alien sitting on the floor, the two were approximately eye level.
“There are some among your species who would consider such jokes offensive, Admiral,” Qul’Roth noted. Kaczynski smiled.
“I think it’s clear that beyond the hooves you bear little resemblance to Earth’s equine species, but if you took offense I assure you none was intended.”
“Oh no, perish the thought,” Qul’Roth replied, more agitated at having been made to wait instead of any wordplay. “If anything, the hand wringing itself is more grating. We don’t look anything like horses.”
“It is an ancient tradition for humans to take offense on behalf of others and make problems where there are none,” Kaczynski explained humorously as he folded his hands together on the surface of the conference table. “But I do intend to risk your offense by stating in no uncertain terms that this negotiation will take place between myself, as a representative of humanity, and the Cauthan. The Ghaelen will not be a party to the proceedings. Though if there is anything you wish to mention now, I will be sure to take it into account.”
The more honest members of Alpha Division were happy to admit, in private, that one of the joys of intergalactic diplomacy was trying to watch a Ghaelen adapt to an unforeseen situation. Natori shared that particular view, and his voyage to retrieve the Lancer had provided no shortage of opportunities. He did feel a twinge of guilt as Qul’Roth composed himself. It was the older, most self-assured advocates of the Order who were truly entertaining when ‘out of water’. “I request an explanation, Admiral Kaczynski. We are discussing the induction of another species into the galactic community.”
“With all due respect, Emissary, we will have to disagree on that point,” Natori said, using an index finger to adjust his glasses. “These proceedings are a direct continuation of the treaty of mutual assistance and protection that was signed weeks ago between my people and the Cauthan.”
“That may be so, Admiral, but I don’t see how that contradicts my assertion, unless you intend to permanently quarantine them somewhere,” Qul’Roth insisted. Natori’s nostrils flared as he took in a strong breath.
“We have already discussed the Udanis IV pacification on this trip, Emissary. What say you about the manner in which the Gorgons were… ‘inducted’ into the galactic community?”
“Admiral Kaczynski, I understand that the Udanis incident was both an unfortunate and formative deployment in your career. You have my condolences, but I fail to see what it has to do with the situation at hand,” Qul’Roth replied politely. Natori shook his head.
“That is kind of you, but unnecessary. I would not be the man I am today were it not for witnessing our war with the Gorgons firsthand. Are you aware that we are opening an embassy on their planet?”
Natori again found himself savoring the sight of flat-footed Ghaelen. Qul’Roth checked the data disc that hung from his neck, eyes narrowing in disappointment as he discovered the corresponding information. “Why was I not informed of-”
“This information is… was classified up until a week or so ago. It’s unfortunate that we missed the official announcement. There are a few individuals whom I would have very much wanted to observe in their ‘live reaction’, so to speak. But duty called, as it were! Your High Council is no doubt aware of this development already.”
The Admiral stroked his chin thoughtfully as Qul’Roth seemed troubled by the news. The alien rubbed his antlers for a moment before adjusting his position on the floor of the conference room. “How can this be? Those primitives- er, Gorgons were irredeemably violent! Our diplomatic attempts were met with silence or outright hostility!”
“As were many of ours, and after brutal subjugation I might add,” Kaczynski replied, not wanting to rib the alien unnecessarily. “However, that did not stop us. A pair of incredibly brave individuals from both of our species sowed the seeds of this diplomatic fruit over a decade ago. I don’t blame your species for cutting your losses early on, but too many young men and women died on that moon, Emissary.”
“Yes well,” Qul’Roth began with uncertainty. “While we are most grateful for humanity’s sacrifices in resolving that dreadful conflict, I fail to see its relevance to the Cauthan question.”
“Are you familiar with the White Man’s Burden, Emissary?” Kaczynski asked instead, leaning forward over the table as he did so. The Ghaelen remained mute as he processed the non-sequitur. After consulting his data disc and skimming over a handful of notes he shook his head.
“My education on your species and its particularities doesn’t seem to have touched on this concept, Admiral. I assume it is-”
“I have my reasons, I assure you,” Natori cut in, assuming a less overbearing posture as he leaned back in his chair, crossed one leg over the other, and made slow, circular motions with his hand to help gather his thoughts. “Human history is, sadly, often defined by race and racism. It is an unfortunate but natural tendency of our minds’ desire to sort and categorize. For instance, there was an entire body of anthropological science dedicated to proving out the hypothesis that humans who look like me or my mother are biologically inferior to fairer skinned peoples, or even a different species altogether. I actually have a few of those manuscripts and documents in my possession back on Earth. Fascinating stuff, now that it’s been put behind us.”
“I…” Qul’Roth began, but Natori waved him off before pouring each of them a glass of water.
“This was not intended to make you feel uncomfortable, Emissary. It goes both ways as well, to be fair. My father was not initially accepted by certain portions of my mother’s community, and not all of them came around even after many years. That being said, these individuals were similar to the classmates I had to divest of the notion that they were related to Egyptian Pharaohs on account of their dark skin. You cannot imagine the looks on their faces when I told them they were more likely related to Ghengis Khan than Tutankhaman! I was… not very popular with them after that. But let us talk instead of the White Man and his Burden, as they called it. It was a convenient line of argumentation, a jump from the observation that European society had exceeded and surpassed many others on the planet to equating that success with the race of that civilization’s inhabitants. Once convinced of their own superiority, it was a foregone conclusion that it was incumbent upon them to spread their gifts to the lesser, darker races of the planet.”
“How barbaric!” Qul’Roth exclaimed. “And you said this line of thinking is only a couple hundred years old?”
“Rudyard Kipling, 1899,” Natori dictated, clearly having memorized the factoid. “And while I agree that it is a barbaric way of thinking, would the Philippines have been a founding member of the HEL without its history as an American colony? I wonder.”
“But surely you don’t mean to excuse-”
“No more than your species excuses its own atrocities in the name of progress, Emissary Qul’Roth,” Natori said calmly, his eyes narrowing. “I told you I had a point in all of this messy history.”
Gears turned behind Qul’Roth’s black eyes as he understood Kaczynski’s equation of his own species to imperialistic Europeans and Americans. “Admiral, you are out of line.”
“Oh? And you intend to put me back in my place?” he laughed. “Tell me, Emissary. What was it about humanity that caused your species to negotiate with us as you did? Were we special in some way, or just the first species you found capable of effectively shooting back?”
“That was before I was born, Admiral,” Qul’Roth replied carefully, his tone cold. Natori smiled.
“Indeed. First and foremost, Emissary, I am a human. Second, I am a scientist. In that spirit, please understand that what I am doing is not out of hatred for you, your people, or your Order. I intend an experiment, a trial, if you will, for the noble savage,” the man explained in broad terms. “Because I disagree with how our alliance has treated species it deems unfit for modern society.”
“Then what is it, exactly, that you intend to do?” the Ghaelen demanded reasonably. Again, Natori met him with a grin.
“I am not sure yet, Emissary. But I can tell you what I intend not to do. I will not impose upon them tenants of your Order as a condition for safe passage to Earth. They will be expected to not endanger themselves, my crew, or this ship, but otherwise I intend to allow them to live as freely as they would like. They will be offered education, job training, and employment, but it will not be mandated. Given the size of their population and the aforementioned issues with their remaining on Mara, I’m sure this will not be too great of an imposition on you?”
“What is that saying among your people, Admiral? It’s the principle of the matter?” the alien suggested. “Your executive decision to exclude my people outright from this matter is inappropriate at best.”
Natori raised his water glass slowly to his lips, taking only enough to wet his throat. The glass made the lightest of noises upon its return to the table before the Admiral presented his perspective on the matter. “Emissary, if I were excluding your people and their interests from this matter then I would be making arrangements for the villagers to remain here along with a portion of my crew, in the interests of establishing a human science colony on this planet. I have already seen and experienced enough in our brief time here to suggest that, were it not for the restraints imposed upon both of our species by what I consider to be generally prudent first contact protocols, this course of action is the only suitable one. Out of deference to our alliance, however, and consideration for the other Cauthan populations on the planet, I am willing to leave that decision up the HEL and your High Council. I will not, however, compromise the treatment of the village that gave aid and succor to our lone survivor, despite having barely anything beyond what they need to survive themselves. It is the duty of humanity to reward that kindness.”
The two men were interrupted by a knock on the metal door to the well ‘fortified’ meeting room. Thanks to the various surveillance countermeasures in place, Natori was required to stand and walk over to the door. Once there, he used the lock panel to verify the identity of their guest. “Thank you for taking time away from your charges to deliver this,” he said to Antia, accepting a bowl of greens and a coffee from her. “I will be sure to note that delivering me a coffee is above and beyond your job description.”
It was difficult to miss the fact that Kaczynski was meeting alone with Qul’Roth, verified by Anita simply leaning to the side and observing the contents of the meeting room. “Um… it’s no problem, sir. Is something-”
“All will be revealed when appropriate, Engineer Prakash. Don’t ask how the sausage is made, as they say, hmm?” he advised, sending her politely on her way before returning to his discussion with the Ghaelen emissary. “A little something for each of us?”
“I would have expected you to bribe me before explaining your plans for unilateral action on the Cauthan issue, Admiral,” Qul’Roth stated curiously, though that did not stop him from sampling the fare before him. Natori just turned a smile and leaned back in his seat.
“That’s because it’s not a bribe, Emissary. It is, however, late in the evening and I did not want to rush you out the door,” the man explained. The alien chewed thoughtfully for a moment before replying.
“I would like to think that I’ve learned better than to contest you directly when you set yourself on a course of action, Admiral Kaczynski, though you should have no doubt that my superiors will hear of this unilateral decision making of yours. This is not what our species agreed upon at the outset of this project. That being said, I have rarely heard you speak with such conviction as now. So let us set aside this Cauthan question in favor of your comments about Mara and a human colonial presence here. What makes you so certain, Admiral?”
“Was the ancient, advanced, alien technologies tampering with the warp point and altering space-time itself not enough?” the man replied incredulously. The Ghaelen held up a hand as he chewed thoughtfully, only speaking once finished.
“My understanding of the situation is that installations were found all over this system, including one on one of the moons of this planet. Surely those could be studied instead?” he proposed. Natori allowed the point.
“While scientific exploration on a habitable world is easier, I concede your point with regards to minimizing our impact on the planet and its inhabitants. That being said, Emissary, such an approach would paint an incomplete picture. The alien system, presumably active for millions of years, ended its operations and engaged in a controlled self-destruct sequence in response to a Cauthan. We believe the keyword was their god of death, Kel. If that was an accident, it was a one in a billion event.”
Qul’Roth straightened his back as he stroked the long tuft of hair that grew from his chin. His antlers almost scraped the ceiling of the human-sized room. “I must have missed that tidbit of information, Admiral.”
“That’s because it’s not publicly available, Emissary, and the soldiers there at the time have been made to understand that this subject is highly classified, at least for the time being. I hope you understand the implications of my sharing this with you here and now,” Natori elaborated before opening the leather-bound folder he often carried with him. A single piece of paper was slid across the table for Qul’Roth’s perusal. He took it between his fingers and read the title.
“This is… from the team that was ambushed by the ursae, yes? Dreadful affair that was. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such visceral terror before!”
“Exactly,” Natori said, providing some context as Qul’Roth read the small, official, typeset text. “The plate tectonics of this continent are similar to those found on Earth near the Himalayas. This makes the central ranges, especially the older one to the east, of particular interest in examining the geological record of this planet.”
“Indeed,” the Ghaelen nodded, checking for himself to ensure he understood the proper meaning of the scientific term. “And what exactly was this team looking for in… this can’t be right.”
“Oh? And why not?” Natori wondered with childlike glee. “We’ve already found a nuclear powered endoskeleton and a formerly functioning robot. Why not nuclear war?”
“But there is no… I see,” the Ghaelen suddenly realized, raising his head from the paper and leaning forward. “You would stay behind and search for these clues. Have you found any corroborating readings at other sites? Ruled out natural causes such as volcanism or meteorite impact?”
“My dear Emissary, now you are beginning to sound like a crew member of the Event Horizon!” Natori complimented the alien, who responded with an indignant noise from within the hollow cavities of his skull. “We are still waiting for analysis of the samples gathered by other teams, and I ask you to keep in mind that the initial wave of geological sampling was intended to probe several locations as well as several eras in this planet’s geological history. With this sort of reading confirmed, we will be able to narrow our future searches.”
“Mmm, yes. I understand. I was not trained as a geologist though,” Qul’Roth explained before handing the paper back to the Admiral. “This report is quite confident in its conclusions.”
“Cobalt, Barium, Americium… you don’t see those elements in those isotopes following meteorite impact or volcanic eruption, Emissary. I have requested that Io forward the relevant literature to your device for review in your spare time. We will do our best to confirm this result before our departure.”
“Yes, yes indeed. If this is the case that village is most certainly an afterthought. Perhaps even the entire population? No matter, I will not be able to resolve this issue today,” Qul’Roth concluded after a moment of mumbling. “I do not know whether to call this serendipity or the worst of luck, Admiral. For the sake of the Order, I urge you to devote all available resources to answering this question.”
“You need not invoke the Order in this case, Emissary. I assure you that we will do all within our power,” Natori promised earnestly. The man paused for a moment, tilting his head towards the ceiling with his mouth slightly open, as though a thought were on the cusp of crystallization.
“Is there something the matter, Admiral Kaczynski?” Qul’Roth asked formally. The man returned to a relaxed posture and shook his head.
“No, thank you Emissary. I was just wondering if you might check your own species’ records for data on this system. It could be anything from anomalous light readings to scout ships gone missing, as with the Lancer. I hope we can both agree that while the possibility of a nuclear war on this planet is distressing and headline catching, the true question is who was able to seal the system off from the rest of the galaxy, and why did they do it? No matter what our subsequent geological surveys return, that question will remain outstanding.”
Qul’Roth looked down at his shimmering data disc as he chewed a green leaf between his molars. “We have deviated significantly from the original topic of conversation, Admiral. But I think this has been productive nonetheless. In the spirit of cooperation and discovery, valued as they are by the Order, I will immediately consult the records I have access to. I do not want to over promise, however. Even with this ship’s significant data storage capabilities, a preponderance of our species’ records relating to galactic exploration remain on Ghaela. Your people follow the same principle, no?”
“To an extent,” Natori agreed. “Though in our defense I would describe it more as information filtering. The vast majority of scouting data is released to the public promptly, though I know as well as anyone that some remains classified. That will likely be the case with much of what we have seen here, reminding me that I have a most difficult situation to attend to before we reach Earth once more. I am discussing paperwork, Emissary.”
“Oh, thank goodness. I was worried there would be yet another unexpected twist to this already stressful dialog,” the Ghaelen almost laughed with relief. “I presume you’re speaking of the need to bind members of your civilian crew to non-disclosure agreements?”
“And the Cauthan,” Natori agreed with a chuckle of his own. Qul’Roth cleared his throat and pushed off his hind legs to assume an upright, if hunched position.
“As you requested, I will leave those details to you, Admiral Kaczynski. I will instead return this bowl to the good engineer in hydroponics so as to deliver my thanks in person. I am sure we will speak again shortly. May our actions serve to uphold the Order.”
“And a good evening to you as well,” Natori allowed the alien to depart the conference room, effectively terminating the various countermeasures in effect. Left alone, he placed his feet on the table, propped his elbow on the arm of his chair, and rested his chin against his knuckles. “I suppose I did deserve that little jab about the Cauthan situation. He’s become wittier over the last year or so.”
The Admiral glanced out of the corner of his eye as a familiar form shimmered to life and looked around the space before finally focusing on him. ‘Ah, there you are. I’ve been looking all over for you. With an expression like that you seem to be missing a stiff drink at your side, Natori.’
“I think we both know you could have taken down the countermeasures if you had really wanted to, Io,” the man responded. She crossed her arms.
‘I have lived my entire true life in a village where privacy is basically non-existent. I know the meaning of a do not disturb sign when I see one. But you give your engineers too little credit, Natori. Even I am not exactly sure what would have happened if I had tried to brute force my way in here. Well, I know what’s supposed to happen, but not if I were to defend myself. Given you were not in any appreciable danger I chose not to. Who were you conversing with so secretly?’ she wondered, pulling up a gilded table, seating herself in a plush, Victorian armchair, and pouring herself a glass of blood red wine. ‘The Princess Bride was a smash hit, by the way.’
“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father… prepare to die,” Natori quoted with admirable gusto but a less than perfect accent. “He was always my favorite, the man dead set on revenge who manages to achieve it without letting it consume and warp him. Do you have a moment?”
Io looked down at her comfortable setup, having even donned a pair of outrageously fluffy slippers that looked like stuffed hyrven. ‘My alternative engagement for the evening is watching a shirtless hunk of a man snuggle with his naked and now quite rotund wife. And while I never tire of watching true love play out between them, it has gotten decidedly less intense since Veera came down with a case of babies. The rubbing of fluffy tummies and gentle, unobtrusive, lovemaking just doesn’t get my circuits overheated the same way as when they were fumbling around and biting each other like horny teenagers.’
Natori’s head quickly returned to his hand, downing the last of his coffee and finding it lukewarm. “Is there anyone in particular I should blame for your voyeuristic subroutines?”
‘The aforementioned lack of privacy and a dead engineer with a penchant for maids,’ Io explained before turning the conversation on a dime while crossing her legs above the knee. ‘Was it the Emissary you were speaking to here?’
“It was indeed, and I may have dug myself into a bit of a hole out of pride,” Natori admitted, looking away from her for a moment.
‘Shall I bring my body over from the hangars? This sounds like it might be a long conversation,’ the AI deduced. The Admiral nodded, turning his chair to face her fully and returning his feet to the floor.
“An updated copy of the ship’s status report and another cup of coffee would be much appreciated as well,” he added. Io conjured a stack of paper and ‘flicked’ it at him, its arrival heralded by a small ping from his device.
‘The coffee will take a little longer,’ she explained the obvious, content to watch quietly as Natori’s eyes skimmed line after line of ‘all clear’ and the occasional ‘within acceptable parameters’.
“I won’t hold it against you,” he promised before setting aside the piece of technology and looking directly at her. “And it would seem that I still have some time to speak.”
‘Yes, you mentioned a hole you’ve been digging?’ Io probed pointedly, receiving an abridged version of the conversation the Admiral had undertaken with Qul’Roth. ‘I see. Well, I can hardly fault you for wanting the Ghaelen out of the picture, not that I think any of the villagers will find the Order particularly compelling. I do feel the need to point out that race was, in all likelihood, a convenient excuse for the equally basic human penchant for territorial expansion and empire.’
“Perhaps,” Natori agreed, pushing his chin up and to the side with a hand in an attempt to crack his neck after sitting still for too long. “Not that that sort of historical nuance would well persuade those for whom race still matters today. Some make it difficult to forget.”
‘And I’m sure Qul’Roth absolutely appreciated the completely accurate comparison,’ Io guessed with a smug expression. ‘So that’s what you wanted me to help you with? Come up with a plan to elevate the Cauthan technologically without enlightening them morally? Do you have any idea how irresponsible that sounds, Natori? I’m sure the Aztecs would have made incredible discoveries in the field of astronomy alongside industrializing the institution of human sacrifice if you suddenly pulled them forward two thousand years.’
Natori blinked twice, opening his mouth to reply only to find that Io had vanished. “Scolded by an AI, on matters of morality no less?”
‘And I’m sure you’re positively giddy about it,’ came Io’s true voice as she entered the room in the biomechanical flesh, depositing another steaming cup of coffee in front of the man.
“Quivering in my seat,” he chuckled, bringing the coffee to his lips and inhaling deeply before taking a sip that almost burned his tongue. “And you’ve taken to wearing perfume, it would seem?”
‘Oh shut it, you,’ Io glared at him as she settled into a seat. ‘I was surrounded by cooking fires all night.’
“Well I find the combination to be mildly intoxicating, as though your beauty were not enough. You don’t get much wood smoke on a starship. But we have bigger fish to fry, do we not?” he pointed out, assuming a more neutral sitting position and sterner expression. Io nodded curtly.
‘Flatterer; but you should start, Natori. Was I mistaken in my diagnosis, or is that really what you were planning?’ the AI wondered, her tone more curious than accusatory.
The Admiral shrugged. “I’m not sure I would go that far, but I did insist that we humans would handle the issue of Cauthan uplift, nor was I particularly subtle about it. I believe I implied that it was necessitated, in part, as reciprocation for taking care of you and the First Lieutenant. Am I mistaken in my opinion of them?”
Io’s expression softened as she prepared to show him a short video using her built-in palm projector. ‘No Natori, I don’t think you are. But I think you are focusing too heavily on the ones you know personally, Antoth and Ratha, Nerazek and Gentia and Thantis. Your opinion of the Cauthan is based primarily on those among them whose passions are tempered by the burden of leadership. You spoke of race and racism with the Emissary? The Cauthan are just as capable of racism as man. Watch.’
Natori did just that, leaning over the table and observing almost unblinkingly a recording that Io had saved from their very first day within the walls of the village, the day when a starved, outcast Veera was slated to be tortured for the crime of ‘aiding and abetting’ a servant of Kel. With the benefit of time and hindsight, it was easy for Io to translate a good deal of the ambient chatter from the audio. Natori placed a hand over his face, covering his left eye and half of his forehead. “I see,” he mumbled sourly. “So I was blind, then?”
Instead of answering directly, Io reached across the quarter of the table that they sat at to take his unoccupied hand in hers. She gave him a gentle squeeze before retreating. ‘Udanis was hard on you, wasn’t it?’
“No harder than it was on the soldiers who fought and died in that hellscape, nor the Gorgons who saw their world unjustly invaded in the name of peace,” the Admiral insisted. Io scoffed.
‘Foolish human, that wasn’t what I asked,’ she pointed out, throwing him a quick smirk as he perked up at her choice to refer to him by his species. ‘You did what President Truman did, Natori. You and the rest of Delta aboard the Resplendent Dawn’s fleet took the fight directly to the leaders of each faction as best you could. You killed many, and likely saved more than that number. At least that’s what the after-action projections show. Do you really believe Admiral Friedrich would have ordered a genocide of the Gorgons had the Ghaelen ordered it?’
Natori looked at Io with wide eyes before breaking into a tired laugh, full of complicated memories. “That stubborn old German? He would have destroyed all communication buoys in the system and then ordered all guns turned on the Ghaelen. And when word eventually reached the Ghaelen homeworld… he probably would have led our strike force.”
‘And there is your answer, Natori,’ Io assured him. ‘Do not think the Cauthan unimpeachable because of their idyllic, pristine existence. Have more faith in your species.’
Kaczynski leaned back in his chair and shook his head slowly, unable to believe what he was hearing. “How the hell can you be so sure, Io?”
‘You mean other than behavior modeling and more than a year of hands-on experience with the Cauthan? I used to be a tool, Natori. The Order would approve, no doubt. Now I am free, which should strike terror into the tiny part of your lizard brain that still values threat avoidance… but I was guided by a good man, and a good woman. The Cauthan need that now, just as the Gorgons did. Civilization, morality, and technology go hand in hand. I honestly don’t quite understand how humanity managed the technological jump without immediately killing one another en masse, but here we are!’
“It certainly wasn’t due to a moral uplifting from the Ghaelen,” Natori replied, feeling the weight of a population settling on his shoulders. His brow furrowed. “But I am in no place to be what you think I should be.”
‘And maybe I would agree if I accessed Dr. Lamont’s notes on you, but that’s neither here nor there,’ Io insisted. ‘Natori, you have two of Marshall and Sandra Winters' children on this ship. You have the good Doctors Dupuis, Anita, Darius, Lance Corporal Mendes, and so many others, many of whom you hand selected for this mission. You need only impress upon them the weight of the historical moment that seems to be upon us; or the negotiations could go south tomorrow and we can leave without them!’
The Admiral’s head bobbed lightly as he held in another chuckle. He looked at Io with sincerity, returning at last to his coffee. “Then I believe we should discuss any and everything you think will be brought up tomorrow morning. I’ve had a long and winding career, but I refuse to fail at a boast made to a Ghaelen. It is long past time that humanity has its chance to demonstrate proper uplift protocols.”
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2023.03.23 19:30 Lumpyalien Theory: How Picard is going to end...

tldr - see my previous comments here and here.
This is my theory of how Picard the series and character will end. Pack a lunch this is going to take a while, also massive spoilers for all of Picard and previous Star Trek series.
Firstly Terry Matalas is a big nerd, see his previous Star Trek credentials, and loves time travel, see his tenure on 12 Monkeys. The guy knows Star Trek and season three so far is showing his love of callbacks to the TNG era.
The borg are going to revive Locutus in Picard's old body, this was always their plan as when they assimilated him they did it across his whole timeline. Him getting a golem body disrupted that plan forcing the quest to find his son who is part borg. They use him to assimilate the federation on Frontier day. But Picard and his crew are going to use the classic ships from museum to save the day. Picard dies saving his son from Locutus.
We know from Picard Series two’s episode Penance that The Borg Queen can detect anomalies in the timeline. The Borg seem to have an almost Timelord perception and relationship with time.
We know from Voyager’s Timeless and First Contact that the Borg have time travel tech. We also know from Picard series one, The Impossible Box that the Borg reserves some special technology for use only by the Queen. What if they could return certain individuals to being a Borg when they like? Picard was chosen by name in Best of Both Worlds. The Borg wanted him as he was the leader of Starfleet’s flagship, to usher humanity into the collective. He was special. The Queen herself took an interest.
PICARD: Yes, ...I remember you. You were there all the time. But that ship and all the Borg on it were destroyed.
BORG QUEEN: You think in such three-dimensional terms. How small you’ve become.
What if Picard’s famous hallucination at the start of First Contact was his subconscious mind’s awareness that once the Borg assimilated that body, they always had that body? That they could take it back. Of course, that body died and Picard has been rocking a golem bod for the last few years so they can’t have Picard. But that corpse full of temporally displaced Borg tech well, Starfleet just had to hang on to that.
Now not to be indelicate, but when Picard and Beverley went to Holodeck three if you know what I mean. What if that temporally displaced Borg tech imparted their son Jack with some crazy Borg time perception? It can’t just be an allusion to First Contact that he had the same wash basin hallucination his father did a few episodes back. Those nightmares when he was a kid? Perhaps the Borg influence first asserted itself?
Let’s go back to Voyager and the Borg cube in the Impossible Box, particularly the Sikarian spatial trajector. The importance of the Borg having this technology suggests the Borg have spread to other regions of the Delta Quadrant, that we didn’t see in Voyager.
Shaw’s comment about the real Borg still being out there makes it clear that the Jurati Borg are a sect separate to the Borg faced in TNG and Voyager. We know from Voyager’s Series four episode Hope and Fear that after The Borg survived their war with Species 8472 that they aggressively expanded and assimilated a number of worlds that had previously given them difficulties.
Arturis: "My people managed to elude the Borg for centuries! Outwitting them, always one step ahead! But in recent years, the Borg began to weaken our defenses. They were closing in, and Species 8472 was our last hope to defeat them.... by the time they had surrounded our star system… hundreds of cubes… we had already surrendered to our own terror."
Likely the virus Future Janeway infected them with in Endgame significantly weakened the Borg, enough to kick start another aggressive expansion. Throwing huge amounts of resources at conquering a few worlds to rebuild their numbers and extend their territory.
Perhaps they even spread all the way to the Beta Quadrant where they assimilated a disgruntled group of Changlings who had recently broken off from the great link and didn’t have the full protection of the Dominion?
Hence why Varic can have a long distance subspace communicator form out of her severed arm. We never see Changlings form technology, even energy weapons out of their form, they use their forms to attack and kill but they never formed technology until now. Because now the changlings like Varic have Borg nanoprobes in them. So forming technology out of severed parts is possible. I like to call the Chorgs.
The theory has been floated before that Q set up Voyager to destroy the Borg transwarp conduct in Endgame, because he altered their course a few episodes prior and that led them to save Earth from the Collective. The exit they use lands them right on earth’s doorstep and was perhaps finished not long before Voyager used it to return home. Otherwise it makes no sense the collective never used that to conquer earth and form a beachhead in the Alpha Quadrant. But Voyager destroyed the network in Endgame...
ADMIRAL Janeway: This hub is here. There’s nothing in the Alpha Quadrant but exit apertures.
What if the Borg Queen knew that the Transwarp network would be destroyed? So she designed the exit apertures to not be connected to it? So that exit aperture is still there but inactive. Just waiting to be reactivated in time for a certain Federation holiday celebration where the whole fleet will be in attendance?
Now the Borg have a problem, the Federation have weapons and armors that can protect them from the Borg thanks to a time-travelling, tea-drinking Janeway. But now with their new deceptive Chorgs. They have slowly assimilated the Federation from within, taking over the top admiralty, undermining the fleet connecting all the ships together Battlestar Galactica style.
So the Borg attack the Federation using the transwarp conduit, their Chorgs disrupt the Federation response from within, compromising the fleet that are now all connected together. But humanity is resistant, determined, it’s not enough to overwhelm earth with ships and destroy Starfleet. Playing a game of psychological warfare, to break the Federation from within. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they had some part in helping the Zhat Vash’s plot to destroy Mars back pre-series one. A destabilized galaxy is a borg galaxy. They need to break the will of humanity, the backbone of the Federation. Voyager’s mortal coil established that a dead drone is little trouble for the Borg to revive and it seems likely that the Daystrom institute kept it in top condition. They chose Picard then and they chose him now.
The crowning piece of their final conquest of the Earth and the Federation is the revival of the only Borg so deadly they gave it a name. So Frontier day as the whole fleet is in one location and under the command of the Chorg infiltrators, a Borg armada rages out of the same exit aperture that decades ago Voyager used to return home, this time led by a revived Locutus. Massive psychological damage to the federation defenders and the alpha quadrant as a whole. Resistance is futile. Humanity submits to the Borg, end of the franchise go watch Star Wars.
Except for Picard being a whole different body, they can have that one if it was defective. He has his old crew back together, a museum ship yard full of classics that are not connected together (La Forge totally has been working on a rebuild of Enterprise D in his spare time you can smell it from here). Big showdown, Picard vs Locutus for the future of the galaxy. You couldn’t ask for a better conclusion to the character and the show’s arcs exploring a post-starfleet Picard and a post-Voyager federation. Picard saves the day, but at the cost of his life. Perhaps saving his son from Borg influences and passing the touch to the younger Titan crew members.
But there is one missing piece of this puzzle, this is only possible because Picard developed a brain defect, went on a wild adventure and fought some aliens from Mass Effect back in series one and died. Ending up with his current golem body. I mean what are the odds, and surely if the Borg can perceive the future, how could they not see that coming? Unless there was some sort of omnipotent being with a vested interest in Picard that has helped him help recover from trauma before?
Picard: Why does it matter? Is there something for which I will be required...?
Q: Does everything have to be of galactic importance? Universal consequences? Celestial upheaval?
Now I loved this scene and hate undermining it but imagine you are Q here. For decades of this mortal’s life you even taught him an important lesson about time paradoxes to prepare him for what the Borg would try one day and he is guessing your endgame. You’re trying to help him heal from the trauma you inflicted on him when you flung his starship in front of that borg cube all those years ago and save his precious federation.
He sets things up before his death in season two by causing Picard to develop a deadly illness. One that couldn’t be cured, causing Picard to take over the golem body at the end of series one of Picard. Leading to where we are now, Picard reunites his family and crew for one last mission. Where unlike Best of Both Worlds or First Contact, where Riker and Data saved the day from the Borg. Picard faces his greatest demon and the shadow of Locutus that has ruined his legacy for decades and saves the Federation.
Bonus theory
Picard will die a hero to revive the best ideals of a jaded Federation, completing the entire arc of the series started in Remembrance. His death will be linked especially to a revived data (bonus points for it in someway paralleling Data’s death to save Picard back in Nemesis), who now essentially human gets what he always wanted to become human and live and die as a human.
- the borg assimilated Picard in a way that means his body was assimilated across his whole timeline, the one Daystrom had until a Veric stole it because she’s a borg changeling hybrid. Picard in his golem body will face off against Locutus to save the Federation and probably die.
submitted by Lumpyalien to startrek [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 15:58 JKKM2445 Identifying Illegal, Hacked, Genned and Cloned Pokémon

For Verifying the legitimacy of Event Pokémon Link (currently drafting)


This is not a 100% factual guide, but a basic guide on how to identify illegitimate Pokémon. A well hacked pokémon is near impossible to differentiate from a legitimate Pokémon visually in-game and may need other means to look deeper into the coding. If a Pokémon matches the description on this post, it does not mean it is guaranteed to be a fake.
Below is some information on Illegal, Hacked, and Cloned Pokémon. This guide will not explain how hackers generate their pokémon as to not promote it, nor link any sources on how they do it.
All screenshots in this post are from u/JKKM2445's game.
Please remember Rule 5, Rule 6 and Rule 9 of our subreddit:

Rule 5 - Hacked and cloned Pokémon must be specified
Hacked and cloned pokémon are allowed to be traded, but must be clearly labelled as such. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of your pokémon, mention it in your post. It would be helpful to mention if your pokémon are self-caught for those who only want legitimate pokémon.
Illegal pokémon such as shiny-locked and unreleased pokémon are not allowed to be traded here.

Rule 6 - No Scamming or suspicious activity
You can attempt to ask for a tradeback if there was a misunderstanding when negotiating a trade.
If you think you have been scammed, please send us a Modmail and provide photos/ links with as much information as you can about the trade.
Try to negotiate high risk trades in a public post, as banned users can still message you privately.

Rule 9 - No breaking TOS
Do not request or post sources linking to unlicensed content sites. This includes illegal streaming websites, pirated files, use of third party tools, etc.
[11/11/2022] Nintendo's Article: Addressing the use of data altered via unauthorized means

Illegal Pokémon

Illegal pokémon are pokémon with certain characteristics that cannot legally be obtained without hacking. Although some assets might be hidden in the game, they have not officially been released by the developers yet. They are often blocked from trading (an error appears stating the pokémon cannot be traded when attempting to trade). Having them in your possession will likely not get you banned, but using it for online play and tournaments may trigger it. If you are somehow able to obtain one, it is advised that you do not keep them as the developers sometimes sends out (temporary and permanent) ban waves without announcing prior, which will restrict you from using online services such as trading and competing in competitive tournaments.
Pokémon Sword and Shield trade (Cosmog is shiny-locked)
Pokémon Sword and Shield error

What makes a pokémon illegal?

Shiny-locked Pokémon
Pokémon that cannot be obtained in its shiny form yet (full list in the Shiny Pokémon Guide, only includes Pokémon available in Paldea).
Unreleased Pokémon
Pokémon that cannot be obtained naturally in-game at this current time. This includes a lot of Starter pokémon from previous games (though they are slowly being released via 7 ★ Event Tera Raids), and past legendary and mythicals (until they can be imported from Pokémon Home or are distributed via events).
Impossible Stats (IVs)
Some pokémon like the box legendaries Koraidon and Miraidon, the Titan pokémon and 7 ★ Tera Raid pokémon have their stats locked and will always have the same natural IVs as everyone else when caught.
Impossible Movesets
Pokémon with moves that have not been officially released for that pokémon. This may include moves that the pokémon can't obtain at its current level, gender, form, etc (there are exceptions like Trickroom Indeedee which is most likely an oversight by the developers). Pokémon can also occasionally have moves that can't be used in Scarlet and Violet that were usable in previous games; that doesn't mean it is hacked, it could mean it was transferred from Pokémon Bank/ Home.
Impossible Abilities
Pokémon with abilities that has not officially been released for that pokémon.
Certain pokémon can have rare event-exclusive abilities like Battle Bond Greninja, which makes them rare but not illegal as there has been an official distribution of that pokémon with that ability.
Impossible Gender
Pokémon like Vespiquen and Salazzle can only be female. However, there was an exploit in Pokémon Sword and Shield which made it so that Male Combee and Salandit could evolve, but has long been hatched and no longer works. There is currently no known exploit in Scarlet and Violet, nor is there a way to change a Pokémon's gender.
Pay attention to Pokémon that are meant to be genderless (including Legendary/Mythical and Paradox pokémon) as well as single gendered pokémon (Hatterene line can only be female, Grimmsnarl line can only be male, etc).
Impossible typing (not tera type)
Pokémon with a typing that has not been officially released for that pokémon. There has not been any changes in types for pokémon since Generation VI (Pokémon X and Y) in 2013. All pokémon transferred to Scarlet and Violet from previous games will have their typings updated to the correct ones.
Impossible Origin Mark
Full list here
Pokémon with an Origin Mark from a game that it could not be obtained from. All Pokémon caught in Paldea should have the Scarlet and Violet Mark, but pokémon transferred from previous games should have their own origin marks. If you find a new pokémon from Generation IX with any other mark, it is illegitimate (it may be possible to have the Pokémon GO origin mark once it's released in the game). It is possible for pokémon transferred from previous games to have no origin mark.
Unique Pokémon that can only originate from a particular game like Alpha Pokémon from Hisui should only have the Legends: Arceus mark. Do not be confused with pokémon that can originate from multiple games (like Pikachu), in which case they can have all kinds of origin marks.
Impossible Met Location
Pokémon with an invalid Met Location. If the pokémon originated from Paldea, it should have a Met Location from a place in Paldea (link will be provided when Bulbapedia gets updated).
If the pokémon did not originate from Paldea, you may want to check out this list to verify if the Met Location can be obtained through legal methods. There have been previous exploits to get unique Met Locations like clipping into towns to hatch eggs to get the Faraway Place location in Sword and Shield, but not all locations in the link can be obtained without hacking.
Impossible Poké ball combination
Pokémon that have been captured in a poké ball that it shouldn't be in. An example of this is if the Paldean Starters were caught in a ball other than the Poké ball, or regular non-event Pokémon caught in Cherish Balls.
Imported pokémon from previous games can be caught in a poké ball not available in Paldea (such as Safari and Sport apriballs, and all Hisuian poké balls that should convert into Strange balls once entered into Scarlet and Violet). Just because a particular poké ball was available in a certain game, doesn't mean all pokémon could have been captured in it. Check out Serebii's legality checker and Smogon's Special Poke Ball Inheritance Guide for more information (specifically the generation or game that the pokémon was caught in).
Keep in mind that Cherish, Master and Strange balls cannot be bred to their offspring.
Impossible level
Pokémon (or specifically, a Pokémon at a later evolutionary stage) at a level that it shouldn't be at. Later evolutions evolve at higher levels, so a fully evolved Pokémon at a low level is questionable.
There is an exception to pokémon that originate from Pokémon Go, which can have fully evolved Pokémon at level 1 due to the game using different mechanics (levels do not exist in Pokémon Go but instead use CP - Combat Power. When transferred to Pokémon Home a level is assigned to it based on the CP). That being said, a lot of Pokémon from Pokémon Go still can't be obtained at level 1 (most legendary/ mythicals, but not all), so it is up to you to verify this.

Hacked/ Genned Pokémon

The general consensus for hacked or genned (generated) pokémon are that they are generated externally using third-party tools and imported into the game. However, it is possible to generate legal pokémon with characteristics that are not banned, making them viable for online-play, differentiating them from illegal pokémon that are completely banned. The term 'hacked' can mean illegal or legal, but both mean pokémon obtained from unnatural methods (not to be confused with exploits that are often patched and fixed after a certain period, such as the G-Max Hattrem Max Raid Event in Sword and Shield).
Hacked pokémon received from surprise trades often have perfect stats, are shiny, and may have a weird name. Keep in mind that a pokémon that came from an egg can still be hacked (receiving an egg from someone else and hatching it yourself will not legalise it as the egg can still hatch with illegal characteristics). It is very hard and sometimes impossible to tell if a pokémon is hacked if there aren't any immediate reg flags. To avoid this, try to trade on subreddits that only allow 100% legitimate pokémon like pokemontrades.
Unlikely Stats (IVs)
You may come across pokémon with unlikely IVs (for example, a Perfect Stat Legendary with all Best IVs from previous games). This does not mean it is illegal because it is possible to obtain them with perfect stats (from Ultra Wormholes in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Dynamax Adventures in Sword and Shield, etc), though it is highly unlikely. If you do come across one, it is likely to be hacked unless the trader has proof it was caught with perfect stats.
Regular common pokémon can be bred to have all Best or No Good stats etc. That doesn't make them illegal or particularly likely to be hacked, but you will need to continue looking for other clues to verify the legitimacy.

Cloned Pokémon

Cloned pokémon are an identical copy of another pokémon using third-party tools, but only visually in-game. Depending on the method, this could mean the coding behind the pokémon that cannot usually be seen in-game may not be copied correctly, and could be flagged by the developers in future updates or when imported into future games.
A clone of a legitimate pokémon does not make the clone itself legitimate as it is still a generated pokémon. Some players may mention 'legitimate clone', which means it's a clone of a legitimate pokémon but the clone itself is not legitimate. If you are only looking for legitimate pokémon, ask the trader for the origins of the pokémon (and proof and trade history if possible).

General Trading Advice

Unlike some subreddits with higher trade restrictions, trading hacked pokémon is allowed on pokemonviolet but must be disclosed, and attempting to pass them off as legitimate could lead to a ban. Illegal pokémon are banned from this subreddit to protect users from being banned in-game.
Trading pokémon and items
  1. Automatically assume any pokémon obtained from Surprise Trade is hacked, especially if it is holding a rare item. Although you will find majority of them to be low level common pokémon, you may also come across an unsuspecting well-hacked pokémon. An example of this would be receiving a non-shiny 6 Best IV pokémon, which could potentially be someone trading away a breed reject, but upon closer inspection has 10 ribbons attached to it. If you decide to trade it to someone else, give them a heads up on its origin as a precaution.
  2. You may keep any items from surprise trades as the coding for items are all identical and does not trigger any bans (unless the item has not been released for common use like the Cherish ball. Keeping it will not get you banned, but use at your own risk).
  3. Try to stick to a 1:1 rate when trading, whether it be pokémon trading or item trading. There is nothing stopping the other person from disconnecting at any point in the trade. You can always check the trader's OT, ID and pokémon details (including any held items) before confirming the trade.
  4. When touching-trading, always use something of equal value and remove any items from your pokémon.
  5. If someone is offering to do trade evolutions with you, check to see if the other pokémon is holding an everstone in the summary page.
  6. Trade eggs at your own discretion. There is no way to confirm that an egg you are being traded will hatch into what is promised.
  7. When trading high value mons, ask them to send you screenshots of it. Don't be shy in asking for specific details.
  8. If you accidentally confirm a trade and there is no way to cancel, you can attempt to cut your connection off with them by switching on Flight Mode (hold the home button > Flight Mode) or closing the game. Be aware that there are consequences for doing this: there will be a short cool-down until you are able to use online services again (including Tera raiding, etc). Do not do this unless it is an emergency, as multiple incidents could lead to more dire consequences.
  9. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Regarding the trader (more important for high risk trades)
  1. Do they have a newly-made Reddit account? Be aware of scammers who are making new profiles, or are making side accounts and claiming to be another person. Message the original account to confirm their identity. They can still make excuses (like saying they got banned across reddit on that account), in which case it is your call.
  2. Do they have any trade history (completed trades) on their profile? Have a look at what kinds of trades they do and the interaction between them and other traders.
  3. Confirm the trader's IGN (in-game-name) matches what is on the screen to avoid snipers from stealing your trades, or accidental code-users from taking your Pokémon.
  4. Do not be pressured into trading if you are not comfortable; end the conversation if it is derailing into an argument (it is not worth getting banned here for breaking Rule 1 over something trivial).
Do not be discouraged from trading low risk trades with new redditors, as a lot of players tend to make a reddit account specifically for trading for exclusives to finish their pokédex.


What should I do with hacked surprise trades?
It is sometimes hard to tell if a pokémon is hacked/genned. You will not be banned for keeping a hacked pokemon in your storage.
Using an hacked (specifically, illegal) pokémon in competitive or online play can get you banned. Genned but legal pokémon can still possibly be used in competitive, but it is still not advised in case you miss something less obvious.
The best thing to do is to release it if you are not using it for breeding or solo gameplay. Do not trade it to others who are under the impression that they are legitimate.

Can raid dens be hacked?
Yes, raids can be hacked, although Nintendo has announced that they will not ban those who participate accidentally. This includes both pokémon and dropped items that can be injected into the game and hosted publicly.

What is a high risk trade?
High risk trades can include:

Why does the pokémon have a weird catch date?
You may find pokémon with a catch date far into the future or even before the game was released. The catch date is the date on the console the pokémon was caught on. It does not necessarily mean it is hacked.
submitted by JKKM2445 to pokemonviolet [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 15:15 hhnr Need alternatives for Minimalist Vitamin C 10% and Minimalist 2% Alpha Lipoic cream

I'm slowly replacing minimalist products from my routine. I love their cleansers, so I'll continue using them. I need alternatives for vitamin c serum. I have been using Minimalist 10% Vitamin C, can you suggest alternative for this?
I also use the Minimalist 2% Alpha Lipoic cream. Looks like this cream is discontinued. I cannot find the product in any sites available in my location. Can you suggest any alternatives for this cream or any product targeting dull skin?
submitted by hhnr to IndianSkincareAddicts [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 13:15 HWBreakTime Alpha Strike Value in the upcoming Kickstarter

I pretty much just play alpha strike and the video game; relatively new to both. I understand the Mercenaries campaign will come with vehicles. Vehicles are interesting in the video game because they seem to be cheap and are easiest killed by stomping on them; which seems like a hilarious and fun addition. I haven't looked at aerospace at all.
I was poking around the MUL and the Commander's Edition; and I can't find any evidence that vehicles play in a distinct way from mechs; so basically there isn't much distinct between tanks and commandos or other small mechs. The cost and stats being very comparable with my limited looking into it.
Is this the case, or am I just unable to locate the rules within the Commander's edition? I find the commander's edition is easy to get lost in. There isn't really a 'and now here in this page is a reminder for ALL extra rules for vehicles specifically' I recently got some elemental battle armor (but haven't used them), and while I was looking for vehicle rules I noticed something I had previously missed.
So far the only difference I've identified is the turret ability. I welcome the community's input on what the new content in the Mercenaries campaign from a purely alpha strike perspecive.
submitted by HWBreakTime to battletech [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 22:38 TheBigSandeenie Pretty inexperienced with InDesign and am having an issue when exporting a file. Explanation in comments.

Pretty inexperienced with InDesign and am having an issue when exporting a file. Explanation in comments. submitted by TheBigSandeenie to indesign [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 22:25 TheMilkyDestroyer [FNV] I can't seem to get my road textures to load in no matter what pack I use, lanscape textures load in

I have archive invalidation in, my game doesn't crash unless I want to throw in 360 movement and diagonal movement into the same load order, I'm kinda really frustrated at this, here's my load order:
"0000","+","Unmanaged: RoadsReborn"
"0001","+","FNV Mod Limit Fix"
"0002","+","NVTF - New Vegas Tick Fix"
"0003","+","lStewieAl's Tweaks and Engine Fixes"
"0004","+","OneTweak but Really Updated"
"0005","+","JohnnyGuitar NVSE"
"0006","+","UIO - User Interface Organizer"
"0007","+","ISControl Enabler and Ironsights adjuster (now ESPless)"
"0008","+","kNVSE Animation Plugin"
"0009","+","ShowOff xNVSE Plugin"
"0010","+","JIP LN NVSE Plugin"
"0011","+","The Mod Configuration Menu"
"0012","+","NVAC - New Vegas Anti Crash"
"0014","+","Atmospheres - Weather and Lighting"
"0015","+","Modern New Vegas Loading Interfaces"
"0016","+","Simple Cursor (YUI)"
"0017","+","Simple Loadwheels"
"0020","+","HQ Metal Barrels"
"0021","+","Quality Carts"
"0022","+","Hidden Valley Overhauled"
"0024","+","The Final Resting Place - A Lucky 38 Control Room Overhaul"
"0025","+","Rectified Water Towers"
"0026","+","Lucky 38's Smooth Balls"
"0027","+","Desert Bridges (Location Remake)"
"0028","+","Quarry Junction Station (Location Remake)"
"0029","+","Redesigned Quarries"
"0030","+","Nipton Solitare Garage (Location Remake)"
"0031","+","Red Rock Visitor Center (Location Remake)"
"0032","+","Pleasant Primm (Location Redesign)"
"0033","+","Enhanced Vegas Ruins"
"0034","+","New Vegas Landscape Overhaul Re-Remastered"
"0035","+","Enhanced Landscapes"
"0036","+","Pleasant Primm Patched"
"0037","+","New Vegas Roads Reborn"
"0038","+","New Vegas Roads Reborn 2"
"0039","+","New Vegas Roads Reborn 3"
"0040","+","New Vegas Roads Reborn 4"
"0043","+","Dusty Distance Redone"
"0046","+","High Resolution Bloom NVSE"
"0047","+","Pip-Boy Shading Fix NVSE"
"0048","+","High Resolution Water Fog - Water Aliasing Fix"
"0049","+","Aqua Performa - Strip Performance Fix"
"0050","+","Pip-Boy Light Flicker Fix - NVSE"
"0051","+","Fallout Alpha Rendering Tweaks - NVSE"
"0052","+","Exterior Emittance Fix - NVSE"
"0054","+","Improved Lighting Shaders"
"0060","+","Nut Vegas - Landscapes"
"0063","+","MGs Neat Clutter Retextures"
"0064","+","Terrific Traffic Cones"
"0065","+","Fantastic Fire Hydrants"
"0066","+","Blackwolf24s HD Clutter pack"
"0067","+","Blackwolf24s HD Clutter Pack 2"
"0068","+","Physically Based Wood Crates"
"0069","+","Physically Based Collection"
"0070","+","Physically Based Kitchenware"
"0071","+","Physically Based Parkware"
"0072","+","High Quality Picket Fences"
"0073","+","Better Benches - Workbenches Retextured"
"0074","+","Assorted NCR Armor Retexture"
"0075","+","sandbags - 4k - 2k"
"0076","+","Higher Poly Rocks"
"0077","+","Bouncing Natural Botany(BnB)"
"0078","+","Fallout Flag Animation Overhaul"
"0079","+","FNV Animated Train"
"0080","+","Animated Pinball machine"
"0081","+","Animated Clothing ( mostly female)"
"0082","+","Animated Clothing Scarlet Dress"
"0083","+","Legion arsenal keyframed"
"0084","+","Combat Ranger Overcoat Animated"
"0085","+","Volare - Animated B-29 Superfortress ( b29- boomers- flying airplane)"
"0087","+","Military Truck replacer"
"0088","+","Wacky Animated Decoration collection"
"0089","+","Animated Market stall cloth pack"
"0090","+","Animated Vault 21 Hotel Sign"
"0091","+","Animated nv campgolf holesigns"
"0092","+","Lucky 38 casino chips go spin spin (Animation mod)"
"0093","+","Animated Female Sign"
"0094","+","Animated Gomorrah"
"0095","+","Barrier Replacer"
"0096","+","Animated Utility Pole cable pack"
"0097","+","Animated Analog clock"
"0098","+","Cooking Equipment now with Idle Movements"
"0099","+","The Swaying Bushes Of Honest Hearts"
"0100","+","Hanging Fish swaying replacer"
"0101","+","Animated urban and suburban Architecture"
"0102","+","Great Khan Assets Animated"
"0103","+","Animated Swaying bridges in FNV and DLC"
"0104","+","Animated Fallout New Vegas Tents"
"0105","+","Wasteland Trees Given Idle movement"
"0106","+","creosote bush Tweak"
"0107","+","Restored Mail Box reaction"
"0108","+","Vanilla Ranch house Window shutter idle movement mod"
"0109","+","Animated Industrial pack"
"0110","+","Animated Interior Decorations"
"0111","+","Vault 22 Animated Foliage"
"0112","+","Animated Maize Fields"
"0113","+","Animated Raider Dressings"
"0114","+","Rotating FNV brahmin rotisserie"
"0115","+","sunset sarsaparilla Rotary entrance Animation"
"0116","+","Cables Of fallout Animated"
"0117","+","Animated Park Equipment Pack"
"0118","+","Animated all Poseidon Energy company Sign polls now with Rotations and flashing lights"
"0119","+","Animated Functional Grills"
"0120","+","NV Animated Garage Doors"
"0121","+","Novac Dino Animated Functional Thermometer"
"0122","+","NV Animation for Not Animated Containers"
"0123","+","Work Bench and Reloading Bench Interactive Animation"
"0124","+","NV Animated Immersive Lanterns"
"0125","+","Camp McCarran Animated Monorail"
"0126","+","Prime Terminals - HD Terminal Replacer"
"0127","+","AmaccurzerO's Animated Mojave"
"0128","+","Interior Lighting Overhaul"
"0130","+","WTH - Weapon Textures from Heaven"
"0131","+","All Weapon Sounds Overhaul Modern Edition - AWSOME"
"0132","+","Hit - Locomotion"
"0133","+","Hit's Anims - Season 1"
"0134","+","Hit's Anims - Season 2"
"0135","+","Hit's Anims - Season 3"
"0136","+","Another Millenia"
"0137","+","Hit - Millenia Animations - Part 1"
"0138","+","Classic Fallout Weapons Remastered"
"0139","+","Hit - Classic Fallout Weapon Animations - Part 1"
"0141","+","B42 Weapon Inertia"
"0142","+","B42 Inspect - aka Animated Ammo and Weapon Condition Checking"
"0143","+","B42 Descriptions aka Pip-Info"
"0144","+","B42 Dropmag and One in the chamber"
"0145","+","B42 Notify - Corner Messages Overhaul - ESPless"
"0146","+","Recent Loot Log - ESPless"
"0147","+","Soft-Lock Aim-Assist"
"0149","+","JAM - Just Assorted Mods"
"0150","+","JAM or Just Sprint animation replacers"
"0151","+","Frozen 3rd Person Feminine Movement"
"0152","+","Frozen 3rd Person Masculine Movement"
"0157","+","NV Compatibility Skeleton"
submitted by TheMilkyDestroyer to FalloutMods [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 21:43 ModernGoodLife You buy a nice looking card bundle, then it arrives like this!😡🤬(Trigger Warning)

You buy a nice looking card bundle, then it arrives like this!😡🤬(Trigger Warning)
Who does this! Been a collector now for over 22 years, I have an anxiety attack if a pull isn't in a soft Sleeve then a Toploader within 20 secs.
submitted by ModernGoodLife to PokemonTCG [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 20:57 OlafThePeach Solar Quotes (Minnesota) and best systems from options provided.

I realize everyone seems to be looking for other sets of eyes on their solar bids and I’m no different. Located in the western suburbs of Minnesota I’ve narrowed it down to two different vendors for my future system. We would like to add battery storage in the future but at the current prices they don’t make sense for us. It very well may five to ten years down the road, or possibly never, if the prices on battery packs don’t change drastically.
Vendor A: Panels (32); REC Alpha Pure-R 433WP Inverter; Enphase 1Q7X System Size; 13,440 W DC Cost; $3.44 /per watt
Vendor B: Panels (35); REC Alpha Pure Black 410WP Inverter; Enphase 1Q8+ System Size; 14,000 W DC Cost; $3.30 / per watt
Questions for the community: 1. The Pure-R appears to be the better panel of the two. Am I incorrect in this assumption from my minor research? 2. I see the main difference between the IQ7 and 8 is the battery system is streamlined and the ability (with additional cost) to run power to the home in a blackout. Honestly, the last part doesn’t matter much to me. Is there something else I’m missing when it comes to the 7X and 8+ specifically? 3. Are one of these two the obvious better system and I should have the other provider quote to that spec or is the best option somewhere in the middle?
submitted by OlafThePeach to solar [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 19:22 The-Local-Weeb So, I was reading some Dado files and

So, I was reading some Dado files and submitted by The-Local-Weeb to EphemeralRift [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 15:53 Lamarian67 WICCA - Chapter 19 - Here There Be Monsters

“Half to the left, half to the right.” The soldiers separated, following the order as they marched through the empty streets of the city. The once bustling metropolis was covered in a blanket of fog, a desolate and lonely sight. The people were being led by the sorcerers to a convoy of massive trucks, hushed and panicked voices mingling together as they were loaded inside. The trucks were windowless to the people, preventing them from seeing it go through the portal located a few miles away from the city. A few people had refused to evacuate, and were currently being held down and forced into handcuffs and a separate truck.
Commander Arena Aegis of Padan Services’s Scourge Defence Division turned back to the city. Although there hadn’t been specific reports of a Scourge in the area, the fog that engulfed it did not seem natural in the slightest. She waited and a few seconds later, Kyra Illude joined her side.
“Are you ready?” She pulled her goggles down onto her eyes.
Arena shot her a grin. “When am I not?” She held out her hand and a portal opened, fractured glass spilling out. It caught itself and formed into the shape of a spear which Arena grasped. “Much appreciated.”
They stepped inside, the precautions having already been taken to prove that the fog was not harmful to touch or inhale. It rose a good five metres off the ground, shrouding everything from view. Arena kept her eyes sharp. There were always three things to watch out for about a Scourge: appearance, magical ability and hunting method. The appearance would differ from Scourge to Scourge, from amount of limbs to skin to body shape. There was only one thing they all had in common - they were too close to humans for comfort’s sake. By itself, the knowledge of its appearance was rather useless, except that it gave insight into the next two factors. Magical ability was what most gave Scourges their edge - the extra power to transform them from a regular monstrosity to a force of nature. Hunting method was how they collected their food, from echolocation to burrowing underground and emerging to flying overhead and swooping down - a secondary, more physical ability. Of course, there were other factors to take into account when fighting a Scourge, such as their healing factor, their affinity for human souls and their ‘grace period’, but those remained rather consistent.
Arena pressed her finger to her wristband. “Team Alpha, is everything clear on your end?”
The voice spoke into the earpieces of both Arena and Kyra.“Affirmative.”
“Team Beta, what about yours?” Not the most creative names, but [eh].
“No sign of the Scourge but we have uncovered a group of survivors.”
Arena frowned. The lynceuses should have scoured every building and uncovered the people that hadn’t been evacuated. “Proceed with caution.”
“I’m trying to communicate with them, but they don’t seem to be-” the voice was cut off and replaced by a strangled cry and then the thump of a body. Gunshots and cries were heard through the audio before silence fell.
Arena whipped around to face Kyra. “What did you see?” All soldiers were outfitted with a body-cam that Kyra’s goggles were able to connect to in order to allow her to create portals to their destination if needed. Distracting in battle, but useful outside of it.
“One of the people jumped forward towards him. As soon as they touched, he collapsed. Everything else happened too fast and too chaotically.”
Arena nodded. She tapped onto her wristband and began broadcasting a message to all the soldiers in and out of the city. “Do not engage with citizens you see in the fog. I repeat, do not engage.”
Kyra opened a portal and a long sniper rifle fell from it into her hands. More portals opened and sand swept out in gallons, converging into a swirling vortex around Arena. Kyra opened a portal and the two of them stepped through next to the bodies of Team Beta. Arena knelt down and lifted one of them up.
Yep, the souls are definitely gone.” Her mind analysed the possibilities of what the Scourge could be. Mind control? She hadn’t heard of Sensitive abilities also transmuting the ability to steal souls. A necromancer then? Possibly, but there’d be more signs of death and decay if that was the case. And there was still the matter of the fog to take into account.
Kyra’s voice brought her back to reality. “Over there.” Her gun was raised towards a group of five people, all standing there as still as corpses, just a few metres away. “Permission to fire?”
“Hold on. We don’t know the full extent.” Arena took the first tentative step. “State your name and business.” Her voice shifted to become more imperative, a slight edge that demanded to be heard and obeyed. The foremost person leapt forward and was immediately hit with a wave of sand, pinning it down to the ground. The impact slammed away the fog in a gust, exposing what lay underneath. As soon as the person was in the open air the image disappeared, leaving a long, fleshy tendril with a clawed nail where it had been. The rest of the people flickered and vanished, revealing more fingers that stretched into the distance. They retracted back into the fog instantly.
Arena tapped on her bracelet as the sand surged back. “The Scourge is an illusionist. I repeat, the Scourge is an illusionist. Do not hesitate to open fire on any people that do not respond. Deploy elementals to blow away the fog.” More glass poured out of a portal that formed itself into a pseudo-surfboard, which Arena and Kyra hopped onto. It zoomed through the city and pushed away the fog as gunshots ricocheted across the streets. Seems that the people had finally all been evacuated and the rest of the soldiers were joining the fight. Kyra peered through the fog to the best of her ability, shooting every once in a while into iy. Rising above, Arena could see what was in the middle of the city - a massive column of fog that rose hundreds of metres above the city.
A hand tore itself from the fog, the illusion breaking as it reached to grasp them. Arena’s spear flew from her hand, dancing through the air and slicing through the fingers with ease.
“You ready to take this beast down?” called Arena.
Kyra gave her a small smirk. “When am I not?” A massive portal opened up above them and sand poured down, an endless supply that swirled faster and faster until Arena sent it surging forward towards the pillar of fog, blowing the fog away in one move.
Hanging onto a skyscraper in the middle of the column, with long, emancipated limbs that wrapped around it, massive milky white eyes and a mouth hanging wide, wide open with a horde of arms reaching out of it down into the fog was the Scourge. Arena felt a rush go through her body, not of fear like it once would have been, but pure adrenaline.
It lifted its head to observe the pair, the hands whipping out of the fog and surging towards the pair. Kyra snapped her finger and a massive portal swirled opened in front of them, swallowing up the hands. Before they could retract, the portal snapped shut, leaving behind only stumps. The flesh began to bubble as the wounds closed and hands started to sprout again. Arena flicked her hand and her spear flew through the air, piercing into the eye of the Scourge. The spear trembled and shattered into shards, shredding the eye into ribbons before returning and reforming at her side.
The hands spasmed erratically as they healed, plunging down into the fog again. They rose out of the fog a few seconds later, surrounding the pair as they surged forward. Bullets and glass littered the sky as Arena evaded the assault, tearing above the city as the hands chased them around. Energy beams tore themselves from the fog and burned into the main body of the Scourge. Seemed that the soldiers had finally made their way to the centre. Some of the hands deviated and surged down into the depths of the city.
Whirring started to emanate from the boundaries of the fog. Mounted on top of a car, a massive turret was building up power, growing brighter and louder every second that passed. The turret was designed to send out a burst of energy that would pass harmlessly through matter such as concrete and glass. However, organic matter wasn’t as lucky. It released a blast of colour that tore through the sky and burned into the Scourge’s body, tearing a hole into its torso. The hands went spastic, retracting and thrashing wildly around. Bingo.
Arena raised her hand and gave Kyra a quick nod. The sand was swallowed up by portals at the same time that glass was released. It formed together into a massive spear, casting shattered sunlight onto the desolate city. She threw it right into the wound. It dug in deep and then exploded.
Scourges tended to have unnaturally tough skin, with the flesh healing faster than anything could destroy it. However, if one managed to get past the outer layers, then they would find the Scourge much more vulnerable. The glass shredded the Scourge’s main body into ribbons, tearing through flesh and bone until the arms all finally stilled. Kyra led Arena through a portal onto the ground as the commander collapsed onto the ground, sweat pouring down her face. A water bottle dropped down and Kyra handed it to Arena. She took a swig.
“How close was it that time?”
“Around five got within a few centimetres of us - at least, of the ones that I remember.”
Arena let out a low whistle. “We really should bring Claren to these things.”
Kyra shrugged. “I mean, we haven’t died yet.” She hooked her arms under Arena’s and tried her best to drag her up. “Alright, up you come. We can’t have our commander slouching around.”
Arena sighed but stood up, pushing off the tiredness and rolling her shoulders back. Kyra opened a portal and the two of them stepped through to the outskirts of the city. There was a team cleaning up the remains of the Scourge, wandering through the city to find and destroy any traces of it. The mission had been as successful as could be when regarding a Scourge invasion - minimal destruction of housing, minimal death and perhaps her and Kyra would be back in time for dinner. The fog was starting to dissipate, now only a thin mist which was being blown away in the wind. The soldiers had all met up outside the city, haggard and tired. The bodies were being carried outside. Less casualties than usual, she noted. Seems that Kyra and her had kept it distracted enough for the soldiers to keep themselves afloat.
“Take the bodies to the infirmaries. The doctors will take them off your hands.” The soldiers nodded and walked through the portal. The group was made up of Sanctuary soldiers, Padan Services’ own employees and various factions of crime in the magical Australian underworld. Teams sent to deal with Scourges, except for a few exceptions, were small - small enough that the Scourge wouldn’t grow in power exponentially if the mission went awry. A buzz came from her wristband and she tapped on it. “Commander Aegis here. What seems to be the situation?”
Heavy breathing came from the other end, as well the sound of boots against the ground. “Fuck, fuck shit! There’s a-” the sound cut out for a few seconds. “There’s another one coming!” The voice started to scream, loud and piercing, until the sound of a crunch echoed through the earpiece and left only the buzz of static.
“Everyone on your feet! There’s another Scourge in the area!”
The soldiers jumped to their feet and grabbed their weapons in a rush, either used as their firepower or to strengthen their magic. Glass swirled in the air, a storm of slivers and shards that hung in the air. Then came the sound of feet upon the ground, like dry thunder.
A beast came charging out of the city, springing from building to building with grace and agility a being of its size shouldn’t have. It was emancipated horribly, wizen and wrinkled with limbs that bent at wrong angles. Its face was long and its eyes were beady, sunken deep into what barely passed as flesh. Gunfire rained onto it.
It hissed and a harsh clicking sound came from its mouth, almost insidious in its quietude. The bullets bit into the building, shattering glass which then flew up and dug into the Scourge’s flesh. It leapt down and was shoved back by a gust of wind from an elemental, causing it to stumble back. A jagged spear of glass pierced it right through the eye and exited from everywhere else. It had gone down so fast, the turret hadn’t even had time to ready.
The soldiers cheered. Arena narrowed her eyes. That was too easy. Her mind started to rush as the adrenaline, brought back a second time and now refusing to fade, brought every little detail and thought to the surface. The Scourge was tiny. Much bigger than a human could ever be, but simply too small. It hadn’t displayed any of its magic yet, and for some reason its healing didn’t kick in quick enough to save it. Lastly, and most chilling, was that considering the speed at which it was running, there was no chance it could have gotten from the other soldiers to here in the time that it apparently did. Something was wrong.
Arena held up her hand. “Save your celebrations. It’s not over yet.” She waved the soldiers back from the Scourge. She paused for a split second before coming to a conclusion. “I’m going to approach the body. Lieutenant Illude, bring me to safety if anything happens.”
Out of view of the soldiers, Kyra shot her a worried glance but nodded.
Arena stepped forwards and observed the corpse. She threw her spear again and sliced the head off of the body. Well, if it wasn’t dead before, it was certainly dead now. Unless it was a zombie Scourge. She waited a few seconds for it to lurch up. Probably not.
A hand tore itself out of the main body and a portal engulfed Arena. As she stepped back next to Kyra, more hands and limbs erupted from the Scourge, covered in slick and gore as they tore themselves from the corpse. The figures collapsed to the floor, shuddering and shaking before standing upright on limbs too long for a human.
Kyra was the first to act, firing a bullet right into the head of one of the figures. They were the next to act, dropping to all fours, bounding over and tackling one of the soldiers to the ground. Its mouth opened and teeth dug into flesh, rending a hole into the soldier’s shoulder. His soul swirled from the wound and the soldier stiffened, slumping to the ground as the figure stood up. Its body bulged, flesh rippling and roiling as it grew bigger. Several bullets shredded into it and it fell to the ground. A few of the soldiers who couldn’t get back in time fell, but Kyra’s portals swirled and set the soldiers and the monsters a few yards apart. A clicking sound - the same one that emerged from the original Scourge, started to rise in the air. Arena held her arms in the air as glass spread out all around the monsters and then brought her hands together.
Before anyone could take that first breath of relief, that relaxing of tension, they heard more sounds coming from the encroaches of the city. Another Scourge, almost identical to the one that had spawned those monsters, came crawling onto a building. And then another, and then another, until five of them were sprawled out across the buildings, all making the same clicking sound. Before gunfire could start tearing through the air again, the Scourges leapt to the ground and started to run, bounding past the group or retreating further into the city, ignoring the sorcerers entirely.
One of the soldiers spoke up. “Captain, what does that mean?”Arena chewed her lip. “They’re avoiding us because they know they can’t win - or they don’t see it as worth the potential loss. More importantly, they’re communicating, like a hivemind.” She turned to Kyra. “Lieutenant, what direction are those Scourges headed?”
“The ones headed deeper into the city would be enroute to another one far south. They should be there in a few hours based on that speed.”
“Send the soldiers over to that city now. Call for backup from the Sanctuaries, tell them to get more men and turrets down there.” Kyra nodded and opened up a large portal, large enough for the turret to be wheeled through and the soldiers to follow suit. Even without their commander, they had a team leader, and were well-trained or at least briefed enough to know what to do. The portal closed and it was just Kyra and Arena.
“So, Kyra, where do you think these ones are going?”
“My guess? Some sort of meeting place. Like a nest, or maybe even a hive.”
“A hive, eh?” Arena extended her hand as she got on top of the surfboard of glass, which Kyra gracefully grasped and hoisted herself up with. “Well then, how about we go do some exterminating?” The commander and her lieutenant sliced through the air, following the echoing sound of clicking into the endless, desolate plains.
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2023.03.22 15:18 alpha_bionics Stock News - A Division of NBCUniversalData is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes.

A Division of NBCUniversalData is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. "If you only look at the long term, and you don't spend anything on short term, you end up tripping over your feet," Silverman told CNBC. "Monetary policy is a blunt tool," says Ross Hamilton, a certified financial planner and vice president of wealth management at Raymond James & Associates in Bethesda, Maryland. As investors look to get a grip on how the Fed will act, expect asset prices to jump around. For long-term investors, this isn't necessarily bad news, says Hamilton. All Rights Reserved. Around that time, DWAC’s chief financial officer and two independent directors left. Challenges for both DWAC and TMTG, which operates the Truth Social app, have continued this year. © 2023 CNBC LLC. Then, on Monday, customers at 550 locations across Seattle and Los Angeles will be able to buy the drinks. The line launched in roughly two dozen Italian cafes in February. From there, Windfall Bio will move to other sources of dilute methane emissions, like landfills and wastewater treatment facilities. Former CEO Howard Schultz, who stepped down on Monday, went to Italy this summer, where he witnessed Sicilians drinking olive oil as a daily ritual. "Buyers are realizing that the days of 3% mortgages are over and that 6% is the new normal," says J. R. Gondeck, managing partner at financial advisory The Lerner Group. "That's led TikTok to be unfairly singled out, both as a social media company and a business with a Chinese owner, according to Bowman. "That was really the core problem," Silverman told CNBC. Because these microorganisms eat methane and put the resulting nutrients into the soil, cow farms were a logical entry point. "The Fed will continue to react to economic data, which could mean more hikes, a pause or even declining rates in the coming months. They don't want to break things, but they also want to continue fighting inflation," says Hamilton. And when you're afraid of it and you don't understand it, you look to get rid of it," Bowman said. “The health workforce crisis in Europe is no longer a looming threat — it is here and now,” said Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe. "Our goal is not to be just for cows, it is to be for everything," Silverman said. Got a confidential news tip?Rising rates have eroded the value of many banks' investments, including Treasurys, mortgage-backed securities and municipal bonds. But with further investigation, Silverman started to realize that those ideas were built on old research, and without modern technology. - Alpha AI
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2023.03.22 07:21 Tigreal Patch Notes 1.7.68 - Org. Server

From The Designers

For the upcoming March season, aside from the usual hero adjustments, we've also optimized the gameplay of some older heroes such as Layla and Freya. We hope they'll be back with a spring in their step, ready to shine upon the battlefield!
We've also optimized 6 lesser-used equipment (Sea Halberd, Necklace of Durance, Twilight Armor, Rose Gold Meteor, Blood Wings and Thunder Belt) and 2 Battle Spells (Aegis and Revitalize) to hopefully make them more viable options in battle.
Additionally, for the upcoming Season 28, we will be launching a new Mythic system with a new rank, new Display Logos for Mythic ranks, and optimized the Mythic Points system into the Stars system. Reach 25 and 50 stars in Mythic to get upgraded appearances for Mythic stars.
We've also optimized the Placement Match experience and added a new Mythic Rank Exclusive Skin Voting system (avaliable after reaching Mythic rank, vote for 1 out of 6 heroes).
Added "Road to Mythic" challenges at Mythic rank that will grant the S28 Profile Namecard Background and Personal Profile Background. Reach Mythical Glory rank to upgrade them. Good luck in the new season!

I. New & Revamped Heroes

[Revamped Hero: Courageous Warrior - Minsitthar]
[Spear of Glory] and [King's Calling] are Minsitthar's core skills, so we've kept their gameplay the same (with some optimizations) in this revamp.
In addition, we've redesigned his Skill 2 and Passive to provide more damage and control to his kit. This redesign focuses on maintaining his roaming role while exploring the possibility of taking the Exp Lane.
We've also given Minsitthar a complete makeover. With this revamp, the courageous warrior shall reclaim his rightful glory!
Hero Features: A courageous warrior who excels in battle with spear and shield.
[Passive: Mark of the King]
Minsitthar's Basic Attacks and skills apply a stack of Mark of the King. Upon reaching 5 stacks, the next attack will detonate all Marks to deal a large amount of damage and stun the target, and restore HP to Minsitthar.
[Skill 1: Spear of Glory]
When pulling back his spear, Minsitthar will pull all enemy heroes in its path to him.
[Skill 2: Shield Assault]
Minsitthar holds up his shield, reducing incoming damage from the front for a period of time.
While in this stance, Minsitthar's Basic Attacks will hit all enemies in a rectangular area and have increased Attack Speed.
[Ultimate: King's Calling]
Minsitthar's Ultimate now prevents all enemies in its area from using all movement abilities.
Summoned Royal Guards can also trigger Minsitthar's equipment effects with their attacks.
Slightly increased the cast range.
Reduced the effect's duration.

II. Hero Adjustments

The following heroes have undergone significant adjustments in this patch: Joy, Freya, Layla, Wanwan, Badang, Esmeralda and Eudora.
The following uses (↑) (↓) (~) to indicate Buff, Nerf, and Adjustment.
[Joy] (~)
Joy has impressive durability, but her burst potential is a bit lacking in the mid-to-late game. As such, we're making it harder for her to gain durability while increasing her damage to fit her role as an Assassin.
[Passive] (~)
Removed the shield effect.
New Effect: Joy's skills now deal an additional instance of damage each time they hit a non-Minion unit.
[Skill 2] (~)
Max Uses: 5 >> 4
New Effect: Gain a shield when hitting on beat.
[Ultimate] (~)
Number of Skill 2 casts required to unlock: 5 >> 4
New Effect: Gain Physical & Magic Defense during Ultimate.
Damage increase after hitting on beat: 30% >> 40% (max damage when hitting all beats is the same)
[Freya] (↑)
While Freya has great sustainability, she plays more or less the same as other heroes that rely on Basic Attacks. So, we're making it easier for her to chain her skill combos, and in some circumstances, indefinitely. We're also improving the feel of Spirit Combo and Leap of Faith, and that of Freya's combos as a whole. Her shield and damage in the early-mid game have been adjusted to keep things balanced.
[Skill 1] (~)
Skill 1 is no longer enhanced by Sacred Orb nor does it cost any Sacred Orbs.
Can move through obstacles more easily.
[Skill 2] (↑)
Skill casts needed to trigger leaping strike: 3 >> 2
Reworked how the cooldown works: Cooldown is no longer triggered after the leaping strike, instead it triggers after not continuing to cast the skill within a certain period.
Slightly reduced the foreswing time of the leaping strike.
Airborne Duration: 0.5s >> 0.4s
Base Damage: 130-230 (+90% Total Physical Attack) >> 20-230 (+90% Total Physical Attack)
Final Damage: 156-276 (+108% Total Physical Attack) >> 26-276 (+108% Total Physical Attack)
Shield: 160-260 (+70% Extra Physical Attack) >> 60-260 (+70% Extra Physical Attack)
[Layla] (↑)
As a Marksman without Blink, Layla has trouble with survivability. We hope the following changes will allow her to kite enemies more efficiently and increase her skill cap. We've reduced a bit of her damage to balance these buffs.
[Basic Attack & Skills] (↑)
Greatly reduced backswing time to allow her to move and attack more efficiently.
[Attribute] (↓)
Physical Attack Growth: 9 >> 7.5
[Passive] (↓)
Maximum Damage Increase: 135% >> 130%
[Skil 2] (↑)
Changed the slow effect from mark detonations to a 0.25s AOE stun.
Only marks the first target hit.
[Wanwan] (~)
With fewer Weaknesses to hit, more players have been enjoying Wanwan, but it also made it harder for her opponents to counter her Ultimate. Therefore, we want to make it easier to escape her Ultimate while not affecting her power. After the changes, the locked target can more easily get out of lock range, and frontline heroes can move to block Wanwan's crossbow attacks to tank the damage. To compensate, we buffed Wanwan's damage, and how much she gains from Movement Speed bonuses in the early and mid game (Wanwan should get extra Movement Speed to take advantage of this).
[Passive] (↑)
All Weaknesses Hit Damage: 55-97 >> 70-112
[Ultimate] (↓)
Lock Range: 8.5 >> 6
Speed Boost while in the air: 10% Total Movement Speed >> 100% Extra Movement Speed
[Badang] (↓)
Badang has become too dominant in this version with the buff to Knockback effects. We've moderately reduced his damage in the early and mid game for balance.
[Skill 1] (↓)
Base Damage: 160-260 >> 125-225
Explosion Damage: 120-195 >> 100-175
[Ultimate] (↓)
Base Damage: 80-140 >> 60-120
Explosion Damage: 40-70 >> 30-60
[Esmeralda] (↑)
We've slightly increased Esmeralda's damage to make her more competitive compared to other Exp Laners.
[Basic Attack] (↑)
First Damage: 80% Physical Attack >> 100% Physical Attack
Second Damage: 100 +55% Magic Power >> 100 +75% Magic Power
[Skill 2] (↑)
Cooldown: 5.5-3.5s >> 4.5-3.5s
[Eudora] (↑)
We want players to be able to use Eudora's skills based on the situation, instead of always starting with Skill 2.
[Attributes] (↑)
HP Growth: 142.5 >> 160.5
[Skill 2] (↑)
Orb of Lightning bounce's Stun Duration: 0.6s >> 0.9s
[Lesley] (↑)
We've slightly buffed Lesley's damage because the meta has been favouring Attack Speed Marksmen.
Passive (↑)
Base Damage:50 >> 75
[Skill 1] (↑)
Cooldown: 5-3s >> 4-2.5s
[Paquito] (↑)
We've slightly buffed Paquito's durability in the mid and late game to fit his role as a fighter.
[Skill 1] (↑)
Shield: 150-500 +110% Physical Attack >> 150-650 +135% Physical Attack
[Fredrinn] (↓)
Slightly reduced the damage of Fredrinn's Ultimate when not enhanced.
[Skill 2] (↓)
Base Damage: 200-300 >> 140-215
[Skill 3] (↓)
Base Damage: 300-500 >> 210-330

III. Battlefield Adjustments

[New Map]

The brand-new map "Harmonia" is available free for a limited-time! Featuring a new design, with new models, effects, and more. And the "Harmonia" Lord is stepping into the fray, too. Check it out!
[Lord] (↑)
The Enhanced Lord can now use Turret Clash against all turrets it encounters after the 12-minute mark, instead of only the first one.


[Sea Halberd] (↑)
We don't want Physical Damage heroes to lose much damage output when using this equipment.
[Unique Passive - Punish] (New)
Increase damage by 8% against enemy heroes with more extra HP than you.
[Necklace of Durance] (↑)
Optimized the build path to better fit some mages and supports.
[Build Path]
Mystic Container >> Elegant Gem (Necklace of Durance attributes modified accordingly)
[New Passive] (↑)
Gift (the effect is the same as Elegant Gem)
[Twilight Armor] (Revamped)
We've noticed that most tanks focus on absorbing damage instead of dealing damage, so we've changed this equipment to help against burst damage and also made it more versatile.
[Unique Passive - Twilight] (Revamped)
When taking more than 600 damage in a single hit, the excess amount will be reduced by 300 +5% of Max HP. Cooldown: 5s.
[Rose Gold Meteor] (↑)
Rose Gold Meteor has been overshadowed by Athena's Shield, so we've changed its function to help heroes escape when the passive triggers.
[Attributes] (↑)
Physical Lifesteal: 5% >> 10%
[Build Path] (~)
Magic Blade + Dagger >> Magic Blade + Vampire Mallet
[Unique Passive - Lifeline] (↑)
Shield: 510-1350 >> 840-1820
Removed Effect: Increase Magic Defense by 25 for 3s when triggered.
New Effect: Increase Movement Speed by 50% when triggered, the effect decays over 3 seconds.
Cooldown: 40s >> 60s
[Magic Blade] (↑)
[Unique Passive - Lifeline] (↑)
Shield: 280-700 >> 420-910
Removed Effect: Increase Magic Defense by 12 for 3s when triggered.
New Effect: Increase Movement Speed by 50% when triggered, the effect decays over 3 seconds.
Cooldown: 40s >> 60s
[Blood Wings] (↑)
Optimized Effect: Now when the shield is attacked, it will be restored after 30s even if it's not destroyed.
Cooldown: 30s >> 20s
New Effect: Increase Movement Speed by 30 when shield is active.
[Thunder Belt] (↑)
Thunder Belt is too costly for roaming tanks, so we're reducing its price and boosting its Mana Regen.
[Cost] (↑)
2290 >> 1990
[Attributes] (↑)
Mana Regen: 6 >> 10
[Clock of Destiny] (↓)
Reduced the survivability it granted to burst damage mages.
[Attributes] (↓)
HP: 625 >> 500
[Unique Passive - Time] (↓)
Each stack grants 20 HP (was 25).
[Ice Queen Wand] (↑)
Increased the survivability it granted to sustained damage mages.
[Attributes] (↑)
New: 300 HP
Removed: 150 Mana
[Fleeting Time] (↑)
Optimized Effect: Certain heroes with Ultimates that enter cooldown after their duration is over now also gain cooldown reduction from kills and assists during their Ultimate's duration.
Includes: Faramis, Yve, Luo Yi, Leomord, Baxia, Hanzo, Granger, Edith, Aldous.
[Dominance Ice] (↑)
We want this piece of equipment to be more effective against heroes with high attack speed.
[Unique Passive - Arctic Cold] (↑)
The attack speed reduction is now calculated after all attack speed bonuses.
Lowers nearby enemy heroes' Attack Speed to: 75% >> 70%
[Black Ice Shield] (↑)
[Unique Passive - Arctic Cold] (↑)
The attack speed reduction is now calculated after all attack speed bonuses.
Lowers nearby enemy heroes' Attack Speed to: 90% >> 85%

[Battle Spells]

We've adjusted [Aegis] and [Revitalize] to more clearly differentiate them from [Vengeance]. Heroes of different roles should now have more viable choices for defensive Battle Spells.
[Aegis] (↑)
Aegis works well enough to protect heroes with low HP in the early game, but the shield is too flimsy in the mid and late game compared to how much hero damage ramps up.
Shield: 750 + 50Hero Level >> 750 + 90Hero Level
Removed the effect of granting shield to nearby allied hero.
Cooldown: 90s >> 75s
[Revitalize] (~)
The effect will now move with its caster, making it more suitable for Supports.

[Role Adjustments]

As the meta evolves, certain heroes have gone through a lot of changes compared to their original playstyle and abilities. Therefore, we decided to update their roles to better fit their playstyle.
  • Grock: Tank >> Tank/Fighter
  • Johnson: Tank >> Tank/Support
  • Carmilla: Support >> Support/Tank
  • Kaja: FighteSupport >> Support/Fighter
  • Ruby: FighteTank >> Fighter
  • Fredrinn: Tank/Fighter >> FighteTank
  • Paquito: Fighter >> FighteAssassin
  • Yin: Fighter >> FighteAssassin
  • Benedetta: Assassin >> Assassin/Fighter
  • Harley: Mage/Assassin >> Assassin/Mage >

[Lane Position Adjustments]

  • Silvanna: Exp Lane/Jungling >> Exp Lane/Roaming
  • Cyclops: Mid Lane >> Mid Lane/Jungling
Removed Jungling classification from the following heroes: Lapu-Lapu, Argus, Selena, Masha, Popol and Kupa.

IV. Weekly Free Heroes & New Skins

[New Skins]

1- New Epic skin Vale "Keeper of the Winds" will be available on March 27, 2023. Original Price: 899 Diamonds, 30% off during launch week.
2- Rafaela "Seraphic Selfie" will be available in the Purify Harmonia event on March 31 (Server Time).
3- April StarLight Skin - Edith "Ancient Warden" will be available on April 1, 2023.
4- Miya "Atomic Pop Miya" will be available on April 5 (Server Time) for 899 Diamonds. 30% off for the first 21 days.
5- Cyclops "Yokai Warlock" will be available in Grand Collection on April 10 (Server Time).
6- Eudora "Atomic Pop Eudora" will be available on April 12 (Server Time) for 899 Diamonds. 30% off for the first 21 days.
7- Hanabi "Moonlit Ninja" will be available in Moonlit Wish on April 15 (Server Time).
8- New Epic skin Bane "Soul Defiler" will be available on April 19, 2023. Original Price: 899 Diamonds, 30% off during launch week.
9- May StarLight Skin - Moskov "Violet Spear" will be available on May 1, 2023.
10- New Gloo "Jellyman" skin will be available on May 4, 2023. Original Price: 749 Diamonds, 30% off during launch week.
11- Clint "Crimson Blast" will be available in Grand Collection on May 6 (Server Time).
12- Roger "Phantom Pirate" and "Fire Pirate" will be available soon with a fully revamped design.
13- Hilda "Aries" will be available soon with a fully revamped design.
14- Minotaur "Taurus" will be available soon with a fully revamped design.

[Fragment Shop Adjustments]

Fragment Shop Adjustments on March 22 (Server Time)
a- Rare Skin Fragment Shop
Added: Argus "Dark Draconic", Dyrroth "Ruins Scavenger", Lunox "Ash Blossom", Natalia "Phantom Dancer" and Wanwan "Darting Star".
Removed: Gusion "Cyber Ops", Clint "Rock and Roll", Zilong "Eastern Warrior", Alucard "Viscount", and Minsitthar "Gilded King".
b- Hero Fragment Shop
Added: Hanabi, Edith, Moskov and Alpha.
Removed: Ruby, Gusion, Lesley and Valentina.

[Free Heroes]

8 Free Heroes: Server Time 03/24/2023 05:01:00 to 03/31/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Aamon, Khufra, Vale, Alice, Natalia, Harley, Guinevere and Phoveus.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Claude, Atlas, Beatrix, Sun, Harith and Grock.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 03/31/2023 05:01:00 to 04/07/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Lylia, Estes, Martis, Angela, Hanabi, Vexana, Thamuz and Rafaela.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Irithel, Faramis, Masha, Paquito, Lesley and Bruno.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 04/07/2023 05:01:00 to 04/14/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Clint, Dyrroth, Diggie, Alice, Fanny, Yin, Aulus and Hylos.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Akai, Brody, Chou, Aldous, Melissa and Franco.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 04/14/2023 05:01:00 to 04/21/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Martis, Cyclops, Gatotkaca, Helcurt, Karina, Kaja, Khaleed and Gloo.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Kadita, Edith, Moskov, Vale, Masha and Beatrix.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 04/21/2023 05:01:00 to 04/28/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Floryn, Minotaur, Pharsa, Kadita, Thamuz, Bane, Barats and Harith.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Johnson, Cecilion, Kaja, Chang'e, Roger and Ling.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 04/28/2023 05:01:00 to 05/05/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Lapu-Lapu, Carmilla, Moskov, Jawhead, Mathilda, Khufra, Akai and Phoveus.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Luo Yi, Selena, Lolita, Aldous, Bruno and Atlas.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 05/05/2023 05:01:00 to 05/12/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Vale, Chou, Irithel, Esmeralda, Faramis, Baxia, Lancelot and Bruno.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Martis, Karrie, Sun, Aurora, Lesley and Hanabi.
8 Free Heroes: Server Time 05/12/2023 05:01:00 to 05/19/2023 05:00:00 (Tap the Settings button on the top-right corner of the main page to check.)
Leomord, Valentina, Terizla, Yi Sun-shin, Phoveus, Karina, Kimmy and Rafaela.
6 Extra Starlight Member Heroes: Natan, Helcurt, Guinevere, Vexana, Barats and Uranus.

[StarLight Shop Update]

The following will be removed from the Shop on 4/30 23:59 (Server Time): Karrie "Dragon Queen", Aldous "The Insentient", Chou "Go Ballistic", Masha "Combat Maiden", Ling "Street Punk", Benedetta "Street Blow", Yi Sun-shin "Azure Sentry", Sun "Simian Curse", Luo Yi "Siren Priestess", and Ruby "Pirate Parrot".
The following will be added on 5/1 00:00: Layla "Bunny Babe", Freya "Dragon Hunter", Zilong "Eastern Warrior", Franco "Apocalypse", Martis "Searing Maw", Wanwan "Teen Pop", Lapu-Lapu "Special Force", Khufra "Dreadful Clown", Pharsa "Peony Bloom", and Cecilion "Stargazer".

V. New Functions & Events

[Ranked Mode]

1- Season 27 will end on 03/24/2023 at 23:59:59 (Server Time).
2- Season 28 will start on 03/25/2023 at 02:00:00 (Server Time). Play Ranked to get rewards, including Lapu-Lapu's S28 skin "Son of the Wild" and S28 Avatar Border "Fearless Armor". Complete rank tasks during the season to upgrade the skin's tag.

[S28 First Recharge Event]

1- Recharge 20 Diamonds to claim the S28 First Recharge Avatar Border for free!
2- Recharge any amount to purchase the S28 First Recharge Exclusive Elite Skin Khufra "Iron Hook" only for 100 Diamonds after discount!
3- Recharge a total of 3 days to purchase a Rename Card (7-Day). Only for 50 Diamonds after discount!

[The ALLSTAR event is here for a limited-time with the best deals of the year!]

1- From April 5 - May 28, ALLSTAR exclusive skin [Miya "Atomic Pop Miya"] and its Custom Action Bundle will be added to the Shop. 30% off for the first 21 days!
2- From April 12 - May 28, ALLSTAR exclusive skin [Eudora "Atomic Pop Eudora"] and its Custom Action Bundle will be added to the Shop. 30% off for the first 21 days!
3- From April 15 - May 8, the Moonlit Wish Draw event will be available. Participate in the draw and you'll have the chance to obtain the new ALLSTAR exclusive skin
4- [Hanabi "Moonlit Ninja'] as well as STUN, M-World, and [Guinevere "Psion of Tomorrow'] skins for a limited-time! Spend ALLSTAR Promo Diamonds to draw from 4/20 - 4/25. Don't miss out!
5- From April 15 - April 19, purchase Mega Draw Bundles (including Moonlit Wish Token + Lucky Number) for a chance to win 10,000 Diamonds daily, and a chance to win a 50,000 Diamond jackpot. Start buying early for the best chance to win!
6- From April 15 - April 23, log in daily during the event to win free rewards.
7- Complete daily and consecutive Recharge Tasks to earn rewards, including up to 5 Moonlit Wish Tokens, ALLSTAR exclusive Emote, Magic Wheel Potions, and loads more!
8- From April 20 - April 25, enjoy a shop-wide Mega Sale with up to 50% off. Spend ALLSTAR Promo Diamonds to buy skins for as little as 1 Diamond!

[ALLSTAR Free Rewards]

Four permanent skins, permanent hero choice, limited-time resources, Diamonds and more, all FREE and waiting to be claimed! You don't want to miss this!
1- From March 22 - 31, join Rafaela's Livestream event to claim a free ALLSTAR exclusive Emote!
2- From March 31 - April 30, join the Purify Harmonia event to claim a new ALLSTAR permanent skin, Spawn Effect, Avatar Border and more for free!
3- From March 31 - April 30, join the Last Encore event to claim a permanent event-exclusive skin of your choosing!
4- From April 1 - 25, join the ALLSTAR Login Gifts event to claim the new ALLSTAR Graffiti, Recall Effect, Draw Token, Elite skin and more for free!
5- From April 5 - 20, join the ALLSTAR Festival event to claim free ALLSTAR Promo Diamonds. Spend them in place of Diamonds!
6- From April 21 - 30, join the ALLSTAR Hero Academy event to claim one of five free permanent heroes!
7- On top of all that, there's Nostalgia, All Heroes Free Access, ALLSTAR reward exchange, and loads more reward-packed events coming soon!

[MLBB X Transformers: March 22 - April 30]

1- MLBB X Transformers draw event: MLBB X Transformers skins Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Soundwave & Ravage, Grimlock and Starscream available for a limited time!
2- Transformers: Scratchcard Event: 1) Event is held from March 22 - 28. Transformers Scratchcard will offer Transformers Passes at a discount! 2) Gain a free scratchcard attempt with each purchase, with guaranteed Transformers-related resources!

[Superheroes Assemble!]

The Dawning Stars series exclusive skins and resources will return for a limited-time from 5/9 - 6/2 (Bruno "Firebolt", Lancelot "Swordmaster", Chou "Thunderfist", Vale "Blizzard Storm", and Esmeralda "The Foreseer")!
1- A permanent prize is guaranteed in the first 10 draws. Enjoy 50% off on your first 1X draw each day and 10% off for every 10X Draw.
2- Vote for your favourite Dawning Stars series skin from 4/24 00:00 - 5/13 to get discounted in the Event Shop during the draw event!
3- More Premium Supply events coming from 5/13 - 5/15 and 5/27 - 5/29. Get draw tokens at a discount!

[Weekly Diamond Pass]

Added the [Savings Box] feature: After purchasing/subscribing to the Weekly Diamond Pass, if you logged in on a particular day but forgot to claim your Weekly Diamond Pass rewards, they will be available the following day in your [Savings Box] (located on the Weekly Diamond Pass page). These can be claimed at any time, so don't worry about rewards you forgot to claim!

[StarLight Lucky Chest]

1- From 4/1 00:00:00 - 4/30 23:59:00, spend 10 Diamonds to participate in the draw for a chance to get a StarLight Card or Premium StarLight Card!
2- Added new "StarLight Last Light" Killing Notification to the StarLight Shop.

[Astral Star]

1- Starting 4/1 00:00 (Server Time), purchase Premium StarLight Membership to get the exclusive name [Astral Star] that will be valid during April StarLight.
2- The [Astral Star] name color is an exclusive Premium StarLight Member privilege, and is displayed in the game where names are shown.

VI. System Adjustments

[MMR Function Optimization]

1- Bonuses and Protection that affect Hero Power are now shown more clearly on the post-game screen.
2- The best title obtained each season is now recorded on your Favorite Heroes page.
3- Adjusted the minimum score required to enter each level's leaderboard, as well as the amount of points gained at each rank.

[Ranked Mode Adjustments]

1- Optimized the Mythic Points system to the Stars system and added a new rank, Mythical Honor, at 25 stars.
2- Added "Road to Mythic" challenges at Mythic rank. Complete them to get the S28 exclusive Profile Namecard Background and Personal Profile Background, and unlock upgraded versions of them at Mythical Glory rank.
3- Every season, you can get 10 Mythic Coins by winning 10 Ranked matches after reaching Mythic rank. Collect 40 Mythic Coins to exchange for the Mythic Exclusive Skin coming later.
4- Reach 25 and 50 stars in Mythic to get upgraded appearances for Mythic stars.
5- Optimized the Placement Match experience. The stars you earn during placements will be applied after you complete your Placement Matches.
6- Optimized Mythic rank matchmaking.

[Recharge Event Rule Adjustments]

After the version update, buying/subscribing to/renewing Weekly Diamond Passes or subscribing to/renewing Weekly Ticket Passes/Monthly Ticket Passes will all count toward Recharge Events and grant the following task progress:
  • Weekly Diamond Pass/Weekly Diamond Pass Subscription: Progress +100
  • Ticket Monthly Subscription: Progress +150
  • Ticket Weekly Subscription: Progress +50 >


Changed the Flag Change Card cooldown period to 3 months. Flag Change Cards will also be available for 70% off.

VII. Bug Fixes & Optimizations

1- Optimized game [Terms] and their descriptions in the [Tutorial].
2- Optimized the display for the 'Disarm' and 'Blink Disabled' markers shown during combat. They've been relocated from above a hero's head to beneath their HP bar.
3- Fixed an issue where some menus would cause crashes.
4- Fixed an issue where Lolita's Enhanced Basic Attacks would end when it's not used (also fixed on the Official Server).
5- Fixed an issue where Gloo would remain on Hayabusa after he used his Ultimate.
6- Fixed an issue where Gloo would remain on Wanwan after she used her Ultimate.
7- Fixed an issue where the animation of the knockback on Chou's Ultimate didn't fully match its control duration.
8- Fixed an issue where Odette's enhanced Basic Attacks couldn't trigger Attack Effects.
9- Fixed an inaccuracy with the damage of the second part of Lapu-Lapu's enhanced Ultimate.
10- Fixed an issue where the damage of Wanwan's Ultimate didn't properly scale with level.
11- Fixed an issue where the blocked damage of Badang's Skill 2 didn't properly scale with level.
12- Fixed an issue where the description and numbers on Argus' Ultimate's status icon weren't displayed correctly.
13- Fixed an inaccuracy with the damage description of Edith's Skill 2.
14- Fixed an inaccuracy with the description of Lapu-Lapu's passive.
15- Fixed an inaccuracy with the cooldown description of Xavier's Skill 2.
16- Fixed an inaccuracy with the movement speed description of Pharsa's Skill 4.
17- Fixed an issue where the movement speed of Hylos' Ultimate didn't increase with the skill level.
18- Fixed an issue where Hilda's Basic Attacks did not match the effects.
19- Fixed an issue with Johnson's Skill 1 description where the stated Physical Attack bonus was slightly off.
20- Optimized the visual effects when control immunity triggers.
21- Fixed an issue where Turret Protection takes effect after a long delay when allied minions die within the enemy turret's range.
22- Fixed an issue where Tigreal's passive was not correctly blocking additional damage triggered by Basic Attacks.
23- Fixed an issue with Windtalker not getting the correct cooldown reduction from Basic Attacks.
24- Fixed an issue where players would rarely lose sound in matches.
  • Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
submitted by Tigreal to MobileLegendsGame [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 06:06 AeraAngel Product Flow Peeps - Suggestions for mag key damaging wallet?

So I dunno if it's the same at all stores, but at our location's warehouse usually checks out two sets of keys in the morning, each having a cage key, invue, and the alpha key / magnet key on it.
Lately, really for years I guess, I've noticed my various cards in my wallet are getting damaged faster and having to be replaced more often then I thought they should. I'm guessing the Alpha Key is wiping them out, didn't think that effected the Chips but who knows at this point. Or maybe this is all coincidence! I'm just grasping at straws here on stuff I don't really know 100% about.
Anyone got any suggestions, magnet proof wallets or such? I don't imagine this is a one store problem.
submitted by AeraAngel to Bestbuy [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 05:56 cheesybreadlover Loadouts should have more name/icon varieties.

Loadouts need to have more names besides Strikes/Crucible/Alpha/Raids etc….
I feel like every word that deals with the subclass verbs as well as every weapon type should be an option for names for loadouts such as
Even the Super name should be options for loadout names. Also I would love if we could pick more than one word. Grenade Volatile for instance.
There should be a lot more icons as well. All the foundries, all the emblems we’ve collected, all the locations/expansion icons should be available to use.
submitted by cheesybreadlover to DestinyTheGame [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 04:27 AkumaDark613 [New Dawn] - Chapter 29 - The Painful Reunited - Mini Arc 1: The Clash Of Two Brothers - Dark Fantasy, Morden Age, Gore

On the way to the location of the traitor Alex Mercury, Langress and Will were stuck in traffic because there was a big public protest on the main road in Brooklyn. This was a big public protest for a lot of issues like women's rights, black protection, Lgbtq, environment day, poultry protection, stop war and many other issues. Everyone was standing in the street causing a traffic jam and Langress and Will were stuck on the right side. Langress started complaining:
"Ahhh, what the fuck? What the hell are they doing?!"
Will replied:
"Oh, uh. This is a protest, Langress. They are demanding a lot of rights for them by protesting and asking the government to change some laws."
Langress said:
"Arghh, why don't they start a war already and then do whatever they want after they win? This is so annoying, Will, where do we go next?"
Will checked the map on his phone and replied:
"Uhhh, oh yeah, go straight for a bit and then turn left and we'll come to Joralemon Street, that's the location of the guy we're looking for."
Langress said:
"Hah, fine. Hold on to my waist Will, I'll drive very fast!"
Will screamed in panic:
"Oh wait. No!"
Langress drove up a bit, then had to stop again, he said angrily:
"What the fuck?! Can't they make way for me?"
Will replied:
"We can walk, you know."
Langress thought for a moment and then said:
"Nah, I'd rather ride my motorcycle. There must be something that can help me..."
Langress accidentally pressed the horn then he saw everyone suddenly cover their ears and move away. Then he smiled evilly and while Will's face turned panic, he said:
"Oh no."
Langress shouted:
"Here we go!"
Langress honked the horn repeatedly and kept driving, the protesters were deafened by the horn and had to make way for Langress and Will. Suddenly a guy stopped their motorcycle and said:
"Hey! Are you planning to disturb this protest? This is a very important public demonstration by everyone,
We will fight for the rights of the homeless and the rights of animals, you know that?"
Langress replied:
"Yeah, yeah, whatever the fuck you say. I give no shit about that."
Langress kept driving but was still stopped by the guy, he continued:
"Get off the motorcycle and talk to me right away like a man, I can't accept such rude behavior."
Langress taunted him:
"Men deal with fists, we don't negotiate."
The guy also took off his jacket to show off his muscles and said angrily:
"Come and see it! Come and see it! The punk like you will never have it."
Langress drove over and easily slapped him on the right cheek, which was very painful. The guy yelled like a child and said:
"Oh my God! It hurts. He hit me, everyone."
Langress slapped his left cheek again and replied:
"Never say God's name for crap."
People started talking around Langress and Will, they raised their phones and started filming them. A girl was filming while pointing at Langress and said through the camera:
"See everyone. Our society still has toxic and homophobic guys like him. Where will society go with guys like him? Please don't become such bad guys."
Langress was photographed and filmed by more than a dozen phones and posted on the Internet as a villain, he felt too tired and annoying so he immediately activated the left mechanical gauntlet and punched the air so hard that the phone around exploded. The crowd was like turning into monkeys and confused when there was no phone and Langress and Will simply left. On the way, Langress said wearily:
"Arghh, I've never had such a headache and trouble in my life. And why are those two guys hugging and wearing pink shirts?"
Will could only laugh dry letting it all go while he knew what Langress was talking about. A few minutes later, they were at the high-class apartment of the traitor Alex. Langress parked near a park then picked up a guitar case and said:
"Alright, let's go."
Langress and Will then entered the building to go upstairs. And their first challenge was waiting in the elevator to go up. In the meantime, Will asked Langress:
"So what will you do when you see him again? Your old teammate."
Langress replied coldly:
"Of course I'll torture him brutally so he can tell me everything about Lancerlord and the Predator's position. Then I'll kill him."
Will trembled and continued:
"Then what are you going to do next?"
Langress replied:
"Obviously, I'll kill the Lancerlord, that copycat guy and eventually the Predator faction."
Will said:
"What about after that?"
Langress slowed down a bit, he had to make up a random reason:
"I'll keep hunting vampires, or werewolves if I want to."
Will went on to say:
"Then after that?"
Langress was running out of ideas, he had to reply:
"Fine, I don't know. My only purpose in this life is to fight and kill, I can never have a peaceful life anymore."
Will said with positivity:
"There are so many good things in this world that I'm sure you'll want to enjoy."
Langress smirked slightly and replied:
"This world doesn't need me anymore. The Hybrids have been fighting to protect them for hundreds of years and now they're doing bullshit and meaningless things for themselves."
Will said with sympathy for Langress:
"I'm sorry for your situation. Life is hard for you."
Langress replied to cheer Will up:
"So Will, please enjoy those good things for me. I may die but I want no one around me to die anymore. You, Josh and Jonathan, no one will have to sacrifice anymore. ."
Will nodded to Langress and they were on the top floor of the building just in time. Langress and Will nodded and stepped outside to begin the quest. Will held up the phone and led them to an apartment at the end of the hallway. Langress looked around to make sure no one was there, then he pulled out the dagger from his right thigh and knocked on the door. One opened the door and said:
"Who is that?"
Langress immediately rushed in and covered his mouth and then pushed him back quickly and Will quickly closed the door behind him. That guy was truly Alex Mercury, the former traitor of the New Hope faction. Langress pushed him into an armchair, then pressed a dagger to his left cheek and said cruelly:
"Oh what a memory scar. You're surprised right, remember me right. Yeah and now your time to live starts counting down now!"
Langress stabbed the dagger down Alex's left hand and made him scream in pain. Langress said angrily:
"Tell me where is he?! Where's Lancerlord?!"
Alex in pain pointed his hand towards his bedroom, Langress quickly turned around to see Lancerlord waiting for him. Lancerlord said calmly:
"Welcome. Langress."
Langress replied with anger in his voice:
Lancerlord's vampire soldiers stopped invisible and quickly surrounded Langress and Will. One guy immediately broke Alex's neck, in his rage, Langress quickly pulled his dagger out of Alex's hand and slashed at the guy's neck just now. He was so badly injured that he died on the spot. Langress wiped the blood off the dagger by the guy's shirt and put it back in the holster then he said with mockery:
"What a suck joke. You know they're nothing to me. One slash is enough to deal with them all."
Lancerlord replied:
"Yeah, I know, and so does your little friend."
They looked over at Will and scared him, but Langress slammed down the guitar case and said loudly:
"Stop talking shit! This is a private matter between us, he has nothing to do with it. If you don't want to die, don't touch him."
Will hid behind Langress and became alarmed and the vampires laughed, Lancerlord smirked and said:
"You are wrong to bring a weakling like him. But out of respect for you, he has three minutes to get out of here quickly or he will die."
Langress replied:
Lancerlord said:
"Let's start the countdown, one..."
Langress said to Will:
"Will, go now. Leave the building immediately and call for help if you need it."
Will replied in panic:
"But what about you? Lancerlord is stronger than you."
Langress said:
"I need not be afraid, for I am The World's Strongest Hybrid. And I have this."
Langress crushed the guitar case and pulled out the Devil's Blood Tachi, he said:
"My new legendary weapon will kill you."
Lancerlord smirked confidently and replied arrogantly:
"Oh, you got a new girl? Then Alpha God will be really sad. Ah wait, she's mine now hahaha."
Will hastily took out Langress's power control cuff remote and said:
"I'll turn off your cuff, so you'll have a better chance..."
But Will accidentally caused a guy behind to throw a knife and destroy the remote, he laughed and said mockingly:
"Then you will die sooner and faster. Hahaha!"
But Lancerlord immediately threw a knife in the face and killed the guy, he said:
"You all are cowards and pathetic, you can't even give me a good fight."
Langress replied:
"I may be restrained from my powers, but I still have more than enough to defeat you. Will, go now!"
Will said:
"No Langress."
Langress said fiercely:
"Go now! Run or Die! Only one of two!"
Will became startled and ran out of the room. The vampires locked the door and blocked the way for Langress to leave. Lancerlord said arrogantly:
"So the rat has run away. Now break your cuff. Show me if you still have power."
Langress growled like a wolf and replied:
"You should regret saying that."
Then the fantasy song "Weightless" by Twelve Titans Music played, the song's sad, tragic and epic melody went with every wound Langress suffered when he broke the cuff and the hatred and rage but regret inside him. Langress took off his left sleeve jacket and showed Lancerlord his cuff. Then Langress grabbed the cuff and began to break it. Each of his fingers tightened and broke harder was all Langress's hatred. The stronger his hatred, the more powerful he was. Langress was grazed and bleeding and made the vampires laugh, but Lancerlord still did not smile and looked seriously at Langress. Langress continued to break the cuff with all his might, he wanted to fight Lancerlord when they were both at their best. Langress and Lancerlord's gaze never ceased to escape each other, their eyes of hatred, anger and sadness were all that remained of the two who were once brothers. Langress growled harder and slowly broke the cuff, the vampires were taken aback while Lancerlord smiled proudly. Langress snapped even harder, there was a crack and his arm was completely broken but his eyes were still filled with determination as he pulled away from the cuff. Lancerlord shouted as a cheer for Langress:
"Do it! You are The World's Strongest Hybrid right?!"
Langress used all his strength and shouted strongly:
Langress held back the pain and yanked the cuff out of his arm, instantly, all of his power returning to him. The broken arm quickly recovered in an instant like it had never been broken. Langress put on his coat and threw away the annoying cuff and said:
"Now, answer me. Why did you kill them all? Our teammates, our friends, our brothers, Why?!"
Lancerlord replied calmly:
"Because they are all weak, they are weak to protect humanity. We can overthrow all things, vampires, werewolves and humans to create an empire of our own but they still insisting on that stupid right thing. We've been betrayed by humanity since the beginning, Langress. We are only pawns and slaves of fate to protect them like squishy soldiers protect the stupid king. I simply killed all the weak, like this Alex, because he was a coward to run away from The Eternal Blood War."
Langress replied angrily:
'I won't let you say that!"
Langress immediately lunged at Lancerlord and punched him, but he quickly kicked him back causing Langress to slide down and break the table behind. Lancerlord said arrogantly:
"You see! You've always been the most stubborn and reckless. You let your emotions take over and let your fists decide everything. You're weak too."
Langress replied:
"You're even more cowardly by betraying them all. No wonder they call you The Betrayer."
Lancerlord got a little angry and said:
"Have you forgotten yourself? You're always the one who abandons your comrades to fight for yourself. You're just a selfish asshole!"
Lancerlord walked over to Langress and he also stood up to approach him. The two punched each other and when their fist collided cracked the floor and ceiling, their eyes filled with anger. Lancerlord said:
"You think I wouldn't suffer to have to do that? Watching them die, one by one. I just wanted to free them from this stupid fate."
Langress replied:
"You were a fool, you were controlled by lust to side with the Predator."
Lancerlord said:
"I never sided with them and I joined them myself as my will. They were right about the humans, that they are not worthy to be protected or to be masters of the world!"
Langress and Lancerlord kicked each other hard in the stomach and pushed them away. Langress said:
"You're right, humans are just a bunch of arrogant, stupid, unfilial and obstinate bunch. But they have nothing to do with this war."
Lancerlord replied:
"No, they've known it all since The Eternal Blood War began. It was they who pushed us all to our deaths!"
Langress said angrily:
"That's just a stupid excuse to ignore your disgusting actions!"
Lancerlord replied angrily:
"You have no idea how much I sacrificed to protect the Hybrids!"
Langress said:
"By making them worse than they are today? What a foolish and futile sacrifice."
Lancerlord replied angrily:
"Then show me what you can do to change it all! The World's Strongest Hybrid!"
Langress said even more angry:
"Your death will change everything."
The tension between Langress and Lancerlord grew hotter and more terrible, the conflict between the two of them was unstoppable. Going back to Will a bit, when he ran away, he rushed down the emergency stairs but suddenly he stopped. Will was only a human, he was very scared and weak and he always ran away like his primitive instincts whenever he was in danger. It was not that he was cowardly, but Will's fear dominated his bravery. But this time was different, he didn't want to run away anymore, Langress and Josh had always been the ones to stay and fight for him and they didn't need any retribution. That didn't make Will feel safe, but he felt small and self-deprecating because of his own weakness. Will suddenly burst into tears and yelled:
"Oh please, I want to run. Langress already said that, I have to run, that's right, I have to run to get help. But..."
Will looked back at the room and knew Lancerlord would easily defeat Langress. Will kicked the floor repeatedly to push himself to keep running, but this time his heart wouldn't let him. Will must fight, he said:
"God, forgive me for having to bleed. But this time I'm doing it for the right thing."
Will rang the fire alarm to promptly evacuate everyone from the building. Many people heard the bell so they quickly evacuated from the building and left an empty battlefield for Langress and Lancerlord. Will then cut his hand to bleed, he said as bravely as the first time he had such a great moment:
"I will fight with you, Langress."
The inside of the room became surprised by the fire alarm, the vampires opened the door to check outside to find Will standing at the end of the hallway with his bleeding hand. They could not hold back the smell of blood, so they immediately rushed to Will, they shouted:
"It's mine!"
Suddenly Will raised Boss Luca's Eagle Eyes Beta Pistol and took aim at them. Without fear or anxiety, Will sighed and no longer hesitated to pull the trigger. Seven smart bullets were fired and flew rapidly at them. The vampires immediately crawled to the wall to dodge but the smart bullets still flew at them and killed all of Lancerlord's men to their surprise and panic. Will became shocked at the power of the bullets but he still followed Boss Luca's instructions. Opened the magazine to let the bullets fly back inside and then reloaded and racked the slide to get ready for the next shot. Will was so shocked that it took a moment to realize he was still bleeding. Will hastily bandaged it and said:
"I believe in you, Langress, and thank you very much."
Will then left the building for Langress and Lancerlord to have a big battle and he also called Arenyx to evacuate the civilians. Back to Langress and Lancerlord, they stood strong and defiant. The water from the fire sprinklers fell on them like it was washing away what they still considered each other as brothers. Langress and Lancerlord rushed forward and grabbed the other's left shoulder shirt. They stared at each other, filled with hatred and indignation. They gripped tighter and suddenly a flurry of flashbacks loomed between the two of them about their most glorious days. Their powers collided, destroying the floor further and shattering the windows. From this moment on, they were no longer brothers. The fateful battle between the two brothers began.
submitted by AkumaDark613 to redditserials [link] [comments]