East mesa juvenile hall
For Madchild and all Battleaxe Warroiers
2013.07.25 08:16 For Madchild and all Battleaxe Warroiers
A subreddit for the hip hop artist Madchild, Swollen Members and affiliated groups from Battleaxe Warriors.
2023.03.22 06:52 TinySt4rs_ Why didn't Eli teleport to Kleiner's lab when Black Mesa East was invaded?
Ok so, when the combine started attacking Black Mesa East after Judith snitched on the resistance, why didn't Eli use his teleport to escape?
submitted by TinySt4rs_
to HalfLife [link] [comments]
2023.03.22 05:30 drevil6999 Nice win tonight
2023.03.22 03:02 Beautiful_Capital177 Vé máy bay Hà Nội đi Boston giá tốt của hãng Eva Air
| || |Book vé máy bay Eva Air Hà Nội đi Boston submitted by Beautiful_Capital177 to u/Beautiful_Capital177 [link] [comments]
là khởi đầu tuyệt vời để bạn đến với thành phố này. Ghé thăm Boston, chắc hẳn bạn sẽ rất bất ngờ với bề dày lịch sử đáng ngưỡng mộ. Ngoài ra, bạn còn có cơ hội ghé thăm những trường đại học hàng đầu như MIT và Havard. Mặt khác, thành phố cũng không kém thú vị với nhiều hoạt động bên sông Charles lãng mạn. Vậy còn chần chừ gì nữa mà không mua vé tới đây ngay thôi! 📌Tin liên quan: Giá vé máy bay Eva Air từ Hà Nội đi Chicago hết bao nhiêu tiền?
Tổng quan chặng bay Hà Nội - Boston hãng Eva Air
Về chặng hành trình từ Hà Nội đi Boston
Hãng hàng không Eva Air khai thác chặng bay Hà Nội - Boston với hai điểm dừng. Theo đó, bạn sẽ khởi hành từ cảng quốc tế T2 sân bay Nội Bài. Sau đó lần lượt bay nối chuyến tại Đài Loan và Los Angeles (Mỹ). Từ đây, bạn mới tiếp tục bay đến sân bay Logan, Boston.
Về tổng thời gian bay khi mua vé máy bay Eva Air từ Hà Nội đi Boston
Thời gian của chuyến bay phụ thuộc vào nhiều yếu tố khác nhau. Do vậy, không thể xác định tổng thời gian di chuyển cụ thể. Như đã nói ở trên, hành trình từ Hà Nội đi Boston có tới 2 điểm dừng. Do vậy thời gian sẽ lâu hơn so với chặng bay từ Hà Nội đến các thành phố khác. Ngoài ra, những yếu tố ngoại cảnh như thời tiết, kỹ thuật máy bay cũng có thể khiến cho máy bay bị "delay". Hãng Eva Air khai thác chuyến bay kéo dài từ 25 - 30 tiếng. Dẫu vậy, để khám phá thành phố Boston thì đừng ngại ngần Đặt ngay vé máy bay Hà Nội đi Mỹ
Giới thiệu sân bay Boston Mỹ
Tìm hiểu về sân bay quốc tế Logan Boston
Đáp chuyến khi mua vé máy bay từ Hà Nội đi Boston, bạn sẽ đến với sân bay của thành phố. Logan Boston
là sân bay quốc tế nằm trong quận Đông Boston. Sân bay có diện tích 965 ha, có 6 đường băng là sân bay rộng thứ 16 tại Hoa Kỳ. Sân bay hiện có 4 nhà ga, mỗi nhà ga đều có các dịch vụ tiện ích như: Wifi, Máy rút tiền, thu đổi ngoại tệ, các tiện nghi chăm sóc em bé...
Hướng dẫn di chuyển từ sân bay về thành phố Boston
- 🚗Xe bus: Bạn có thể sử dụng xe bus tốc hành Logan Express để di chuyển. Thời gian di chuyển từ sân bay về thành phố khoảng 30 – 40 phút. Bạn có thể tìm thấy dịch vụ này tại bất kỳ nhà ga nào.
- 🚗Tàu điện ngầm: Phương tiện này khá tiết kiệm khi di chuyển. Bạn có thể chọn tàu điện ngầm Blue Line và tuyến xe bus tốc hành Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit để di chuyển về trung tâm thành phố.
- 🚗Taxi: Đây là phương tiện thuận tiện để di chuyển từ sân bay về thành phố. Bạn chỉ mất khoảng 10 – 20 phút để di chuyển từ sân bay về trung tâm thành phố.
Giá vé máy bay Hà Nội đi Boston của hãng Eva Air rẻ nhất bao nhiêu tiền? Vé máy bay đi Boston bao nhiêu tiền?
Đây là câu hỏi mà khách hàng của chúng tôi thường xuyên thắc mắc. Dẫu vậy, rất khó để có giá vé cố định bởi chúng thay đổi tùy vào nhiều điều kiện khác nhau. Ví dụ, nếu bạn lựa chọn bay đi Mỹ vào tháng 5 - tháng 8 thì giá vé sẽ cao hơn so với thời điểm tháng 3, tháng 4 hoặc tháng 9 - tháng 10. Điều này là do làn sóng du học sinh và khách du lịch tới Mỹ làm gia tăng nhu cầu di chuyển. Ngoài ra, mua vé máy bay Eva Air đi Mỹ
vào cuối tuần sẽ cao hơn những thời điểm trong tuần.
Hiện tại, hãng Eva Air cho chuyến hành trình từ Hà Nội đến Boston rẻ nhất rơi vào khoảng hơn 18 triệu đồng (788 USD)
. Do tính chất chặng bay và quãng đường di chuyển khá xa, nên giá vé cũng phần nào cao hơn thông thường. Tuy vậy, để có một trải nghiệm thoải mái, đồ ăn trên máy bay ngon cùng vô số tiện ích 5 sao khác thì Eva Air vẫn là lựa chọn số 1.
Để tìm kiếm thêm các thông tin chuyến bay khác, bạn có thể liên hệ Đại lý Eva Air tại Hà Nội
để được hỗ trợ, tư vấn tận tình. Ngoài ra, chúng tôi còn có thể giúp bạn tìm hiểu về Quy định hành lý xách tay. ⚠️Lưu ý:
- ✅Giá vé máy bay Hà Nội đi Boston là giá vé 1 chiều chưa bao gồm thuế phí.
- ✅Giá vé chỉ có tính chất tham khảo tại thời điểm hiện tại.
Cẩm nang tóm tắt về du lịch thành phố Boston
Những điểm đến không thể bỏ qua khi săn vé máy bay Hà Nội đi Boston
Sau chuyến bay Eva Air tới Boston từ Hà Nội,
bạn không thể nào bỏ qua các địa điểm du lịch lừng danh như: Thủy cung New England, Đại lộ Tự Do Freedom Trail, Quảng trường Copley, Trường Đại học Harvard, Con phố Acorn, Thư viện công cộng Boston, Chợ Faneuil Hall, Bảo tàng Mỹ thuật Boston,... Đây không chỉ là những điểm thăm quan tuyệt vời mà còn là những điểm lý tưởng để check-in chụp ảnh sống ảo khi Đặt vé đi du lịch Mỹ
"Thủ đô học thuật" chẳng hiền khô như bạn nghĩ! Nếu bạn muốn tìm kiếm điểm vui chơi về đêm sôi động thì Boston cũng có ngay các quán bar, club
dành cho bạn:
- ✅Middle East Restaurant and Club - Số 472-480 Đại lộ Massachusetts, Cambridge
- ✅The Sinclair - Số 52 đường Church, Cambridge
- ✅Royale - Số 279 đường Tremont, Boston
- ✅The Burren - Số 247 đường Elm, Somerville
- ✅Trina's Starlite Lounge - Số 3 đường Beacon, Somerville
Khám phá những món ăn ngon tại thành phố Boston
Theo kinh nghiệm của chúng tôi, ẩm thực thành phố Boston không quá đặc sắc so với các thành phố khác ở Mỹ. Dẫu vậy, vẫn có những món ăn khá thú vị mà bạn nên thử. Nổi bật trong số đó phải kể đến sườn heo nướng, súp trai, tôm hùm, súp Claim Chaowder
, bánh táo, bánh Hombow
,... Súp Claim Chaowder đặc sản tại Boston
Săn vé máy bay Hà Nội đi Boston tiết kiệm tại Đại lý Eva Air Việt Nam
Trên đây là những gì bạn cần biết khi săn vé Hà Nội đi Boston. Nếu bạn không có thời gian săn vé giá rẻ, hãy để việc đó cho Đại lý Eva Air
. Chúng tôi có đội ngũ nhân viên dày dặn kinh nghiệm có thể hỗ trợ cho chuyến đi của bạn. Ngoài ra, chúng tôi còn giúp các bạn về visa và những tiện ích bay khác. Liên hệ hotline 1900 6695
để biết thêm thông tin chi tiết. Chúc bạn có một hành trình khám phá thật đáng nhớ!
2023.03.22 01:13 SK_Writes Headgames
HeadGames is the concept story behind my novel Eternal Convictions.
The sound of people talking was loud in the hallways as men went about their daily business. As background noise it was a confusing jumble that faded to a dull roar, but if one listened closely to individual voices, picking them out of the din, actual conversations could be heard. Deals were being made as men jockeyed for position while rumors spread and gossip was shared. People discussed hopes and dreams as they planned for a better future.
Michael opened his eyes and looked up at the heavy wire mesh of the walls around him. He was in a holding cell in the high security wing of the prison and the constant noise was a welcome change. His own cell was more like a closet where he was hidden away from the world and the only sounds were the constant blowing of the air vents and his own breathing. Occasionally, a guard would rap on his cell door with a night stick as he looked in to make sure Michael was still alive, but even this was rare.
The cell was six feet wide and eight feet long with walls made of solid concrete. The only openings were the steel door he received his meals through and the air vents in the ceiling. He was allowed to leave only if he had a visitor or for one hour of exercise each day in the exercise yard. Some yard, he thought. The exercise yard was actually a twenty by twenty atrium surrounded on all four sides by the walls of the prison. Overhead, steel mesh, not unlike that on the walls around him now, was laid across strong steel beams and welded in place to prevent any chance of escape. Highly unlikely in any event, considering the mesh ceiling was some eighteen feet above the paved ground.
His world had devolved into cold concrete and steel ever since that fine spring day he had gone to the bank. Thinking back, Michael remembered the four long days he had spent in the holding cell of the courthouse waiting for the jury to deliver a verdict. Each morning he was shackled, marched to the courthouse and placed in the holding cell where he waited for the verdict and each evening he was shackled and marched back to his cell at the city jail. His lawyer had been there most of the first day, expecting a quick decision but he was called away on business early in the afternoon.
After that, he would show up in the morning and talk with Michael a while before giving his cell phone number to the court clerk and leaving to do other business as they waited for the outcome. His lawyer was just about to leave on the fourth day when word came a verdict had been reached.
For a brief moment, Michael relived the joy he had felt when he knew there was a verdict. While he was terrified beyond belief that he would be convicted of the crimes he was accused of, he felt sure that God would not let him take the blame. His joy was short lived.
The jury found him guilty of all charges, sentencing him to multiple life sentences to run consecutively. It meant there was no hope for parole, ever, as he would be dead before having served a fraction of the sentence. The judge declared Michael to be a menace to society, incapable of rehabilitation and ordered him to be confined in a maximum security prison.
When it became clear that he would not be free any time soon, Michael authorized his attorney to liquidate what little remained of his assets and place the money in trust to be drawn upon as Michael needed it and to pay for continued attorney fees through the appeals process. Money was of little concern to him now, though. Other than personal toilet articles, he was not allowed to have anything else in his cell other than periodicals and books provided by the prison.
Two men began to scuffle in the hall outside the holding cell and Michael got up from the table to see what was happening. Leaning his forehead against the wire mesh, his vision was relatively unobstructed as he watched the men fight. The guard outside the cell, looked anxiously up the hall as he waited for others to come and separate the men as he was not supposed to leave his position by the gate.
He had never been interested in boxing, nor any other violent sports, but Michael found himself fascinated by the fight and rooting for the man he felt was the underdog. He noticed the thin white stripe on the men’s prison shirts and realized they were trustees, prisoners who are allowed extra privileges for good behavior. He laughed to himself as he realized they were putting their elevated status at risk with this fight, even as he silently cheered them on.
One of them kicked a mop bucket over at the other and Michael turned his face to avoid the spray of soapy water. Looking back at the fight, Michael was aware he was now wet and felt the water running down the mesh to his fingers where he was holding on. It traced small streams down his hands and arms to wet his shirt sleeves, but he didn‘t care.
A surge of electricity caused him to stiffen and Michael wondered what was happening as his vision turned white and he lost all control of his muscles. Even though his legs sagged and he could feel his face contorting, he could not let go of the wire.
“Hey buddy, you alright?” the guard asked him over the sound of the fight.
Michael heard him but could not answer.
“Aw hell. Somebody help me here!” the guard yelled. “I think this guy is getting electrocuted!”
Michael heard the words, but they made no sense as his vision faded to black except for a small pinpoint of white. The pinpoint grew larger and he began to see a face coming closer. The face was laughing cruelly and Michael could only stare in disbelief. Then the vision changed and it was as if he was looking at the bank robbery he had been convicted of from one of the security cameras. He could see himself talking to the girl and the man with the gun as the robbery started. It was as if he was reliving it from outside his own body and Michael wondered if he was dying as he had heard that one’s life flashes before their eyes as they die.
He heard the gate to the cell open and felt a hard shove as someone used something to push him away from the wall. Falling to the ground, his vision cleared immediately and he was confused, but felt fine otherwise. He got to his feet and moved to the chair by the table. The guard was talking to him, but he was thinking about what he had seen and didn’t register the voice.
“Hey buddy, just sit right there while I get a medic,” the guard said as he used his radio to call the infirmary. “They’ll be here in a few minutes.”
Michael heard a familiar voice and looked to see what was happening.
“What’s going on here?” Phillip Johnson asked, looking from Michael to the guard. “Michael, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I think so,” he said quietly.
The guard proceeded to tell Phillip what had happened, speculating that the water from the bucket must have hit the floor outlet and charged the mesh. They were quickly joined by a medic who checked Michael out thoroughly and pronounced him to be fine. It all seemed to happen very fast and Michael wondered what was going on. He was aware of the conversation between the guard and his lawyer, but it made no sense to him. He had lost all sense of time.
When the medic asked him questions, he was apparently giving the right answers but in thinking about it, he couldn’t remember what was said or even what it was about. Sitting there dazed, he watched the medic leave and the guard resume his post outside the door after closing it and locking them within. Then he realized Phillip was talking to him.
“So how have you been, Michael?” Phillip asked as he opened his brief case and took out a legal pad and pen.
Looking at the pad, Michael was reminded of their first meeting in the city jail.
“Not too bad, Phillip,” he said. “My concentration has improved since I don’t have any distractions in my cell.”
Phillip looked at him puzzled for a moment before he realized Michael was being mildly sarcastic. He couldn’t blame him. Being locked up like he was would drive anyone mad with boredom.
“I’m sorry, Michael.” Phillip looked him in the eye. “I wish there was more I could do for you.”
“Well, just get my conviction overturned and I’ll buy you dinner.” Michael smiled as he thought about being free.
“That’s why I’m here, Michael.” Phillip looked grim.
“You got my conviction overturned?” Michael asked.
“No, I’m sorry to say,” Phillip began. “The courts have over ruled your appeal and upheld your conviction.”
“Then let’s get busy filing a new appeal.”
“We have exhausted all of the appeals processes, Michael,” Phillip looked down at his bare notepad. “There is absolutely nothing more I can do except be here if you need me for something else.”
“You mean there are no more appeals, no chance of getting this damn wrongful conviction overturned?” Michael couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Phillip, I have been patient throughout this whole ordeal. I’ve been good even when the injustice has driven me so crazy that I actually wanted to resort to violence and now you’re telling me that there is nothing that can be done?”
The guard turned to watch the conversation as he heard what was being said and the tone of Michael’s voice. He had seen inmates go off on their lawyers in the past and waited to see if he would need to intercede.
Michael was aware of the way he sounded and of the guard’s renewed attention. He took several deep breaths to try and calm himself. Phillip had done everything for him. It wasn’t his fault.
“I wish there was something I could do, Michael.”
“I know, Phillip,” Michael looked at him with tears in his eyes. “I have begun to think God hates me.”
Phillip almost wished Michael would turn violent. At least then he could leave here knowing he had tried to help and was rejected. It would be far easier to leave a man he cared nothing for to such a fate, but this was killing him inside. He had come to like Michael very much and understood him to be a kind and gentle soul. There was no doubt in his mind that he had not done the things he was convicted of, but he could do nothing. He felt helpless.
“God doesn’t hate you, Michael,” Phillip said quietly. “As you’ve told me all along, God has a purpose for you and we are not privy to what that purpose is.”
“You know, Phillip,” Michael wiped his face dry with his sleeve. “I always believed and I guess I still do, somewhere deep inside, that God has a plan for all of us and we are but part of some grand design. But for the last two years, as I’ve waited for the appeals process to bear me out, I have seen nothing that could be accomplished by my being taken from the world where I was helping people and placed in a cold concrete and steel box where I have no contact with anyone whatsoever for twenty three hours of each day. How could I serve even the smallest purpose here?”
He looked at Phillip for an answer neither of them had.
“I was always fond of saying that no one is worthless, as they could always serve as an example of what not to do but even that has no meaning here.”
“Michael, when we met, I was skeptical of your story but as I checked it out and found what you were telling me to be true, I learned to not take things only as I saw them.” Phillip put the notepad back in the briefcase. “I have never been a religious man, but watching you through this ordeal has given me hope. You have demonstrated such faith and patience as I never witnessed before and it shows me there is a higher power at work in our lives.”
“Will I see you again, Phillip?” Michael asked. “If I have no reason for legal counsel, will you still visit?”
For the first time in his life, Phillip found he did actually want to return to visit with one of his clients even if his legal services were not needed. Money was not the concern here. He had found something in Michael that had been missing in his life and he felt that, even though he had failed to free an innocent man, he had made a true friend.
“Yes, Michael.” Phillip swallowed hard. “You have given me hope and perhaps even faith. I can’t say when or how often, but I will visit and I will answer any letters you send.”
“Thank you, Phillip.” Michael reached out and squeezed his hand. “For everything.”
There was no need for good bye. Both men had reached an understanding of what they needed from each other and the moment left them filled with emotion that threatened to overwhelm them. Phillip grabbed his briefcase and turned to leave as the guard opened the gate for him.
Michael sat for a few minutes looking at the area around him as he waited for the guard to take him to his cell. It was standard procedure for visitors to clear the holding area so the gates could be secured before prisoners were allowed to move about. There was nothing new to see, but still he studied every detail of his surroundings Once he was back in the cell, there would be nothing to look at or distract him from the endless hours of nothing. He had already read the book he was given so many times he had committed it to memory and there was no telling when he would receive a new one.
“All right, Chaste. Let’s go.” The guard held out his hand to take Michael by the elbow and lead him down the hall.
Michael resigned himself to his fate and trudged along silently until they came to the entrance of his wing and walked on past.
“Where are we going?” he asked, looking around.
“You’ve been transferred to a new wing,” the guard said and continued to lead him.
They seemed to walk forever before coming to a gate where he was halted as the guard on the other side opened it. The guard who was leading him guided Michael through but did not follow. Instead, he pulled the gate shut and locked it as the new guard led him down this new corridor. It had no openings on either side but he could see a small point of light at the very end. As they drew closer, Michael could see that the door actually led outside the building and he wondered just how far he was being transferred.
His senses were assaulted as he stepped outside into the sunlight. For two years he had seen only the sky above the exercise yard and no hint of sun as the large structure of the prison kept the yard in shadows all the time. Now he smelled a wide variety of plants and marveled at how the sun felt on his face. It was like being born anew and Michael let himself revel in it.
He was guided onto an electric cart and driven across the compound. He no longer cared where they were going as he was busy looking at the world. In the distance, he could see the mountains with their snow covered peaks, but he did not let himself sink into despair with thoughts of never being able to go to them. Instead, he studied them and everything else he could see to form images in his mind. Once he was led back indoors, there was no telling when he would set foot outdoors again, if ever.
The cart came to a stop outside the steel door of another building and Michael was led from the cart. For the first time since he had been first arrested, Michael resisted the guard and stopped walking halfway from the cart to the door.
“Let’s go, Chaste,” the guard said menacingly.
“Just a second, buddy.” Michael thought quickly. “Do you think maybe I could have a quick smoke before we go in? I haven’t had one in over two years.”
Michael didn’t smoke, hadn’t for years, but he had seen the cigarettes in the guard’s pocket and knew it would give him ten more precious minutes outside.
“Yeah, sure. Why not.” The guard offered him a cigarette and raised the pack to show a guard in a nearby tower. “I was about to go on break anyway. Now don’t try anything, Chaste. There are guards on the towers around us and this is a shoot to kill zone.”
“I won’t,” Michael said calmly.
He had no intention of trying to escape and, in fact, the thought had never crossed his mind. He sucked at the cigarette as the guard lit it for him and found himself in a violent coughing fit as the acrid smoke seared his throat and lungs. He wondered why people would do this to themselves and claim they even liked it.
“I guess it has been a while, huh.” The guard laughed. “Take it easy. It’ll come back to you.”
It seemed to take forever to get his breathing calmed down but once he did, Michael continued to smoke the cigarette. The taste was nasty, but he did enjoy the light buzz he was getting from the nicotine and decided that this must be what smokers liked about cigarettes. He let the sensation wash over his senses as he looked around, taking in the scenery.
The prison was a very large complex. The fences in the distance looked very small, but he remembered from his arrival that they were at least twenty feet tall and topped with razor wire. The main prison building he had just left was nearly half a mile away but still loomed very large, giving perspective to its size. To the east he could see the yellow fields of the plains stretching away toward Kansas and to the west were the mountains. He seemed to be located in a large bowl as the mountains curved around to encompass part of the north and south.
He took one last drag of the smoke and dropped it to the ground where he crushed it out. The guard had also finished and nodded toward the door. Silently they walked over to the steel door and waited for the guard on the other side to open it. As Michael entered, he noticed a sign beside the door which read “Medical Receiving” and wondered why he was being led through a delivery entrance.
Michael looked around at the holding cell he was placed in after arriving at the new prison building. It was small, about three feet by three feet with a barred door. It was like a broom closet in which a bench had been placed and there was no room to lie down or even stretch his legs unless he stood. He hoped he wouldn’t be in here for long.
Across the hall was a well lit room with medical supplies and an examination table. It was clearly some kind of clinic or infirmary and the open door was directly across from his cell. Occasionally, he would see a nurse enter through a door at the back of the room to do something out of his sight before leaving the way she came. His view was very restricted and he could only see about eight or ten feet to either side of the cell he occupied. He was aware that the air smelled of disinfectant and clean linens.
He recalled his old cell and the silence there. That had been loud compared to this place as there was not even the sound of air being moved mechanically. He could hear his breathing and, though he was calm, it sounded very loud. Listening carefully, he thought he could even hear his own heartbeat but dismissed this, realizing he must be hearing his own pulse in his ears.
Michael thought about his meeting with Phillip and the strange event which happened just before he arrived. The guard said he was electrocuted but, as a technician, Michael had been subjected to many electrical shocks over the years and this was nothing like that. There had been a current running through his body, but it was not electrical in the sense he knew. It was more like his blood was on fire and had grabbed hold of every muscle in his body. The vision of the bank robbery was confusing but, knowing he had been at the bank during the robbery and seen the videos during his trial, he decided he must have been reliving it.
The only logical explanation was that stress from waiting to hear about his appeal had triggered some type of seizure. He remembered how his vision had went all white and then faded to black before he saw the vision. The only thing he couldn’t explain was the man’s face he had seen as it looked like no one he had ever known or could recall seeing.
The sound of footsteps echoed down the hall and Michael looked to see who was coming. A small man in a white lab coat, who he presumed was a doctor, accompanied by the guard who led him here, stopped in front of his cell.
“Chaste.” The guard spoke evenly, but firm. “The doctor needs to examine you for long term incarceration in this facility. We’re going to go into that room across the hall. Normally I would have to handcuff you, but you’ve been cooperative so far. Can we keep it that way?”
Michael nodded and stood up. “Yeah, thanks.”
The guard opened the gate and allowed Michael to step out. He motioned with his arm to the room across the hall and Michael went where directed.
“Have a seat on that examining table,” the doctor said as he turned to retrieve a cart with medical instruments.
Michael sat on the table, feeling like he would slip off as the white paper covering it moved under him. He looked at the cart the doctor was pushing. There was a blood pressure machine, digital thermometer, a jar of tongue depressors, a box of latex examination gloves and several other items he recognized as general practitioners’ tools. The only thing that seemed out of place was the hypodermic syringe, but the needle was a very small gauge and he decided it must contain a flu shot or something similar.
“Please remove your shirt,” the doctor said as he put on his stethoscope.
Michael did as asked and handed the shirt to the guard who laid it on a chair for him.
For the next thirty minutes, he was poked and prodded and blood was drawn with a much larger syringe he had not noticed behind one of the machines on the cart. He wasn’t afraid of needles, but the large gauge had unsettled him. He watched as it was inserted and a vial was attached to collect his blood. The doctor pressed a gauze pad to the wound when he was finished and instructed Michael to keep it there with his other hand.
As they finished up, Michael heard footsteps in the hall and looked up to see a tall man in a suit enter the room. He was very self confident and moved around looking at things as if he owned them.
“We’re ready, sir,” the doctor said and stepped aside so the man’s view of Michael was unobscured.
“My name is Warden Dempsey, Mr. Chaste.” He looked Michael straight in the eye. “You are here because you were convicted of crimes against society so brutal that a judge deemed rehabilitation impossible and every appeals court which heard your case upheld the decision. There are no more appeals and no chance for you to ever leave this prison during the course of your natural life. Therefore you were transferred here, to me, to be entered into the Eternal Convictions program.”
Michael was already completely aware that he had no chance to ever leave prison, but the cold tone of the Warden drove the fact into him once again like slivers of glass. He knew that there was no escape from this nightmare and hoped at the very least to be treated civilly as he served his sentence. There was no use proclaiming his innocence any more. As the man had said, all appeals were exhausted. He felt as though the Warden’s words had sucked the life from him as the judge’s had when he pronounced his sentence.
“This facility is operated entirely autonomous from the main prison where you have been to this point. Here, there are no visitors, no computers, nor any other contact with the outside world. For all practical intents and purposes, you are deceased. Even the IRS will not contact you here so you may take joy in that fact.” The Warden smiled at his own joke. “What there is, though, is order. I run an orderly prison here with no problems. You have been cooperative thus far and I expect it shall remain so as I have no tolerance for any disobedience. Can I count on you for this, Mr. Chaste?”
Michael looked at the man for a moment and knew immediately that he despised him. Far beyond the fact that he, himself, was a convicted felon and expected to be treated poorly, this man was the type who thought himself above the rest of the world and carried himself as such. Michael respected his position, but not the man.
“Yes sir,” he said quietly.
“Very well,” the Warden continued. “In order to preserve order, we take certain precautionary medical measures to prevent aggression. The doctor is now going to give you an injection to facilitate this.”
Michael was aware the doctor had picked up the small syringe from the cart and was tapping air bubbles from it as he squirted some of the liquid into the air. He held it at the ready, waiting for the order to continue.
“Proceed doctor,” the Warden said and turned to leave. Reaching the door, he turned back as if having forgotten something. “This will be the last time we meet, Mr. Chaste. Please enjoy your stay with us.”
As quickly as he appeared, the Warden was gone and Michael was left to the doctor and guard. He looked from one to the other as if expecting an apology for the Warden’s intrusion, but neither man even changed their expression. It was time for the injection and he made himself relax as the doctor approached.
He felt the needle enter his upper arm and wondered just what he was receiving. The Warden had said it was to prevent aggression and Michael wondered if he was being injected with hormones to inhibit testosterone production or perhaps it was estrogen to enhance his inner calm. He really hoped it was neither as self gratification was one of the only releases he had in prison and he wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of growing breasts as the other guys might take an undesired liking to him.
He had no more than completed this thought and was about to ask what he was injected with when he realized he knew already. His vision blurred and a deep fog began to settle over his mind. Suddenly he was very tired and could feel his entire body relax. As he passed out, Michael realized he had been given a sedative.
Everything seemed to be moving slowly and he couldn’t understand why everything seemed out of place. Michael looked up from the bench where he was working to see his girlfriend coming toward him through the door. She was carrying something that looked like plans and he wondered why as she had never had anything to do with his work. In fact, he had not even seen her since before he began doing electronics work and wondered why she was here, but decided he didn’t care. He was happy to see her.
She laid the plans on his desk and told him to hurry up or they would be late picking up the kids. She seemed upset and he wondered why, while at the same time, he wondered what she was talking about as neither of them had children.
He followed her through the door and into a large area he could only describe as an inner courtyard with driveway passing through it. In the center was a large fountain made of very old white marble and water streamed down from the center in a heavy flow, cascading over terraced ledges to the catch basin which was overgrown with weeds.
Looking around, he realized the landscaping had been long neglected as grass protruded randomly in tall yellowing bunches at joints of the pavestone sidewalks and driveway. The area was surrounded by a red brick wall of some ten feet in height and this also was overgrown with vines and weeds. The mortar seemed to crumble in places and small bunches of plants sprouted from the cracks. In a far corner, a faded white gazebo stood in a shroud of plant life with its grey wood roof shingles covered in moss. Atop at the peak, a wind vane shaped like a rooster pointed it’s scaly green arrow at the gate where the driveway entered. Beyond the gate and along the outside of the brick walls, heavy forest shut out the sun.
“Come on or we’re going to be late,” she called to him. “Mother wants to rebuild this place and has decided to rip out all of the sheetrock in the east wing to make sure the structure is sound.”
He followed her across the courtyard and through a set of double doors, back into the house. He had no idea where they were going or even where they were, but felt the need to continue following.
“This room is going to be the new family room,” she said, walking around a large wooden structure in the middle of the room.
Michael looked down and saw that there was no floor here but rather bare earth with a rough sandy texture. The floor was uneven as well with the outer edges raised where they walked and dipping down in the center under the wood framework. None of this made sense and as he looked at the large structure in the middle of the room, it looked to him like the skeleton of a large boat which had been either built here or unearthed as the building was erected around it. As he walked around the end and saw her moving toward the back, her mother entered through a set of French doors to his left followed closely by several children.
He did not recognize the children and heard her say something about rebuilding the house since her husband had died. In his mind, he knew this wasn’t right as his girlfriend’s mother had passed long before her father and they had lived in a very small house. None of this made any sense, but he suddenly felt an urgent need to talk with his girlfriend, if she would ever stop walking away from him.
“I need for you to talk to me,” he said pleading.
“We have plenty of time to talk. You’re not supposed to be at the prison until Thursday.” She smiled and continued to walk around the framework away from him.
“That’s not right,” he said. “I’m going to be gone before you even realize and I don’t know if I will ever be able to see you again.”
Michael heard the words he was speaking, but had no idea what he meant or why he felt it so urgently. One part of his mind knew that he had parted ways with her years before, but another part said he needed her to stay with him now because he was about to face something terrible and she was the only one who had ever understood him.
“Don’t be silly.” She smiled coyly. “I’ll always be here.”
She walked around the back of the framework and he went back the other way to intercept her. Coming face to face he put his hands on her shoulders and looked deep in to her eyes. It was strange, but he could not see the love he knew should be there. Instead he felt she was mocking him.
“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this,” he pleaded. “I have done everything I could, but nothing seems to work.”
“It’s all being taken care of,” she reassured him.
“What’s being taken care of?” he tried to ask, but the words would not come.
Suddenly Michael’s neck was sore and he couldn’t speak. She started to walk away from him again and when he tried to follow, he found he couldn’t move. In fact, he couldn’t even turn his head to see where she was going, but had to follow her with his eyes until she was out of sight. He tried to call to her, but no words came and he wondered what was happening.
“There. That should do it,” he heard her say.
“Doctor, we have rising activity on the EEG. The patient is waking up”
Michael tried to look and see who the doctor was and who was talking to him, but still could not move his head. He was stuck looking out of an old multi-paned wooden window at the overgrown garden.
“I got it,” she said and then everything went black.
Part 2 https://www.reddit.com/DrCreepensVault/comments/11y08t7/headgames_part_2/
This story on YouTube narrated by myself https://youtu.be/kPnf7LDXhUM
My YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwyAE1VdOplNBMyqEDeNOeA
Check out my author page on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/Steven-Knies-325198035130
Find my books @ https://www.amazon.com/Steven-Knies/e/B00JHRUGP6
Eternal Convictions / HeadGames
Steven Knies (c) October 23, 2009
submitted by SK_Writes
to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]
2023.03.22 00:13 SirRaisinBran [ESSAY] The Hidden Oddities of Area Zero
This is a collection of oddities, real world inspirations and possible clues that hint to the true purpose of Area Zero and other mysteries in Paldea. My intention was to compile this into one big Theory of Everything, but all of this has been sitting in a Google Doc for a month and a half and I don't see how I can tie it all together with the information we currently have. I figured that I might as well talk about the discoveries I have made because if I had not compiled all of this into a reddit post, it might never have happened. My hope is that it will open up some new discussions about the games, and that someone else may see something that I can not.
THE TWO METAL PLATES
Let's start with Area Zero. In the Scarlet/Violet books, the page discussing the strange symbol
found in A0 has a few qualities that I have not seen discussed so far. It's titled "Mysterious Plates
", plural, and even shows a second plate below the main plate containing the two intersecting triangles. This second plate is strangely never mentioned or shown again anywhere else. It appears to be longer in width and much shorter in height than the one we see in A0, and contains a long string of undecipherable text.
This mysterious second plate is not the only strange thing about this page of the book. The top image is drawn so that the symbol plate has its right side obscured behind rocks, but the bottom image gives you enough of a view to see that it doesn't contain anything to the right of the two zeroes. The map of Paldea and its accompanying text is strangely missing. The drawing is from the side and far away, so the plate is at an angle where it is difficult to make out certain details, but it certainly appears to not be wide enough to contain the mysterious symbol AND the map of Paldea.
That's not all about the metal plate, however. The entire thing, as seen when you yourself go into A0, seems to be based on the concept of a Kilometer Zero location marker. This is something that can be found in many countries across the world, which is why it seemed so strange to me that I have not seen any discussion about this. Regardless, the Kilometer Zero markers are typically placed in locations where multiple roads, railways or other routes of transportation come together in a central location. The marker was popularized by the Roman Empire, which is where the phrase "All roads lead to Rome" originates from. GameFreak makes this connection even clearer by having Hassel say almost that exact same line during one of the Art classes, "All roads lead to Area Zero".
Finally, if you look at the Kilometer Zero marker used in Spain
it's clear that GameFreak took inspiration from this specific one for the metal plate of A0. It's located in the center of the country, in Madrid, and has an interesting history. The plaque was removed in 2002 in order for the town square to undergo renovations, and when the plaque was put back the construction crew accidentally put it in the ground upside down, so the north point was facing south and vice versa. This was fixed in 2007, but two years later in 2009 the plaque was removed and a new one was put in. Could this also be the history of the metal plate in A0? While I have yet to think of any implications of this, could it be possible that the A0 plate was found upside down and has been kept that way since Heath's expedition?
THE EIGHT TREASURES
GameFreak pulled from numerous parts of Chinese mythology/folklore when putting together Area Zero and the story around Paldea, as the Treasures of Ruin are inspired by the Four Perils and the Kitakami Legends are inspired by Momotaro. Once the DLC was revealed, specifically its logo, I was able to make another similar connection. A not very well known piece of Chinese folklore is that of the Eight Treasures
, or the Eight Precious Things, which are eight auspicious symbols that signify good luck and fortune. They had a similar cultural role to the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, but beyond that the similarities end.
What the Eight Treasures are exactly varies depending on the source
, as the symbols are pulled from the Hundred Treasures of Chinese folklore. The more commonly used Treasures seem to correlate to the eight symbols found on the corners of both the SV logo and the DLC logo. I will point out what I believe to be the Treasure that inspired each symbol, and this
is where you can find a more detailed analysis on the Treasure's symbolism.
Starting with the upper left corner of the Scarlet/Violet logo, the Metal Plate inscription is based on the Double Lozenge
, representing two hearts joined together to act as one mind. The hexagon in the bottom left is the Jewel
, sometimes depicted as a Pearl or Flaming Pearl, containing generative energy and the ability to grant wishes. The four circles in the top right seem to be the Double Coins
and the spiral in the bottom right seems to be the Wish Granting Ingot
. The symbols in the DLC logo are harder to identify, but I believe the top right is the Mirror Lozenge,
the Blueberry academy logo (that looks like an '8') in the bottom left might be inspired by the Coral
treasure, and finally the bottom right symbol is the Wish Granting Scepter
that is associated with the wish granting ingot. The upper left DLC symbol is too obscure for me to make any direct connections. While I have not drawn any definite conclusions on what these inspirations indicate for the symbols, it certainly seems to indicate the true nature of the Tera jewels and what secret wish-granting powers they may have.
The last thing I'd like to mention about Area Zero is that it seems to be heavily inspired by the Taoist concept of "Grotto Heavens
", are worlds believed to exist hidden within the crust of Earth, often times inside the hollow center of a mountain. They are said to receive no actual light from the stars, but rather from "the root of the essence of the sun... its light matches the sun of the outer world"
. A0, as many have noted, is always lit no matter the time of day.
The mythological locations of Mount Penglai
and Mount Kunlun
) share some similarities to Area Zero, both of which are believed to be Axis Mundi
of the world (a celestial pole, like Yggdrasil from Norse mythology). Mount Penglai is also known as Horai, the name given to the mountain in a short story written by Lafcadio Hearn. It is said to be the home of a cabal of immortals known as the Eight Immortals,
although Penglai is found on just one of the mythical islands the Eight Immortals are said to reside on.
Lafcadio Hearn does not share many similarities with what little we know of Heath from the Area Zero Expedition team, but the book Hearn published his many short stories in, including that of Mount Penglai, was titled "Kwaidan". This certainly sounds similar to Koraidon, but I must admit it is a loose connection.
Mount Kunlun, a separate mythical paradise, connects to Paldea through its western/southern river (the direction the river flows from varies) that is known as the "Scarlet RiveWater
)". Beyond just the name, in the announcement trailer for Scarlet and Violet there are three globes
that can be seen in the room. One is a regular globe of the Earth, one is a regular globe of the Moon, and then the third is a globe depicting the Earth with red colored water instead of blue. If the globes were placed there with thematic intent, I believe the red globe was meant to create the connection between Paldea/A0 and Mount Kunlun. Both Penglai and Kunlun share other similarities to Area Zero through generic paradise tropes that I will not go into here, as the Scarlet RiveRed Globe and Kwaidan/Koraidon felt the most significant and this post is already long enough.
THE CARDINAL COLORS
As Scarlet and Violet introduced us to the first open world in the series history, it is understandable that the cardinal directions (North, South, West, East) would receive a bit of attention. What stands out in GameFreaks inclusion of them, however, is the colors associated with each direction.
If you look at what colors different cultures associate with the cardinal directions, you will not find a single society in history that had the same associations
as Paldea does. In all my research, I could only find two pieces of cultural or fictional media that shared the same Cardinal Colors. In Buddhism, the Mandala Of Avalokiteshvara (Compassion Buddha) and the Mandala of the Medicine Buddha are sometimes depicted with these Cardinal Colors, but these depictions are not easy to find.
For the second instance, the Land Of Oz
from the books by L. Frank Baum see the same setup of Blue/Yellow being opposite one another, red representing the south (which itself is rare enough), with some depictions using purple to represent the North and others using green. This would not seem to connect to Pokemon if not for the fact that the games have actually referenced the Wizard of Oz before. In Generation 1, if the player clicks on the TV in their home the text box indicates that Stand By Me
is currently playing, the plot of which seems to have inspired the final act of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, The Way Home.
In the Gen1 remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen, the same reference is made as long as the player chose the male protagonist. Even Sun and Moon included the same Stand By Me
reference as well. However, in FLG, a different film is referenced if the player chooses the female protagonist, The Wizard of Oz.
Once again I admit this is a flimsy connection, but with one of these two films being an obvious inspiration for the story of Scarlet/Violet, it opens up the possibility that the Wizard of Oz
might have also been used as inspiration.
That is all I could find on the inspiration for the choices made for the Cardinal Colors, however certain ways GameFreak utilized the Cardinal Colors of Paldea stood out to me, and I have not seen any discussion on this either. Here are two diagrams
demonstrating some ways the Cardinal Colors may have more to do with the Legendary Pokemon of the games than we have realized. Specifically, the shrines encasing the Treasures of Ruin across Paldea are located in the four corners of the region, with their colors being a combination of the Cardinal Colors closest to them. The fire-type Chi-Yu is found in the NorthEast, so its shrine is a combination of blue and green, cyan. This is true of all four of the Treasures of Ruin. If you look at the four new Pokemon introduced in the DLC The Teal Mask, each Pokemon incorporates a Cardinal color in their design, with Ogerpon being the only outlier. Of course, we have barely seen Ogerpon's actual design without the mask, and even then in the image we do have it has a yellow-colored eye which is the only color not utilized by another Pokemon.
Then there is the Mesagoza Type Compass that sits in the center of the city, which has the types arranged in a seemingly random order. I tried to figure out if maybe these Cardinal Colors or the corner colors have something to do with the Type Compass, or the color wheel found in the Art Room, but so far I have had no luck. However the compass is odd in that it has 12 points rather than the 8 points or 16 points typically seen on compass roses, which supposedly is normal of a Japanese Compass Rose but I have yet to find a depiction like this outside of a single DeviantArt image. Beyond the colors, not much else seems relevant to the cardinal directions, although there is one part of A0 that sticks out to me.
While it is difficult to figure out which direction you are looking towards when you enter A0, it is possible to see the Zero Gate above the clouds where you land if you get high up enough along the sides of A0. A link to a screenshot of this is included near the end of the post. Based off of this, it would appear that each river in A0 is coming from a lake located on the cardinal ends of the area. While the North, West, and South rivers all flow down into the bottom of A0, the East river is the one that takes you to the cave with the four circles pointing towards the cardinal directions. This is the only river that does not flow into the crystalline depths below. Given that Part 1 of the DLC seems to take place in the Eastern area connected to Paldea, it makes me wonder if there is any relevance to this river being the only one to not connect with the others.
THE LUNAR THEORY
There are a number of strange things throughout the story that seem to connect to the moon, specifically its strange orbit that is scarcely commented on anywhere. While most of the observations in this post are just that, observations, I feel strongly that the moon plays a role in the overall plot of Scarlet and Violet, and will be a focal point of the DLC.
When developing a video game, nothing is particularly easy to implement. The easiest thing to do in game development is doing something again
. Taking a feature you have already developed, and copy and pasting it to something else in the game. Knowing this, I would like to discuss the strange behavior of the moon as opposed to the typical behavior of the sun.
Imagine you are standing idly in Paldea while facing the Northeast at night, you watch as the sun rises in the East like it does in the real world. You can watch as it crosses the sky over the course of the day, eventually arriving in the West where it disappears over the horizon. Once the sun has set, you look back over at the Northeast direction expecting to see the moon rise over the horizon. The stars start to appear and the sky darkens, and yet you see no moon. If you were to then look back over at the Northwest direction, if you do so quick enough, you can see the Moon suddenly just appear in the West
. Not only that, if you watch it over the course of the night you can see it go from West to East, the opposite direction it would normally travel, and then disappear
by fading into the sky as the sun starts to rise once again. The sun has a proper orbit, it rises and sets in the correct locations and arcs across the sky. The moon on the other hand does not rise, it does not set, and it moves across the sky in a straight line. Most may chalk this up to a development bug, but I see an intended behavior. Like I said, once you've implemented something once, here being a circle in the sky rising and setting over the horizon, it's not very difficult to copy and paste it to another giant circle. I believe that this has to have been intentional, especially given that it was not fixed in the latest patch.
That's not all though. Of the four symbols on the Scarlet/Violet logo, one of them seems to lack any sort of context behind its relevance. This would be the bottom right spiral found in the Poco Lab. Even the metal plate inscription has some sort of commentary attributed to it, so that players can at least wonder what its relevance may be. The spiral, however, is left mostly unexplained. That is, if you don't pay attention to the other diagrams on the whiteboard. While the specifics of these equations are a little lost on me, it would seem the two circles found on the Poco Lab whiteboard
are depicting calculations relating to the horizon of the Earth, possibly the light refraction of a celestial object. The top diagram appears to either calculate the influence of a satellite on the planets gravity, or a calculation of the true altitude of the satellite
. That one could be a number of things, but I believe the bottom one to be a calculation of the true position of the moon based on the principle of the moon illusion
. While I can't be certain what the spiral symbol represents, I wonder if it is depicting the strange orbit of the moon that is causing it to appear and disappear in the middle of the sky. Could the "moon's" refraction of light rays
) be the relevance of ultraviolet and infrared light wavelengths, which many have theorized to have something to do with Scarlet/Violet?
Based on what we know of the Professor, the last time they left Poco Lab was the final time they set foot outside of Area Zero. These diagrams would have been the last thing they wrote on the whiteboard before going to Zero Lab, where a dozen
more strange diagrams can be found on the whiteboards there. If you look at what the diagrams are depicting, each one shows a single circle following a path and/or existing within a strange 3D geometric shape. If I am correct that the Poco Lab whiteboard is the Professor discovering that something is off about the moon's orbit, the whiteboards in Zero Lab might be their attempts at finding out what exactly the orbit is. Could this be why they become more of a hermit, locking themselves in the lab and creating more security protocols to keep other people out? Is it possible they discovered some sort of conspiracy and became the target of those upholding the conspiracy?
THE TURTLE THAT CARRIED THE WORLD
While I have already rambled long enough about the suspicious nature of the moon, there's one final observation I would like to make. If you look at the page
in the Scarlet/Violet where Heath drew the Disk Pokemon, which we now know is Terapagos, there's still a number of unexplained aspects of the image. The giant disk Terapagos is resting on, the fact that its fur turns into an ocean with ships atop it, the clouds to the left of Terapagos that are completely disconnected from the Pokemon, and the many planets that can be seen in the background. It has already been pointed out that if you flip the image
upside down, the black parts of the image actually appear to be crystals encircling the large disk, but there's something else about the image that has yet to be mentioned. The shading of the large disk is strange, familiar even. This image
depicts the view of the Earth from the surface of the moon. It is the same exact shading. Looking at the Disk as a large celestial object from the upside down perspective
, suddenly makes its appear as if the artist is looking up into the sky, past the Tera crystals of Area Zero, seeing a large object very far away. After all, it's common knowledge that Terapagos might be inspired by the many myths of a World Turtle
that carries the Earth on its back. Looking at the drawing upside down, it almost appears as if that were the case here.
Of course, then there's the whole problem with how Area Zero could possibly be on the moon and/or some other satellite object, and then why Earth has the weird hexagonal shapes covering its visible portion. This could always be attributed to simple Human error with the artist not fully comprehending what they were seeing, but that certainly would not be a satisfying answer. Another theory I hope to discuss more of one day is that the clouds seen inside the Great Crater are teleporting anyone who enters to Area Zero, and vice versa, but I'm still working on how exactly that would fit with what we know about A0 and Terapagos so far.
One final piece of folklore I'd like to mention is the beliefs of a Daoist school from 400 C.E, known as both the School of the Numinous Treasure and the School of the Sacred Jewel (also known simply as the Lingbao School
). While I'm not sure if this actually a source of inspiration for these games, I certainly found some of the aspects and beliefs of this Daoist sect interesting. It's also another piece of spiritual beliefs that have connected to the old Chinese story Journey to the West
. This story has had connections to many things I have already talked about, like the Grotto Heavens and Axis Mountains I mentioned earlier. Frankly, anything I found in Chinese mythology that seemed like it might have been inspiration for these games had some sort of connection to that tale, and so as a result it may have been a bigger piece of inspiration that I realized.
Lingbao cosmology is based around the idea of a mountain known as the Jade Capital being the center of the heavens, the Axis Mundi housing the Celestial Worthy (creator god). There are three subsequent deities, the Lord of Celestial Treasure, Lord of Sacred Treasure and the Lord of Divine Treasure. Each deity also resides within its own Grotto Heaven. It was believed by Lingbaoists that time was divided into cosmic cycles, and at the end of each era a deity related to the color associated with that era would descend to Earth provide Humanity a piece of Cosmic teaching. Two types of eras/cycles can occur, one ending with the moon causing a flood that resets the universe, and the other ending in total apocalypse. Before the apocalypse a select few of those who were given the Cosmic teaching, those that actually correctly learned the teaching, would be gathered up by the Queen Mother of the West (A central character of Journey to the West)
, and taken to a land of bliss not impacted by the apocalypse.
After reading through much of the Journey to the West, I believe that Geeta was inspired by the Queen Mother of the West and plans to take those who follow her to Area Zero when an apocalypse is eventually started, either by her or by natural forces/a Pokemon. This is mostly because I hope that they do something interesting with her character, but partly because it just seems very much like a story GameFreak would tell, especially given the writing of villains in Pokemon games and how recently they have represented big corporate powers.
I hope that many of these topics fuel the theorizing parts of your brains, as I know that they have for me. Of course this post is formatted the way it is because I have not been able to come up with a cohesive theory that utilizes all of these oddities, as well as the bullet points below, but maybe one day it will click for someone.
(*MANY) ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS
- If you get on top of the Academy using the Cyclizar Paradox, you can access the outside of the conservatory-like structure
. The Academy exit connected to it is the color red, as well as the door used to enter the treehouse-like structure. As far as I can tell, based off of the intro sequence of Violet I found on YouTube, the doors appear to be red no matter the version. Also, the doors to the conservatory have what might be the second metal plate sitting above it with the text blurred, I imagine intentionally so that anyone like me climbs up to them, we don't discover any secrets.
- The hexagonal symbol in the bottom left of the logo may be depicting the six satellite dishes
found around Area Zero, rather than the time machine or the Tera jewel/crystal itself.
- Student IDs are only mentioned two times, both mentions are by the AI Professor
. First is when the Professor says the player's ID, 805C393. 805 because that's how many years since the Academy was founded, I presume 'C' is the semester (A is spring, B is summer, C is fall), and 393 because we joined the Academy late in the semester. Penny is 803B121, which tracks with that logic as a year and a half before was when she formed Team Star. Strangely, Nemona is 805C001. This means she registered with the school at the beginning of the current semester, and was the first to do so. This does not line up with what Giacomo says about Nemona taking over Student Council president a year and a half before the events of the game. Also - the previous Director mentions that his assistant tried to coverup the Team Star incident by destroying "digital records", no mention of physical records
. We assumed this coverup caused the pages to be ripped out of the Student Registry
book found in the Academy Library, but this does not track. Was someone trying to hide Nemona's previous ID? This might explain why the Professor felt it was necessary to create the Pokeball Locking security system, as it has to do with ID numbers. Nemona would be able to use Pokeballs with a new ID, up until the final battle where the AI Professor locks ALL ID's other than their own.
- Zero Gate is not the only thing that can be seen above the clouds in Area Zero. On top of the fact that the ledge it rests on looks nothing like the ledge seen in Paldea, the ridges seen above the Area Zero clouds are a completely different shape than the walls of the Great Create of Paldea, appearing more like a mountain range than a crater. Here
some screenshots I took.
- Another reason for why I assume the cardinal directions are the way they are in Area Zero, despite the minimap not functioning from within the area, is because of this promotional artwork
GameFreak released prior to Scarlet/Violet hitting the shelves. You can see that to the right of the Zero Gate is a waterfall, and the distance between the two appears to be the same as the distance from where you spawn in Area Zero and the closest waterfall to your left. What's most interesting about this image, though, is that the waterfall depicted in the image is not present in the final game. This would have been the only think linking the Crater above the clouds to the grotto below the clouds, and for whatever reason they decided to remove it in the three months between releasing the image and releasing the games.
- The Kitakami Legends each seem to each have a European heraldic charge
) depicted on their design. Given that the Koraidon/Miraidon designs on the front of the Scarlet/Violet books are based on how lions and other animals are depicted in heraldry, this seems like a safe assumption. Okidogi has two crescents
(selonGelre).svg) underneath its eyes, and the shape on its chest seems to be the shape of the heraldry shield#/media/File:Swiss_Escutcheon.svg) itself. Munkidori has a maltese cross#/media/File:Maltese_cross.svg) on its stomach. Fezandipiti has a cross moline#/media/File:Cross-Moline-Heraldry.svg) at the end of its tail. Ogerpon is yet another outlier here, just like with the cardinal colors, but one could argue the five pointed star on its chest is its charge, which is called a mullet#/media/File:Blason_de_la_ville_de_Deh%C3%A9ries
(59)_Nord-France.svg). Also - on the left side of the top floor of the Entrance Hall you can find a strange shape
hanging from a light fixture. It appears to be the water-bouget
- Mount Penglai is the home of the Eight Immortals. The Adventure into Area Zero page
in the Scarlet/Violet book depicts seven individuals descending into Area Zero, and we can assume that Heath or whoever illustrated the page was not depicted. Was the Expedition team made up of only eight people? With the prevalence of the number '8' in the games and DLC (Blueberry Academy logo), could this have any significance?
- AI Professor mentions that the energy of the Tera Crystals can "alter the organic functions of living things". The future Paradox Pokemon seem to be actual living Pokemon despite being made of machinery. If "Dream Theory" ends up being partially true, then I wonder if the Tera function that 'created' them (summoned, resurrected, there are many possibilities) possibly healed the Professor by turning them into a cyborg. The research journals suggest the assistant mentioned is the AI Professor, but certain discrepancies in them and the AI Professor's dialogue suggests that is not the case.
- In the Scarlet/Violet book the Director depicted to be shaking Heath's hand has a little piece of hair on his forehead that looks like a crescent moon
. The two founders of the Academies depicted by the busts on the top floor of the entrance hall have hair that looks like Grapes and Oranges
depending on the version, so theres a precedent for hair shapes of Academy figureheads having double meanings. This is the reachiest reach in this entire post, but I thought I'd include it.
- A pet theory I have had since the release of the games is that Geeta runs a secret society in Paldea that is orchestrating events from the shadows. The compass logo of the Elite Four is reminiscent of an all-seeing-eye, which is largely where this notion came from (The 'eye' portion of the logo is also identical to the marking on Lusamine-Nihilego's legs
). If this is truly the case, then I imagine its based on the mythical La Garduna secret society of Spain, which historians are unsure ever actually existed. Secret Societies are also a common trope of Academies and Universities. A real world example that the games may be hinting at with the Paldean Pokemon Gimmighoul is a collegiate secret society at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called the Order of Gimghoul
- Every time the Professor summons a Paradox Pokemon from the time machine, the Pokemon falls from the machine in a Master Ball - seemingly just having been caught. In multiple locations within Paldea, including the Player's bedroom and Arven/Penny's dorm rooms, there are scattered boxes with a company logo depicting Tauros. Inside of the Zero Lab, however, the Professor has a large amount of boxes with the Delibird company logo. Most of the settlements in Paldea, like Medali outside of Zero Gate and Levincia where the real estate company is, have warehouses with the Delibird company logo. Is this the company that is providing the Professor with such a large amount of Master Balls? Does this mean that the Delibird company is a subsidiary of Silph Co., or some other Pokeball-manufacturer?
- Penny mentions that Nemona's dad is on the board of the Rotom Phone company. Nemona then mentions how her sister will "take over the family business". Does Nemona's family own a separate corporation from the Rotom Phone company, as 'take over' suggests ownership of the business rather than simply being a part of an executive team. On top of that, we know that the company producing Rotom Phones - or at least the cellphones that the Rotom possesses - is Macro Cosmos, based off of this concept art
from Sword and Shield where you can see their logo on the unpossessed phone.
- If you start in the United States and dug a hole straight through the earth, you would end up in China, as the classic saying goes. This is called an "Antipodal Point". The Antipodal point of Madrid, give or take a few dozen miles, is a large isolated mountain in New Zealand with a lake named "Crater Lake" sitting at its peak. If Area Zero's clouds are in fact a portal to multiple locations, and the inscribed symbol was inspired by the Double Lozenge (two hearts joined as one), then could this location in North New Zealand be the other location connected to A0?
submitted by SirRaisinBran
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2023.03.22 00:07 BrotherBattleFist Home brew Warband Short Story “MAELSTROM'S FALL” C+C welcome!
***Thanks for the supportive comments and upvotes! I'm really happy some people enjoyed the first story! I have a lot of fun writing short narratives like the ones found in the codex! So anyway here's the second part of my homebrew warband's story, "Maelstrom's Fall"***
Where once there was cacophonous pain in Garius’s mind, now there was only silence. Peace. Purity.
The wailing of the Butcher Nails faded away as the chorus of wailing from the Imperial command personnel around him began to rise. Garius and nine of his brothers had appeared from nowhere. A lightning strike teleportation into the subterranean command center of the Aeronautica Imperialis airbase known as "Maelstrom". A fitting name for the base as it became a maelstrom of violence and slaughter.
A blue uniformed officer fired a plasma pistol into Garius' face and then froze in horror at what he saw beneath the mask. A polished skull grinned back at him. The flesh of Garius's face had long ago peeled away, though he still felt the touch of wind and pain and heat from the plasma. His eyes had long ago turned to ash, yet he still saw in multiple spectrums, having been blessed with daemonsight. He had not even a nose, yet could catch scents as if he were one of the Blood Gods own hounds. And now his empty sockets bore down into the squirming officer’s eyes as Garius shoved the blade of his chainfist into the officer's chest and roared his unholy weapon to life. The officer erupted into a fountain of gore as Garius released the now dead man and allowed him to slide down the roaring chainblade, bisecting the officer as the corpse was sawn open from the chest up through the shoulder. The bloody slopped to the ground, spilling guts and ichor at Garius’s feet.
All around Garius similar scenes played out as his crimson clad brethren performed the same ritual. As slaughter ritual completed the command center fell silent but for the whirring of command cogitators, the humming of the crimson clad warrior's tactical Dreadnought armor, and the steady dripping of blood that had covered the ceilings and consoles. With the silence, however, came the screaming of the Butcher Nails within the minds of the Ten.
Garius, being the unit’s Champion of Khorne and the eldest of his brothers, had begun the chanting that always followed their bloody ritual.
It was quiet at first. "Blood."
But steadily grew in volume. "Skulls."
Until the crimson warrior's vox amplifiers were maxed. "Slaughter!"
It was the ritual war cry of the Slaughter Lords.
Once the Slaughter Lords were once faithful servants of the God Emperor until revealed to be of hereticus genestock. Known as the Sanguine Lords, they were branded Heretic Extremis by the Imperium they had served faithfully for millennia, and subject to a devastating war that saw their domains burned and sacked and their ranks decimated. Following the Sanguine War, the remnants of the Sanguine Lords Chapter disappeared into the Great Rift where they fully accepted their heritage as World Eaters and rechristened themselves the Slaughter Lords Warband. Their quest for slaughter and vengeance had brought them here, to the surface of Dharrovar, and the municipality of Grey Falls. And here they would pile the skulls of their victims high, and truly bring the blessings of Khorne unto themselves.
Garius Sentris and his nine brothers split up, moving with unnatural speed and unbridled fury through the halls and defenses of the lower levels of the Air Base. One brother stayed behind to reconfigure the command center comms array to block incoming and outgoing communications for the entire municipal sector. No warning would be sent to the other strong points within Grey Falls, only for the warcry of the Slaughter Lords.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!" The words repeated on loop to every Imperial vox receiver in a 30 kilometer radius, utilizing the command center’s vox overrides to block all other Imperial vox communications from getting through.
One pair of brothers took control of the missile batteries, lest they be used to deprive the Slaughter Lords of their blessed butchery. Another pair of brothers disabled the self-destruct cogitators that had begun to countdown as the command center fell.The other five crimson clad brothers, led by Garius Sentris, slaughtered their way to the surface entry point.
Taking a pause before opening the exterior blast doors, Garius Sentris had words for his brothers. "The dogs of the corpse Emperor betrayed us. They burned our worlds. Massacred our brothers and our peoples. Now we will do the same to them, as we have done a hundred times before! We will take from them everything! And give to them nothing except death! For the fallen! For Khorne! FOR SKALAK! BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
The blast door opened. A half crescent formation of the crimson terminator brothers of the Slaughter Lords marched out in unison. A booming cacophony of fire erupted from their storm bolters. Heavy weapon emplacements and entire squads of white-helmeted guardsmen erupt into mists of gore, metal, and fire.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
For a few brief moments the defenders were stunned. They had prepared for an attack from the east, from outside the perimeter. They did not expect the enemy to appear from within the very place they sought to defend. “BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!”
A rocket narrowly missed Garius' head. The guardsman who fired the projectile exploded into pieces a split second later as a mass reactive shell detonated against his flak vest.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
A Heavy Bolter squad swung their weapon round, and managed to squeeze off two rounds and strike brother Ventrilius in the chest. Ventrilius was splayed open, his armor and body alike rent wide. He was dead before he hit the ground. Vengeance was immediate, as brother Quintus unleashed a roar and charged at the position, storm bolter firing the whole way.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
The Heavy Bolter and one of its operators burst apart as they were struck by shells, and two more operators were decapitated in a sweeping blow from Ventrilius' sword. Half a dozen nearby guardsmen suffered the same fate only seconds later.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
Garius' and his other remaining brothers broke into a sprinting charge. The Butcher's Nails screaming in their minds. Demanding blood. Demanding slaughter.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
Garius broke through a two meter stack of sand bags, knocking two guardsmen down and surprising eight more. Garius stomped over the two fallen guardsmen and their guts erupted from their mouths as his armored sabatons sank into their bodies with a satisfying squelch.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!" With a burst from his storm bolter Garius blew four men to his left into chunks of ground meat. With a crossing swipe to the right another three fell, the energy field of his chainfist transforming them into smears of gore upon the ground. With a forward kick the Sergeant was flung ten meters, tumbling and spinning on the ground and bleed profusely from the mouth. His organs had exploded from the force. He was dead in seconds.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
Still charging, Garius spotted a Commissar with a chest full of medals and ribbons. The blonde haired man was busy executing the fleeing and cowering white-helmets and didn’t even realize he was about to die. Just as Garius was about to sate his Butcher's Nails with the blood of the small black-uniformed man, he was thrown off his charge at the last split second. As he stumbled one way he was dazed by a strike and thrown another way.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
Garius stood and found himself facing a trio of Ogryn, as large as him, wielding massive shields and maces crackling with power. Garius tried to sneer. There was no flesh on his face to contort into feelings he wished to express. Garius roared as he fired his storm bolter at the middle Ogryn and advanced forward.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
With it’s shield planted in the ground, the brute absorbed the fire as the other pair of Ogryns advanced on either side of Garius to flank him. An overhead blow came from the left.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!" the pace of his chanting quickened.
Garius let his storm bolter drop to the ground as he raised his gauntleted hand and caught the Ogryn at the wrist. Garius yanked hard, and the howling Ogryn was thrown behind him, its arm being ripped off in the process.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
At the same time the second Ogryn threw a sweeping blow from the right towards Garius' head. Garius caught the mace mid-swing with his chainfist’s power gauntlet, crushing the end of the weapon.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
With his left arm Garius threw the first Ogryns arm at the Commissar, knocking the man to the ground just as he brandished his power sword in a feeble effort to aid his Ogryn bodyguards.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
After destroying the second Ogryns weapon with his right gauntlet, Garius dug his right elbow down into the Ogryn’s shield, leveraging it aside as the revving chainblade beneath his powerfist cut into the Ogryn. As the blade found flesh Garius released his grip from the Ogryn’s weapon and forced his chainfist through the Ogryn. The beast screamed for a moment as its right arm was severed, then went quiet as its chest and other arm was sawn through and its other arm fell to the ground as well. The Ogryn collapsed into a dismembered mess of gore.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
Before the second Ogryn fell the Third Ogryn had begun charging, howling in rage and shouldering its shield. Garius braced himself, left gauntleted hand forward.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
The Ogryn's charge was stopped cold in its tracks and, holding the shield in place with his left gauntlet, Garius rammed his chainfist against the Ogryn's slab shield. At the same time Garius pulled the shield, and the Ogryn that was attached to it, toward him as hard as he could. For a split second the blade simply growled and sparked against the shield. Then suddenly burst through, the force of the blade penetration and the power fist's energy field blowing the shield and Ogryn apart. Fragments of metals and chunks of meat exploded away from Garius as the Ogryn's ruined body was launched head over heels from the force of Garius' strike. It was almost comical.
"BLOOD! SKULLS! SLAUGHTER!"
Picking up his storm bolter Garius fired two bolts into the Ogryn amputee behind him without looking back. Its head and shoulders burst into bits.
"Blood. Skulls. Slaughter." The chant slowed. The Butcher's Nails were quiet. There was peace to be found in the purity of Slaughter.
The three Ogryns had been dispatched in seconds. Meanwhile the Commissar was just beginning to get up. The Commisar swung his power sword up in a wild one handed arc and stumbled as his blade found nothing but air. The Commissar was only a human. He was catatonically slow by comparison to the gene wrought and warp empowered speed of Garius, who casually leaned back out of range of the strike. With a flick of one finger of his powerfist the Commissar's personal shield was defeated and his pretty awards and medals exploded out of his back with the rest of his chest.
"Blood. Skulls. Slaughter." It was a whisper now.
In the 60 seconds since erupting from the subterranean levels of Maelstrom Air Base, hundreds of Astra Militarum and Navy Imperialis forces had been slain by Garius and his brothers. Though the Imperial defenders had scrambled their aircraft and readied their defenses as best they could, nothing could prepare them for the surprise of Garius’s rear assault. In the mean time hundreds of Slaughter Lord's had burst up from the subterranean caverns of Dharrovar less than a kilometer from the Air Base Perimeter. They had fallen upon the defenders right as Garius and his brothers had come up from the depths. They streamed past him now, the Berserkers and their followers, the Jakhals. They were gore drenched and screaming maniacally as they scoured the base for survivors' butcher and skulls to collect.
The Imperial defenders had been all but slaughtered. Maelstrom Air Base had fallen. But soon the remaining defenders of Grey Falls would be mobilized. Garius knew the battle was only just beginning. Garius also knew that no matter how many lives he ended, the screaming of Butcher’s Nails in his mind would always return. Despite that, for a few fleeting moments at least, Garius had known silence. Peace. Purity.
submitted by BrotherBattleFist
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2023.03.21 20:20 Strength-InThe-Loins 20 Years Later: Green Zone
Twenty years ago this week, the United States began its blatantly criminal invasion of an unthreatening sovereign state that inevitably turned into a hideous quagmire.
I had joined the United States Marine Corps in the summer of 2001. I was still in boot camp on 9/11, which made for an interesting couple of days. In early 2002 I obtained a two-year leave of absence to ‘serve’ a Mormon mission, and by March of 2003 I was more than a year into being a full-time religious propagandist in Mexico.
The war was big news in Mexico, with public opinion generally running pretty strong against it. Given my history of relentless indoctrination, and my current assignment of telling everyone I saw that they were immorally wrong about everything that mattered, and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to consume any kind of non-religious media material of any kind, I of course took the opposite position.
But I improved with time. I came home in early 2004, and quickly discovered that the war was, at best, very badly managed. But I was back into military service (as a reservist), so I fully expected to end up being deployed to Iraq at some point.
The miserable shitshow that played out across Iraq throughout 2005 and especially 2006 convinced me that the war wasn’t just badly executed but a hopelessly terrible idea from its very beginning, supported by blatant lies and unconscionable manipulation.
When my turn to deploy finally came, in 2009, I was rather conflicted. On the one hand, I clearly understood that the war was immoral and dangerous and I should avoid it at all cost. On the other hand, I was four years into attending college and making no discernible progress towards any of the goals I had set for myself: graduating, choosing a career, getting married, existing as a functional adult. So the choice (and it was a choice: contrary to the contract I thought I’d signed, I was set to be released from service in mid-2008, and so this deployment was entirely optional for me) was fraught. I didn’t want to kill or die for a mistake; but I also didn’t want to dodge what I was sure would be the challenge of a lifetime for a second time; and I also could not say with a straight face that I had anything better to do.
So I went. It didn’t go well
, but it went at least as well as I had any right to expect. I never saw anything like combat (shooting flares at a few civilian vehicles was as close as I ever got), was never in danger, and so on. But it was no picnic, either: severe and extended boredom can be just as damaging as actual trauma, and the psychological abuse inherent in military life was constant. And things weren’t entirely safe: my unit had two suicides during the work-up, and given the state of my mental health, I was never all that unlikely to have joined them.
The whole experience did me no immediate good, but as an experience with disillusionment with and escaping from an all-consuming self-admiring institution, it was a pretty decent dry run for my exit from Mormonism a few years later. And, as I had expected, it got me a year’s salary (which was probably the majority of the money I’d made in my life up to that point), and a lifetime of monthly disability payments and free health insurance. So I really can’t say I completely regret it.
The movie I’ve chosen to commemorate this anniversary is Green Zone, because it came out shortly after I came back, and I’d always wanted to see it, and I’d heard that it took an interesting angle on the whole mess, and I’d heard that it was pretty good (which is a rare quality among Iraq War movies, which have, shall we say, a mixed record
). And it’s pretty good, though of course it has some issues.
The best thing about it is how it nails the look and feel of the military occupation. The movie abounds with details large and small that just look exactly right, from US troops driving green Humvees with no doors and unprotected gun turrets* to piles of Pizza-Hut-labeled shipping containers at the airport to one of them carrying around a bottle of chewing-tobacco spit to the use of the then-new Blue Force Tracker technology. Greg Kinnear as the villain of the piece looks exactly
like he should, a completely nondescript bureaucrat that would never get a second look at any white-collar office in America, incongruously transplanted into a blood-soaked conflict in an environment where only fools and the extraordinarily pampered (he is both, of course) dress like that. And I didn’t know I needed to see exactly what the Google homepage looked like in 2003, but I did, and the movie delivered.
It’s also a very good look at the culture of the US military; the briefing with Colonel Bethel is pretty spot-on (except for the one guy interrupting to speak the truth; that pretty much never happens). It’s a bit optimistic to assume that a random US military unit would have even one Arabic speaker in it, but the movie makes up for it by having him only know a dialect that’s completely useless in Iraq. The soldier who argues with Damon and tells him that the reasons for going to war don’t matter to him struck me as a perfect distillation of the me-first attitude that the US military explicitly teaches its members: the “My only job is to get home safe” dogma was basically a part of the official training materials, very much to the detriment of accomplishing any particular mission beyond that (and of course no one ever wants to talk about how obviously cowardly and selfish such an attitude is).
The movie also does well with points of view from outside of the US military, namely the absolute terror of being an Iraqi unfortunate enough to fall into US hands during the occupation, and the possibly greater terror of being on the ground when the Americans started bombing or disbanded the Iraqi army and purged the civil service, which this movie treats as an irrefutable sign of the apocalypse. Not that any of that took any great insight to determine in 2010, years after it became clear what US detention was like and how foolish it was to send thousands of unhappy armed men out into the streets with nothing to do, but it’s still good to see it stated so plainly.
One aspect that does not look so good is the trademark Paul Greengrass shaky-cam technique; it’s tolerable in the actual action scenes, which are supposed to be stressful and chaotic, but in the opening scene, in which the ‘action’ mostly involves men walking quickly down crowded hallways,** it really doesn’t work. I do wonder how Greengrass does it; does he plan and rehearse the camera movements, or just have the actors do their thing while someone waves the camera around randomly? One analysis of one of Greengrass’s Bourne movies pointed out that it seems that the camera can’t predict the characters’ movements, which adds to the sense of uncertainty and danger; I wonder how closely Greengrass controls the camera’s ‘random’ movements, and what he thinks he’s saying with them.
There are other moments that fall short of the movie’s best moments of authenticity: Damon’s first scene, in which he explains (over the radio, no less!) where his team is going and what they’ll be doing there is pure Hollywood bullshit; any such explanation would be given (likely multiple times) well before the mission actually started, and the team will try to minimize radio use while out in the field. And that’s not the only moment of clumsy exposition; once that mission fails to find anything of use, Damon laments “That’s the third one in a row,” to a roomful of guys who’ve been on all the same missions and all presumably know exactly how many of them there have been. On that same mission, someone, for some reason, uses a Geiger counter to analyze a suspected chemical
weapons site, which…what?
The movie’s second-strongest sympathetic character is a CIA ‘Middle-East expert’ that knows everything he needs to know and that no one listens to. While I don’t doubt that no one important listened to anyone who knew what was going on, the thing-knower being a CIA agent that the CIA chose to send to Baghdad seems unlikely; were there any such thing-knowers left in the CIA in 2003? If so, why would leadership (which was fully behind the WMD hoax) send such an ‘unreliable’ person to such a sensitive post? Surely they knew there was a risk of him doing exactly what he ended up doing, and would have kept him as far from the action as possible.***
And how and why does he have such detailed information at his fingertips about the movements of people that don’t officially concern him? That information would be a closely guarded secret that he has no plausible official need to know. And why the hell
does he dare take a very important phone call, which concerns a blatantly illegal operation he’s running off the books, on speaker
in a room that’s crowded with god knows who that he very obviously can’t necessarily trust?
Once he makes contact with Damon, he sets up a meeting in the most secure part of the infamous Green Zone, which Damon is somehow able to access with minimal trouble. That strikes me as outrageously implausible; the highest security I ever experienced in Iraq was about 37 levels lower than the Green Zone (where American civilians could expect to live and work in pretty much complete safety), and even there I had to show my dog tags and scan my ID to enter the gym or the chow hall. Green Zone security would emphatically not just wave through any random US military vehicle or personnel that showed up at the gate. Damon would have to show some kind of proof that he belongs there, and since he’s going to an unauthorized meeting with a civilian far outside his chain of command, he just wouldn’t have that, and the gate guards would turn him away.
At that meeting, the CIA guy instructs Damon to get out of uniform, which is wise, but we never find out where Damon gets the civilian clothes and the civilian body armor we see him wearing right after. (I doubt he would have brought civvies with him for his invasion deployment, and even military body armor was pretty hard to come by in Iraq in 2003.) But also I understand why the movie felt it didn’t have time for a deep dive into this question. What it leads to is egregious, though; in the movie’s climactic scene, Damon, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying a clearly non-American weapon he stole from a local, runs through a combat situation involving US troops who spot him from a helicopter…and they somehow assume that he’s an American who’s on their side. What makes them think that? Did all US troops in Iraq in 2003 have implanted RFID chips that all US night-vision scopes could pick out from a distance? (No. No they did not.) Nothing at all that they can see indicates that Damon is American, but even if they knew he was American, he’s actually working against those particular US troops (who are very explicitly there to kill the man that Damon is trying to contact and rescue), and so there’s still no reason to identify him as a ‘friendly.’ This is a most unfortunate misstep, because doing it more realistically (having the US troops not know who Damon is, assume he’s their enemy, and act accordingly) would actually better serve the movie’s general theme of disunity and confusion.
Those same US troops are first seen arriving in a helicopter that suddenly arrives from below the not-very-high high ground that Damon is standing on, which means they must have been flying very low indeed (like, below rooftop level) over a very urban area, which is ridiculous; and without anyone hearing them approach from miles away, which is even more ridiculous.**** But those same US troops also drive around in Humvees at night with their headlights blazing, which is just dumb enough to be real. But what’s way too smart to be real is the timing of that helicopter arrival; Damon apprehends an important individual, and those troops (who are also looking for that person for unrelated reasons) somehow know about that and are able to arrive instantly, which…rather stretches the bounds of plausibility.
There are also some timeline issues, which are bad to have in a movie that is so closely tied to historical events on very specific dates. The invasion began on March 19, as seen in the first scene. Then we skip forward to ‘four weeks later,’ around April 16. The rest of the movie seems to take place over only a few days, and yet prominent plot points include George W. Bush’s (spit) Mission Accomplished speech (which happened on May 1), and the CPA’s dissolution of the Iraqi state apparatus (which happened on May 23). In the movie, those 22 days seem to pass in a matter of hours.
Also, and this is unbelievably petty of me, somewhere in the Green Zone, sometime at least as late as April 16, we catch a glimpse of someone watching a college basketball game (UCLA vs. Oregon, if I’m not mistaken) on TV. The final game of the 2003 NCAA tournament was played on April 7, and didn’t involve either team: Oregon lost to Utah in the first round, and UCLA didn’t even make the tournament, so that game is misplaced in time by at least a month.
Around the time it came out, I heard that this movie was a kind of Inglourious Basterds treatment of the Iraq War. While it’s certainly not NOT that (in that it’s an optimistic fantasy that revises well-known historical events about which there is little cause for optimism), it’s also different in that it doesn’t depart from the historical events nearly as much. There really was a ‘Magellan’ figure in real life, but he was called ‘Curveball,’ and, despite being pretty different from the version in the movie, he had precisely the same effect of being cited in favor of the invasion. In the movie, Magellan is an Iraqi Army officer who secretly meets with Americans to tell them that Iraq has no WMD programs. The Americans then falsely report that he’s told them Iraq has WMDs, and the war machine’s gears start to turn and the Americans plot to kill Magellan so he won’t reveal what he actually told them. In reality, Curveball was an Iraqi exile who actually told the Germans (not the Americans) what the Americans wanted to hear, because he figured it would make his asylum application (he’d fled Iraq after embezzling money from his government employer) easier. I’m not sure why the movie felt the need to change these details; an Iraqi who lies for his own gain is at least as interesting a character as an Iraqi who tells a truth that certain people are determined to disbelieve, and what US intelligence did with Curveball’s obviously flawed reports was hardly any more honest than blatantly telling the world he’d said something he never said.
The movie isn’t really clear what it thinks Damon’s heroism amounts to. He leaks his final report to every news outlet he can think of. Perhaps one of them will publish, but perhaps not. News outlets strive to scoop each other, but sometimes, as the real-life Iraq War amply shows, they collude to cover things up, especially when it’s something as explosive and ‘unpatriotic’ as “The whole reason for this very popular war was a complete lie.” Furthermore, how credible is Damon’s information? It’s based entirely on conversations he says he had with an enemy general who is now dead. No one has any reason to believe these conversations took place, or if they did that the general said what Damon says he said, or if he did that he wasn’t mistaken or lying.
But even if someone does publish, it will make no difference. US troops are already in Baghdad, and the CPA has already taken the plunge that made civil war inevitable. A report (even one whose credibility is bulletproof, which this one very much is not) that the whole war was based on a lie will not change anything, any more than it did in real life when the lack of WMDs and the falsity of the pre-war intelligence became similarly clear on a similar timeline.
In any case, Damon’s Army career is over. He leaked a very sensitive internal document, using an email account under his own name. He might not be guaranteed to go to prison, but he has to be in a shitload of trouble. The Army quietly booting him out and never speaking of this again is the absolute best-case scenario for him.
The movie’s two main sympathetic characters take turns reminding each other to not be naïve, but the movie itself is pretty naïve if it thinks that what we see is a happy ending. Or maybe it’s not meant to be a happy ending, and I’m the one being naïve.
In any case, I was expecting the SF team led by Jason Isaacs to kill Damon and then, upon realizing who he was, hype him up as a hero who gave his life for his country, thus completely obscuring the very unpatriotic truth about what he died doing and why. You know, a slightly worse version of exactly what the real-life Army actually did with the actual case of Pat Tillman.
The movie also runs into trouble upon consideration of its moral perspective; movies love the idea of someone going rogue, breaking whatever rules get in the way of ‘doing the right thing,’ as Damon does throughout the movie. But that’s the whole problem with the Iraq War, isn’t it? Government officials decided that brutalizing Iraq was ‘the right thing,’ and they broke any number of rules of humanity and decency (not to mention actual laws) to make it happen. They went rogue exactly as Damon does, so who can really say that he’s right and they’re wrong?
His confrontation with Amy Ryan’s reporter character also struck me as backwards; the movie wants us to see it as Damon, the heroic teller of inconvenient truths, heroically confronting the corrupt and decadent and much more powerful peddler of lies. But it’s really not that at all; she got lied to just as hard as he did, and he’s a heavily armed agent of the state security apparatus upon which her life and safety directly depend. It’s pretty ridiculous to see him as any kind of underdog in that situation.
Some stray observations:
It’s pretty funny that the early scene at the airport shows the blown-up remains of a large cargo plane, given the famous fate of the An-225 in that other, more recent, blatantly criminal invasion of an unthreatening sovereign state that inevitably turns into a hideous quagmire.
I was surprised by how much of the spoken Arabic I understood; I ‘studied’ Arabic for two years in college, and didn’t really get anywhere with it, but there were multiple instances where seeing the English word in the subtitles brought to mind a particular Arabic word that the characters promptly said. (These include ‘ichwan’ for ‘brothers,’ ‘kul il balad’ for ‘the entire country,’ ‘bernamaj’ for ‘program,’ and some others.)
Ben Sliney is in the cast as a random bureaucrat in the background of one of the Green Zone scenes. This is the air-traffic-control official who gave the ground-all-flights order on 9/11, and then legendarily played himself in the movie United 93. This is his only other non-documentary film credit, so I hope he kept his day job.
*By the time I got to Iraq, the Humvees had all been painted desert-tan and heavily armored, but my understanding is that this change did not take hold until like 2007.
**In a manner unfortunately reminiscent of George Bluth Senior ‘running with great intensity.’ Yes, this is foreshadowing. It is inevitable, because despite its ambitions, this movie proves that the definitive Hollywood treatment of the Iraq War is still selected episodes of Arrested Development. (And Generation Kill, which I considered revisiting for this anniversary post.)
***I do enjoy how Kinnear frames the idea of people who know things: they’re ‘dinosaurs’ with heads full of ‘old ideas,’ which sounds like he’s being boldly innovative and courageously resisting hidebound bureaucracies that have outlived their usefulness. But of course the ‘old ideas’ are things like ‘Know what the hell is going on’ and ‘Don’t assume you can simply kill anyone you don’t like,’ and Kinnear’s ‘bold innovations’ are just clueless wishful thinking.
****Movies very often miss this detail, but helicopters are really
loud. Almost as loud as gunfire, though of course movies also very often fail to convey how loud gunfire is. It is impossible for a low-flying helicopter to sneak up like that on anyone with functional ears. They’d be drowning out any attempt at conversation before they got within hundreds of yards.
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2023.03.21 20:13 SlightlyColdWaffles Time Flies
NEMESIS 2: Chapter 38
"Sir?" the desk speaker buzzed, startling me slightly. I jumped as the noise brought my mind back from the realm of daydreams and deep thoughts, spilling my lukewarm coffee on the ill fitting labcoat I had found in the office closet.
"Ah, fuck... yeah?" I replied, dabbing at the new brown spot on the otherwise pristine white coat. This always seemed to happen whenever I tried out something new, an unexpected obstacle that I would immediately fail to avoid. When I had chased after Stacy in the time machine mishap, I had arrived too late to save her. When I came back, I had tried to pretend to be my father, bringing warnings of the disastrous future, but instead of dissuading it I had almost caused that future. When I tried to step up and lead the Doomsquad, my first course of action was to faint and let...
I stopped dabbing ineffectually at the coffee spot as a nagging thought in the back of my mind finally broke through to the surface. The time machine! How in the absolute hell had I forgotten about that?
"Sir?" The voice on the phone speaker asked again. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah" I said, pushing the thought to the side for the present. "What's up?"
"We detected a super-powered combat activity that matches WalkMan's combat profile, 92 miles South-East of the stolen Doomjet's last known position outside of Billings, Montana." the speaker said.
This almost made me forget about the time machine once more. Almost.
"Is there any intel on who he was fighting? We didn't send anyone after him yet, right?" I asked. Doctor Doomsday had already authorized one excursion without my permission, I wouldn't put it past him to do it again.
"Negative. All combat units are on the premises, and all scout units are reporting from their previously assigned patrol routes. It's not one of ours."
I frowned. Nobody was around to see the expression, but it came with the emotion regardless. "Ask Doctor Doomsday to meet me in his... my office, please, Becky".
"Yes sir... my name is Brenda, sir" she said, and ended the call.
I sighed angrily at myself. Getting a person's name wrong was worse than not saying it at all, and I had, as usual, picked the wrong path. Why was I so bad at being bad?
"You wanted to see me, son?" Doctor Doomsday asked, coming in to his old office without knocking. "Oh... Steven, I worse those because I have actual Doctorate degrees."
I glanced down at the stained lab coat. "Ah, yeah, I was just trying it out. Sorry about the spill."
He shrugged as I shrugged the laboratory equipment off. "Its not like I'll be going anywhere black-tie anytime soon. What did you need me for?"
"I've gotten a report that WalkMan may have been in a combat encounter in Montana" I said as I draped the coat over the back of the visitor's chair. "None of ours, unless you sent a black-ops squad?"
Doctor Doomsday shook his head. "I made a promise after the boat incident, remember? Only you can authorize operations."
I nodded. "Thank you for honoring that. So the question is, who attacked WalkMan, and why was he alone? Where was Grandmommy Longlegs, or The Office?"
"I can make guesses, but for anything beyond that, we'd need to send a scout." He said, glancing at the soiled lab coat several times. "I'm going to run that down to laundry so the stain doesn't set. Want me to set up a scouting mission? 0028 has been bored here lately."
Go ahead on both" I said, before finally remembering to ask my most pertinant question. "Doc, where is the time machine at present?"
Doctor Doomsday paused with his lab coat draped neatly over one arm. "Its at our...house..." He said slowly as the realization struck him. "...oh shit."
"28!" I shouted at nothing in paticular. The massive Doombot was connected to the Doomforts systems, he would be able to hear me from anywhere in the facility. "Take a squad to the house and recover the time machine NOW!"
"Affirmative" the overhead speaker blared in Doombot 0028's emotionless voice.
"How the fuck did we miss that?" I asked the supervillain holding his laundry.
"I ... I think we were a bit distracted" Doctor Doomsday said, "Which is exactly what The Office intended. Was this a ploy within a ploy?"
"Possibly" I admitted. "But there's no telling what they did or didn't plan for. Right now, I want to know why WalkMan was in a fight with unknowns. Arrange..."
I trailed off as I remembered where I had just sent my best scout. Right.
"If that was WalkMan" Doctor Doomsday said, "We should send our best after him. No sense losing men and women just to confirm he's there."
"Yeah, but I also don't want to walk into a trap." I said, pacing back and forth on a well worn strip of carpet. On closer inspection, it was not so much a frequently traveled strip of carpet, more of a melted scar from the previous attack that I hadn't noticed. Either way, I continued to pace along the line.
"I'll go" Doctor Doomsday said.
I stopped and turned my head slightly, giving my step-father a side eyed glance. "You would?"
"If he really does have my body" Doctor Doomsday said, clutching the lab coast in a robotic fist, "I'd like to take it back. It belongs to me, after all."
I grinned. "Approved. Just don't take anyone from 28's squad."
As if summoned, Doombot 0028 lumbered down the hall past my open door. Behind him were a dozen standard Doombot frames, a handful of custom models from Warden's recent prison escape, and one robotic dinosaur. Velociraptor Vixen paused as she walked past, and let out a roar that could have been considered realistic if it didn't include the sound of her chainsaw teeth activating as well.
"...I'll take Magma Carter and Citra" Doctor Doomsday said as the dinosaur caught up with her fellow robots.
"Take Communist Manfred too" I suggested. "You may need to trap WalkMan in Warden's world to bring him in."
Doctor Doomsday's pupils widened, which had to be a manual action from the robot bound supervillain. "Oh, that is properly wicked, Steven. I'm so proud of you."
I winked at the doctor. "I learned from the best. Now hop to it, Montana isn't exactly in walking distance."
Doctor Doomsday bowed slightly. "Thank you. We'll take the X-59." He said, and left.
I stared at the door for a few moments before I pressed the intercom button on my desk. "Linda, what is the X-59 Doctor D just mentioned?"
"The X-59 is the prototype supersonic jet that we stole from Lockheed Martin" she answered. "And its Branda, sir. Would you like me to add a note to your contacts list?"
"...no, sorry about that, Brenda" I said, and ended the call.
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2023.03.21 19:43 Darkavenger07 [Recruiting] East Mids #2GLQ22RVL TH 9+ Clan level 3 CWL Gold 2 Social and active war clan
🔸 We’re a clan starting out that’s looking for solid players to come and join us to help us grow.
🔸We have a solid leadership core who are committed to building something solid
🔸 Level 3 clan (UK based primarily)
🔸 Wars are frequent and looking to be more often and larger as we grow. We take wars seriously
🔸 Clan capital: Level 3 capital hall
🔸 CWL: Gold 2
🔸 Clan games: We participate well with many of our players achieving high scores
🔸 Discord server which is mandatory and helps with communication and structure
🔸 We also have a clash royale clan should you be interested
What we’re looking for:
🔹 Non rushed players
🔹 TH 9+
🔹 Be active and friendly
🔹 Use both attacks if opted in to wars - happy for players to opt out as needed
🔹 Use attacks in cwl when participating
🔹 Use all raid weekend attacks
🔹 Follow our rules, listen to leaders and have fun!
💬 Discord channel see the link below ⤵️ https://discord.gg/DRsDkp9Vh5
Apply through discord or DM for more info
Clan Link ⤵️
East Mids https://link.clashofclans.com/en?action=OpenClanProfile&tag=2GLQ22RVL
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2023.03.21 19:41 BeachAdjacent NYC
I tried to remember NYC in the 80's, not the safe and clean playground it is today. NYC was sketchy and grimy when the casque was buried. Brooklyn was a burned out toxic wasteland, not a hipster haunt. Coney Island was a red-light district; "Coney Island whitefish" was slang for a used condom found on the beach. Ellis and Liberty Islands required a ferry to reach, meaning poor people couldn't search, and nobody could bring a shovel. The casque is in Manhattan.
"Rhapsodic mans soil" is a reference to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin Theater in Manhattan wasn't renamed that until after the casque was buried, and Gershwin Park in Brooklyn (now Linden Park) was in the shadow of one of the largest garbage dumps in NYC, not the "grey giant" we want. Also, Rhapsody isn't even Gershwin's most famous song. But, Rhapsody in Blue was first performed in NYC, in Manhattan, at the Aeolian Hall. The Aeolian Hall is directly across the street from . . . Bryant Park.
Bryant Park is literally shadowed by the main branch of the NYC Public Library. That library, while dwarfed by the surrounding buildings, is a GIANT of book lovers - it is a cathedral for writers, like Trinity College Library Dublin or the Beinecke at Yale. It is also gray. Bryant Park is "in the shadow of the gray giant." Also, relating to the image for NYC, someone has already pointed out the lion face hidden in her dress - the NYC Library main branch has two giant, and incredibly famous, lion sculptures in front.
Draw a line due north of Bryant Park, and eventually it intersects Broadway. The most famous "B" in all of NYC. And where, exactly, does that line intersect Broadway? At Columbus Circle, an "isle" in "B."
Rhapsody at the Aeolian, within sight of Bryant Park. The lions and gray giant of the Library adjacent to Bryant Park. The most famous island in Broadway due North of Bryant Park.
So, who is Bryant? William Cullen Bryant was a poet and writer, who also spent 50 years as the editor of the New York Evening Post - the paper founded by everyone's favorite "indies native" Alexander Hamilton. In the early 80's nobody was humming "not throw away my shot." Most people didn't know Hamilton at all, or not much beyond "treasury guy that got offed in a duel." Only historians and longtime New York Post editors, or tricky game designers, would have known of his birth in the west indies. Also, Bryant's works were traditionally published in 6 volumes, his letters and his poems. But his poetry, itself, was available in "3 Hardcover volumes."
The park features a statue of Bryant, sitting, one hand in his lap and one on the armrest. "The arm that extends over the slender path" is his right arm, extended, and above the narrow path around the base of the statue. Just the right arm, importantly, because the statue's arms are one of only a few small asymmetries in Bryant Park. It was designed in a classical style, symmetrical, borders around a rectangular center lawn, with a fountain opposite the Bryant statue. The fountain is on a promenade that is an extended rectangle ending in a perfect half circle,, exactly like the architecture of the top of the associated painting. One other asymmetrical feature of Bryant Park is a stairway at one side of the park opposite the Bryant Statue, the right side, with the stairs entering the park making a perfect "v."
22 paces east of that stairway is where I think, in the wooded border of the park among the "simple roots", was the casque. Unfortunately, Bryant Park was complete redesigned in the late 80's and early 90's. The ground was stripped and dug up 5 feet deep or more, all the trees and shrubs gone. It's all gone, the casque with it. Or at least that's my best guess.
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2023.03.21 17:46 dark_side0fthem00n HAVOK TOURDATES 2023
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2023.03.21 15:59 dark_side0fthem00n VADER - North American Tour 2023
2023.03.21 14:43 AuthorRKeene [The Primeval Apocalypse] - Chapter Two (collaboration with u/hydrael)
| || |The Primeval Apocalypse by Robert Keene and Alex Raizman Cover Image Robert's Published Books Hydrael's Published Books Robert's Patreon Hydrael's Patreon Get updates on Discord! Start Here (Prologue) Previous submitted by AuthorRKeene to redditserials [link] [comments]
The Mandrill town was as impressive as ever. Three dozen buildings were clustered together in the space between the old growth trees. About two thirds of them were homes, while the others represented various other facilities, including workshops and storehouses.
I didn’t have the luxury of excess time and security to look around, but a lot could be inferred about the Mandrills from their set up, even as I hurried by.
The only materials the Mandrills seemed to use in construction was mud and wood, but despite the simple components, they were handled with unexpected mastery. Thick layers of sun-baked mud was used to construct deep and secure foundations for sturdy wooden houses. The digging of those foundations was no small task here in the old growth forest, where the tree roots ran deep and were hard as stone so close to the surface.
And despite the settlement being built on the forest floor, very few buildings leaned on the trunks of those trees for support.
In fact, it was only one.
The town’s central building.
It was constructed entirely of mud, reaching over fifty feet up the trunk of a tree. The appearance of it was somewhere between a hive and a castle, looking for all the world like a mason bee’s answer to the Taj Mahal.
I’d never been inside, so I couldn’t guess its purpose. But it was a dangerous-looking structure nonetheless, bristling with tunnels and passages that warned what a maze it would be to navigate for a stranger.
The only thing I knew for certain was that it was where the alpha spent most of his time.
Of course, as soon as I set eyes on it, my Hide In Plain Sight buff fell off.
My Detection skill was going crazy, notifying me of almost two dozen Mandrills within the hundred feet or so that it covered, and that meant that suddenly becoming plainly visible was terrifying.
But nothing was so terrifying as looking up at the mud hive-castle.
The alpha was standing there on one of the balconies on the ominous structure. He was easy to recognize by his size alone. Pushing seven feet tall, and built like a pro wrestler, the alpha was downright terrifying. Even at this distance, over a hundred and fifty yards away, his brightly colored nose and nasal ridges popped out of the natural brown surroundings. Around his shoulders was what the blue-dyed scarf that I believed served as the mark of his station as the dominant male of this pack.
And his beady little eyes were locked onto me.
His detection radius had to be insane if he saw me from here. Not that my Stealth skill was very high, but it was usually adequate at this range.
As he threw his head back and shrieked to raise the alarm about my presence, it was absolutely impossible for me to stop him.
Not that I wanted to.
The guards being called into the town to deal with me was the whole point of my mission here.
I wanted the alarm raised.
What I didn’t expect was the subsequent hooting and gesturing. Mandrill language consisted of hoots, grunts, and growls that to the human ear were basically interchangeable, and then a large amount of actual meaning was conveyed with body language.
I didn’t understand any of it.
Mandrills responded to humans almost universally with hostility and violence. There wasn’t exactly an app for learning this stuff. I was forced to learn from context.
In response to the alpha’s call, mandrills emerged from their homes, while others who were on guard duty rushed to respond to the racket. When others saw me, they started to echo the shrieking alarm the alpha had raised, but there was a number that instead rushed off to the south. For a moment, I feared that they had intuited that my appearance meant that one of their farms was about to get raided, but they were going the wrong direction. My friends were approaching from the northwest, which is why I’d circled around to appear here, on the east side of their town.
Knowing their town layout from previous raids, the south was where they kept their livestock, but the task of stealing an aurochs was far beyond our capacity. There was simply no way for us to quickly transport one that wouldn’t leave a huge trail back to our camp.
They also hadn’t previously responded to my appearance with increased security to the south. The Mandrill guards were usually happy to chase me around for fifteen minutes before running me off.
I filed that information away for later. Perhaps there was something afoot.
Obviously I couldn’t make any kind of investigation now. The Mandrill guards who had responded to me instead of running to the south were trying to encircle me so that they could cut off my inevitable escape. I wasn’t going to have the chance to share this information with my friends if I didn’t live through to the end of the day.
Axes out, I charged. The guards closing in around me were women—as they were Mandrills in town who were neither juveniles or the alpha—and the one rushing the fastest to cut off the direction I’d come from was the largest of them. My friends had taken to calling her the queen, but I didn’t think Mandrill society worked like that. Unlike the others—and like the alpha—she wore adornment in addition to her loincloth. A necklace of enormous fangs dangled from her neck, clicking and clacking as she moved. Her fur was thinned from all the battle scars on her hide, and in several places, she’d woven bits of red cloth into the fur near the scars, making them look like fresh bleeding wounds at a moment’s glance.
To me, she seemed like much more of a guard captain than a queen. Because of her rapid response to my appearance as a threat, I’d tangled with her plenty of times. Her frustration with my escapes was half the reason why I was so successful in these endeavors.
If she responded rationally, then as soon as she saw me she’d be looking to find what my friends were doing. What could one man do loose in the town? Instead, I’d enraged her so much that my capture—or death—had become her all-consuming objective.
At my approach she bared her teeth at me. I knew enough of the Mandrills to know that it wasn’t a pleasant gesture in their nonverbal language. Despite that knowledge, I grinned right back at her. As long as her hatred was only for me, I was still useful as a distraction.
She held a long sword in her hairy hands. To a human, it would have been a two-handed blade, but the oversized and muscular build of the Mandrill let her swing it at me one-handed, with her other hand reaching to predict my dodge.
Even as I charged for her, she was trying to give me the option of letting her grapple me, or else get cleaved in twain by her blade.
Neither option appealed to me.
Throwing myself into a dive sent me rolling under her, between the wide stance of her legs. I felt a huge hand claw at my leg, tugging at my leather leggings, but the gear was too tight for her to grab. I was behind her in a flash, scrambling to my feet.
Either she’d botched the Athletics skill check to stop me, or she’d simply been unprepared to attempt it. Either way, I was past her, and outside of the ring of guards that were trying to trap me. Now that I was behind her, I smashed both of my hand axes into her flank and then turned that impact into momentum, pushing off of her with the weapons to break into a full sprint.
As I bolted away, another Mandrill guard dove at me with her bare hands, reaching to grab me in a big bear hug in a desperate attempt to stop me from getting loose. But her haste made her forget that I was dangerous in my own right. I faked left and then darted to the right, lashing out with my axes. Without a weapon or shield, and armored only in her natural hide, I left a pair of shallow slashes across the inside of her forearm. My attack sent her howling as she recoiled, letting me bolt past her and to the north, away from the crowd of guards.
The next Mandrill to lunge at me almost caught a pair of axes to the face as they seemed to appear out of nowhere with teeth bared, but I managed to stop myself. He’d appeared out of nowhere because he was barely five feet tall. A child. Someone’s son, just old enough for delusions of heroism but too young to be a proper fighter. Instead of killing him, I jumped up, planting my foot on his face instead of my weapons. With my momentum, it would disabuse him of the notion of giving chase while not being immediately fatal.
Weird violent primate-person or not, he was still just a kid.
I wasn’t a monster.
The Mandrill kid hit the ground, clutching his nose as I sprinted away. I thought maybe the injured juvenile might slow down pursuit. But I could already hear the click-clacking of the queen’s necklace jangling around her neck as she ran. She was right on my heels, even though that meant she’d had to step over a bleeding child.
There was a whooshing sound, and I knew that my Dodge skill had been tested from the way the wind of her swinging blade hit me. My hit points were intact, though.
I couldn’t let her take a second swing at me like that. As confident as I was in my ability to endure the queen’s damage for a couple of hits, I knew that letting her have her way with my hit point bar was a short trip to the long sleep.
With some pep in my step, I juked left again, and then actually ran left, knowing that she would respond to the obvious fake by trying to pounce on where she thought I would be.
True to expectation, her blade slammed into the side of the building to my right as I ran left around the other side of it. The trees and buildings were widely-spaced enough that I couldn’t break line of sight—not that it would matter with the alpha up on the hive-castle, still hooting and shrieking directions—but it was just enough of a lead that I could start creating a real problem. There were still guard patrols emerging from the forest in response to the alarm, and the longer I could keep them here, the more food my friends could pilfer.
With the little time I’d bought, I rushed towards the nearest spot where a building and a tree were close together. Kicking off of the ground, an Acrobatics skill check let me bounce between the tree and the building’s wall to get onto the roof. There were shrieks of alarm from inside the building, and I stoked that fear by hammering the back of my hand axes on the flat wooden roof as I ran down the length of the L-shaped building, heading for the corner.
There was a rattle of the queen’s fang necklace as her hand snaked up at my ankles from the side of the building, but too slow. I scrambled left and then ran to the corner, leaping across to the next nearest building.
It was a tremendous jump, over twenty feet, but one of the benefits of the System was that even after only six months of survival training, my strength and speed were comparable to Olympic athletes, even without the feats enabled by my Acrobatics and Athletics skills.
I touched down on the far roof with all my momentum intact. The queen was well behind me now, and as soon as I hopped off the corner of the roof of this building, she was going to have to run all the way around to catch up. I could be at the edge of the forest by then. Though now that the Alpha had stopped hooting directions, perhaps I could linger a little longer to buy a little more time. The other guards were still shrieking the alarm, trying to coordinate, but without him and his bird’s-eye view I could—
When had the alpha stopped?
I stopped dead as an enormous shape clambered up onto the roof ahead of me. The queen’s click-clacking necklace was rattling behind me, and the howls of alarm from the guards were coming from every direction. I had to keep moving. But I was paralyzed with mingled fear and surprise.
The alpha stood up on the roof before me.
He didn’t bare his teeth.
He didn’t shriek.
He made no facial expression or noise at all.
He just started stalking towards me, his heavy footsteps thumping the roof.
Unarmed, but with his massive hands slowly curling into fists one finger at a time.
I couldn’t stop myself. The words went from my brain to my mouth in an instant without going through all of the necessary checks. I just blurted it out. Despite my hesitance, I had to agree with myself. There was no better assessment for the idea of being sandwiched between the imposing alpha and the enraged queen.