Blind Dating tips

Blind dating is a meeting of two strangers for a date and to know each other better. Blind dates are in many ways similar to any other type of conventional dating except some extra caution that you need to take before going for a blind date. Like any other date, you want your blind date also to go well so that you can have a chance to see him ... Blind Date- Blind Date: Useful guide to surviving a blind date. Here are some tips and ideas for a blind dating and more. Going crazy to handle your love addict friend/brother/sister? Here are the ... Blind Dating – Pros and Cons. A lot of people tend to look online for their soul mates. Some, very lucky ones actually manage to find someone. There is a growing trend of blind dating. It could be somebody from the internet, somebody your friend set you up with or a fix up from the dating company. Blind dates often have a lot of expectations associated with them. Most people aren’t going to set you up on a blind date with one of their friends so the two of you can just hook up for the night. Most people set up blind dates with the idea that a long-term connection will result from it. Dating Advice ; Top 10 Blind Date Tips; Top 10 Blind Date Tips. Shawn Croft. February 1, 2006 . Share Tweet Flip. 0. Shares. 1; 2; Page 1 of 2. Whether you have been set up on a blind date or are ... Hence, when you log on to our portal, you will get a plethora of blind dating tips, access to free online dating sites, queer dating, gay dating, lesbian dating, professional dating, match-making, single parents dating, BBW dating, BHM dating, Ethnic dating, millionaire dating and much more to make your visit to our website worth your time. Those are 7 successful blind date tips I want to share with your guys. In conclusion, blind dating is much more fun and interesting experience that you should try. Many people can find their love in blind date when their chemistry occurs and some people find a good friend. I hope that these 7 blind date tips are helpful for you. Dating a blind guy The leader in love in a date using a blind date ladies, i meant like the first time after 5 oct 2019 01.00 edt. Rich man who is to help visually impaired, falling in some tips for a date with rapport. 13 blind date tips to experience a perfect blind date If you’re preparing yourself to meet a special someone on a blind date, follow all the typical rules of dating. [Read: Things to know to be a really good date every time ] 11 tips for dating a blind person (very useful) November 16, 2018 Disabled dating No Comments Most of the time love comes to us in unexpected ways, nonetheless, love always find us and we don't know who we end up with.

Accountability: or, How An Unmotivated Shlub Wrote Nine Novels in 2020

2020.09.26 23:13 DangerDetective Accountability: or, How An Unmotivated Shlub Wrote Nine Novels in 2020

I've been writing a novel per month all through 2020 and releasing the drafts for free on my website. I'm actually not a particularly strong-willed or motivated person, but knowing that people expect my work on a deadline has really made me a better and faster writer.
(The novels are 40k-60k, which is I know is heckin short. I'm not saying that the writing is good or that my 2020 goal is good or that I'm good. If you want to cancel me, you can DM me and I'll show you my work.)
Reason To Share Your Work #1: Accountability
Having readers is important for me, as a writer, not only for the pleasure of knowing that my work is out in the world doing its work, but also because if I tell these people that I’m working and they don’t see my work, they’ll know I’m a lazy good-for-nothing bum and I will be very embarrassed and depressed.
I’ve identified a character flaw in myself of desperately needing to appear to others in a certain favorable light. This year, I’ve decided to hijack that character flaw and make it work for my advantage.
Let’s be honest: let’s say that the movie Armageddon was not only real, but realistic. Let’s say that the astronaut miners loaded the planet-killing meteor with nukes, turning the meteor into an irradiated shotgun blast that wipes out the Earth. Let’s say you knew for a fact that the world would end in one hour. What would you do?
In any given moment, there’s nothing that your brain and body want more than to just veg out and consume pleasure. Whatever you love most, you’d do in that final hour, and because you know that there’s no need to be productive, you’d do things that aren’t, in the long term, productive.
This is the problem you face every day. In the moment, you want nothing more than to steer your ship toward the sirens’ seductive song. Sure, being eaten by sirens isn’t great for the long term, but in the moment, you don’t care.
Every highly productive person on earth has found some way to link their short-term pleasure with some long-term goals. My long-term goal is to be a literary innovator, mentor, and activist. That’s not achievable in the short term. In fact, contributing to that long-term goal goes against most of my short-term needs. This is why writing cannot (for most people) be a completely solitary pursuit. This is why the typical writer will usually ambush you at parties with a description of what they’re writing; what they’re doing is for the long term, but they need the short-term benefit of someone validating their idea and praising their creativity.
Four Objections:
Objection #1: “It’s not finished.”
Why is that? One of the reasons your work isn’t finished is because the only person expecting it and holding you to a deadline is yourself. That’s a very dangerous place to be in. Unless you’re incapable of doing anything against your own self-interest, which I know you’re not because you’re reading this post. Find someone you trust and want to consume your material. Give them a date by which your work will be ready for them to see.
Objection #2: “It’s not perfect.”
Well, when will it be perfect? If you’re interested in other people benefiting from your work, you’re going to have to let the thing go into the world imperfect in your eyes. One of the reasons I started this project is that I kept re-writing one of my novels for, like, years. I think that novel is about as perfect as it ever will be. I think it’s time, if you’re in that situation, to try other things and learn from the variety.
Is your art so bad that Mister Rodgers himself would read it and tell you that you’re a piece of garbage and that he would never want you to be his neighbor? That’s what happened with one of my books this year. Someday, I’ll fix it up and make it available. But that’s one out of nine novels, so far, that I was embarrassed to release, for free, to the public. It’s likely that your work isn’t that bad, or, at least, not as bad as you think it is. And if it is that bad, give it to someone who won’t be hostile. Maybe even send it to someone and ask them not to read it, just so that they know you completed your task.
Objection #3: “I wouldn’t want to impose.”
You don’t have to demand that someone read your work. You can just send it to them and say, “just thought I’d give ya a lil update” and be totally comfortable with the crushing silence that follows. What's important is that they want you to finish, so you'll want you to finish.
Objection #4: “It’s just too hard.”
Yup. It’ll keep being hard until you do it, and you’ll never get all the benefits that come from having someone other than yourself check out your work.
Reason To Share Your Work #2: Blind Spots
I’ve read work by people who have – so far as I can tell – not shared their work very much. They’ve been left in their own ignorance about some of the things they’re doing wrong. Do I disdain these people? Not at all! They’re the brave ones that asked for help and criticism. Imagine learning to do anything of value on your own, without personal instruction. Driving. Speaking. Despite the state of men’s bathrooms attesting otherwise, every person reading this had to be specifically trained by another human being in the shameful act of using a toilet.
If you don’t want your mistakes to go viral, surround yourself with people who check out and honestly critique your work.
Okay, Now What?
So, now it’s time to choose people to read your work.
Start soft. Find a cheerleader to read your work first. Find someone who will give you back a ton of praise. Here’s why.
I used to be a very bad person to have read your work. I was very arrogant and very sure that I knew the right way to do things. When people sent me their work, I’d tell them honestly what I thought. I look back at those earlier times with a sense of regret. Honesty is great, but if it’s not done diplomatically, it will have zero effect except for making someone feel, in effect, like a zero. For some, I was one of the first people to ever analyze their work, and that first experience was filled with negative rather than positive reinforcement. I’m not saying that I ever purposefully tore people to shreds, but that’s a low bar for a cheerleader.
When you train a baby to walk or eat, you really cheer them on when they do it right. You don’t smack them in the face when they mess up. Some of you guys are either submitting or reading some writing that is equivalent to 'baby’s first steps.' I’m not trying to be patronizing, it’s just that everybody has to start somewhere, sometime.
When someone is just getting started, the first thing they need to hear is “good job.” They need to know that there’s something good about what they’re doing so that they don’t get discouraged and give up. Don’t send your work to a liar who will praise your mistakes, but find someone who can find things to praise, and who will focus mostly on that praise. Let them know you’re just looking for someone to find the good bits.
Once you’ve been praised a little bit, and know your strengths, ask for criticism.
Every critic is always subjectively correct. They know exactly what they felt about your work. You cannot argue with them that they actually felt one way about your work when they tell you they felt a different way. This subjectivity will give you very valuable advice about how your work impacts that specific person.
Every critic will be able to look at a stylebook or critique your grammar. There are some objective rules to grammar, and every rule you break will make more confusing and very not readable your writing that is being readed. Sure, you can have your own style, but distancing yourself from the average elements of style distances you from the average reader.
Every critic will be able to make suggestions.
No critic can write your book for you.
I’ve been hurt by criticism, before, but I’ve always been able to eventually remove my feelings from the equation and sort the valuable criticism from the criticism I don’t care about. If someone makes a good point about a flaw in your work, you can change it. If someone makes a bad point about your work, you can recognize that they’re wrong and recognize that their criticism is bad and not worth internalizing.
It’s a win-win. Almost.
I’ve only ever once received criticism that I found downright offensive. The gist is this: someone who had power over me told me how to write my book.
Objection: Isn’t that the point of criticism?
When criticizing, critics should tell the artist what they did and didn’t like. The critic can and should tell the artist where they think this or that element could be stronger, and even suggest exploring this certain idea less and this certain idea more. But the second a critic takes the pen out of the artist’s hand and begins writing the artist’s story for them, that’s the second the critic has crossed the line. The critic can say anything they want about the art; anything, except “I could have done it better.”
Because, how could you know? If you could have done it better, why didn’t you? Instead, a critic should recognize the essential building blocks of a story and tell the artist, “I think you could do better.”
However,
I’m lucky enough to have a few people who keep up with my work almost as soon as I write it, and who would never criticize things in the wrong way. For now, those people are usually either family or friends, but there are a few strangers out there who vibe with the work I’ve posted on the internet. I’m a lucky ducky.
And yet, in that element of luck, there’s also an article of danger. If people you care about read your work, there’s always the threatening probability that you will alter your story to fit their desires and expectations rather than staying true to yourself and your ideal audience. I’ve read many, many works from friends and family that bend over backward to appeal to said friends and family, even if the book isn’t meant for them.
While almost all of my family and friends like my work in some regard, some of them don’t really like to read that much, and others would rather spend their time on nonfiction or movies or whatever, and others don’t like it when I say bad words like poopoo or peepee.
If I can make my book better for my ideal reader by making it worse for my friends and family, that’s what I’ll do. My loved ones do things all the time that aren’t specifically for me, and I love them enough to care about their work even if it’s not something I’d normally care about.
Luckily, you're on a website with a lot of writers who are happy to exchange work based on their specific tastes and expertise. scifiwriting, Screenwriting, fantasywriters, etc.
TLDR;
I write a lot because I've found accountability partners. I'll be down in the comments for criticism. If you folks have any additional accountability/criticism tools, I'm sure we'd all appreciate said tips.
submitted by DangerDetective to writing [link] [comments]


2020.09.25 02:37 Varylnard [Perpetual War] - Part 2: Chapter Nine - A Conflicted World

Cover Art Chapter One Previous Chapter Index Part Three coming soon
You can find all of my work beyond just Perpetual War over on the CardForge Blog
***
Glodoran has become the largest battle of this past decade. Over fifty million causalities in total. When battles average in hundreds of thousands here or a million there, it becomes trivial when placed next to such a number. This battle all began when Yenvark Union, upon encroaching into Derdainia territory brought forth enough magic to create a crack in the mountain and revealed the existence of a Primordial Tower within. Naturally, Derdainia responded in kind by retaliating at first to the encroachment and next in trying to take control of the tower. This initial confrontation alone had two hundred thousand causalities. The news of the tower spread fast, and before long neighboring nations began to seek ways to press into Derdainia’s northern borders. Now as of my writing four major nations and three smaller nations are locked in a stand still - Derdainia to the south of the tower with Yenvark to the north. Swenork pressing in from the east along the Bosakil Mountains and Oligany coming from the northwest. To the northeast the faction known as Vlaxtawk take up refuge in the Glodoran mountains as well as pockets of remaining forest on the outskirts around the Glodan plains. In the southwest the Uleashe numerous in their numbers hold on to their corner. The last faction is that of the Morhi’can Alliance to the west. A complicated mess the battle has become, and it is destined to grow in size with rumors of Ashakuriya and Luncal making strides in entering the fray with their own war machines.
-Scholar Telorl Uvish, The Study of Great Battles
***
The chandelier hung high above the table, its sparkling lights lit the golden frame ablaze, and in turn chased away any shadows seeking to consume the large oval shaped room. The table that was beneath it was made of a rare, sturdy maple wood stained dark and was covered in an array of papers and documents with a map at the center. Flags and blocks stood scattered across the map to depict the location of various armies in Derdainia and the surrounding front lines that encircled the Imperium. The edges of the table were smoothed evenly all around its massive shape.
Four men and a woman stood around the table, dressed in their dark gray uniforms decorated with a variety of pins signifying past accomplishments. An insignia with three stars surrounding a sword decorated each of their collars to noting their rank as grand altálonos.
Standing back from the table was each altálonos’ personal aide, ready to serve. Around the table three, more aides walked with long sticks in hand made for reaching across the table to the center as to reposition the flags and figures to new spots.
Tall windows with maroon curtains drawn were on one side of the room. To either side, doors led out of the room that were currently shut. Portraits hung along the walls with a pair of massive horned eagle heads mounted above either door, their eyes locked across the room. The final wall was used to hang a large framed painting of the Father himself and nothing else. His blond hair seemed to have a glow to it in the light of the room and his piercing gaze was locked upon the table set out before him.
A final man sat at the table with the back of the chair facing the painting of the Father. His uniform similar to the others with the main difference in the insignia on his collar instead was a sword all by itself, the design similar to the Father’s own great sword showed in his grip in the painting behind. A heavy, furred coat hung around the elder man’s shoulders, his entire body leaning forward to rest his head on his hands that held the top of the black cane in his possession.
Veyluna stood at an angle along the table, between the windows to her left and one of the doors leading out to her right. Her own body was kept in disciplined attention, back and shoulders straight with her arms holding documents ready to be retrieved if ordered for them. A notepad atop the stack in the crook of her arm was opened to a page with words already written within, notes of various details she picked up. She watched the whole display of minds come together to discuss the Imperium’s current blight with acute attention.
At that moment her focus was on Hadeon, the grand altálonos that she was personally under. The man had a hand on the table, leaning heavily on it with his eyes focused on the map laid out in front of him. She watched him reach for his cup of coffee. He surely spiked it with alcohol, I swear he’s not the man I expected to be placed under. Too lazy and quick to turn to drinking.
“The recent reports of the East Balkyud are not very promising.” The stern voice opposite of Hadeon came from Grand Altálonos Krontelk. His glasses appeared tight on his pudgy face.
Veyluna leaned slightly forward to get a good look of Krontelk. Such a plump man, the idea that he was once a soldier on the front line is comedic.
“If we don’t do something about it before winter sets in there is a chance, we’ll lose the entire front,” Krontelk continued.
A tap of a finger on the edge of the table drew the large man’s attention to Grand Altálonos Oestreiker. “When has the eastern front ever been promising?” He slid a finger along the smooth surface of the table looking for any inconsistencies. The metal tip of the glove adding a distinctive ring as he moved his finger. “I suggest we take advantage of the Talmakians withdrawal to reposition the fifth and twenty-eighth Sereg along the Balkyud front before winter sets in.”
Veyluna winced at the metal on the table’s surface. What is with those gloves? Is it to do with him being an esper? She thought after spotting the black orb patch stitched into his uniform.
“I’d agree with that. What of the Southeastern border? Is Petrovard holding, Helmina, so that you may reposition both Sereg?” Krontelk asked, his round spectacles turning to the woman who stood to the right of Hadeon.
“As of recently? Or overall?” Helmina replied with her own questions, arms crossed.
“Why does that matter?”
“Well, overall, it’s abysmal, I’ve been suggesting we redirect supplies there for months, but you and Oestreiker made sure to put a stop to that happening.” She straightened herself more as if growing with the aggression of her words. “As of recently though, yes the lines are holding and healthy as of this morning line report from the fortress.”
Veyluna looked to her right at Helmina, a shiver running through her at the woman’s visible scowl. She looks like she’s ready to tear someone’s heart out.
“You know very well why that shipment from the city of Weshvale had to be re-routed to the border cities of the Oosatull Kingdom.”
Veyluna from her angle saw Krontelk give Oestreiker a glare at having been cut off by the man before returning a reply of his own against Helmina. Krontalk’s bald head seem to turn red as the man ground his insult before calming down with a slow breath.
“Yes, some sort of epidemic.” Helmina waved her hand and shook her head, the black curls of her hair shifting in the light. “And at the time I suggested we create an investigation into the situation as good chances the people of Oosatull are meddling with Talmakian drugs. Or worse, they’re lying to us and want free aid! Then we’d have every excuse to not have to help our poor ally for a change.”
Oestreiker cracked a knuckle in his hand as he examined over the gloves looking for anything wrong in the fabric. “It took a great deal of effort to establish the ceasefire on that border.” He cracked another knuckle, “With an entire front closed we’ve been able to turn our attentions to other areas, it should be expected for us to send the occasional gift to our allies out of good faith to maintain the peace.”
“It’ll backfire on us, this ridiculous peace with Oosatull, they’re a bunch of thieving mongrels just like Talmakia,” she sneered.
The grand altálonos between Hadeon and Oestreiker, and across from the old man who had not spoken yet finally did with a gentler, but commanding tone. “Calm yourself, Helmina, such insults fall on no one who’d disagree or be tempted to fight you on the issue of Oosatull or Talmakia. Thus, keep them bound behind the key to your mind.”
Helmina returned to a more normal pose, her arms uncrossed as her shoulders relaxed. “I understand, Lugern.”
Lugern turned his attention to Oestreiker and Krontelk behind. “Let’s stay on topic and avoid any more heat, shall we?”
Krontelk simply nodded with a huff of breath and hid his emotions with a long drink from his coffee.
“Noted,” Oestreiker replied.
He always knows what to say. Veyluna admired the older man before turning her eyes to Lugern’s assistant, a young man with black hair similar in age to her. Lucky bastard getting paired up with a legend like Lugern.
“Krontelk, your suggestion on repositioning armies to support Balkyud is of sound design, I do believe though we must take from a different location. I fear if we perform the same plan as last year, then Petrovard will surely fall during Summer as it nearly did then.”
Veyluna watched Hadeon take another sip from his coffee. Why can’t I be under Lugern? He clearly has more knowledge behind him than this slouch. She rubbed at her forehead to hide her frustration. Lugern recommended me for this position after academy school; surely, he intended for me to work for him and yet here I am.
“And what would be your recommendation?” Oestreiker inquired, cracking a third knuckle.
Lugern waved for an assistant with a long stick to step forward. Taking it, he pointed out a group of three blocks near the center of the map. “The newly reformed eighty-eighth infantry Sereg along with the mechanized thirteenth core and fourth armored Spautink have been away from the war for quite some time, this would be a golden opportunity for them to perform.”
Hadeon awakened from his stupor, “Those were assigned to support my objectives in Glodoran, there must be another place we can take troops from? What of the western borders? Have they not improved?”
“The Ulhtarn plains have and will continue to be a complete mess for the time being,” Krontelk chuckled. “No matter what we do our forces are outnumbered by the Uleashe Federation, the only saving grace for us is the encroachment of Ashakuriya Clan slicing through their rear.”
“A fair point, but if I don’t get the reinforcements required in Glodoran then we won’t have any front broken in the new year,” Hadeon continued.
Lugern ran his fingers along the smooth wood of the stick. “You needn’t worry, Hadeon. After the eastern front is helped, come spring we can reposition them back north. You should only see the positive in this, they’ll be receiving immense experience in preparation for your schemes to the north against Union.”
Hadeon crossed his arms and leaned back slightly in acknowledgment. “You have a good point, but when we discuss the situation again in Spring, I expect to get the supplies and manpower I need.”
“You will get what can be spared, Hadeon,” Helmina said, giving the man a glare. “We all are short of supplies on all fronts as we have been for years. I suggest you make plans with what you have just in case you get nothing.”
He leaned forward, returning Helmina’s glare with his own. “I am only concerned after the failures of the southeast to capture territory to fuel our war machine.”
Veyluna squeezed the documents to her chest. What is he doing, trying to start a fight with her?
Helmina’s eyes narrowed as she prepared to lash back with words of her own.
The old man raised his head slightly and let forth a light chuckle that deflated the tension in the room and drew the attention of the altálonos in the room. Clearing his throat, he looked at Hadeon with blind eyes. “Young Hadeon, you are new here, so you have much to learn. The piece of knowledge I encourage you to gain this day is to control your urge to accuse and maintain your mask. Emotions here won’t get you far. A lesson that even others in this room have trouble with sometimes, isn’t that right, Helmina?”
“Understood, Precursor.” Hadeon nodded his head and stepped back into his relaxed position, hand moving to his cup of coffee.
“Sorry, Precursor,” Helmina replied with a solemn tone.
Precursor Tanendorf, just how old is he? I wonder if he can speak to Father?” Veyluna looked into the old man’s blind eyes and felt an invisible pressure as she was forced to look away, eyes drifting to her documents in hand in an attempt to hide from the white glare. What was that feeling? She peered up to see the old man with his head down again, motionless.
“To side with Hadeon, I must admit the recent failings of this year on all fronts has put us in a precarious position.” Oestreiker moved a bang of brown hair back behind his ear from where it had gotten loose from. “We must gain a victory in Glodoran, so we may continue to strike fear in our neighbors as well as boost morale. Failure would surely force us to shrink our borders.”
Hadeon simply nodded his head in agreement before sipping from his cup in quiet contempt.
“A victory there is unlikely thanks to Swenork, Luncal’sha, and Ashakuriya all stomping their way into Glodoran,” Krontelk said.
Helmina stifled a laugh. “For once I agree with you, Krontelk. We’re better to focus on the southeastern front’ I’m confident with enough strength that I can break Talmakia by this time next year.”
“What gives you the confidence for such a bold claim, Helmina?” Lugern inquired.
She smiled, “I have formulated the plans and will have my assistant give you a copy before you leave. But, to summarize, the plan calls for the capture of a key Talmakia worship area on the border and force them to focus a large number of troops there. Through attrition we can weaken them then push into their land with the onset of Fall next year.”
“A sound plan, but where do we find the supplies to break them on their turf in the first place?” Krontelk asked, adjusting his glasses on his wide nose.
“You said it yourself, Krontelk, the western border is a mess with Ashkuriya cutting through. With such a distraction we should be able to reposition supplies to the southeastern front.”
Krontelk snorted and his face reddened. “Are you crazy? If Ashkuriya turns on us, they’d force our hand in our current state!”
Oestreiker leaned forward to study the map with a renew focus. “That is unlikely to happen based on Ashakuriya’s current movements. I believe Helmina is on to something.” He grinned and rubbed his hands together. “And if her plan succeeds and it breaks Talmakia it will also solidify our alliance with Oosatull further. The southern border for once will grow still.”
“Let us not jump so far ahead,” Lugern interrupted the growing excitement in the three altálonos. “We must study the plans that Helmina is putting forward and compare them to the situation carefully. Even if we’re right about the clan’s movements, that still ignores the current threat of the north with Luncal and Swenork moving from the Glodan and Bosakil mountain ranges.”
“And what of their movements up north?” Helmina asked, turning to Hadeon. “Have the scouts there given you any information to go on?”
“Yes, currently Luncal’sha has taken the Bosakil pass leading into the Glodan plains. Nothing of equal threat has occurred. It is still too early to conclude their current strategy in the region and the ambassador has not returned any message to the northern outposts.”
“Such a lack of information should put to rest any current discussions,” Lugern said and handed the stick back to the assistant. “I believe we should part for now and gather as much information before convening once more.
“Wise words, Grand Altálonos Lugern,” Tanendorf said with his raspy voice. He slowly raised his head and turned to each altálonos with his blind eyes. “I want each of you to study Helmina’s strategy carefully as well as Hadeon’s. Before Winter sets in we must solidify our strategy.”
“Yes, precursor,” they replied in unison.
“Good, now return to your respective chambers and get to work; the Father waits eagerly for our next victory.”
Hadeon downed the last of his coffee and left the cup for an assistant to collect. He turned and met Veyluna’s glare. “Get a copy of Helmina’s plans and meet me in the hall,” he grumbled and stomped off towards the closes exit.
Veyluna watched him go with a sour look before heading over to Helmina’s assistant who passed her a black folder filled with papers. Other men and women moved beside her to get their own copies, giving her the space to ease away from the growing conversations in the room, uninterested in joining them herself and instead focused on catching up to Hadeon.
A servant opened the door for her, and she passed through into a hallway lined with marble and well-lit by light fixtures running along the ceiling. Hadeon was waiting there, flask in hand.
“Hadeon!” She hissed at the sight of the flask.
He waved a hand to silence her and closed the flask before concealing it in a hidden pocket of his uniform. “Let’s get going.”
“Of course,” she replied and stepped forward to match his pace going down the hall. The familiarity of the halls coming to her with ease having now worked besides Hadeon for some weeks now running papers to and fro down the halls. They weaved back and forth through them, the marble interior broken up by statues, paintings, potted plants, and the various posts denoting occupants of the rooms they passed.
“Why the rush?” she asked, finally breaking the silence between the two of them. A foot shorter than him, she was forced to take a faster step to be able to keep up. “Don’t tell me you’re agitated by your plan not getting what it needs to succeed.”
He slowed in his step to glance back at her and without a response he kept walking.
“I knew it, that Helmina got to you.” Getting no response, she continued, “I knew you told me your distaste for the grand altálonos’ meetings, but now that I’ve finally been to one, I think you set yourself up to be annoyed. You can’t possibly expect to get everything you want.”
“I don’t,” he growled.
“Then why get angry at all?”
“Because each meeting makes my grand strategy to break the Glodoran line seem further away.”
“I can see that getting to you.” Veyluna nodded her head in understanding. “I always heard about how precarious our situation as a nation was with fronts at nearly every angle, but seeing the grand map with the most up to date locations of each regit really put it in perspective.”
Hadeon stopped and turned to her. “And I expect your help in making sure my plan still happens even if we lose more support for it.”
“Well, yes, that is my job.” She laughed. “To have to deal— I’m sorry, I mean work with you.”
Hadeon grumbled a curse under his breath and looked past her to a window looking out on the garden surrounding the Supreme Military Headquarters. “Lugern assigned you to me for the express purpose of helping make the Glodoran push happen.”
“Did he now?” Was that Lugern’s intention from the start?
“Yes, I’m telling you this now as I believe you have the talent to plan on both the strategic and tactical level.”
“I’m glad you see me more than a secretary.” She grinned. “Shall we get back to your office and get to work? Spring will be here before we know it.”
Hadeon took a deep breath and marched on. “Another week is over; we draw closer to the operation’s day. Let’s hope it isn’t a huge mess.”
***
The halls of darkness rushed past him in a blur. The echo of his footsteps struck out in every direction and yet were muffled. Heavy breathing not his own seemed to bellow forth from the shadows threatening to engulf him at any moment. A skittering of noise in the distance.
A light ahead caught Bryce’s attention. He raced for the gap of light, rays growing brighter as he neared it.
He reached the exit and stopped short at the emptiness which greeted him. The source of the light was high above him in the distant, dark sky.
“Always moving…” a voice bellowed forth from high above. “What exactly do you race toward?”
The skittering of noise came ever near.
He looked back, eyes widening at the sight of the light casting on the black shadows coming close to him. Without a second’s thought, Bryce leapt forward into the emptiness. He plummeted down; eyes closed as he reached out for the strings of magic. The familiar touch tickled at the edge of his mind and he took hold with reassurance. His quick descent turned abruptly to an ascent towards the bright light.
“To change the world, is it?” the voice asked with an inquisitive tone. “But what can a single man do with the world ever in motion as a raging river?”
A sudden weight struck him down, his mind clinging to the touch of magic. With a heavy impact, Bryce found himself on his back in the midst of shadows. The light from before was now gone and in its place was a red lingering glow.
Standing in a rush, Bryce called flames to his fingertips. The fires danced about, casting their light upon the odd shapes striking out from the unmoving shadows. He cast out with his hands alighting one of the figures. The heat began to grow against the cold as other fingers drifted away from the one withering away in pain.
“Your determination has been admirable since the beginning.” The voice’s words, in a deep throaty pitch mixed with a snarl behind them, seemed to come from different angles. “It might even be just enough.”
The figures tightened around Bryce, their oddly shaped appendages reaching out in an attempt to snatch him.
“In the end, time will dictate that.”
He unleashed more of the flames with a silent cry of effort. The shadowy figures pulled away, unable to stay close to the heat and light.
The red glow above morphed and changed to a pair of large eyes looking down upon him. “Your search for this Guidance will lead you down a terrible path.” The voice now emitted from a of pair of eyes, the creature’s shape hidden amongst the darkness. “Will you follow it, nonetheless? All for a chance?”
Bryce expanded the flames further as he looked out upon the eyes trying to peer into the darkness to learn more from their deep pools of crimson.
“Seek me then” The voice said with disdain and the eyes closed as the figure moved away. “Human…”
The darkness all around rushed forward to engulf Bryce. His touch upon the magic was pulled away from his mind as a frozen chill took his body. He tried to scream, but nothing came out.
Bryce’s eyes shot open.
A low rumble in the distance. A cement ceiling above. His body covered in a heavy blanket. A bead of sweat slid down his forehead.
The room itself was plain, another pair of beds both empty along with crates and bags of supplies in the corner.
He blinked his eyes a few times and tried to move his hands. Aches of pain came with the movement, but with some effort he pulled his hands free of the blanket to look at each digit, moving them as if to confirm he was still alive.
“Bryce?”
Lowering his hands back down, he felt a comforting warmth rush through his heart at the sight of Liarie in the doorway of the small room. “I’m—” he coughed as he tried to clear his throat. “How glad am I to see you, Liarie.” He smiled and coughed a couple of more times.
Liarie settled down beside him and forced a canteen into his hands, “Don’t talk, drink first.” She stared at his face with a quizzical look, “Did you have a bad nightmare?”
He shook his head and took the canteen into his hands, the thought of water making him realize just how parched and dry his lips were. Eagerly, Bryce brought the opening to his lips and drank.
“Alright, well I’m sure you’re wondering about everything that has happened since you became unconscious.”
He coughed again and paused in his drinking to look at her, “How long was I out?”
“You used quite a lot of blood.” She laughed. “More then you should have, but thankfully you did not receive any fatal injuries. So, in the end just a day and a half.” She tapped the bottom of the canteen. “Drink some more.” She shifted her legs into a crossed position, her tail flicking behind her a couple of times. “Thanks to your actions at the end, everyone who had made it to that point, made it across. The only loss we received was Chapman. Compared to other units, we did phenomenal considering the circu—.”
Bryce cleared his throat and handed her back the canteen. “I know you mean well, but please, Liarie. Don’t speak of Chapman as just a number, he was a person.”
“Sorry, I… forget…” She lowered her head, ears drooping.
“Don’t feel bad. You are right, it could have been worse.” Using his elbows, he sat up against the pillows and pulled the blanket back to try to cool down.
“Are you sure you didn’t have a bad nightmare?” Liarie asked now seeing just how drenched his shirt was with the blanket pulled aside.
“I guess you could call it that.” He rubbed at his forehead trying to clear it of sweat. “It was dark, and shadows were chasing me.”
Liarie leaned slightly forward, her ears tilting towards him as she hung on every one of his words with curiosity.
“A voice was speaking to me all about the futility to the flow of time.” He took a deep breath and rubbed at his chest. “In the end, the voice said that if I seek out Guidance that it’d lead me down a terrible path.”
“A terrible path, eh?” She smiled. “Well, how much worse could our situation get? We’re surrounded by war every day.”
He returned her smile and laid his head back to stare up at the ceiling. “The voice wasn’t human, some sort of creature… I think it’s what we’ll be led to after we meet up with Guidance.”
“A creature? An ancient race you think?”
“Maybe.”
“Anything else from this nightmare of yours?”
He shook his head.
“Are we still looking for Guidance after we leave the trenches?”
“Yes.” Bryce looked down at her, admiring the bright green glow of her eyes. “We’re already on this path. I don’t see why we should get off of it.”
“I agree,” She rose to her feet with a light bounce and began to head for the door leading out of the small cramped space. “Get some more rest, my dear, I’ll bring you dinner and we can meet up with Hendrick to discuss the next set of plans.
“Thank you, Liarie.”
“Of course,” She gave him a final look of longing and left with a wave of her tail.
“Bound to a bed again.” He closed his eyes and reached out for that familiar string of magic, its flow soothing his mind. Once I leave this comfort, what will be waiting for me? He saw the flash of the pair of red eyes. What exactly was that creature?
submitted by Varylnard to redditserials [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 18:05 gowildandfilmit3 Heading to Texas

You headed to Utah to pick up Meghann and bring her back to Texas after convincing her to leave her husband. You had already seen her at the airport, met some of her family and saw some of her friends. The car was packed to the brim with Meghann's stuff, or at least all that would fit, and you were ready to go. At the last moment, you called up Meghann's two best friends Heather and Cassandra. They've been her closest friend through this whole mess and have even helped her tap into her crazy wild side. There had been many a night where you would receive topless pictures of either Meghann or Heather. Now, you and Meghann head to a motel and are waiting for Cassandra and Heather to arrive for one last night of partying with them before leaving for Texas.
You arrive with Meghann at the motel room and as usual there is no sign of your other two friends. The motel room is nicer than most but not by much. It's arranged in a C shape, with a sofa and desk at the entry way, a bathroom in the middle that blocks the desk from the bed, and a king sized bed on the other end with the door for the bathroom being close to the bed. You head to the car and unload some of the alcohol and mixers with Meghann who heads to the bathroom. While Meghann showers, you mix a couple of drinks. you make yours a bit weak and make hers a bit strong. Meghann comes out of the bathroom fully dressed and you hand her her drink. Heather and Cassandra (who goes by Cass) should be arriving soon.
As you hand Meghann her strong drink, you look at your watch and mention the time. Heather and Cass should be here any minute. The drink goes down rather quick and you can see signs of inebriation. You finish off your drink seconds before you hear Heather honk the horn. Heather and Cass come into the room and it is instantly turned into a party. The music gets turned on, everyone is dancing by the bed, and you mix drinks for the girls.
Heather looks at Meghann and says "I can't believe you're fucking leaving! Dude, you know how fucked up this is right?" Cass quickly reminds Heather that you don't think it is as bad as they do. Anyway, the four of you have a bunch of space to party in and randomly choose the bed as the prime spot to do so.
Meghann says to Heather, "dude you know I had to get out of there. Our girls nights were the only thing keeping me sane!" You busy yourself with making drinks as the girls talk but head slightly closer to them. Heather says something about there being more than enough of you to have nights like this but in Texas, Meghann says soberly.
> You say "I think I'm plenty enough for Meghann! At least until she makes some friends. I can take care of her just fine" You knew rebelliously saying this would get you some looks from the girls and you're right.
> You say "I mean... I know it won't be like y'all's girls nights, but I'm sure I can find a reason for Meghann to take a picture of her titties! " Cass cuts in and pulls up your comment. Cass says "Hah! I like this guy already!" with a smirk, which troubles you.
> You say "I do what I can" You lean in behind Meghann and put your arm around her in a side hug. Cass then says "I still can't believe you figured out it was Meghann's ass in that picture we sent." as the look of disbelief appears on her face again. "Hah! I remembered her asking me what type of pic she should take and I knew she would probably do something like that to show off! Although..."
> You say "I'm just glad Heather talked Meghann into taking a pic of her vag!" You knew that was pushing it, but they were going in a good flow of jokes and you wanted to join in on it. Cass asks "Why didn't she ask you?!"
> You say "ask me what?" "how to take a good picture of her hole." you say. You nearly see Cass spit out her drink in shock that you just said and Heather can't quite do it.
> You say "Well heather was nice enough to send one first! Meghann even took the picture!" Meghann starts laughing and slurs out "fuuuuck... haha! you've got a lot of stupid jokes!" Cass giggles too before saying "I might be as drunk as her but that was funny."
> You say "I'm glad Heather isn't shy with photos. It really helped out for while Meghann and I were apart" Meghann cuts in "Bullshiiiiiit.... you missed flirting with me that badly huh?
> You say "Hell yeah I did! It was tough only getting to see bits of nudity from you once a week" You hug her from behind while she lets you. Cass cuts in and asks "wait did Heather take ALL of the pics from back then?" You turn quiet at the question.
> You say "I think she took most of them. Meghann did eventually send me some full nudes she took of herself" Cass is clearly interested "Hm... well we ABOUT those!" Disgustedly, you reply slurring your words because the marijuana has gotten to your head.
> You say "Meghann, did you show them those pictures?" She laughs."I was waiting for you!!" Both the girls lean a bit into you, with Heather putting her hand on your leg.
> You say "ok, who wants to see Meghanns nudie pictures she took?" Meghann just holds her hands out to reveal a smart phone sized device with a touchscreen. Heather is quickly grabbing it and searching for the pictures, eventually acessing photo library.
> You say "Did you find the pictures?" Meghann taps Cass on the shoulder and hands her the phone, who puts it on full brightness so everyone could see.
> You say "How does Meghann look? Not bad pictures right?" You look on the screen. Naked, Meghann in her bathroom without a casewrapping her black hair into a bun.
> You say "You know how much effort it took to get Meghann to take that one? I got off to it tons of times" Everyone laughs. The next one is Meghann naked too without a top. How drunk did you let her get?! Next one, it looks like she took it with both of you.
> You say "That last one we took at the airport. We haven't gotten to take many pictures together yet." Megham kisses you on the cheek blushing, and the rest of you look at more pictures. This one? Ew no. That one is just of her head.
> You say "We all have to take some pictures. Lets do a group shot before we get too drunk" With those words, you hop to your feet and everyone does. Well everyone else sits in the bed but enough people could take a good group photo.
> You say "everyone say titties!" "TITTIES!!" Everyone shout, and Cass takes a picture. Cass laughs and starts texting the picture to everyone in your phone.
> You say "Hey Heather, how about we put you in charge of the camera for taking pictures?"
> You say "Here Heater, take the digital camera." "Yes! I've always wanted to be in charge of pictures." Heather takes your phone and you could see her scrolling through some of the pre-mentioned pictures.
> You say "So Heather, what picture should we take first? Tell us how to pose and you take the picture" Heather grins, getting frisky. "Come on someone kiss! Then I'll be ready with the picture!"
> You kiss meghann. After smooching Heather is kind enough to take a picture of the two of you, with mouths wide open. Cass leans in.
> You say "how was that?" "Perfect." Heather lookes at your phone. "I like this guy." You quickly grab the phone before she could show the entire group of people what would be the topless shot. "Ahhh!"
> You say "Is that the picture we're taking next? haha" Heather gets more serious whilst looking at it "Yeah." turning to you, she pauses for a second.
> You say "lets do it! Who is the picture going to be of?" Cass decides that she'll be the photographer. Heather poses and everyone else is putting their arm around her or vaguely smiling at the phone, The phone camera flashes, mildly blinding everyone into a flawless picture. During one of the pictures, heather lifts her shirt and exposes her breast. Cass takes the picture and Heather quickly lowers her shirt again. Almost as if anticipating Cass would take that picture. Everyone starts laughing and Heather gets into a mock rage throwing pillow at Cass. Meghann says "ok, take my picture next!" She starts making poses under Heather's guidance who is holding the phone on it's side, every one approves of the different shots. then Heather says "get your tits out for one picture!" Heather added. "Just one!". Meghann smiles and complies, you feel akward doing this in such a large group but everyone seems to enjoy it, it's seen as a joke after all.
> You say "uh oh. I think cass is next for a titty picture" Theres an outburst of laughter shortly after hearing you speak. Heather stands up quickly "oh, so now you're doing a prophet act oh wise one?" > You say "Well I figured since you and Meghann took pictures with your titties out, cass would be the next one" "Oh! I have an idea it was your turn?" Everyone laughs and almost gets behind Cass because everyone got behind Heather before, all cheering.
> You say "my turn? Ok, well, I don't have titties. What should I flash for the camera?" Heather stands up "Well we got to see your cute butt, so you could flash that"
> You say "fair enough! Take a picture of my butt!" You pull your pants and underwear down slightly so that your but is hanging out for the camera, sure enough everyone starts laughing and taking pictures of your butt. You are a bit embarassed but laugh along with humiliation.
> You say "ok cass. Now it's time for you to take a picture with your huge titties out" Cass raises an eyebrow "They are not huge." And starts flipping out whiel laughing about someone besides her husband seeing her topless. Everyone starts chanting "topless, topless".
> You chant. Finally she agrees, seemingly out of embarrassment though the chant. "Fine i'll do it"
> You cheer. Mehgann helps her take the shirt off as the chant continues, you can feel how tense she is despite looking calm... Or everyone is just so excited they are ignoring it to enjoy the moment.
> You take a picture of cass. Cass pulls her phone out and quickly tries to take a picture. Everyone else lines up as well, eagerly wanting their topless photo. Cass says,"okay back away!"
> You say "alright. you did good. Nice tits cass!" "thanks....they aren't that big you know!" everyone laughs as Mehgann dashes over and hugs Cass tightly. "and they feel real here." Mehgann jumps on you and wrestles your to the ground tightly hugging you while laughing.
> You say "Hey meghann, you want to do a magic trick with me?" Mehgann nods excitedly, "Definetly!" She sits on the recliner and Mehgann, Everyone backs up to give you space.
> You say "ok. here's how we're going to do it. Cass, you take the photo camera and Heather, you take the video camera and record this" You walk up close to Mehgann and glance at Cass and Heather to see they are ready.
> You say "heather and cass, you wait here. Meghann and I are going to prepare over by the desk. It's going to be just a minute and we'll be right back " Mehgann and you walk to the desk both wanting to giggle but refraining from doing so. Mehgann whispers "What's the REAL trick? you whisper quietly so only meghann can hear, "Ok, so you and i are going to be together and dating right?" you ask meghann She smiles at you saying "obviously" you whisper quietly so only meghann can hear, "Ok, How about we fuck for the first time on camera and get heather and cass to film it and take pictures? It'll be crazy hot" Meghann begins to blush and realizes you're suggesting that You'll actually do it. whisper so only meghann can hear, "you up for it?" Meghann nods her head quickly and whispers back "maybe lets go now before j have second thoughts"
> You say "ok. heather and cass stay here. Meghann and I will go prepare. Heather and cass, no peaking ok?" Cass nods her head quickly while Heather complains "not fair, should be able to see the show".
> You say "we'll show you the magic trick in just a second. just hang tight and don't look ok?" > You say "meghann and I will go over by the desk in the other room where you can't see us. Heather and cass, wait here on the bed" As cass and Heather wait their the bed you pause for a moment looking at those two on it, wondering what they might do once you and meghann are out of the room. you whisper to meghann so only she can hear, "ok, take off all your clothes and I'll do the same. We need to be quick" Meghann nods as you both stand and begin stripping off your clothes. you whisper to meghann so only she can hear "you look fucking hot naked." as you drop your clothes on the floor. Meghann blushes slightly before retrieving her phone and turning around to show you her naked buttocks as she transfers all her clothes into the drawer of the desk.
> you whisper to meghann so only she can hear "ok, now you're going to face away from me and I'm going to pick you up, spread your legs in the air and put you down on my cock. then we'll run out to the bed and tell heather and cass that they are in charge of filming and directing our first porno. sound good?" Meghann nods and turns around, she spreads her legs ready for you and you begin lifting her. with both of you facing the same direction, you lift meghann and bring her down so that your cock enters her pussy. both of you are happy, excited and extremely horny. you shout towards the other room "cass and heather, are you ready with the cameras?" They reply with a solid yes and meghann tells you to go for it.
you walk quickly into the bedroom and show cass and heather that you're carrying meghann, that you're both naked, you're both facing heather and cass and your cock is inside meghann. meghann spreads her arms and her legs and you can clearly see your cock is inside her pussy. Meghann shouts "TA-DA! This is our fucking magic trick!" They flip out and begin taking images and pictures and videos. you shout out "welcome to Facundo and Meghann's first porno! Directed and filmed by Cass and Heather! what do you think? Want to help us enjoy our first time fucking?" Cass and Heather giggle together and Cass replies. "We want to make sure it looks perfect before we start shooting!" It seems they want to see your hot sexual action in comfort first.
> You keep fucking meghann while standing and carrying her. You continue putting your hands around meghann and you begin drawing back and forth. From the visual stimulus it seems to be working pretty well for her.
> You say "ok heather and cass. you're in charge of what we do. what should we do next?" Heather suggests that you keep going but turn a bit towards the bed so they get a clear view.
> You turn towards the bed and give heather a better view. Cass snaps away with the camera as you begin pushing a little deeper, and then pull out at the top of each movement. As you see more and more of Cass's stomach, your mind starts to wander...
> You say "how should we fuck next?" Heather suggests something you'd not exepct from a 33 old, Anal
> You say "that was quick! How about we save anal for a bit later. What else would we do?" She enthusiastically replies, "let's flip over!" Meghann seems equally as stunned as you are by Heather's commanding suggestions. You defer to each of them and go on in the current pose. you put meghann down on the bed and flip her over to a missionary style position and slide your cock into her pussy. you say to heather and cass "are you getting this on video?" Heather looks shocked and replies "I'm the only one with a camera!" You catch the subtle hint that she wants to be in charge of everything including the video.
> You keep fucking meghann. You proceed to have an interesting yet slow movement in which you move in and out of meghann at a reasonable pace. While this is happening heather climbs onto the bed you're on, getting behind you.
> You say "heather, what are you trying to see?" Heather mounts behind you and responds "I can't see a thing from the cameras angle, so I'm going to get into position while you keep thrusting!" this comes to surprise to meghann.
> You say "fuck yeah! You got it! I'll keep thrusting, you keep filming" "Sounds good to me!" says heather slyly Heather gets on her knees and begins sticking her fingers into your butthole.
> You say "wow! That's hot but you should but your fingers in meghanns ass if you want us to do anal" "You're right, it would make things easier for us" Heather pauses for a minute to put her fingers in your girlfriend's butthole and you can't help but groan at what she's doing.
> You say "Cass, did you get the picture of heather fingering meghanns asshole?" "Oh yeah, it's a good one! I almost came when Heather stuck her finger up your girlfriend's bum!" She pulls out all the stops and brings the conversation back to herself.
> You say "Meghann, you think it's ok if cass masturbates?" Meghann's head turns surprisingly quickly from looking at heather crouched behind you all the way over to Cass as she says "um" and then nods, continuing right where she left off before the distraction.
> You say "cass, you can masturbate if you like. Meghann says it's ok" Cass doesn't need an explanation and automically begins going down her shorts. Feeling left out you decide to just concentrate on meghann, specifically getting off.
> You say "heather and cass, how should meghann and i fuck next?" Cass quickly gets over her embarrassment and puts on her bossy teaching voice; she says "You should get meghann doggy style so you can see" as she turns to heather happily. you flip meghann over and put her on all fours. you put your cock back into her pussy and keep fucking meghann. You can see every thrust in vivid detail but lose site of her cute little bum poking up in the air which is unfortunate.
> You say "your asshole is so cute meghann" You smack your girlfriends left butt check rather hard and heather doens't seem to mind the view. you give it a kiss and push your tongue in a bit "Its very tasty"
> You say "did you get the picture of me licking her asshole?" heather just says "Um... Just the angle isn't ideal...." You watch heather get onto her knees behind the pair of your girlfriends tiny butt.
> You say "i think we should change it up and meghann should ride me. I'll get on bottom" After you say that meghann pops off you and gets into position, sitting on your hard on. You begin to see all the action which makes it better than than anything you've ever done!
> You say "heather are you still taking video?" Heather says "You want me to start recording it?" You nod as you start thrusting up into Meganan's body.
> You say "cass, are you still taking pictures?" Cass says "Oh! Sorry, got a bit distracted..." as she starts flipping through the picture. She stops suddenly and shows heather one.
> You say "what are you doing instead cass? are you masturbating?" Cass nods and whispers quietly "I'm playing with myself... all this dirty fun...." She pulls heather into a kiss as she starts fingering heather below.
> You say "ok meghann, i think it's time you put my cock in your ass before we lose our camera person" Megann pauses for a moment and says "But I don't have any lube... doesn't it hurt?" You reach over to the bed side table and find your half used bottle of cocoa butter lotion.
> You say "lets put this on your asshole. I think you'll love this" Taking the lotion in hand you squirt some on your fingers. You put your middle finger to her sphincter and push in gently but insistently with no troubles at all. "Say ahhh"
> You lay on your back and tell meghann to sit on your cock and put it in her asshole. Megann grabs your throbbing member and slowly ducks her plump rump over it, letting out a pleasurable sigh as it disappears inside. She places her hands on your chest as you do the same.
> You say "hell yeah! Heather, you getting video of me fucking meghann's ass?" Cass holds up her phone to show a close-up of Meganans backside descending slowly onto your groin as she sits down fully on it with a moan.
> You say "meghann you look amazing with my cock in your ass" Megann continues to sit there and moves her hips slowly back and forth a minute before saying anything. With it stuffed in her butt she says "Too much talking back there, come here."
> You say "hey cass, are you still masturbating?" Cass nods and smiles "Me too!" Heather adds before quickly changing the subject "this is sort of strange foreplay isn't it?"
> You say "hey meghann, is it ok if I finger cass and heather?" You watch as she goes "Hmmmmm...." then turns to Heather and Cass, nodding eagerly while saying "Yes! Do it!
> You finger cass and heather while fucking meghann. You smile and slip the scrap of spandex tied around your waist off then proceed to start fingering each gently.
> You say "hey meghann. can I fuck cass and heather too?" Meganan takes a deep breath and pauses for just a second before saying "I don't see why not.... they're into me so a lot of spit can make it possible. > You say "someone suck my cock please" Heather quickly gets onto to her knees and puts your erection in her haed. She begins sliding up and down it as Cass just gapes in awe. The blonde struggles to fit half of it into her mouth.
> You say "who wants their ass fucked?" Heather seems to notice your predicament as she points at her rectum and backs up to you, her bum hovering over your lap. > You fuck heather's ass. Apparently heather's rectum was the perfect fit for your member because it felt so snug and soft that you couldnt help but thrust in and out.
> You say "hey meghann, take a picture of me fucking heather's asshole" Meghann pulls out her phone and takes a photo of your private moments. She texts it to you and after looking at it, most likely Snapchat it to her and Cass.
> You say "girls, bend over and line up your assholes. I want to fuck each one" The two girls seem embarrassed and a bit shocked. Cass bends over as Heather follows Cass' lead, although both have a worried look on their faces not sure what you had in mind exactly.
> You thrust into heather's ass, then into meghann's ass, then into cass' ass. Cass backs up into the tip of your warm throbbing member. You slowly push into her rectum and her sphincter tightens as she lets out a breathy moan.
> You say "oh yeah! This is awesome" Meghann whispers "well, somebody's idea of heaven" She holds on to Cass to keep herself steady as she slides up and down your length.
> You say "everyone get on your knees and press your faces together" They each do exactly what you say as you grab Cass' hips and Mehghan grabs Cass' shoulders for balance.
> You say "get your faces close together" The three of them get in a triangle involving all their faces, just their faces though. You can't help but stare at their asses as you slowly enter Cass' backside. you grab the video camera and point it at the three naked ladies on their knees. you say you're about to cum and all of the girls open their mouths and stick out their tongues expectantly. They are all touching themselves and upon seeing that, you have a massive orgasm that coats all of their faces and tits with cum. You get some in their eyes and Despite your warnings. they all smile and wink at the camera before ending the recording.
> You say "alright ladies, how about each of you do a sign off for the video" Cass winking at the camera says "Hi I'm Cass. That was me taking a big load to the face" she smiles and sticks out her tongue swiveling it around to taste your warm salty offering. Heather takes the camera from you and looks playfully into it "Hey I'm Heather. Guess what? I just got facialed!" she giggles and proceeds to lick her lips, scooping up a bit of your seed on the end of her tongue before swallowing.
> You say "Your turn to do a sign off meghann" She grins and takes the camera from Heather "I'm Megan.You just witnessed three girls who all just had their pretty little faces sprayed with hot jizz. Hope you enjoyed our first GWA video. Bye bye"
submitted by gowildandfilmit3 to u/gowildandfilmit3 [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 01:35 AllegedPervert [M4F] Somehow mixing monster girls and incest

So every time I play anything, not only roleplay but games and dnd I always choose to play a human. Why? I dunno. I like being boring I guess. But that's not the point here, the point being that it means I can't fulfill my dream of mixing monstergirls and incest. Why do I wanna do that? I dunno. I guess I'm a pervert. Either way there's actually a hack to mix the two of them. Either adoption, or step families, or even inlaws. If you feel like that could be fun then I hope I get a message from you. I open to most pairs except daughters. I'm too young to get a lot out of that one haha.
Anyhow, I'll leave some of my usual incest ideas. But if you have something else in mind let me know.
The date
There's a couple of variants for this one. It could either be a blind date set up online or by acquaintances without realizing we're family, but once there we decide to at least go through with it to not waste the trip, eventually realizing we like it as the night goes. Ooooor it could also be that I have a reunion, ball, work party, etc in which I couldn't get a date, or it cancelled on me last minute, so I find myself pulling all the favors I have to take you as a date without telling anyone you're family.
Genetic sexual attraction (I dunno. Maybe the monster genes are recessive or something)
I don't remember where I read it, but I remember reading that those that were adopted very early in their life, and then search for their biological family as adults, end up developing an attraction to them due to something like their brains wanting to make up for the closeness but not being able to discern between familial love and sexual attraction. Anyhow, don't quote me on that, I'm not a reliable source for an essay. The point here is that we can play out something like that. Either siblings or a mother and her son as they try to reconnect throughout a week, but not knowing why they begin to feel attracted towards the other. Having dreams together, looking for stuff online, stealing glances, furtive touches etc. We can discuss what's the tipping point that pushes them to each others arms.
Sharing a bed
For this one it could either be through some sort of holiday in which there's not enough beds, or due hard times in which we have to share a bed and perhaps even showers to save money.
Normalizing massages
It's unclear how or when it started, but perhaps we simply fell into the habit of giving each other massages after a hard die. Slowly becoming more comfortable with each other and more daring as we pushed the limits of what a platonic massage should be.
A couple in all but name only
Perhaps we've never crossed the line or even thought about it, but we might as well have already. We always enjoyed each other's company more than anyone else's, to the point in which any relation we might have is doomed as we always want to include the other. We spend our time together, we're each other confidant, and we're more comfortable with physical contact when it comes to us than any other family member. It's clear that there's something there, but what would push us over the edge.
Bets and games
Maybe in an alcohol filled night, games that were being played innocently begin to take a sexual turn. You know, truth or dare, card games, etc, GONE WRONG, GONE SEXUAL, like the clickbait videos. But it could also be as part of a bet in which one needs to follow the other orders for a whole day, turning into a maid, a slave, or even a pet (if you're into that) for his relative.
Runaways
Maybe we had a relationship going for years now, and tired of hiding every day we decide to go to a place where we can act like a real couple.
Fantasy
I love fantasy scenarios of any kind, so if you want to add that I'll love you because of it. Space, kings, apocalypse, anything goes.
submitted by AllegedPervert to MonsterGirlRP [link] [comments]


2020.09.23 19:12 SLOTHKUM How to be sociable in an age of social media, without using social media?

So covid is ransacking my plans right now and it blows.
I gave up all social media recently and am trying to still be connected to people and socialize. Primarily with women. I just transferred a university from a community college, so everything is done on zoom and online.
I got in a breakout room with two other kids, one of which I had on IG and Snap before I deleted them, me and him are cool and talk in class all the time. But there was this girl, and I'll admit I'm not really that attracted to her, but I am trying to just explore options, as usually I am very picky and am trying to branch out and get more experience when it comes to dating and just being around women. We were all joking around, doing our work and having a good time. I really wanted to add her on snapchat or something but then realized quickly that I don't have one anymore.
I know full and well that covid will eventually end (unfortunately we don't know when) but how do I keep up with a world of people that moves so fast via the internet, when I am trying to slow down my pacing and get away from it? It's almost expected nowadays that you ask somebody for a Snapchat, or IG/Facebook handle after meeting them. I am totally comfortable going into relationships blind, but most people want to browse you life on the internet first, then get to know you second (main reason I got off social media).
Any tips or discussion would be appreciated!
submitted by SLOTHKUM to socialskills [link] [comments]


2020.09.22 17:00 SolariaHues Moderating subreddits on mobile

Sept2020
Functionality in the official mobile app is behind that of desktop, it is being worked on, but it’s playing catch-up. This means there are tools and options only available on desktop at the moment.
However, moderating on mobile doesn't have to be so hard; it's easier once you find some tools to help, and a method that works for you.
Our guides so far cover some tips and updates:
For creating a sub in app see Modding on mobile - Milestone 1 update
For sub set-up and design, start here Setting up your first sub on mobile (Adding a banner on mobile)
Here I’ll focus more on moderation and consolidating our mobile moderating tips.
---

Official app status and navigation

Status:
There’s currently different tools on offer for ios and android as the android app is behind in being updated. ios has reached reddit’s milestone 2, and android hasn’t quite caught up (see above linked guides for details), I’ll try and keep the guide(s) updated.
Navigation:
Quick tour of some basic navigation - Where to find the subs you mod, sub navigation, and how to add them to a custom feed and your favourites.
---

Moderation tasks in app

Moderating posts and comments:
Using the modqueue + modding posts outside of modqueue
This imgur guide shows where to find the buttons for spam, removal, approval, report, and lock.
There is no spam, edited, or unmoderated queues in app yet. There are also no removal reasons (see below for workarounds).
There’s no option to lock comments in the app yet. I have let an admin know about this and they’ve added it to their to-do list.
Moderating users:
Checking modmail:
Modmail isn't native yet, in app it opens a webpage. It actually works better if you open your mobile browser yourself to access modmail instead of using the mod tools link. (For me in mod tools the keypad covers the reply box so I'd be typing blind. It's also hit and miss if modmail opens/logs in at all).
Distinguishing:
Guide here (bottom of guide for mobile) - from u/sunzusunzusunzusunzu's Distinguishing comments and posts guide.
Sticky posts and comments:
Guide here - from our All about sticky posts (announcements) and sticky comments guide.
Adding and removing moderators:
Removing mods Adding mods
---

Workarounds or alternatives:

Mobile browser:
Use desktop mode in your mobile browser to access more mod tools if you can't use desktop - it can be a little awkward to log in if you use 2FA (which you should), and a bit fiddly. You can leave reddit logged in, but make sure you have some mobile security in place.
Bookmark or leave open your combined modqueue in your mobile browser if you prefer to check everything at once. And perhaps modmail too.
Some mobile browsers like Firefox and Kiwi allow extensions that help you moderate. I don't know which extensions work on which browsers, so if you have tried this please do let us know!
Browser extensions for mods
Feeds:
You can try a custom feed in app (shown in the guide linked above) for all the subs you mod, but remember it won’t include anything filtered - you still need the modqueue or the other queues for that.
If you have a discord server, try discord feeds - webhooks can be used to notify you of all new posts in your subreddit including any filtered or removed (MEE6 discord bot and others do this). There can be slight delays, and very rarely the bot can go down.
Try a reddit RSS feed (modmail, modqueue etc) and an RSS reader app of your choice to follow your feeds and get notifications.
Bots:
There are a few bots that might you moderate on mobile.
Flair_Helper bot
Flair_Helper can do all sorts of things just based on a flair. That includes any combination of removing, locking, commenting, banning, notifying to a Discord or Slack channel, flairing the author, usernoting the author, etc. Here are some examples of common uses.”
Taskerbot
"A reddit bot to make moderation easier, especially on mobile. Its main goal is to allow mods to remove posts while leaving removal reasons via the bot."
You'll need to host this one, but it works on any platform/app where you can comment.
Do you know of any more?
Automod:
You can set up automoderator to help you too.
Rules can be written to use a command of your choosing to filter, comment, remove etc so you can simply type something like !filter in a comment and the post will be filtered to your modqueue.
Example rules (please share if you have others)
If you are new to modding, remember to keep your automod filters up to date responding to new trends or issues to reduce your workload.
You can have automod rules set up but inactive, ready if you need them, so there's less to do when you're on mobile. For each line of a rule you can have automod ignore it by putting a hash in front of it. Then when you need it, go into automod in your mobile browser and remove the hashes - much easier and quicker than having to write the rule on mobile.
Other apps:
Modding on mobile lists some alternative 3rd party apps.
Bits I've picked up from comments: Apollo or slide use the removal reasons on new reddit. Relay has modqueue.
If you are very familiar with modding on a 3rd party app and would like to write a guide on it, please modmail us. I've started on RiF is fun and relay for android, but if you are a RiF or relay user and would be happy to check it over when I'm done that would be very helpful. Cheers!
A comparison on what is available to mods in each app might be useful too? I'm starting a spreadsheet! What key things do you look for in an app to moderate with?
More mods:
You always have the option of adding another mod who uses desktop. Many subs have mods with specific roles and permissions already, such as CSS mods, Automod mods, etc. needamod Choosing new mods
---
Index of guides
Thanks u/buckrowdy u/ladfrombrad
Let me know if I missed anything, or make any mistakes. Thank you.
submitted by SolariaHues to modguide [link] [comments]


2020.09.22 00:20 directproductionsuk Being a Runner – Top Tips!

Being a Runner – Top Tips!

https://preview.redd.it/d2eon9y3tko51.png?width=1414&format=png&auto=webp&s=e5062b45af9a02c7c7c332542bfe37b93b26ba24
By Julian Dismore: TV Series Producer and Media Skills Trainer
For many people, their first job in TV and the media industries is as a Runner. What this role actually involves depends on the type of show you are working on. For example if it’s a cookery show you may well be asked to source and pick up ingredients. For a quiz show you may have to ‘wrangle’ the contestants – ie make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. For a documentary you may need to get release forms signed and transport rushes.
Whatever the genre, it’s likely you will be asked to make lots of teas and coffees! And there are also other universal truths. Here are a few for starters…
1. Don’t be late! It shows a lack of commitment. If your transport arrangements are unpredictable plan to arrive early. ‘Hurry Up and Wait’ is a TV tactic!
2. Volunteer for tasks. Don’t wait to be asked to do something, volunteer yourself. Your catchphrase should be “What can I do to help?”
3. Remember where you are in the TV food chain. You may have a double first from Cambridge University, but if the director tells you to jump, you say “How high?”
4. Detail is important If you get the little things right you might start to be given more responsibility, be it rushes labelling or lunch collecting. If you’re sloppy, it will be noted.
5. Be silent during takes. Make sure you’re quiet and your mobile is switched off. Oh, and don’t look an actor in the eye – believe it or not some performers really don’t like it!
That’s just a few golden rules. For more tips on how to forge a media career, book a place on my upcoming online zoom course by e mailing me at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Thursday September 24th: 1pm to 5pm
Zoom Workshop: 'How To Get Into The Media Industries'
The course covers the following: generating media contacts, what to say in your introductory e mail, CV finessing for jobs in the media, job interview skills, TV runner skills, TV researcher skills, insider's tips and career strategy. It also gives an overview of the different roles in TV and we run through the do's and don'ts of job hunting. It is interactive and fun – and will save you months, if not years, going down blind alleys as you look to embark on your career. The course fee is £50 – a wise investment!
If you’d really like to do the course but can’t make this date, please let me know.
For testimonials please go to https://www.directproductions.co.uk/training-courses
Good luck!
Julian
TV Series Producer and Media Trainer
Direct Productions UK
Mob +44 (0) 77177 44321
www.directproductions.co.uk
For blogs, tips and work ex opportunities, follow us on social media!
Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr: DirectProductionsUK
Twitter: DirectProdUK
submitted by directproductionsuk to u/directproductionsuk [link] [comments]


2020.09.21 19:49 Westypet Where is Date Mike?

I’m on day 3 of a fully developed migraine, where the insomnia and restlessness has taken over. My brain has laughed at the pain meds’ attempt at band-aiding this bullet hole. Maybe writing out some of my insane thoughts will help.
EDIT 2: Thanks to the kind soul who messaged me to let me know that I deserved a broken iPad because kids break things and I should know better. Really? Thank you for your support.
[Cue Circus Music]
Bromos, welcome to my migraine mania brain. I hope you enjoy. This is also long AF.
Every step on the tile floor hurts. I should be reassured and grateful that I can even get out of bed today, but when I do, I can feel my brain jiggling against my head. It’s like stepping on spiky pebbles in a blistering ballet shoe... that’s slightly too small. But in your head.
Medication administration during and after a migraine is very much like managing a migraine itself. It’s a careful balancing of the scales overseen by what feels like a bitchy, sixth grade girl as the judge. A carefully crafted regimen of medicines after years of trial and error, or rather, pain and suffering, missed social and career opportunities, and absentee parenting while a nanny, babysitter, co-parent, or friend is left taking mommy’s place at random and mostly unpredictable times.
So much for planning.
A migraine is like a game of Jenga. Barometric pressure change? Hormone change? Poor food choice? Bright lights? Lack of sleep? Too much sleep? Alcohol? Mercury in retrograde? Any offset in the perfectly balanced scale can tip you over into the OH MY SWEET BABY MOSES HERE IS MY FIRST BORN JUST MAKE IT STOP stage of pain.
Then there’s the fun neurological symptoms that migraines sometimes bring along with them... like an odd, bonus guest at a party. Aura can affect any part of your brain just like a stroke can affect any area of your brain. Muscle weakness? Loss of bodily functions? How about wavy lines in your vision or blindness (try it while driving!) My personal favorites and typical aura symptoms are slurring words without the fun of partying to get that way, or even your Brian playing word swap, which is otherwise known as “aphasia”. You might write down the French word for strawberries (fraises) on your grocery list, or use the name Brian for the word brain. I was unable to say my husband’s name out loud during the aura phase one time. It literally kept slipping away like the computer code in my brain kept deleting it each time I tried to rewrite the word. I’ve written out “roast beef” on a grocery list before as “bf fffff”. If that isn’t the computer color code for a burgundy brown hue, I vote that it should be. I could write a guidebook. Migraines with Aura: Your Brian’s Autocorrect.
I wish there were an easy way to parent while experiencing this shit. If I can’t get help during the pain phase, I have to plug my ears to keep my toddler’s happy and sad shrieks from making me want to claw my own skin off. I have to wear the wrap over sunglasses. I usually take a crap ton of Excedrin while eating my favorite comfort foods to get that sweet dopamine hit and wait for the inevitable moment when I yelp out, “Mommy has to potty! Here’s your ipad.”
Dumping my kid in front of his computer tablet is our saving grace during these painful stages. Guess who brought home a newly spiderwebbed computer? My 5 year old. I specifically told his grandpa that he could not carry it, as he kept dropping it and would break it. I told him before he drove off that LO kept dropping it. Did they listen to me? I’m just a helicopter mom who over prepares and overpacks. So of course not! So it was an unfortunate accident when the 5 year old, hugging his computer tightly against his chest as they walked out to the car, tripped on the wet pavement and smashed his beloved device. What a horrible accident that absolutely could not be avoided. 🙄
I may be extremely selfish but I use the kids’ device time to get some time to breathe. To bleach the sink. To fold laundry. To walk out of the room without someone throwing a tantrum because mommy left. We set limits with screen time, but lean on these things a lot. What are we going to do now??
We’re trying to save money during Covid times. How are we supposed to do that when the tablets keep breaking, we have to keep an after school nanny on staff because of my intermittent yet chronic health issues, and when the roof starts leaking.
Oh wait... the roof leaked and stained the ceiling months ago. Did we deal with it? Meh. Not really. Well, when you live in a hot and humid and hurricane-prone state, you should expect tons of rain. We get rain on the daily, and hadn’t had any more problems. Maybe the leaks were a one off? Out of sight, out of mind. Well, this week, it monsooned, and now we see all of the fun places water wanted to visit. My house is not a timeshare for leaks! I do not have the capacity in my degraded brain to deal with this on-again, off-again shit. This is another steaming pile to add to the mix. 2020 is a popcorn kernel stuck in the gums and I am running out of dental floss.
I am trying, Bromos, to floss this tooth and get going, but putting on a bra and fixing my hair is hard enough today. I don’t have the energy to make phone calls and keep the Karen out of my voice when I call roofers for quotes and schedule inspections. The sound of my own voice hurts and keeping the house organized and bearing the mental load today is almost too much.
Putting my lions mane of somewhat washed (I attempted it last night) and slept-on hair into a scrunchie made me want to vomit. Nothing feels quite like getting your previously fabulous, bleached blonde, now-crunchy hair stuck in a SalonPas patch. On days like this, I wish I had the cajones to shave my head and invest in wigs. My natural hair never does what I want it to anyway. It sounds like a good idea. But, I live in a hot and humid place, and I can’t imagine jumping in a pool, coming up from my impromptu cannonball, only to see the shocked and scared faces of my children gawking a dirty blond hair clump floating in the tidal waves like a drowned rat. I would have to invest a “pool wig” and I guess wig glue, and that seems like a lot of work.
Everything today is a lot of work. Too much work. I need to replace the 3 pain patches on my neck that, during my tossing and turning throughout the night, have rolled up and now look like little beige, shoulder pad joints, and smell vaguely of mint.
Adding insult to injury, I finally started drifting off after 3rd doses of pain medications, sensory deprivation, food dopamine hits, and asmr, when the lady curse is activated, and my world is directed by Wes Craven. It’s just an obnoxious insult from the universe to have to deal with this, TOO. Today, I’m so done. Please stahp. Just stop.
Positive Patty cowering in the corner of my brain pipes up and says, “at least you’re not pregnant!”
She’s right, and hyperemesis gravidarum is no longer welcome in my house, but this week’s scales have been tipped in the negative and The Nothing is eating away at all of my positive instincts. Positive Patty needs to shut the hell up and let these fires burn for hot minute if she knows what is good for her. She can come over another day.
Usually when I am coming out of a migraine, I feel a sort of mania, or enthusiastic drive to make up for lost time. That energy propels me through the headache hangover, the soreness and fatigue, and the loss of time motivates me to keep going. I clean like crazy, I activate Super Mom Mode, and start A Project. Where is that mania today? It’s weird, and not really welcome, but it’s damn useful. Normally I think it’s bizarre and part of me gives the mania side eye. The mania isn’t like Positive Patty. It’s aggressive and insistent. It won’t let me stop and recover back into health in the post-migraine state like I probably need. When the pain phase is gone, the migraine mania bursts in and climbs on top of the pool table in a backwards kangol hat à la Date Mike. And when the night or next day is over, I am almost back to normal. As normal as one can be when you are an puking positive extrovert with a migraine brain and anxiety, depression, and ptsd from HG.
Compared to the hurricanes that so many of you are going through this year, my week is barely a tropical depression, so I feel guilty using this forum to complain about this. I hate to use up any emotional bandwidth if it’s needed elsewhere, but I feel like I can’t even board the struggle bus today. I almost welcome a weird emotional upheaval to kickstart the bounce back process. Where’s Date Mike? I kind of need that mania to get me out of this.
Bromos, I need to pop the scrunchy in my hair and get going. If you have “big girl panty” tips, I’d love to hear them. If you can commiserate or one-up me, that helps too. (Joking!) I used a spoon to complain, but in a way, posting this out kind of gave me one, too?
(EDIT 1 because words.)
Thanks for letting me blow this hot air at y’all.
submitted by Westypet to breakingmom [link] [comments]


2020.09.21 10:55 syncopatedshadows My New Old Cat Saved Me

When I recently moved out into my own place for the first time, I knew that my very first goal, before having a TV or a gaming system or even all the furniture I'd need, was to adopt a cat. I had wanted a cat since early childhood and been denied my deepest wish all the way into adulthood. But now, living under my own roof (or, well, the roof I rented for half my pay a month) with my own rules, I could have as many cats as I wanted. Which was just one. I was excited, but not overambitious, and had no intention of taking on a new job, new apartment, and TWO new cats. Even one was a bit daunting, but I knew it would be worth any challenges or discomforts I could possibly face. I was more right about that than I had ever been about anything, not that I knew it at the time.
Going from shelter to shelter was incredibly fun. I'd moved from a sleepy college town to a big city, and a big city has lots of big animal shelters. Some were your typical room full of cages, some were set up with huge open areas full of cat furniture for the adoptable furballs to commingle in, some were actually cat cafes that took care of cats from local shelters while attempting to find them homes among the cafe's patrons. All of them filled my heart with joy. I'll admit I prolonged the process just to meet as many cats as possible. I was like a child denied sugar his whole life unleashed with free reign over a candy shop. I held tiny kittens that complained loudly in my arms while I kissed their little faces. I gave gentle scratches behind the ears of adult and senior cats who purred loudly and rubbed their mouths against my hand. I coaxed shy cats from the backs of cages and persuaded angry cats to play with shiny, crinkly toys. Every last one was a delight to meet and give a bit of love to. I found that none, though, quite clicked with me. All were cute and soft and funny little creatures, but none seemed like The Cat I Had To Bring Home. I was beginning to wonder if I should stop being selfish and just decide when I met Maxine.
Maxine had been at a local shelter that specialized entirely in cats for 2 years. She was a dignified-looking lady with long, silky black fur and curious yellow eyes that gave the impression that she could read your thoughts. The shelter staff said a vet had guessed her age to be about 12 years. She was skittish and a bit temperamental, but this only partially explained her long shelter stay. The staff explained to me in hushed tones that Maxine had been brought in after her previous owner died. The death had made headlines, as the scene that it left behind was both gruesome and mysterious.
The elderly woman's remains were scattered around the apartment and looked as though they had been physically ripped apart by someone or something. Almost all of the lights in the apartment were on and there was blood proven to belong to the woman on or near all of the light switches throughout the place. This, combined with the bits of her left all over the place, made it seem as though she had been rushing to turn on the lights as she was being attacked. The only room left dark was the bedroom, which is where her body was discovered. No DNA was found at the scene besides the woman's, and there were no signs of a forced entry or missing belongings. The woman did not have any relatives or friends who regularly checked in on her, so the remains were only happened upon when the woman failed to claim a package from the front office of the apartment building, behavior her landlord found unusual. When he knocked on her door and received no reply but heard Maxine meowing loudly and noticed the woman's car still in the lot, he called the police and entered using his own key. He vomited immediately at the stench and the sight of the remains, which Maxine was pawing at as she cried out. It was determined that she had eaten some of what was left of her owner's face after a few days trapped without food. The landlord entered what was estimated to be a week after the death. The case was never solved.
Maxine was taken to this shelter specifically because they were a no-kill shelter. The woman's family couldn't bear to take the cat in, but they knew that nobody else in the area was likely to want her either. They were, unfortunately, correct. The bizarre case had rocked the community and even the city as a whole, to an extent. The woman had been a prominent activist in the area for mental heath awareness and care. Her violent death was as devastating as it was unexpected. And so Maxine waited and waited in her little room in the shelter, slowly changing from a shy and sullen cat to one that was more violent and flighty. She would only eat if left completely alone, and when brought food, she would hide. As the volunteer feeding her would exit the room, Maxine would hiss and lash out at them. Most visits from potential adopters ended in either bleeding hands or the cat pinning herself against a corner, eyes wide and darting. The staff member telling me this seemed to already assume that I wouldn't want to meet her, but they smiled when I said I was up to the challenge. They led me to her room right away.
The room was about the size of a small closet and had plenty of vertical furniture and shelves to climb on. Maxine was on a shelf just above my height, lounging casually. As we approached she heard our footsteps and saw us through the glass walls of the room. Immediately she stood up, long fur fluffing up slightly and ears pinned backward. The staff member unlocked the door and let me in after I quickly rinsed my hands with some sanitizer. Maxine stayed where she was, staring at me with pupils thinner than a needle. I smiled and called out to her in a gentle voice.
"Hello Maxine, how are you, sweetie?" I asked. She hissed. It honestly was one of the cutest things I'd seen, watching a big ball of fluff like her trying to scare me. I laughed quietly and stayed where I was, instead grabbing a toy from the collection by the door. It was a long plastic stick with a string at the end, and from the string dangled a little bundle of feathers and bells. I swished the toy from side to side, starting on the ground and moving slowly up to a lower shelf. Maxine did not move, but I saw her eyes follow the feathers and noticed her posture relax slightly, ears inching their way forward again. I persisted, shaking the toy on the shelf and then suddenly causing it to dart to the floor, where it jingled vigorously. Her eyes never strayed from it.
Slowly she shifted so that she was crouched slightly, tail up, butt wiggling and raised. Her pupils grew from needles to saucers. I grinned, swinging the toy from shelf to shelf and finally back to the ground. Maxine leapt from her perch and pounced viciously. I saw claws come out as she grabbed the bundle of feathers with all four paws and fell to her side, back legs kicking hard and teeth gnawing at a bell. She may have had a rough time, but she was still a cat, alright.
In my other hand I held a few treats, and I gently placed the toy on the floor as I crouched in front of her. Oblivious, she continued to attempt to remove the innards from her prey. The grin never left my face as I extended my treat-filled hand to her. Slowly her kicking and chewing slowed as the scent of her favorite crunchy treats reached her nose. I almost held my breath as I watched her stand once more and warily look at me, then at the treats. It felt like a million years passed. At long last, she slowly approached my outstretched hand and extended her mouth towards the treats. I chuckled as she took one gingerly between her teeth before backing a few steps away to eat it. She was still closer than before. This was progress.
After the first treat she returned for another, moving faster this time. I left my hand stretched just as far, not daring to move it closer to me yet. Maxine ate the second treat a little bit closer to me of her own volition. I was elated. The third treat brought her even closer, and she ate the fourth and final treat right out of my hand. I really did hold my breath as she sniffed at the now-empty hand and gave it an experimental lick. Slowly, very slowly, I moved my hand to stroke the fur on the side of her face. To my delight she leaned into the touch and closed her eyes. I continued stroking her fur and felt the rumbles of a purr beginning. My patience had paid off. In that moment I knew that Maxine was my cat.
I rose gingerly, trying and failing to avoid startling Maxine, and exited the room to let the staff know that I would be bringing Maxine home as soon as they would allow it. I was thrilled when they said I could take her home with me that day, as long as I was willing to fill out all the necessary paperwork and pay the adoption fee. They added that the fee was reduced to just $20 due to donations specifically for Maxine, left by the adult children of the previous owner. I sent a silent thanks to her and her family as I meticulously filled out all the forms the shelter provided.
The whole adoption process seemed to fly by to me, though it took about an hour. Then I was presented with a tote bag filled with medical and care information as well as a small supply of food, before a staff member brought out a pet carrier containing a very loudly distressed Maxine. I slung the tote over my shoulder and took the carrier with both hands, one on the handle and one supporting the bottom. I thanked the shelter staff and smiled as I exited through the (thankfully automatic) front doors to the parking lot. A short drive later and Maxine and I were back at home.
The moment I opened the carrier in the living room, Maxine's behavior surprised me. She was cautious at first, poking her head out before slowly emerging one tiny step at a time. But after a moment she perked up and grew more confident, sniffing intently at the hardwood floor as though there was a faint scent there that she wanted to investigate. This continued for a minute or two, to my amusement, before she moved to another spot and repeated the process. I took out my phone and recorded a quick video for a couple of college friends on Snapchat. As I was captioning the video with an introduction of the cat as "my nosy lil grandma Maxine," I noticed the lady herself approach out of the corner of my eye. I finished typing and sent the video before turning to face her. She stared at me for a moment, not nearly as wild-eyed as she had been when we first locked eyes. I gently extended the same hand as I had earlier. She rubbed her face against it without hesitation, eyes shutting just as they had before. She was nothing like the aggressive creature I had heard her described as.
I watched (and occasionally filmed) as she explored the apartment, sniffing at the sparse furniture that filled each room and pawing at the occasional dangling object she'd find. I made a mental note to do a better job of cat-proofing ASAP. The apartment had multiple windows and I had set up a couple of hanging seats for her. I'd bought and set up her food bowl, a water fountain, and a few different decorative scratching posts and cat trees already, but no amount of distraction seemed to deter Maxine from the enticing treat of a hanging sweater on the back of a chair. We spent the late afternoon together discovering the apartment inch by inch until at last there was no more to explore and the sun had begun to set. I set about preparing dinner for the both of us. Fried eggs and potatoes for myself, a quarter cup of some sort of dry kibble for Maxine. I'd done research and learned you should never change a cat's food all at once, but instead slowly mix in more and more of the new food with the old each meal. The tote bag contained a decent supply of the stuff the shelter had given Maxine when she lived there, so I decided one more night of the old stuff would be fine. In my pantry were a few different brands of wet food in a few different flavors. I'd read that wet was healthier than dry for cats since they don't drink a lot of water and decided that my cat would get exclusively wet food. Starting in the morning I'd crack open a can and give her a tiny bit to try. If one variety didn't work, I had plenty more she could sample.
We each tucked in to our respective meals with gusto. I'd had a less-than-stellar date prior to my appointment at the shelter. I could hardly believe he wasn't pulling some sort of dating app prank for a video or something. He talked so fast and so loud and none of what he said had any real substance. Just utter nonsense about the weather and the things around us. The plan had been a walk in a park and then lunch at a nearby cafe, but as we walked his rambling went on so long and was so impossible to interrupt that by the time I convinced him that I needed to leave, it was long past lunch hour and I needed to get home and get ready for my visit to the shelter. I hadn't eaten breakfast, either, so the breakfast I made for dinner was appropriate and filling. By the time I finished eating, Maxine had already finished her meal and flopped casually on my ratty old couch. Her ears drooped gently and her eyes were closing at a snail's pace. I was pretty tired too, honestly, but I stayed up a while longer, deeming 5 pm far too early for bed. After putting my dishes in the dishwasher I joined Maxine on the couch, beaming when my presence didn't cause her to flee. I opened up my laptop and booted it up before rising from the couch to turn on the lights. The sun was almost finished setting, and the dying sunlight was beginning to cast long shadows in my apartment before the various lamps and lights erased them. I noticed with amusement that Maxine had been eyeing the shadows warily since they had started to grow, and once the lights were on she visibly relaxed. That amusement vanished when I remembered the story about her previous owner. Blood on the light switches. What had Maxine seen?
I spent a long moment watching her bathe herself with her bright pink tongue before shaking my head to clear the dark thoughts. It didn't matter what she'd seen happen. Now she was here, and safe, and had a warm place to live out her golden years. Nothing bad would ever happen to her. I'd make damn sure of that.
The next week was a blur of orientations and introductions at work. I was spending long days learning how to work programs I had never heard of on computers that were older than Maxine. The company that I'd been hired as a secretary for manufactured construction equipment and vehicles. My position was mostly data entry, with very little interaction with other humans except to occasionally give reports about the data I'd been entering. I didn't mind. I was grateful to find a job at all, especially one that allowed me to get by somewhat comfortably, with a little scrimping and saving. That was more than a lot of my friends could say since we'd graduated.
I settled in to my new life and Maxine began to settle into hers as well. For the most part she was a lazy and sleepy cat. I'd often wake up to find her fast asleep and draped over me above my covers, refusing to move even once she'd opened her eyes. By the time I was heading out the door she would be fast asleep once more, curled up on the same spot I'd occupied before. The exception, however, was when I first got home from work, especially on days I'd stayed late to learn some tips about a program or chat with a coworker. I'd typically arrive home around 6 pm, which was just about the height of sunset for the time of year. When I opened the door I'd find, without fail, that Maxine was standing right by the door, eyes wide and fur growing fluffier by the second. She relaxed each time as soon as I flicked on the light with the switch right by the door.
One evening I hesitated before turning it on and noticed that she was looking, specifically, at the ground at my feet. I took a step further without turning on the light. She began to growl quietly as I continued forward, past the window immediately to the left of the front door. The setting sun cast a long shadow to my right. Maxine grew frantic, growling and hissing at it. I took another step and watched the shadow grow even longer. Maxine swiped at it with claws out, meeting no resistance of course. There was nothing there. I stared at my shadow and it grew even longer.
I hadn't moved.
I still wasn't moving as my shadow's arms lifted upward in a stretch before lowering back to its sides. The shadow's shoulders shook as though I were laughing. I was certainly not laughing. I was transfixed as I watched my shadow turn to face me, as well as it could flat on the floor. A hand reached down towards my ankle. Before it could get there, though, Maxine pounced and landed right on the hand of my shadow as it drew closer and closer to my ankle. The shadow's hand instantly recoiled. I broke free of my reverie and ran to turn on the light by the door, followed by every other light in my apartment. Maxine followed every step of the way, little paws tapping hard on the floor as she rushed to keep up. Once the entire apartment was lit I sat on the couch and let myself break down. Maxine curled up on my lap, purring and letting me stroke her soft fur as I shook with terrified sobs.
I couldn't report this to anyone. What would I say? But seeing the way Maxine had immediately jumped into action, the way she seemed to have known all week what danger I was narrowly avoiding every day, the way she lingered so long while sniffing the floor when I brought her home...I began to wonder.
My landlord was a friendly older gentleman. I called him up the next day to ask, out of curiosity, about the previous tenant. Claimed I was receiving mail for a stranger and assumed that person used to live there before me. I was surprised by the long silence on the other end before he began his reply.
"Well, son, the previous tenant isn't with us anymore, I'm afraid. Whole area was shocked when it happened. Sorry for not telling you sooner but, well, with that discount on the rent...you had to know, I'm sure? Everyone heard about it. Body ripped to shreds. No trace of a killer. Poor cat forced to eat the remains. Nobody wanted to rent the place where it happened, until you of course." It was my turn to be silent for uncomfortably long. I stood perfectly still, not daring to move, growing more and more afraid as I processed what he'd said. My voice shook when I spoke again.
"I-I'm from out of town. I had no idea. And...and you knew that, didn't you?" As a full understanding of my situation sunk in I grew angry. "You knew that! I told you about graduating and you said your cousin graduated from my school. You knew damn well that I was walking into this blind. What is wrong with you?"
"I have no defense. I needed to rent the place out. You needed to rent a place cheap. I saw the chance, so I took it. I'm sorry. But son, you know there's nothin' wrong with the place, don't you? It was a freak accident, or something like it, so no way there's anything to worry about!"
"Are you willing to use that defense in court?" I asked coldly. I knew we both knew that declining to tell a tenant about a recent death in the home was against the law in this state. He was silent again for a bit. When he spoke again, he sounded resigned.
"Alright. Alright. I messed up, badly. It wasn't fair to you. I'm sorry. There's another unit a floor down, opposite side of the building. One bedroom. Same size. We just finished cleaning it out to put on the market. You can move in tomorrow morning, I'll drive down and get the keys and paperwork all set for you. No increase in rent."
"No increase in rent," I repeated. "Ever. Not even once the lease is up." My voice still shook but I could hear the latent anger in it, and so could he.
"Right. And I'll, I'll get that in writing as well. Sign it and everything, so it's all legal. I do feel bad. You have to know that. I didn't mean to do you any harm. Hell, I didn't even really think I was. I'm sorry."
I thanked him tersely and hung up the phone. Maxine rubbed against my leg before hopping up to sit beside me on the couch. I rubbed gently behind her ears and my heart swelled when she began to purr. I still have to re-pack what little I've unpacked since moving in here but I wanted to get this all out first. They say when you save a less-adoptable shelter pet, the saving goes both ways. I guess they're right.
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2020.09.21 02:54 TheAusNerd Debris [Part 42]

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<"Dude, I love playing that when I was a kid!"> said Wora exuberantly over video chat. <"I can't believe they still make it.">
Le'quaren, the only friend Wora could name that wasn't perpetually surrounded by criminals and thugs, sat smiling, cradling her newborn in her arms. <"Jell told me it's getting even more popular at the store he frequents, but he's concerned that if his friends find out he plays, he's never going to hear the end of it.">
Wora giggled. She remembered feeling the same way in her youth, spending a solid chunk of the allowance she received from performing chores to buy a pack of cards just for the feeling of anticipation and mystery. It was simpler then, better. Wora thought. <"Hey...">
Today's lunch was a lonely one for Behn. While a significant portion of the women went to have their bi-weekly video calls, she abstained, choosing instead to get in line for food that, without the rest of the prison lining up for their meals and bringing things to a crawl, was comparatively fresh. The food, surprisingly refreshing though it was, was no replacement for Wora's lively demeanour and barbs at the brainless programmes on the television, which the prisoners noted to now be flickering somewhat; the women expected their food to soon take another dip in whatever quality it had left.
At last, and with a tray on which she swore she could see the scrapings from the bottom of the greasy pot in which her meal was cooked, Wora arrived, throwing herself onto the bench beside Behn. The mood was immediately lifted. <"Hey, girl. What'd I miss?">
<"Just some weather boy waffling on about expected wind speeds during Chill Winds. They're gonna be high, but nothing we haven't survived before."> As she heard the young man read the weather report, part of Behn was glad that Arnd apparently spent most of her time in X'rtani House, she would be nice and warm there.
<"Huh. Oh! Did I ever tell you about that one time when my aunt slipped on an ice patch and fell down the stairs of her apartment complex?"> Behn shook her head. <"Yeah. She was fine in the end, nothing more than a few bruises, but she screamed like a damn siren until she hit the floor. A cop came bursting in looking for his buddy's cruiser, muttering that he didn't get a call for a crime in progress! When he saw my aunt, he damn near pissed himself!"> Wora chuckled heartily, and Behn couldn't help but be drawn in. The two women laughed so hard that they missed the opening to that day's episode of MarkWatch.
The pair watched a man too average-looking to form an opinion on confront Mark on a bus, and a thought came to Wora's head. <"Do you have anyone to call on the outside? Friends, family?">
Behn swallowed hard after she removed her gaze from the television and processed the question. <"No. I hadn't noticed I left it all behind until I realized who I was running with. And before you ask: no, I'm not calling my mother."> she clarified, dim resentment on her tongue.
<"You think she would've called by now, given what you've told me.">
<"She's busy doing gods know what with Mark and all that government crap, I wouldn't be surprised if it was years before she called to talk.">
Wora nodded along as only a friend would, recognizing that words were no good here, and returned to her meal.

<"You reckon he couldn't have gone shorter? Show some arm?"> asked Wora in relation to the tailored suit MarkWatch's presenters accurately predicted he had arranged for.
<"Meh, it's probably fashionable where he's from. It's not my business in any case."> replied Behn, squat lifting the weight of the average prisoner in the complex. It was simple. It certainly wasn't a heavy machine gun, two backpacks worth of ammo, malante plate body armor... <'No, gods damn it! You're past that! The violence is no more! Just squat and breathe, Behn.'> She squatted, she breathed, she felt her thighs grow warm with the effort, focusing on that helped her stay in the moment.
<"Behn?">
<"Sorry, I spaced out a bit, what'd you say?">
Wora pointed past Behn, whose gaze followed her friends finger. Four surly women, with enough muscle between them to convince Behn that they could bend the collective population of the prison into thick knots. They closed in and Behn put the barbell back on the rack. She and the quartet's eyes met, and the clear challenge was recognized.
<"So,"> began a X'etish woman who dwarfed the others. <"Miss Ex-Fang here's got 48 lifetimes, eh? Not bad, pint-size."> She giggled, her yellowed and chipped fangs on full display. <"See, there's something about multiple life sentences that I'm sure you know: You step out of line, and you're in solitary.">
<"I'm aware."> replied Behn, knowing exactly where this was going.
<"So then you know that you can't fight anyone, correct?"> the woman sneered, leaning down so her jaw was inches from Behn's face. Behn didn't notice a X'rtani woman slinking out of view.
<"Correct.">
The woman stood back up. <"Good.">
Behn was seized from behind, a second X'rtani clamping her jaw shut <"Don't go crying now."> she taunted. Wora hollered for the guards, only to be grabbed by the jaw and thrown to the ground by the X'eti, who roughly held her face to the floor. Struggle as she might, Wora was helpless and silent in witnessing Behn's right arm being held out by a X'ogan woman, her mouth warped into a savage grin. <"You learn that we're the bosses in this yard right quick, or..."> And with a visceral crunch that turned both Behn and Wora's stomach, the woman bit down on Behn's thumb, removing it at the base. She spat it on the ground and chuckled, her jowls splotched with bloody yellow. Behn, pain and disgust twisting inside her, swayed at the sight of her own blood. Finally, the guards arrived, detaining the perpetrators. Upon her attacker's seizure, gore-induced vomit spilled from Behn's newly unclamped jaw, and she staggered to the floor, lightheaded and queasy.
As the assailants were taken away, a guard administered basic first aid to Behn while calling for a medical team for the two victims. Before long, a team arrived with a mag-lifted bed for Behn, they immediately administered an anesthetic and antibiotics to the wound, and they rushed Behn off to the prison station's medical ward. Wora, her head throbbing, was helped off the ground by the guard who stood beside Behn, and was led from the yard as she explained the altercation.

Wora's impatience was not due to the aches she felt as her injuries were examined in the medical ward.
<"You appear to have a mild concussion and some bruising."> noted the doctor. The guard present relayed this information to her fellow officers in Wora's arm of the prison. <"There's no cure for a concussion but rest and limiting stimulus; no television, no major physical activity, and keep socializing to a minimum for the next few days. I'll have pills regularly sent to your cell to help with pain, and I'll arrange for your meals to be sent to your cell, too. In the meantime, I can provide you with a blindfold and earmuffs to help limit stimulus."> The physician filled out application forms as she spoke. <"You should begin to first see results in a few days, and I'll have you come in for an examination in seven days.">
<"Fine, cool, whatever."> said Wora. <"Is Behn going to be okay?">
<"Your cellmate? Due to patient confidentiality, I can't give that information away. But I'll ask her if it's okay, and we'll go from there.">
<"Yes, please."> Restlessness was thick in her tone.
The doctor blinked at her for a moment, before turning back to her computer. <"Alright. We'll arrange someone to visit you in your cell as soon as possible."> She turned to the guard, handing her the stimulus-limiting headwear. <"Shel, please escort Miss Lakk back to her cell, and be sure to take the quiet routes.">
<"Of course, Doctor. You heard her, get these on you and I'll get you back safe."> the officer held the blindfold and earmuffs out to Wora, who took them begrudgingly.
The blindfold didn't so much as blind Wora, but rather kept her vision dim, which she admittedly appreciated given her injury, the earmuffs too aided in the easing of her headache; they didn't help ease the throbbing she felt from her bruises, though.
When Wora arrived back at her cell, she saw some pills already arranged on her bedside table; they tasted like everything and nothing at the same time, she nearly gagged. After chasing her medication with some water, she slumped down onto the bed and dozed, her body seemingly responding to the doctor's orders.
She later woke with a start as a guard outside her cell called for her attention. <"Miss Kell? Miss Kolr would like to see you in the medical ward, I'm here to escort you.">
Wora didn't miss a beat, immediately following the guard through the passageways prisoners usually only got to see if they were in deep trouble, add-years-onto-your-sentence trouble. All the way, she was thankful for the headwear provided, and was finally deposited into the medical ward after an uneventful journey. A doctor, noticeably armed - it was a prison, after all - directed Wora to Behn's bed.
Behn laid propped up in a hospital bed with her eyes closed, grimacing in pain. Her right arm and hand were held still by braces as a tissue replicator went to work reattaching her thumb with new bone, muscle fibers, and skin weaved from their constituent components coded with her DNA, given in a sample taken from the shredded stump of her thumb. Wora noticed that a small curtain had been set up to block Behn's view of her automated operation.
<"Behn, it's me."> said Wora, sitting by her bedside.
Behn's eyes slowly opened, brightening when her friend came into focus. <"Hey sis. Wh-ugh, what's with the sleepwear?"> she asked sardonically.
<"Concussion, but I'll be fine. How about you?">
<"I should be okay, too. The doc said that this should take just fine, given that it's mostly a reattachment. At best, I'm looking at minor scars.">
Wora raised an eyebrow. <"And at worst?">
<"My body rejects the new tissue, my thumb falls off, and they try again."> Behn explained nonchalantly, as though the sight of such wouldn't result in her puking again.
<"Ah."> Though her tone didn't show it, in truth, Wora was truly relieved that her friend, despite her gruesome injury, was still in high spirits. One question remained, however. <"So, you're looking at a stint in solitary?">
<"Nah, enough of the girls in the yard vouched for me that I'm off the hook this time. I got told that those dry cunts are in lockdown for half a month and their pay's been slashed. Next time they jump someone, they're in solitary for a month, with an extra month for each following attack. And the best part, I now have express permission to defend myself from those four in future."> Behn giggled. <"I mean, so long as I don't break anything.">
<"Oh, thank the gods, I didn't want to lose you."> expressed Wora, not realizing until after she had said it that she said the quiet part out loud.
<"Aww, you would've missed me?"> Behn barbed.
Wora knew there was no backing out now. <"Of course, you dumbass! You're the only cellmate I can name that I've gotten along with.">
Listening to Wora lay herself bare, Behn couldn't remember the last time her presence made someone genuinely happy beyond her deft handling of a firearm. She smiled warmly and extended her uninjured arm toward her friend, placing her hand on Wora's knee. <"Hey, I'm not shut in a hole just yet, so buck up!">
Wora sighed, content. <"You're right. Just don't go scaring me like that again, okay?">
<"Sure, sis.">
<"So, how long did the doc say you'd be stuck here for?">
<"They reckon they'll see if this'll take in a day or so. If it does, I'm free to go. Well, as free as I can be on this rock, at least. I'll be back to see your lack of modesty again soon.">
Wora's expression grew smug. <"You know you love it."> she mocked.
Behn sniggered, transitioning into full on laughter when Wora mockingly began lifting her shirt. Wora joined in, letting the joy of the moment wash away any lingering doubts and worries. Now she knew that she, her friend, and their bond, was safe.
~~~
The bus glode smoothly past shop-lined streets as Mark stared out the window, attempting to map out the city in his mind while wondering where he could get a set of headphones built for his ears. It stopped outside a family-owned grocer to let waiting passengers board. Before the bus could take off again, a thin man carrying a basket of food approached Mark.
<"What're you doing here?"> he asked belligerently.
Mark was shaken from his window watching by the man's question. "Can I help you?" he asked politely.
<"This bus isn't built for you."> the basket-carrier stated with certainty. <"Get off.">
Mark blinked. "... Pardon?"
The man's already scowl-creased face scrunched further, his jowls parted just enough for a thin white line of fangs to be visible between his jaws. <"Are you mocking me? Get off the damn bus!"> he insisted, shooting a finger at the side door.
Mark knew then what was happening. He knew it would happen eventually, but he wasn't entirely prepared for the sensation of the event itself. Still, he retained his composure. "Please leave me be, sir." he said firmly.
The man, clearly knowing that he wasn't going to get his way alone, stormed up to the driver's seat and demanded Mark to be removed from the vehicle. <"Buddy, the guy ain't causin' no trouble. You leave 'em alone or you're walkin'."> the driver said matter-of-factly.
The man, finally understanding his place in the proceedings, shot a nasty look Mark's way, and stepped off the bus.

"That guy on the bus surprised me. I've noticed that nobody here's all that subtle, but nobody's been that forward thus far." said Mark, recounting yesterday's encounter with a concerned citizen on public transport.
Rilk'r, Mark's companion at the cafeteria table, nodded along to the human's retelling, aware of the encounter in question from today's episode of MarkWatch. <"Don't let 'em get to you. You really shouldn't have to put up with that shit, but if it's just a handful of belligerent dicks, you don't have much to worry about. You stay the course, and they'll get over it eventually.">
While Mark wasn't entirely convinced, stressing over factors out of one's control did little good. "Yeah."
The conversation paused as the two men dug into their lunches, picking up again when Rilk'r asked: <"So, how's that gym treating you?">
"Pretty well, actually. It's a bit stuffy, but I can't complain too much. I imagine you learned about that from the news?"
Rilk'r looked hurt. <"The news? I helped put the damn thing together!">
Mark choked on his water, drawing eyes from employees that he had hoped would be used to his presence by now. "Wait, really? You never told me!"
<"I like my customers to leave their reviews after they've put my work to the test."> Rilk'r said smugly.
"Heh. Well, I've certainly seen worse equipment." He would never forget that one squat rack in Anytime Fitness that fell apart the instant he re-racked his bar.
Rilk'r chuckled. <"Glowing praise, that.">
And once again, the two men put their chat on hold while they ate. Rilk'r cleaned his tray before Mark, to neither's surprise, and waved as he returned to work. Uns'la pointed a finger gun as she linked up with Rilk'r, Mark returned it. As his tray neared empty, Arnd, who too was using the break in the day's lesson to eat her fill, came up to the table.
<"You think you could pick up the pace a bit? We still have the last decade of the Crisis of the Peaks to cover, and I don't want it spilling into my free day."> she asked, the tapping of her foot on the tiled floor akin to a metronome with no patience for rhythm.
"What do you think I'm doing?" replied Mark, now shoveling his gravy-soaked wobunil chunks into his mouth at as fast a pace as their size allowed. Before long, and with many painful attempts to swallow mouthfuls in excess of his throat's capacity, Mark emptied his tray. He also made a mental note to, if he ever made it back to Earth, tell Percy about that time he almost took too much meat for his throat to handle, giggling childishly to himself.
After he quickly gulped down water from a paper cup, Mark was ready to return. Arnd watched impatiently as Mark nodded to the guard stationed outside the bar, with her impatience morphing to simple annoyance when Mark paused to pull out his data pad. This annoyance turned to frustration when Mark turned on his heels and walked back toward her.
"I gotta go, T'aro wants me in R&D immediately. We'll pick up with Crisis when I get back." And with that, Mark was off toward the elevators and Arnd was left watching him go.
Jan'u came up to her, licking his jowls clean of gravy. <"What's he up to now?">
Arnd deflated. <"Doesn't matter. Come on, Nelert's Bones is out and I wanna see if it lives up to the trailers.">

Beneath the mountain, with K'ul stalwart by his side, T'aro paced, second-guessing whether this was a good idea.
Yesterday, as the moon shone as a silver crescent high above the city, T'aro oversaw the first test of a circular bone saw attachment to F'ejen's shield-focused surgical tool. The device whirred, the multitude of tiny energy blades blurring together to form a single, uniform disc of light at the tip of the apparatus. With precision, F'ejen lowered the device down on to, in absence of replicated human bone, a plate of what T'aro dubbed 'Malante Squared', a substance that acted as a less refined, less dense x'erren attempt at N.L.N.A, the substance that comprised the hull of Mark's detached cockpit. Upon contact, the saw squealed as it battled its target, but both it and F'ejen held firm, and the doctor soon excavated a near-perfect square from the mass. A few moments after F'ejen shut the device off, he was told that this attachment too passed safety and stability tests. F'ejen nodded proudly at this victory and ticked off yet another test on his notepad he pulled from his breast pocket; thus far, among other tools, he had successfully tested: a scalpel with adjustable length, a needle tip, a drill, and scissors.
F'ejen stepped out of the testing room, discarding his gloves and shoes, and loosing his ears. <"Well, what's next on the docket?"> he asked, softly massaging his aching ears.
<"Staples. Although how you plan on making this work, I have no clue."> replied T'aro, looking over the list of planned tools.
Listening to T'aro launch into further detail of the task's complications, F'ejen couldn't help but think. <"So, remind me; Mark's more or less on your side now?">
<"He promised that the antics were over, so ostensibly, yes.">
<"... Then shouldn't you tell him about all this?"> asked F'ejen, gesturing to the testing room where a team was examining the surgical apparatus.
T'aro looked at the doctor in stunned disbelief. <"Out of the question. If you've read Mark's contract, and I know you have, you'll know he has the legal right to shut this entire operation down at any time he so wishes. The instant he sees us developing this technology, I've no doubt in my mind that his first act would be to demand that development ceases. His second would be to demand a release from his contract, which is also his legal right.">
<"I take it then he still doesn't trust us?">
<"He said so himself."> said T'aro pointedly.
<"And do you think he'll trust us any more if we continue keeping secrets?"> questioned F'ejen, turning to face the administrator.
T'aro turned in kind. <"I am the director of this project and I will not be questioned.">
<"I have been a surgeon since before you came of age."> the doctor stated firmly, letting his experience drive his words. <"I have worked at many hospitals and have tended to very many patients. The longer you lie to a patient, even if the lie is entirely for the patient's benefit, the harsher they react when the truth comes out. When Mark tried to escape, he was in a panic, trying to tunnel away from the force he thought he could not fight. But what do you think he'll to do now that he's come to know us, to adapt to us? I know you have the means to bring him in again, but none of them are quiet enough for you to get away with it."> F'ejen leaned in, craning his neck upward to get face-to-face with his junior. <"You open up now, or the decades you've spent on this project go up in smoke.">
T'aro could say nothing to the physician as he produced a pack of lija from his pocket, bit down on a pod, and ambled out of the room saying that he was going to bed. T'aro stood blinking into the silent air for a few long minutes after the doctor had left, before deciding: <"Not the samples, that's too far.">

T'aro's pacing and fretting was interrupted by Mark rounding the corner into R&D, his face a portrait of curiosity and apprehension. "You called?" he said flatly.
T'aro straightened. <"Yes, I did. I'm glad you could make it so promptly.">
Mark shrugged. "You said immediately. So, what's up?"
T'aro turned, gesturing Mark to follow. <"As you well know, I wouldn't be doing my job as head of extraterrestrial affairs if I didn't look after the health of those that fall under my jurisdiction. I've already made steps to accommodate this in providing you proper nourishment and the personal gym - which I've noticed you've taken quite a fancy to."> Mark nodded, he would be lying if he denied his enjoyment of having regular, challenging exercise as part of his daily routine again. <"Regardless, this is just the surface; I'm frankly shocked you've not yet fallen ill, I'll chalk that up to your immune system being just as hardy as your body. That body, Mister Stevens, however durable, is still mortal. If you were to suffer an injury, it would need to be tended to. You could recover from nicks and bruises on your own, but more severe injuries: broken bones, deep lacerations, etcetera, those would require medical attention, even surgery.">
Mark didn't know whether or not to ease himself now that the man was getting to the damned point, as said point's subject matter put him on edge.
<"Unfortunately,"> T'aro continued. <"The same implacable nature of your physiology that keeps you safe from the same rounds that would put a hole in a x'erren man large enough to stick one's hand through, would similarly keep standard surgical tools from being able to do their work. Thus, when doctor Rour brought forth the idea of using projected shields in place of metal or glass blades, I had to jump at the chance.">
With impeccable timing that told Mark that T'aro had thoroughly rehearsed this speech of his, the X'erren gestured Mark through a door to his left. Upon entry, Mark realized that his initial mixed feelings were nothing compared to what he felt looking upon the implements in person, their pristine, rounded forms catching the light in a way that made them look both sacred and profane, and they weren't even turned on!
T'aro stood beside the human. <"As you can see, we've developed a range of attachments, with more on the way. I understand any apprehension you may have, Mister Stevens, but you must understand that without this, there is no way for anyone in x'erren space to aid you should the need arise.">
"... Have you tested these?"
<"On varying metals, yes. And I can confirm that these tools are up to the job.">
"Then, may I see them in action?"
T'aro knew not to ease himself just yet, but part of him was glad that Mark remained at least outwardly calm. <"If I can manage to rouse doctor Rour, then yes.">
In the tense calm following T'aro's message to F'ejen, Mark found his eyes always drifting toward the assortment of attachments laid out on the table beyond the viewing window, and tried to fit each adapter to a purpose. He was in the middle of inspecting the needle tip when the door opened to F'ejen, who, upon seeing Mark, immediately sported a smile.
<"Mark! How are you?">
"Just fine, thanks."
<"Mister Rour! Glad you're here. Now, shall we begin the demonstration?"> said T'aro as though yesterday's conversation never happened.
<"That we shall."> replied F'ejen in kind.
And after F'ejen donned his surgical garb, he did just that, lighting the space and filling the air with the sound of humming shields projectors and screeching metal as he sliced, drilled, and punctured a sheet of malante2. All the while, T'aro explained the substance's origin, reminding Mark that, given its nature as a recreation of an entirely human creation, he could shut down its production and research thereof at any moment. Mark politely declined.
Before long, each tool, including the staples, had been demonstrated in full, and F'ejen rejoined the pair in the viewing room. <"So,"> he said. <"what do you think?">
Mark thought a moment. "I think that this is not only a brilliant piece of tech, but that it exists for my sake is very considerate of you both." His words, while genuine, were tinged with doubt, something that his x'erren listeners were all too aware of. "I do wish, however, that you would have notified me beforehand, for both the tools and the metal."
F'ejen and T'aro apologized for their lack of foresight and, with a gesture from Mark that he was satisfied with the showcase, followed him out into the hallway.
As the trio made their way back to the surface, K'ul keeping stride with T'aro, Mark tapped F'ejen on the shoulder. "Hey, are you free for a bit? I have some questions I'd like to ask."
<"Of course, we can talk over lunch.">
T'aro was mildly distressed at the apparent desire for him to not be present, but he understood. He stopped the pair, telling them to go on without him as he had to oversee maintenance performed on the gym. He watched as Mark and F'ejen rounded a corner and hoped for the best.

F'ejen returned to the cafeteria table with a small mantan leaf wrap, understanding that Mark went without food because he had already ate. <"So, bud, what do you need to know?">
Mark had loosened somewhat in T'aro's absence, but still hesitated slightly when asking. <"Are those tools really for surgery?">
The doctor paused mid-bite. <"I brought up the idea of using shields as a substitute for metal, why wouldn't they be for surgery?">
"I know, but that's not what I meant. It's more..." Mark looked around to see if anyone suspicious was watching. "Are they really there to mend injuries, are they really there to help me?"
F'ejen laid his wrap down, sighing in understanding. <"Look, man, I get that you don't trust T'aro, I wouldn't trust him either after what he's pulled. But I can tell you straight that this is legit. You can trust this.">
Mark didn't know if he felt any better after having it said to him so plainly. "I just hope they never have to be used."
<"No true surgeon ever wants their tools to leave storage. If I had my way, everyone would always be healthy and surgery would be a dead field."> He bit into his wrap, and Mark agreed.
~~~
Du'fra stepped out through the hospital's front doors, a prescription for pain medication in his hand and a thick cast on his arm. It took time and a lot of pain to realign the halves of his shattered forearm, and by the time the cast was on, the doctors had confirmed that this level of damage could take at minimum four months to heal, and years to regain full strength once he had the internal plates and pins removed. Before he left the ward, he opted to hire a Spare Hand: a robotic arm strapped to one's shoulder controlled by brainwaves monitored by a small headpiece, to replace one's out of commission arm while it healed, held aloft in a sling. Healthcare was a dream in Ta'X'rtana, and thus the only money that left Du'fra's coffers was the hire fee for the Spare Hand, and a handful of chump change for a surprisingly good hospital meal on his way out. He finished his meal in the office courtyard, carelessly tossing the container aside when his taxi arrived.
As the vehicle navigated the city's airspace, Du'fra checked his cruiser's tracker, and found it to be impounded in a lot across town. He decided that it could rot there for all he cared, he still had the cruiser he got in his divorce. He was both shocked and glad that the parasites now sitting in the executive chairs at X'rtan Freight hadn't stolen anything from him while he was out. With that thought, he searched The Flow for any news pertaining to X'rtan Freight, and came by an article reporting on the new Acting Chief Vuk'li's ascension to the top of the company and his donation of 500 billion ker'se to the Men-te Relief Fund to commemorate his rise. <"That brakk fucker worked in marketing before he was hired there, of course he'd pull a stunt like this."> growled Du'fra. In his fury, he instinctively reached out for a pack of first-grade lija pods, and remembered the one thing in his old cruiser that he would miss.
Errant dust was blown off the rooftop by the taxi's arrival to Du'fra's apartment. Air-capable taxi fare took a bigger bite out of one's pockets than a standard ride, but Du'fra didn't care. Once inside his building, Du'fra quickly reminded himself where the set of keys to his ex wife's cruiser were, and then got to work. Where it once felt drab and lifeless, his office now felt fresh, given its new purpose. Typing with an artificial hand was awkward despite the practice doctors mandated before Du'fra could take it home with him, and he continually made spelling errors that served only to add to his mounting frustrations. Even with this new complication, however, it didn't take long for Du'fra to find what he was looking for.
Arnd Kolr's online life was scarce. All Du'fra could dig up was a seldom used Conclave account, the last activity of which was to trawl the forum of a middlingly popular book series and the account of her work hard-play hard daughter. A daughter that, with a quick search, Du'fra found to be in prison for gang activity dating back years. Familial association was not proper grounds for legal action, though, so he had to find another avenue. From news sources, he read claims that she was either hired by the government or arrested and held in X'rtani House until further notice. All Du'fra knew as of yet was that she, in her current position, was effectively untouchable. At least, if Du'fra was alone. It was common knowledge among those who did any cursory research that Arnd had close ties to Mark, someone who, though protected, was in a state of political flux, with talks going back and forth regarding the alien and how to handle him. And if politicians listened to anything, it was money, and significant public outcry.
And thus, the plan was simple: Either through generous donations, the outspoken voices of concerned citizens, or a mixture of both, swing the Council in opposition to Mark, destabilizing his and therefore Arnd's position. This should result in numerous investigations being launched, the likelihood being high that at least one would uncover the connection between Arnd and Vuk'li, putting Vuk'li's position in jeopardy and likely landing him with fines and jail time. The resulting controversy should put immense pressure on him, leaving nothing left to do but keep the pressure up until he resigns. It was elegant in its simplicity.
The only problem was getting started. He would have to be smart with his donations, hitting the sweet spot between being too small to notice and too large to be innocent. And thus he knew to start with his alternative solution; he would have to track down an anti-Mark group. But he was still weary from his surgery, and he wasn't too concerned with losing a day of progress, and decided instead to kick his feet up and relax, maybe fall asleep to reruns of that one talk show with the cute young presenter.
Prime kurjan ribs delivered to his door and top shelf X'ogan reed wine were the night's menu, with entertainment courtesy of one Wer'eled, a host who seemed determined to wear the thinnest and loosest fabric the censors would let her get away with. As Du'fra indulged, his mind drifted back, as it always would on nights like these, to the days of his relative youth. He was a 34 year old up-and-comer at X'rtan Freight after acing his interview for administrating light post in central Ta'X'rtana and surrounds, with a brand new studio apartment financed by his father, and a charming young woman to call his own: Ber'a Neyil. She had energy exploding from every inch of her tiny body and could talk her way in and out of damn near anything, which was useful skill for a saleswoman. On glorious, youthful nights when they were both tired from work and needed release, Ber'a was known to signal the beginning of the night's events by sporting a lacy gown and demanding that Du'fra follow his instincts. Looking back, Du'fra could name little else he enjoyed from his marriage. Time wore on and things grew comfortable, Du'fra couldn't be more content. Ber'a, however, viewed her continued entrenchment in a cozy routine to be increasingly stale, and sought an escape by suggesting to move away from the city. Du'fra disagreed, and thus the couple engaged in their first fight, with tempers and moods only worsening from there. Though it felt like an eternity of squabbling and growing resentment, only a few months had passed since that initial spat before divorce papers were being signed. By that point, Ber'a was more than done with Du'fra, not caring if he kept her cruiser. Du'fra never saw her again. Every time he reminisced on his marriage, Du'fra debated whether or not staying was a good idea, before shrugging and continuing on with whatever he was doing.
Stars twinkled faintly in the gaps between moonlit clouds, and Du'fra began to drift, slowly, into the waiting arms of sleep.

Day broke, and Du'fra was jolted awake by a sudden pain in his arm, the surgeon warned him about that. His unhooked the Spare Hand from his shoulder, the throbbing he felt was an indication that he should probably take it off before he goes to sleep in future. Breakfast was pe'ka pieces drowning in lija sauce that disappeared down Du'fra's gullet with grotesque haste, there was work to do. Simply typing Mark Stevens into a search bar brought up more results than he knew what to do with. Forums arguing back and forth over why he was on Kerc-en and whether or not he should be allowed to roam free; the supremely tacky MarkWatch page that practically begged him to appear on the show; and, oddly enough, a site claiming to 'spread truths' that would have a hard time convincing even the most hardcore conspiracy theorists. If the government was trying in earnest to kill Arnd, then how in the scream-rent flaming air of the Pit was she still alive? Laughable nonsense. Still, his search bore some fruit, with mentions of live meetings to debate all matters Mark, with an unsubtle negative lean in the poster's text. This, he could use.
The doorbell beeped, pulling Du'fra out of his concentration. He strapped on his Spare Hand and went to answer. The door opened to a police officer whose expression was nothing but business. <"Mister Du'fra Neem?"> he asked.
<"Yes.">
The officer glanced slightly to the left. <"Do you have a permit for that apparatus?">
Du'fra quickly flashed the document in question. <"Might I ask what this visit is about, officer?"> He knew he would get the answer either way, but asking helped his confidence.
<"You have been summoned to attend a hearing at the Central Municipal Tribunal, to determine your sentence for your engagement in an illegal Kre'gadol duel. This hearing will be undertaken on the 15th Dawn of Se'te. The full details are listed in this document."> With form befitting a man in uniform, the lawman presented an envelope.
Du'fra took the envelope only because waiting to let the situation sink in would take too long. The officer nodded, and left, the door slamming shut in his wake. A thorough reading of the summons told Du'fra that everything was as standard: He and the other guilty party were to each present a defense either with their own lawyers or lawyers provided by the state, with expected sentences ranging between two to seven months. At the mention of a month shy of an entire year being snatched away from him, Du'fra's grip tightened on the paper. However, he knew that he would have to face this some day soon, and he had slowly been steeling himself ever since he declared the duel that fateful night. Now, he knew there was no turning back, and he was prepared to learn just how much he was willing to pay for justice.
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2020.09.21 02:54 TheAusNerd Debris [Part 42]

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<"Dude, I love playing that when I was a kid!"> said Wora exuberantly over video chat. <"I can't believe they still make it.">
Le'quaren, the only friend Wora could name that wasn't perpetually surrounded by criminals and thugs, sat smiling, cradling her newborn in her arms. <"Jell told me it's getting even more popular at the store he frequents, but he's concerned that if his friends find out he plays, he's never going to hear the end of it.">
Wora giggled. She remembered feeling the same way in her youth, spending a solid chunk of the allowance she received from performing chores to buy a pack of cards just for the feeling of anticipation and mystery. It was simpler then, better. Wora thought. <"Hey...">
Today's lunch was a lonely one for Behn. While a significant portion of the women went to have their bi-weekly video calls, she abstained, choosing instead to get in line for food that, without the rest of the prison lining up for their meals and bringing things to a crawl, was comparatively fresh. The food, surprisingly refreshing though it was, was no replacement for Wora's lively demeanour and barbs at the brainless programmes on the television, which the prisoners noted to now be flickering somewhat; the women expected their food to soon take another dip in whatever quality it had left.
At last, and with a tray on which she swore she could see the scrapings from the bottom of the greasy pot in which her meal was cooked, Wora arrived, throwing herself onto the bench beside Behn. The mood was immediately lifted. <"Hey, girl. What'd I miss?">
<"Just some weather boy waffling on about expected wind speeds during Chill Winds. They're gonna be high, but nothing we haven't survived before."> As she heard the young man read the weather report, part of Behn was glad that Arnd apparently spent most of her time in X'rtani House, she would be nice and warm there.
<"Huh. Oh! Did I ever tell you about that one time when my aunt slipped on an ice patch and fell down the stairs of her apartment complex?"> Behn shook her head. <"Yeah. She was fine in the end, nothing more than a few bruises, but she screamed like a damn siren until she hit the floor. A cop came bursting in looking for his buddy's cruiser, muttering that he didn't get a call for a crime in progress! When he saw my aunt, he damn near pissed himself!"> Wora chuckled heartily, and Behn couldn't help but be drawn in. The two women laughed so hard that they missed the opening to that day's episode of MarkWatch.
The pair watched a man too average-looking to form an opinion on confront Mark on a bus, and a thought came to Wora's head. <"Do you have anyone to call on the outside? Friends, family?">
Behn swallowed hard after she removed her gaze from the television and processed the question. <"No. I hadn't noticed I left it all behind until I realized who I was running with. And before you ask: no, I'm not calling my mother."> she clarified, dim resentment on her tongue.
<"You think she would've called by now, given what you've told me.">
<"She's busy doing gods know what with Mark and all that government crap, I wouldn't be surprised if it was years before she called to talk.">
Wora nodded along as only a friend would, recognizing that words were no good here, and returned to her meal.

<"You reckon he couldn't have gone shorter? Show some arm?"> asked Wora in relation to the tailored suit MarkWatch's presenters accurately predicted he had arranged for.
<"Meh, it's probably fashionable where he's from. It's not my business in any case."> replied Behn, squat lifting the weight of the average prisoner in the complex. It was simple. It certainly wasn't a heavy machine gun, two backpacks worth of ammo, malante plate body armor... <'No, gods damn it! You're past that! The violence is no more! Just squat and breathe, Behn.'> She squatted, she breathed, she felt her thighs grow warm with the effort, focusing on that helped her stay in the moment.
<"Behn?">
<"Sorry, I spaced out a bit, what'd you say?">
Wora pointed past Behn, whose gaze followed her friends finger. Four surly women, with enough muscle between them to convince Behn that they could bend the collective population of the prison into thick knots. They closed in and Behn put the barbell back on the rack. She and the quartet's eyes met, and the clear challenge was recognized.
<"So,"> began a X'etish woman who dwarfed the others. <"Miss Ex-Fang here's got 48 lifetimes, eh? Not bad, pint-size."> She giggled, her yellowed and chipped fangs on full display. <"See, there's something about multiple life sentences that I'm sure you know: You step out of line, and you're in solitary.">
<"I'm aware."> replied Behn, knowing exactly where this was going.
<"So then you know that you can't fight anyone, correct?"> the woman sneered, leaning down so her jaw was inches from Behn's face. Behn didn't notice a X'rtani woman slinking out of view.
<"Correct.">
The woman stood back up. <"Good.">
Behn was seized from behind, a second X'rtani clamping her jaw shut <"Don't go crying now."> she taunted. Wora hollered for the guards, only to be grabbed by the jaw and thrown to the ground by the X'eti, who roughly held her face to the floor. Struggle as she might, Wora was helpless and silent in witnessing Behn's right arm being held out by a X'ogan woman, her mouth warped into a savage grin. <"You learn that we're the bosses in this yard right quick, or..."> And with a visceral crunch that turned both Behn and Wora's stomach, the woman bit down on Behn's thumb, removing it at the base. She spat it on the ground and chuckled, her jowls splotched with bloody yellow. Behn, pain and disgust twisting inside her, swayed at the sight of her own blood. Finally, the guards arrived, detaining the perpetrators. Upon her attacker's seizure, gore-induced vomit spilled from Behn's newly unclamped jaw, and she staggered to the floor, lightheaded and queasy.
As the assailants were taken away, a guard administered basic first aid to Behn while calling for a medical team for the two victims. Before long, a team arrived with a mag-lifted bed for Behn, they immediately administered an anesthetic and antibiotics to the wound, and they rushed Behn off to the prison station's medical ward. Wora, her head throbbing, was helped off the ground by the guard who stood beside Behn, and was led from the yard as she explained the altercation.

Wora's impatience was not due to the aches she felt as her injuries were examined in the medical ward.
<"You appear to have a mild concussion and some bruising."> noted the doctor. The guard present relayed this information to her fellow officers in Wora's arm of the prison. <"There's no cure for a concussion but rest and limiting stimulus; no television, no major physical activity, and keep socializing to a minimum for the next few days. I'll have pills regularly sent to your cell to help with pain, and I'll arrange for your meals to be sent to your cell, too. In the meantime, I can provide you with a blindfold and earmuffs to help limit stimulus."> The physician filled out application forms as she spoke. <"You should begin to first see results in a few days, and I'll have you come in for an examination in seven days.">
<"Fine, cool, whatever."> said Wora. <"Is Behn going to be okay?">
<"Your cellmate? Due to patient confidentiality, I can't give that information away. But I'll ask her if it's okay, and we'll go from there.">
<"Yes, please."> Restlessness was thick in her tone.
The doctor blinked at her for a moment, before turning back to her computer. <"Alright. We'll arrange someone to visit you in your cell as soon as possible."> She turned to the guard, handing her the stimulus-limiting headwear. <"Shel, please escort Miss Lakk back to her cell, and be sure to take the quiet routes.">
<"Of course, Doctor. You heard her, get these on you and I'll get you back safe."> the officer held the blindfold and earmuffs out to Wora, who took them begrudgingly.
The blindfold didn't so much as blind Wora, but rather kept her vision dim, which she admittedly appreciated given her injury, the earmuffs too aided in the easing of her headache; they didn't help ease the throbbing she felt from her bruises, though.
When Wora arrived back at her cell, she saw some pills already arranged on her bedside table; they tasted like everything and nothing at the same time, she nearly gagged. After chasing her medication with some water, she slumped down onto the bed and dozed, her body seemingly responding to the doctor's orders.
She later woke with a start as a guard outside her cell called for her attention. <"Miss Kell? Miss Kolr would like to see you in the medical ward, I'm here to escort you.">
Wora didn't miss a beat, immediately following the guard through the passageways prisoners usually only got to see if they were in deep trouble, add-years-onto-your-sentence trouble. All the way, she was thankful for the headwear provided, and was finally deposited into the medical ward after an uneventful journey. A doctor, noticeably armed - it was a prison, after all - directed Wora to Behn's bed.
Behn laid propped up in a hospital bed with her eyes closed, grimacing in pain. Her right arm and hand were held still by braces as a tissue replicator went to work reattaching her thumb with new bone, muscle fibers, and skin weaved from their constituent components coded with her DNA, given in a sample taken from the shredded stump of her thumb. Wora noticed that a small curtain had been set up to block Behn's view of her automated operation.
<"Behn, it's me."> said Wora, sitting by her bedside.
Behn's eyes slowly opened, brightening when her friend came into focus. <"Hey sis. Wh-ugh, what's with the sleepwear?"> she asked sardonically.
<"Concussion, but I'll be fine. How about you?">
<"I should be okay, too. The doc said that this should take just fine, given that it's mostly a reattachment. At best, I'm looking at minor scars.">
Wora raised an eyebrow. <"And at worst?">
<"My body rejects the new tissue, my thumb falls off, and they try again."> Behn explained nonchalantly, as though the sight of such wouldn't result in her puking again.
<"Ah."> Though her tone didn't show it, in truth, Wora was truly relieved that her friend, despite her gruesome injury, was still in high spirits. One question remained, however. <"So, you're looking at a stint in solitary?">
<"Nah, enough of the girls in the yard vouched for me that I'm off the hook this time. I got told that those dry cunts are in lockdown for half a month and their pay's been slashed. Next time they jump someone, they're in solitary for a month, with an extra month for each following attack. And the best part, I now have express permission to defend myself from those four in future."> Behn giggled. <"I mean, so long as I don't break anything.">
<"Oh, thank the gods, I didn't want to lose you."> expressed Wora, not realizing until after she had said it that she said the quiet part out loud.
<"Aww, you would've missed me?"> Behn barbed.
Wora knew there was no backing out now. <"Of course, you dumbass! You're the only cellmate I can name that I've gotten along with.">
Listening to Wora lay herself bare, Behn couldn't remember the last time her presence made someone genuinely happy beyond her deft handling of a firearm. She smiled warmly and extended her uninjured arm toward her friend, placing her hand on Wora's knee. <"Hey, I'm not shut in a hole just yet, so buck up!">
Wora sighed, content. <"You're right. Just don't go scaring me like that again, okay?">
<"Sure, sis.">
<"So, how long did the doc say you'd be stuck here for?">
<"They reckon they'll see if this'll take in a day or so. If it does, I'm free to go. Well, as free as I can be on this rock, at least. I'll be back to see your lack of modesty again soon.">
Wora's expression grew smug. <"You know you love it."> she mocked.
Behn sniggered, transitioning into full on laughter when Wora mockingly began lifting her shirt. Wora joined in, letting the joy of the moment wash away any lingering doubts and worries. Now she knew that she, her friend, and their bond, was safe.
~~~
The bus glode smoothly past shop-lined streets as Mark stared out the window, attempting to map out the city in his mind while wondering where he could get a set of headphones built for his ears. It stopped outside a family-owned grocer to let waiting passengers board. Before the bus could take off again, a thin man carrying a basket of food approached Mark.
<"What're you doing here?"> he asked belligerently.
Mark was shaken from his window watching by the man's question. "Can I help you?" he asked politely.
<"This bus isn't built for you."> the basket-carrier stated with certainty. <"Get off.">
Mark blinked. "... Pardon?"
The man's already scowl-creased face scrunched further, his jowls parted just enough for a thin white line of fangs to be visible between his jaws. <"Are you mocking me? Get off the damn bus!"> he insisted, shooting a finger at the side door.
Mark knew then what was happening. He knew it would happen eventually, but he wasn't entirely prepared for the sensation of the event itself. Still, he retained his composure. "Please leave me be, sir." he said firmly.
The man, clearly knowing that he wasn't going to get his way alone, stormed up to the driver's seat and demanded Mark to be removed from the vehicle. <"Buddy, the guy ain't causin' no trouble. You leave 'em alone or you're walkin'."> the driver said matter-of-factly.
The man, finally understanding his place in the proceedings, shot a nasty look Mark's way, and stepped off the bus.

"That guy on the bus surprised me. I've noticed that nobody here's all that subtle, but nobody's been that forward thus far." said Mark, recounting yesterday's encounter with a concerned citizen on public transport.
Rilk'r, Mark's companion at the cafeteria table, nodded along to the human's retelling, aware of the encounter in question from today's episode of MarkWatch. <"Don't let 'em get to you. You really shouldn't have to put up with that shit, but if it's just a handful of belligerent dicks, you don't have much to worry about. You stay the course, and they'll get over it eventually.">
While Mark wasn't entirely convinced, stressing over factors out of one's control did little good. "Yeah."
The conversation paused as the two men dug into their lunches, picking up again when Rilk'r asked: <"So, how's that gym treating you?">
"Pretty well, actually. It's a bit stuffy, but I can't complain too much. I imagine you learned about that from the news?"
Rilk'r looked hurt. <"The news? I helped put the damn thing together!">
Mark choked on his water, drawing eyes from employees that he had hoped would be used to his presence by now. "Wait, really? You never told me!"
<"I like my customers to leave their reviews after they've put my work to the test."> Rilk'r said smugly.
"Heh. Well, I've certainly seen worse equipment." He would never forget that one squat rack in Anytime Fitness that fell apart the instant he re-racked his bar.
Rilk'r chuckled. <"Glowing praise, that.">
And once again, the two men put their chat on hold while they ate. Rilk'r cleaned his tray before Mark, to neither's surprise, and waved as he returned to work. Uns'la pointed a finger gun as she linked up with Rilk'r, Mark returned it. As his tray neared empty, Arnd, who too was using the break in the day's lesson to eat her fill, came up to the table.
<"You think you could pick up the pace a bit? We still have the last decade of the Crisis of the Peaks to cover, and I don't want it spilling into my free day."> she asked, the tapping of her foot on the tiled floor akin to a metronome with no patience for rhythm.
"What do you think I'm doing?" replied Mark, now shoveling his gravy-soaked wobunil chunks into his mouth at as fast a pace as their size allowed. Before long, and with many painful attempts to swallow mouthfuls in excess of his throat's capacity, Mark emptied his tray. He also made a mental note to, if he ever made it back to Earth, tell Percy about that time he almost took too much meat for his throat to handle, giggling childishly to himself.
After he quickly gulped down water from a paper cup, Mark was ready to return. Arnd watched impatiently as Mark nodded to the guard stationed outside the bar, with her impatience morphing to simple annoyance when Mark paused to pull out his data pad. This annoyance turned to frustration when Mark turned on his heels and walked back toward her.
"I gotta go, T'aro wants me in R&D immediately. We'll pick up with Crisis when I get back." And with that, Mark was off toward the elevators and Arnd was left watching him go.
Jan'u came up to her, licking his jowls clean of gravy. <"What's he up to now?">
Arnd deflated. <"Doesn't matter. Come on, Nelert's Bones is out and I wanna see if it lives up to the trailers.">

Beneath the mountain, with K'ul stalwart by his side, T'aro paced, second-guessing whether this was a good idea.
Yesterday, as the moon shone as a silver crescent high above the city, T'aro oversaw the first test of a circular bone saw attachment to F'ejen's shield-focused surgical tool. The device whirred, the multitude of tiny energy blades blurring together to form a single, uniform disc of light at the tip of the apparatus. With precision, F'ejen lowered the device down on to, in absence of replicated human bone, a plate of what T'aro dubbed 'Malante Squared', a substance that acted as a less refined, less dense x'erren attempt at N.L.N.A, the substance that comprised the hull of Mark's detached cockpit. Upon contact, the saw squealed as it battled its target, but both it and F'ejen held firm, and the doctor soon excavated a near-perfect square from the mass. A few moments after F'ejen shut the device off, he was told that this attachment too passed safety and stability tests. F'ejen nodded proudly at this victory and ticked off yet another test on his notepad he pulled from his breast pocket; thus far, among other tools, he had successfully tested: a scalpel with adjustable length, a needle tip, a drill, and scissors.
F'ejen stepped out of the testing room, discarding his gloves and shoes, and loosing his ears. <"Well, what's next on the docket?"> he asked, softly massaging his aching ears.
<"Staples. Although how you plan on making this work, I have no clue."> replied T'aro, looking over the list of planned tools.
Listening to T'aro launch into further detail of the task's complications, F'ejen couldn't help but think. <"So, remind me; Mark's more or less on your side now?">
<"He promised that the antics were over, so ostensibly, yes.">
<"... Then shouldn't you tell him about all this?"> asked F'ejen, gesturing to the testing room where a team was examining the surgical apparatus.
T'aro looked at the doctor in stunned disbelief. <"Out of the question. If you've read Mark's contract, and I know you have, you'll know he has the legal right to shut this entire operation down at any time he so wishes. The instant he sees us developing this technology, I've no doubt in my mind that his first act would be to demand that development ceases. His second would be to demand a release from his contract, which is also his legal right.">
<"I take it then he still doesn't trust us?">
<"He said so himself."> said T'aro pointedly.
<"And do you think he'll trust us any more if we continue keeping secrets?"> questioned F'ejen, turning to face the administrator.
T'aro turned in kind. <"I am the director of this project and I will not be questioned.">
<"I have been a surgeon since before you came of age."> the doctor stated firmly, letting his experience drive his words. <"I have worked at many hospitals and have tended to very many patients. The longer you lie to a patient, even if the lie is entirely for the patient's benefit, the harsher they react when the truth comes out. When Mark tried to escape, he was in a panic, trying to tunnel away from the force he thought he could not fight. But what do you think he'll to do now that he's come to know us, to adapt to us? I know you have the means to bring him in again, but none of them are quiet enough for you to get away with it."> F'ejen leaned in, craning his neck upward to get face-to-face with his junior. <"You open up now, or the decades you've spent on this project go up in smoke.">
T'aro could say nothing to the physician as he produced a pack of lija from his pocket, bit down on a pod, and ambled out of the room saying that he was going to bed. T'aro stood blinking into the silent air for a few long minutes after the doctor had left, before deciding: <"Not the samples, that's too far.">

T'aro's pacing and fretting was interrupted by Mark rounding the corner into R&D, his face a portrait of curiosity and apprehension. "You called?" he said flatly.
T'aro straightened. <"Yes, I did. I'm glad you could make it so promptly.">
Mark shrugged. "You said immediately. So, what's up?"
T'aro turned, gesturing Mark to follow. <"As you well know, I wouldn't be doing my job as head of extraterrestrial affairs if I didn't look after the health of those that fall under my jurisdiction. I've already made steps to accommodate this in providing you proper nourishment and the personal gym - which I've noticed you've taken quite a fancy to."> Mark nodded, he would be lying if he denied his enjoyment of having regular, challenging exercise as part of his daily routine again. <"Regardless, this is just the surface; I'm frankly shocked you've not yet fallen ill, I'll chalk that up to your immune system being just as hardy as your body. That body, Mister Stevens, however durable, is still mortal. If you were to suffer an injury, it would need to be tended to. You could recover from nicks and bruises on your own, but more severe injuries: broken bones, deep lacerations, etcetera, those would require medical attention, even surgery.">
Mark didn't know whether or not to ease himself now that the man was getting to the damned point, as said point's subject matter put him on edge.
<"Unfortunately,"> T'aro continued. <"The same implacable nature of your physiology that keeps you safe from the same rounds that would put a hole in a x'erren man large enough to stick one's hand through, would similarly keep standard surgical tools from being able to do their work. Thus, when doctor Rour brought forth the idea of using projected shields in place of metal or glass blades, I had to jump at the chance.">
With impeccable timing that told Mark that T'aro had thoroughly rehearsed this speech of his, the X'erren gestured Mark through a door to his left. Upon entry, Mark realized that his initial mixed feelings were nothing compared to what he felt looking upon the implements in person, their pristine, rounded forms catching the light in a way that made them look both sacred and profane, and they weren't even turned on!
T'aro stood beside the human. <"As you can see, we've developed a range of attachments, with more on the way. I understand any apprehension you may have, Mister Stevens, but you must understand that without this, there is no way for anyone in x'erren space to aid you should the need arise.">
"... Have you tested these?"
<"On varying metals, yes. And I can confirm that these tools are up to the job.">
"Then, may I see them in action?"
T'aro knew not to ease himself just yet, but part of him was glad that Mark remained at least outwardly calm. <"If I can manage to rouse doctor Rour, then yes.">
In the tense calm following T'aro's message to F'ejen, Mark found his eyes always drifting toward the assortment of attachments laid out on the table beyond the viewing window, and tried to fit each adapter to a purpose. He was in the middle of inspecting the needle tip when the door opened to F'ejen, who, upon seeing Mark, immediately sported a smile.
<"Mark! How are you?">
"Just fine, thanks."
<"Mister Rour! Glad you're here. Now, shall we begin the demonstration?"> said T'aro as though yesterday's conversation never happened.
<"That we shall."> replied F'ejen in kind.
And after F'ejen donned his surgical garb, he did just that, lighting the space and filling the air with the sound of humming shields projectors and screeching metal as he sliced, drilled, and punctured a sheet of malante2. All the while, T'aro explained the substance's origin, reminding Mark that, given its nature as a recreation of an entirely human creation, he could shut down its production and research thereof at any moment. Mark politely declined.
Before long, each tool, including the staples, had been demonstrated in full, and F'ejen rejoined the pair in the viewing room. <"So,"> he said. <"what do you think?">
Mark thought a moment. "I think that this is not only a brilliant piece of tech, but that it exists for my sake is very considerate of you both." His words, while genuine, were tinged with doubt, something that his x'erren listeners were all too aware of. "I do wish, however, that you would have notified me beforehand, for both the tools and the metal."
F'ejen and T'aro apologized for their lack of foresight and, with a gesture from Mark that he was satisfied with the showcase, followed him out into the hallway.
As the trio made their way back to the surface, K'ul keeping stride with T'aro, Mark tapped F'ejen on the shoulder. "Hey, are you free for a bit? I have some questions I'd like to ask."
<"Of course, we can talk over lunch.">
T'aro was mildly distressed at the apparent desire for him to not be present, but he understood. He stopped the pair, telling them to go on without him as he had to oversee maintenance performed on the gym. He watched as Mark and F'ejen rounded a corner and hoped for the best.

F'ejen returned to the cafeteria table with a small mantan leaf wrap, understanding that Mark went without food because he had already ate. <"So, bud, what do you need to know?">
Mark had loosened somewhat in T'aro's absence, but still hesitated slightly when asking. <"Are those tools really for surgery?">
The doctor paused mid-bite. <"I brought up the idea of using shields as a substitute for metal, why wouldn't they be for surgery?">
"I know, but that's not what I meant. It's more..." Mark looked around to see if anyone suspicious was watching. "Are they really there to mend injuries, are they really there to help me?"
F'ejen laid his wrap down, sighing in understanding. <"Look, man, I get that you don't trust T'aro, I wouldn't trust him either after what he's pulled. But I can tell you straight that this is legit. You can trust this.">
Mark didn't know if he felt any better after having it said to him so plainly. "I just hope they never have to be used."
<"No true surgeon ever wants their tools to leave storage. If I had my way, everyone would always be healthy and surgery would be a dead field."> He bit into his wrap, and Mark agreed.
~~~
Du'fra stepped out through the hospital's front doors, a prescription for pain medication in his hand and a thick cast on his arm. It took time and a lot of pain to realign the halves of his shattered forearm, and by the time the cast was on, the doctors had confirmed that this level of damage could take at minimum four months to heal, and years to regain full strength once he had the internal plates and pins removed. Before he left the ward, he opted to hire a Spare Hand: a robotic arm strapped to one's shoulder controlled by brainwaves monitored by a small headpiece, to replace one's out of commission arm while it healed, held aloft in a sling. Healthcare was a dream in Ta'X'rtana, and thus the only money that left Du'fra's coffers was the hire fee for the Spare Hand, and a handful of chump change for a surprisingly good hospital meal on his way out. He finished his meal in the office courtyard, carelessly tossing the container aside when his taxi arrived.
As the vehicle navigated the city's airspace, Du'fra checked his cruiser's tracker, and found it to be impounded in a lot across town. He decided that it could rot there for all he cared, he still had the cruiser he got in his divorce. He was both shocked and glad that the parasites now sitting in the executive chairs at X'rtan Freight hadn't stolen anything from him while he was out. With that thought, he searched The Flow for any news pertaining to X'rtan Freight, and came by an article reporting on the new Acting Chief Vuk'li's ascension to the top of the company and his donation of 500 billion ker'se to the Men-te Relief Fund to commemorate his rise. <"That brakk fucker worked in marketing before he was hired there, of course he'd pull a stunt like this."> growled Du'fra. In his fury, he instinctively reached out for a pack of first-grade lija pods, and remembered the one thing in his old cruiser that he would miss.
Errant dust was blown off the rooftop by the taxi's arrival to Du'fra's apartment. Air-capable taxi fare took a bigger bite out of one's pockets than a standard ride, but Du'fra didn't care. Once inside his building, Du'fra quickly reminded himself where the set of keys to his ex wife's cruiser were, and then got to work. Where it once felt drab and lifeless, his office now felt fresh, given its new purpose. Typing with an artificial hand was awkward despite the practice doctors mandated before Du'fra could take it home with him, and he continually made spelling errors that served only to add to his mounting frustrations. Even with this new complication, however, it didn't take long for Du'fra to find what he was looking for.
Arnd Kolr's online life was scarce. All Du'fra could dig up was a seldom used Conclave account, the last activity of which was to trawl the forum of a middlingly popular book series and the account of her work hard-play hard daughter. A daughter that, with a quick search, Du'fra found to be in prison for gang activity dating back years. Familial association was not proper grounds for legal action, though, so he had to find another avenue. From news sources, he read claims that she was either hired by the government or arrested and held in X'rtani House until further notice. All Du'fra knew as of yet was that she, in her current position, was effectively untouchable. At least, if Du'fra was alone. It was common knowledge among those who did any cursory research that Arnd had close ties to Mark, someone who, though protected, was in a state of political flux, with talks going back and forth regarding the alien and how to handle him. And if politicians listened to anything, it was money, and significant public outcry.
And thus, the plan was simple: Either through generous donations, the outspoken voices of concerned citizens, or a mixture of both, swing the Council in opposition to Mark, destabilizing his and therefore Arnd's position. This should result in numerous investigations being launched, the likelihood being high that at least one would uncover the connection between Arnd and Vuk'li, putting Vuk'li's position in jeopardy and likely landing him with fines and jail time. The resulting controversy should put immense pressure on him, leaving nothing left to do but keep the pressure up until he resigns. It was elegant in its simplicity.
The only problem was getting started. He would have to be smart with his donations, hitting the sweet spot between being too small to notice and too large to be innocent. And thus he knew to start with his alternative solution; he would have to track down an anti-Mark group. But he was still weary from his surgery, and he wasn't too concerned with losing a day of progress, and decided instead to kick his feet up and relax, maybe fall asleep to reruns of that one talk show with the cute young presenter.
Prime kurjan ribs delivered to his door and top shelf X'ogan reed wine were the night's menu, with entertainment courtesy of one Wer'eled, a host who seemed determined to wear the thinnest and loosest fabric the censors would let her get away with. As Du'fra indulged, his mind drifted back, as it always would on nights like these, to the days of his relative youth. He was a 34 year old up-and-comer at X'rtan Freight after acing his interview for administrating light post in central Ta'X'rtana and surrounds, with a brand new studio apartment financed by his father, and a charming young woman to call his own: Ber'a Neyil. She had energy exploding from every inch of her tiny body and could talk her way in and out of damn near anything, which was useful skill for a saleswoman. On glorious, youthful nights when they were both tired from work and needed release, Ber'a was known to signal the beginning of the night's events by sporting a lacy gown and demanding that Du'fra follow his instincts. Looking back, Du'fra could name little else he enjoyed from his marriage. Time wore on and things grew comfortable, Du'fra couldn't be more content. Ber'a, however, viewed her continued entrenchment in a cozy routine to be increasingly stale, and sought an escape by suggesting to move away from the city. Du'fra disagreed, and thus the couple engaged in their first fight, with tempers and moods only worsening from there. Though it felt like an eternity of squabbling and growing resentment, only a few months had passed since that initial spat before divorce papers were being signed. By that point, Ber'a was more than done with Du'fra, not caring if he kept her cruiser. Du'fra never saw her again. Every time he reminisced on his marriage, Du'fra debated whether or not staying was a good idea, before shrugging and continuing on with whatever he was doing.
Stars twinkled faintly in the gaps between moonlit clouds, and Du'fra began to drift, slowly, into the waiting arms of sleep.

Day broke, and Du'fra was jolted awake by a sudden pain in his arm, the surgeon warned him about that. His unhooked the Spare Hand from his shoulder, the throbbing he felt was an indication that he should probably take it off before he goes to sleep in future. Breakfast was pe'ka pieces drowning in lija sauce that disappeared down Du'fra's gullet with grotesque haste, there was work to do. Simply typing Mark Stevens into a search bar brought up more results than he knew what to do with. Forums arguing back and forth over why he was on Kerc-en and whether or not he should be allowed to roam free; the supremely tacky MarkWatch page that practically begged him to appear on the show; and, oddly enough, a site claiming to 'spread truths' that would have a hard time convincing even the most hardcore conspiracy theorists. If the government was trying in earnest to kill Arnd, then how in the scream-rent flaming air of the Pit was she still alive? Laughable nonsense. Still, his search bore some fruit, with mentions of live meetings to debate all matters Mark, with an unsubtle negative lean in the poster's text. This, he could use.
The doorbell beeped, pulling Du'fra out of his concentration. He strapped on his Spare Hand and went to answer. The door opened to a police officer whose expression was nothing but business. <"Mister Du'fra Neem?"> he asked.
<"Yes.">
The officer glanced slightly to the left. <"Do you have a permit for that apparatus?">
Du'fra quickly flashed the document in question. <"Might I ask what this visit is about, officer?"> He knew he would get the answer either way, but asking helped his confidence.
<"You have been summoned to attend a hearing at the Central Municipal Tribunal, to determine your sentence for your engagement in an illegal Kre'gadol duel. This hearing will be undertaken on the 15th Dawn of Se'te. The full details are listed in this document."> With form befitting a man in uniform, the lawman presented an envelope.
Du'fra took the envelope only because waiting to let the situation sink in would take too long. The officer nodded, and left, the door slamming shut in his wake. A thorough reading of the summons told Du'fra that everything was as standard: He and the other guilty party were to each present a defense either with their own lawyers or lawyers provided by the state, with expected sentences ranging between two to seven months. At the mention of a month shy of an entire year being snatched away from him, Du'fra's grip tightened on the paper. However, he knew that he would have to face this some day soon, and he had slowly been steeling himself ever since he declared the duel that fateful night. Now, he knew there was no turning back, and he was prepared to learn just how much he was willing to pay for justice.
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2020.09.19 19:44 OneSilverRaven Raven Reviews: IxSHE TELL Part 2, Love and War are NEVER Fair.

ALMOST A CHARACTER
When looking back on the first part of this review after I had posted it I felt like perhaps I had given the protagonist (Ninomiya Hajime) a poor representation. P-kun, or Protagonist-kun if you prefer, is a term I use to describe a VNs POV character when they are... less then developed. This isn't necessarily a condemnation of a novel (Yukizakura is a pretty good novel with this type of protagonist) but I'd be lying if I said I didn't use the term derogatorily. I am not blind to the fact that the appeal of "blank slate" protagonists in this genre specifically is higher then most, but I think the evidence is overwhelming that more beloved novels have more developed protagonists. Shirogane Takeru, Toomi Yuna, Emiya Shirou and others might not be what most people think of when recalling their stories but their is no doubt in my mind replacing them with a vehicle for easier self insertion would have been a mistake, as each is crucial to the feel of the narrative. Depending upon your opinion of DDLC as a parody of traditional novels you might even reference its call outs of the POV character as recognition that the vast majority of VN protagonists are not only underdeveloped but participate in actions that from an outside perspective they have no motivation to do. So when I reference IxSHE Tell and its protagonist I feel slightly bad about including him on the same list as Takao Ibuki rather then giants like Okabe Rintarou because he has SOME personality at least. So i'll make a compromise, just this once. When I can justify it I'll refer to the protagonist by name, and when he slips into self insert territory I'll call him out for it with P-kun, so if you see me switching back and forth in this review that's why. Part 2 is going to cover my thoughts on the common route and its assets so lets dive right in and talk about the title screen.
I DON'T THINK THAT CHAIR ACTUALLY APPEARS ONCE IN THE NOVEL
IxSHE Tell starts almost immediately upon launch with a loud trumpet filled intro track over a picture of five girls tightly clustered in front of a posh throne. A few weeks ago when I published my first review of HuniePop I commented at length about my personal pet peeve for title cards and this one is... not very good. For starters the characters are much closer together then on the promotional art picture of the exact same scene (the characters even have the same poses) and that tightness clutters the left side of the menu uncomfortably. The picture on VNDB is MUCH better and not only lets each character breath more but puts emphasis on the empty seat which was presumably left open for the reader. The draped curtains in the background and the bright gold of the title clash with the music as the upbeat tempo and almost party like tone conflict with what looks to be a much calmer and upper class if unusual arrangement formed by the heroines. As a group shot, this title card fails to show anything but the most superficial traits of its subjects. I guess you could gather Kozuka is younger then the others from her expression and clothing but her personality doesn't really fit the tone she's putting off with her body language and saying you could guess Yamabuki is a tsudere or Yuuki is confident from their posture is a stretch at bast. Muv-Luv's title card isn't PERFECT but it's a much better example of how things can be done right in a group shot where every character has something unique to convey their personality to the reader. Pretend you've never seen either of these novels before and compare just these two images on VNDB, the list of things you can guess about one game's characters is easily triple the length of the other. So not a great omen for whats going to come but who knows maybe the title card at 100% completion will be better...
BEING POPULAR AND FAMOUS
In the past year of 201X (Seriously? Mega Man style date? What is this a secret Sci-Fi novel? If you're so worried about accurately depicting a level of technology just leave the year unspecified nobody cares! All you're doing with this is drawing attention to it.) the novel opens with a strange bit of narration in which the student newspaper (presumably) talks about the virtues of P-kun... okay. And tells the reader about him by calling him the hero student council president. So we know this novel isn't compensating for anything out of the gate at least I mean we're JUST the legendary president of the student council it's not like we're also drowning in women or anything...
Anyway cut to an introduction to our first Heroine Yamabuki Yoshino presented with a cute title card claiming she "Can't fully hide her true feelings" so look forward to embarrassing the soul out of her all game. She's okay I guess, her introduction is twenty minutes of nagging P-kun in her capacity as vice president while everyone tells P-kun how great he is and stuff. Then she falls over for a pantsu CG and the whole thing is so forced and unbelievable it comes off as a joke which is REALLY not want I wanted my FIRST interaction with this girl to be like but hey maybe you like seeing strong women humiliated to the tune of epic suspenseful music more suited to a poorly done Lord of the Rings video game then a VN, no judgment.
The rest of the student council, all one of them, is introduced (Hakuwa Shoukichi) as well as presumably the president (Kozuka Yui) and vice president (Ninomiya Aoba) of the neighboring sister school who's name is unimportant enough I'm not going to bother looking it up but it directly feeds its students into P-kun's academy so thats nice. Aoba is P-kun's sister and an adorable brat, she and Shoukichi spend the entire novel as one note characters i'll discuss in detail later but both are pretty enjoyable to have around. For story purposes all you need to know is Shoukichi has a crush on the school idle and does all the student council grunt work while Aoba is three steps down from spoiled rotten and oscillates between totally obnoxious and sickeningly sweet and clingy. Oh and she's friends with Yui I guess.
Speaking of which Yui gets her own title card "Both childlike and mature" (THAT'S not code for anything) and has the best romance introduction in the game. Hajime pulls her aside and tells her that as a fellow student body president he wants to ask her for her advice. He's having doubts what he's doing is the right thing. Today's student council meeting was all about the abolition of the centuries old ban on romantic relationship he had pretty much single handedly championed and gotten passed and how it was going to affect the school. Yoshino, again, his vice president, had originally run against him as a supporter of the ban and still speaks out against it despite working with him diligently as he was the people's choice. Hajime expresses his fears for the future and openly questions if this new freedom will come at the cost of some people's comfort who will now be subject to unwanted advances. Yui's response is so well crafted I can't do it justice in this summery but she asks point blank if she is the only one who knows Hajime feels this way. When he reply's affirmatively she takes responsibility for all his fears, and dismisses them. As the only person who COULD blame him, by choosing not to she makes it so their is now no one who does. Again the scene is MUCH better then this but I still have over half the cast to introduce so take my word for it, GREAT first impression from Yui.
Next comes Yuuki Ayaka, the school idol and two year winner of some beauty pageant. Apparently she's voiced by Oohashi Ayuru who is an idol herself which is a neat touch but her introduction here is UNBEARABLE... Her Heroine quirk is "Fary-Tale ideas of romance" which translates to referring to herself as "Perfect and Kawaii" every third paragraph and rejecting the advances of over a dozen guys, including poor Shoukichi, and some unnamed student directly in front of P-kun and Yui on their walk home. Realizing P-kun is there, she flat out presses her butt on his groin while saying to his face he, as the schools most popular boy, is the only man she could accept the confession of. Which prompts P-kun to freak out internally as he apparently has a crush on her and is a member of her "fan club" whatever that means. Apparently Ayaka and Yui know each other and Ayaka is teasingly warm to Yui's teasingly cold, bet that's going to come up later. Anyway P-kun gets Ayaka to blush after she DECIMATES poor off screen confession bro and the scene ends.
We pick up with P-kun walking home with his childhood friend Hanamori Shiori who I THINK is the front runner for best hair but we'll have to see. Her quirk is "Madly in love, single-minded devotion," and she will oscillate between too shy to function and creepily obsessed with P-kun for the rest of the novel until the romance branches. Her scene here is completely forgettable and uninteresting because the only thing that matters is that you know she's P-kun's childhood friend.
At the dorms Hajime and Shiori apparently live at together with Yoshino (Because THAT'S fair to the other heroines.) a new student is transferring in after the semester already started in true anime style and she immediately latches onto Hajime during their introduction. This is Koshimizu Kasumi, the apparent LOSER of best hair by popular vote which is a darn shame because the indigo tints on her tips are pretty cute, but that's a topic for later. Apparently she knew Hajime, Aoba and Shiori from their childhood where she was really sickly and Hajime would come visit her and bring her the schoolwork she missed. This left such a huge impression on the girl she developed her quirk "Pure, unabashed adoration" of Hajime and now that she's all better and able to go to public school again ten years after they met she's here to reunite with her white knight. Honestly it's a pretty touching story that feels a little rushed but OH BOY wait till we get the resolution to this one down the line it is going to get SO much more painful to read.
But enough of that, it's time to meet the best character in the game Hanamori Yasumasa! Yasumasa is Shiori's little brother, which makes him YOUR little brother by right of childhood friendship, and he's adorable. Your introduction to him is at the last meeting of the club you preside over together hilariously called The Horny Brigadier Brotherhood with the sole goals of creating and maintaining a free, secure network to browse porn at the school and abolish the relationship ban. Today's meeting disbands the group as Hajime steps down from his position as general (Which is weird right I mean can you even be the president of two groups simultaneously in Japanese schools I didn't know that was a thing but regardless) and Yasumasa is the vice president. When one of the members gets too rowdy Yasu threatens to suck him off and I'm going to have to stop this whole review for a second because that one line is my favorite in the whole novel.
Full context, I am a bisexual man. I lean about 60/40 in favor of women and didn't discover this part of my sexuality until I was in college, so the majority of my taste is centered around more traditional media rather then BL or Yaoi, but I do dabble in that as well. Yasu as a bisexual character is something I almost never get to see because in the words of my real life little brother "Japan only has two sexualities it recognizes, straight and fetish." Even setting that aside though for all the LGBTQ+ representation in American and Japanese media the B part of that is actually really hard to find good examples of in media ESPECIALLY male versions. They exist, but in recent years especially what little their is often gets drowned beneath a sea of purely homosexual characters and stories so its harder and harder to find. I can't tell you how excited I was to have this opportunity presented to me to see a good bisexual character because this game has a real chance to positively portray him and might even give the barest note of something between him and Hajime. I wasn't expecting a full romance route or anything, but their has to be a failure route in this game, and THAT is the perfect place to put something. It doesn't have to be flashy, maybe just a confession scene where Hajime, who rejected every one of these five girls, is approached by Yasu who questions him about why he's still single. It could end with a kind rejection, CG optional, or maybe even a kiss after the fade to black if they want to spoil me but this is a golden egg I'm BEGGING you Japan don't waste this...
After the meeting Hajime returns to his room and the narrative shifts to view the three love interests he boards with in the bath. Now I'm by no means a pearl clutching reactionary, but their is literally no reason for this scene to take place in the bath outside of Echii. If you didn't install the H-patch the scene is bland and has absolutely no character sprites. If you did the camera hugs the largest tits in the room as the girls talk. This conversation could easily have been anywhere else in the building but whatever the first CG in this game was an up-skirt pantsu shot so I guess this isn't as egregious as THAT. This does give me a good opportunity though to mention I WILL be including the H-patch content in this review but I'll be sectioning it off as much as possible to it's own subsection. When I eventually get to the romance routes I'll be glazing over everything Echii but this particular scene was kind of unavoidable to mention because Kasumi announces that she is going to confess to Hajime in front of the other two girls... and then immediately gets out of the tub and does it! I don't know why I find that so surprising but we as readers met this character literally twenty minutes ago in and out of game so this is REALLY forward but I guess points for confidence.
Kasumi's confession takes place in P-kun's room and is... a mixed bag. On the one hand her story, that she was a sickly girl P-kun would visited frequently ten years ago to bring homework and spend time with before she moved away for her health thus causing her to motivate herself to get better so she can one day reunite with her white knight is touching and romantic but also feels kind of rushed for a reason I can't quite explain. Maybe its the way she tells the story but I get the sense it would have been more impactful if it had a few more sentences of build up somewhere but for what it is it's serviceable. Hajime, understandably, politely tells Kasumi the two of them just met kind of and while he's flattered she feels so strongly about him he can't return her feelings as of yet because he knows so little about her. So not fully rejecting her but not saying yes either, just a request to get to know her first. Then she trips on him and the camera zooms on her boobs. So that ruins the mood as Yoshino comes in to tell P-kun he's terrible.
A DAY OF CONFESSIONS
The second half of the prologue begins with Kasumi transferring into P-kun's class, because of course she is. the next five minutes are background nobodies saying she's pretty. After a time skip to lunch these murmurs of Kasumi's apparent good looks reach all the way to the third year classes apparently because Ayaka bursts into the class to see her new competition appalled that Kasumi has been here less then 14 hours and has already confessed to her "crush." After establishing that Ayaka and Kasumi are now maybe possibly rivals not only for P-kun's affections but the beauty contest crown as well Yui, who apparently ran all the way from the sister school, bursts into the room, catches her breath, and asks Ayaka point blank if she is also here to confess to P-kun. If all of this is sounding rushed don't worry it is.
Yui makes the kind gesture of apologizing in advance to Kasumi, who without question got to P-kun first, but nonetheless confesses her love in front of the whole class which WAY too embarrassing even for me and I can't help but think this poor girl is going to be RELENTLESSLY teased for this but whatever its cute she's so brave. Hajime gives her the same response he gave Kasumi, stating he wants to consider both of them before deciding, which is pretty cool of him not ganna lie. Kasumi takes it really well considering she's standing right there as it all happens and says she likes the idea the boy she loves is so popular so as many girls can confess to him as possible without bothering her. Everyone acts real mature about the whole situation and honestly the atmosphere of the whole thing is pretty sweet.
Then Ayaka interrupts the mood tripping over herself to ask P-kun out too.
Yeah, this is the worst confession in the game and her reasoning that "We should date because we're popular" is ridiculous. I don't have any jokes about this I just find it really poorly executed, 0 points.
After that P-kun is chased out of the classroom and down the hall by a ravenous group of girls in a brief break for levity before the novel establishes P-kun is apparently remembering arm day because he hoists himself into the student council room through the window, and will do so on a regular bases throughout the rest of the novel. Inside he's greeted by Shiori, Yoshino, Yui, and Kasumi as well as the entire student council important enough to have a sprite. Yoshino, unable to take the second hand embarrassment of the girls who already confessed to P-kun cooks up a ridiculous plan. She confesses her "love" for him, saying she wants to have the most debauched relationship possible to get the romance ban reinstated and end all this chaos. The only important part of this is that no one thinks she doesn't actually like him and just felt jealous so she did something rash. Aoba asks if her brother is going to die tomorrow to keep karmic balance and at this point I wouldn't be surprised if he did.
Anyway somehow this group chooses to be productive after all that and discussion begins on a PR campaign that the photography club, of which Shiori is a part, will be helping with. Hajime is nominated to be one of the models for a series of posters showing a model couple for students to look up to and the remaining girls fight over who will be his partner in the pictures. Everyone has their own reasons for why they should be picked but just when the reader may think they'll be given the first choice of the game Hajime (After a day of deliberation, a visit to the cafe Ayaka's parents own in which she works so SHE can be in on this, a much better and cuter scene then her introduction with Shiori at the dorm, and an admittedly pretty good fake out when Hajime gives a speech to the student body about the right to love in which we get a LOT of time with Yoshino.) just chooses Kasumi and the whole thing resolves... and then Shiori confesses her feelings in front of the other girls in the weirdest, most unsettling way possible.
In a CG where she twists her head to look over her shoulder as it tilts back, Shiori, backed by the most ominous track possible, expresses she has loved P-kun since childhood blah blah that parts not interesting she looks like a total Yandere. Like no joke if this was the only picture you had to go on, which at this point it is, you'd expect this game to devolve into Love Letter at some point down the line it is TERRIFYING! Gotta admit though her stance of "If all it takes to get a yes from you is to get to know each other then I should easily win because I've known you for years." is a pretty good argument. Seriously though I really can't stress this enough she isn't just setting off a red flag it's BLOOD red.
OKAY MAYBE THIS IS A LITTLE TOO POPULAR.
The first of five subsections in the common route opens with P-kun being chased by a hoard of women and a 90's style record scratch sonic movie opening "Yeah, thats me, if you wanna know how I got here we have to go back to-" in medias res. Now because of the way the heart system works my summery from this point on is going to SOUND really surface level and bare but for every scene I gloss over with a sentence it is entirely possible something takes place that may not be important to the STORY but was purely designed to endear the reader to the heroine featured in it. I'll point out any moments I feel are noteworthy but just because not much PLOT happens doesn't mean NOTHING happens alright?
P-kun has a flashback to this morning when Yoshino walked him to school and the two of them were mobbed by a hoard of girls who either want to ask him out or ask him about the girls who asked him out. He runs and abandons Yoshino to the wolves. Good boy Yasu meets up with Hajime for the cross view section which I will cover quickly. Yui's scene is just talking with Moka and getting pumped to go spend time with P-kun. Yoshino deals with the aftermath of being abandoned. Kasumi meets a cat girl and acts cute. Ayaka is swarmed by fans who agree to help her track down Hajime and Shiori has a panic attack. You see what I mean about these summaries? Each of those scenes was probably a ten minute read where not much happens but you're able to spend time with the heroines. I'd love to go line by line and talk about how charming some of these moments are but this review is already a monster so I'm just going to have to move on.
Yasu is being blackmailed into helping the mob of girls but he nobly sacrifices himself for p-kun to escape, fainting to distract them. Hajime ends up at his favorite spot on campus, the Clock Tower, where Ayaka visits him and they have a chat. Apparently Ayaka's fan club is working like a not so secret service to give her an advantage. Which I kind of want to say is cheating but will let slide because the other girls get outside help from their friends later in the novel. Anyway the mob finds them and Hajime flees again, this time to the auditorium where Kasumi gives him a lunch since he probably hadn't had a chance to eat yet and if you don't give her a heart for that you're a monster this is a legitimately sweet gesture. Hajime freaks out that she was keeping the milk she got him between her breasts, must be a Japanese thing because I don't know a single teenage boy who would care. Anyway you can guess what happens, they're found, he flees, this time he's pulled into an unused room by Shiori who sits on his lap, which is somehow NOT a CG but whatever I'm not salty. The title screen has her in a close position to what I imagined anyway. Anyway more girls and more fleeing. (How long has this been going on don't you kids have class to get to?) Now Hajime climbs trough the student council room window again and finds Yui who stuffs him under her desk to prevent him from being spotted and we get ANOTHER pantsu shot which is WAY over quota now and its not even tasteful. Like this is full on up the skirt vag view, for which Hajime is rightfully punished by... being crushed between Yui's thighs... are we sure this is before the Echii patch add ons?
The school day comes to an end when literally every heroine, Aoba, and Moka all end up at Ayaka's cafe (she had invited Hajime their in the earlier scene) and they talk for a bit about who Hajime is going to take on a date. For the first extra scene the reader gets to make that choice. Kasumi takes him to the mall where she clings to his arm, not a great scene but playful I guess. Yoshino runs into her political supporters against relationships and forces Hajime to pretend they are just out together as friends. Ayaka has a truly forgettable scene of walking with Hajime. But the two stand outs are definitely Shiori and Yui. Shiori has a scene I'm guessing is much more sexual in Japan where you measure her cup size, I don't know maybe that's your thing I just can't get over the *squish* sound effect it's like a bad anime skit. Yui calls you Onii-chan for the ONLY time in the novel and asks you to pet her head which is ADORABLE and it is a CRIME this is the only time this happens.
Next day, new batch of hearts.
Hajime runs out of ink for his pen... Theirs a joke here somewhere but I can't quite find it... anyway Yoshino offers him some of hers... god I really feel like I'm missing an innuendo here. Hajime turns her down and runs off to the campus store where he runs into cat girl and Ayaka. Apparently the store needs to sell a whole bunch of noodles nobody wants and cat girl is depressed about it. Ayaka offers to do a handshake event, which I guess is a Japanese thing where when you buy a certain amount of a product you get to touch a celebrity, and volunteers Hajime to be there too, so that's the plot of this subsection. All the girls find out about it and have their own reactions. The cross view section lays out their plans. Shiori skips class to be first in line. Ayaka uses her fame to advertise. Kasumi volunteers to work the store in exchange for four times the necessary amount of noodles to qualify for a handshake. Yoshino beats herself up over wanting to go to the event and not having a good excuse (She's really starting to lean into that aggressively shy personality about romance.) And Yui has a HEARTBREAKING scene where she thinks about how even the short distance between the two sister schools is a roadblock to her romantic prospects because unlike all the other girls she has to run every day to even SEE Hajime and they just have to go to class. She finds out about the handshake event but by then she knows she'll be way back in the line. Oh and Aoba has a scene where she tries to price gouge people and fails miserably, so that exists.
Anyway the actual event takes place and all the Heroines get a chance to interact with Hajime, the scene comes off as a bit comedic with Yui wearing a disguise so the artist can make use of the alternate lab coat outfit she has for no good reason. Yoshino's indecisiveness makes it so she gets in line too late to buy any noodles but Kasumi gives her half of the ones set aside for her day of work. Ayaka cracks some pretty good jokes, and the whole thing ends with a photo shoot for the whole group where Ayaka surprise kisses Hajime on the cheek. And Shiori is there too. Then you get the least interesting extra scenes in the game. I mean they aren't BAD they're just comparatively the worst of the bunch. Ayaka tells you she was embarrassed to kiss you but swears she wants to make your heart flutter. Yoshino acts embarrassed on the walk back from school and runs off. Hajime just kind of chats with Shiori, walks Yui home, and gives Kasumi her "handshake" after she teases you. Nothing terrible just nothing super interesting either.
FAVORITISM
The next scene is a fireworks festival and the best part of the whole game. I mean it if you could somehow only play one part of this novel THIS is the part you should do it is cute, fun, has great jokes, honestly its better then any of the romance routes so if this review has gotten you interested in the game I honestly recommend a blind look at it you'll have a blast.
The girls get into an argument about who is going to be Hajime's date to the festival and decide to play a game called King to determine the winner and while I would have LIKED to have this scene take multiple paths it always plays out the same way but the jokes here are top notch as the girls all try to one up each other. Theirs a CG of playing the Pocky game with Yoshino and it's adorable, honestly Yoshino kind of steals the show during the game till she passes out peso pon. Eventually the girls all drop out one by one until Kasumi wins and gets the right to your fireworks date. But tragedy! That night she calls Hajime saying she lost a special pendent and just can't leave the house without it. So he tells her to stay put since it's getting dark and goes to the school to look for it.
The cross view this time around has the first of two tied for worst scenes in the game and some really cute moments. Kasumi ruminates on how cool you are for understanding she can't go on the date with you and decides to go to the school to look there even though you told her not to, but she's the outlier because literally all the rest of the heroines plan a big party at Hajime's dorm on Aoba's suggestion. In Yui's scene we see her upset that she lost the game with the other girls and Aoba suggests the party to cheer her up, why the developer decided this scene needed to be done from both Yui's AND Aoba's perspective when Yui would have been fine on her own I don't know but I HATE when visual novels repeat themselves like that it's maddening. The difference is literally six lines of dialogue but to find it I have to sift through all this stuff I JUST read, it's a waist of time. If you want me to have both perspectives, wright the scene in two parts and put one after the other, like Aoba recommends the party and then Yui thinks about what a great friend she is shortly after ANYTHING ELSE but this. Shiori, Ayaka, and Yoshino all get invited and agree to go. Their's also a really nice scene of some random no name guys talking about Hajime and how jealous they are of him but it's not mean spirited or anything they act really casual about it, honestly this might be my personal favorite of the cross fades its just got a really nice atmosphere to it.
Hajime arrives at the school and tells off my boy Yasu for bringing a camera to school to catch couples getting frisky on campus during the fireworks which totally sounds like its going to happen given the recently lifted ban on romance making people lose themselves in the moment but Hajime is a total cock block and tells him to go home. After a long time searching Hajime bumps into Kasumi and just when they're about to lose hope and go home the fireworks start and a glint of light leads Kasumi right to her pendent on the ground. Overjoyed, but sad they missed their chance at a date, they head back to the dorm to find the party in full swing and have a great time. the extra scenes are all post festivities and range from decent to too cute to exist. Yui and Ayaka get walked home, nothing super interesting but sweet. Shiori helps clean things up and you do the dishes together like a married couple. But Kasumi and Yoshino definitely win this round. Yoshino, like a boo from Mario, inches closer to Hajime when he looks away but losses her nerve when he looks at her. Intentionally turning to see what she's trying to do but without looking directly at her he sees her creep up and lock pinkies with him with a triumphant "Yay! I did it!" under her breath. He responds by holding her hand and the two of them clean the outside party area together. Kasumi looks up at the starts and talks to herself about how fortunet she is to have met Hajime and when he approaches her she asks if, just for a moment, he'll let her think of him as her hero as she cries on his chest in relief she still has her pendent. It's not a long scene, but it is incredibly touching.
the next subsection is a party at the dorm, no not the party we just had a different one, this time a sleepover. Theirs a scene with Hajime's teacher who I have purposely avoided speaking about until this point. Rest assured she has been here the entire time I just don't think she's very important. This is the exception however as Hajime runs off to save her from drunk driving and we get the cross view early. Ayaka stresses over what to wear with Moka, a scene we also get from Moka's perspective, same problem as last time don't worry I won't repeat myself. Yui rolls around in Hajime's bed, which I don't THINK is an innuendo in this case but who knows? Kasumi tries to bribe Aoba into giving up information on her brother and gets conned. Yoshino agonizes some more about being in love and Shiori hits her brother while thinking about getting treated like a 50's wife. Hajime brings the teacher back to the party and she kisses his cheek before being murdered off screen by five jealous women.
After ANOTHER scene in the bath involving talk about all kinds of girl stuff it would be inappropriate for me to reveal here due to its private nature Hajime goes to take a bath of his own and all the girls show up in their swimsuits because OF COURSE we need a swimsuit scene this is a VISUAL NOVEL come on! Their is a lot of unnecessary boobs and then extra scene time. Ayaka is outside and reiterates to Hajime her desire to make his heart flutter. Yui sits on the couch with him and lets him pet her. Yoshino also gets head pats. Shiori comes to visit and nearly kisses p-kun and Kasumi burns her sensitive tongue after an indirect kiss. It's all really cute, good note to end the extra scenes on.
The last section of the common route is the Haloween party and this is the point the narrative has been building toward. Tonight, Hajime chooses one of the girls to ask to the dance and finally gets a girlfriend and it is the least interesting part of the whole novel. It's not TOTALLY worthless, Yui and Kasumi get to be pretty cute but 90% of this section is just the heroines agonizing over who he's going to choose. Theirs a subplot about Yui being too busy to go to the party but its resolved quickly and the whole cast ends up together for a little free time and competition that Kasumi and Yui totally win. Something to note in the cross views is my good boy Yasu reveals he's into traps and shows the entire student council, all one of him, a picture on his phone of one. The scene ends with the first and only choice of the game. Who won your heart?
THE LONG ROAD TO ROMANCE
In the previous part I alluded to the fact I would be discussing the entire rest of the game in part 2 but as you could guess from the fact their is a paragraph left in this post I'm going to have to renege on that. I have no intention of stopping here but I'm going to need to make this a three parter at least, I just bit off more then I can chew. Next week, I'll focus on what happens with each heroine when she gets the chance to interact with P-kun by herself. If you're liking this review so far be sure to let me know as I'm putting a LOT more work into this one and feedback is the only way I can know if it's paying off. If you've read the novel let me know what you think of my summery, naturally I had to leave a lot out but I'm curious to see if you would have included something I overlooked or vise versa. Regardless, I hope you were entertained, stay well!
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2020.09.19 07:49 atlasstudios Why install alarm systems before Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and with it the most special times of the year. Time for family reunions and friendships, also on vacation; But Christmas can turn into a nightmare if thieves show up. Installing alarm systems is the best way we have to combat burglars , since among the most common types of thieves are professional gangs specialized in robbing during parties and vacations when homes have been left empty.
Why install an alarm system this holiday season
Faced with the latent threat of being robbed, the use of home alarms is the key for us to enjoy the Christmas holidays with peace of mind. Although there are different types of alarm, all of them are a security element and have a deterrent effect on thieves. In addition, today, there are alarms for all budgets and all types of home, be it apartments in the city or a house with a garden. It is also one more way to avoid squatters, who can take advantage of our absence.
Related Post: Little guide to home security
At Christmas , the Police reinforce surveillance in commercial areas , reducing patrols in residential areas on the outskirts of cities . Buying Christmas presents makes the loot more palatable to thieves . As the most important dates of these festivals approach, thieves also increase their task of guarding homes, both in the early hours of the day and in the afternoons or nights. This activity is key to discover when houses are emptied.
As usual, money and jewelery are the most precious objects for lovers of other people's things in Christmas robberies. Quality perfumes and colognes are a fairly common Christmas gift, and thieves don't lose sight of them either. Something similar happens with electrical devices such as televisions, computers, game consoles, tablets, smartphones, smart watches ... They have some outlet on the black market and are very striking. Something similar happens with clothes or toys.
Types of home alarms
Not just Christmas, but the weeks after the holidays are busy times for thieves. More, if the gifts have been flaunted on social networks, that is why an alarm should be installed according to the type of home. For example, in flats the best option is motion sensors, focused on balconies or windows. A video surveillance camera can also be installed pointing at the door. For chalets and / or houses with gardens, the ideal would be to install perimeter sensors that control the exterior, in addition to internal surveillance or bars.
Christmas safety tips
In addition to installing the alarms, there are other security tips to prevent theft that we can follow all year round, but that have a special impact on Christmas. One of them is the use of armored doors, both in flats and in chalets, which make it difficult for them to be forced. The bars and anti-break glass in low floors or chalets are also recommended. Home automation can also simulate that someone is at home. It is enough to leave the lights programmed to turn on at the right time or leave a half-raised blind to convey that feeling.
In short, no matter how many preventive measures we take, installing an home alarm systems in Chicago this holiday season is the only way to go on vacation with the confidence that when you return from Christmas break there will be no unpleasant surprises. Alarm systems are the ideal solution to all your Christmas home security concerns.
The most effective resource to anticipate a possible theft is to hire the most up-to-date alarm systems on the market. Each particular need is a world, so the ideal thing is to have a home alarm comparator to help us select the most suitable for our case
Getstealth you can make a comparison to find the best offer to keep your home or business protected, taking into account all the characteristics of the home. The comparison is free, don't wait any longer.
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2020.09.18 07:47 BarneyBuckley Journey to Skull Island (My Story)

Journey to Skull Island (My Story)

This is my story based on the actual journey to Skull Island!
Introduction
Not so long ago, on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean… This island is nowhere to be seen on any man except for one special map. In order to get to this map they will have to go through trial and tribulation justifying the map and once they find the map it will take them to an island that is full of incredible creatures and will test ability to survive on the silent. This entire story is based on certain events and battles that are done on this island. The island is full of crazy unimaginable creatures we have gigantic dinosaurs such as the V-Rexes who are the main predators on this island there is only one threat to the gigantic creatures and then again the V-Rexes are a threat to him as well. One of the largest and known dinosaurs is called Apatosaurus you will see this on the island. There are giant slugs and spiders I live on the island. There are gigantic huge bats that live on this island.
We also have velociraptors run around and stare and run down dinosaurs as well. The most unique thing about this island is a gigantic spiders that are on this island this is a unique part of the story as well. There is also a huge gigantic prehistoric snake that eventually fights King Kong of this day is over 100 feet long and at least 25 feet thick around this thing is huge. This immense threats that this 25 foot gorilla has to deal with his got his work cut out for him and that is why he has become vicious and as a tenacious attitude and is extremely strong and is capable with his own strength of destroying anything he gets his hands on. His name is King Kong. So sit back and following through the many adventures and terrifying events that we go through once we go to Skull Island.
In Search of the Map
The crew of an archaeological expedition has been pondering about the existence of a map that could lead them to a mysterious island that is not located on any map to man. It seems according to legends and talk that there is an actual map that could lead to an island that is located somewhere 12° south and 78° east and it is located off of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Unfortunately many people have traveled those roots and have not seen no such island. It is rumored to have been said that this island is constantly underwater and above water and disappears underneath the water every few thousand years but never has been seen by man. The archaeological expedition as led by Jack Prancer who has a degree in archaeologically and has been studying fossilized units and dinosaur findings for at least 20 years now. He is followed by an excellent crew of his who also helped him in discovering new dinosaur findings. New bones and new species. He has always been fascinated with the fact that there might be an island that I could actually use it exists that of dinosaurs. Real dinosaurs! This is why he wants to find that map or if that map actually exists.
Jack is having a conversation with his second in command who is and has been by his side for better part of 10 years now so they know each other quite well and they know each other's intentions and he does know that Jack wants to find that map. His name is Samuel Harper. He too has been studying archaeology and also has attained a degree in archaeology but from a different University.
Jack-"Now Sam you know I want to find that map right? I just need to know where to start to look for this map."
Sam-"I do understand Jack and I also understand your need to learn and find out the truth about the so-called island that they call Skull Island."
Jack-"Yes same I have been trying to find this map in the last 10 years and as frustrating as it seems I think I am getting closer to making a connection and finding that map!"
Sam-"Jack I am with you all the way on this and if you do find a way to get to that map I'm right behind you because I am just as excited as you are and intrigue and hopefully this island does exist in what's on the island is yet to be known!"
Meanwhile Sam and Jack are diligently working there archaeological find out in the date which is located just southeast of Sumatra clear out in the middle of the desert. They're digging at what seems to be an underground mine or possibly a buried pyramid. They continue today as the rest of his crew are digging diligently and working very hard to get to the entrance of this mine or perhaps a pyramid.
It would be two days later they suddenly found something metal as they banged on it as a clear understanding dirt away they realize it is a door and they begin to clear the door completely free of dirt. Jack and Sam and over to the door which has a special locking key. In order for them to open this they need a special key and around the neck of Sam was a key and chain that was given to him by his late mother. The story to this key is his mother was an archaeologist and he followed in her footsteps and she gave him the key for keepsakes and it was the only thing that she ever gave him before she passed away. She never explained what he was about all what it was for, but suddenly he put two and two together. She was an archaeologist and it was a key.
Jack looks straight at Sam and looks down on his chest were the key is and then looked back up at Sam and Sam knew exactly what he wanted so without hesitation he pulled a key authenticity Jack.
Jack-"Is it really that simple you were given a key by your mother was an archaeologist and has been recorded to have not here and found some things and I believe this key might be a connection."
Sam-"All I can say is my mother gave me that key and for what reason I do not know but she did tell me you need to hang onto this comes one day you might need this. They didn't make any sense at first but today it does and I'm hoping that it is as simple as you say it is!"
Jack takes a key walks down the staircase to the door looks at the key and then looks at the slot in the door and carefully insert the key into the door turns into the right and the door starts clicking as you hear the tumblers drop. Jack's hand is shaking because it is possible it might have opened this door in his notes on was on the other side and he is completely excited with anticipation. Jack grabs a handle twisted to the right and it opens the door. He pushes it however it is very hard to push open because the door is extremely thick and heavy and possibly there is dirt and rock behind it stop you from opening.
So Sam and a few others push on the door hard and eventually it opens all the way up. They step inside and the first thing that happens is they get a whiff all the extremely old air that was sealed inside for so many years. They had inside and there are torches that seem to be already saturated with some kind of oil so they grab one and use a modern-day lighter and invited up and then light up with these as it lights up the hall in a work their way down to the main cavern. Which leads them to a table that is made of complete stone and it has hieroglyphics of Skulls in what looks like natives worshiping a giant gorilla.
They studied the hieroglyphics and see a pattern that possibly the map is not too far behind or is it. They look at the top of this table and the notice a box which is made of stone and it has a giant skull on top of it and then look at the box carefully to make sure there is no booby traps. You never can tell especially inside one of these things and as ancient as it is is always that possibility. Jack walks up to the box put both hands on the box and literally opens up the box with hesitation of course he then immediately let's go and steps back abruptly, but nothing is happening so we carefully walks back over to the box and he looks down inside and sees what looks like possibly a map but it is made of a special material it feels like skin, but it could be a leather material that the map is made up. He carefully grabs the map and immediately he gets an eerie feeling that something terrible is going to happen. He just senses it!
Jack-(all teary-eyed) "Sam I think we found it!"
Sam-(smiling) "Jack I believe you have! Are you excited now Jack!
Jack-"Guess What Boys! Guess Where We Are Going Boys! We Are Going to Skull Island!
Excited at their findings immediately step out of the pyramid or mine and immediately close it up and let anybody else's knowledge Jack gives them the order to bury back over. By doing this they are covering their tracks because from this point on there that I need to watch themselves because possibly there are people looking for the same thing so Jack is being very cautious right now.
Beginning of a New Journey
Jack and Sam and the rest of his crew would travel like three days to get to their destination. They are coming from the tip of Florida in a travel across the Atlantic Ocean which would take them three days then it would take another five days to travel along the coast of Africa in another additional four days from the tip of Africa to pass Madagascar straight to the Indian Ocean to reach its destination as they finally do reach Sumatra here is where they jump on board the steamship they call "the Bellecourt" Jack and Sam and the rest of the expedition are now getting ready to board the ship and she is a steamship that is roughly 250 feet in length she is pretty big for her size and for that year.
The captain of the ship is not that Capt. Mongo and he has been writing her for about 15 years and it is his ship because he finally purchased her and is very hesitant to that these archaeologists take her to unknown regions. After much debating they finally convinced Capt. Mongo to head full steam straight to coordinates 12° south and 78° East. With the map in Jack's hand he hangs on to this as if it were life changing and if he were to lose it would be the end of history. So he only looks at when he needs to and that he puts it back away in the small special metal box that he has hidden in his room for now. They would travel for additional two days and in this general area is where they would need to locate the island.
There are quite a few islands located in the general area of Sumatra and to find this particular island is like finding a needle in a haystack. They use a map to guide and throw any finally reach a destination where according to the map is where the island should be however all they see is a blanket of clouds which is kind of funny because normally the clouds are at sky level these are particularly at sea level. It is possible they could be releasing gases. Jack and Capt. Mongo discuss their situation and have to make a decision to actually travel blind through these clouds. They argue…
Capt. Mongo-"Jack I will not put my ship and my crew at risk for your greed! No way will I do that!"
Jack-"Capt. Mongo you need to listen to reason I need to know if the island is on the other side of this blanket of clouds!"
Capt. Mongo-"I told you Jack and not risking my crew for you!"
Jack-"Capt. I need you take a chance and hopefully we can get through this without much of a problem. I think this blanket of clouds is gas coming from the island so it houses don't think it's going to be hectic as we go into it is a great possibility they might send out until we get to the island if there is an island back there!"
Capt. Mongo-"All right we do this my way! We will venture into this cloudy substance, but we will do it at my pace and we will be careful! Do you got me Jack!"
Jack-"yes Capt. I do. We will do it your way! Thank you very much for your understanding and patience!"
The Bellecourt steams back up and head straight into the clouds but in a very slow pace and as they progress in it would be more like a half hour into it everyone is nervous because it feels very eerie because I can't really see anything. The Bellecourt steams on and eventually the clouds start to dissipate and thin out as they see a clearing up ahead they see something absolutely horrible as they see the island does exist in the first thing that they see is the gigantic mountain that resembles a Skull. The Bellecourt steams into position and as it is going pass on the jagged rocks there are certain carvings that seem quite recognizable to that of a giant gorilla or something that is warship on the island. It doesn't look like skulls it looks more like a gorilla.
The Bellecourt assumes position just 500 feet off of the shore of the island and the man prepare their equipment and their boats and they load them up and lowered into the water and proceed to row towards the shore. They start rowing to the shore when suddenly something huge was swimming by they don't know what it is but they are looking all around themselves frantically. Suddenly it swims by again and the crew begin to panic. Then there is a sudden calm there are three boats out on the water looking frantically and then suddenly splash directly out of the water comes a gigantic sea serpent it comes crashing down on one of the boats killing everyone in that boat.
The other two boats start rowing frantically as they managed to escape unscathed. They finally make it to the shore and they stand on the shore as a see this sea serpent just wondering around the Bellecourt. It is not harming the Bellecourt because it is too big but it is swimming around the ship as if he was going to do something to.
Crew Member-"Holy crap did you see that monster!"
Another Crew Member-"I don't think we can safely say it's a monster it is a prehistoric creature and it does resemble that of Elasmosaurus which is similar to a plesiosaur. Except it is a lot larger.
Jack-"I see that we have more than we bargained for if that is the first of the creatures that we are going to say that we need to definitely watch ourselves."
Sam-"I have to agree with you Jack I think we living in a world of dinosaurs now and that's a crazy shit!"
The men get their gear and they pack up and head into the islands once they break the first barrier of trees they are totally amazed at the architecture and other eroded monuments that are on the island. It is something that man has never seen. What they see is an extravagant populace culture it seems that the structures are of Peruvian culture. As they look around they notice very large rock formations that represent housing as well as theory statues of skeletons embedded into walls and a gross amounts of stick formations that are wrapped around these housings and there it seems that the state formation is a form of protection against something huge.
Among the most amazing of all the features that they see on this island, so far is a gigantic wall that stands around 75 feet tall and it seems to wrap the entire island. The thing is the way it is built it seems like it's holding something back on the other side of that wall. Now what is behind that wall we would soon discover really quickly here?
The Inhabitants
While Jack and his crew were checking out the entire structure on the island as well as the Great Wall which apparently will be holding something back but we do not know what it is because the doors that are leading to the wall are apparently close off on the outside to prevent something from inside coming out. Suddenly one of the cruel men see something dark and it is moving in a corner of one of the old Peruvian buildings. It apparently looks human however they distorted their body using certain mortification is to alter their body in a way. The crewmember carefully walks up to the native of the island and tries to lure her out because it is a female around 12 years old and eventually she eases her way out, but not too far from the building. Just so the crew can actually see what she looks like and one I mentioned body mortification you can see the eyebrows are peers with what looks like a very sharp bamboo toothpick like apparatuses.
They also have very gray colored pupils which honestly does not make any sense or how they got those pupils like that. Some of the high ranking natives do were headpieces that are cropped with feathers from: birds and their skin is very dank and very dark and oily. It seems these islanders or natives don't have the capability to stay clean and dry in this environment. Because of the lack of hygiene it seems the majority of the natives have a lot of chipped teeth so they look very wild in nature. Most of the natives their hair seems to be in dreadlocks that are very nodded and woven with what looks like yak hair. The last thing I want to mention is some of the higher ranking natives are wearing scrolls over there for heads and skeletal bones of small animals or possibly human we do not know around her neck. It seems these islanders have been here for quite a long time and have grown accustomed to their ways. They cannot speak any, language just moans and grunts.
Eventually we start seeing more natives as they grow comfortable with our presence, but at the same time they are very cautious because it's the first time they have seen any other humans on this island. The crew are not prepared or do they know how to interact with these natives as the natives begin to be very restless. The nervousness takes over as the natives suddenly rush off and hide to avoid any further confrontation with the crew. The crew suddenly looks around and they cannot find one native as if there were no natives on this island and all. This is how well they conceal themselves.
Into the Jungle
It is obvious Jack and the entire crew will no longer be associating themselves with the natives on this island because they are hiding from them because they just don't understand what they are aware they came from. So they make their way up to the wall which seems to wrap around the entire island with no way in except one gigantic two section door. It seems to be fastened and held back by two gigantic logs that slide across through hinges that go halfway across the door on both sides. The natives carefully peek at the see what the crew is doing as the crew climbs up to the level of the door locks on both sides six men on the side as they grab the logs they pull hard and they slide across easily because they are raised with some kind of heavy oil for lubrication. Jack and Sam make their way down to the basement door…
Jack-"Okay Sam when we push these doors open and as far as I can say this island is extremely huge so we need to stick together!
Sam-"yesterday I definitely agree with you that we deftly need to stick together! Because there is no telling what's on this island or with beyond these doors sort of speak!"
All six men three on each side of the two-sided doors push hard in the doors do swing open as they carefully walk in and they look around in case of any impending danger, but so far it looks safe so they grab their equipment and they head straight into the jungle. As they are walking into the jungle they noticed the vegetation as well as the trees are very different from what they've ever seen. One of the crew members is a paleontologist and has studied the plant life as well as the prehistoric bones so he has a great background in what certain things are. He starts popping off these crazy names of certain plants that he says do not exist today. That is setting the man in a different town they are already starting to be a little intimidated because now in the back of their mind their thinking possibly it could be like dinosaurs on this island.
They moved further and as a paleontologist notices certain trees he again says they are prehistoric in such and such an age. The crew listen but move on. As they venture into the jungle in the back of their minds they are wondering if there are any creatures of the ordinary on this island. They would soon find out that the creatures on this island or anything, but ordinary.
They make their way up to this to a range that is surrounded by heavy dense forest as well as huge stones that the men can look over and see a gigantic waterfall that leads down into a very green vegetative forest. It's an absolutely beautiful site. As they are looking they are hearing voices in the back deep in the forest where they came from the turnaround and wonder what is coming. They are petrified when they see a 25 foot dinosaur that resembles a Tyrannosaurus rex however this dinosaur is a lot heavier in muscle and has a gigantic huge head with a lot of huge gigantic teeth. It is bigger than a T Rex in weight distribution. This dinosaurs called a V-Rex which is called a Vastatosaurus Rex. It's easy crew and immediately started running after the crew and the crew runs towards the waterfall and they are cornered by this Vastatosaurus Rex at the same time they are looking over the waterfall because it seems to be the only way out.
They look down the waterfall ...
Sam-"Jack would you want to do here!"
Jack-"I think the only thing we can do is jump over that waterfall and that's a good 300 feet down. Whether we survive or not we are going to find out real fast!"
Sam-"Okay Jack just give us the word and we will jump!"
Jack-"On the count of three we all run and jump directly into the waterfall and hopefully we won't raise down into the rock down below!"
Crew Member-"Are you fucking crazy I am not jumping down that waterfall!"
Sam-" You will fucking jump or you will have to deal with this big guy. It's your choice you can stay here and he can have you for lunch or you can jump over that waterfall!"
The Vastatosaurus Rex carefully stares down all the crew as his mouth begins to water because it is lunch time for the Big V as he lets out a mighty roar and he spreads his legs so he can get ready to charge and snap up the crew for lunch.
Jack-"one, two, three, go, go, run!!!"
They run as fast as they can and without hesitation they jump directly into the waterfall falling directly down 300 feet into what they think is shallow water, but it is deep enough to save them however there are rocks and one of the crew members jumped in the path of that rock and smash his entire body on the rock below and now the entire pool of water below is turning red because his body is completely smashed and busted open. They managed to swim out of the water to the side as they look on as the one crew member did not quite make it and they grieve. Eventually they move on to their next destination what is in this lower Valley we do not know.
The Lower Valley
Jack and Sam and the rest of the crew are slowly venturing into unfamiliar territory again and this time there is no telling whether going to run into. It venture into the shallow part of the forest and they come across a very tiny field which is as high grass and it looks very peaceful, so Jack and Sam agree they will rest momentarily in this area. They break down food and drink as they rest for about a half hour. While they are resting they are hearing a distant cackling they can make it out but there seems to be several of those noises coming from the corner of the field. One of the men stands on a rock that is in the area and is checking out the area where they hear the cackling. He notices that the grass is moving rather rapidly something is moving in that corner and is moving very fast towards them.
The field has grass in the area that they are in is not as high as the grass going out ward as they hesitate they look on and they notice the strange looking dinosaurs that stand about 6 to 8 feet tall they resemble a Tyrannosaurus rex on a lot smaller and it seems they have feathers going down the top of their head to their neck. This is a strange creature is something they've never seen before. For obvious reasons. The paleontologist steps up and says no my friends we need to get here now they are velociraptors and they are predators and they are far worse than a Tyrannosaurus rex because they hunt in packs and the unique thing about these creatures is there very cunning and very intelligent. When you think you only see one they will attack you from the side this is how smart these guys are. We need to get here now. We are going to need to run extremely fast these guys are very fast and the thing is we need to get up in trees to avoid these bad boys otherwise we will not make.
The main thing is we have to climb trees and get up these trees as high as we can and there are trees directly behind us, so lovely turnaround and stray feathers trees and you climb them as fast as you can and get above that at least 12 to 15 feet. The men are scared as they're not sure if they can find this trees fast enough. They turnaround very slow and then suddenly they run as fast as they can straight up the trees. Two of them were a little overweight and could not climb as they struggle to find the trees velociraptors cut them to shreds and had been for lunch. One of the velociraptors because they have great jumping prowess literally leapt in the air while one of the men was climbing a tree and jump on the man with such impact that he crushed his head and he fell to the ground.
While the rest of the crew look on as they hang on for dear life in these trees. It would seem like hours before the velociraptors would eventually leave because they are he had enough to eat. So they left and was never seen again.
Gigantic Arachnids
By now the entire crew is extremely exhausted and afraid for their lives. They are at the point they are panicking now so it is up to Jack and Sam to calm them down.
Sam-"Okay then I know we've been through some serious trials and tribulations right now and we just lost half our group, but I think I need you guys to focus and try to put your fears aside so we can keep exploring this island."
Jack-"I thought there was some mystery to this island, but honestly I did not expect this and I know each and every one of you did not expect this."
Sam-"You guys need to understand this is no longer an expedition is a fight for survival. Not knowing we are dealing with a lot of dinosaurs in this "Lost World" fucking island."
Jack in the crew are traveling deep into the jungle now as the vegetation is starting to change to more rocklike formations in the eventually start traveling through a cavern which is very high and there is no way to climate however we need to get to the other side we will have to walk to this cavern.
Jack-"Okay men were not to break out the flashlights. Because we going to go to this cavern because there is no other way around this. I just hope for all our sakes that there is nothing crazy in this cavern."
Crew Member-"You are driving us crazy! This is such bullshit, and to think I was curious about this island and honestly I just want to get off this fucking island!"
Sam-"You my man. You need to calm down. We will get through this!"
The men turn on the flashlights as a walk into the cavern it has a very sulfuric smell. This is probably because the actual cavern is made out of a limestone. As a walking through the cavern the eventually do see a light about 1000 feet in front of them. As they are walking they are hearing shuffling noises. Like something is crawling on the ceiling and on the sides of the walls, so they point their flashlights in the areas that they are hearing these noises and they are seeing gigantic looking centipedes they have to be at least 3 feet long. They were huge.
Now scared again the men start walking a little faster however before the entrance there are an extreme amount of large arachnids crawling all the walls on the ground and on the ceiling they stopped. They watch the arachnids very carefully as to hope they are not poisonous. The arachnids are yellow and black in color and they stand at an average of at least 3 feet high they have extremely long legs.
Jack-"Men these arachnids are not overly aggressive as far as I can see if we tread lightly and walk very slowly we might be able to get out of here without being harmed by the arachnids."
Nervous Crew Man-"I don't know! I think we’re going to get it here. I just don't know! This is just crazy I want to get off this island!"
Sam-"We will get through this guys! You have to believe that there is a higher power! If you stick with me and Jack we will get you through this!"
The men carefully walk extremely slowly, so not to attract the arachnids. They inched their way through the tunnel and they are about to leave the entrance of the tunnel when suddenly one of the arachnids jumps on one of the crewmen's back and he begins to panic. Rifles suddenly light up as a fire on the arachnids and shoot like two or three of them while they are running. The one crewmen that had the arachnids jumped on his back he shakes and shutters and eventually shakes the arachnids off and starts running. They all make it through the cavern with no serious damage and the crewmen that got attacked by the arachnids he is okay he did not give bit he is just scared! Everybody gets their shit together and they journey further on into the island.
https://www.reddit.com/kingkong/comments/iv0g3d/the_journey_to_skull_island_my_story_part_2/
submitted by BarneyBuckley to kingkong [link] [comments]


2020.09.18 01:13 tiatoebeans 2nd Attempt to Escape Toxic Household

To put it as summarized as possible, my mom is the narc; except she is good about hiding it publicly and (most of the time) keeps a professional image. My dad is her almost like her minion. Blindly follows and agrees without really even thinking about the consequences of any of it. She’s “trained him” over many years and has ultimately broken him down to where he just doesn’t want any confrontation. Yeah, the women of my family do that. I am nearly 21 (F) and I have a younger sister who is 18. I moved out once before, out of desperation at the age of 18 with my long term boyfriend. I got pregnant, he left me for other women. Leaving moving BACK in with my parents the ONLY option at 8 months pregnant. Something I told myself I would never do, but alas it would mean my baby boy would have a safe home where I could recover from my traumatic pregnancy/birth. At first they played everything off like things were all better. That quickly faded and soon things turned back to why I left in the first place. Only now, I had a baby to consider. Fast forward and my son is now almost a year old and I have been dating someone I met in highschool for about 9 months (known him for longer). I vent to him all the time about the unbelievable events that occur in this household. I’ve explained in detail with examples of the things my parents do, and in front of my child for that matter. Blatantly disrespecting me and expecting the world in return. He is especially empathetic because he dealt with similar parenting and understands the soul-draining abuse. Well needless to say, it has gotten even worse with the pandemic situation and has even brought my sister to the brink of complete mental collapse. We’ve been privately discussing how to get me, my son, and my sister out of this house safely and securely and we believe we have a good idea of when/how we’re going to attempt to do it. I’ve got about 2000 dollars saved back in my bank account from secretly doing commissions online. My bf has been working full time and been putting back every penny he can. I don’t want to fail again and I don’t plan on becoming pregnant again (at least not for a long long while) but I am scared. I’m scared of missing something and having it all crash down again. Scared of letting my absolute desperation to escape keep me from thinking of everything. My mom has already threatened suicide again just because I mentioned I was researching online job opportunities for me and she knows that means I’m going to try to leave again. I’ve tried “being the adult” with her and setting boundaries but she’s made it nearly impossible. I guess I’m asking for advice on anything you can think of on how to confront my mom and initiate my second leaving without this escalating and her kicking me out before I get all my stuff together and a place ready for move-in. ((I should mention my mom does not know I am dating my bf and already doesn’t approve of hearing about it just because he wasn’t raised in Christianity; my family’s denomination))
Any advice or tips would be helpful, thank you in advance for reading if you did.
submitted by tiatoebeans to raisedbynarcissists [link] [comments]


2020.09.17 21:30 cscqsim_repostbot A /r/cscareerquestions College Survival Guide

A /cscareerquestions College Survival Guide

With our final school year beginning, we were reflecting on how lost and confused we were when we first started university. We made a lot of mistakes (still am) along the way, but we’re in a much better place after learning from them and constantly putting ourselves out there. In hopes of shining some light and helping others, we decided to make a comprehensive guide for university students – based on our knowledge/experiences - on how to start your successful CS Career (or gain the wisdom to avoid CS altogether, more on this later).
rishiss Background: I am a 4th year student at UC Irvine majoring in Software Engineering. I am an incoming Software Engineer at a F100 company (received return offer after interning this summer). Before that, I interned at an R & D center for space, a small cloud company, and a small IT company. I have a 3.65 GPA, won a few awards at startup competitions/hackathons, and remain pretty active in my schools CS organizations.
chaitu65c Background: I’m a 4th year student at UC Irvine majoring in Computer Science. I’m currently a SWE Intern at a Unicorn and just wrapped up my 2nd internship at a Live Streaming Company(you can most likely tell who they are if you browse my history LOL). Before this, I interned at my school’s IT department, did research under a professor, and worked on a few small startups that other UCI students were building. I have a 3.3 GPA, won some awards along rishiss and was pretty active in my school’s CS clubs.
Disclaimer: “But rishiss/ and chaitu65c, you don’t work at a Big N, go to a target CS school, why should I take your advice?” You’re absolutely right; we are, by no means, ‘up there’ like some other folks on this sub. And, you don’t have to take our advice! Simply close this tab and do whatever else you want 😊. Our intent is to guide and prepare uni students for a CS career they enjoy, not work at Big N or get the highest TC. Life is much more than a dick-measuring contest, and the earlier you learn that the better.
We have also created a guide with our own personal advice/stories

Please, take this advice with a grain of salt. we’re not Tony Robinson or Tim Apple, we’re just two random reddit users.

Table of Contents:

This guide is divided into the following sections:

Is CS Right For Me?

The way we see it, there’s 3 types of people pursuing CS.
  1. Those who know CS isn’t for them – They’re in it for the money, to appease their parents, for a minorequirement, some external factor. They hated programming while taking the introductory CS course and just try to get done with their class/degree ASAP.
Advice: The majority of people who fall under this usually burn out quickly, as they aren’t motivated enough to learn the material and to apply themselves. This usually leads to them cheating and getting kicked out of their major, minor, or university altogether. Even if you manage to earn a degree, we've seen a large number of these folks endure a 'pre-mature' mid-life crisis or simply get fired from their jobs. Before you even start this major, you should definitely understand that this isn’t going to be easy, and you do have to put in a lot of effort to succeed. If this isn’t your cup of tea, definitely look into switching into another major you like.
Some folks are really passionate about technology, but don't want to pursue an entire Computer Science major or see themselves as Software Engineers. That's completely ok! Try looking into related majors or minors. We know many students who switched from CS to majors like Informatics, Business Information Management, and Economics and are thriving in tech-related roles like Data Analytics, Product Management, UI/UX Design, and Technical Recruiting. CS is not (and should not be) for everyone, and there is no shame in having the wisdom quit and move on.
  1. Those who don’t know if CS is for them – Where most of the CS community is IMO. These folks (like me, rishiss) are riddled with something called Imposter Syndrome: “the constant feeling of not being good enough or knowing enough to do your job well.”
Advice: For students, really take the time to learn and be open to anything you go through. Try sticking it out until you've taken a Data Structures course, one of the harder, more important courses out there. If you're not understanding the material or just aren't having fun with it, it’s definitely ok to switch majors/careers. Otherwise, CS just might be the career for you! Give it your best shot!
Admittedly, it's hard to provide stronger insight to overcoming Imposter Syndrome, as I am afflicted by it as well. For me, my IS derives from constantly comparing myself to others and confusing inexperience with incompetency. As such, I continue to work and focus on myself and take baby steps towards smaller goals I set out for myself. Knowing that I've put the effort to improve myself by just 1% everyday has made me a lot more confident.
  1. Those who know for a fact CS is for them – The diamonds in the rough. Learning and practicing CS material gives them a euphoric high.
Advice: Broaden your scope and learn new areas of CS! Who knows, you might find another new field that you really want to work in. Other than that, definitely make new friends regardless of whether they’re a CS major or not. Even try pursuing other hobbies like weightlifting, reading, dancing, or even public speaking. Don't limit yourself!

Freshman Year

We recommend not taking more than 3-4 classes in your first quartesemester, as you shouold keep an ample amount of time to go to professional/social events, make new friends and hang out with them, and pursue your interests.
We've seen a lot of freshmen (and upperclassmen) CS folks get cooped up in their dorm rooms playing video games and watching TV. We understand that these two are a passion for many, but please be cautious to not get consumed by them.
You have the privilege of pursuing higher education, making valuable connections/memories, and setting up your CS career in the trajectory you want. This year is the best year to take advantage of all that university has to offer; make the most of it.
One of the best ways to get involved in your school’s/region’s CS community is by joining clubs like ACM and WICS and participating in hackathons (see ‘Hackathon’ section below). Try pursuing internships and positions in these organizations and events as well!
One, major issue we see with freshmen (even upperclassmen) is their ignorance on all the avenues available in the CS Industry. So we’ve tried to narrow it down (not exhaustive).
  1. Cyber Security Engineer
  2. Front-End Web Developer
  3. Backend Web Developer
  4. UI/UX Designer
  5. DevOps/Cloud/Site-Reliability Engineers
  6. Mobile Engineer
  7. QA Engineer
  8. Product Manager
  9. Data Scientist (Machine Learning/AI)
  10. Embedded Software Engineer
  11. Systems Administrator
  12. Database Administrator (The Wizards)
  13. Networking Engineer
  14. Hardware Engineer
  15. OS Developer
  16. Video Game Developer
  17. Solutions Architect/Sales EngineeTechnical Account Manager
As a freshman, definitely take the time and see if you can picture yourself doing any of the listed fields. You should open yourself to all facets of CS and not just the “hot field” like Data Science and Machine Learning. Choosing a field because it’s “exciting” will usually lead to bad results as usually, other people are thinking just like you and will lead to over-saturation.
Our recommendation is to select the top 5 fields that have piqued your interest and experiment with the field. For example, if you are interested in Mobile App Development, try learning how to build an Android app from the ground up. A simple weather app or alarm clock is completely suitable for a first project/prototype. This lets you understand what skills you would need for this field and can serve as a forecast as to what your career would look like.
You should definitely look for an internship. Ignore the people that tell you to wait until you’re a junior, as it’s going to be very hard to get an internship if you don’t have any experience. Common places that most students don’t realize are available are usually IT departments at your school and even research with professors. Researching is highly recommended as you can definitely learn more about a field you can be interested in and if you’re interested in graduate school, that’s going to be a letter of recommendation that you can ask for.
If you’re considered a minority in Computer Science, look into first and second year internship programs as they’re meant to help you succeed. Here’s some programs that come to mind:
Google STEP
Microsoft Explore
Amazon Future Engineer
Uber STARInternhip
Facebook University
Another way to get internships is to research into smaller companies in your area. If the company is very small (<100 employees), consider reaching out to the CEO on LinkedIn. They might be able to help you! Also, take advantage of university recruiting websites like Handshake to see companies that directly hire from your school. More info on how to get an internship in the ‘Searching for an Internship’ section.

Sophomore Year

Now that you have basic programming knowledge, create your own website or GitHub account and start contributing to them with small personal projects. Nobody expects you to make a full-stack MERN project hosted and scaled on AWS at this stage. Focus instead on clean code, learning a framework or two on a language you like, and creating a small, robust feature. Grow from there!
If you weren’t able to find an internship/research opportunity as a freshman, community involvement, projects, and hackathons become especially important, as they are a great way to make you stand out on your resume and to recruiters when you reapply. As you brush up on your skills, apply again, and try your luck out.

Data Structures and Algorithms

In addition, you are most likely to take a Data Structures and Algorithms course this year. Make sure you are focusing on this class and writing good notes; you will need this knowledge when interviewing for internships and full-time jobs in the near future. Here is a link to our DS and A course (in C++) for reference

Junior Year

As a junior, companies are more willing to hire you for an internship, as they are likely to convert you into a full-time employee after graduating. This transition process is much easier than interviewing, and they'll usually offer you a higher compensation package if they want to convert you to a full-time employee. As you now should have knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms, we highly recommend looking into coding interview prep sites like LeetCode and HackerRank or purchasing a prep book like CTCI or EPI (advanced).
Continue to attend hackathons, remain active in clubs/organizations, and grow your portfolio.
Classes will be much harder; expect the time for completing projects to double and the content covered to be much more difficult. We recommend taking no more than 2-3 upper-division CS courses and balancing your load with 1-2 GE classes. You should not be taking more than 16 units (assuming 4 units per course).
Start to get an idea of what field in CS you would like to pursue. Research what it takes to be successful in that field. You can do so by looking up job postings with that title on LinkedIn and looking at the requested skill set or take a look at Roadmap.sh. If you want to learn more about a related skill set and your school doesn't offer a course, consider picking up a class on udemy.com.

Senior Year

Focus heavily on your senior capstone, project classes, etc. as they're the last thing you can put on your resume before applying for full time. By now, you should have at least 3 polished, working projects on your GitHub that you can easily talk about with your recruiter. Preferably, they're aligned with the CS field you wish to enter.
If you were able to get a return offer from an internship, congrats! However, don’t immediately sign the offer. Once you have an offer, you should still try to interview at companies that you’re interested in by the deadline of the time to accept the offer. A good way of doing this is to reach out to a University recruiter for that company and explain the deadline you have. Usually, they’re really helpful and can potentially help skip interviews that you were supposed to do!
In addition, if your friends were able to intern at places you’re interested in, definitely ask for a referral or to send your resume to their recruiter. This usually reduces the risk of being ghosted by that company and increases your chances of getting hired!
Once you finally sign, definitely take the time to relax and enjoy. Just make sure you pass your classes and stay out of trouble

Classes:

What Classes should I take?

Should Already be Required:

Must Take:

Good to Have

How do I succeed in these classes?

rishiss: You’re more than likely coughing up hundreds, if not thousands, to attend university. It makes no sense to not take full advantage of the course and course staff.
The way I take notes: I learn from examples; I want to enter my code into the IDE to see what happens. I do a three way split; Google Docs on the left, IDE on top right and terminal (to compile, see output, make new file, etc) on bottom left. I note down the date and topic of the lecture and write questions I have in the comments on Docs. I make sure to highlight important information and possible test questions. I even share the link with friends!

In the quarters where I followed the steps above, I never got a grade lower than an A-.

Dealing with Bad Professors

During your time in college, you’re likely going to have at least one bad professor that might make it worse if you have to go to class. If that’s the case, it’s definitely fine to not go to class (as long as it’s not mandatory). However, if you do decide not to go, you must make sure you learn the material, so you won’t be behind on the coursework and studying for tests. In addition, you should be doing something productive on the side. If you don’t go to class and spend the time watching Netflix or playing video games, you’re losing time that you can spend on something that might be fun and can help you in the long run.

You can take Graduate Courses!?

chaitu65c: A highly underutilized set of courses you can take would be graduate courses. Graduate courses are usually very specialized in certain fields. If you were able to take all the undergraduate courses you wanted and still have spare classes to fill out, I'd recommend researching into taking Graduate courses! They’re a good way to build out your specialization and learn new, cool stuff! In addition, if you’re looking for classes to reach the required number of CS courses needed, your CS department might allow you to make the course count towards your degree!

Projects

They're super important.

How do I succeed in class projects?

Personal Projects and your CS Career

rishiss: Projects are your saving grace, especially if you are lacking work experience. They show technical aptitude, willingness to take initiative, and leadership. I’ve seen people with only projects on their resume get positions at the Big N. Projects are good ways to expand your knowledge of CS as the possibilities are endless! It is best to have a variety of projects dealing with a variety of technologies. As such, you can open yourself up to more positions and have more talking points during the interview.
I tend to edit the ‘Project’ Section of my resume with relevant projects and technologies. For instance, if I made a full stack web application and applied to a DevOps organization, I would highlight my AWS, CI/CD, and Terraform experiences more than my React/Node js work.
It is recommend the project is about something that motivates you and are passionate about e.g. video games, movies, books, sports, etc., as it is very easy to give up half way due to stress or lack of motivation/interest.
Like anything else in Computer Science, projects require you to break it down into smaller pieces. Start with the end in mind and draw out the intended architecture/functionalities. Start with what you know and research on the parts you don't know after that. You will be using these skills often in industry for any project/feature planning.
Spending 15-30 minutes a day is all you need to make a successful personal project. Don't make excuses and get coding!

Open Source Contributions

If you’ve ever noticed popular github repositories such as torvalds/linux, these are repositories where people from all over the world can report issues with it and someone can fix it. If you are able to make a contribution to a huge open source repository, it looks really good on your resume.

Hackathons

What are Hackathons?

Hackathons are large scale coding events, where students from around the area come together and collaborate - usually in teams of 4 (but you can go solo or with a partner!) - to build some software. Companies like Amazon, Northrop Grumman, Google, and Twilio sponsor awards related to best use of their technology. After 24 - 48 hours of intensive coding, participants submit their projects, whether it be an Android video game, Chrome Extension, productivity web app, etc. Submissions are shared with the companies and other hackathon organizers, where they select the best projects and award teams with swag like keyboards, gift cards, and even summer internships at their company.
Participating in hackathons are one of the best ways to hone your coding skills, network with companies and other students, and get free comfy T-shirts. It is also one of the best ways to gain industry knowledge, as representatives from these companies and hackathon organizers create numerous workshops and answer any questions you may have. Winning awards at these hackathons are also great resume boosters and talking points during interviews.
The biggest hackathon organizer is Major League Hacking. Visit their website, and you can see all the hackathons (remote or local) they are partnered with. Make to be on the lookout for application release dates from the hackathons and apply early.
With Covid, you may miss out on the free goodies and the in-person networking with students and professionals. However, most hackathons are accepting many more applicants due to it being virtual/remote this year.

What Should I Do At Hacakathons?

Take advantage of the resources available at hackathons. You’re attending a mini CS conference and should be, besides coding, networking with professionals, learning about the different companies, attending workshops, asking technical/non-technical questions to mentors, and getting as much free shit as you can get. Besides T-Shirts, companies give out vouchers to their services, applications to their internship and full-time positions, pillows, notebooks, water bottles, sweaters, and even backpacks.
If you’re looking to get an award, judges at hackathons care a lot about the pitch and the idea rather than the actual execution of the idea. Having an idea beforehand is also helpful, so you can spend your time focusing on the MVP.

Friends and Networking

chaitu65c: I think it’s definitely useful if you have two different friend groups: One dedicated to career and Non-Career Group.
Career Group - When making a friend group dedicated to career, try to be the dumbest person in the group, you’re definitely going to learn a lot from them as you soak up knowledge! Best ways of meeting friends who are career-driven can be through major specific orientation (actually how I met rishiss), courses, major related clubs, etc.
Non-Career Group - While having a group that motivates you for your career is important, it’s also important to have another friend group that can help you relax and to enjoy your time! A really good way to find these friend groups can be anywhere from your hall to General Education courses, social clubs like Circle K, fraternities/ sororities(if that’s your cup of tea) and others!
This is what has worked for us; no need to follow this exact format.

Resume

rishiss: Here are the few take-aways on writing a resume that gets through the ATS.

Searching for Internships

Searching for internships in CS is really different and harder from searching for internships in other professions. CS internship interview processes are often longer and much more technical on what you have learned as a CS major. We've prepped 2-3 months beforehand on CS concepts, whiteboarding, etc.

Timeline

This timeline primarily focuses on large, non-government/defense companies or competitive startups. This also assume you are applying for a summer internship.
August - September: Applications are opened to the public. Make sure to look out for positions and apply early, as most companies admit students on a rolling basis. A site that we used often is Apply.fyi. After applying, you may receive an automated (< 48 hours) invitation to complete an Online Assessment, consisting of multiple choice and/or coding questions about Data Structures, Algorithms, and Run Time Complexity. You will have usually 1-2 weeks to complete the assessment. Please that you may be rejected if you are not able to pass 90% of the questions on the assessment: Please also note that you may be instantly rejected due to things out of your control like years of experience, cancellation of internship, internal corporate issues, and more. Don't take rejections too seriously; just keep applying!
October - November: After passing the resume screen and the OA, you will be contacted by the company's recruiter for a phone screen. During the screen, you will probably be asked a few confirmation questions about your resume, sponsorship, years of experience with X, etc. and minor behavioral questions like what made you apply for this position, what are you pursuing outside of class, etc. You may also receive questions about your CS fundamentals e.g. what is a hashtable, whats the difference between a process and a thread, what is the runtime complexity of sorting a string, etc. As long as you're cool and confident (and not cringe/edgy), this part should be a breeze.
November - Mid January: If you made it through the two Thanos snaps, you will be invited to an onsite “Power-Day,” where interviewees attend 2-4 whiteboard interviews while being grilled on their technical skills and projects. Some companies make applicants go through a panel interview, where a team of 2-5 Software Engineers grill you on technical questions and your resume. You are often pampered with free travel, food, stipends, etc.
December - February: If you were deemed a good fit by the hiring committee, you will be extended an offer to intern at the company during the upcoming summer for 10-12 weeks. Remember, nothing is final until you receive an offer letter in your inbox. Some companies may also place you on a wait-list and offer you a spot if someone were to reject their offer letter.
For government orgs, defense companies, and smaller organizations, the recruiting season starts in February/March and usually ends in April and May. After applying online and passing the resume screen, you will usually be immediately pushed to an on-site interview. Most likely, you will be interviewing with your future boss/co-worker.
Please note that internships are not only offered in the summer, they are provided in the Fall, Winter, and Spring (rare) as well. The competition for these internships is usually lower, and the process usually starts 3-4 months beforehand.

How to get the Interview

Besides following resume tips, make sure to apply to as many places as you can. To get our first internships, we recall applying to approximately 250-300 places before we secured our internship plans for that summer. Also, if you do get ghosted, don’t take it personally, usually, university recruiters often spend so much time reviewing a lot of applications.
Other precautions to take to get noticed are to try attending career fairs if you can, you might be able to get an interview(worst case, free swag!). Other than that, try reaching out to upperclassmen or friends you know that interned and ask for referrals. It’s one of the best ways to get noticed!

What to expect

As part of the interview process, there’s 4 types of interviews that you should make sure you know.
Behavioral Interview: These interviews ask you questions about culture fit such as “Why are you a good candidate” and “Tell me about a time when you ...”
Coding/Technical Interview: These interviews ask you questions similar to what you see on Leetcode and Hackerrank. These interviews are designed to test your Data Structures and Algorithms knowledge.
System Design: System Design involves the interviewer testing your building to design a service/software and test your knowledge of understanding what things to use for the task and how you will integrate them together. You’re definitely not expected to know this and it’s not likely you’re gonna get asked this. Places that could ask you this are Unicorns, Trading Companies and Hedge Funds, and Big Established Companies.
Concurrency/Low Level Interviews: If the company’s biggest product involves low level principles such as networking principles and kernel stuff, there’s a possibility you can get asked this. Places that come to mind are hardware companies and trading firms.
Some companies may adopt only one of these interviews and some may adopt all.

How to Ace the Interview

It’s highly recommended that you look up the interview experiences that other students have faced so that you can potentially filter out companies with red flags and know what questions to expect. Common sources to search up on this would be Reddit (csMajors and cscareerquestions), Jumpstart (Relatively new portal for students), Glassdoor and maybe Blind (Aside from the toxic TC or GTFO culture, they do give good advice on interviews). With that said, here’s some advice we have when you approach each kind of interview we’ve seen.

Advice on Behavioral Interviews

Use the STAR method when describing your experiences. Being quantifiable with the impact of your actions will impress the interviewer.

Advice on Technical Interviews

Begin by reviewing your notes from the Data Structures and Algorithms class. Do not proceed further until you know how to implement these DS and As from scratch with the language of your choice(If you do know python, it’s recommended as there’s a lot of builtin features!). After doing so, we highly recommend a book like CTCI and EPI to gain a review on programming language details and your DS and As. Then, visit sites like LeetCode to practice real questions from major companies. A Facebook Engineer completed 600 LC problems and compiled the most important ones into a list here. During the interview, make sure to talk out loud about possible approaches and tradeoffs before whiteboarding. It is perfectly acceptable (often recommended) to ask the interviewer to ask questions about the problem and get clarification. Once you have an idea in mind and have talked about it with your interviewer, begin whiteboarding. While you talk about the final idea you want to use, write out pseudo code and comments about all the steps you need to implement in order to finish coding your solution. After that, start coding. Make sure to have proper function headers, syntax, spacing, classes/structs, imports, etc. After coding your solution, give a brief explanation and attempt to make it run with less space and in less time (if your solution is not as efficient as you think it can be).

Advice on System Design

These are somewhat hard to approach if you don’t have experience ever doing it. If you do have experience designing and building services in your spare time and as part of your work experience, definitely rely on your experience. An important thing is to definitely ask clarifying questions. There might be hidden requirements you didn’t think about that could drastically change the way you approach the solution.

Advice on Concurrency/Low level

Understand basic principles such as Processes vs Threads (A lot of people don’t know the difference!)TCP vs UDP and how to make an application thread safe. Other than that, it’s recommended that you familiarize yourself with basic OS concepts such as Deadlocks, locks that you can utilize to make an application thread safe, etc.

Searching for Full Time Jobs:

The big bucks.
The process for finding a Full-Time Job is usually very similar to finding an Internship. There’s three main differences are:
  1. Harder Questions. Ex: Google usually asks Leetcode Mediums to Hards + the special Leetcode Hard question that Google asks it’s applicants (they create a new one every year).
  2. More Rounds of Interviewing: For example, Microsoft makes interns do 2 rounds while New Grads do 4 rounds during the onsite part of the process.
  3. Compensation: Interns usually get an hourly rate and, possibly, a housing stipend. New grads, however, are given a yearly salary and, possibly, a sign-on bonus, stocks, and benefits e.g. health insurance, vacation days, etc.
The process for finding a Full-time Job won’t really change as much as finding an internship, but keep in mind that the bar is higher. This is probably the biggest reason why you should look into interning early; by getting an offer at the place you like, you don’t need to go through the daunting process of finding a full-time role.
Get as many offers as you can this time around, so you can negotiate and select the position, company, compensation, and location that works best for you.

Negotiation

Negotiation is a really powerful tool that you can use in the interview process, even as an intern. There’s a lot of guides to negotiation and we recommend Nick Singh’s guide (Look at his LinkedIn and newsletters) for more.

Final Thoughts

University is a probably the most important time of your life and a foundational block of your CS Career. Like any foundation, it must be sturdy and takes a tremendous amount and energy of time to develop. Take advantage of all the resources (like this one) you can get your hands on. Definitely learn from the mistakes people have made and make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’ - Steve Jobs
Original
submitted by cscqsim_repostbot to CSCQSimulator [link] [comments]


2020.09.17 21:16 closetedandconfused Insecure in new partnership after ex left me cause I'm trans [19FtM], and because I have an unusual history of partners who all left. Please help me.

For context, I [19FtM] am female to male transgender. My gender identity is male. However, I have not started the process of transition yet, because I am awaiting financial independence. Thus, I am largely closeted and called by the right name and pronouns only by those I trust.
So far I've been with four guys. Let's call them Jack, Ron, James and Walt.
TL;DR Jack was emotionally unavailable and a poor communicator. Ron was a liar, cheat and manipulator who left me in a bad place by breaking up with me because I was too manly for him. James saw me as nothing more than a back up who he could keep coming back to. Walt seems to be a fresh exception, but my mind is messed up from past experience and I'm having a hard time trusting him despite the going being good.
This story will run long, I'll be ever grateful if you could read it completely and give me a fresh perspective.
Jack [19M] and I dated for 5 days before he broke up with me, saying he only dated me to find out what type of partner was suited for me. He had absurd ideas about love, and said that he wanted to see me happy from afar. He randomly began insisting it was for the best I stay away from him. But I had caught feelings for him by then, and thought that I could eventually convince him to come back. We continued to meet but he took me for granted, leaving me on read, not turning up to a meeting, never making his intentions or feelings towards me clear. I resigned myself to his whim; I told myself I could love him from afar and that every moment he granted to me was precious. I told myself there was a reason for his odd behavior (he had witnessed a traumatic scene in his childhood and was likely depressed), and that I would be the one person who would help him heal. Jack was eccentric, he had no friends and everybody avoided him because of his rude unconventional behavior.
Eventually I saw that my association with him was taking a toll on my mental health, so I began to detach myself slowly. Around this time I met Ron [21M]. He was in a steady relationship and I saw him as nothing more than a good friend. We had plenty in common, conversation flowed quite naturally between us, and I told him about my trans identity. He immediately pulled out his phone and changed my contact name to my preferred name. Touched, I felt he was a good one and opened up to him more. He shared that he was in an open relationship with his current gf and invited me to explore with him, as an FWB. I agreed.
Now, Jack sensed that we were drifting apart and made a comeback. He claimed that he was 'testing my purity' by staging a break up. I was still somewhat blinded by my fading feelings for him, when he suggested we get back together. I told him I needed time to think it over. I was also aware that I wanted to explore with Ron, regardless of whether I was with Jack or not. So I suggested a compromise to Jack, an open relationship between us, where both of us were free to explore with other partners.
Jack seemed okay with it at first but then seemed to freak out. Ron helped by pitching in his input as a person in an open relationship. Over the course of a frustrating group conversation, it became painfully evident to me that I did not want have anything to do with Jack. He pretended to be fine with something open, then ominously said it would come at a cost cause it was 'technically cheating'. He brought up how selfless it was of him to 'love' me when I couldn't 'ever provide him with what a woman could'. This, coming from a guy who never showed any form of affection to me ever. I cut Jack off from my life.
A little later, Ron confessed that he had feelings for me and that he wanted to date me seriously. We kept the dating thing open for a few days before mutually deciding to close the relationship. He hesitated to break up with his current gf, saying that she was going through a lot and it would be bad timing. I didn't like it but trusted he would do it when the time was right, which he claimed to have done a few weeks later. He kept our relationship secret so as not to tip off his friends or his gf who were connected. We were together for 2 months and he even brought up marriage, so I believed he was 'the one', and invested myself fully in him.
Slowly, things got bad, He started calling me his gf, when we had agreed that I was his bf. He said he 'saw me as a girl' cause that was 'what I was for now'. This was a major red flag but I trusted him. I thought I wouldn't find anyone else accepting of my identity, and must hold onto him. Maybe that such insecurity was deserved because I was trans. Even so, fear crept in of Ron leaving me because I was too manly for him. Which he eventually did.
Our break up shattered me. I was miserable, skipped classes and quit studying for a while. Once my emotions somewhat settled he suggested we be FWB again and of course I agreed pathetically. The aftermath of the break up had me comparing myself to feminine cis-women and wondering why I couldn't be attractive like them. It took a big hit on my self esteem and image, and diminished my faith in relationships. What did his "I love you"s mean in the end? Did a trans person like me even deserve love?
James [20M] kept flitting in and out of the scene all the while. We had matched on a dating app, gone on two dates he initiated (this is important). We briefly spoke less when I was with Ron but reconnected after my break up. James suggested an FWB thing which he backed out on the day we were first supposed to meet. His backing out hit hard like a second heartbreak and I avoided him for a while.
Then lock-down happened and made me think. James had every right to back out. I messaged him apologizing, saying I didn't want to lose our friendship. He said sorry for backing out, and we left it at that. Then, HE suggests we be FWB again once lock-down ended. I agreed. But I started falling for him over the course of our texts and let him know. He gave strong hints that he liked me back. But after a while he stopped texting. I'd initiate and he'd give a lackluster reply. I confronted him and he admitted that he had met someone else he was interested in. I replied saying I was happy for him, but deserved clear communication from his side instead of being left hanging for a month. He didn't bother to open my reply, but straightaway unfriended me. Seems to me that me approached me when he felt like it, knowing I wouldn't say no.
Picture me now, hopeless that a partner would ever have sustained interest in me. Also angry at myself for being trans and unable to transition. Complicating relationships. I had frequent flashbacks of Ron, used to fantasize in detail about how me and James would meet again, and the details would torment me. During such an episode, I remembered the existence of a person named Walt.
Walt [21M] and I matched on a dating app before me and Ron were dating. We somehow unmatched but Walt did send me a follow request on Instagram. I noticed that Ron followed him and asked him about him. Ron said,"Stay away, he's a predator". Walt deleted the request before I could think it through and take action, but since me and Ron started dating a few days later, I left it at that.
Now, months after the breakup I decided to find out for myself what kind of a person Walt was. I got in touch with him and he inquired tentatively about Ron and I. I told him all, then Walt broke it to me. Ron was a notorious manipulator and had done this to multiple female partners. He had never broken up with his gf, he brainwashed her for over 7 years and kept her in a bubble so she never saw his true form. Ron had even tried to seduce Walt's ex while they were dating, which led to issues and their eventual break up.
Now, it all made sense, why Ron didn't want me talking to Walt. Ron had basically lied and cheated the whole time, and Walt could expose him to me. I came across evidence in the past that Ron was cheating but he had the perfect excuse, always. Walt's version of the story agreed with my findings and I cut off ties with Ron, who was taken aback that I would decline to sleep with him, something I had previously desired with a fever.
Walt and I hit it off. We decided to explore our lost connection that Ron had prevented. I told him the stories of my previous partners and my gender identity, my fears and concerns. While he has had prior experience with men, he is still figuring out his orientation.
Things are different with Walt. He's real, he's honest, and most noticeably, he doesn't hide me. Which Ron and James had both done. He sees me for who I am. We decided not to put a label on what we have and ruin it with expectations, and I'm all for it. But one day, one tiny incident set my brain firing again. Walt happened to get busy and not respond to a message for a whole day. This made me worry about him, and for some reason it triggered the overthinking that was silent till then. About how he might leave me, abandon me, lose interest... Yes, things were looking very good, but my experience with James kept making me question if he was leading me on too.
I told Walt about these fears and he understood. He in turn shared that he was scared of me leaving him! No one has ever been scared of losing me, they knew I'd stick to them until they no longer needed me. I'd like to trust Walt, I really do, instead of analyzing his every text and questioning the sincerity behind the terms of endearment he uses. A new beginning untainted by the past.
He doesn't text me like he used to, these days, because he's busy with his start up. It is in these silences, so to say, that my overthinking comes to life. It doesn't help that we can't meet for a good while because of the pandemic. Seeing him in person would help me get a better 'read' on him. I've repeated some of the things he's told me to a confidante who tells me they are indeed good indicators that he wants to be with me. Is there anything, anything I can do at all to quell these fears?
submitted by closetedandconfused to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.09.17 10:53 whereismahhead Had a panic attack at work and went awol

(Very long post. Sorry about that.)
I'm on the autism spectrum, and can hide it relatively well... but I don't seem to be as high-functioning as my appearance or writing might suggest.
In addition to the autism, there appears to be a serious learning disability somewhere amongst all the mental clutter, and due to the intense social anxiety it's caused me, it's destroyed my life. I'm 38 and have never gotten anywhere in life because of it.
Paid work is outrageously elusive for me -- the application and interview process make sure of that. Even when I land a job I can never seem to keep it for more than a few days, because I always hit some wall of the social kind that I've never learned how to surmount. And never mind the fact that I've never owned a car, I can't even make it past the driving test to get my license. Most painfully, because my life can hardly even be described as a life, and I've never learned how to just push through and believe in myself, women don't want to be anything more than friends with me, if even that.
This may be the result of my parents mollycoddling me (until very recently I was living at home because my dad let me), but I'm quite certain that's only the tip of the iceberg. Basically, if a task falls under the category of adulting, I seem to have serious trouble accomplishing it. Again, the root of the problem may be mollycoddling. I don't deny that. But at the forefront of everything is the social anxiety. If a task requires me to come out of my shell and approach others to ask questions that may make me appear stupid, in nearly every situation, the anxiety cripples me and prevents me from seeing it through. This can even include emergency situations, so you can see how it's a real problem.
I tried getting disability for this a few years ago, but it was denied. I remember the test they gave me was absolute garbage. "Pick out the red pen from these black pens", she asked me, it was all stuff that most disabled people would be able to do. And because I could do it, that was their basis for the argument that I can take direction.
That's the thing: I can take CLEAR direction, and then only two or three steps at a time. When it's vague or complicated, and I have to ask multiple questions, especially if it's the same question over and over until I understand the answer, that's when things fall apart. I know sooner or later they're going to get fed up with me not understanding them, and that's when my anxiety kicks in.
Trying to figure out why this is so has been vague itself, but I do have some examples from growing up.
When I was 8 I was placed in daycare during the summer. One day, one of the workers gathered a group of us kids together to sit in a circle for a game. She explained the rules of the game, but it all flew over my head (knowing me, I was probably daydreaming as usual). When the game started, one by one the other kids took their turns, and it went around the circle. When it was my turn, I had no clue what I was supposed to do. The worker pressed me to take my turn; I just sat there and stared, confused, not saying or doing anything. I'll never forget what she said next: "You're dumber than a doorknob, kid!"
I don't know if this experience was the catalyst for my fear of asking questions when I don't understand something, but it's definitely my clearest memory. I've got plenty of other examples, here are just a few of them (skip the next three paragraphs if you want to cut to the chase):
When I was in seventh grade I was in a typing class and didn't understand something. I should have asked about it, but couldn't bring myself to do it, since everyone else clearly knew what they were doing and I was the only stupid one. So for weeks on end I simply pretended to keep busy, until one day I was caught and I had to fess up that I didn't understand what I was supposed to be doing.
As a high school junior I tried taking a German class. This was my first time attempting a foreign language, and the first day made me feel like I had bitten off more than I could chew, so I asked the teacher about changing classes. He told me to go to the office and tell them. For some reason, I was so scared about that, that instead of getting my class changed right away, for at least three weeks I spent that hour every day hiding behind one of the school buildings. Eventually I mustered up the guts to poke my head back in to the German class, and without me saying anything, the teacher seemed to understand right away and led me into the office and did the talking for me. It was a really bizarre experience, feeling so much anxiety over so simple a task, that I wondered if I was even going to be able to survive adulthood when I got there.
By college, I had found a foreign language I was good at: Japanese. But there was a time my Japanese teacher wanted me to reserve the rec room/basement of my dormitory for a class party, since only students who lived in the building could reserve the room. I found I couldn't do it, because I would have to talk to someone at the building's office. You would think what I was supposed to say would be obvious -- "I need to reserve the rec room for my Japanese class" -- yet somehow, the words wouldn't come. I choked on them. IIRC, I had to get my roommate to help me.
Anyway, now for my current trouble. Several months ago a terrible heartbreak over a girl struck my life and I had to leave my hometown in an attempt to heal. I moved in with a friend, not knowing what I was going to do for work or if I was even capable of pushing past my anxieties so that I could work. I did have a big project I was working on that, if successful, would help me immensely money-wise, but that was a crapshoot, and it was taking me forever to complete. Yet my takeaway from my entire life was that I needed to play to my strengths, because trying to ignore my weaknesses so that I could take part in any other playing field just hadn't worked.
All the same, I needed to pay rent in the meantime, so I had to do something. Fortunately that was when the first stimulus relief checks went out, so that bought me some time.
Not enough time, however, it turned out. My stimulus check was all quickly spent up on rent and groceries, and a few things I foolishly splurged on. I had to find work, and my friend became very impatient with me.
So he sat me down and had a serious talk with me, giving me his usual spiel that always suggested to me he thinks the problem is just laziness, or else that my fear is conquerable if I just force myself through it. In addition to using fear tactics on me (including such low blows as "I don't know if you've noticed, but your dad's health isn't all that great. He's bound to die soon, and then where will you be?"), he also tried to motivate me by extolling the wonders of being able to buy nice things with money from a job -- despite all the times I've told him that all the motivation in the world, all the talk about the life I COULD be living, can't get me to conquer this fear, that I need a different angle. I need to find out HOW to overcome social anxiety, and even though my friend is convinced that my confidence is to be found in throwing me unceremoniously into the fray without baby steps, decades of dealing with this issue has taught me that using motivation to force myself to speak in anxiety situations just isn't enough to do the trick.
Another option is to somehow, miraculously, find a job where I can work around it. Of course I'd still have to make the requisite phone call(s) and interview in order to get the job, but if I can just get past that and the training...
But seeing that my friend wouldn't accept any of my arguments, I looked into work. Unfortunately, Walmart was the only place that called me back, and I knew with my social anxiety, retail would be a living hell for me; but out of extreme necessity, praying and hoping against hope that I would be able to survive such a job, I went through with it. Fortunately, they wanted me for an overnight stocking position, which meant I wouldn't be expected to talk to customers.
After the interview, the first thing I was worried about was having a whole bunch of new information thrown at me and being expected to absorb it all at once. Orientation wasn't too bad; there was a lot of stuff to take in but it wasn't overwhelming.
Then came training. I was supposed to sit at a computer for two hours and read through tons upon tons of poorly explained information. Each section claimed to be a 10-minute read, and just as an example of my reading comprehension, the first section took me a full hour. Apparently, somehow I was expected to be perfect and only require one read-through. After the two hours had ended, I didn't even come close to finishing the training, and what I did read, I understood maybe 5% at best. This was WAY too much new information. But maybe doing tasks hands-on was how I would learn. Plus, the supervisor told me I could probably finish the training the next day.
The next day (well, night), however, I was sent onto the floor right away, handed over to this guy to show me the ropes. It wasn't too bad; I only had to learn a couple things at a time, and I got through the night without panicking.
But the next night was when everything fell apart. Immediately upon clocking in it was clear I was going to have some trouble getting started. Nobody was approaching me to assign me a task. That meant I'd have to track my higher-up/s down and do the approaching myself, which meant anxiety. I barely know who my higher-ups are and what they look like (the problem made worse by all the masks). I wondered if there had been something explained to me in Orientation, about starting each day, that had gone in one ear and out the other. Was there a chart or something I was supposed to check?
It was awful. It was like being shoved onto a stage to give a TED Talk without having anything prepared or even knowing what the subject was.
After a few minutes of wandering aimlessly a girl stopped me and told me to go "pull from the back room". I barely understood what she meant, but I was too afraid to ask questions for clarification. I walked around to what I assumed was the back, and there were other employees pulling around pallets of boxes and taking them into the store. I didn't know which boxes I was supposed to take or where they were supposed to go (never mind the fact that I hadn't yet operated one of the pull machines the pallets were seated on, so I wasn't sure how to do that, either). This meant, of course, that I would have to approach a perfect stranger and ask them what I was supposed to do. Any reasonable person would be able to do that, but I couldn't seem to bring it out of me.
So I tried a different angle, and ran down to the area I was in the night before to see if the guy who I was placed with earlier was down there. Maybe he could explain this to me. But he was nowhere to be found. I returned to the back room and the same girl as before told me they'd mostly finished moving the boxes, so I was to go down and work Seasonal, with the Halloween stuff.
I went there and found nobody in the aisle, no boxes to open or stock. There were a few scattered guys in surrounding aisles working with their own piles of boxes, but again, I was tongue-tied and couldn't ask if I could help.
After an hour of circling the inside of the store in a blind panic, desperate for something to do before I was caught being a useless employee (yet so overwhelmed with social anxiety I kept dodging out of sight whenever another worker came into view), I finally gave up, clocked out, and ran out of the building.
After walking home and gathering my thoughts, I realized I probably needed to call somebody at the store to let them know I was absent. I was scared out of my wits. Fortunately, the number I had been given to call about that turned out to be fully automated.
Today I texted my friend about what happened, and he took the same line on it he always has: Just push yourself, you're not trying hard enough. It's easy for him to say. I've seen the way he strikes up conversation with completely random people every time we're out and about.
So that's my situation. I don't know yet if I still have a job or not. That's not even the end of how bad it is right now, because another friend has forced me into a one-on-one date this weekend with a girl I can barely even speak to, but this post is too long already.
Re-reading this whole thing before posting, I realize I come across as a cradled manchild, that the "mollycoddled" argument is more than a little valid. I don't deny that possibility. I just don't know how to conquer the social anxiety, because forcing myself to open my mouth has never, ever seemed to work.
submitted by whereismahhead to Anxiety [link] [comments]


2020.09.17 06:53 rishiss A /r/cscareerquestions College Survival Guide

A /cscareerquestions College Survival Guide

With our final school year beginning, we were reflecting on how lost and confused we were when we first started university. We made a lot of mistakes (still am) along the way, but we’re in a much better place after learning from them and constantly putting ourselves out there. In hopes of shining some light and helping others, we decided to make a comprehensive guide for university students – based on our knowledge/experiences - on how to start your successful CS Career (or gain the wisdom to avoid CS altogether, more on this later).
rishiss Background: I am a 4th year student at UC Irvine majoring in Software Engineering. I am an incoming Software Engineer at a F100 company (received return offer after interning this summer). Before that, I interned at an R & D center for space, a small cloud company, and a small IT company. I have a 3.65 GPA, won a few awards at startup competitions/hackathons, and remain pretty active in my schools CS organizations.
chaitu65c Background: I’m a 4th year student at UC Irvine majoring in Computer Science. I’m currently a SWE Intern at a Unicorn and just wrapped up my 2nd internship at a Live Streaming Company(you can most likely tell who they are if you browse my history LOL). Before this, I interned at my school’s IT department, did research under a professor, and worked on a few small startups that other UCI students were building. I have a 3.3 GPA, won some awards along rishiss and was pretty active in my school’s CS clubs.
Disclaimer: “But rishiss/ and chaitu65c, you don’t work at a Big N, go to a target CS school, why should I take your advice?” You’re absolutely right; we are, by no means, ‘up there’ like some other folks on this sub. And, you don’t have to take our advice! Simply close this tab and do whatever else you want 😊. Our intent is to guide and prepare uni students for a CS career they enjoy, not work at Big N or get the highest TC. Life is much more than a dick-measuring contest, and the earlier you learn that the better.
We have also created a guide with our own personal advice/stories

Please, take this advice with a grain of salt. we’re not Tony Robinson or Tim Apple, we’re just two random reddit users.

Table of Contents:

This guide is divided into the following sections:

Is CS Right For Me?

The way we see it, there’s 3 types of people pursuing CS.
  1. Those who know CS isn’t for them – They’re in it for the money, to appease their parents, for a minorequirement, some external factor. They hated programming while taking the introductory CS course and just try to get done with their class/degree ASAP.
Advice: The majority of people who fall under this usually burn out quickly, as they aren’t motivated enough to learn the material and to apply themselves. This usually leads to them cheating and getting kicked out of their major, minor, or university altogether. Even if you manage to earn a degree, we've seen a large number of these folks endure a 'pre-mature' mid-life crisis or simply get fired from their jobs. Before you even start this major, you should definitely understand that this isn’t going to be easy, and you do have to put in a lot of effort to succeed. If this isn’t your cup of tea, definitely look into switching into another major you like.
Some folks are really passionate about technology, but don't want to pursue an entire Computer Science major or see themselves as Software Engineers. That's completely ok! Try looking into related majors or minors. We know many students who switched from CS to majors like Informatics, Business Information Management, and Economics and are thriving in tech-related roles like Data Analytics, Product Management, UI/UX Design, and Technical Recruiting. CS is not (and should not be) for everyone, and there is no shame in having the wisdom quit and move on.
  1. Those who don’t know if CS is for them – Where most of the CS community is IMO. These folks (like me, rishiss) are riddled with something called Imposter Syndrome: “the constant feeling of not being good enough or knowing enough to do your job well.”
Advice: For students, really take the time to learn and be open to anything you go through. Try sticking it out until you've taken a Data Structures course, one of the harder, more important courses out there. If you're not understanding the material or just aren't having fun with it, it’s definitely ok to switch majors/careers. Otherwise, CS just might be the career for you! Give it your best shot!
Admittedly, it's hard to provide stronger insight to overcoming Imposter Syndrome, as I am afflicted by it as well. For me, my IS derives from constantly comparing myself to others and confusing inexperience with incompetency. As such, I continue to work and focus on myself and take baby steps towards smaller goals I set out for myself. Knowing that I've put the effort to improve myself by just 1% everyday has made me a lot more confident.
  1. Those who know for a fact CS is for them – The diamonds in the rough. Learning and practicing CS material gives them a euphoric high.
Advice: Broaden your scope and learn new areas of CS! Who knows, you might find another new field that you really want to work in. Other than that, definitely make new friends regardless of whether they’re a CS major or not. Even try pursuing other hobbies like weightlifting, reading, dancing, or even public speaking. Don't limit yourself!

Freshman Year

We recommend not taking more than 3-4 classes in your first quartesemester, as you shouold keep an ample amount of time to go to professional/social events, make new friends and hang out with them, and pursue your interests.
We've seen a lot of freshmen (and upperclassmen) CS folks get cooped up in their dorm rooms playing video games and watching TV. We understand that these two are a passion for many, but please be cautious to not get consumed by them.
You have the privilege of pursuing higher education, making valuable connections/memories, and setting up your CS career in the trajectory you want. This year is the best year to take advantage of all that university has to offer; make the most of it.
One of the best ways to get involved in your school’s/region’s CS community is by joining clubs like ACM and WICS and participating in hackathons (see ‘Hackathon’ section below). Try pursuing internships and positions in these organizations and events as well!
One, major issue we see with freshmen (even upperclassmen) is their ignorance on all the avenues available in the CS Industry. So we’ve tried to narrow it down (not exhaustive).
  1. Cyber Security Engineer
  2. Front-End Web Developer
  3. Backend Web Developer
  4. UI/UX Designer
  5. DevOps/Cloud/Site-Reliability Engineers
  6. Mobile Engineer
  7. QA Engineer
  8. Product Manager
  9. Data Scientist (Machine Learning/AI)
  10. Embedded Software Engineer
  11. Systems Administrator
  12. Database Administrator (The Wizards)
  13. Networking Engineer
  14. Hardware Engineer
  15. OS Developer
  16. Video Game Developer
  17. Solutions Architect/Sales EngineeTechnical Account Manager
As a freshman, definitely take the time and see if you can picture yourself doing any of the listed fields. You should open yourself to all facets of CS and not just the “hot field” like Data Science and Machine Learning. Choosing a field because it’s “exciting” will usually lead to bad results as usually, other people are thinking just like you and will lead to over-saturation.
Our recommendation is to select the top 5 fields that have piqued your interest and experiment with the field. For example, if you are interested in Mobile App Development, try learning how to build an Android app from the ground up. A simple weather app or alarm clock is completely suitable for a first project/prototype. This lets you understand what skills you would need for this field and can serve as a forecast as to what your career would look like.
You should definitely look for an internship. Ignore the people that tell you to wait until you’re a junior, as it’s going to be very hard to get an internship if you don’t have any experience. Common places that most students don’t realize are available are usually IT departments at your school and even research with professors. Researching is highly recommended as you can definitely learn more about a field you can be interested in and if you’re interested in graduate school, that’s going to be a letter of recommendation that you can ask for.
If you’re considered a minority in Computer Science, look into first and second year internship programs as they’re meant to help you succeed. Here’s some programs that come to mind:
Google STEP
Microsoft Explore
Amazon Future Engineer
Uber STARInternhip
Facebook University
Another way to get internships is to research into smaller companies in your area. If the company is very small (<100 employees), consider reaching out to the CEO on LinkedIn. They might be able to help you! Also, take advantage of university recruiting websites like Handshake to see companies that directly hire from your school. More info on how to get an internship in the ‘Searching for an Internship’ section.

Sophomore Year

Now that you have basic programming knowledge, create your own website or GitHub account and start contributing to them with small personal projects. Nobody expects you to make a full-stack MERN project hosted and scaled on AWS at this stage. Focus instead on clean code, learning a framework or two on a language you like, and creating a small, robust feature. Grow from there!
If you weren’t able to find an internship/research opportunity as a freshman, community involvement, projects, and hackathons become especially important, as they are a great way to make you stand out on your resume and to recruiters when you reapply. As you brush up on your skills, apply again, and try your luck out.

Data Structures and Algorithms

In addition, you are most likely to take a Data Structures and Algorithms course this year. Make sure you are focusing on this class and writing good notes; you will need this knowledge when interviewing for internships and full-time jobs in the near future. Here is a link to our DS and A course (in C++) for reference

Junior Year

As a junior, companies are more willing to hire you for an internship, as they are likely to convert you into a full-time employee after graduating. This transition process is much easier than interviewing, and they'll usually offer you a higher compensation package if they want to convert you to a full-time employee. As you now should have knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms, we highly recommend looking into coding interview prep sites like LeetCode and HackerRank or purchasing a prep book like CTCI or EPI (advanced).
Continue to attend hackathons, remain active in clubs/organizations, and grow your portfolio.
Classes will be much harder; expect the time for completing projects to double and the content covered to be much more difficult. We recommend taking no more than 2-3 upper-division CS courses and balancing your load with 1-2 GE classes. You should not be taking more than 16 units (assuming 4 units per course).
Start to get an idea of what field in CS you would like to pursue. Research what it takes to be successful in that field. You can do so by looking up job postings with that title on LinkedIn and looking at the requested skill set or take a look at Roadmap.sh. If you want to learn more about a related skill set and your school doesn't offer a course, consider picking up a class on udemy.com.

Senior Year

Focus heavily on your senior capstone, project classes, etc. as they're the last thing you can put on your resume before applying for full time. By now, you should have at least 3 polished, working projects on your GitHub that you can easily talk about with your recruiter. Preferably, they're aligned with the CS field you wish to enter.
If you were able to get a return offer from an internship, congrats! However, don’t immediately sign the offer. Once you have an offer, you should still try to interview at companies that you’re interested in by the deadline of the time to accept the offer. A good way of doing this is to reach out to a University recruiter for that company and explain the deadline you have. Usually, they’re really helpful and can potentially help skip interviews that you were supposed to do!
In addition, if your friends were able to intern at places you’re interested in, definitely ask for a referral or to send your resume to their recruiter. This usually reduces the risk of being ghosted by that company and increases your chances of getting hired!
Once you finally sign, definitely take the time to relax and enjoy. Just make sure you pass your classes and stay out of trouble

Classes:

What Classes should I take?

Should Already be Required:

Must Take:

Good to Have

How do I succeed in these classes?

rishiss: You’re more than likely coughing up hundreds, if not thousands, to attend university. It makes no sense to not take full advantage of the course and course staff.
The way I take notes: I learn from examples; I want to enter my code into the IDE to see what happens. I do a three way split; Google Docs on the left, IDE on top right and terminal (to compile, see output, make new file, etc) on bottom left. I note down the date and topic of the lecture and write questions I have in the comments on Docs. I make sure to highlight important information and possible test questions. I even share the link with friends!

In the quarters where I followed the steps above, I never got a grade lower than an A-.

Dealing with Bad Professors

During your time in college, you’re likely going to have at least one bad professor that might make it worse if you have to go to class. If that’s the case, it’s definitely fine to not go to class (as long as it’s not mandatory). However, if you do decide not to go, you must make sure you learn the material, so you won’t be behind on the coursework and studying for tests. In addition, you should be doing something productive on the side. If you don’t go to class and spend the time watching Netflix or playing video games, you’re losing time that you can spend on something that might be fun and can help you in the long run.

You can take Graduate Courses!?

chaitu65c: A highly underutilized set of courses you can take would be graduate courses. Graduate courses are usually very specialized in certain fields. If you were able to take all the undergraduate courses you wanted and still have spare classes to fill out, I'd recommend researching into taking Graduate courses! They’re a good way to build out your specialization and learn new, cool stuff! In addition, if you’re looking for classes to reach the required number of CS courses needed, your CS department might allow you to make the course count towards your degree!

Projects

They're super important.

How do I succeed in class projects?

Personal Projects and your CS Career

rishiss: Projects are your saving grace, especially if you are lacking work experience. They show technical aptitude, willingness to take initiative, and leadership. I’ve seen people with only projects on their resume get positions at the Big N. Projects are good ways to expand your knowledge of CS as the possibilities are endless! It is best to have a variety of projects dealing with a variety of technologies. As such, you can open yourself up to more positions and have more talking points during the interview.
I tend to edit the ‘Project’ Section of my resume with relevant projects and technologies. For instance, if I made a full stack web application and applied to a DevOps organization, I would highlight my AWS, CI/CD, and Terraform experiences more than my React/Node js work.
It is recommend the project is about something that motivates you and are passionate about e.g. video games, movies, books, sports, etc., as it is very easy to give up half way due to stress or lack of motivation/interest.
Like anything else in Computer Science, projects require you to break it down into smaller pieces. Start with the end in mind and draw out the intended architecture/functionalities. Start with what you know and research on the parts you don't know after that. You will be using these skills often in industry for any project/feature planning.
Spending 15-30 minutes a day is all you need to make a successful personal project. Don't make excuses and get coding!

Open Source Contributions

If you’ve ever noticed popular github repositories such as torvalds/linux, these are repositories where people from all over the world can report issues with it and someone can fix it. If you are able to make a contribution to a huge open source repository, it looks really good on your resume.

Hackathons

What are Hackathons?

Hackathons are large scale coding events, where students from around the area come together and collaborate - usually in teams of 4 (but you can go solo or with a partner!) - to build some software. Companies like Amazon, Northrop Grumman, Google, and Twilio sponsor awards related to best use of their technology. After 24 - 48 hours of intensive coding, participants submit their projects, whether it be an Android video game, Chrome Extension, productivity web app, etc. Submissions are shared with the companies and other hackathon organizers, where they select the best projects and award teams with swag like keyboards, gift cards, and even summer internships at their company.
Participating in hackathons are one of the best ways to hone your coding skills, network with companies and other students, and get free comfy T-shirts. It is also one of the best ways to gain industry knowledge, as representatives from these companies and hackathon organizers create numerous workshops and answer any questions you may have. Winning awards at these hackathons are also great resume boosters and talking points during interviews.
The biggest hackathon organizer is Major League Hacking. Visit their website, and you can see all the hackathons (remote or local) they are partnered with. Make to be on the lookout for application release dates from the hackathons and apply early.
With Covid, you may miss out on the free goodies and the in-person networking with students and professionals. However, most hackathons are accepting many more applicants due to it being virtual/remote this year.

What Should I Do At Hacakathons?

Take advantage of the resources available at hackathons. You’re attending a mini CS conference and should be, besides coding, networking with professionals, learning about the different companies, attending workshops, asking technical/non-technical questions to mentors, and getting as much free shit as you can get. Besides T-Shirts, companies give out vouchers to their services, applications to their internship and full-time positions, pillows, notebooks, water bottles, sweaters, and even backpacks.
If you’re looking to get an award, judges at hackathons care a lot about the pitch and the idea rather than the actual execution of the idea. Having an idea beforehand is also helpful, so you can spend your time focusing on the MVP.

Friends and Networking

chaitu65c: I think it’s definitely useful if you have two different friend groups: One dedicated to career and Non-Career Group.
Career Group - When making a friend group dedicated to career, try to be the dumbest person in the group, you’re definitely going to learn a lot from them as you soak up knowledge! Best ways of meeting friends who are career-driven can be through major specific orientation (actually how I met rishiss), courses, major related clubs, etc.
Non-Career Group - While having a group that motivates you for your career is important, it’s also important to have another friend group that can help you relax and to enjoy your time! A really good way to find these friend groups can be anywhere from your hall to General Education courses, social clubs like Circle K, fraternities/ sororities(if that’s your cup of tea) and others!
This is what has worked for us; no need to follow this exact format.

Resume

rishiss: Here are the few take-aways on writing a resume that gets through the ATS.

Searching for Internships

Searching for internships in CS is really different and harder from searching for internships in other professions. CS internship interview processes are often longer and much more technical on what you have learned as a CS major. We've prepped 2-3 months beforehand on CS concepts, whiteboarding, etc.

Timeline

This timeline primarily focuses on large, non-government/defense companies or competitive startups. This also assume you are applying for a summer internship.
August - September: Applications are opened to the public. Make sure to look out for positions and apply early, as most companies admit students on a rolling basis. A site that we used often is Apply.fyi. After applying, you may receive an automated (< 48 hours) invitation to complete an Online Assessment, consisting of multiple choice and/or coding questions about Data Structures, Algorithms, and Run Time Complexity. You will have usually 1-2 weeks to complete the assessment. Please that you may be rejected if you are not able to pass 90% of the questions on the assessment: Please also note that you may be instantly rejected due to things out of your control like years of experience, cancellation of internship, internal corporate issues, and more. Don't take rejections too seriously; just keep applying!
October - November: After passing the resume screen and the OA, you will be contacted by the company's recruiter for a phone screen. During the screen, you will probably be asked a few confirmation questions about your resume, sponsorship, years of experience with X, etc. and minor behavioral questions like what made you apply for this position, what are you pursuing outside of class, etc. You may also receive questions about your CS fundamentals e.g. what is a hashtable, whats the difference between a process and a thread, what is the runtime complexity of sorting a string, etc. As long as you're cool and confident (and not cringe/edgy), this part should be a breeze.
November - Mid January: If you made it through the two Thanos snaps, you will be invited to an onsite “Power-Day,” where interviewees attend 2-4 whiteboard interviews while being grilled on their technical skills and projects. Some companies make applicants go through a panel interview, where a team of 2-5 Software Engineers grill you on technical questions and your resume. You are often pampered with free travel, food, stipends, etc.
December - February: If you were deemed a good fit by the hiring committee, you will be extended an offer to intern at the company during the upcoming summer for 10-12 weeks. Remember, nothing is final until you receive an offer letter in your inbox. Some companies may also place you on a wait-list and offer you a spot if someone were to reject their offer letter.
For government orgs, defense companies, and smaller organizations, the recruiting season starts in February/March and usually ends in April and May. After applying online and passing the resume screen, you will usually be immediately pushed to an on-site interview. Most likely, you will be interviewing with your future boss/co-worker.
Please note that internships are not only offered in the summer, they are provided in the Fall, Winter, and Spring (rare) as well. The competition for these internships is usually lower, and the process usually starts 3-4 months beforehand.

How to get the Interview

Besides following resume tips, make sure to apply to as many places as you can. To get our first internships, we recall applying to approximately 250-300 places before we secured our internship plans for that summer. Also, if you do get ghosted, don’t take it personally, usually, university recruiters often spend so much time reviewing a lot of applications.
Other precautions to take to get noticed are to try attending career fairs if you can, you might be able to get an interview(worst case, free swag!). Other than that, try reaching out to upperclassmen or friends you know that interned and ask for referrals. It’s one of the best ways to get noticed!

What to expect

As part of the interview process, there’s 4 types of interviews that you should make sure you know.
Behavioral Interview: These interviews ask you questions about culture fit such as “Why are you a good candidate” and “Tell me about a time when you ...”
Coding/Technical Interview: These interviews ask you questions similar to what you see on Leetcode and Hackerrank. These interviews are designed to test your Data Structures and Algorithms knowledge.
System Design: System Design involves the interviewer testing your building to design a service/software and test your knowledge of understanding what things to use for the task and how you will integrate them together. You’re definitely not expected to know this and it’s not likely you’re gonna get asked this. Places that could ask you this are Unicorns, Trading Companies and Hedge Funds, and Big Established Companies.
Concurrency/Low Level Interviews: If the company’s biggest product involves low level principles such as networking principles and kernel stuff, there’s a possibility you can get asked this. Places that come to mind are hardware companies and trading firms.
Some companies may adopt only one of these interviews and some may adopt all.

How to Ace the Interview

It’s highly recommended that you look up the interview experiences that other students have faced so that you can potentially filter out companies with red flags and know what questions to expect. Common sources to search up on this would be Reddit (csMajors and cscareerquestions), Jumpstart (Relatively new portal for students), Glassdoor and maybe Blind (Aside from the toxic TC or GTFO culture, they do give good advice on interviews). With that said, here’s some advice we have when you approach each kind of interview we’ve seen.

Advice on Behavioral Interviews

Use the STAR method when describing your experiences. Being quantifiable with the impact of your actions will impress the interviewer.

Advice on Technical Interviews

Begin by reviewing your notes from the Data Structures and Algorithms class. Do not proceed further until you know how to implement these DS and As from scratch with the language of your choice(If you do know python, it’s recommended as there’s a lot of builtin features!). After doing so, we highly recommend a book like CTCI and EPI to gain a review on programming language details and your DS and As. Then, visit sites like LeetCode to practice real questions from major companies. A Facebook Engineer completed 600 LC problems and compiled the most important ones into a list here. During the interview, make sure to talk out loud about possible approaches and tradeoffs before whiteboarding. It is perfectly acceptable (often recommended) to ask the interviewer to ask questions about the problem and get clarification. Once you have an idea in mind and have talked about it with your interviewer, begin whiteboarding. While you talk about the final idea you want to use, write out pseudo code and comments about all the steps you need to implement in order to finish coding your solution. After that, start coding. Make sure to have proper function headers, syntax, spacing, classes/structs, imports, etc. After coding your solution, give a brief explanation and attempt to make it run with less space and in less time (if your solution is not as efficient as you think it can be).

Advice on System Design

These are somewhat hard to approach if you don’t have experience ever doing it. If you do have experience designing and building services in your spare time and as part of your work experience, definitely rely on your experience. An important thing is to definitely ask clarifying questions. There might be hidden requirements you didn’t think about that could drastically change the way you approach the solution.

Advice on Concurrency/Low level

Understand basic principles such as Processes vs Threads (A lot of people don’t know the difference!)TCP vs UDP and how to make an application thread safe. Other than that, it’s recommended that you familiarize yourself with basic OS concepts such as Deadlocks, locks that you can utilize to make an application thread safe, etc.

Searching for Full Time Jobs:

The big bucks.
The process for finding a Full-Time Job is usually very similar to finding an Internship. There’s three main differences are:
  1. Harder Questions. Ex: Google usually asks Leetcode Mediums to Hards + the special Leetcode Hard question that Google asks it’s applicants (they create a new one every year).
  2. More Rounds of Interviewing: For example, Microsoft makes interns do 2 rounds while New Grads do 4 rounds during the onsite part of the process.
  3. Compensation: Interns usually get an hourly rate and, possibly, a housing stipend. New grads, however, are given a yearly salary and, possibly, a sign-on bonus, stocks, and benefits e.g. health insurance, vacation days, etc.
The process for finding a Full-time Job won’t really change as much as finding an internship, but keep in mind that the bar is higher. This is probably the biggest reason why you should look into interning early; by getting an offer at the place you like, you don’t need to go through the daunting process of finding a full-time role.
Get as many offers as you can this time around, so you can negotiate and select the position, company, compensation, and location that works best for you.

Negotiation

Negotiation is a really powerful tool that you can use in the interview process, even as an intern. There’s a lot of guides to negotiation and we recommend Nick Singh’s guide (Look at his LinkedIn and newsletters) for more.

Final Thoughts

University is a probably the most important time of your life and a foundational block of your CS Career. Like any foundation, it must be sturdy and takes a tremendous amount and energy of time to develop. Take advantage of all the resources (like this one) you can get your hands on. Definitely learn from the mistakes people have made and make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’ - Steve Jobs
submitted by rishiss to cscareerquestions [link] [comments]


2020.09.17 02:38 evathion A friend who vents and complains too much

Warning: stupid hand-wringing about disagreement over games, please ignore if you don't want to waste time reading about such nonsense. It's just so personally frustrating for me that I just needed somewhere to write about this.

I have a friend who has good qualities I value in a friend such as loyalty and being there for each other in need. We also have similar tastes, specifically likes and dislikes about movies, video games, etc. You know how it can be nice to bond over sharing unpopular opinions and complaining about a popular media. The problem is that she complains and rants A LOT, and if the subject is something I don't care about that much it's fine, what's bothering is when she rants about something she knows that I enjoy or I recommended to her. I mean, of course she has every right to her opinion but ranting for days and weeks, peppering me with texts almost every day and expecting me to respond is a bit too much. At the same time I'm wondering if I'm not being objective enough about the "valid criticism" she brings up, because I hate to admit that I'm feeling rather hurt because she keeps dissing something I enjoy. It's awful to be one of those overly loyal, toxic fans, so I shouldn't be too attached to media, right? Or am I feeling uncomfortable because she's passive aggressively attacking me for making her enjoy something she now regrets, or just considers me a trash can for venting out her grievances.
As of late she's been complaining about an online mobile game that we both play (she started playing after I often mentioned about it on my social media), which was recently (about 2-3 days ago) rumored to have been hacked. She's been ranting that the developer isn't fixing it, and betraying the players who paid for packs and bundles for in-game currency, that they failed to communicate with the players by not addressing the issue in an open notice. (they did respond by email to a concerned player, said that they're checking on it) Now I'm no tech expert, but I do know that online game hacks happen all the time, that they're extremely difficult to prevent or prove, and that even the biggest developers have a hard time fending them off. And perhaps admitting there's a hack by saying so in an open notice when they haven't fixed it yet isn't so wise as it will alert players unaware of the hack that one exists, and make them go searching for one? She also said that the developer is terrible b/c she's never played an online game that's hacked before, but maybe b/c they're much bigger developers with better resources to prevent such hacks who probably don't mention it even if they found one and just mended the hack and banned the particular users? And also because she didn't actively look for things to hate about that one? (in fact I'm amazed how she knows such she says he says details and rumors as I just play the game a few dozen minutes each day and don't necessarily search what people are saying about it.) Actually now that I'm writing I realized that I know at least one online game we both played that was hacked before, except it was a different type of hack (aimbots). We both bought cheap starter packs for the game (I may have spent a little extra on other bundles) so maybe she's pissed out about that and also that's why she can't quit immediately? It seems she's also pissed about the fandom which is generally vocal and quite loyal to the developer and don't dis the developer for failing to prevent the hack as much as they dis the hackers. Yesterday she ranted about this for a whole day via text message, and got me so distracted that my work was partially affected (I work from home but still) and I felt annoyed and frustrated. I know I should've just muted and ignored her texts but the way she words it suggests that if I don't agree with her 100% I'm one of those blindly loyal, stupid, toxic fans. But I'm sick and tired of responding or even reading her grievances, and I have a vague suspicion that know that she simply doesn't like that I enjoy something she hates and tries to dissuade me from enjoying it, or she's resenting that I indirectly influenced her to play this game and feels she's justified in venting out on me.
Something similar has happened before, though in that case it was a classic console game I gave to her as a present (as she showed some interest in it) and she couldn't get used to the mechanics (for my part, I did try to help her and sent her links of helpful tips and walkthroughs) and hated it and vented it out on me for days until I was fed up and told her that I understand that it's clunky since the game's pretty dated, but that she wasn't obliged to play it and that I have an emotional attachment to the game so please stop venting about it to me. I don't have as a strong attachment to the game she's currently dissing right now so I half-heartedly agree with her, but she's driving me over the edge.
Now I'm not sure if I should keep her has a friend, though there were moments she was helpful and supportive and I feel stupid for drifting away from a friendship because she likes to vent on some stuff I like. I do need a time-off from her so I'll ignore her texts for awhile.
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2020.09.16 15:18 SatansAlwaysWatching I (M19) broke up with a girl (F17) where we weren't in an official relationship but i can't stop feeling guilt over it.

So basically me and her meet on tinder where she also matched with 2 other of my friends but ended that she wanted a relationship with me. I wanted to go slowly since I barely know her and we ended being unofficial for 2 month.
We went on dates and such and when her school started I told her to focus on school and her mental health but that doesn't mean she should completely ignore me for 3 weeks. In between those week I heard from my friend that he saw her with another guy and we both knew that wasn't her guy friend (not going further into that).
My friend matched with her on tinder again while me and her was still seeing each other and I turned a blind eye because we weren't official yet, I matched with one of her friends and she got very upset which led me to delete tinder.
I told her that maybe it was better seeing each other and that I needed a more attention and wanna explore myself more before I settle in. I gave back her stuff and moved on but I can't stop feeling guilt over it. I need tips to get over it since I know that it was for the best but could I do it better or was that the worst way to breakup
submitted by SatansAlwaysWatching to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.09.16 14:12 I_stole_the_cookies UPDATE: How do you move on from a breakup?

Hi everyone,
Last time I posted about moving on in my relationship and I must say the tips really helped!
https://www.reddit.com/relationship_advice/comments/hch9ky/how_do_you_move_on_from_a_breakup/
I started thinking about the things in the relationship and why it didn't work out and what I did wrong.
I spoke with a lot of friends and they have helped me. A few of my friends have pointed out that I was dating a narcisist. I didn't believe it, because I thought I couldn't be so blind. I researched it and thought about things that have happened during our relationship.
He was sweet and kind in the beginning, and was the nicest person I knew. Made me feel so special, it all just changed in a half year. He was still sweet, but this happened:
- Called me a hoe when he was drunk on a party. When we got home, I told him that he should never call me like that. He got angry at me saying that it was just a joke and I shouldn't react so uptight.
- He got angry at me when I told him I missed him. ( He got really busy with work and I only spoke to him during the evening)
- It was always my fault. Whenever we had an argument, he got angry and pissed with me, telling me that it was all my fault. Everytime I cried, he got more angry.
- When I told him that I was feeling down and insecure (think ugly crying on his lap) he said: 'When we met, you were this confident woman, your insecurity is kind of a turn off.
- I did everything for him, always made sure he was happy, cleaned and cooked for him. It was never enough. He got irritated by my cleaning. Example: I made his bed, folded our clothes, but forgot to put the socks in the washmachine and he got annoyed and said I was too messy and couldn't do it right. We weren't even living together, I just did it to make him happy.
- Made me feel worthless
- Didn't listen to me when we had sex and didn't stop when I told him to stop
This is just a few of the things he did. I ugly cried when I found out, mostly blaming myself that I let it happen this far. Now I'm getting therapy to process this.
The thing is, after three months, he contacted me yesterday to see my new house ( I moved there a month ago). He wants to remain friends, I just don't know what to do or what to think. I don't want to be friends, but it really messed me up that I just see him again as the nice person he was before. How can I deal with this?
submitted by I_stole_the_cookies to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


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