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Do NOT be afraid to leave a dealership without a car!
TL;DR: Walking out of a dealership with no car can be the best decision you make. Car dealers are SLEAZY AF. I am in the market for a new car, so I went to the nearest Acura dealership to me. I have a new-ish Honda Pilot, but an MDX before that, and I miss my MDX so here we are. I knew going in that my trade-in (the Pilot) is worth $4500 more than what I presently owe on it. It is lower than average miles and in excellent condition. I have a buyout offer in hand from a neighboring dealer as well. They do the obligatory "we have to appraise" it and I told them that's fine, but I know what it's worth and there's no need to sell my existing car, so I won't be taking less than the buyout offer I have from a dealership across the street. I ask to drive the car and my husband and I take it for a spin. It is what I expect. We return to the dealership. I had gone through TrueCar to get an offer from this same dealership and was given an offer of $48k the night before on the car I was looking for. They tell me that TrueCar is really aggressive and the best they could do was $49k. I warn the salesperson that when he gets me the term sheet that I am looking for the out the door cost for the car and NOT payments. I also ask for a breakdown of the fees. He compliments my wedding ring. Tells me he was in jewelry sales before. Cool, I am wearing a plain milligrain band. I assure you, the ring is nothing to write home about. I mention that I want roof racks and crossbars for the car. He tells me they will be $1230. I tell him the price on the Acura eStore is $850. He tells me shipping and installation makes up the difference (THIS IS A LIE). Then he tries telling me that it costs $180 just to install these (THIS IS ALSO A LIE). I tell him he can take 20% off his price for the aftermarket parts. He takes off 15. The deal that Acura is running now is either 0.9% over 72 months (car at MSRP) OR you can take the "Internet E-Price" discount. MSRP for the car is $53k. He wants to give me $4k off. Then the funny business happens. The sales manager comes out and tells me that there's something wrong with my financing (through Acura). I ask what it is, he says they won't approve me for 72 months, but only 60 months (RED FLAG). There's nothing wrong with my financing. I tell him I don't care about the term, it can be 36 , 48 or 60 for all I care. He starts being really slick and coming out to talk to me: "Look, I really want to help you out here, and really want you to leave an Acura today" "You don't have to worry about any of this, we are going to bend over backwards to make sure you get into this car" "Are we really only talking about a difference of $400?" (demeaning, dismissive, when I insisted he bring the offer on my trade-in to match what the other dealership had offered me. Him and the salesperson do the "can we get you anything to make you more comfortable while we work on this" and "the finance guy is getting this into the system right now" and I respond letting them know they've got half an hour to get it figured out, because I have a lunch date. Now something weird happens. I get an updated offer from a different sales agent at the SAME DEALERSHIP. Except, it is 3k less than what they have proposed for the vehicle. My old MDX dealer is 40 mins from my house but at this point I am willing to make the trip. I call my contact at the old dealership. I explain the situation. He tsk tsk's me for being at the other dealership. I ask him if he can make $46k happen, and he tells me he has to call me back. Bear in mind, these are 2020's sitting on the lot, and the 2021 is supposed to be coming soon. Probably delayed, but still sitting. The salesperson comes back out and is sweet talking my husband as I return from my phone call. I tell the salesperson about the email from HIS dealership with an offer $3k LOWER than what I am paying. You know, he could have swallowed his pride on this one but he says... "Oh that must have been a mistake, I bet he hit the wrong button, we can't honor a price that low" I asked him to let my husband and I chat. In the meantime I start packing up my things and I see the salesperson come back out of the corner of my eye. He has the keys to my trade-in and he hands them to me and says "Sorry, we could not make the financing work, thanks for coming out today" THIS IS A TACTIC. PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE BEING TOLD NO. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt there is NOTHING wrong with my financing. Why? Because I was pre-approved through my bank before I showed up. They did not even ask, tried to hit me with a higher rate, even though I offered my pre-approval. My husband and I left for our lunch date and my old dealership called me back. He says "Clover, if you want to make the trip out here, you'll leave in your car for that price" I show up at the dealership and he already has a no-bullshit term sheet drawn up. I tsk tsk'd him for putting GAP and Extended warranty on there, and he took them off. Those aftermarket accessories? $200 markup, not $400. He added the $500 to my downpayment from the finance company (double cash, where Acura matches your downpayment up to $500) without me asking (he knows I would have). They matched my bank's rate, and husband and I went to go drive it while they drew up the paperwork. Then, I got a text message from a number I did not recognize. "Hey Clover! I've got some great news for you, will you give me a call when you get this?" Oh you have GOT to be kidding. Then, the same number calls me half an hour later and leaves a message. "Hey Clover, my Sales Manager was really upset with American Honda but he pulled some strings and we got it all sorted out for you, and we can WORK ON the price when you get here" It was the salesperson from the other dealership, trying to convince me to come back. Got back from my test drive at my dealership, caught up with the Sales Manager (who has been there for 8 years and sold me my first MDX) and I drove off the lot 2 hours after we got there, and now my new car is sitting in my driveway. I texted the salesperson from the first dealership back once we got home. "I purchased from ACME Acura. Thanks." Moral of the story: Even the most informed and prepared of us can get swindled. If I had not received that email I would have paid $3k more for that car than I should have. Don't be afraid to walk away. There are PLENTY of cars on the lot!
[first] [prev] [next] TELKAN FORGE WORLDS Are all of you all right? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TREANA'AD HIVE WORLDS We're all right. They obvious were working off of bad intelligence and tactics. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- MANTID FREE WORLDS They didn't stand a chance. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE They did some damage, but it was mostly because of the sheer amount they threw at us. Putting Omnicron back to sleep is proving more difficult. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL We've got some fighting still going on. Mostly against the brain damaged ones who don't know when to quit but are smart enough to go guerrilla. Found some poor bastards in the EmpShade Preserve. ///////// MANTID FREE WORLDS Oh, those poor Lanaktallan. Did they live? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL A handful. They're in bad shape, but we managed to rescue them. The EPOW camps are full though. Funnily enough, the ones who don't wander around in circles shouting slogans aren't too keen on going home. A lot of them have suffered severe brain injuries. ///////// AKLTAK FREE FLIGHT It's been three months out here, almost four. How are >All right, test that section. >Green lights. Looks good. all of you doing. What is that? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE I've checked the lines. That's coming across the maintenance channels, but those have been damaged badly for centuries. I'm starting to think >Are you all right? >Yeah. I think so. That puffies and their mother was rough. >I know. We can do this because we must do this. >It's just difficult some times. So many of them. All so afraid. I love you. >I love you too. Just hold on. We can do this. >PLAY IWILLALWAYSLOVEYOU.MID >We love you too, Wally. that they might be. Wait, did he say 'puffies'? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- MANTID FREE WORLDS He did! He said 'puffies!" PUFFIES! ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TELKAN FORGE WORLDS What's a 'puffie'? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TNVARU GRIPPING HANDS They've mentioned them before. What are they? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Pubvians. An extinct species. ///////// MANTID FREE WORLDS A xeno-species my people xenocided during the Terra/Mantid War. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CLONE WORLDS CONSORTIUM If they're in the system, how are they finding Pubvians? >Oh man, oh man. Ugh. >What? Is the system destroyed? It'll be hard to fab equipment for that area, it's clean. >No. Clean means no microbes. There's a pair of corpses stuck in the wiring and they're still gooey. >Ew. Wait, were Pubvians ever SUDSed up? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- DIGITAL ARTIFICIAL SENTIENCE SYSTEMS Not as far as I know. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Records are spotty at best. ///////// TELKAN FORGE WORLDS They've encountered them before. What's going on? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- BIOLOGICAL ARTIFICIAL SENTIENCE SYSTEMS You don't think? No. No way. Everyone's been trying to figure it out for eight thousand years. You don't >OK, the system wasn't actually damaged. Looks like the wiring got pulled loose. >Well, that's some good news. >Yeah, it's straight green down the board. >Well, I've got bad news. >What? think they actually got into the hardware of the SolNet/SoulNet system, do you? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE I don't see how. We've had people working on it for eight thousand years. Nobody's even gotten >Well, the next part is Layer Gamma and then Layer Beta. >So? close to even figuring how the whole system works. We know on our side kind of what happens but anything to do with the hardware we >You can't get there from there. haven't been able to figure out what to do. That's why there hasn't been any hardware updates. >So how are we going to... ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL That might not be... entirely true. //////// CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE What did you do? >Yeah. >Oh, man. >There's something in the buffer. Looks like an old signal. It's pretty scrambled so I'll shunt it over to error checking and repair and then send you through. >It's like going through Hell. >No, it's like going between Hellspace and Deadspace and scraping the edges of both with your brain. >Thanks for that, Sam. What did you do to the system? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TELKAN FORGE WORLDS Anyone else completely lost? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- AKLTAK FREE FLIGHT No, I'm totally lost. I can't figure out >How long till I get there? >Ten hours. >I'm going to recompile, defrag, and relax. >Any preference? >That park by the lake. The Treana'ad are doing ballroom dancing. I want to watch. >All right. Sleep well. what is going on. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- MANTID FREE WORLDS Wait, wherever they are, where we can hear them talking, there's Pubvians, Treana'ad, Nammerain, and Terrans. Are they... Are they... Are they in the SUDS system? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TNVARU GRIPPING HANDS I thought only Terrans could be hooked into SUDS ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TREANA'AD HIVE WORLDS Ballroom dancing? That's one of those fads that... wait... It was HUGE 8,000 years ago among the Cattle Queens and everyone else. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- DIGITAL ARTIFICIAL SENTIENCE SYSTEMS OK, where are they? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TELKAN FORGE WORLDS Considering they fixed the emergency channels, they have to be where the hardware is. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE Back up. TerraSol, what did you do to the system? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL We found Legion. Turns out he wasn't dead. //////// MANTID FREE WORLDS You mentioned that. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Well, it turns out, he got into the SUDS system once before. //////// TNVARU GRIPPING HANDS Daxin's wife. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CLONE WORLDS CONSORTIUM And the dogs and cats. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Well, who better to get us into the SUDS than Legion? We Black Boxed him. //////// MANTID FREE WORLDS ARE YOU HIGH? You put the master of the Fleet of One in a Black Box Project? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Who else is going to get into it? You? //////// CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE Touche. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- MANTID FREE WORLDS OK, there's some secrets going on here and I want them out in the open. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TNVARU GRIPPING HANDS Do you need us to leave? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- MANTID FREE WORLDS No, no. You get used to TerraSol. He's so twisty he has to screw his socks on. Come on, spill. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL All right. There's evidence that the researchers working on the SoulNet and the SoulNet Neural Recording Application Device had made a major breakthrough. ////////// TREANA'AD HIVE WORLDS Oh boy. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL We'd figured out how to add everyone to the system. Even the Treana'ad, which meant we just needed to add the Mantid. We added phasic energy systems to allow the Mantid to join the SUDS. ///////// MANTID FREE WORLDS Oh my god. Oh my god. THAT'S why the SUDS blew out! ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- CYBERNETIC ORGANISM COLLECTIVE If you did that, then when the Mantid attacked, they'd have a direct line straight into the system for their psychic attack! Oh. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TREANA'AD HIVE WORLDS THAT explains why some of my people went crazy. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TELKAN FORGE WORLDS So, they wired the system up to accept Mantid psychics, the Mantid attacked, used psychic weaponry, and it blew out the whole system? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Not... quite. Someone managed to get the system partially working. ///////// MANTID FREE WORLDS Legion? It was Legion, wasn't it? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- AKLTAK FREE FLIGHT Oh, I bet it was >You awake? >Yeah. >Ready? >No. >Close the door and you'll mat-trans to Layer Gamma. >All right. Ready Wally? >TRIUMPHANTBEEPING.MID the Digital Omnimessiah. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Yeah, it was the Digital Omnimessiah. The Fourth Miracle. ///////// TELKAN FORGE WORLDS Well, all this is fascinating, but how long until you're able to rejoin the rest of the universe? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOL Not sure. We'll probably be last. //////// RIGELLIAN SAURIAN COMPACT Oh, wow! I didn't realize anyone was actually speaking! I've been running PSA's and commercials on this channel! Oops. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- ------------- The alarm sounded, a howling that accompanied red lights. The computers all spun up, the drives whining, using crystal platters rather than the solid state drives that had been old tech even back then. Amber monitors flickered to life and information streamed by. The hexagonal chamber lit up, the walls blue with gold starbursts. The machinery hummed, for the second time in thousands of years. The hum died away and the emergency lights went out, the siren going silent. MAT-TRANS COMPLETE was on several of the monitors. It was silent for a long time, then the door opened. A woman stood there. Naked. A pack of cigarettes in one hand, a single cigarette in her mouth, a lighter in her other hand. She lit the cigarette, inhaled, then slowly exhaled smoke before she spoke. "Falmy, you bovine fucking bastard. I should respawn you with two cocks so I can geld you fucking twice." [first] [prev] [next]
[first] [prev] [next] "If you fuck with the universe, it fucks back." - Pre-Diaspora Astrophysicist. "I don't have to explain shit." - Universe-chan, Meme of 2nd Millennia Post-Diaspora "If you mess with time, the universe brings in all the dicks. Dicks until the end of time." - Temporal Researcher, unknown era "If God plays dice, they're loaded." - Alberto Einstein, Pre-Diaspora Physicist "If you make the universe angry, it will crush you like a bug. The problem is, the Universe is always annoyed." - Unknown "WHEEEE!" - Terran Descent Humanity -------------------- There are always military theorists who will espouse their pet theories to anyone who will listen. From those who said that tanks spelled the end of infantry to those who claimed drones spelled the end of tanks to those who stated that the nanoforge ended the need for logistics lines at all, everyone all has their pet theories. Of course, they usually espouse them from the comfort of their lavish homes or from far back from the front lines where any soldier will tell you the one simple fact: Kill the enemy, break his shit, and convince his population to end the fight. Hesstla was a small planet, only 80% the size of Earth, originally populated by a small people only a meter and a half high compared to the Terran and Treana'ad and Rigellian two to three meters. They were covered in soft fur, they had little whiskers, they had long sensitive ears, and their legs had a hock joint. The first few Terrans who met them said that they looked like someone taught a bunny to walk upright. They were a peaceful people. When they had discovered the radio they had rapidly progressed to the Information Age and had been edging on the Atomic Age. The Lanaktallan had arrived only two hundred years after the people of Hesstla had discovered the radio. The people of Hesstla had found out that their planet was claimed by a MegaCorp over a million years before the Hesstlan people had discovered fire. To their credit, they tried to fight. It took the Lanaktallan nearly twenty years to put down the last of the rebellion. Four hundred years of debt peonage had followed. Crushing poverty, their resources exploited, their cities rebuilt for Lanaktallan comfort and aesthetics, their planet no longer alone. Then had come the Precursor Autonomous War Machines. They had come into the system, most of them damaged, fleeing a greater threat. They had destroyed the Lanaktallan military forces and seized the extraction and refining facilities. They had landed mechanical horrors to destroy those that lived on the modest little planet. As the first machine landed the entire population of Hesstla had heard the roar. HEAVY METAL INCOMING! The foe that the Autonomous War Machines were fleeing was arriving. The Hesstla, running and hiding, had frozen. A prey's response to the roar of a predator. Then the predators had arrived. HEAVY METAL IS HERE! The Autonomous War Machines had screamed at the foe that was harrying them. THERE IS ONLY ENOUGH FOR ONE! The Hesstlan people had huddled down, scurrying to basements, storm shelters, underground parking garages, wherever they could take shelter surrounded by their own kind. The predators screamed back. THEN DIE ALONE! In less than a week it was over. The AWM's that did not flee, pursued by the predators, were destroyed. The Lanaktallan returned or left their own shelters, immediately demanding that the new people, the predators, leave the planet, that it was the Unified Neo-Sapient Council's property and property of the corporations. The predators had said one simple line: "Make me." The Lanaktallan had fled, promising dire retribution, telling the Hesstla people that the predators would destroy them. Two years had passed. The damage was repaired. The Hesstlan people consulted about what they wished, and the Terrans had built several military bases and helped the Hesstlan people build orbital structures. Then the newest ones had arrived. Without warning. But still with a scream that told the Hesstlan people where they stood. YOU BELONG TO US! The predators, those confusing chaotic primates, the Terran Descent Humans, and their allies, had raised up their voices as one to the newcomers. EAT A DICK! The fighting had been fierce. Atomic weapons had been used. Cities reduced to rubble. Farms burnt to the ground. The newcomers had swarmed Hesstla, a seemingly endless stream of enemies that had pushed the Hesstlan people to the brink. The Terrans and their allies had pushed back. Step by bloody step they pushed the newcomers, the Slorpies, back even as they destroyed them. Four months of bitter fighting on the ground and, somehow, seventy-five years in orbit, the Terrans had thrown themselves at the enemy guns, had smashed their machines, had raised their voices in defiance. EAT A DICK! On the afternoon of the first month of the year, on the nineteenth day, at approximately 1750 Hours (Out of 28) Local Time, the last of the newcomers was finished off by a single shot from a pistol's accidental discharge. The war... ...was over. Not that the fighting was over. That raged on. The newcomers Autonomous War Machines kept fighting, even without supervision, attempting to open up a portal to bring in reinforcements. To harvest the living brains of the people of Hesstla in order to generate enough psychic energy to open a gate to allow more of the newcomer race, the Slorpies, to enter the battle and change the course of history. The only problem was, for the first time in a hundred million years, the Slorpies were facing a race that did not crumble before psychic assaults. That replied to the cold logic of their psychic powers with feral screams of red hot rage. In orbit, the fighting came to a slow stop. Even with the loss of the Black Fleet, the remaining Terran vessels managed to smash the enemy from the skies. On the ground, even with the loss of the Enraged Ones, the ground forces managed to rally, managed to deny the Slorpie machines landing zones, scattering their forces into packets and smidgens. To jawnconnor them into nothing more than smashed junk. Not without a price. There was valor and sacrifice. Too much to count. From a Terran that gave his life to stop the Slorpie machines from getting into a shelter to the Telkan who stood defiant at the gate of a hospital base to the black Mantid fire team that had boarded a Slorpie command and control AWM to destroy the linked brains at the cost of their own lives. There was tragedy too. Too much to count. There always is in war. But there is always hope. Perhaps small and flickering, but still hope. ------------------- Elu watched as the door opened after the two-three-two knock. He had covered the shotgun with a cloth, making sure it was pushed back to where Nee couldn't reach it, when the knock had come. Still, it was close enough for him to grab if he needed to. His sister, Dambree, came inside, quickly turning to close the door behind her and block out the snow and wind. She was wearing heavy boots, thick coveralls, and a grav-skiiing mask to protect her face from the cold weather outside. She wore a thick leather belt with a heavy Terran pistol in a holster. In one hand she held winter tubers, in the other hand she had four fish on a lead. She moved into the kitchen, setting the fish in the sink and the tubers on the counter, then took off her thick gloves and stripped off her mask. Elu saw the scar on his sister's head and winced. It had been a month since that thing had come in to attack them. It had somehow split his sister's skin open from right between her eyes, up over her head between her ears, and halfway down the back of her head. The scar was an angry upraised purple thing. And a reminder of why they stayed in their little cabin. "Gunka roots and fish for dinner tonight," Dambree said, taking the pistol out of the holster. "Lock," she ordered. The telltales on the pistol switched from green to red. "Can we have the roots fried?" Tru, Elu's sister, asked hopefully. "I like them best when they're fried." "I know. That's up to you. It's your turn to cook dinner," Dambree said, taking off the belt. She moved back to the doorway. "It's snowing again. It's going to be a long winter." The roar of jets went by overhead and off in the distance. "Fried roots and baked fish," Tru said, standing up from the couch. Mister Mewmew looked up from his little nest and made a plaintive complaining sound. "Everyone's OK, Mister Mewmew," Dambree said, hanging up the mask, her gloves, and starting to strip off the coveralls. Mister Mewmew laid back down in his nest, flashing a ":-)" on the display on his forehead. Dambree went into the bedroom and changed out of her heavy outside clothing, putting on a dress and changing her shoes. She came back out and put her boots next to the door, the heavy leather belt acting as a belt or sash to her dress. The pistol went back in the holster. "How's Nee?" Dambree asked. "Sleeping," Tru said, sharpening the knife and trying to decide whether she wanted to slice up the tubers first or clean and bone the fish. "She's cranky," Elu said helpfully, moving over and sitting down on the couch. He reached over and petted Mister Mewmew, who began to rumble happily. "I know. Growing does that to you," Dambree said. She opened the cold box and pulled out a fizzybrew, cracking it open and taking a long drink before sitting down. "Lake's almost completely covered with ice." Elu felt a little despair. He missed his friends, missed school. Missed his parents. Mister Mewmew opened his eye, the other one always stayed closed, and rubbed his head against Elu's hand to ease the young Hesstlan's stress. More jets roared by overhead. "Where will we live when that stops?" Elu asked quietly. His sister Dambree didn't like to talk about the future, just saying none of it mattered till those noises stopped. Dambree stared at the lip of the fizzybrew bottle for a long moment. "I don't know," she sighed. She took another drink. "Part of me thinks I'll just stay right here, in this little cabin, for the rest of my life," she said softly. "People in charge will probably want us to leave, go to a camp or a foster home." "I want to stay here, with you," Tru said, slicing open the belly of the first fish. "I know," Dambree said. She gave another deep sigh and took a long pull off the bottle. "I want you to too." Elu moved over and opened the curtain a tiny bit, staring outside. He could see the markings from the snowshoes his sister had worn on the snow but the tracks were starting to disappear as more snow came down to add more to the waist high snow. At least it was white and not gray or black. "Remember when we used to play in the snow," Elu said quietly. "We'd make snowmen and throw snowballs," Tru said, smiling. "We'd go to Aunt Fenn's house and have a snowball fight with Ultrek and Ellaf and..." Tru's smile vanished and she sniffled. "I miss Aunt Fenn." "I know," Dambree said. "I do too." "I wish we could go back to how it was before the gross things came," Tru said softly, staring at the fish as she sliced away the flesh. "I know, but we can't. Babies wish," Dambree said. She got up, drinking down the last of the fizzybrew. She dropped the empty in the garbage and grabbed another. She sat back down. "Babies wish, we're not babies any more." Mister Mewmew jumped down off the couch, staggering slightly, then limped over to Dambree, putting his front paws on her leg and meowing. Dambree lifted him up and set him in her lap, petting him with long strokes. Mister Mewmew didn't walk or jump so well since the Slorpie had come in the house. She could still remember it. The horror of not being able to move, her brother and sister crying out in pain and confusion. The way the Slorpie had lifted her up, had started to peel open her head, had touched her brain somehow with a long and disgusting tongue. Dambree closed her eyes tightly and shuddered, then took a long drink off of her fizzybrew. At least her headaches had slowly eased up. She sat in the chair, feeling tired, closing her eyes. She sipped at her fizzybrew without opening her eyes, even when she heard Tru start to fry the fish and tubers. She wasn't as tired as she had been, but she still got tired easily and the effort to catch fish wasn't as easy as it had been. Her eyes opened when she heard it. The sound of aircraft outside. It wasn't flying by but instead was getting louder, changing sounds. Mister Mewmew looked up as Dambree stood up, setting Mister Mewmew on the ground as she looked at her siblings. "In the basement, now," Dambree said. While her little brother and sister grabbed their emergency bags and hurried into the basement Dambree put a lid of the pan of frying fish and sliced tuber rounds and moved them off of the heat. The roar changed pitch, getting softer, but not because it was moving away. Nee bit her when Dambree grabbed her but Dambree ignored the pain, cradling the toddler as she hurried to the kitchen. Dambree picked up the shotgun and hustled after her brother and sister, closing the basement hatch behind her. She had tacked the carpet to it so it would hide the basement access so now all she could do was hope. Mister Mewmew was held tightly by Tru as they sat quietly in the basement. Dambree aimed the shotgun at the opening, moving her finger to take the shotgun from safety mode to killing mode. The button went from red to green, colored plastic instead of lights. The door opened upstairs and Dambree heard Elu suck in his breath. "Shh," Dambree said. There was footsteps upstairs. Strange sounding footsteps. "Someone's in the cabin," Tru whined. "I know, shh," Dambree said. There was the noise of a chair scraping on wood. Dambree moved her finger from beside the trigger to the trigger, putting light pressure on it, pulling it tighter into her shoulder. "There's a lot of them," Tru said helpfully. "I know, shh," Dambree said. She could hear that both bedrooms were being searched as well as the front room and the kitchen. She heard the back door open, the little chime she'd rigged up ringing on the door and in the basement. The footsteps stopped. Complete silence upstairs. "I'm scared," Elu said, his voice tight. "I know," Dambree said. She licked her dry lips and wished she could take a drink off her fizzybrew. The hatch started to lift, hit the chain lock, and stopped. Dambree's scar ached. A black segmented and insect looking hand reached in, grabbed the chain, and yanked. The chain popped free. Dambree pulled the trigger. The shotgun roared, blowing off part of the hatch. "YOU WON'T HURT THEM!" Dambree screamed, ignoring the pain in her shoulder and neck as she pumped the action on the shotgun and stood up. She fired again, into the ceiling, blowing a hole as big as her fist in the wooden floor. She cocked it again, moving up to the base of the stairs. "HOLY JESUS FUCKBALL SHITTING CHRIST!" someone yelled when she blew a hole in the floor on the other side of the hatch. "FOR FUCK'S SAKE, STOP FUCKING SHOOTING!" another voice yelled. Fuck? Dambree paused. "Terran Army! Hold your fire," another voice said, much more calm. "Terrans?" Dambree asked, still looking down the barrel at the top of the stairs. "First Cavalry Division. One of our search and rescue flights saw the smoke from your cabin," the voice said. "How many of you are there?" "Stop biting me," Tru told Nee. "Four of us and Mister Mewmew," Dambree said. "I'm coming up. Anything funny and I'll blow you in half." "I'll bet you will, kid," the voice said. Dambree slowly walked up the stairs, her finger on the trigger. Six more shells, counting the one in the chamber. Extras are in the kitchen drawer and on a belt hanging next to the back door. At the top she looked around. Six large figures in black armor were in the room, three of them aiming heavy black rifles at her. "You're Terrans?" One of them tapped the side of his helmet and his black faceplate turned clear. Dambree sagged slightly, lowering the shotgun. "You are." "So you're the masked killer of Sparkling Lake?" the man asked. Dambree nodded as she slowly walked over to the table, setting the shotgun down. She sat down and picked up her fizzybrew and took a drink. "Yeah," she said. The exhaustion filled her again and she took another drink. The Terrans looked at each other and the one she could see the face of, that she assumed was a male, looked at her. "We're here to save you." She took another drink. "I know," she said, getting up. She moved the pan back to the heat. The human shuffled for a second. "Do you need assistance?" Dambree took another drink as she slowly turned and looked at them, looked at the shotgun, then at the Terrans again. A flight of jets went by overhead. Dambree jerked her thumb up at the now receding jets. "As long as I hear that, we're staying here." The human nodded slowly. "Is there anything you need? A doctor to look at that scar?" Dambree shook her head, backing up to lean against the counter. "Mister Mewmew fixed it up." "Food? Water? Anything?" the Terran asked. Dambree shook her head. "No." "Are you parents still alive?" the Terran asked. Dambree shook her head. "No. They got shlorped." "Any relatives alive?" he asked. She shook her head again. "Probably not." "I'm supposed to take any unaccompanied children to a refugee center," the Terran said carefully. Dambree wondered why his eyes seemed to glow a cold amber. "You will try," Dambree said. She could hear the faint roar of approaching aircraft again. "I will not allow anyone to take away my siblings until," the jets roared overhead and receded. "Until I do not hear that any longer." There was silence for a moment before the human nodded. "We'll drop you a survival pack." The humans turned and started to leave. The one with the transparent visor waited until they were gone. "The Terran who that pistol belonged to?" he asked. "Slorpies got him. Sucked out his brain. He killed the Slorpie from inside of it. He gave me the pistol, told me to save the last four shots for my siblings and myself." The Terran nodded. After a moment two Terrans came in carrying backpacks. They dropped them on the floor and left. They hadn't turned their visors clear. "Good luck, kid," the Terran said, his visor going opaque. "You might be here a long time." Dambree took a long drink off of her fizzybrew as the Terran left, closing the door behind him. "I know," she said to the empty cabin. [first] [prev] [next]
Welcome, dear readers, to my semi-regular coronavirus roundup. Housekeeping:
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EDIT: TRUMP ADMITTED TO KNOWING DANGER OF COVID WEEKS BEFORE ACTING
Bob Woodward's new book reveals that Trump was aware that the coronavirus was dangerous and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus" even as he publicly downplayed the threat and failed to act to save lives. (article now updated with audio of Trump's interview)
"This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7. In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. "Pretty amazing," Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times "more deadly" than the flu.
Trump also admitted to intentionally downplaying the threat:
"I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
Election day vaccine
A group of nine leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies pledged on Tuesday to only seek approval for Covid-19 vaccines demonstrated to be safe and effective. The pledge comes as Trump hypes the possibility of a vaccine before Election Day. His timeline has been pushed forward from “by the end of the year” to “before November 1st” and, most recently, “during the month of October.” During his Labor Day press-briefing-turned-campaign-event, Trump said: "[It's] going to be done in a very short period of time -- could even have it during the month of October” (clip). Trump went on to explicitly ties the vaccine to his re-election schedule: “We'll have the vaccine soon, maybe before a special date. You know what date I'm talking about” (clip). Despite saying the quiet part out loud himself, the president tried to cast Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the ones politicizing the vaccine process: “They’re going to make the vaccine into a negative… They’re saying ‘wow, Trump’s pulled this off, let’s disparage the vaccine.’ That’s so bad for this country, that’s so bad for the world to even say that and that’s what they’re saying” (clip). Unfortunately, many media outlets have portrayed the issue as a “both sides” argument. Federal officials and health experts say Trump’s Election-oriented timeline is unlikely. NPR spoke with Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser for the administration's vaccine development program, who said he expects to have "enough vaccine to immunize the U.S. population by the middle of 2021.” Case in point, development on the vaccine Trump was rumored to be betting on, the AstraZeneca-Oxford project, was put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant. But the point may not be to have a vaccine fully available to the public; Trump can simply claim the “deep state” is holding things up, blaming Biden/Harris for the pandemic under his watch. Furthermore, experts say there is no way our government and existing infrastructure will be ready to distribute, administer, and track doses by November. Health departments will also need an infusion of federal aid, a proposal that seems out of reach with a Republican-controlled Senate afraid to spend any more money during the pandemic.
...many health departments are so overwhelmed with the current costs of the pandemic — such as for testing and contact tracing — that they can’t reserve money for the vaccine work to come. Health departments will need to hire people to administer the vaccines and systems to track them, and pay for supplies such as protective medical masks, gowns and gloves, as well as warehouses and refrigerator space.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is backing down from the global fight against the pandemic, further enshrining Trump’s “America First” perspective into official policy. The Trump administration declined to join a global effort to develop, manufacture, and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine, in part because the World Health Organization is involved. U.S. allies including Japan, Germany, and the European Commission back the effort.
“The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” said Judd Deere, a spokesman for the White House.
Further reading: The Trump administration said it won't pay more than $60 million in dues it owes to the World Health Organization.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, in charge of distributing global assistance related to the pandemic, is shutting down its only pandemic-focused task force. Other agency bureaus and divisions will take on its functions.
Sturgis comes home
South Dakota (+120%), Iowa (+81%), and North Dakota (+66%) have seen the largest 2-week increase in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, compared to the two weeks before. These three states were also the “epicenter” of the Sturgis motorcycle rally last month. The event packed nearly 500,000 people into a small town in South Dakota, with rallygoers attending from - and returning to - all around the country. Photos and reports from Sturgis documented a startling lack of face masks and social distancing precautions. According to a new study, over 250,000 coronavirus cases can be contributed to the rally. Assuming a cost of $46,000/case, the authors estimated the rally cost $12.2 billion. “This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend,” they write. SD, IA, and ND do not have statewide face mask mandates. In fact, the Dakotas are two of just five states that do not allow local officials to require masks (the others are ID, MO, and OK). Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has been told by the White House that the state’s outbreak is the steepest in the nation and urged officials to require mask-wearing statewide. Reynolds has yet to do so.
Alabama has the fourth-most daily new cases per 100k people (after ND, SD, and IA) despite a statewide face mask order. The state has largely lifted all social distancing measures and has encouraged schools to reopen with in-person classes and sports. According to a NYT database, four-year universities in Alabama have over 4,000 coronavirus cases just weeks after opening. The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa accounts for over 1,300 of the cases. Professors at the school were reportedly told by the administration not to talk about the outbreak - not even to inform students if someone in their class tests positive. The mayor of Tuscaloosa let bars near the university reopen on Tuesday.
Further reading: Alabama is starting to see a payoff from its mask mandate, in place since mid-July. New covid cases have been cut in half over the past month and coronavirus patients admitted to hospitals fell to the lowest level since June.
Remember the news articles praising Trump’s new “tone” on masks? During Monday’s press conference, Trump tried to bully a reporter into taking off his face mask when asking a question (clip). The reporter, Jeff Mason of Reuters, refused. Apparently, this annoyed Trump so much that he was still griping about it on Twitter Tuesday (clip).
Trump pushes for sports
After weeks of haranguing schools to bring back sports, Trump has reportedly offered Big Ten football teams access to the national government’s reserve of rapid COVID-19 tests.
The new, cheaper […] tests could be the key that unlocks the door back to the Horseshoe and stadiums around the conference. And the White House might be willing to assist in that effort by potentially designating part of its supply to the Big Ten after buying 150 million rapid tests last week from Abbott Laboratories.
The president is so attached to the idea of college football resuming that he is pushing the Big Ten conference to go ahead without the participation of three schools, blaming the governors of Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland for the conference’s vote to cancel.
Mitch plays games
The Republican-controlled Senate is planning on voting on a scaled-down coronavirus relief package as early as this week. The “skinny” bill is unlikely to become law as Democrats feel it does not adequately address the magnitude of the crisis the nation is facing. McConnell is hoping a Senate vote on coronavirus aid - any aid - will help vulnerable Republicans up for re-election.
The Republican bill is expected to include a federal unemployment benefit, another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, and more money for coronavirus testing and schools, as well as liability protections from lawsuits related to the virus. McConnell didn't release a price tag for the forthcoming bill, but it is expected to be at least $500 billion — half of the $1 trillion package Republicans previously unveiled in late July.
One of the reasons - perhaps the main reason - for the breakdown of relief bill negotiations may be new White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who served with Meadows on the Oversight Committee, told The Hill:
“Closing deals is not Mark Meadows’s strong suit. His whole track record is: blow it up… If you ask yourself what’s the difference between April and May, when we did reach big, broad bipartisan consensus, and today, the variable is Mark Meadows.”
Lost in the Sauce was so long this week that I had to omit a couple of sections. I’ll include them here instead. Immigration: Federal Judge Dolly Gee ordered DHS to cease using hotels as detention facilities for migrant children it seeks to expel from the border.
Gee said the use of hotels for detention purposes violates the Flores agreement because the locations lack sufficient oversight, state licenses to hold minors and standards for the care of young children. Minors have also faced a "woefully inadequate" process to seek the help of lawyers, who have been barred from entering the hotels, Gee added, citing declarations from attorneys who said they struggled to reach detained children.
Further reading: “Watchdog confirms botched family reunifications kept migrant children waiting in vans overnight,” NBC; “Trump nominee had role in removing prosecutor opposed to family separations,” Guardian
Immigration: The Trump administration has drafted a proposal that would dramatically expand the number of people required to provide biometrics for their immigration applications, while also increasing the personal information the government can demand, such as eye scans, voice prints, DNA, and photographs for facial recognition. Immigration: The Border Patrol made a dramatized YouTube video depicting a Spanish-speaking attacker stabbing and killing a man in a dark alley after escaping from U.S. agents - “a clip apparently created to dramatize President Trump’s depiction of migrants as fearsome criminals.” The agency removed the video following backlash. Environment: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opened an inquiry earlier this year into whether Trump political appointees illegally weakened rules meant to protect whales from oil industry seismic airgun blasting. Then, just as quietly, it halted the probe. Environment: The Trump administration proposed a rule change that would make it easier to permit oil and gas drilling operations in national forests. The move comes as a watchdog report reveals the oil and gas industry has been allowed to pay far less than usual to the government for the right to drill on public lands under a controversial Trump administration coronavirus relief policy. Furthermore, the administration is seeking to fast track environmental reviews of dozens of major energy and infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, including oil and gas drilling, hazardous fuel pipelines, wind farms, and highway projects in multiple states. Environment: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposal that would allow the government to deny habitat protections for endangered animals and plants in areas that would see greater economic benefits from being developed — a change critics said could open lands to more energy development and other activities. World: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against two International Criminal Court officials -- the Trump administration's most aggressive move yet to try to deter an ICC investigation into possible war crimes by US military and intelligence officials. World: How Donald Trump took down the Robert Mueller of Latin America: At the center of the story is an alleged quid pro quo between Donald Trump and Jimmy Morales, a former television comedian who was elected president of Guatemala.
The Stormbringer, And How I Found One of The Best T5 Running Ships In The Game
Hello good folks of Eve Today I am here to tell you about one of the best and quickest T5 running ships in the game, the Stormbringer. Yes, you heard that right, the dumpster fire of a cruiser that EDENCOM produces. I'm sure a lot of you has seen this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuAwmwLzdzk Well I'm here to tell you that that video is now wrong. I'm making this post as I have finished my 50th consecutive T5 Electrical in this ship, with an average runtime of 10.08 minutes. And the kicker? The fitting, including implants, costs a measly 2.24 billion ISK for Jita sell value. I do not have video proof of the capabilities of this ship, however I streamed a large portion of my runs on the Abyssal Lurkers discord (shoutout to Abyssal Lurkers for helping me theorycraft this) so multiple people can vouch for the lethality of this ship in abyssal sites. So, let's go to the beginning, where I discovered, completely on accident, just how good this ship is. I'm a fairly high SP player, I can fly most subcaps, and so I wanted to try something new. Of course the newest thing was the EDENCOM ships, which, at that time, were let's just say less than competent. I don't know what madness drove me to actually start training for these ships, but I put EDENCOM Frigate V in my queue and it was off to the races. A couple days later I had the great idea to try out abyssal sites on SISI for fun. I bought a bunch of extractors on SISI and moved my skillpoints around until I had all relevant skills maxed for the Stormbringer. I saw that for the T1 ammo you have a choice of either doing a majority of kinetic or a majority of EM damage, while the T2 ammo did a fairly balanced amount of both. So there were three options which initially popped out. Dark abyssal sites were immediately out of the equation, because the extra speed of the NPCs would mitigate the damage you do. I decided to first test out a buffer fit in T3 Exotics. I chose Exotics because out of EM and Kinetic resists, Kinetic was naturally higher for the Stormbringer and so the resistance penalty would not hurt it as much. Now, going into the T3, I did not have much hope at all just because of all I've heard about these ships. I also went with the most expensive possible fit and implants I could, because you know, SISI. I absolutely breezed through the first couple of T3s I did and my shield wasn't even scratched. So I decided to move up a tier. T4s were similarly a breeze and so I decided to try out a T5. Now, I completed 1 T5 with relative ease (I got easy spawns). I decided, just for the fun of it, to try a T6. This did not go well as my fitting was not optimized (I got neuted out) by this point and I died in the last room. So after that experience I decided to do more testing. All tests went very well and I got to the 23rd T5 Exotic before I was alerted to something, the price: Now, all these runs had been done in a 8 bil fitting included implants, which was leaning towards the expensive side even for a T5 runner. I realized that if I wanted something that was not only reliable but also much cheaper, I had to go with an active tanked ship, and the only way I would get a cheap active tanked fit that could also run T5s reliably was doing Electrical filaments. The reason for this is that Electrical filaments give a -50% bonus to your capacitor recharge time, which essentially gives you a huge bonus to cap recharge, making it supremely easy to run active tanks without sacrificing so many slots for capacitor. I was given a basic guideline of a fit in the abyssal lurkers discord, which I used (and slightly modified). This fit was around 5-6 bil, which is still nowhere near where I wanted it to be. Still it ran T6s fairly easily. The only problem with T6s is that the Overmind and Karybdis spawns, by far the two spawns that take the longest in this ship, had more health as compared to the T5. So now that I know that an expensive active tanked would work for T5s, I went as cheap as possible. My first series of tests with T5 Electricals where with a measly 1 billion ISK fit including implants. I was having relative success in this fit until the 12th run, where I ran into a spawn of 5 starving vedmaks, and I died to neuts. I also had to often overheat for certain rooms, which was not optimal. And that brings us to now. I theorycrafted a 2 billion ISK setup and started clearing T5s at a rapid pace. At around the 23rd run it was brought to my attention that I could improve upon my fit while keeping the same price, and so I used this new fit, which is the one I am currently running. Originally I had been using one Pithum C-Type hardener and one Domination hardener, however people pointed out that two Gistum B-Type hardeners would not be that much more expensive and give better stats. So I kept on running T5s until I hit 50, which was my benchmark for a reliable fit. Now, let's move onto the more technical stuff. The Fit, The Tactics, and the Profit: Here is the fit in all of its glory:
[Stormbringer, 2 bil Elec V2] Vorton Tuning System II Vorton Tuning System II Vorton Tuning System II Pithum A-Type Medium Shield Booster Gistum B-Type Multispectrum Shield Hardener Gistum B-Type Multispectrum Shield Hardener Gist X-Type Shield Boost Amplifier Republic Fleet Large Cap Battery 10MN Afterburner II Medium Vorton Projector II Medium Core Defense Operational Solidifier II Medium Ancillary Current Router I Medium Capacitor Control Circuit II Mid-grade Crystal Alpha Mid-grade Crystal Beta Mid-grade Crystal Gamma Mid-grade Crystal Delta Mid-grade Crystal Epsilon Mid-grade Crystal Omega Eifyr and Co. 'Rogue' Evasive Maneuvering EM-701 Inherent Implants 'Squire' Capacitor Management EM-801 Zainou 'Gnome' Shield Operation SP-901 ElectroPunch Ultra M x1580 StrikeSnipe Ultra M x1500 GalvaSurge Condenser Pack M x1500 Nanite Repair Paste x200 Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II x20 Nugoehuvi Synth Blue Pill Booster x20
Let's go over the fitting decisions behind this in depth. Lowslots: At first I ran a damage control and two damage mods, however it became clear that you need to max out your dps as much as possible especially for the dps check rooms like the Overmind and Karybdis, and so I have 3x Vorton Tuning System IIs. Midslots/Rigs: My original fit had me running a Gist B-type large shield booster with a medium cap booster and two CCCs for rigs. However with a Pithum A-type Medium Shield Boost and a midgrade omega implant (my previous version had a low grade for cost) in addition to the B-type hardeners, you get more ehp/s. In addition to that, because of the large cap battery and single tech II CCC, you get a wopping 50+ gj/s (my previous fit had 30 gj/s). I had debated using a Semiconductor Memory Cell instead of the CCC, but decided I like the CCC more. The AB is tech II because there's really no reason to go with a blinged AB, it might improve times by a couple of seconds but that's about it. Cargo: Nanite repair paste for if you need to overheat your midslots and you want to repair them before the next room (I have had to overheat my shield booster once in all 50 runs and that's only because I was being lazy about transversal). The Nugoehuvi Synth Blue Pill is only 4 mil while giving 5% compared to the base Synth and no side effects and the Hardshell II is only 2 mil. I have only ever had to use these drugs once in all 50 runs. I am somewhat scared of getting a bad roll with a better blue pill and I also don't think it is worth it to pre-roll. The ammo is self explanatory. Electropunch is the close range T2 ammo, 33km range. The second most common ammo choice, you use this against anything Battlecruiser and Battleship sized (once in range). GalvaSurge is the most common ammo you will be using. It is the T1 close range EM ammo, 50km range, and the best application against Cruisers and down. StrikeSnipe is by far the least used of any of the ammo. It is used on anything farther than 60-70km, which is very rare. As soon as a target gets within 57km you switch back to GalvaSurge (as by the time you're finished reloading you'll be in range). Now here's the important stats: DPS(Unheated/Overheated): GalvaSurge (252.1/296.6); ElectroPunch (302.4/355.8); StrikeSnipe (166.5/195.9) The dps might seem low, but Vorton Projectors have a very unique attribute, and it is this attribute which makes it perform so well in abyssals. Vorton Projectors can arc to 5 other targets within 10km of the primary target for full damage. This means if you're hitting two or more targets at once, you are matching the Gila for DPS numbers, and in the abyss, you will often be hitting two or more targets at once. Another thing is that the gun itself overheats so slowly you can pretty much permaheat it, and depending on what rooms you get, you can clear the entire T5 with Overheat and still have plenty left over. Tank Per Second(Unheated/Overheated): Without Drugs (701.3 ehp/1088.4ehp); With Drugs (773.2 ehp/1199.9 ehp) The above numbers are ehp/s with uniform damage profile in a 70% EM penalty T5. As you can see, it can take a beating. Speed(Unheated/Overheated): 630m/s / 820m/s You are using an AB, you have better cap and better sig than a ship using an MWD but this comes at the cost of speed. This means you pretty much only go after the main Biocache loot and ignore the nodes/subnodes. If there's no enemies left and you are more than 10km away from the conduit, feel free to give your AB a cycle of heat just to get a little boost. Capacitor: 7.64k effective G (27% Neut Resistance)J, 50.2gj/s With a capacitor like that, you can take on even the strongest neuting waves with relative ease. At worst, you burst your shield booster, but I've never had a neuting wave that forced me to do that in all 50 runs. All other stats are pretty much what you'd expect from a cruiser. Now we go onto the tactics behind this ship. I mentioned previously how the Vorton Projector was the saving grace of this ship in abyssal running. As a general rundown of tactics here's how you play it: Neuts > Remote Reps > Webs > Paints > Damps > everything else; You also want to go for the big ships/higher health targets first. This is how to order your targets with a couple exceptions. In Starving/Harrowing Vedmak waves you always clear the Starving Vedmaks and then the Harrowing Vedmaks, then you can follow the traditional target order. In terms of movement, start off with setting your ship to orbit the biocache at 500. If the biocache gets destroyed then approach the wreck instead. Once you've reached the wreck head straight for the gate and sit on it at 0 or orbit at 500. Now that the general tactics are cleared let's talk about each possible room:
Leshaks: The easiest room by far, you clear out all the leshaks first and then if there's anything else you kill those targets next. Clear time: 30 seconds-1 minute.
Drekavacs: There's two clusters of enemies in this room usually, a Drek cluster which has the Drekavacs and some Kikimoras, and a Damavik cluster which heads straight for you. Kill the Drek cluster first, then the Damaviks on top of you. Depending on how much health the Dreks have when you get into ElectroPunch range it might be worth it to change ammo to ElectroPunch, but in general I usually don't. Clear time: 2-3 minutes
Harrowing/Starving Vedmaks: Clear out the Vedmaks first, then all the Damaviks on top of you. Clear time: 2-3 minutes
Kikimoras: Two cluster of enemies. One Kikimora cluster and one Damavik cluster that goes on top of you. Kill Kikimoras first, then Damaviks. Clear time: 1-2 minutes
Vila Vedmaks/Damaviks: Same tactics as the Harrowing/Starving Vedmak wave, just clear the Vedmaks first and then the Damaviks. If there's a Automata Suppresor in range, good, if not, no worries. Clear time 2-4 minutes (based on if there's Automata Suppresor or not).
Overmind Spawn: Kill all webbing ships first then apply full damage to Overmind. Get within Electropunch range while still staying as close as possible to the transfer conduit. When Overmind is dead, kill any other ships that might be alive while you are on your way to the transfer conduit. Overmind is by far the longest room and if you get 3 of these in a row you are quite possibly dead, but it is a 1/3375 chance. Clear time: 6-8 minutes.
Rogue Drone Battlecruisers: Switch to Electropunch when you get in range, kill the EM damaging ones first. Clear time: 1-2 minutes.
Rogue Drone Frigates: Webbing ships first then free fire. Clear time: 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Drifter Battleship aka the Karen: Kill supporting neuting/webbing ships first, then full damage on the Karen. If you can, get into a 500m orbit on the Karen with Electropunch. If the Karen has reached the boundary by the time you get to it, keep within Electropunch range while being as close to the gate as possible. This is the second longest spawn. Clear time: 5-6 minutes.
Lucid Deepwatcher: Use electropunch when you get into range. Very simple room: Clear time: 2-3 minutes
DrifteSleepeLancer cruisers/Frigates: Follow general target order, you can face tank this room. Clear time: 2-4 minutes.
Angel Cartel: Kill Cynabals first, then webbing ships, then freefire.
Sanshas Nation: Kill Devoted Knights first, then webbing ships, then freefire. Clear time: 2-3 minutes.
CONCORD/EDENCOM: If there is more than 3 Marshals, kill the Marshals asap, overheat tank if needed, these things put out a lot of DPS. If there's less than 3, kill target painting ships first, then webbing, then neuts. Leave the EDENCOM ships for last as they don't do that much damage and they also damage their friends for you (ironic).
Dreadnought Construction Site: Don't even try
And now for the finale, I bet you're all wondering just how much money you can make with this ship? Well, after filament and ammo costs (ammo price going down soon hopefully), you're looking at around 220-240 mil an hour on average. So here it is, the Stormbringer, in all of it's glory. I hope this helped open your eyes to the new meta of T5 abyssals. And yes, I do have maxed out Stormbringer skills on TQ now. T6s next maybe? Fly safe o7 (1.4 bil Medium Vorton Specialization skillbook btw)
This list is completely based on my personal experience and at times I played average games in a good mood that made them better or great games in a poor mood that made them worse. Also, a lot of these games are 9's or more - games that were below 7's for me I didn't bother to write about and a lot of other ones that would have been bad I just never downloaded to play. I hope this list gives you some inspiration for the next game that might hook you. Chaos Rings III: This is a massive game with a long story and plenty of new powers to unlock. The game is pretty damn expensive $40!!!. It has no in game purchases but the way it is designed would make you think that they were originally intending to have them because there are booster back that can be unlocked. For this reason I actually rooted my phone and installed Game Genie so that I could cheat about 100 of the packs into my save and this was a really fun boost to skip a good chunk of the game's grind. (8.2/10 - fun characters and story, gameplay mechanics could have been deeper) Clash Of Clans: Great OG game, I spent about $20 on getting some unlocks/boosts. Unfortunately that money felt wasted. Games like these where timers (and purchasing time-skips) are part of the gameplay, literally require you to pay to play. Great quality game but this type of revenue model in games is just a pain (would pay $30 outright to skip all timers for 6 months, etc.) I actually don't recommend this game even though it is on the list - this is more of a recommendation not to play. (6.4/10 - waiting to play is horrible). Walking Dead: Road to Survival: Just like Clash Of Clans - I was really into this because of like the Walking Dead series. Unfortunately the timewalls are just horrible. I spent $40 to get booster packs for new characters and didn't get anything worthwhile. Emailed support to ask for a free boost to compensate and they declined. I actually don't recommend this game even though it is on the list - this is more of a recommendation not to play. (6.4/10 - timewall is annoying). The Walking Dead: Season One: Worth $80 if it cost that much. Fantastic story and I still remember it to this day. (9.6/10 - very limited interactivity, but this is a game for its story). The Room: Other peeople will really enjoy this. I didn't like the puzzle game design - I don't generally like these style of games. I get stuck and have to look up the answer on Youtube or just become bored. (8/10 - Other people will like this game but I never spent more than two hours on this). Fallout Shelter: Probably the best free game around. Really fun building and questing mechanic. The pay element is mostly non intrusive. After about 12 hours of playing the game falls off because the timewall starts to come into effect but until then the game is terrific. (8.4/10 - too bad I can't buy the game for $25 to destroy timewalls and play freely). Vainglory: I had a lot of fun with this game. It will be deleted from my phone once Wildrift comes out, but for a MOBA experience on mobile, this is great. (8.5/10 - I did have ping fluctuations from time to time). PPSSPP: This is a PSP emulator that I used to play Persona 3. Worked amazingly on the phone and what a great game. Buy a copy of Persona 3, throw it down the drain and then load the rom onto your phone to stay legal. (10/10 - terrific game and runs like it is native). Pirates Outlaws: I had a lot of fun with this game. It has a really cheap price tag of only $5. I probably put about 15 hours into this game and had a great time. Unfortunately you have to buy the other characters to unlock their mechanics if you want to skip a horendous grind. They were just too expensive so I didn't bother. (8.1/10 - should have bumped the price $10 and unlocked all characters). The Bonfire: Forsaken Land: I played the demo and enjoyed it a lot so paid for the full unlock. The game itself is challenging but very fun. I probably put 10 hours into this game, unfortunately it ends very quickly. I have heard there is a sequel on the way and I would happily buy it to play when it comes out. (8.9/10 unfortunately just a bit too short). Kingdom: New Lands: What Bonfire was based on, Kingdom is a really smart and simple game that has a lot of depth. I put a good 10 - 15 hours into the game, however I never got past the 2nd island. For me it is just too difficult and there should have been option to make aspects easiemore relaxed. (8.2/10 - never finished it because it was too hard). Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville: I had a lot of fun with the story and played it for a good 10 hours. Unfortunately I forgot about it halfway through the campaign and never picked it up again. It lacked some magic to really make it an impossible to put down experience. Combining all the maps into one large map would have rewarded the aspect of building up a town. (7.8/10 - graphics are a little bit average and it missed something to hook me for 30+ hours). Teamfight Tactics: I got to gold rank and played a good 20-30 hours. I am also a big fan of League but unfortunately I just don't enjoy autochess games. Quality is top shelf however and the price model is extremely non-aggressive. (9.3/10). Stardew Valley: Great game. Put 30+ hours into this. Costs $14 on the appstore but probably worth $35. (9.5/10 - unfortunately the pixel graphics are just a bit ugly in my opinion). Meteorfall: Journeys: Really enjoyable game with no invasive transactions. Not expensive at all and a great game to play travelling. (9/10). Legends of Runeterra: Again, I am a big league fan so got this to play straight away. Spent a lot of time on this. Really well polished if you want to play a card game or like League lore. (9.7/10). Don't Starve: Pocket Edition: This and Crashlands (which isn't on this list but I have briefly played) are both great fun and at a $7 price tag a no-brainer for a good game at a cheap price. Pick up and play if you haven't before. (9.5/10). Battle Chasers: Nightwar: This is what android gaming should be. A full game available for a fair price that you can sink into for 20-30 hours. Great graphics and gameplay. Very polished overall. If you like turn-based combat then give it a try. (8.7/10) Among Us: Literally only took two games to have me laughing in tears. Very fun multiplayer game and I bet it would be a great game with friends. Literally free to download so why wouldn't you? (8.9/10 - lacks a bit of polish). Redcon: I had fun for awhile until I read that you can't replay old missions to get more money/bases for the next chapter level you are at. I understand if you make wrong purchase decisions you can become hardstuck at certain levels because you can't upgrade any more without beating the level but can't beat the level because you can't upgrade any more. (7.7/10 - the game is a fun FTL style game but unfortunately I lost interest once I realised you couldn't go back and replay previous levels). Ticket To Earth: I was initially put off by the screenshots but playing the game I quickly got hooked. The tile mechanic is very intelligent and fun. On top of this is a great RPG system and a good story. Definitely worth the $7.50 pricetag. (9/10) Crying Suns: I Loooved this game and put 30+ hours into it. I would give it a 10 except that I am not a big fan of pixel graphics style and each chapter you lose all progress on your ship which is a bit annoying. (9.2/10). Portal Knights: I really recommend this if you like Minecraft style games at all. Fun building, a good story driven RPG and very polished/looks great. (9.4/10). Grimvalor: A fun, heavy style side scroller game. Very polished and easy to get into. I haven't finished this but will definitely come back to it from time to time. (7.8/10 - more depth to the RPG would have been appreciated). Deadcells: Probably the best Android game you can buy. Ported extremely well and the game itself is all about learning and getting better with each attempt. (9.8/10 - unfortunately I am not a big fan of pixel art so that throws me slightly). Limbo: Probably the second best Android game you can buy. Easy to learn controls keeps you going through a game that is all about the immersing world. After I finished this I went away and read all about the story and what it meant. (9.5/10 - a bit short to be perfect). Sheltered: This game is everything I want: a Fallout Shelter style game with no timers, just buy in full and get the game. Unfortunately it only takes 20 hours to become safe to a point that the challenge is gone. Also the graphics are not my preferred style. (8.7/10 - a paintjob and more challenge in the endgame would make this my number one game). Lara Croft GO: People sleep on this game but it is actually a really fun puzzle game that I fully completed and went back to again. Would definitely recommend anyone to give it a try (and also the Hitman GO game too). (9.2/10). Game Dev Tycoon: A game that I put a lot of hours into (40+). Really enjoyable progression game where you create your own stories. Unfortunately the game type combinations are a bit predictable, so that you only need to create a survival game with zombies or an adventure game with RPG to have a perfect game. However everything else about the game is great and I enjoyed the whole thing. (9.6/10). This War Of Mine: I loved everything about this game. I just wish it had an endless mode and that it had an option to make it a bit easier. (9.6/10). If I had to recommend three games to go download now and play, they would be Game Dev Tycoon, Crying Suns and Legends of Runterra.
Disclaimers: long-time lurker, first-time poster. Details kept relatively vague to protect the identity of all parties involved. Some details also changed as some co-workers are on Reddit. See Edit 2 for Mr Nutty's healthcare / financial status. Background I used to work in a public hospital's Public Relations (PR) Department (read: the department where all sorts of miscellaneous sh*t and nonsense is sent to when no one wants to figure out who issues should be sent to, or just want problems sent somewhere). It was hard to manage the workload with a yes-man PR director at the helm, who typically acceded to most requests for "help" especially after other staff tacked on their go-to flimsy excuse of "it's related to a patient, so PR should handle it!" or flattery "you guys are really good at dealing with this, we'd just mess it up so it's for the best if PR takes over!". Besides the PR Department, there was a Medical Case Management Department that dealt with more difficult cases involving legal, highly complex medical, or multi-disciplinary cases. Due to the nature of our work, sometimes cases were bounced between the two departments. This case was partially dealt with by me, but the malicious compliance is on my co-worker's end. Cast Cynthia - Medical Case Department director Joel - Medical Case Department staff Sarah - Finance Department staff Me - your friendly PR wage slave Mr Nutty - patient, retiree with no income Story (This case happened almost a decade ago and does not take place in the United States of America.) Mr Nutty underwent surgery, everything went well, and he left the hospital after a few days to recuperate at home. There, he combed through the bill, called the hospital about an apparent billing error, and was transferred to my line. For confidentiality and simplicity, let's call the item in question "organ transplant". Mr Nutty said that he didn't have an organ transplant, and only had a couple of medical items inserted. At this point, he was still fairly pleasant. I assured him I'd call him after checking. As this was basically a non-emergency case, the Finance Department and the Surgery Department took about a fortnight to gather the details and figure out what happened. In the meantime, Mr Nutter had started sending emails by the end of the first week, asking when he was going to get a refund (which I strangely enough had no recollection of promising). Every time he sent an email, company policy dictated that I was to get in touch with him. By the time Finance gave me all the details, I could recognise his email address and phone number when they appeared on my screens, and he was getting rather testy. I contacted Mr Nutty and told him that he was correct - there was no "organ transplant". The "organ transplant" was actually a billing code name for a package that usually consisted of a lot of items that were used in his surgery, including the medical items inserted. The Surgery Department knew of his financial situation and, to help him trim costs, essentially gave him a package deal instead of billing him per item, which would have cost him much more. This triggered something in Mr Nutty and he. Went. BALLISTIC. Shouted that a public hospital running on taxpayers' money should be more honest, that it was the principle rather than intent that was important, and demanded that we change the bill to accurately reflect everything that was used in the surgery, no exceptions. Even telling him that it was likely to be much more expensive did not deter him from "following his principles". I was still relatively new to the job then, so I informed Mr Nutty that I would have to speak with someone else to see if his request could be granted, and ended the call. It was at this point Cynthia came up to me and asked if I was all right. She was passing by as the conversation was ending, and hung around as I was obviously upset and shaken. I shared what happened and she very kindly told me to pass the case to her department as they were more familiar with such cases and it would be pretty easy. I didn't hesitate to say no as I was sick of Mr Nutty by then, and called him a day or so later to tell him that Joel was taking over his case. Thereafter, I did not hear anything about this issue from Joel, Cynthia, or Mr Nutty, and forgot about it until... = 5 years later = A major reorganisation took place 4 years after the case came in - Cynthia and Joel left, the Medical Case Management Department was closed, the PR Department merged with several others and now manages even more sh*t. One fine day, Sarah (from the Finance Department) calls me about a patient who claims to have spoken with the PR Department staff and Medical Case Department staff of yore about a billing error that was left unresolved, although she couldn't be sure since the patient was insisting that spoke to "Cassandra", "Gordon" and "FlyingofbirthID" and that he had never heard of Cynthia, Joel or me when Sarah tried to confirm if they were talking about the same staff. After an archaeological excavation of the archives and patient records, we discover that it is Mr Nutty calling about the same issue - with a twist. Apparently, when Joel reached out to Mr Nutty, he tried to explain that he would be facing substantial losses if we were to follow his instructions in itemising the bill. Mr Nutty simply would not take no for an answer and scream-preached his ears off. Mr Nutty also threatened to go to multiple government departments to tell them about the hospital's "illegal actions", and apparently later did go to at least a couple. Here I have to admit that Joel was a much more professional worker than me, and was typically a calm, steady rock who could take a lot of rubbish and still walk away without wanting to commit murder. Or at least not admitting to wanting to commit murder. Mr Nutty must have deliberately picked all the BAD END route options he could (and more), because I had never seen Joel doing anything similar in the 4 years I worked with him. Typically, when faced with such requests, Joel could (and would) escalate the issue to Cynthia with the recommendation to ignore the case or request after giving an official reply via letter. Cynthia would usually agree as long as it was a morally correct choice and there were no legal or medical repercussions. Joel did not do that in this case. Joel opted to follow Mr Nutty's request to the letter. He told the Surgery Department what happened. Pissed off that their goodwill had been spat and trampled upon, Surgery Department agreed with the changes and looped in Finance to make sure every single item used was listed, individually. No more packages or cost saving efforts for Mr Nutty. It turned out that the "organ transplant" was not the only billed item that was actually a package deal, so Mr Nutty's bill came up to nearly double his original cost. Mr Nutty was Not Happy when Joel returned with the shiny new bill. He refused to pay the bill, and continued to harass and threaten Joel off and on for about a year or so, but eventually went quiet. Back to the present day. I asked Sarah why Mr Nutty was calling years later, and apparently it was because the debt collection agency had found him - Mr Nutty had moved and did not update his particulars as he skipped his medical appointments as well. (At the hospital, if bills go unpaid for some time, they go to a debt collection agency, which relies on the information provided by the hospital's system.) After all these years, Mr Nutty finally came back for a check up, and had to provide updated details; the debt collection agency caught wind of this and started the collection process again. Somehow, I managed to dig into my well of by then nearly non-existent compassion and asked Sarah if there was any way to reverse the changes. Sarah cackled and pointed out that because of the universal health coverage available, Mr Nutty's medical bill was initially 80% covered, in part thanks to the particular package codes (like "organ transplant") the Surgery Department used. However, after his request, only about 30% of his new, more expensive bill was covered. The best bit? All such bills go to the government, and only ONE change is allowed, unless the hospital admits it was their mistake (in which case there may be penalties). This is to prevent hospitals from changing the bills willy nilly, and to save administrative costs. Amazingly enough, one of the governmental departments Mr Nutty complained to about our "illegal actions" was...the same department in charge of handling universal coverage for hospital bills. So not only did the government department in charge know about his not-too-intelligent demands, they also knew that we had tried to help him but changed the bill to comply with his request. And, there was absolutely no way the hospital was going to take a penalty on Mr Nutty's behalf. It was with great, unbridled joy that I made the final phone call to Mr Nutty. He didn't recognise me, but I had the extreme pleasure of informing him that I was the first staff who spoke with him 5 years ago, didn't he remember (screaming at) me? No? Oh, not to worry, it was a long time ago. Oh, it's not that it's a long time ago, you just thought it wasn't worth remembering all our names...because we're just customer service staff, you say? Haha, all right. :) After that, I didn't bother with further niceties or small talk and went straight in for the kill, telling him that we could not change the bill again as it could only be changed ONCE. Surprisingly, he didn't flip at once and even asked for the reasons. I explain how we (Sarah and I) dug through our archives and the sequence of events. There was a long silence and just as I was getting worried about whether he had passed out, Mr Nutty ERUPTED. Shouting about it being a pack of lies! We were DISHONEST, he was a retiree with no money, how could we do this to him! WHY did we make the changes if we knew it was going to be more expensive, how was it even POSSIBLE that the revised bill be of a higher amount! It must be a mistake! etc. By now, I was a seasoned staff and would normally have ended the call after three warnings. My dear readers, I did not do that with Mr Nutty. I waited very patiently for him to run out of breath screaming and cussing and in the lull, I simply said "The bill was itemised as per your request, sir." :) tldr - don't be naughty and give in to that short attention span. It's a 5 minute read. *Edit* By Merlin, I didn't expect so much attention to be given to this! Thank you for the awards!! I saw some comments about the cost not being explained to Mr Nutty before he underwent surgery, and some other discussions. Sorry for not including these details - I thought they wouldn't be necessary as the story was already very long, but for clarity: - Mr Nutty was advised of the estimated range of the bill before he agreed to go for the surgery. If I recall correctly, his original final bill was moderately higher than average because there was some difficulty in accessing the areas and in implanting the medical items, and more than one medical item was implanted than expected, but still well within the acceptable cost range due to efforts to waive some minor items and bundling. - u/Ianthine9 is pretty much bang on about the co-payment and elective procedure bit - the tldr should be read with a ;P - I'm truly sorry that it came across as offensive as there was no such intention, and I didn't consider the possibility it could be read as such. - there are financial aid options available in the country but Mr Nutty rejected all of them when they were brought up. Putting it mildly, his retort was something along the lines of "you expect me to bow my head and beg for help???" No, Mr Nutty, we all just wanted to help you. Honestly. At least, till you pissed off even Joel. *Edit 2\* Didn't expect to have to put this here, but there are a surprising number of people worrying about Mr Nutty's health and financial status. You're all very kind! This is to reassure you that Mr Nutty's health and finances were at no point in jeopardy. Some hospitals have linked medical records but billing systems are NOT linked. Mr Nutty had access to a wide range of medical treatment options elsewhere and would not have been denied healthcare (or financial aid, if he so wanted). In fact, he could even have gone to another hospital to pull the same "surgery and dash" game if he was willing whittle down his available hospital options, lol. (Actually, I'm willing to bet this is what he did in the 3-4 years he didn't return to our hospital - he probably only came back thinking we'd forgiven his debt by then.)
This ended up being way longer than I expected it to be and I don't see a good way to do a TL;DR so buckle in... We need to take a serious look at what’s going on with Sony and Microsoft and ask ourselves if we should really be expecting a $499/$399 physical/digital price. I see so many people on this site that are certain that this will be a $499 console but I just don't think that will be the case... and here's why. First I want to address the idea that Sony won't dare hit $599 because of the PS3 and it's poor reception. I don't think that this is a valid argument anymore for a couple of reasons. The first being that inflation is actually a thing and people tend to forget about it. $599 in '06 money is equivalent to over $750 in today's money. Just look at any other industry whether it be phones, cars, fast food, etc. Everything has gone up in price. Why should we expect the gaming industry to be different? Second the demographic for PlayStation's target audience has gotten older. In '06 the gaming industry was not as mature and geared towards adults as it is now and typically as people get older they have more disposable income (unless you have kids). My main point here is that now, in 2020, Sony has a larger group people willing to spend more money on a console than they did almost 15 years ago and I think they know that. They also know better than anyone how much more highly spec'd the PS5 is for the time period that it is being released in. Compared to the current generation of consoles both the PS5 and XSX will be much more powerful and advanced relative to the current tech that was/is on the market. I've linked (1) a post by another Redditor down below that explains this in a little more detail. Additionally we have to remember that the Xbox One X released in 2017 at $499. I think the One X price tells a lot about what we can expect from Sony and MS for the next generation. While it was a boost in performance compared to the base console, the One X was nowhere close to the jump that the PS5 and XSX will be relative to the PS4 Pro and the One X. So now we are expecting Sony to release a console that is twice as powerful for that same price? That seems unrealistic to me especially if you make the logical assumption that the development and manufacturing cost for a new generation is much more than an iterative design like the One X was. So far we have heard one report of the manufacturing cost being around $450 (2). I am doubtful of the accuracy of that report since "people with knowledge" was the only source cited and we have heard nothing else confirming it. We also have Jim Ryan saying that they are focusing on value over price (3). Most people assumed this statement meant that we were gonna be looking at a $499 box. I think that if we look at the performance vs. price breakdown that we saw on the mid cycle refresh machines a strong case can be made for a console priced higher than that. Sony and MS took two different approaches to the mid cycle refresh. Sony packed as much tech into a $399 box that they could while MS chose to accept a higher price point and build the more powerful console. Obviously with $499 worth of tech in 2020 Sony could make something more powerful than the One X but could $499 get them all of the generational leaps (completely new system design, new controller, super fast SSD, 3D audio tech) that the PS5 is offering... I honestly don't know but if I were bet on it I'd say no. My final point is the game of chicken that MS and Sony are playing right now. The general consensus is that neither wants to go first because they want to undercut they other. MS has said that they don't care how many consoles they sell (4). That really doesn't sound like something a company wanting to undercut the competition would say. Nor does it sound like a company that wants to compete with Sony. I think MS is focused on selling as many Game Pass subscriptions as possible and they've ran the numbers and figured that they don't need to sell a ton of consoles to do that. For Sony the PS5 is a huge part of their business. So for them to not know how much their console is gonna cost this close to launch seems not just implausible but completely insane. Based on all of that I believe that the reason neither of them want to announce the price because the consoles are expensive and they know whoever goes first is gonna get flamed for the price. Can you imagine the backlash for whoever announces a $599 price first? It would be complete cacophony. This is why I think both are trying to avoid breaking the bad news. Ask yourself this. If everyone is right and the PS5 will be $499/$399 physical/digital why haven't they announced the price yet? If MS sold the Series X for $450 would a $50 difference really sway anyone? I doubt it. Based on MS saying that they don't care how many consoles they sell, would they take a huge loss and price the Series X at $399? I doubt it. Is Sony really going to change there price based on what MS (who looks to be working their way out of the console arena) does? I don't think they can. This leaves one option, both the Series X and they PS5 (physical version) are $600 and neither Sony or Microsoft want to be the first one to break the news. Maybe all of these are invalid points and Sony has figured out a way to make it happen for $499 but I just don't think that's the case. I'll be saving $599 + tax for my console and if it ends up being $499 I'll be happily surprised. Edit: Links: (1) PS4 vs PS5 tech - https://www.reddit.com/PS5/comments/gnk9fb/ps5_is_much_more_powerful_compared_to_what_ps4/ (2) PS5 Manufacturing Cost - https://www.polygon.com/2020/2/14/21137615/ps5-cost-price-point-playstation-5 (3) PS5 Value Over Price Alone - https://www.gamespot.com/amp-articles/ps5-price-sony-says-its-focused-on-value-over-pric/1100-6478485/ (4) Microsoft Isn't Focussing On How Many XSX Units Are Sold - https://www.gamespot.com/amp-articles/microsoft-kinda-doesnt-care-if-you-buy-an-xbox-se1100-6481227/ Edit 2: Regarding the $450 cost to manufacture and that meaning a $499/$399 retail price. The typical mark up from what someone like Best Buy pays wholesale to what they charge in the store is between 20%-40%. If it costs them $450 to make the physical version and $430 to make the digital thats a big loss. Let's assume the middle of around %30 mark up over wholesale. They would need to sell to retailers at $385 for the physical and $310 for the digital. That means Sony is losing $65 per physical unit and $120 for the digital. Apparently retail margins are very thin so this was clearly wrong. I still doubt the Bloomberg report though.
2020 r/baseball Power Rankings -- Week 11 / Special Playoff Edition: Who Is Most Likely to Win the World Series?
Hey Sportsfans — it's time for Week 11 of baseball's 2020 Power Rankings — In our final ranking of the season we are doing things a little bit differently. You'll notice only the 16 playoff teams are ranked in this week's edition and you should note the different voting rules for the week below. I would like to take a moment to thank all the readers of this weekly feature that make this project worthwhile. Another year in the books! Cheers to you, and I tip my cap to all the team representatives, past and present, who make this project possible.
Edit: Numerous errors have been fixed and the rankings updated.
Every voter has their own style / system and the only voting instructions are these: (Special Playoff Rules)
"Please rank the playoff teams from most likely to win the World Series to least likely, taking into account match ups, route to the WS, and anything unique about the playoffs."
Full end of season retrospectives will be posted in the comments for all teams TRANSPARENCY: this link will show you who voted each team where and has added neat statistics! Please note: Because our dedicated team of voters have trouble breaking their habits, you may notice some people voted for all 30 teams. You can safely ignore those votes. Or argue about them since I can't stop you. You may notice some other wonkiness because of this. If something is a little messed up, feel free to pester me let me know. Total Votes: 28 of 30. Missing votes / blurbs may be on their way.
With all the uncertainty we have all been faced with this year, the Dodgers have truly been one of the pillars of reliability and stability in an ever turbulant world. Simply put, they have been exactly who we all expected them to be (which uhhhh, is the best team in baseball) and seem fully locked and loaded to make another major push at that long overdue piece of metal. But they have been able to do it with a pretty notable difference in who the reliable contributors have been. A year ago, we'd be looking at this team going into the postseason with Ryu, Hill, and Maeda to flank Buehler and Kershaw (can you imagine still having those guys on this team 😳) and be led by postseason heroes of Muncy and Pederson alongside our MVP Bellinger, and the ever present questionmark that is the Dodger pen. Now, the rookie arms of May, Gonsolin, and the Mango Man alongside a revitalized Jake McGee and a seemingly "back" Blake Treinen shore up the original gang (with Kenley's massive shadow looming over with impending doom) with the bats of AJ Pollock, Corey Seager, and the new savior Mookie Betts looking to bring a ring back to LA. But what would be more 2020, the Dodgers getting knocked off surprisingly early, or the Dodgers finally not getting knocked off at all?
The Rays came into 2020 looking to be a legitimate contender and have 100% delivered on those expectations. They won the AL East for the first time since 2010 and were the only American League team to win 40 games. In addition to that, they also had one of the toughest schedules and had the best record in baseball vs winning teams. The name of the game has been consistency, which has been true of both sides of the ball. Injuries have come and gone, but in classic Rays fashion the guys filling in, especially pitchers, performed fantastically. The only struggles came in fielding, which was atrocious the first couple weeks but has since returned to normal. There was a little bit of drama, a few magic moments, some wacky shenanigans, and a lot of happy flappy boi posting, which filled up this shortened season to the fullest. This is looking like the Rays strongest chance since 2008, now it’s time to get it done in the playoffs. (cont. in comments)
Someday soon we will all look back at 2020 fondly. One reason for me will be the A's. Yes, the owners robbed us out of June and most of July baseball. D. Mengden caught SARSII, causing a week of hectic isolation. M. Chapman, the energy behind this team, left with a hip injury. Yet this team ended the year with a .600 winning percentage- the 21st time in team history we've reached or surpassed that momentous milestone. And a lot of those teams won pennants- one inspired a movie. This was a season full of amazing snapshots- M. Olson's walk off grand slam on "opening" day under the new dumb rules, the Piscotty walk off grand slam against Texas, the historic comeback off McCovey Cove. Most of all the team seemed to like each other, led by the shrewd Bob Melvin and player leaders M. Semien and C. Pinder. Yes, this could have been M. Semien's last year. It also might have been T. La Stella's only year on the A's and it is special watching that guy rarely strike out. There was R. Laureano's hot headed yet heroic stand against Astro villany. The A. Allen charged 13th inning game against HOU. Fans will be so spoiled with the defensive wizardry of Sean Murphy and J. Heim- they can hit, too! Bet you thought I'd mention M. Olson when I started that sentance- people are still sleeping on the best LH hitter in baseball. (cont. in comments)
Take it with a grain of salt, as I was not fortunate enough to have watched Tony in his prime, but this past season has been my favorite, most exciting, and most interesting brand of Padres Baseball I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I come away not thinking that the team is the best at anything. The starting pitching can sometimes put us in an early hole, hitters can sometimes all seem off on the same night, the bullpen, once a staple, can sometimes blow a lead all together, if not making the game too close for comfort. Yet...with this group of guys, I’m still on the edge of my seat, waiting for the big moment to happen, because they’ve come through so very often. (cont. in comments)-
After a stomach-twisting final week, the Twins have repeated as AL Central Champions! Heading into the playoffs, Twins fans should be fairly optimistic as we'll have 29 other teams at our back when we face the below-.500 trash-can-banging asterisk-loving boys from Houston in the first round. With a rotation of Maeda-Berrios-Pineda, the Twins have an excellent chance to advance. How much success we have after that will depend on unlucky late injuries to Buxton and Donaldson, and if they can come back quickly to make meaningful contributions.
There's wind boys...blew us to our 3rd straight division title! It wasn't always pretty, we had major injuries along the way including Soroka, Albies and Acuña for significant time. After losing Soroka we knew our offense would have to carry us on their backs...and oh boy did they! As a team, we were second in the MLB in AVG (.268), second in homeruns (103), second in runs scored (348), first in OBP (.349), first OPS (.832), first in hits (.556) and tied for first in slugging percentage (.483). This was highlighted by a 29 run game and huge individual efforts by the most fearsome 1-3 in baseball. Freddie Freeman should win his first MVP and Ozuna will get votes as well. When healthy, Roñald was dominant. Max Fried stepped up huge for us an proved to be an ace. Ian Anderson showed up and was really good, Kyle Wright seemingly turned it around and was very effective in his final starts. With a healthy Soroka next year, these 4 young arms will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Hopefully we shake our playoff woes this year and have history repeat itself: win the world series in a shortened season! Let's bring it home.
Thanks to the Orioles, the Yankees play the Indians in the first round, and then the Rays/Jays. So Cole/Bieber, Tanaka/Carrasco and then whatever Boone cobbles togethePlesac. The Indians have one hitter, and if we can throw around him, the pitching rotation we have to face looks a little less intimidating. This season, for the Yankees, has been the story of being very hot and very cold. It goes without saying that this team can hit when it needs to, and at the very least, you feel like this team has the potential to beat anyone on this 16 team list. It's just a matter of which Yanks show up.
While this was a frustrating season to watch, the Cubs managed to lock down the NL Central before the final day of the season. Highlights included Darvish's Cy Young campaign, Hendricks' excellent season, Heyward's resurgance, and a relatively cozy late September for once. Some of the most frustrating parts of the season were Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Baez collectively hitting worse than the Texas Rangers, the bullpen's woes in the first half, Lester's inconsistency, and Quintana barely getting on the field. The Cubs actually have one of the easier paths to the World Series, especially if the Dodgers and Padres get knocked out by the NLCS. However, anything can happen in a 3-game series and Cubs fans are still traumatized by the 2003 series against the Marlins. I myself am so excited to watch an absurd amount of baseball over the next month-- now let's get weird!
Is there a fanbase that actively hates their own team as much as the White Sox? There are exactly 5 teams in the MLB with a better record than the Sox. If you extrapolate this season, they gained 22 wins from last year, made the playoffs and 90% of the talk about is how horrible the manager is and how bad we were down the stretch. If you asked most fans at the beginning of the season if 10 games above 500 and a playoff spot would be good, they would all be ecstatic. Perspective is really important, especially after 12 years of not reaching the playoffs. Sure, there are plenty disappointments, and yes, Ricky Renteria's bullpen management and lineup decisions are bad. But this is also a team that went on an absolute tear for a month and finally generated some nationwide buzz that they could actually win it all. We have exciting, young players all over the field. We have a top 3 MVP candidate, our ace threw a fricken no-hitter this year. Even Ricky made improvements from past seasons. He hardly bunted at all this year! And he put Grandal, a high OBP guy in the #2 spot for a good portion of the season. No, we aren't the best team in the league, but before the season, we weren't even seriously considered a playoff team. This year is an absolutely, unqualified success. (And I still hold out the slimmest bit of hope that Ricky stops playing the long game in the playoffs and actively puts his best players in.)
There's no question that Cleveland's 1-2-3 of Bieber-Carrasco-Plesac is about as good as there is in the Silly Series. But can their weak lineup pull their weight? Who will win the battle of right-handed strikeout pitchers vs. right-handed power hitters? Anything can happen in a three-game series, and we'll find out this week.
The Reds go into the playoffs (!!!) as the hottest team in baseball. They've now won 5 series in a row, four of which came against playoff teams. The bullpen regressed nicely and is no longer a Phillies-esque liability. There are definitely some issues with the bat, but they've proven over the past week that they don't need to rely on solo home runs to win. Akiyama has turned into a reliable leadoff hitter, and the catching tandem has become one of the most reliable in the league. But where this team will really give the Braves fits is the starting pitching. With 2020 NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer taking the mound on Wednesday, followed by Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, this team is built for a short series.
baseball just began / and now it's the postseason / i still long for march
The Toronto Blue Jays had one of, if not the most, tumultuous years in baseball. After what was seen as a broadly successful offseason, highlighted by the acquisition of Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Jays were expected to play ~.500 ball, and maybe have an outside chance at a wildcard spot. The front office showed a marked desire to start opening the window of contention. Bringing in innings eater Tanner Roark, reclamation project Travis Shaw, and Japanese League stars Rafael Dolis and Shun Yamaguchi. 2020 was also the final turning point for the Blue Jays. The departure of Anthopoulos/Beeston holdover, Justin Smoak, meant the page had finally, truly turned, and this was now the team built by Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins. We would finally get to see what their team looked like. Then, the unthinkable happened. - 134 days without baseball. Canada’s response to the pandemic was unflinchingly strict. After a Summer Camp in the Skydome, that featured a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. move to 1B, the Blue Jays were sent packing, and headed off to an uncertain future, without a home. Rumours circulated that they would find a home in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, or even at Spring Training HQ in Dunedin, but when all was said and done, the Jays landed in The Queen City, home of the Bisons, Buffalo, New York. (cont. in comments)
Finishing a regular season, as short and weird as it was, under .500 for the first time since 2014 is an uncomfortable feeling. It's unsurprising, given the blows our pitching staff received and the inability of our hitters to stay consistent. Blame it on the shortened season, blame it on being unable to cheat, blame it on whatever you want - the fact remains we have decidedly moved backwards as a franchise this year. For the first time in a few years, I do not feel confident in our pitching staff or our hitters to win a playoff series. If we had Verlander, my optimism would increase, but our bullpen would be a huge question mark no matter what. These next three games may be the last George Springer spends in an Astros uniform, so hopefully we're treated to the Springer Dingers we've become accustomed to over the years. It's difficult to look ahead to 2021 given the uncertainty in the world right now, but with (presumably) a full season and a chance to either find some help in free agency or extend some of our upcoming FA-eligible players, I'm optimistic James Click will steer the ship in the right direction. Let's make sure we give Dusty plenty of popsicles.
OH BOY. First off i just wanna give the NBC Philadelphia broadcast team a huge shoutout, AY RICKY BO STAY BEAUTIFUL. Anywho, we have had a hell of a season. Despite calling up damn near over a dozen top prospects up this season, some of them way too early, we managed to stay afloat during the dog days of corona quarantine. Yall already know the deal so i dont have to say much, the starters are nasty and the defense is solid. The huge question mark going into the post season is how will the bats fare. That is our current weakest link. I made the prediction that Monte Harrison will heat up (see what i did there?) in the post season and hit october dingers in the marlins discord and im sticking by that. Cubs vs Marlins gives me some real feels going back to when i was still a jit, hopefully lightning strikes twice. Oh, and Ill say it now: we swindled the cardinals, phillies and yankees. Thanks for all the prospects suckers!
Well MIlwaukee made the playoffs, that's definitely someting. The path forward is simple, get the game to the bullpen with a lead. The Brewers bullpen has shown it to be the best bullpen in all of baseball, however the bats have not seem to woken up from the winter hibernation. Only one qualified batter is hitting over .250 (Orlando Arcia with a whopping .260) Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura spent the entire year trying to race Miguel Sano to 100 Strikeouts. Plain and simple the bats are bad
The Right is creating big wins for the Left in America now
It happened once, now I bet it's about to happen again. Remember George Bush II's final days, Obama campaigning for president, the '08 market crash happens creating a massive historic victory for democrats. They gain control of all both houses of government and the presidency with filibuster-proof majorities and quickly pass their top priority: nationalized healthcare, which the supreme court didn't even bother to stop, because they never do. Well hold on to your britches because I expect that's going to happen again. It's likely that after Trump's idiocy and abrasive wearing out of his welcome that Biden will win and once again the Left gains control of both houses and the presidency. And if you think the supreme court is going to stop them, they're already talking about packing the court so forget about it. Lots of people talk about voting republican as a bulwark against leftist power gains, but the republicans failed back then and they're failing now, so why would any lover of liberty support them? I will not, I will not shove my values and ideals into the swamp for some nebulous notion of stopping the left. Because the truth is that republicans are part of the left, when you view the left-right spectrum as being one of authority vs liberty: https://imgur.com/927V5F7.png They, the republicans, believe in the need for authority. This virtually defines their moden political definitions. The socialists think they believe in liberty, but Marxism believes in forcing authority on others, and all other variants of socialism also believe in preventing voluntary association and work, but they delude themselves one way or another into denying they need an authority to carry out their belief in ending private ownership of productive property. We all have to make a choice whether we love liberty more than our homeland. I find there's one major thing that will corrupt the mind of an ancap: being so in love with your homeland that you think you have to try to save it, and on this basis you rationalize awful things like voting republican or violent actions against government to try to provoke civil war that would end badly for all. The most American thing anyone can do is leave a continent that's irrevocably in the hands of the statists and start something new elsewhere, as that is how American got started in the first place. Our ancestors didn't stay in Europe and fight, and they didn't try to 'vote republican' to fix things. And you may say there's nowhere to go right now, but what happens if that changes? I'm involved heavily in the seasteading movement and we're dedicated to building such a place. International waters, by law, has no states. You are going to have that option very soon. Elon Musk is opening space to the private sector as well, and that is the ultimate escape. Long term, we will need liberty in space. I say that whether you try hard or do nothing at all, the US is going to fail politically, it's too far gone and it's been too far gone for a long, long time, and the seeds of that failure was planted in 1776. The fact that the constitution couldn't even survive a popular vote today means that the US is both long-gone and would only fair worse if there were a civil war that allowed that constitution to be replaced. So no, I will not vote for Trump or any other republican, and I advise you to not vote for them either. Because fuck them, it is the republicans that have betrayed liberty in the name of cronyism. They, more than anyone else, are responsible for the dysfunction the US is in today, because they have tried to face the forces of socialist with counterfeit liberty that was never strong enough, principled enough, or at all capable of withstanding the socialist hordes. The republicans are fucking witch-doctors trying to perform the rain dance of health after the socialists have long since poisoned our children with their ideology. It cannot work, it was never going to work, and it is NOT WORKING. Even if you still believe in voting and change from within the system, which I do not, it's not going to come republicans! It's likely that radical change from inside the system can ONLY come from the self-destruction of the republican party. But you know that if that happened, the left would gain a massive amount of power before you or anyone could successfully reform or replace that party. So, catch-22, you either accept a long slow death, or an immediate execution of the hopes we all had for liberty in the USA. Myself, I have long since severed my emotional connection to this homeland. America was a great idea, but what it has become is a knife in the back of those ideas. I absolutely am willing to leave the US forever in the pursuit of true liberty. And it sure feels like if we remain here much longer we're going to be living in a true police state and the last gasps of liberty in these lands are turning into her death throes, and if you would but tilt your head you would see it is both the republicans and democrats who have pulled the plug on her life-support machine TOGETHER. I do not believe in this strategy of holding back the left, the republicans have been utterly failing at that my entire life, and now they're doing worse than ever. You think Trump has prevented the left from gaining a huge amount of power? That's NOT TRUE, Trump is handing them a massive amount of power by handing them a massive electoral victory in this upcoming election, and they will exercise far more power than they would have been able to hand Trump never been president. The USA is well and truly fucked and the republicans are doing less than nothing, they're letting it happen, enabling it, by holding back the ideas and candidates that represent true liberty, all in the name of 'getting theirs', enriching themselves and their buddies while the world burns. Don't be a part of it.
[Cryoverse] The Last Precursor 030: Soren the Savior
The Last Precursor is an HFY-exclusive web-serial which focuses on the exploits of the last living human amidst a galaxy of unknown aliens. With his species all but extinct and now only known as the ancient Precursors, how will Admiral José Rodriguez survive in this hostile universe? Make sure to read the earlier chapters first if you missed them! Do you like the story? Subscribe to HFY bot and get notified when I post new parts!
Previous Part Part 001 ....................................... Salt and Pepper zip through the underground catacombs toward the source of the 'bomb' detonation they detected moments before. Due to the pitch-blackness surrounding them, these two Shades move at unbelievable speeds, crossing five miles of total darkness in the blink of an eye. They stop a few hundred feet away from a tremendous pile of collapsed rubble and pause to examine the scene. The cave roof appears sunken in, as if something had crashed through the entire mountain down to these lower levels, more than half a mile below sea level. Where there should be a hole leading to the surface, the mountain has instead collapsed in on itself, blockading the roof with tens of thousands of tons of solidly packed dirt and stone. A cloud of dust hangs in the air, recently stirred up by whatever strange object forced its way into the underground caverns. The two Shades creep a little closer, their expressions turning to bewilderment. Before them, a giant metal cylinder sits embedded several feet in the ground, with only a couple of feet of its upper portion sticking out of the cave floor. A vibrating noise hums in the air, as if a beast were slumbering within the planet's bowels. "What the devil is that?" Pepper asks. "Did it fall from the sky?" "Don't be ridiculous," Salt retorts. "How could anything dig through the mountain so quickly? We would have noticed within seconds! The explosion was nearly instantaneous! I bet that tricky human somehow planted this weird... this weird thing here earlier." "But... but we watched him the whole time," Pepper says skeptically, her confusion only increasing further. "How could we have missed something that big?" "Dunno. Master says the fleshbags are tricky. We have to watch out for them. They nearly wiped out our entire species, after all." "Mmm. True that. Hey, do you hear something?" Suddenly and without warning, the circular metal object's 'lid' erupts outward, blasting off the cylinder's top. It flies backward, strikes the ceiling, and embeds half a foot into the stone roof, vibrating for a moment afterward. Then, a gigantic, unthinkably huge metal 'hand' emerges from the canister. Both Shades go on the alert, gazing with wide-eyed fascination, and a tinge of horror, as a metal 'monster' begins to climb out of its metallic embryo. Salt shrinks back, her eyes wide with shock, as the bipedal machine escapes its containment unit, revealing a shiny, silver body hidden within the darkness. Thanks to her incredible vision and perception, she can easily see every inch of its thick, powerful frame. Two gigantic railgun cannons rest upon the metal monster's shoulders. Its gauntlets appear powerful enough to effortlessly crush stone into dust, while its single glowing-red eye focuses on them, a tiny laser observing their movements. Having never seen such a terrifying giant, Salt can only begin to imagine what sort of terrifying beast must have spawned this behemoth. "That thing must be six meters tall!" Pepper gasps. "What is it?!" "M-Master... I think he mentioned these once..." Salt whispers. "It's... it's a human weapon. A killing machine!" At that moment, one hundred and fifty front-facing lights activate on the robot's body, blasting out tens of thousands of lumens worth of solar energy. The entire cavern system for a mile behind the Shades becomes as bright as if a star had ignited within the underground depths. "AHHHHHHHH!!!" "IT BURNS! NOOOOO!!!" Salt and Pepper scream in horror, their voices echoing into the distance with the volume of a thousand melting witches. Both Shades mindlessly leap backward, their bodies decomposing at terrifying rates. Unable to withstand the horrific bombardment of light upon their shadowy forms, they retreat as fast as possible, but only make it five steps before their bodies explode into smoke. A second later, they reform and fall to the ground, their limbs continuously melting due to the corrosive solar energy ripping them apart at the atomic level. Thrice, the Shades explode, reform, and fall to the floor. After the third time, they release high-pitched shrieks, their dying screams mirroring the agony within their souls. Then, they disappear for the rest of eternity, consumed by the all-encompassing light engulfing them. ... Soren Mudrose, Chief Tactical Officer aboard the Bloodbearer, merely stands and watches for a moment as the Shades perish. Their deaths happen within the span of several seconds, giving her just enough time to witness their fall. "Do not become complacent, Officer Mudrose," The synthmind, Umi, says. "Due to the imminent threat to the Admiral's life, you have not been able to properly learn to control the Titan-class Battlesuit. For now, I will initiate Automated Assault Mode. Your task is to guide the Battlesuit to the Admiral's location. Leave the combat to me." "I understand," Soren says, taking a deep breath. "I'm not much for fighting... so I'll go with that. Let's move!" Like an Olympic swimmer diving into a pool, Soren charges forward, her movement inside the giant, clunky, and seemingly unwieldy Titan-class Battlesuit quickly becoming smoother every second. Boom-boom-boom! The ten-ton Battlesuit smashes its feet against the floor as she stomps forward, rapidly increasing her running speed from five miles per hour to more than thirty. "Officer Soren," Umi says, her computerized voice speaking within the Battlesuit's cockpit. "You must move with haste. The Admiral's vital signs have ceased, but his body has begun to move. I suspect the demonic entities intend to capture him and drag him further into their underground lair. You must bring him back in as little time as possible." "I understand!" Soren answers. "Don't worry. I will not let the Admiral down!" Despite running at insane speeds far beyond what her body could ever pull off, compared to the Shades within the world of darkness, Soren's movement is as slow as a turtle's. She travels toward the Admiral's blinking vital signs, which appear as a red dot superimposed over the Titan's holographic imaging interface. "Seven hundred meters to the Admiral's current location," Umi says. "I am detecting multiple Giant-class demonic entities, as well as several hundred Hunter-class enemies. Threat rating: 0.01." "Giant-class entities?" Soren repeats. "Like Trolls? The ones I fought in the simulation?" "Affirmative. However, you have nothing to worry about. Inside a Titan-class Battlesuit, it is all but impossible for biological entities to injure you. Only Duke and Emperor-class demons will pose a threat, and only if they catch you off-guard. Should a Battlesuit utilize Automated Assault Mode, it will only perform with a 5% combat efficiency when compared to the control of a seasoned and veteran pilot. This loss of efficiency is unavoidable, but it will still prove more than adequate for dealing with low-level demonic entities." ... Not far away, at Admiral Rodriguez's body. A dozen Shades linger near the fallen Terran, having been told to stay behind with the human, just in case anything happens. All of them grumble and moan, complaining as loudly as possible about their bad luck. "This stinks!" "I wanted to watch Master break and train that little hussy. Now I'm stuck here, babysitting a dead man." "Maybe we should mess with the orcs. That's always good for a laugh!" "Oh, shut up, Prankster. Only babies like that stuff." "Nuh-uh!" "Uh-huh!" Several of the Shades argue among each other as they trail behind a pair of orcs. The two monsters hold the human by his arms and legs to roughly carry him through the underground catacombs. José hangs limp in their grasp, his entire body unmoving and unable to sense the world around him. Countless nanites swim throughout his bloodstream, their movements slowing more and more every minute due to his unmoving hearts. Without a doubt, the Terran has perished. Unfortunately, none of the monsters or Shades recognize this simple fact. They continue traveling deeper into the underground levels, dragging the Terran's corpse along to some awful, distant torture chamber. As they do, a few of the goblins at the front perk their pointy ears up. They swivel their heads toward a main passage up ahead, where a faint trickle of light begins to slowly expand and brighten that particular exit. In the distance, a sound greets their ears. Boom, boom, boom, boom. The sound of something heavy smashing the ground at regular intervals makes them hesitate. The lead goblin frowns. "What that noise?" "Dunno," his nearest companion replies. "It sound really angry though!" One of the Shades flickers toward the front. Her expression darkens. "I can't sense Salt and Pepper! Where did they go? Ah! Don't tell me... don't tell me they died?!" A second Shade jumps in alarm. "No way! How can that be? Those two are always so cautious!" Within seconds, the distant light becomes brighter than ever. The unmistakable sounds of titanic footsteps makes all of the Shades turn to one another in a panic. Not knowing what the hell is coming, the duly appointed leader barks an order. "Y-you, orcs! Gobbys! Take the trolls and find out what's making all that noise. Hurry!" The four remaining thirty-foot-tall trolls stare dully as their miniature companions zip between their legs and follow the head Shade's orders. By the time the Trolls start moving, the light up ahead has become astoundingly bright, while the heavy footsteps grow ever more frightening and oppressive. All at once, a metal giant rounds the corner, its 150 unthinkably bright headlamps blasting down the corridors. The Shades scream in pain and retreat as quickly as possible, while the charging goblins and orcs screech to a halt and shield their eyes. Despite how the light doesn't injure their bodies like it does the Shades, it's still bright enough to blind them and destroy their retinas. "Aaargh! Big sun underground! Where come from?!" The oncoming robotic warrior doesn't slow down. Soren Mudrose charges at full speed like a stampeding bull. She smashes through the frontlines, stomping anyone in her path into patches of bloody mulch, while swinging the Battlesuit's arms from side to side. Each swing shatters spines, crushes skulls, and sends the helpless orcs and goblins flying, their comparatively tiny bodies about as threatening to the Titan-class Battlesuit as a toothpick to a T-Rex. The Trolls, still lagging behind the orcs and goblins, don't suffer nearly as badly. Perhaps thanks to their tiny pea-brains, they somehow ignore the pain in their eyes to charge at Soren's oncoming form. They raise their fists high and swing down, intending to crush the Battlesuit into spare parts. Given how its size is only 2/3rd's the height of the Trolls, their victory seems inevitable. However, before the Trolls can land their crushing blows, the two automated railguns mounted atop the Titan's shoulders swivel toward the fleshy giants. Thoomph! Thoomph! With two simultaneous shots, a power unlike anything seen in the galactic community for one hundred millions years blasts out of the turrets' barrels. The two nearest Trolls detonate like bombs as two miniature shells rip through their bodies at 5% the speed of light. Their ribs explode backward in horrific showers of gore, splattering their companions behind them. The railgun shell tears into the mountainside and causes a localized earthquake, sending shockwaves in all directions. The deafening concussive blasts blow out the eardrums of the remaining two Trolls, making them stumble in pain while howling soundlessly. By the time the two remaining Trolls manage to open their eyes, all they see is a stupendously blinding light flying at their faces. Soren raises two fists and smashes the Trolls' skulls, killing them before they have a chance to react. Within ten seconds of her arrival, Soren murders every monster in the area, leaving lakes of blood and gore in her wake. "Haah... haaah...." Soren gasps, her adrenaline pumping like crazy. "Did... did I do that?! This suit is incredible!" "Now is not the time for self-congratulations!" Umi says, her tone authoritative. "The Admiral's body rests only seventy meters from your position. Fetch him as quickly as possible and return to the shuttle." Soren nods. She starts to walk toward the Admiral's 'blip,' only to pause. "Wait, what about Megla? I have to rescue my sister and the Kessu too!" "Negative," Umi replies. "Admiral Rodriguez is your top priority. You must bring the last Terran to the Bloodbearer at once. He is the last of his species. If he perishes, there will be no others. However, there are still countless Kraktol and Kessu elsewhere in the galaxy." Soren continues walking toward the Admiral, but her ecstasy from killing all of the monsters disappears, replaced instead with a mixture of horror and outrage. "How could you say that?! Megla is my sister! I will not leave her behind, synthmind!" "You will follow my orders," Umi replies. The synthmind's tone becomes noticeably colder than before. "The Admiral's survival is my top priority. The sooner you bring him back-" "I'll bring the Admiral back as soon as possible!" Soren shouts, fury building in her chest. "But I will also rescue my sister and the Kessu first! Don't you dare try to stop me!" "Officer Mudrose. Your conduct is unbecoming-" "Shut up!" Soren shouts, her voice becoming increasingly venomous. She slows to a stop beside the Admiral's unmoving body and grits her teeth. "Not another damned word! If you think I don't know how critical the Admiral's condition is, you've got another thing coming! Now, how can I bring him along with me safely? I'm liable to crush him to death if I'm not careful." Umi falls silent for several seconds, as if calculating a response. When she does reply, her tone is noticeably more curt than before. "Before you entered the Titan-class Battlesuit, you also obtained numerous auxiliary attachments. One of those is the Temporary Medical Stasis Device. The TMSD will envelop the Admiral in a protective force-field. Place him inside and it will temporarily preserve his vitals as they are now. However, this effect will only last for thirty minutes." One of the magnetically attached devices on Soren's Battlesuit glows with a golden hue thanks to her HUD. She grabs the circular object, activates it with a command, and places it on the Admiral's chest. A faint blue film rapidly envelops the Terran's body, sealing him in its protective embrace. Moments later, he levitates into the air, and an invisible 'chain' of energy connects him to the Battlesuit's torso. "Once again," Umi says, "I must demand that you return to the Bloodbearer at once. The Admiral's life is incomparably valuable. If he perishes, it will mean the extinction of his entire species." Soren hesitates. "...You think I don't know that? If I could, I would! No matter what, I'm not going to leave my sister down here! End of discussion." Soren starts stomping in the direction of Megla and the Kessu, following the general direction of their vital signs. As she does, Umi beeps with disappointment. "Originally, I calculated that you would be an officer who prioritized logic over petty emotions." "I never expected myself to act this way either," Soren retorts. "But now that I've made the choice, I'll never regret it. Logic is irrelevant once my family's safety is at stake!" "...In that regard, I suppose Admiral Rodriguez would commend you. By all accounts, were your roles switched, I am 100% certain he would make the same choice." Soren snorts. "Good. That's the nicest thing you've said all day." ....................................... A few miles away, inside the tucked-away Kessu cave. Megla hovers over little Lele's shoulder, wringing her claws together. "Come on, hurry up! What's taking you so long?" Lele, still disassembling Megla's rifle into a new device, releases a long meow of annoyance. "Mraaaaw! Every time you ask, you slow me down, scale-face! Just be quiet and let me focus, jeez!" The yellow-scaled Kraktol flicks her eyes around the room. Already, her eyes seem to be playing tricks on her, as the flickering shadows appear to slowly move around, bit by bit. Like pitch-black lava lamps, dozens of 'shadow globs' slowly float across the ceiling, making Megla feel extremely uneasy. I swear to the galaxies, it feels like a bunch of creepy monsters are looking at me! Are those the Shades that little furball mentioned? Augh! If this brat is trying to prank me, I'll shave her fur and dunk her in a bath! Megla listens intently, but no matter how she strains, she doesn't hear the sounds of combat outside. Her nerves tighten more and more every second. Is the Admiral okay? Maybe he escaped! Yeah. He'll leave and come back with a... with a rescue thingy! Yeah! He wouldn't just leave us here, would he? Oh, gosh, I hope he didn't lose the battle! He has to be okay, he just has to! "Kyargh! Hurry up, fuzz-brain!" Megla hisses. "I have a terrible feeling something bad is about to happen!" Hardly have the words left Megla's mouth, before a shudder goes down her spine. She whirls around and screams in a shrill, terror-stricken voice. "Eeeeyaaah!!!" Behind her, on the wall, a gigantic face comprised entirely of shadow smiles at her, its creepy and sinister expression revealing nothing but delight in her squeamishness. "Ehehehe!" The face cackles. "Listen to that delightful scream! You seem to be afraid of little old 'us,' you pretty little reptile. What's the matter? Do we scare you?" The face increases in size, swallowing up the entire sidewall. Megla loses her footing and falls to the ground, panic pulsing through her veins. The Kessu behind her appear to be even worse condition, with all of the children having fainted from terror, and Baaru simply unable to move. The Matriarch's legs tremble and shake, while her knees knock together. "Sh-shadow monster! Mreeooww!! Hiss!" All of Baaru's fur stands on end. She hunches down low and raises her claws as if to attack, but it only takes one look at her expression to see she wants nothing more than to flee. Even Lele's father, Ruuki, barely manages to hold it together. His teeth click together as he trembles and chatters nervously. "Maaoww! I do not like this! No, no, not one bit!" As the Shade, Yama, indulges in his twisted fear fetish, his expression sours slightly. In between all of the frightened and screaming Kessu and Megla, one creature remains completely impassive to his presence. Little Lele continues to tinker away with her Hypo-spanner, slowly building what looks like a radio antenna with a tripod base. The barrel of Megla's old rifle points straight up in the air, and the whole thing only stands about one and a half feet tall. Yama frowns. "Hmm. Why is this child not cowering in fear? What a brave little girl! Perhaps she has not yet noticed our majesty and splendor!" Lele raises her head for a moment. She glances behind herself at the horrifying face on the wall. After staring at it for a moment, she returns to what she was doing, her expression not changing in the slightest. Her reaction appears about as startled or impressed as if a leaf had blown past her face. The Emperor of Shadows begins to feel annoyed. He doesn't draw any nearer, due to Megla's glowing force-field, but he skirts around the battlefield, his gigantic head continuing to swallow up the walls. "You there! Little girl! Did your parents not teach you to look at your elders when they talked to you?!" Bzzt, brrt. Lele continues to quietly work on her little science project. "Sorry, can't. I'm busy right now." "B-busy?!" Yama sputters. Countless other Shades materialize on the walls around him, their expressions unsightly. "How dare you ignore us?! We have ruled this underground world for countless years! We have tortured and defiled countless females, making them scream in terror before succumbing to our power!" Rather than intimidating and scaring Lele, the Shade Emperor's words have the opposite effect. She glances at his shadow for a moment and snorts. "Oh, geez. What a dumb, poopy-looking shadow! Look at the big, scary guy, picking on little girls and women. You're just a stupid, weak little bully. You're not scary at all!" Lele's words make the other Kessu jump in alarm. Ruuki quickly drops down and presses his paw against her mouth. "What are you saying?! This shadow is about to kill us all! Didn't you hear what he did to the other Kessu?! We're in dire straits, sweet child of mine!" "Hahaha, well spoken!" Yama cackles. "You should be afraid, large male! We are going to tie your females down, violate them endlessly, make them beg for death, and then convert them to our harem! As for the males, we will flay the skin off their bones and feed their blood to our wargs! Your pain has only just begun!!" Lele rolls her eyes. She pulls her father's paw off her mouth. "You don't scare me. If you were a real man, you'd wait one minute and fifteen seconds for me to finish my Discombobulating Tickle Poker. Too bad you're even more of a scaredy-cat than my daddy." "What?! You insolent little brat! How dare you insult this Emperor's majesty! Do you think we are afraid of a tiny little baby like you?!" "I dunno. Are you?" Even as Lele talks, she continues to screw and weld pieces into place, slowly finishing her assembly of whatever device she happens to be working on. Megla's fear subsides somewhat, and a thought forms in the back of her mind as she notices how the conversation has shifted. The furball is oddly confident. Could it be? Does she really have some means to hurt or kill these Shades? A flash of light appears in the Kraktol's eyes. She stands up a little taller and presses her fists against her waist. "Kyargh! Well said, little furball! Hahaha! How could I be so blind? It's no wonder this shadow-blob taunts us from a distance! He's too scared of us to let you finish your infamous Tickle Poker! Even the weakest males of the Kraktol wouldn't be afraid of a few tiny little cats and women! This so-called 'Emperor' is truly nothing in my eyes!" Yama hesitates. The Shadow Emperor glowers at Megla with the rage of a thousand charging bulls. "Shut your mouth, woman! Soon, we'll have you screaming and begging for mercy!" "Sure, sure," Megla says, slowly building back her confidence. "I'm not denying you can and you will. But does it matter? If all you can do is bully the weak, then you aren't worth a drop of my spit. My Admiral is a thousand times the man you will ever be!" At these words, the Shadow Emperor's unsightly expression shifts dramatically. Once again, his confidence comes roaring back, along with a sinister grin. "Hehehe. Your Admiral, hm? Haven't you noticed yet, worthless woman? We have defeated him! He's all but dead now, a meat puppet in our claws! We defeated that fleshbag, and now we have come for you! Tremble and despair, for no matter how you taunt this Emperor, you cannot leave here as anything but our helpless pet!" Megla's expression sinks. Indeed, Yama's words have the intended effect, making her heartbeat slow to a stop. "W-what? You... you beat the Admiral?! No! That's not possible! The Admiral... he's invincible! You can't possibly...!" "Hehehe, we can, and we have! This Emperor crushed the fleshbag with relative ease. He killed a few minor members of our harem, but it matters not! Now that he has fallen, nobody can save you! Nobody!!" As Yama brags, Lele's paws move with ruthless efficiency. She slides the last bolt into place on her 'Discombobulating Tickle Device' and nods with satisfaction. "Okay, done! You can die now!" Without hesitation, Lele jumps to her feet while ignoring the Emperor's cackling. She lifts the odd antenna-shaped device over her head and presses a button on its underside, causing it to vibrate and build up power. Click, whirrrrrrrr... Yama stops laughing. The Shade Emperor immediately looks at the device in Lele's hands with confusion. "Hm? Die? Wahaha! Does this silly baby think she can tickle us to death?! This Emperor has heard many jokes in our life, but none have been as funny as this!" "It's not a tickling device, you dummy," Lele says, her voice cold. "It's a weapon. And you let me build it." At that moment, a faint ball of light appears atop the antenna. Fwip! The light-orb instantly fires upward and slams against the ceiling. FWEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! A high-pitched noise erupts underground, like a thousand banshees uttering their dying screams. At the same time, the luminous orb detonates, bathing the cave with an astonishingly bright light, one which mirrors the beginning of creation. "EEEEYAAAAARGHHHH!!" Yama, the haughty Emperor of Shadows, screams in agony as the scorching brightness bathes him for 1.34 seconds, irradiating not only him, but all of the Shades present with the lethal cosmic rays. They instantly lose their formlessness, explode into smoke, and reform a moment later as biped-shaped creatures of varying species, landing on the floor to crawl around and scream in pain. "Aaaargh! You little BITCH!! This Emperor will kill you!!" Yama screams incoherently, only managing to put his body together after a few more seconds. Meanwhile, other than the sudden brightness forcing Megla and the Kessu to quickly cover their eyes, they don't suffer any harm at all. The Kraktol quickly swivels to face the enemies around her, looking at them with astonishment. "What?! Furball, you did this?!" "Mhm," Lele answers, shrugging nonchalantly. "No biggie. Oh hey, shadow-bully! Here's another." Click, whirrrrrrrr... The antenna rapidly builds up energy for another ball of light, making the Shadow Emperor become livid. He recoils in horror and flees to the furthest point in the room, but in his heart of hearts, he knows he cannot hide from that all-encompassing light. "No, please! Aahhh! Have mercy! The light burns us! We do not like it, not one bit!" "Too bad!" Lele laughs. "Like my Aunt Lorrie always says... if someone's gonna hurt me or my daddy, I have to hurt them first! Now die, please!" The orb atop the antenna fires once again. It instantly strikes the roof and detonates into another light-blast of god-like intensity. "AAAAAHHHHHH!!" Yama screams once again, along with all the other members of his harem. This time, when the light recedes, two of his Shades explode into smoke and don't reappear. The rest flee the room as quickly as they can, skirting around the edges to avoid Megla's glowing Survival Suit. Yama joins them in his flight, his last panicked words being, "Y-you'll regret this, little girl! You'll regret this!!" ... A moment later, the cave falls silent. Lele glances at Megla. "Okay! We can leave now. Let's go find Big Baldy!" Megla sighs. "Alright. You got me. You're not bad, kid." "Thanks!" ....................................... Author Note: If you enjoy what you've just read, please consider subscribing to my Patreon! I am very poor and presently jobless due to Coronavirus, so every dollar helps. You get access to Cryopod artwork, and plenty of other exclusive posts, with more to come soon. Also consider reading The Cryopod to Hell, the primary story in the Cryoverse! I'll be returning to TCTH for the next week or two after this TLP part. Both stories are part of the Cryoverse, so they're deeply interlinked. You don't wanna miss them! Thank you!
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Strengths and Weaknesses of the 4-3-3 System - YouTube
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