2013 dodge ram 1500 seat covers
Let me just run a car auction in a Target parking lot
2023.05.30 17:09 BessieVargas Let me just run a car auction in a Target parking lot
2023.05.30 11:23 AmIFromA A quick comparison of the stadiums the Bundesliga loses due to relegation (Olympiastadion Berlin, Veltins Arena auf Schalke) and adds due to promotion (Voith Arena Heidenheim, Böllenfalltor Darmstadt)
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2023.05.30 10:46 godiagshop Godiag GD801 Newest Car List (IMMO+ Odometer)
| || |Godiag GD801 Full Version submitted by godiagshop to u/godiagshop [link] [comments]
has updated the car models for key programming and odometer correction in May. Here shares the newest car list for customers to free download. https://preview.redd.it/d7eaqwa4mx2b1.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=95301b449c45a7dced149bd3335bde3a4c362c49 Godiag GD801 Update Info (2023-05-05):
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2023.05.30 07:26 Aliceyua Fairy Tail Collab - Review
🐉 Credits for Sakuya Release & Fairy Tail Rerun
Sakuya Review - <@910463974817005568> New Legend of the Forbidden Ninja Scroll Act 2 Equipment Info & Review - <@98761877273731072>
Natsu Review - <@98761877273731072> Lucy Review - <@767775211977179166> Gray Review - <@372743358847778816> Erza Review - <@361664519736524801> Fairy Tail Gacha and Farmable Equipment Info & Review - <@574197337732284416> _ _ Born as a Human, raised by a Dragon, and [Redacted]
diff - Natsu - Fire, Demon
- 6706 +999 ATK
- 3022 +463 DEF
- 2822 +433
12s CT - 1900% Fire DMG (PHY). For 8s, reduce Enemies' DMG RES by 10%. 400 BREAK ～～～ Nice little DMG RES debuff, nothing noteworthy but not entirely redundant as well.
27000% Fire DMG (PHY). For 25s, increase own ATK by 100% and reduce Enemies' Burn RES by 50%. 1100 BREAK ～～～ A long-lasting ATK buff and Burn RES debuff. Additionally, the Burn RES debuff can be helpful when paired with his True Arts for enemies with innate Burn RES. Otherwise, his Arts will generally not see use for most situations.
68000% Fire DMG (PHY). 100% chance of inflicting Burn. For 20s, Allies ignore 100% of Enemies' DEF. 1800 BREAK ～～～ What’s there not to like about a decent DMG multiplier with teamwide DEF Ignore buff. One of the few units in the game, as well as the only Fire unit able to give teamwide DEF Ignore. Furthermore, the 100% chance to inflict Burn synergises particularly well with one of his passives, which will be covered below.
ABILITIES When own HP is above 70%, increase own Arts by 3/s, Freeze and Paralysis RES by 100%.
～～～ Amazing passive 3 arts/s generation as well as a nice 100% RES to both Freeze and Paralysis at the cost of keeping Natsu above 70% HP. With heals or barriers in the team, Natsu should rarely fall below this threshold and should be able to take full advantage of this passive. Increase BE generation by 10%.
～～～ Nothing much to say here, a nice BE boost, although its impact is usually negligible. Increase own DMG by 100% against Burnt Enemies.
～～～ Sheeesh~ That’s a significant DMG buff against Burning enemies. As stated earlier, most enemies won’t have innate Burn RES and can be burned by Natsu’s True Arts, allowing Natsu to gain a substantial 100% DMG buff against the Burned enemies.
x1 Fragment of Flogassa
SLOTS Newer players are considered to be those who joined during the rerun of Fairy Tail collab and onwards 5☆ <:lbphys:650796348194422823>
Newer Players Relic “Radeus”
["The Glowing Sanctuary" (Fosradius) Giant Boss Farmable] Harusame
[Shaman King Equipment Banner]
Natsu’s Scarf [Fairy Tail Event Farmable] Natsu’s Clothes
[Fairy Tail Equipment Banner] Erza’s Sword
[Fairy Tail Equipment Banner]
Optimal Harusame True “IZANAGI”
[Sakura Mira True Weapon] Izumi no Kami Kanesada
[Golden Kamuy Equipment Banner]
Cursed Light Sword “Anestra” [Auge Raid Boss Drop] Type-30 Bayonet
[Golden Kamuy Equipment Banner] Angelas’ Royal Dress
[Halloween Equipment Banner] Rishley’s Sunset Bikini
[Summer Equipment Banner] True "Drago La’cryma”
[Angelas True Weapon] Dragon Knuckle EX
[TenSura Equipment Banner] ～～～ For general use, stick to ArtGen equipment. For nuking, use regular buff/debuff equips that affects Physical/Fire DMG. 5☆ <:lbphys:650796348194422823> Same as above. 4☆ <:lbmag:650796593276256266> Due to the lack of many good 4☆ <:lbmag:650796593276256266> equipment, the slot is flexible for most situations.
Being one of the few units and the only Fire unit able to provide teamwide DEF Ignore in the game, Natsu is definitely by no means a useless unit. Although stages which require DEF Ignore are few and far between, he can still act as a competent DPS unit with his high True Arts DMG multiplier paired with his passive significantly increasing DMG against Burning enemies. Moreover, he is able to passively gain Arts from simply being above 70% HP, which isn’t very difficult to maintain, allowing him to perform well in sustained fights. _ _ Juicy Lucy!
fix Lucy Light, Human
- 6680 +999 ATK
- 2950 +492 DEF
- 2663 +409
12s CT - 1500% Light DMG (PHY). For 8s, reduce Enemies' ATK by 10%. 300 BREAK ～～～ Not much here, the ATK debuff can help with survivability but not very impactful overall.
15000% Water DMG (MAG). Permanently increase allies' Magic DMG by 30% (stackable, up to 150%). 800 BREAK ～～～ Damage is typical for a NA, but also gives a teamwide permanent, stackable buff. It is only for magic damage, encouraging the use of magic-oriented units, though in the worst case scenario, she will give herself a permanent buff at the very least. Using Lucy in conjunction with other sources of artgen can allow her to use her NA 5 times to increase the whole team’s magic damage output by 150%, which is quite substantial. Note that this arts deals Water damage, despite Lucy being a Light unit. This can be helpful if bosses somehow negate or resist light damage, but it generally won't matter much.
50000% Light DMG (MAG). For 20s, increase Allies' Critical Rate by 100% + Increase Allies' Arts by [1 × # of Light Allies in the party]/s. 1600 BREAK Note: This unit's Arts Gen is Type E and will not stack with other Type E Arts Gen. More info can be found in the ... artsgen command.
～～～ Decent multiplier for a support unit, but the most important aspect of Lucy’s TA is that it is currently the only light unit that both gives a teamwide crit rate of 100% while simultaneously supplying arts to the team. The only caveat is that Lucy has to be used in a team with at least 3 light units, and preferably mono-light, for her ArtsGen to be relevant.
ABILITIES When own HP is above 80%, increase ATK and DMG by 50%.
～～～ Light tends to have great healers and tanks, so it is not unrealistic to keep Lucy at high HP most of the time. The reward for keeping her HP close to max is a sizable buff to both ATK and DMG.
_ _ Increase DMG to Dark Enemies by 20%.
～～～ Another buff that, while situational, can be relevant against dark enemies which normally abound in the game. Increase own Arts by 2 for every 10% of max HP lost.
～～～ Seems nice in theory, but in practice, she will gain too few arts from this passive to be significant, as she would need to take 5 times her max HP in damage to gain 100 arts.
x1 Fragment of Radachne
SLOTS Newer players are considered to be those who joined during the rerun of Fairy Tail collab and onwards
Newer Players Magical Hat “Akashic Eye”
[Freedom Fighters: "Last Wishes Passed to the Future" (Grohl & Onfuan) Side Story Farmable] Celestial Gate Key
[Fairy Tail Crossover Equipment Banner]
Optimal Victoire’s Catsuit
[Halloween Equipment Banner] True “Exceed Zechs”
[Dark Zeorg True Weapon] Magical Hat “Akashic Eye” Dark Blade “Exceed Zechs”
[“The Hero and the Cursed Sword” (Dark Zeorg) Event Farmable] True “Proscris”
[Diaz True Weapon] ～～～ Nothing out of the ordinary, fill this slot with ArtGen in most circumstances.
Newer Players Lucy’s Clothes
[Fairy Tail Crossover Equipment Banner] Magisteel-Toe Boots
[Phantom Snipers: Episode 1 (Hart) Side Story Farmable] Lesser Demonheart
[General Equipment Banners]
Optimal Lucy’s Clothes
[Fairy Tail Crossover Equipment Banner] Liza’s Smart Skirt
[Halloween Equipment Banner] Fight Club Goku Uniform”
[Kill La Kill Crossover Equipment Banner] Santa Liza, Seeking Wisdom
[Christmas Equipment Banner] Sacred “Silent Treasure”
[Mines Farmable] Any 4+ aps teamwide artgen equip
～～～ Fill this slot with the artgen equip that yields the most arts per second available, and preferably a teamwide artgen equip.
Newer Players Shako of Aspiration "Betzfald"
[Cross the Blaze Part 7 equip] Flower Cane Irurose
[General Equipment Banner] Relic “Force Keratos”
[“Glowing Sanctuary” (Fosradius) Giant Boss Farmable]
Optimal Puck's Pouch
[Re:Zero Crossover Equipment Banner] Shako of Aspiration "Betzfald"
[Cross the Blaze Part 7 equip] Flower Cane Irurose
[General Equipment Banner] Relic “Force Keratos”
[“Glowing Sanctuary” (Fosradius) Giant Boss Farmable] Holy Night of Fenrir
[Christmas Event Farmable] Flexible
～～～ Fill this slot with the most potent healing available, or either cleanse or revive when needed.
Lucy does not hide the fact that she is fairly limited to mono-light teams (or teams with 3 light units at the very least). However, she is a strong support for mono-light teams, being capable of permanently ramping the team’s Magic damage with repeated NAs, or contributing to team artgen. Her role is quite obvious and a bit limited compared to the collab’s other units, but she fulfills that role in outstanding fashion. _ _ Have you seen my shirt? I swear I left it right here...
diff Gray Water, Human
- 6677 +999 ATK
- 2999 +459 DEF
- 2859 +438
12s CT - 1800% Water DMG (PHY). For 7s, increase own accuracy by 20%. 400 BREAK ～～～ Nothing major to note about, the minor acccuracy buff is appreciated when needed.
22000% Water DMG (PHY). Permanently increase Allies' PHY DMG by 30% (up to 150%). 800 BREAK ～～～ Coupled with his passive, this allows Gray to increase the team's PHY DMG, including himself in quests with many prestages, making him very useful as a mob clearer.
50000% Water DMG (PHY). For 20s, increase own DMG by 100%. If used for the first time of the Quest, increase Allies' Arts by 70. 1800 BREAK ～～～ Another great DMG buff, albiet selfish this time, to burn down the boss after clearing all those prestages. The added first time effect of a massive 70 arts boost to the team helps if anyone is falling behind on arts when they reach the boss, something that Gray likely won't have issues with given his unique passive.
ABILITIES At the start of a Battle, increase own Arts by own Luck.
～～～ The bread and butter of what makes Gray such a good farming unit. When he's maxed at 120 luck, that allows him to use Arts immediately at the start of each battle without having to rely on any BE or equips. With enough prestages, it'll give him a use of True Arts for free. Increase Water RES by 10%.
～～～ The very minor resistance to Water is appreciated, but I don't think it'll make a difference very much. Increase Freeze RES by 50%.
～～～ Once again appreciated to protect him from freeze, but it's basically a coinflip as to if he gets frozen.
x1 Fragment of Freydal
SLOTS Newer players are considered to be those who joined during the rerun of Fairy Tail collab and onwards
Newer Players Relic “Radeus”
["The Glowing Sanctuary" (Fosradius) Giant Boss Farmable]
Optimal True “IZANAGI”
[Sakura Mira True Weapon] Izumi no Kami Kanesada
[Golden Kamuy Equipment Banner] True “Efkeria”
[Fen True Weapon] Cursed Light Sword “Anestra”
[Auge Raid Boss Drop] ～～～ Snippity Snips
[Kill La Kill Equipment Banner] True “Saint Blaze”
[Nies True Weapon] Silent Summonstone
[“Faith in the Stars” (Ifrit & Palamicia) Event Farmable] Rishley’s Sunset Bikini
[Summer Equipment Banner] Gray's Sword
[Fairy Tale Equipment Banner] ～～～ The usual ArtGen or nuking equips depending on what you're up to.
5☆ <:lbphys:650796348194422823> Same as above.
Newer Players Gray's Necklace
[Fairy Tale Equipment Banner] Relic “Volkans”
[“Trials of the Flame God” (Ifrit) Giant Boss Farmable] Gun Sword “Bray Cannon”
[“Weapon with a Heart” (Vicious) Trial Event Farmable]
Optimal Hatred Claws “Grief”
[Subject-β3 Mines Boss Drop] Blaze Coil “Annulus”
[Garm Mines Boss Drop] Dark Armor “Evil Death”
[“The Hero and the Cursed Sword” (Dark Zeorg) Event Farmable] Gray's Necklace Relic “Volkans”
～～～ Gun Sword “Bray Cannon”
[“Weapon with a Heart” (Vicious) Trial Event Farmable] Dark Armor “Evil Death”
[“The Hero and the Cursed Sword” (Dark Zeorg) Event Farmable] ～～～ Without Grief, the best you can do here is some ATK or DMG buffs.
Gray comes swinging at farm teams as an effective upgrade to Kazuma from Yu Yu Hakusho. As a Luck unit, he excels at not only clearing waves, but also providing teamwide Arts (for the first time), and even as a decent DPS/Buffer. He provides excellent damage buffs to himself and to the team, with very offensive slots to help in full luck nukes. With all that said, he serves as one of the best Luck units in the game, period. _ _ Boobs.
STATS** HP - 6696 +999 ATK - 3105 +475 DEF - 2780 +427 **SKILL** 12s CT - 2000% Light DMG (PHY). For 8s, increase own DMG by 10%. 900 BREAK ～～～ Being a small boost to begin with, 10% is a mere droplet in such a large pool of DMG Up buffs provided by Erza's True Arts. **ARTS** 20000% Light DMG (PHY). For 20s, increase own ATK by 50% and reduce enemies' evasion 30%. 1200 BREAK ～～～ While a 50% ATK boost is pretty decent, you'll mostly just be using Erza's True Arts for the more favorable boosts in damage output and also how you'd want to use her True Arts consecutively to ramp the damage up. However, coupled with accuracy buffs, the 30% evasion debuff can come in handy against highly evasive bosses. **TRUE ARTS 70000% Light DMG (PHY). For 15s, reduce enemies' Light Resistance by 40% and increase own Critical DMG by [60% × # of times this True Arts has been activated, up to 300%]. 1600 BREAK ～～～ Huge multiplier, potent resistance debuff, and increasingly large DMG up buffs. With passive critical rate as the cherry on top, it will hit harder than a truck searching for isekai victims. Furthermore, it will get more powerful after each use (effects max out at 5 uses, of course). Even without ramping, her True Arts can already unleash a huge amount of damage and provide great damage support for light damage dealers with herself included.
ABILITIES When own HP is above 90%, increase own Arts gauge by 4/s. Additionally, increase own Critical Rate by 100% if unafflicted by Status Ailments ～～～ A key component of her kit, this passive is something you'll want to maintain in order for Erza perform her utmost best as a DPS unit. The automatic Arts gauge generation will help greatly in stacking up her DMG buffs, and the innate critical rate boost will ensure maximal damage against enemies with high defense. Against foes with critical resistance, you can bring an additional critical rate boost to land critical hits, assuming that the enemies don't have a resistance value substantially higher than 100% (in which case, you'll bring DEF ignore).
Increase own Light Resistance by 10%.
～～～ The value is pretty negligible, and it's especially so since Erza's not redirecting damage or anything.
Increase own Paralysis Resistance by 50%.
～～～ Being a mere 50%, Erza might occasionally dodge paralysis, but this would mostly reduce the paralysis duration by a bit. Not really special/important to Erza's kit, and you could always just bring a defense item to deal with various kinds of ailments.
MATERIALS x1 Fragment of Fosradius
SLOTS** Newer players are considered to be those who joined during the rerun of Fairy Tail collab and onwards 5☆ <:lbphys:650796348194422823> Newer Players Relic “Radeus” ["The Glowing Sanctuary" (Fosradius) Giant Boss Farmable] Optimal **True “IZANAGI” [Sakura Mira's True Weapon] Izumi no Kami Kanesada [Golden Kamuy Equipment Banner] Hiei’s Sword [Yu Yu Hakusho Equipment Banner] ～～～ True "Velocity" [Noel's True Weapon] MorNyan Star [A Tail of Mystery (Detective Liese) Event Farmable] True "Drago La'cryma" [Angelas's True Weapon] Rishley’s Sunset Bikini [Summer Equipment Banner] Gem of Ragsherum’s Grudge ["Revenge of the Cursed Armor" (Ragsherum) Event Farmable] Godzilla Earth [Godzilla Equipment Banner] ～～～ Typically bring Arts gauge generation, or bring DMG buffs or resistance debuffs for nuking. _ _
5☆ <:lbdef:650797237286338589> Newer Players Relic "Logislett" [“Trials of the Flame God” (Ifrit) Giant Boss Farmable] Guild Flag [Fairy Tail Equipment Banner] Erza's Armor [Fairy Tail Part 2 Event Farmable] Optimal True "Flambardo" [Sanstone's True Equipment] Iris's Change of Pace [Summer Equipment Banner] Flexible ～～～ Use your best damage mitigating equipment. For nuking specifically, you'll usually bring teamwide ATK boosting items. 5☆ <:lbphys:650796348194422823> Same recommendations as the first slot ～～～ Typically bring Arts gauge generation, or bring DMG buffs or resistance debuffs for nuking. Make sure it stacks or doesn't come into conflict with other items.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS Erza can already unleash a great amount of damage on the initial True Arts, and she can increase her damage output until she caps out at a total of five True Arts uses. As such, she can serve as an excellent DPS unit for most content, whether the stage is short or long. The conditions on her passive seem kind of strict, but it ultimately isn't an issue for lengthier content (where it will matter most for her kit) since you're always expected to bring a healer for those kinds of stages anyway. And unlike most ramping DPS units, she doesn't need too much to get the ball rolling, and there aren't really any disadvantages that would deter her usage in general content as she would already be able to deal more than satisfactory damage from the get-go without hassles like stacking Normal Arts or severe health drain. For nuking, she can provide pretty good damage support, boasting a potent Light Resistance debuff and two 5-star physical slots that could fit more debuffs or buffs to further enhance the team's damage output while also dishing out a fairly large amount of damage herself. As a side note, her innate critical rate and ability to hold fast, hard-hitting weapons like True Grand Destin may be of use for clearing some mob stages on auto (or just in general). _ _
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to grandsummoners [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 07:02 vren55 [A Fractured Song] - Chapter 189 - Fantasy, Isekai (Portal Fantasy), Adventure
Cover Art! Just because you’re transported to another world, doesn’t mean you’ll escape from your pain.
Abused by her parents, thirteen-year-old Frances only wants to be safe and for her life not to hurt so much. And when she and her class are transported to the magical world of Durannon to fight the monsters invading the human kingdoms and defeat the self-titled Demon King, Frances is presented with a golden opportunity. If she succeeds, Frances will have the home she never had. If she fails, Frances will be summoned back to the home she escaped.
Yet, despite her newfound magic and friends, Frances finds that trauma is not so easily lost. She is dogged by her abuse and its physical and invisible scars. Not only does she have to learn magic, she has to survive the nightmares of her past, and wrestle with her feelings of doubt and self-loathing.
If she can heal from her trauma, though, she might be able to defeat the Demon King and maybe, just maybe, she can find a home for herself. Teaser: The Traditionalists last stand...
] [<=Chapter 188
] [Chapter Index and Blurb
] [Chapter 189 on June 5 or now on patreon
] The Fractured Song Index Discord Channel
Just let me know when you arrive in the server that you’re a Patreon so you can access your special channel. The first sign that something wasn’t quite the same about the Greenway was when Frances, Timur and their company spotted horsemen in the far distance. They would have assumed this was Thorgoth’s scouts, but these horsemen retreated toward the Greenway and entered into the broken fortifications.
So the group entered into the Greenway fully armored and armed, ready for a fight. They rode into the underground highway, travelled for a full second day and saw nothing the matter.
Then they entered Kairon Aoun.
The ancient goblin city of Kairon Aoun had been built as a defensive city facing north. As such, the city in the great cavern it was carved out of was stepped into four tiers. To access each of the levels, the attacker would have to fight their way up a ramp that ran up the side of the rammed-earth foundation of each tier.
Every tier’s edge was also faced with a brick curtain wall with machicolations built into the ramparts. This was so that stones and other objects could be dropped, wherein they would fall down the steeply stoped sides and slam into the attackers. Many of these ramparts had fallen into disrepair when Morgan, Hattie and Frances had last passed through here.
Except, the moment Frances and her company rode through the Greenway and into the city, they could see it was alive with activity. New ramparts were being built atop of the old. In the distance, they could see old houses had been demolished and cannon batteries had been set up. Holes in the walls were being patched.
“What’s even lighting this whole thing?” Tara whispered.
Morgan pointed at the ceiling. “The ventilation shafts provide some light. I’m not sure how they ended up lighting the entire place up, though.”
“Combination of mirrors through said shafts and a goodly amount of torches,” said Timur. He glanced at Frances. “Did you know about this?”
“No I did not, let’s hope they recognize us as friendly. Colonel Tara, we’ll take the lead,” said Frances, touching her heels to her horse.
The gatehouse on the lowest level, which was protected by a low, thick wall, now swung open and a wing of cavalry rode out, Erisdalian and Lightning Battalion standards flying high.
Timur immediately recognized the troll that lead the group. “Aloudin! It’s me! We’re back!”
Captain Aloudin, eyes wide, broke his horse into a gallop. Riding ahead of the cavalry, he only stopped so that he could slap his hand into Timur’s. “Your Highness, it is good to see you. Though, you really ought not to take such risks! Who are these new arrivals?”
The prince chuckled, squeezing his friend’s hand tightly. “One of those rumored orphan brigades who decided to defect.” Timur gestured behind him. “This is Colonel Tara, who risked her life along with her troops to help us escape.”
Riding up, Tara unsheathed her saber, which she presented it to Aloudin, only for the troll to gently push it back to her.
“There’s no need for that, Colonel. We do things quite differently around here.”
Tara sighed, returning her blade to her scabbard. “I’m beginning to see that. Makes me wonder why I didn’t try to leave earlier.”
“The first step is always the hardest,” said Frances. She shook Aloudin’s hand as well. “What’s going on here, Aloudin? I know our long term goal was to fortify Kairon-Aoun, but we hadn’t the manpower to spare.”
The captain pursed his lips before they twisted into something between a grimace and a smirk. “We got some important news and new orders. I’ll show you. Follow me.”
One thing that Ayax and Elizabeth hadn’t accounted for when they ran up into the attic was the lack of a water source, and any way to dispose of waste.
So by the next day of their hiding, the trio stuck in the attack were wearing cloth masks, thirsty as hell, and hoping the odor wasn’t going to alert anybody.
“This shit stinks,” Leila growled.
Elizabeth touched a hand to Leila’s cheek. The girl’s color had returned and after some very reluctant healing by Ayax, she was now able to sit up. “You’re right, but I think you’re much better now.”
“I feel better.” Leila staggered to her feet, pushing the covers off of her. “Does Janize know you found me?”
Ayax snorted. “We told her while you were napping. She’s pissed.” The troll walked over. “Do you think you’re ready to move?”
“I take it you’ve come up with something?” Leila asked.
Elizabeth pursed her lips. “Yes. You need to convince Janice we need to launch the attack now.”
“Excuse me what? Are you insane? We haven’t—” Leila rubbed her sweat-matted hair with her bandaged hands. “Wait, how long have I been captured?’
“ A week. You were out for one of those days,” said Ayax.
“Then you’re right. Darius will have to make a move now that he knows I’ve disappeared. Wait, Janize doesn’t—Of course she doens’t. She’s cautious by nature. Get her on the mirror right now!”
“You could use please,” said Elizabeth, handing Leila her mirror.
“Janize, there’s no time. You need to barricade yourself in a safe place with as many guards as possible, perhaps the throneroom and get the attack started by tonight.”
Frowning, the queen’s eyes narrowed as she stared at the mirror with a mixture of confusion. “Love, we haven’t finished preparing—”
“There’s no time! Darius and Scarlet know I’ve been rescued. They’ll attack as soon as they get everything in order because they know you can move to arrest them!” Leila put her hands up to the mirror. “Love, they’ll stop at nothing until you’re dead.”
Janize’s eyes widened and she whispered, “What did they—”
“It doesn’t matter, Janize. Please, you need to issue the orders now!”
The queen exhaled slowly. “Alright. Ayax, Elizabeth, are your forces in place?”
Elizabeth, relaxing a little, smiled. “Martin and Ginger found a way to get to the Water Tower and to deploy reinforcements into the palace. We still need your troops to ensure the Water Tower’s guns are silent and for the main gates of the citadel to be opened to us.”
“It will be done. How are you getting out of Darius’s mansion?” Janize asked.
“When the attack takes place we’ll break out and support the attack,” said Ayax, arms crossed.
Janize pursed her lips. “Then we are going for tonight?”
The three exchanged a glance and all nodded.
“Go for tonight,” said Elizabeth. “Good hunting.”
“Good hunting.” Janize leaned forward, peering intently through the mirror. “Leila, stay alive. No matter what they did to you, you’re still mine you hear me? I still want you by my side.”
Leila blinked. She blinked again furiously and pressed her bandaged hands to her eyes. “I…Janize, thank you.”
Janize smiled. “I love you, dear. See you soon.”
Ayax had turned from the exchange. When the mirror was shut off, she let out a long, shuddering exhale.
“You are terribly lucky to have her,” she said.
Standing up, Elizabeth took Ayax’s elbow, squeezing it gently. The troll placed a hand around Elizabeth’s side, hugging her tightly.
Leila could only bow her head. “I know.”
“Because I probably would have killed you if it weren’t for her,” hissed the troll. She swallowed. “And not because of our agreement.”
The Otherworlder looked up. “Why then?”
Biting her lip Ayax stammered, “I couldn’t kill someone who doesn’t want to hurt me when they have a loved one. There’s no…no justice in that.”
With that, Ayax walked to the corner of the attack. Elizabeth gave Leila a look. “When you’re ready, we ought to call George and the Otherworlders, give them a heads up and communicate our plans.” Elizabeth then ran after Ayax, interweaving her fingers with the troll. They left Leila standing in her corner, in her own thoughts.
Half-choking, her hate-filled grunts punctuated by hacking coughs, Jessica followed Ginger down the sewer.
“I hate you. I hate you so fucking much!” she hissed.
Half-gagging herself from the smell, Ginger glanced over her shoulder and shrugged. “Hey, I just suggested it to you. You wanted to help rescue Leila.”
Two middle-fingers was Jessica’s response along with a chuckle from the Erisdalians that were part of Jessica’s unit and new band of comrades.
Ginger joined them in their chuckling. She knew she could rely on Jessica and the rest of her group. Besides, their attack was going to be much easier than what her fiance was going to be doing up high.
Taking cover behind a slightly holed house, Martin examined the area in front of the citadel.
The Lightning Battalion’s batteries had been keeping up a very long barrage. Mortars and long cannon had pounded the makeshift defense line of houses on Castle Way. After hours of bombardment, they’d breached the line.
The result was flat, rubble-covered broken ground that led up to the moat in front of the citadel and main palace within. They had no hope of knocking down every house. Houses still stood on the flanks of the Citadel, covering the road that led up to the castle’s side gate. There were also a number of houses standing on the main approach, though, this actually was better for their plans. The remaining stone foundations of the houses and charred remains in the gap would be able to cover the advance.
The bigger problem was the walls in front of them were mostly intact and the gatehouse’s drawbridge was up. Their mages could cast smoke or illusion spells to screen their approach, but that would do no good if the drawbridge was still up and the gatehouse in enemy hands.
Martin breathed in and out slowly. No, they were entirely reliant on Janize keeping up her end of the bargain.
Sitting in the throne room, Janize steepled her fingers, eyes focused on the steps to the dais.
Was her decision correct? Was she making the right choice? Had she considered everything?
Those thoughts ran in her head as she studied the carpet. The sounds of her guards and knights preparing the throne room and ensuring the main entrance was secured echoed in her ear. Yet she did her best to ignore them.
If she went through with this, she knew she’d never sit on Erisdale’s throne again. Her brother would be the last to sit on the throne and then it would be House of Conthwaite, the house of a knight and later, his offspring with a common soldier.
How had it come to this? Why had she put herself here?
The image of a fierce Otherworlder came to mind, along with the litany of decisions she’d made. Siding with Darius, rejecting the Alavari as monsters, falling in love and then realizing where she’d gone wrong. The news of the dragons in Thorgoth’s employ.
Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe there was still hope. At the very least, she still had Leila.
The Otherworlder, George marched up to the dais and bowed. “Your Majesty, we’re ready to open the gates. The Water Tower’s received their orders.”
Janize sighed. “To think that there was a route to the citadel through the sewers.”
George chuckled. “At least we’re making them suffer for it.”
The queen pursed her lips. “Tell me, George. You fought against Ayax and Elizabeth at Lehrbach. You sided against them. All the Otherworlders here sided against them. Why are you willing to fight alongside them once again?”
The teen—no, young man looked away, towards the windows that lit the hall.
“I think after a year of fighting with Darius in earnest, we all realized we’d made a mistake. We’re not from your world, but we learnt enough in our own that this… what Darius was doing is wrong and no different from the worst villains from our world. We weren’t fighting Alavari, we were fighting other humans. We just…didn’t know what to do about it. So when you and Leila told us about the plan, and that we would have a chance to actually fight Thorgoth, to protect people from a world ending threat, we all jumped on it.”
Janize snorted. “You’re going to have a heck of a time convincing the other Otherworlders.”
George sighed. “We all know that, but hey, they are going to need us. I mean we are going to be fighting literal dragons.”
“That is true.” Janize closed her eyes and nodded. “Carry it out, George. Get those gates open and signal the Water Tower.”
George saluted. “Yes, Your Majesty. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.”
Through her spyglass, wrapped warmly in her bright orange cloak, the Erlenbergian mage, Ophelia Voidsailor watched the coast with her spyglass.
Despite the years Erlenberg had fought Alavaria along the northern front, and through all the naval battles on the eastern coast, Ophelia still wore orange. It’d become her calling card of sorts and she knew it gave the crew of her ship comfort to see her strut around. Honestly, she was getting a little tired of the color, but she liked the attention more.
Beside her, looking through his own spyglass, the one-eyed Eustace Windwhistler glanced at the sky. “It’s about time,” said Edana’s brother.
“I know—I see it!” Ophelia exclaimed. Before her eyes, the Water Tower, the main obstacle to the Erlenbergian fleets advance, had lowered the red banner of the traditionalist. A blue banner was being run up and more blue flares were being fired into the sky by some mage.
Eustace looked through his spyglass and nodded. “Signal to the fleet! Follow my lead. We are attacking!”
Flags ran up and down on the galloen Stormcaller, which had been named as such much to her namesake’s consternation and embarrassment. Behind Eustace and Ophelia’s warship, the long lineof Erlenbergian ships of the line ran flags up and down in acknowledgement. The entire line then followed the Stormcaller as it swung starboard toward the bay.
Underneath the Water Tower, Ginger found a ladder had been dropped into the sewer. Gingerly taking the rungs, she climbed up and was helped up by several red-uniformed harbour guardsmen. A petite woman with a musket slung over her shoulder handed Ginger a clean rag.
“Wow you stink, but I’m glad to see you. Captain Belinda of the Harbour Guard.”
“Ginger, yes, that Ginger. Are Darius’s troops reacting?”
“They are indeed. Several regiments have filed out of the Citadel and are making their way here as we speak. How many have you brought?” Belinda asked.
“A whole regiment of crack musketeers are behind me to help you secure the tower. The Erlenbergian fleet is landing marines. We’ll be fine, I’m just worried about the main assault,” said Ginger. She wiped her face and hands. “Show me the battlements. I’ll get my soldiers set up along with yours.”
“This way,” said Belinda, guiding Ginger out.
Ayax and Elizabeth silently crept down the drop-down attic stairs. Behind them, carrying a spare wand, Leila limped as quietly as she could. They could hear shouting in the mansion and the scurrying of people on the lower floors.
The trio paused to quickly grab a drink of water from a nearby pitcher left by the servants for any houseguests, before continuing on. From what they could tell, someone was having a heated discussion in the foye.
As they got closer to the staircase, they soon could figure out who.
“Janize is making her move and the Lightning Battalion must be close behind. The Erlenbergian fleet is moving in and the Water Tower is not firing on them.”
“There’s no need to panic—” “Scarlet, your fucking plan has accelerated Janize and the Lightning Battalion’s timetable! We’re fucked. We’re all probably dead.”
There was a sharp intake of breath. The three heard Scarlet growl, “Alright, I was…overly optimistic that the Lightning Battalion and Janize would split due to that report, but we only need to secure Janize and the Citadel and our position will still be quite strong.”
“I disagree, but Janize won’t have long. My troops led by Vulpina are converging on the throne room as we speak. Otherworlders or not, she can’t hold for long.” Darius chuckled dryly. “We might all die in the attempt to oust her, and hell she may be killed, but we won’t let her have the last laugh.”
Ayax turned to the two humans with her. “Liz, Leila, go. I’ll try to pin them down here.”
Elizabeth blinked. “Wait, but Ayax—”
“Liz, if we lose Janize, we’ll lose the civil war. You got to go.”
Elizabeth briefly closed her eyes and nodded. Grabbing onto Ayax, she drew her troll close to her and into a brief, fierce kiss. “Come back to me, alright?”
Ayax managed a smirk. “Always.”
Elizabeth turned to Leila. “Let’s go—what are you—” The Otherworlder had knelt on the ground her head bowed.
“Ayax, I’m sorry. I promise you can do whatever you want to me after you save Janize, but please, let me save her first,” said Leila, she lowered her head, but Ayax quickly grabbed her by the shirt and yanked her up. It was easy as the girl was still very light.
“This is not the time. I accept your promise, but we’ll talk later. Now go!” Ayax hissed.
Nodding, Elizabeth grabbed Leila and the pair took off in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, Ayax took a deep breath and walked up toward the balcony overlooking the foye.
Darius was pacing, whilst Scarlet was biting her finger, one hand gripped tightly around her staff.
“What if they breach the gatehouse?” Scarlet asked.
“There’s no way that force assembling outside can breach the gatehouse. They’ll need—”
“Earl Darius, Master Scarlet, I have waited a long time for this moment.” Ayax leaned casually against the railing, noting the fine, polished grain. “Do you know who I am?”
Darius, eyes staring up at her, took a step back. “Ayax the Blackgale.”
“Daughter of Allaniel the Valorous, who you had murdered,” Ayax hissed.
Scarlet ripped her heavy cloak off and gripped her staff in both hands, which had a number of rings on the fingers. Her eyes narrowed at Ayax. “So it was you who rescued Leila. I thought you would kill her.”
“You certainly tempted me, but she was just the instrument. It was you two who had my parents killed.” Raising her staff, Ayax growled. “Prepare to die.”
Scarlet waved the earl off. “Darius, go, deal with Janize. I can handle her.”
Darius arched an eyebrow even as he grabbed the main door’s handle. “Are you sure?”
Scarlet smirked. “She’s no Frances Stormcaller. Just an angry little troll.”
“I’m a pissed off troll.” Ayax leapt over the railing, throwing several spell cards at Scarlet. The woman waved her hand, magical rings activating to form a barrier. The cards slammed into it, sparking and banging. It would have knocked her back, but the barrier dissipated the force.
No matter, Ayax landed nimbly on the carpet and whirling her staff, slammed it into Scarlet’s barrier. Darius had run for it, slamming the doors behind him. Ayaxs’s blow sent Scarlet smashing through those closed doors, nearly throwing her onto Darius.
The Red Order Mage picked herself off the grown, dusting off her robes. “Ah I see the familial resemblance now you monster. You and your adoptive ‘cousin’ are just fucking irritating.”
Ayax was about to quip back, but found herself pursing her lips as a thought ran through her head. “You know, if you were just a little nicer, just a bit more understanding, you could have gotten along with Frances. It’s really hard to not get along with her.”
Scarlet’s snarl faded and she grimaced. “She wouldn’t have been my student, but Edana’s. Now are you going to kill me, Blackgale, one of the people who helped murder your parents, or are you going to talk me to death?”
Ayax flinched, feeling the swirling vortex of power bubble in her very core as her fury sparked. At the same time, a serene, piercing idea just echoed through her head. It was not really a revelation, more of an observation she’d noticed about Leila, Darius and now Scarlet.
“You all are awfully insistent on dying. Why don’t you all just…give up? Live?” Ayax asked. The pair were circling now, ready to let loose with spells at any sign of weakness or an opening.
Scarlet snorted. “Would you let me and Darius live?”
Ayax paused, watching Scarlet continue to circle. When the troll didn’t move, only followed her with her eyes, the mage stopped and tried to circle in the other direction. Still Ayax didn’t move, she just remained still, staff at the ready.
“If you all surrendered and submitted to a trial, I would,” said Ayax. There was still turmoil, rage, roiling in her heart. Yet, she was starting to feel another emotion that calmed her, despite how odd it felt.
The Red Order Mage blinked, before she sneered. “Then you are a naive fool.” She twirled her staff, the ends bursting into flame as she sang. Fireballs tore toward Ayax.
The troll dodged, not flamboyantly. She just stepped out of the way, shuffling and stepping from side to side. No fancy shielding required, no complicated jumps needed. Scarlet cast, and continued to cast. Whips of crimson magic were followed by cobblestones torn from the road. Ayax had to briefly block those with a quick shield, before twisting out of the way.
Shifting her grip on her staff, Ayax pulled her weapon to her side, as if she was drawing a sword. Crying out a string of Word of Powers, she whipped it across.
The staff suddenly extended, dark-blue magic lengthening it until a incredibly long, thin rod of magic crashed into Scarlet’s side. It sent her tumbling through a hedge and onto the lawn of Darius’s mansion.
Leaping over said hedgerow, Ayax rolled to a perfect landing on the other side. Scarlet had staggered to her feet, wiping blood from the scratches on her arm and face. She was already wincing as she touched her side.
Ayax thought she would be taking pleasure from this. Well, part of her was. She was happy she was kicking Scarlet’s butt. Yet, the part of her that was choosing to be calm, to think and be a good person felt an entirely different emotion.
Pity for how pointless this whole battle was, pity for how this woman and her allies had hurt so many and seemed so unhappy with their lives. There was disgust and anger, and yet when Ayax thought about what she had, and what Scarlet lacked, she found that anger seeping away.
“Scarlet, this is your last chance. Surrender now,” said Ayax.
“To you? Not to Edana Firehand, or even Frances Stormcaller? But to their lackey? A second-rate battle mage?” Scarlet spat on the ground and raised her staff again. “I’d rather fucking die.”
The troll sighed. “So be it.”
Author’s Note: Ayax is getting ahold of her anger. It hasn’t been easy to figure out how her feelings changed but I decided to approach it from the idea that she’s matured as a person and has started to take more perspectives, something that she’s always struggled with.
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2023.05.30 06:54 adrake86 Downgrading from 2 cars to one...looking to upgrade the truck? Suggestions needed.
Looking for a "newer" truck with a bit more creature comforts. I am selling two other cars to downgrade to just one full size truck to save a bit of money / insurance / etc.
What I needed:
- Something that will tow travel trailer 8k dry weight local (in state) maybe once or twice a month.
- Vehicle will be used for a work majority of time with a good bit of travel in and around Georgia.
- Need room for car seat.
- Prefer 2WD as it will tow more.
- The best MPG for a full size truck possible would be highly sought after...of course that will be the hardest.
- Cheapest most reliable half ton that can tow and get decent MPG. (kind of impossible to find) but that is what I prefer.
Budget max 40k possibly 45k. New or used.
Considering the following:
Chevy 1500 - V8 or that half ton Duramax version. Ram 1500 - V8 (I like the rebel but open to any model) Ford 3.5 Ecoboost
Open to anything....
submitted by adrake86
to whatcarshouldIbuy [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 05:53 NaimaChan Trip Report: Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kamakura
Just got back from 10 days in Japan and wanted to type up a trip report to hopefully help others that are trying to plan a trip!
Our trip was 5/16 - 5/28 including travel days. This was my 2nd time in Japan (first time was study abroad for 5 weeks in May/June 2016), but it was my mom & sister's first time, so the goal was to include as many must-see activities as we possibly could in the short time we were there. Our days were packed to the brim however all 3 of us are fairly active and healthy so despite being absolutely exhausted by the end of each day, in retrospect we wouldn't have changed a thing in our itinerary.
That being said, our itinerary would be much too busy for the average person's first trip to Japan so keep that in mind if you use this information to plan your own trip. For example, we usually only had time to sit down and eat for one meal per day and had to eat on the go for the other meals in order to have enough time to go to all the places we wanted to go to. There was very little downtime in our trip.
- We each traveled with 2 checked luggage since they were included in our flight. I had one full sized suitcase and one slightly smaller suitcase which both only had one side filled when I left the US. The plan was to fill the other half of the suitcases with souvenirs to bring home. Last time I went to Japan, it cost me ~$200 to ship two large boxes of souvenirs back home, so despite having to bring a lot of luggage this saved me a significant amount of money and I will be doing this for future trips as well.
- Within our luggage we also packed a duffel bag to hold all our purchases on heavy shopping days and a daily backpack to hold things like our trash bag, hand towel, hand sanitizewet wipes, body wipes, small purchases, etc. My carry-on was a 40L backpack that I took with us when we stayed overnight in Kyoto.
- I brought $400 cash to exchange at the airport. I had gotten a Charles Schwab debit card before leaving which has no foreign transaction/ATM fees so I planned to use my card for whatever purchases I could then use cash for everything else. I ended up withdrawing another ¥20000 which was just enough cash to last me the rest of our trip.
- Last time I went to Japan I survived wearing flat gladiator sandals basically the whole trip, but this did NOT work this time around for whatever reason (I guess we walked a lot more this time?). BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES TO WALK IN. I ended up having to buy sneakers on day 2 because I stupidly didn't think I would need them. I was more concerned about looking cute for pictures (ha) but I quickly realized that all the girls in Japan wear sneakers with their cute skirts and dresses, so I blended right in. I would also recommend bringing a second pair of shoes with you each day (in your backpack) to swap into if the shoes you are wearing start giving you blisters.
- We saw a lot of people not wearing masks, but the majority of people still wear masks. I would say the ratio of people wearing masks to not wearing masks was about 80:20.
- As many have mentioned on this subreddit, due to the lack of public trash bins I would highly recommend bringing a reusable trash bag to store your trash while you're out and about until you can find a bin. We found these cool black fabric ones with a waterproof liner on the inside that you could rinse out when it got dirty and could clip to the outside of your backpack so it wasn’t with your other belongings.
- Due to the lack of hand dryers/paper towels in bathrooms we also brought hand towels as recommended, but found ourselves just air drying our hands way more often than using the hand towels as it was often more cumbersome to remove our backpacks and fish out our hand towels to use.
- Sakura Hotel Jimbocho in Tokyo
- I stayed in this hostel when I studied abroad in college in 2016, so it holds a special place in my heart. You can get a single room here for cheap, and although the rooms are extremely small, I don’t travel to Japan to spend time in my hotel so when looking for accommodations price is my #1 factor, not comfort. Toilets and showers are shared in this hostel and the rooms are set up coming off of a square hallway with sinks/restroom facilities in the center. The facilities don’t appear to be very modern and pretty, but the water pressure of the showers is the BEST. They have other room types as well, like bunk-beds, double rooms, etc. They have a 24 hour cafe downstairs and breakfast is included in your stay. All their staff speak English & Japanese (and other languages as well). They host some cool events like language exchanges and walking/jogging groups if you are more of a social person. I really enjoy the location of this hostel. You are within walking distance from the Imperial Palace and it still feels like you are in the city without it being so loud and busy like if you were to stay in Shibuya, etc. They do have other locations if you’re looking for somewhere with more nightlife.
- The Millennials Hostel in Kyoto
- This is a really modern looking hostel in Kyoto, 2 streets over from Pontocho. The facilities are gorgeous and look brand new. They are set up similar to a capsule style hotel with a bunch of rooms coming off a hallway. Your bed takes up your entire space, and you have about 18 inches at the foot of your bed to stand. You pull an opaque privacy screen down to make your room private - there is no door. You can control your bed’s incline and lights through an iPhone in your room. There is storage space under your bed and on a shelf above your bed. Restrooms are shared but the showers are in one room and toilets in another. There are a lot of shared common spaces including a full stocked kitchen you can cook your meals in, but we literally only stayed here to sleep so we didn’t explore those spaces. I was worried about other guests being noisy but that wasn’t the case - everyone was super respectful. The price and location was great so I would definitely come back here.
Daily Itinerary Day 1 & 2: Travel
- We flew out of Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Our direct flight to Narita was around $1600 after taxes, fees, and flight insurance. I had one layover the last time I flew to Japan and in the future I will only be buying a direct flight as I found this to be way easier than having a layover.
- Once we arrived in Narita we turned on our e-sim. We chose Ubigi after reading many positive reviews on this subreddit and I highly recommend them. We had some issues getting iMessage to work despite following Ubigi's instructions to a T, so we ended up just using WhatsApp to message during the trip, however, iMessage did start working later on.
- We decided against picking up our JR passes & seat reservations at the airport because the line was long and we didn't need them for another 5 days.
- Going through customs/immigration and grabbing our luggage only took about 20-30 minutes. There were many staff to guide you and we found the whole process to be really smooth.
- We exchanged our currency and went downstairs to buy our tickets for Narita Express at a ticket vending machine. We got round trip tickets for ¥3460 (keep in mind that the return ticket needs to be used within 14 days). We had purchased our Suica before leaving and put them in our iPhone wallets and they came with a balance of ¥2000 so we didn't load money onto our cards until the following day.
- We took the Narita Express to Tokyo Station then took a cab to our hostel in Jimbocho. We each traveled with 2 checked luggage, so we found the short and inexpensive taxi ride to be a better option than lugging 6 giant suitcases on local trains to get to our hostel.
- We checked into our hostel. The total price per person for 11 nights was ¥49500 (about $380).
Day 3: Imperial Palace/Ueno
- We woke up and walked to the Imperial Palace/East Gardens. We got there right when they opened and spent about 90 minutes there. We walked back to Jimbocho to go to my favorite tempura place in Jimbocho. This place has gotten quite famous since I was last there in 2016. We were first in line at 10:45am and by the time they opened for lunch at 11:30, there was a line of 20+ people. Our lunch cost only ¥800.
- After lunch we took the train to Ueno and spent some time in the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Park. We also visited Shinobazu No Ike Bentendo Temple which is a cool temple right inside Ueno Park. While at Ueno Station, we picked up our JR passes & seat reservation tickets and also put ¥5000 on our Suica. We really enjoyed the fact that you could charge your mobile suica at a convenience store using cash - we didn’t have to worry about finding the machines in train stations with the phone holders.
- After that we walked through Ameyoko and did some shopping - I bought a super cute used Coach purse for around $65. Ameyoko seemed to have a lot more products than when I was there in 2016… but I also had more money this time around so maybe I was just paying more attention!
- We took a train back to our hostel to drop off our shopping bags and change. We took a train to Shinjuku to go to New York Grill for our dinner reservation. New York Grill is on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku and the views were incredible. We got the Spring Harvest 5-course dinner which included wagyu and it was easily the best beef I have ever eaten in my life - so juicy and buttery. The cost was ¥23100 per person (~$175).
- 25,138 steps on this day.
Day 4: Shibuya/Akihabara
- We woke up and took a train to Shibuya to see Hachiko, go to the Starbucks near Shibuya Crossing, and shop at Shibuya109 and Uniqlo. It was hard for me to find any clothing that would fit me at the stores in Shibuya109 (I am a US 8/10 which is basically considered plus size in Japan) however I was able to find a cute t-shirt at Punyu's in Shibuya109 and two dresses at Uniqlo. I also bought sneakers at the Skechers store.
- I also went to the Mega Don Quijote in Shibuya and spent about $102 on candy and snacks to bring home. Lots of fun KitKat flavors here but it was very crowded and hard to walk around with my extremely full baskets.
- We took a train back to our hostel to drop off our shopping bags and had a quick lunch via conbini.
- We took a train to Akihabara and bought some souvenirs and gachapon, and walked all the way back to Ameyoko where I spent another $90 on candy and snacks to bring home.
- We took a train back to our hostel to drop off our shopping bags and change. We took a train to Ginza to go to Tempura Kondo for dinner (a Michelin starred tempura restaurant). We got the Yomogi dinner which was ¥23100 per person (¥25410 after fees, ~$195). The staff were amazing - they noticed that my sister was left-handed and set up her plates/silverware as such which was really observant. We loved the dinner, however there was WAY too much food for us; the staff recognized we were starting to get full, and asked us if we would be able to eat the next course which was ten-don. I was really concerned about being disrespectful and wasting food, so I was really glad that they noticed and asked!
- 19,445 steps on this day.
Day 5: Asakusa/Ginza/Omoide Yokocho
- We woke up and took a train to Asakusa to see Sanja Matsuri. We shopped at the small souvenir shops on Nakamise-dori and had street food at the festival for lunch. I bought an awesome goshuincho here with a wooden cover and foxes on it.
- After being completely overstimulated, we took a train to Rikugi-en Garden to escape the crowds. This garden is a little off the beaten path, just outside the big city, but it is completely gorgeous and so worth the trip.
- After the garden, we took a train to Ginza to window shop and go to our reservation at Higashiya Ginza for wagashi & tea pairing. We had 5 wagashi paired with 5 teas that were amazing. It cost ¥4500 per person.
- After this, we walked to Mitsukoshi Ginza to explore the basement food floor and grab dinner. They start to discount the food as the stores near closing time, so going for a late dinner can save you a couple yen! After eating on their rooftop terrace which was beautiful, we walked to Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris Marunouichi to grab dessert then headed back to our hostel to drop off our shopping bags.
- After we ate, we took a train to Shinjuku to walk down Omoide Yokocho. We had a drink on the third floor of Bar Albatross - highly recommend! The alleyway is a lot shorter than I imagined, and very crowded as you would expect. I probably wouldn’t go back here in the future but I am glad we visited!
- 25,002 steps on this day.
Day 6: Harajuku
- We woke up and took a train to Harajuku to visit Meiji Shrine and got our first goshuin.
- After visiting the shrine, we walked back to Takeshita-dori to get lunch at Afuri Ramen. They’re known for their ramen with yuzu in their broth and this was one of our favorite meals during our trip. We got there about 20 minutes before they opened and were ~8th in line. By the time they opened, the line was stretching around the building!
- We walked down Takeshita-dori and shopped, then went to our reservation at Mipig Cafe (mini pig cafe). This place was so cute! You can make reservations for 30 minutes or 1 hour where you sit on the floor and miniature pigs will come and sit on your lap. You weren’t allowed to pick the pigs up and the staff were super kind and handled the pigs well. A 30 minute reservation was ¥1800 per person.
- After the pigs, we walked down Omotesando and took the train to Shinjuku to get dinner on the food floor at Isetan.
- After we ate on the rooftop terrace (beautiful once again), we headed back to our hostel to drop off our shopping bags. We took the train to Shibuya to go to our reservation at Shibuya Sky. We got the package where you get an admission ticket including a 50 minute reservation for the sofa seats and a choice of a mini bottle of champagne or 2 beers per person, which cost ¥5900 per person. The views were unreal and I recommend reserving the sofa seats so you can get amazing pictures. This was a highlight of our trip.
- 21,719 steps on this day.
Day 7: Kawaguchiko
- This was our first travel day. We woke up early to take the highway bus from Busta Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko. The bus was ¥4400 per person. We were able to get some super clear pictures of Mt. Fuji while we were on the bus and right when we arrived at the station.
- We bought the daily unlimited bus pass for ¥1500 which ended up not being worth it for us because we spent so little time seeing things on the bus route. First, we went to the Panoramic Ropeway. We got there about 15 minutes before they opened and there was already a really long line. By this time, Mt. Fuji was already completely covered in clouds but the ropeway was really cool and we still got some awesome panoramic pictures. They have a shop at the top where you can get ice cream and sit on some swings and take pictures.
- After the ropeway we took the bus back to Kawaguchiko Station to get on the train to go to Chureito Pagoda. The gnats here were INSANE. We climbed up the ~400 or so steps to the top and got some cool pictures as well as our goshuin.
- We walked back to the station and took the train to Fuji-san Station and walked ~30 minutes to Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine. The wooded walk up to the shrine is absolutely gorgeous. We got goshuin here as well.
- After the shrine, we walked and took a train back to Kawaguchiko Station to eat a conbini dinner, do last minute shopping, and catch our bus back to Tokyo.
- 19,374 steps on this day.
Day 8: Kanazawa
- We woke up early to catch our 6:16am shinkansen to Kanazawa. Once we arrived, we bought the daily unlimited bus pass and took the bus to Omicho Market where we bought some souvenirs and food.
- We walked from Omicho Market to visit Ozaki Shrine and Oyama Shrine and got goshuin at both places. My sister realized she lost her wallet at this point, but a kind soul had turned it in to the staff at Ozaki Shrine!
- We took the bus from Oyama Shrine to Kenroku-en Garden, where we walked around, took lots of pictures, and sat down for lunch at a local restaurant.
- After lunch, we took the bus to the Higashi Chaya district where we shopped and took pictures.
- After that, we took the bus back to Kanazawa Station to catch our 5:57pm shinkansen back to Tokyo.
- 20,192 steps on this day.
Day 9: Kyoto Day 1
- We woke up early to pack our overnight bags and catch our 6:21am shinkansen to Kyoto, where we would be staying for one night. We decided to keep our reservation at our Tokyo hostel because 1) it was super cheap and 2) we would be able to leave all our suitcases and belongings in our rooms for when we returned to Tokyo.
- When we arrived in Kyoto, we headed straight to our hostel to have them hold our bags before we could check in later that day.
- After that, we took a local bus to the Arashiyama area. It was absolutely packed with school groups and tour buses. We walked up Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street to Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple where it was much quieter. We got goshuin and visited the small and private bamboo grove behind the temple. We walked back down Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street towards Togetsukyo Bridge where we stopped and sat down for lunch then continued shopping along the way. I got lots of uji-matcha here.
- We walked back to Arashiyama Station and took a train to Kiyomizu-dera where we got goshuin, then walked to a small rooftop bar overlooking the Hokan-ji temple and pagoda and got awesome pictures and had dinner.
- After eating, we walked back to our hostel and checked in, then slept for the night. Our 1 night stay cost ¥5000 per person.
- 21,545 steps on this day.
Day 10: Kyoto/Nara Day 2
- We woke up super early to check out of our hostel and head to Fushimi Inari. Our hostel held our bags while we went sightseeing for the day. We arrived around 6:45am which was so worth it - it wasn’t crowded at all and we got lots of pictures of the shrine and torii gates without any people in them. We walked for about 30 minutes up the mountain then headed back to Inari Station to head to Nara.
- Once we arrived in Nara, we spent some time with the deer then visited Todai-ji and got goshuin.
- After that, we took a train back to Fushimi Inari to visit the souvenir shops which had not opened yet when we had gotten there earlier that day. We shopped and got goshuin, then headed to Sannenzaka/Ninenzaka to shop. We visited Ryozen Kannon to get pictures (they had closed by the time we got there) and walked down Ishibei-koji Lane and Hanamikoji Street.
- After that, we walked back to our hostel to pick up our bags. We took a taxi to Kyoto Station to catch our 7:36pm shinkansen back to Tokyo.
- 27,861 steps on this day.
Day 11: Tattoo
- My mom and I went to a tattoo shop near Shibuya to get matching tattoos on our wrists, then my mom spent the rest of the day shopping in Shibuya with my sister while I got another large tattoo on my shoulder.
- After my tattoo was finished, we all met up in Ikebukuro to get gyudon for dinner.
- 9,879 steps on this day.
Day 12: Yokohama/Kamakura
- We woke up and took a train to Yokohama where we walked the Minato Mirai 21 area and shopped and had lunch at World Porters.
- After lunch, we took a train to Kamakura. First, we visited Hase-dera and got goshuin. I got lots of pictures of the hydrangeas even though they weren’t in full bloom yet.
- After that we walked up the road to Daibutsu and got goshuin. We walked back to Hase Station and took a train to Kamakura Station and walked the pedestrian pathway in the center of the road to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu. We got our goshuin and were able to observe a small part of a traditional Japanese wedding that was happening at the shrine, which was really cool.
- After that, we walked back to Kamakura Station and took a train back to Tokyo.
- We spent the night packing. I ended up completely filling my suitcases with my souvenirs and had to put even more in my carry-on bag.
- 21,131 steps on this day.
Day 13: Travel
- We woke up and headed back to Senso-ji to grab our goshuin, since it was too busy when Sanja Matsuri was happening the week before.
- We took a train back to our hostel and checked out around 11am, then made our way to Tokyo Station to take the Narita Express back to the airport.
- We arrived at the airport with plenty of time before our flight so we could get last-minute souvenirs. I found a couple flavors of KitKat and Hi-Chew here that I could not find in Donki/Ameyoko - but I could not find Beni-Imo KitKat which is the flavor that I was looking for! :(
- We flew back to O’Hare and drove home from there.
- Total trip cost: ~$5462.73
- Total spent before I left Japan (flight, JR pass, highway bus ticket, tattoo deposit, pay-ahead reservations, suica, car rental): $2562.73
- Total I spent in Japan (souvenirs, snacks, accommodations, transportation, meals, activities/admission, reservations, tattoo): ~$2900
Cost Breakdown Airfare Accommodations
- Total: ¥54500
- ¥49500 (Tokyo hostel/11 nights) + ¥5000 (Kyoto hostel/1 night)
- Total: ~¥64470
- ¥33610 (JR pass) + ¥4400 (highway bus) + ¥3460 (N’EX) + ¥18000 (local trains/bus) + ¥5000 (taxis - approximate)
- Total: ~¥88510
- ¥40000 (breakfast/lunch/dinner) + ¥48510 (meal reservations)
- Total: ~¥150000
- Goshuin, charms, matcha powder, candy, jewelry, clothing, purses, shrine offerings, postcards, etc.
- Total: ~¥9800
- Pig Cafe, tea/wagashi tasting, shrines/temples, etc.
submitted by NaimaChan
to JapanTravel [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 05:41 fmzmpl 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 help
Abs light and brake light comes on and locks the tires up anytime I drive anywhere, any idea what could cause this?
submitted by fmzmpl
to Dodge [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 03:40 lalasland24 Overview
Tennessee woman is currently missing on cross country trip with boyfriend, with creepy similarities to Gabby Petitio.
Nikki Alcaraz set out on a long road trip with her boyfriend Tyler Stratton and her pet dog to visit family in Orange County, California. It has now been three weeks since her family has heard anything from her which is unusual since Nikki's sister Toni is use to hearing updates everyday.
The dream road trip took an unsettling and familiar turn on May 4th to any one familiar with the Gabby Petitio case. The Torrance County police report that witnesses saw Tyler strike Nikki in the face on that day in May. They went on to say Tyler stated she had hit him first and he had blood on his mouth and nose.
Neither of the pair wanted to press charges so Tyler and Nikki were separated and given rides, with Nikki ending up in Moriarty, New Mexico. It was from here that Toni last heard from her sister.
In their final conversation Toni said her sister was crying and very upset. Toni said she could tell Nikki had been beaten pretty badly.
Toni, being a good sister, dispatched a family member to make the long drive and bring Nikki back home.
When the family member arrived they did find Nikki and on the morning of their departure back to Tennessee, Nikki refused to leave, saying she had a bad feeling about Tyler and needed to find him. Her ride home left without her.
Toni believes the family member was the last person to see her alive.
On May 8th, Toni received one last text from Nikki saying she was in Arizona and planned on finishing the trip. Her phone has since been shut off or is out of service.
A license plate reader clocked the Jeep that Nikki and Tyler were traveling in on May 8th in Arizona and no further sightings or communication have been reported.
Toni has filed a missing person case for Nikki in New Mexico because that was where she was last seen. Cheatam County,Tennessee, States Attorney Ray Crouch has been gathering information from law enforcement in both New Mexico and Arizona in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery. Crouch has also requested a nationwide extradition order for Tyler Stratton on an unrelated probation violation in a attempt to locate the pair and find some answers for the very concerned family.
Nikki is decribed as 5 foot 6 inches tall with black/brown hair and many tattoos.
The Jeep is a 2013 Jeep Wrangler with a Tennessee license plate reading BGL3539 and a "Mama tried" bumper sticker, with camo seat covers.
Anyone with any information on Nikki or Tyler's whereabouts should call Moriarty Police Department at 505-832-6060 or at 505-834-2705.
submitted by lalasland24
to FindNikkiAlcaraz [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 03:33 lalasland24 Missing!
2023.05.30 03:28 lalasland24 Missing!
2023.05.30 02:09 Legenkilla Ram laramie 2022 upgrades to make look sportier?
| || |
So when we got the truck we pretty much took all they had back then. I feel white is dull and i feel the body is just bland when u look at gmcs and chevys. Something easy as im not much of a car guy and know how to do much with em. ( wish i woulda got the sports appearance package) . Any suggestions? submitted by Legenkilla to ram_trucks [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 22:44 tmille74 [FOR SALE] Remainder of Collection (Random Rock/Metal/World Music/Classic Rock/Indie)
Hello! Consolidating past posts into one final lot, a lot of stuff purchased dating back the past decade. Continental US shipping $5, shipping using new BagsUnlimited mailers with records outside sleeves/proper shipping methods. PayPal only, no Friends & Family. Grading is conservative. Message if interested. Records that are $5 and under I'll do 3-for-$15 w/ free shipping.
Obliteration - Nekropsalms (Yellow) VG+ - $10
Shining - IX Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends (First Pressing Black) VG+ - $10
Toxik Death - Happy Fukking Holocaust (VG+) - $10
Mayhem - Live in Leipzig (Purple) VG, creasing on corner - $15
Cattle Decapitation - The Harvest Floor (2014 Reissue - Silver w/ Red Splattter) VG+, cover wear -- $15
Today is the Day - Animal Mother (VG) -$5
Excel - The Jokes On You (Southern Lord 2016 Reissue) VG edge wear - $8
Hells Headbangers Compilation Vol. 6 2xLP (VG) - $4
The Funeral Orchestra - Feeding the Abyss Reissue (G, Corner major bending) - $4
Statiqbloom - Mask Visions Poison (Clear) VG+ -- $8
Cloud Mouth - That Ghost is Always With Me (Chron Cloud) VG+ - $4
Rodeo Idiot Engine - Consequences (White with Black Haze, VG w/ corners that have creasing -- $4
WarHorse - As Heaven Turns To Ash (Black, VG+) -- $7
Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack (Black - Neseblod Reissue VG+) -- $12
Bleak - We Deserve Our Failures (Blue, VG+) -- $4
Karma to Burn - S/T (2014 Metal Blade, VG+) -- $9
Thrones - Day Late, Dollar Short (Grey 2005 Southern Lord, VG+) -- $9
Class of Nuke 'em High - Soundtrack (2014 180G, VG+) -- $13
The Music of Cosmos (Japan, VG+) -- $5
The Soft Pink Truth -- Why Do The Heathen Rage? (Pink, VG+) -- $8
BIT.TRIP's Greatest Chips (Multicolored Picture Disc, VG+) -- $8
The Mothers -- Over-Nite Sensation, MS 2149 1973 Gatefold – Fair Plus (Disc playable, has some wear, gatefold is in tact but heavy wear on corners and edges) – $4
Berlin - Pleasure Victim – 1983 Reissue – Good (price stickers on bottom line, wear on edges) – $4
Michael Jackson - Thriller – 1982 Stereo – Poor (Album has severe damage on bottom of cover) – $4
Michael Jackson - Black or White Single 1991 – Good (sticker wear on front and back cover) – $4
Iron Butterly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida -- ATCO SD 33-250 -- Fair Plus (cover weabends) -- $4
John Lennon/Yoko Ono -- Double Fantasy -- 1980 Geffen -- G (slight creases along edge of cover) -- $4
The Jam -- All Mod Cons --1978 -- G (slight creases along edge of cover) -- $4
The United States of America -- S/T 2008 Reissue -- VG (some wear on cover, comes with original envelope sleeve) -- $12
Wes Montgomery -- Tequila -- Japan Import -- G (some wear on cover) -- $12
Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock 1972-1977 Vol. 1 - (2016) - VG (Originally came with a paperback book separate, that's not included) - $9
Songs and Dance of Syria - G (shelf wear along edges) - $4
Land of Africa - 1985 12" 45rpm - G (weabends on corners/edges) - $4
National Wake - Walk in Africa 1979-81 (if unfamiliar, kind of like a South African Clash or Minutemen) - 2013 Light in the Attic Records - VG - $6
Shugo Tokumaru - L.S.T. (White w/ Black Marble) VG+ -- $12
Washed Out - Paracosm (Black) VG+ -- $15
Violent Sons - Nothing As It Seems (Smoke) VG - $7
Jaguar Love - Hologram Jams, VG - $8
Native - Wrestling Moves (Repress Clear Red w/ Black Smoke) VG+ - $12
Dyse - Das Nation (White VG - $15
Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force - 1984 Black - Good Plus (some wear around edges) - $10
I Don't Want To Be A Part Of Your So Called Punk - Compilation (Norway punk compilation) VG - $10Entrance - Prayer of Death , VG+ - $10
Carpathian - Isolation (No cover) - $4
Ramming Speed/ANS 12" Split, VG+ -- $7
Electric Eel Shock - Transworld Ultra Rock -- Blue -- Good plus (some general wear; cover is autographed by band member) -- $10
Man or Astro-man? - Experiment Zero -- 2010 reissue, VG -- $10
The Misfits - WCBN Michigan Live (Blue Translucent 1989 Vinyl Not On Label), Good (some wear and creasing along jacket) https://www.discogs.com/release/2128191-The-Misfits-Michigan-WCBN
-- Please only reach out if serious and have previous trades for this one, open to discussing it as there's just not a ton out there on it and bootlegs aren't on Discogs -- $65
Velvet Underground - S/T (Either 2005 or 2012 pressing, can't discern and purchased in early 2010s so hard to say, any advice appreciated) -- Good Plus (some cover dents on corners) - $15
Additionally, a lot of three Rough Guide records ($15). These were ordered a few years ago from Music Rough Guides and they shipped them poorly, so each has noticeable sleeve dings on the corners. With that said, the records themselves are in VG+ condition. Included are:
Rough Guide to African Blues
Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia
Rough Guide to African Rare Groove Volume 1
submitted by tmille74
to VinylCollectors [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 19:09 Proletlariet TMNT 12
♫ Here we go, it's the lean green ninja team ♫
Many years ago, four baby turtles and a man named Hamato Yoshi were mutated in the sewers of New York City.
These turtles became the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, taught the way of the ninja by Yoshi, also known as Master Splinter.
After their mutation, the turtles would go on to protect the world and themselves from a variety of threats, including insidious mutants, invading aliens, and the Shredder,
master of the evil Foot Clan.
Leonardo is the leader in blue, does anything it takes to get his ninjas through. Wearing blue and wielding twin katanas, Leo is the field leader of the turtles and the most dedicated to the way of the ninja. Full RT
Donatello is the fellow, has a way with machines. Wearing purple and wielding a bo staff, Donny is the brains of the turtles and can often be found in his lab, inventing weapons and gadgets to help the team in their fight against evil. Full RT
Raphael's got the most attitude on the team. Wearing red and wielding twin sai, Raph is the muscle of the turtles and is the most ferocious in battle, though he sometimes struggles to keep his anger in check. Full RT
Michelangelo, he's one of a kind, and you know just where to find him when it's party time. Wearing orange and wielding twin nunchucks, Mikey is the youngest of the turtles and is the most easygoing, offering the team an optimistic, if sometimes naive, viewpoint. Full RT
Shared Misc Gear
Shellraiser A subway train car converted into a combat vehicle by Donatello
Party Wagon April O'Neil's van converted into a combat vehicle by Donatello
Patrol Buggy A series of motorized karts that can combine and separate built by Donatello
Stealth Bike A stealth motorcycle built by Donatello
Turtle Sub A submarine built by Donatello
Turtle Blimp A blimp built by Donatello
Turtle Mech A four-man mech built by Donatello
submitted by Proletlariet
to u/Proletlariet [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 19:01 Able_Possession8736 A Comprehensive Guide to Pro Football Video Game Covers
Another Madden $70 re-skin is upon us, so let's take a moment to explore the history of all the people who have been featured on the cover of an pro football video game.
While the selection of the Madden cover athlete is now an event, there was a wild wild west period of football games from the 80s to the mid-2000s where anybody with a computer could and would build football games, with the selection of the cover being all over the place. Roger Craig was the first cover athlete in 1985 on NFL Challenge for MS-DOS. Madden's first game was in 1988, then by the mid-90s getting a cover athlete or spokesman for your football game was pretty standard.
I wanted to compile those games and covers based on this Wiki article
(and a few that it was missing from that list) and see who was on the main cover of all of those games (some games were almost completely irrelevant, so I left them off this list). Some of these may have more alternates with other people, but I'll stick with the main cover.
Covers by Position https://preview.redd.it/1dzua4o2hl2b1.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&v=enabled&s=023c573335e64d21fccc937a44db0ae995510db6
*These are heavily boosted by John Madden being on 10 Madden covers
Obviously QBs dominate here, but I didn't realize how little defensive players have been on football game covers (9%), with none being on a cover since Richard Sherman in 2014. I'd love to see more defensive players on the Madden cover. Who would be the most likely defensive guy in the near future? Aaron Donald, TJ Watt, Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, or Sauce Gardner?
Covers by Team https://preview.redd.it/8f29df4ygl2b1.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&v=enabled&s=3b93f8a4ddb26b2cee1f6abd74652f44b7fbfdcb
If a team's player was not a lead on the cover or was not any identifiable player, I gave them a *
The Re-skins/Commanders?, Jags, Panthers, and Bills have appeared on a cover but never with an athlete as the lead or with a real person. Only the Texans have never appeared at all on the cover of any football video game. I'd say the Bills are most likely to get one next (Josh Allen), then the Jags (Trevor Lawrence), then the Panthers/Texans if either hits a home run with Young or Stroud. The Commanders have a long road ahead to getting a feature cover athlete, unless you ask Sam Howell who thinks he should be this year's Madden cover athlete.
Most Prolific Cover People https://preview.redd.it/5axoymcakl2b1.png?width=2871&format=png&auto=webp&v=enabled&s=9ecf9c52cad0647d1572d2d9c85ebdef0dd277c3
Kordell Stewart, Daunte Culpepper, and Donovan McNabb (and possibly Lamar Jackson, still too early for him) are the only players with multiple appearances that are either not or are unlikely to make the Hall of Fame. McNabb is the only guy to appear in multiple covers in the same year. Also of note, 7 athletes were on a cover without ever making a pro bowl in their careers: Brad Muster, Pat Terrell, Gordon Laro, Chris Zorich, Albert Fontenot, William Floyd, and Peyton Hillis (Hillis was the only one to be the primary cover athlete).
I'll list all the games and their respective covers by their era below. I'll also attach some of my favorite covers from each era. If the cover person was a Hall of Famer, I'll mark them with a \
). If they're very likely to make the HoF but they're not yet eligible, I'll mark them with a +
Covers by Era
|Decade ||# of Games ||# of Games w/Cover Athletes ||# of Cover Athletes |
|60s ||1 ||0 ||0 |
|70s ||4 ||0 ||0 |
|80s ||11 ||2 (18%) ||2 |
|90s ||36 ||32 (89%) ||21 |
|00s ||40 ||38 (95%) ||36 |
|10s ||14 ||10 (71%) ||12 |
|20s ||8 ||4 (50%) ||5 |
|Total ||114 ||86 (75%) ||76 |
We didn't see the first cover athlete until 1985 with Roger Craig. They didn't really become standard until the early to mid-90s after Madden became a big selling point for the early Madden games. The dip in the last 2 decades is because there's just less games, so any generic football games will have a large effect.
The Early Days: 1965-1982 1978: Football! for the Magnavox Odyssey 2 was the first football video game with a cover, but obviously the cover athletes are generic.
The 2D Era: 1983-1996 1985: NFL Challenge was the first football game with a real cover athlete (Roger Craig). This was the original bar for realism in football simulation, to where it was used in a 1988 ESPN Program \"NFL Dream Season\" where they simulated the greatest teams of all time against each other. 1988: John Madden Football released on the Apple II, MS-DOS, and Commodore 64/128 (partly being developed by Bethesda), which was the beginning of the most dominant franchise in football video games. They featured no NFL teams due to a lack of an NFL license. 1991: Tecmo Super Bowl is probably still my personal favorite football video game. It's totally timeless, and if you pick the Raiders then you're a cheater.
|Year ||Game ||Cover Athlete ||Team ||Position |
|1983 ||10-Yard Fight ||Generic Jersey ||NA ||NA |
|1984 ||Super Action Football ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|1985 ||NFL Challenge ||Roger Craig ||49ers ||RB |
|1987 ||4th & Inches ||Generic players ||NA ||NA |
|1987 ||Tecmo Bowl ||Generic players ||NA ||NA |
|1988 ||TV Sports: Football ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|1988 ||John Madden Football ('88) ||John Madden* ||None ||John Madden |
|1989 ||ABC Monday Night Football ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|1989 ||NFL ||Generic players ||49ers, Raiders, Oilers, Broncos, Re-skins ||NA |
|1989 ||PlayMaker Football ||Equipment ||NA ||NA |
|1990 ||Joe Montana Football ||Joe Montana* ||None ||QB |
|1990 ||John Madden Football ('90) ||John Madden* ||None ||John Madden |
|1991 ||John Madden Football II (or '92) ||John Madden* ||None ||John Madden |
|1991 ||Tecmo Super Bowl ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|1992 ||NFL Sports Talk Football '93 ||Joe Montana* ||49ers ||QB |
|1992 ||Front Page Sports Football ||Generic players ||NA ||NA |
|1993 ||Capcom's MVP Football ||Brad Muster ||Bears ||FB |
|1993 ||Madden NFL '94 ||John Madden* ||NA ||HC/Announcer |
|1993 ||NFL Football '94 Starring Joe Montana ||Joe Montana* ||Chiefs ||QB |
|1993 ||Mutant League Football ||Mutant ||NA ||NA |
|1994 ||ESPN Sunday Night NFL ||Chris Berman ||NA ||Announcer |
|1994 ||Madden NFL '95 ||John Madden* ||NA ||John Madden |
|1994 ||Tecmo Super Bowl II: Special Edition ||Generic player ||Cowboys ||NA |
|1994 ||Troy Aikman NFL Football ||Troy Aikman* ||Cowboys ||QB |
|1995 ||Emmitt Smith Football ||Emmitt Smith* ||None ||RB |
|1995 ||Madden NFL '96 ||John Madden*, Pat Terrell, Gordon Laro ||NA, Panthers, Jags ||John Madden, DB, TE |
|1995 ||NFL Quarterback Club 96 ||Steve Young*, Chris Zorich, Albert Fontenot ||49ers, Bears ||QB, DL |
|1995 ||Sterling Sharpe: End 2 End ||Sterling Sharpe ||None ||WR |
|1995 ||Tecmo Super Bowl III: Final Edition ||Generic players ||Raiders, Bills ||NA |
|1995 ||NFL GameDay ||William Floyd ||49ers ||FB |
|1996 ||Madden NFL 97 ||John Madden* ||NA ||John Madden |
|1996 ||NFL '97 ||Kordell Stewart ||Steelers ||QB |
|1996 ||NFL Quarterback Club 97 ||Dan Marino* ||Dolphins ||QB |
|1996 ||NFL GameDay '97 ||Daryl "Moose" Johnston ||Cowboys ||FB |
The Parity Era: 1997-2004 1997: NFL Blitz came from Midway studios and was a breath of fresh air for football games. They had mostly been stagnant trying to hone in on realistic simulation in 2D form, whereas Blitz came out in 3D and threw realism out the window. I definitely spent too much money on the arcade version of this game. 2000: Madden 2001 started the tradition of having their games feature a cover athlete in this format, which consolidated into nearly everyone following this trend. 2001: Backyard Football 2002 was a more kid-friendly version of a football video game, and they also had other games for other professional sports. I definitely played this a lot on my old Windows Me computer, and Pablo Sanchez is a god. 2002: NFL Fever was Microsoft's foray into football video games on the original Xbox. All 3 of their games featured Peyton Manning as the cover athlete. 2002: NFL GameDay 2003 was 989 Sports' exclusive for Sony on the PlayStation platform. 2004: ESPN NFL 2K5 was the last great football game before the NFL exclusively gave their license to the EA. It was this game that definitely led to NFL's decision though, as they slashed their release price to an unheard of $20, which forced Madden 2004 to release at $30 instead of the typical $50. This pissed off the NFL, who decided to have less competition instead.
The Madden Era: 2005-Present 2005: NFL Street 2 was the second in the NFL Street series as a kind of spiritual successor to NFL Blitz. EA tried to have some diversity in their football video games outside of the Madden franchise, so they had the short-lived Street franchise under \"EA BIG\" 2006: NFL Head Coach was a new perspective on NFL Games where you play as the coach instead of the players. I enjoyed these although they could get a little boring. 2007: All Pro Football 2K8 was 2K's attempt at keeping the 2K football franchise alive without the coveted NFL license. They got three HoF players on the cover in Elway, Barry, and Rice, but not the actual license to any NFL team. This game received praise for its mechanics, but poor sales showed that a non-NFL licensed game would always struggle to make it. 2011: Madden 12 was maybe the last good Madden game. Also, Peyton Hillis. The only guy on a NFL football game cover to never make a Pro Bowl. This guy is an actual hero though, so good for him. 2019: Doug Flutie's Maximum Football was a mix of american and CFL football as another attempt at making a football game without the NFL license to poor results. They have announced a new game as a free to play title on new platforms, but no games in this franchise have released since 2020. 2020: Retro Bowl is a mobile game more in the style of Tecmo Super Bowl than Madden. It's probably the most successful non-Madden game since ESPN NFL 2K5, and it's pretty fun. People should definitely give this one a try since it's free to play on any mobile platform. 2022: Madden 23 gave the cover back to Madden for the first time since 1999 to honor the passing of the legend John Madden. Unfortunately the game inside the cover was crap, has been the style of Madden games for over a decade.
|Year ||Game ||Cover Athlete ||Team ||Position |
|2005 ||Madden NFL 06 ||Donovan McNabb ||Eagles ||QB |
|2005 ||NFL Street 2 ||Jeremy Shockey, Xzibit ||Giants, Pimp My Ride ||TE, Rapper |
|2005 ||Blitz: The League ||Generic players ||NA ||NA |
|2005 ||Backyard Football 2006 ||Daunte Culpepper ||Vikings ||QB |
|2006 ||Madden NFL 07 ||Shaun Alexander ||Seahawks ||RB |
|2006 ||NFL Head Coach ||Bill Cowher* ||Steelers ||HC |
|2006 ||NFL Street 3 ||Chad Johnson ||Bengals ||WR |
|2007 ||Backyard Football '07 ||Ben Roethlisberger+ ||Steelers ||QB |
|2007 ||Madden NFL 08 ||Vince Young ||Titans ||QB |
|2007 ||All-Pro Football 2K8 ||John Elway*, Barry Sanders*, Jerry Rice* ||Generic ||QB, RB, WR |
|2007 ||Backyard Football '08 ||Tom Brady+ ||Pats ||QB |
|2008 ||NFL Tour ||Shawne Merriman ||Chargers ||LB |
|2008 ||NFL Head Coach 09 ||Tony Dungy* ||Colts ||HC |
|2008 ||Backyard Football '09 ||Tom Brady+ ||Pats ||QB |
|2009 ||Madden NFL 10 ||Troy Polamalu*, Larry Fitzgerald+ ||Steelers, Cards ||DB, WR |
|2009 ||Backyard Football '10 ||Frank Gore+, Eli Manning+, Kurt Warner*, Peyton Manning*, Adrian Peterson+, Jason Witten+ ||49ers, Giants, Cards, Colts, Vikings, Cowboys ||RB, QB, TE |
|2010 ||Quick Hit Football ||Logo ||NA ||NA |
|2010 ||Madden NFL 11 ||Drew Brees+ ||Saints ||QB |
|2010 ||Backbreaker ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|2011 ||Madden NFL 12 ||Peyton Hillis ||Browns ||RB |
|2012 ||Madden NFL 13 ||Calvin Johnson* ||Lions ||WR |
|2013 ||Madden NFL 25 ||Barry Sanders* or Adrian Peterson+ ||Lions or Vikings ||RB |
|2014 ||Madden NFL 15 ||Richard Sherman+ ||Seahawks ||DB |
|2015 ||Madden NFL 16 ||Odell Beckham Jr. ||Giants ||WR |
|2016 ||Madden NFL 17 ||Rob Gronkowski+ ||Pats ||TE |
|2016 ||Axis Football 2016 ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|2017 ||Madden NFL 18 ||Tom Brady+ ||Pats ||QB |
|2017 ||Axis Football 17 ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|2018 ||Madden NFL 19 ||Antonio Brown+ ||Steelers ||WR |
|2019 ||Doug Flutie's Maximum Football 2019 ||Doug Flutie ||Generic (Stampeders) ||QB |
|2020 ||Sunday Rivals ||Helmet ||NA ||NA |
|2020 ||Retro Bowl ||Generic player ||NA ||NA |
|2020 ||Legend Bowl ||Silhouette ||NA ||NA |
|2019 ||Madden NFL 20 ||Patrick Mahomes+ ||Chiefs ||QB |
|2020 ||Madden NFL 21 ||Lamar Jackson ||Ravens ||QB |
|2021 ||Madden NFL 22 ||Tom Brady+, Patrick Mahomes+ ||Bucs, Chiefs ||QB |
|2022 ||Madden NFL 23 ||John Madden* ||NA ||John Madden |
|2023 ||NFL Pro Era ||Lamar Jackson ||Ravens ||QB |
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2023.05.29 17:49 Fearadhach [OC] Timing (PRVerse 24.5
(Prev) Wiki A Spacer’s life is spent in two states: Sheer terror, or staring at a countdown.
Raised Admiral Thursh Whoomerson sat in his command chair aboard his Human No, you feather-brain, CONFEDERATED
flagship and tried not to stare at the ever-so-slowly changing numbers. It gets worse when you are in command. Everyone else has something to do, well, nearly everyone else. At least everyone on the bridge. Anything I try to do now will either look like over-eagerness, anxiety, or a lack of trust in my crew.
He turned to look at the plot, relaxed his body, and started in on a meditation he’d learned specifically to make time seem to pass faster while projecting an air of calm confidence towards his crew.
For a wonder it worked for once. A soft ping brought him out of his meditation as the timer hit zero and the Xaltan fleet neared the gravity trap they’d laid in their path. He allowed himself a cold smile as dozens of potential trajectory lines for each enemy ship sprang up on his plot and his his ‘radar’ controllers tried desperately to narrow the possibilities down. The Benzegal Shipyards may fall before this war is over… but not today!
After a few minutes the lines had been reduced to a mere handful for each ship and – better – all of them had converged in to a small enough area for what he wanted to do next. He hit a few controls and outlined a section of space, and the ship’s computer calculated the time-to-fire for him.
He sent the target solution off to all of his Ship Captains, then opened up a fleet-wide comms channel. “The Xaltans have arrived for the dance just on time. Welcome Fleet, you have your designated targets, and I will send you adjusted engagement vectors if they seem necessary, but it doesn’t look like it will. It looks like our dance partners are doing an unusually good job of dealing with the grav-sheer of our little surprise, and will arrive in tight order. Lets reward their efforts with a warm welcome, shall we?”
He heard a few dark chuckles across his flag bridge and nodded inwardly. morale is still running high, and that is good. How will it be two years from now when we are still having to engage the Xaltan fleet?
Another timer began to tick off seconds. As it neared zero Whoomerson gave his command. “All ships in Welcome Fleet, fire all guns and energy weapons, maximum dispersion patterns. Fill that area of space with everything we can put in it for the next forty seconds. Fighter wings, as soon as the fire is complete, I want every fighter we have moving at maximum acceleration, mode 2.”
The deck tremored beneath him as his own main gun fired, then all secondary batteries went off right behind it. Yet another counter started, timing the barrage, as his gunners cycled through their weapons. The plot showed what seemed to be a haze eminating from his fleet and crawling toward the ever-tightening field of his enemy’s return to normal space.
A light appeared on his console. He looked down at his Comms officer and shook his head, then punched the necessary buttons to officially deny the enemy Commander’s attempt to communicate. He had to force his feathers down as he leaned back in his seat and shared a commiserating glance with his Comms Chief. What point would there be in talking to a dead man? I know he has multiple suicidal ‘loyalty officers’ on every one of his ships, ready to blow them up rather than retreat or – cool breeze forbid – surrender. He also knows that I know.
He shook his head quietly. No. They can’t surrender, can’t retreat, can’t even listen to reason… and talking to that Walking Dead Man would do nothing but hurt the morale of my crew. And, possibly myself.
The latest timer mercifully hit zero at last. Well, mercifully for himself and his ruminations… not so much for the Xaltans. The singularities on the Xaltan ships finally gave out under the grav-sheer of the larger singularity several of his ships were maintaining, and those ships translated – hard – down into normal space. The Admiral had to hand it to them: they’d kept their battle line in far better order than most spacers would have been able to under the circumstances.
Sadly, for them, that meant that all of them came out directly into the teeth of his fleet’s ordinance. They came out in their standard wheel-and-spoke: small and mid-sized screening ships in a rotating disc-shaped formation overlapping their shields to provide cover for the larger capital ships behind them. Of course, the formation didn’t work so well when you got hit before your shields could spin up.
Nearly a third of the ‘wheel’ simply ceased to exist in an instant. Another third of it took crippling damage and could no longer hold their formation. Most of the rest took a number of hits, but some had been lucky enough to come out a little behind their fellows, and were spared the worst of the damage. Then the capital ships hit the cloud. All of them began to roll instantly, trying to spread the damage against as much of their armor as they could. One managed to get its shield up even before they passed through the cloud of fire. Another one sputtered and went dark. A hard half-growl half-cheer went around the Flag Bridge as that capital ship’s icon winked out, but no one looked up from their stations so Whoomerson let it slide. Opening round to me, then… though that isn’t hard when you get to ambush an unsuspecting opponent. Surprise is the ultimate High Ground.
He turned to fleet-comm. “You have already sent tactical data to the Under Fleet?” The woman at the station nodded. “Good.” He thumbed the fleet-channel. “Opening salvo goes to us, but you all know that these lizards will fight to the last: they have no choice. All Captains, weapons free! Mark your targets, rotate your fire, and don’t let up.”
He then took control of the plot and watched as the two fleets converged. The Xaltans closed their ranks quickly, allowing overly damaged ships to fall behind the screen. They kept the same formation, however: The loss of one Captial ship meant that they still had enough screeners to maintain cover. Only the Pinigra and the Kothro can use that particular formation to its true potential, and the Pinigra – from what I understand – only because they let their computers do most of the navigating.
He shook his head slightly. Still it is effective. Or, has been. Too bad the Humans figured out how to anticipate the holes they open up for their big ships to fire.
He drew some vectors on the plot for fighters to go out and flank the screen disc, looked at the computer’s projections of the disc’s movements, and assigned a few priority targets. And another timer. “All first line ships: when that timer hits zero you are to concentrate fire on the marked targets. Two salvos each, then go back to your previous firing zones.”
Acknowledgments floated up from the pit, but he had already moved his concentration forward. He unconsciously leaned in to study the plot, and… there. He almost sighed as he started Yet Another Timer… and then another one a little before it. “Underfleet, you have your countdown timer. You can see where it will put you, work your firing solutions out now. Welcome fleet, when your timer runs down you are to slow to fleet speed three. Make it look like we are growing timid from the fire we are taking.”
He suppressed a wince as the icon for one of his own picket ships winked out, and another signaled a need to come off the Line. “And, for flight’s sake, watch your shield-overlaps! I want the Xaltans to think
we are taking too much damage, not for it to happen!”
More acknowledgements floated up from the pit. They got cocky. I’m going to ream some Captains when this is done.
Movement at the edge of the Xaltan disc caught his eye, and he watched two flights of his fighters crest the disc at different locations… and be immediately destroyed by wide-angle sweeping shots from several of the large destroyers.
Whoomerson grimaced slightly, but then turned his attention to the rest of the Xaltan ships and smiled. The fighters had been a long shot, at best. He allowed himself to ruminate out loud. “It appears that the Xaltans are capable of learning, at least a little, and have learned not to let our fighters get around their discs.
“Now, lets teach them a lesson about ignoring a bull to swat a fly.” One of the timers reached zero, and the ships he’d designated fired their two salvos at specific ships within the Xaltan disc. As his ships fired he selected two points on the disc, and set yet another timer, along with an order that all ships fire everything they had on those spots when the timer hit zero.
The ships in the disc which had been the target of the salvos pushed extra power to their shields, at the cost of their engines, and rolled to distribute the force. Then they found themselves alone, in a small empty segment of the disc, with the combined might of several Xaltan Capital ships pouring through the hole which had opened up. The picket ships were destroyed, utterly, and managed to absorb a great deal of the fire caused by those openings. Yes, oh mighty Xaltans. Continue to use the same strategies against us over and over. Couldn’t possibly go badly for you.
At the same moment the entire fleet opened up with everything they had, and sent a colossal barrage of fire streaming at two points in the disc. Even that barrage would never have penetrated the overlapped shields of the disc… except that another of those openings widened in the disc, almost as if the Xaltan wanted to accept the fire.
The barrages sailed through the open space, though a few less well aimed shot did singe the shields on a few picket ships. The energy weapons, near-lightspeed missiles, and super high-velocity slugs tore directly into the exposed underbellies of the destroyers which had positioned themselves to take out his fighter wings.
Three of the destroyers went dark, and two others began to lose their places in the formation. To their credit, the Xaltan fleet responded in good order. The disc of picket ships abruptly changed their movements, obviously responding to an order to change their defensive pattern. At the same time, their capital ships made a path to allow the injured ships to limp away from the fight without doing too much to their order of battle.
Whomerson felt a hard smile play at his lips. Not much, but enough.
As the damaged ships reached the middle of the Capital ship’s formation, another timer hit zero, and Whoomerson’s fleet opened with another full barrage. This time they didn’t concentrate their fire, but spread it across the enemy disc, causing all of their ships to respond and focus their attention on his fleet… rather than the Underfleet which translated down from FTL space just ‘below’ them.
The Xaltan formation finally responded badly. After all this time, and the way they work their formations, they still get locked into two-dimensional thinking so easily.
The picket ships all had their shields focused on the incoming fire, and probably had lost both communications and sensors for a moment.
The Capital ship formation found itself, with its mobility badly hampered by their own tight formation and the damaged ships 'falling' through them made it worse.
The Underfleet announced their presence by firing at the unshielded ‘back side’ of the defensive disc, destroying whole sections of it and allowing nearly a quarter of Welcome Fleet’s barrage to pass thorough what had suddenly become so much space-dust.
They then fired into the fleet of Capital ships, which also had their shields mostly focused forwards towards the obvious battle, with some token shielding covering their rears in case of some sort of end-run maneuver.
They had, however, left their bellies almost completely exposed. In the space of under a minute the battle turned from one of attrition which looked to cost the Confederated fleet nearly as much as it would cost the Xaltans, to a total rout. Some Xaltan ships turned to flee or shut down engines and tried to surrender, and Whoomerson felt a pang of sadness as most of those ships suddenly seemed to explode of their own accord.
A few others tried to suicide-ram Confederated ships, but his Captains stood ready for just such a maneuver and brought concentrated oblivion down instantly.
As the last of the Xaltan ships winked out Whoomerson felt a strange sadness settle over him. It took a few minutes for him to identify the feeling's cause; Those ships that tried to surrender, or to run. I would have let them go, would have let those men live, but no. The Xaltan Voters…
He took a ragged breath and looked at his second in command, then through his flag bridge, and saw the same sentiments settling on so many faces. One of the Xaltan ships managed to surrender, at least. I wonder if their ‘loyalty officers’ all suddenly grew a sense of self-preservation, or the crew managed to subdue them?
He shook his head to banish such musings, forced himself to sit straight in his chair, and thumbed the all-fleet channel. Time to remind everyone who is at fault for all of this, and push their anger… if only to drive away the guilt.
Late on this one, I blame the Holiday. (For those not in the US, we had one of our biggest national holidays this weekend: Memorial Day, which is a remembrance of the sacrifices made by our military people... it is a little like the 'armistice day' that I understand a number of our European friends celebrate, from what I understand?
The editor for links still hasn't been fixed, so adding them is irritating, so I'm not doing more than the minimum right now.
Word count a little higher than usual, since the 2K 'stop' was very near the end of this scene. Next, we are back in the Council chambers, from a somewhat different POV. Hope everyone in the USA has had/is having a good holiday, and everyone not in the USA had a good weekend!
submitted by Fearadhach
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2023.05.29 15:29 xtremexavier15 TSWT 21 (pt 1)
Girls: Eva, Izzy
Boys: Ezekiel, Mal, Owen, Topher
Episode 21: African Lying Safari
"Last time, on Total Drama World Tour!" Chris opened, the recap montage beginning with a long-distance shot of the cast assembled by the Great Wall of China. "Thaaanks, China, we had a blast," the host said over a shot of Sadie hitting a landmine on her tricycle and an explosion being seen in the distance. "Just not the kind associated with fun," Chris added as Sadie had her tricycle stuck and Owen was shown getting knocked off the Great Wall by Ezekiel's donkey.
"Especially for Mal," Chris said as the troublemaker was shown pedaling his bike after colliding with an explosion, "who not only had to lose to Topher," Topher was shown overlapping Mal on his skateboard, "but he also had his cover blown, thanks to Topher." The Chris wannabe was shown announcing Mal's existence to the rest of the contestants.
"And since she doubted everyone's suspicions when it came to Mal," Chris explained over a clip of Sadie exchanging gifts with Ezekiel, "Sadie was the one to get dropped off!" Sadie was shown receiving her parachute in shock, "right after she learned the truth about Mike not being in control," he added as Mal chucked Sadie out of the plane.
The scene moved to the cockpit. "We're down to the Final Six!" Chris told the camera. "Who won't make the Final Five, and how will everyone band up against Mal? Find out right now, on Total! Drama! World Tour!"
The episode opened to the traditional shot of the plane in flight before quickly moving to economy class where Mal was smirking at Topher, Eva, and Ezekiel.
"So you've been taking control of Mike's body all this time?" Ezekiel griped. "You've gotten some of us eliminated and hurt Sadie and Ella."
"Noah was right about you when he noticed how slimy you were," Eva grimly said.
"I don't even regret any of it," Mal shamelessly said. "And don't even direct all of your hatred towards me. Topher's caused some eliminations as well and worked with me in the process."
Ezekiel and Eva briefly scowled at Topher. "That is true. I did get Amy, Rodney, and Noah voted off, but I simply wanted drama," Topher tried to defend himself. "Mal, on the other hand, has gotten others severely injured and has no redeeming qualities."
"You still decided to collaborate with me even after I made you peeve off Chris in New York," Mal gloated.
"You two are jerks, and I'll have no problem getting you guys off the plane by the next challenge as payback," Eva threatened.
The scene flashed to first class, focusing on Owen and Izzy sitting on the couch.
"So what is that thing you're holding?" Izzy pointed at the tea bag Owen was holding.
"It's love tea," Owen confessed. "This was given to me in China. It's supposed to make us love each other more or something like that."
Izzy snatched the bag and chucked it away. "Why would you think we'd need to drink this? I love you enough as it is," she said and sat on Owen's lap.
"Wait. Really!" Owen's eyes lit up.
"Of course I do. I've missed having you around on the plane for the past days," Izzy admitted. "No matter what, you'll always be my special marshmallow."
Izzy hugged Owen affectionately. "You're a wild gal indeed," he giggled coolly.
The footage skipped ahead to a shot of an open and sunny savanna, the jumbo jet parked in the background on the left, and a mountain range further beyond it. The landscape was dotted with acacia trees and low shrubs and a few rocks, and a compilation of hissing, hollow notes signified the heat as the camera panned to the right.
Mal, Topher, Ezekiel, and Eva were all waiting in a line. Izzy and Owen were nowhere to be seen as of yet, but Chris did soon appear in a red robe, wearing beaded necklaces and bracelets and a bald cap, and holding a spear. The appropriated outfit earned chuckles from the three boys, and Eva grinned as well.
"Nice dress!" Mal said through his laughter.
"It's traditional Maasai warrior garb," Chris explained, "and, it came with this!" He grinned as he held up his spear, and threw it towards Mal. The malevolent one yelped and moved to the side, the weapon sailing past his torso.
"Watch it!" Mal complained.
"Trust me," Chris told him. "That's the least dangerous thing that'll happen to you today. Welcome, to beautiful Tanzania," he said. "Home of the Serengeti plains, and over seventy different kinds of animals that can kill you."
"Sorry we're late!" the voice of Owen called from off-screen, distracting the group as he and Izzy ran into the shot from the left. "We got a little distracted."
"Whatever do you mean by that?" Chris wondered.
"One minute, Big O was showing me his love tea, and then the next minute, we're both talking about our favorite drinks and movies," Izzy replied.
"Are you two a couple or what?" Mal said rudely.
"No, but we're getting somewhere around that part," Owen said.
"Okay, challenge time!" Chris piped in.
A flash took the scene forward to a small clearing, the camera moving in past a few tufts of long grass to show the host and contestants on the left; and Chef dressed in his winter wear, a pile of purple fruit, six gourds of various shapes lined up on pedestals, and a pair of giant wooden heads flanking the whole display on the right.
"Part one combines two of Africa's most popular sports: soccer and cricket." Chris began, holding up a soccer ball and a cricket bat as the camera finished moving in for a close-up. "I call it 'Socc-et To Me'!" he declared dramatically, adding "The 'me' being you, of course."
"Why is Chef dressed up for a blizzard?" Ezekiel asked in confusion.
"Behold, the Penalty Parka!" Chris answered as the camera cut to a close-up of the sweating pilot. "I accidentally rented this coat, and since it can't fit me, I'm making Chef wear it so I can make my money's worth. Lookin' hot Chef," he taunted.
"Each player must run, one at a time," Chris continued as he spun the soccer ball on his finger, "from the starting line to that pile of African safou plums," the camera cut over to the large box of fruit. "Grab as many as you can carry, and run back. And you'll be doing all of this while your fellow competitors pummel you with soccer balls," he added with a smile as he spun his own ball around again.
"Hold on just a minute," Topher said nervously. "Do you have helmets for us to protect our faces?"
"It's Chris. The answer is obviously no," Eva told him.
"Next, take the plums you've brought back," Chris continued, "and whack 'em with the cricket bat to smash those gourds open. Like this," he said, tossing a safou high up into the air and smacking it with the bat when it came down. The fruit sailed through the air, and cracked Chef on the head, causing him to fall to the ground.
"Whoever cracks their gourd open first wins a reward that will be muy helpful in the next challenge," Chris said, ignoring his assistant. "Now, positions people! Izzy, you're up first! Kickers, get ready."
Another flash, and the other five players were shown in position with several soccer balls at their feet: Topher, Ezekiel, and Eva looking ready; then a side view of a smirking Mal and worried Owen.
Izzy took a deep breath at the starting line, and got into running position. "Let's do this," she said confidently.
"Ready, steady, Serengeti!" Chris called out, and a blow from his whistle signaled the start of Izzy's run.
She took off at a dash. The camera zoomed in to show her passing Topher, Ezekiel, and Eva in the background, and the three started kicking. "Is that all you got?" she called out as she turned around and kicked the ball back.
She reached the plums, scooped up an armful, and ran back to the start. Mal was shown watching her go past in the foreground, then smirked and kicked a ball her way. It hit the wild girl in the back, causing her to drop some plums and trip on the ones she'd dropped. With a startled wail, she let the rest of them fly from her hands and fell to the ground.
"Awesome!" Chris laughed. "Ezekiel, top that." He blew his whistle, and the footage skipped ahead.
Ezekiel gulped from his runner's start and went forward.
The first ball came from the foreground and hit him in the arm, earning a "Hey," as he slogged forward. Another "Ugh," came from a second foreground ball, and a third from a ball from the background.
"Quit complaining!" Eva said. "You're already there!"
Ezekiel smiled in revelation as he realized he'd gotten to the safous intact. "Hey, you're right!" he said in excitement, grabbing an armful of plums then turning and tripping over his own legs and landing face-first in the dirt.
"Owen, your go!" Chris announced, blowing his whistle again.
Owen jogged away from the starting line. The soccer balls hit him, but he managed to move on. "Dad was right. Being big does pay off!" he said positively.
The funniest guy around made it to the plums and grabbed two armfuls. He ran back to the line, and even though the balls were being kicked harder and faster, he prevailed and crossed the line with a lot of plums.
"I'd like to see anyone beat him!" Chris said. "Your turn, Topher!"
"I should just get this over with," Topher said to himself, racing off the starting line and immediately jumping over a ball kicked his way from behind the camera. "Please don't hit my face! I need my face!" he yelled, avoiding a second ball and covering his head. He was able to grab a load of plums.
"Maybe I could-" he said, a head-on perspective showing him running back...and getting tripped by a soccer ball on the leg from the right.
"Hey! Who did that?!" Topher asked irately, and Mal just snickered in response.
"Alright! Mal is next!" Chris declared before blowing his whistle yet again.
Mal took off running, and had to duck under a ball almost immediately. "Careful where you kick that!" he shot at Topher.
"No way!" Topher countered, launching another soccer ball.
"I'm going to aim for the head," Eva told him before kicking a ball of her own.
The shot cut to Mal as he narrowly dodged the second ball, but then seemed unable to dodge the third...but a ball came from the other side and struck the one Eva had kicked, and both fell to the ground harmlessly. "You have to try harder than that!" Mal taunted.
The scene skipped ahead to show Mal grabbing his plums, then turning around. Ezekiel kicked another ball, only for it to miss; the shot from Izzy that had been intended to intercept it also missed its target, though it did come close to hitting Mal.
"I am not sorry about that!" Izzy called out.
Owen kicked a ball himself, and on the other side Topher did as well. The two were shown in split-screen, Topher's going wide but then bounced back on course by Owen's, hitting Mal in the gut and knocking him over.
"How do you like that?!" Topher called out to Mal, looking somewhat pleased.
"And then there was one," Chris announced. "Bring it on, Eva!" He blew his whistle.
Eva's start was strong, and she immediately did a series of kicks at the first four balls sent her way. The rest of the contestants stopped and looked on in shock.
The female bully managed to bring an armload of plums back across the line without issue.
"Is it any surprise to you that I'm a pro at soccer?" Eva gruffly told the camera. "I should just ask the producers to give me the million dollars already."
"Remember," Chris told the cast as the footage cut back to the six lined up at the starting line with their cricket bats, "first person to smash through gets the advantage! Aaaaand go!"
Izzy and Owen were shown tossing their first plums into the air and making their first swings; Owen missed and groaned in disappointment, but Izzy managed to smack her safou on the first go. The camera cut to the gourds, where Chef was sweating too profusely to try and dodge the plums that were flying his way and completely missing their intended targets but hitting him.
The shot cut in closer to Eva as he wound up and swung, then followed the plum as it shot across the field and struck a gourd on the other side: it was cracked, but not broken. "I'm more into smashing things with the bat," Eva said as the shot cut back to her.
"Mal doesn't seem to be having much trouble," Chris commented as the villain struck another plum; it, too, sped across the playing field and struck the gourd opposite and deepened an already existing crack.
"It's all in the wrist! I can feel it!" Topher confidently declared, tossing a safou of his own and twirling the cricket bat with his wrist as he swung. They connected, but the plum went up in an arc, and ended up hitting Mal in the head and interrupting his swing.
"Don't make me hit you with my bat!" Mal complained, rubbing where he'd been hit.
"You can save that for later," Ezekiel told him, taking a powerful swing himself; it managed to hit the plum straight through his gourd, finally breaking it. "Because I just won this!" he declared proudly.
"And the winner of our first challenge is, Ezekiel!" Chris announced.
"Yes!" Ezekiel announced in triumph.
The footage skipped ahead a little, showing Ezekiel standing on the sidelines with Chris while the other five readied their bats again, "The rest of you have ten seconds left to crack your gourd," the host told them. "And trust me, you want what's inside!"
Another flash ahead, and Mal was shown swinging his cricket bat and smacking a safou straight through his gourd, finally smashing it. Eva looked at him, scowled, then spun around and tossed her cricket bat like a hammer; by sheer luck, she managed to smash her own gourd with it.
Topher, taking inspiration from the girl, threw his bat as well. It cracked his gourd successfully.
Izzy was next, smacking her two safous as hard as she could, and managed to knock the gourd clear off its pedestal. Luckily, it cracked open when it hit the ground.
Last was Owen, who took a breath and readied a more traditional swing. "Okay, last one,"she said to herself, tossing the safou up and smacking it hard when it came back down. Unfortunately, however, he missed his gourd and hit Chef in the groin instead, the pilot groaned in pain and fell over.
"Broken, but not a gourd," Chris told him. "No success for Owen will make it much harder for him to deal with this!"
He pointed dramatically to the side, where a tall crate had just been wheeled in by a white male intern. Whatever was inside the crate seemed angry, growling, snarling and making the box shake.
"Uhh, should we be running right now?" Ezekiel asked as he and Izzy gave the crate nervous looks.
"Yes, you should be scared," Chris said, mostly ignoring the comment as he walked over to the crate. "Part two of our challenge is a genuine African safari. And the prey?" He knocked on the crate, which shook again as another angry growl came from inside. The contestants gasped. "Why only the most dangerous animal of all," Chris said dramatically, the intern nervously prying open the crate to reveal a metal cage within, with a familiar shadow inside.
"A clone of Ezekiel!" Chris finished, the camera zooming in on the form inside the cage.
The clone snarled from in the cage. It still looked like Ezekiel, but its clothes were torn and shabby, his footwear and hat was gone completely, and his skin had turned greenish. In addition to that, his hair was gone and only a few strands could be seen.
The cast gasped again. "Where did that thing come from?!" Topher squimished.
"Turns out it got on the plane back in Area 51!" Chris said, looking back at the cage and flinching at the glare Ezekiel Clone was giving him. "Once I checked the security footage," Chris explained as the clone snarled, "Chef went a-hunting and found the possible alien down in the hold."
"I should warn you, though," Chris said from off-screen, "he's totally feral thanks to all that time with the animals." The clone gave the camera a frightening look.
Chris turned back to the contestants. "Whoever nabs the beast known as Ezekiel Clone wins invincibility, and! First class seats to our next destination."
"With the player of our choice," Matthew said. "Where's my reward?"
"In a second!" Chris replied snippily. "Go to your gourds and check inside," he said as the camera pulled back to show Ezekiel Clone trying to reach him from his cage. "They contain what you'll use to hunt with."
"A slingshot! Cool!" Izzy said in excitement, holding up the weapon and practicing pulling it back. "I've broken a lot of windows with these as a kid!" She released the rubber band and it snapped forward.
"What's the pouch for?" Eva asked, holding up a small leather belt and pouch. "Magic beans?"
"Close," Chris told her before reaching inside her opened gourd and taking out a small, squishy pink ball. "Tranquilizer balls!" he announced with glee. "Sling 'em with enough velocity and they burst on contact, numbing the area and releasing a hearty dose of sleepy-time goodness." He turned his attention to the side. "Watch, as this intern demonstrates."
He shot a tranq ball at the intern who had wheeled in the cage, and was now eating a sandwich. The ball struck him in the shoulder and released a small cloud of pink gas, which promptly caused the man's eyes to roll back in his head before he fell over. He landed in front of Ezekiel Clone, who immediately snarled and tried to grab the fallen sandwich from his hands.
"See?" Chris said as the shot cut back to the cast. "It's like paintball, only with naps! Now, stand back people. We're gonna give the violent alien a head start. Hey Frosty!" he called back towards the cage with a laugh.
Chef was sweating through his outfit as he shakily moved a key towards the cage's lock, and at the host's call of "Release the beast!" He put it in the keyhole, turned it, and was promptly trampled as the door was slammed open and Ezekiel Clone jumped out, snarled, and ran.
"It doesn't even look like Ezekiel," Mal responded.
"That's because I'm the real deal," Ezekiel said.
"Okay!" Chris said with his usual grin. "Since Ezekiel won the first challenge, he gets six tranq balls," he said before handing over a handful of pink pellets to the grinning prairie boy. "Mal and Izzy, you cracked yours open so you get three," he told the troublemaker and psycho, handing over the ammunition as Eva and Topher looked on. "Eva and Topher, two each," the host told the pair.
"Why are you giving us two?" Eva squinted.
"We cracked our gourds too!" Topher protested.
"Technically, the two of you beat your gourds with cricket bats," Chris corrected as Ezekiel Clone could be seen chasing the intern in the background before turning to the last contestant. "And Owen, since you didn't put a dent in your gourd, you get these," he handed the food fanatic a pair of safety goggles, "and one tranq ball."
"No slingshot?" Owen asked in disappointment. "I have a lot of plums still."
"Nope. You're just gonna have to throw the balls hard enough to make 'em burst," Chris told him. "Which will be hilariously unsuccessful, I'm sure."
"Aaand," he said, the shot pulling back as Chef blew on a large horn, "go!"
At the signal, the six teens, all now wearing safety goggles, ran off.
The scene flashed forward to a rightward pan across the savanna, Topher speaking before the camera reached him.
"Can one of you give me an extra tranquilizer ball?" Topher said, eventually being shown traveling with Ezekiel and Mal. "Having two sucks."
"I have one more than you, and I'm going to go alone," Mal refused and left the two alone. "See you dorks after I win."
Ezekiel squinted his eyes at him. "He's a total knob. I swear."
Topher put his arm around Ezekiel. "How about we team up and take him down?" he suggested. "If he doesn't win invincibility, everyone will vote him off."
"I do like the idea of seeing him jump off the plane," Ezekiel agreed. "I'm in."
"I know I'll be targeted next after Mal is gone, but I'll think about what to do after this day is over," Topher admitted.
"I remember watching you guys catch the Ripper back in London, but I forgot how you did it," Owen told Izzy and Eva while the three navigated.
"We had to use a burlap sack to do it, but this time, we have to roll with tranquilizer balls," Eva said.
"If you combine them all as a group, we have six overall," Izzy said.
"Six divided by three equals two, and each of us should have two tranq balls just to be safe," Owen explained.
"Keep an eye out for that clone," Eva advised her team. "We have no idea what it can do."
"I'm relentlessly good at tracking down prey," Izzy said. "The last time I had a date planned, this guy stood me up just to move to another state. I tracked him down, and what happened after wasn't pretty."
The scene moved to a low-to-the-ground shot of a rustling bush. Mal walked in from the left, and smirked at the bush. "Are you ready for your nap, alien reject?"
He was answered by a low roar, and a yellowish paw stepped out from the bush.
"A lion?" Mal said blankly as a male lion stepped out. "I wasn't going to tranquilize you. There's this alien-"
The lion interrupted with a roar, causing Mal to take a step back.
"I'm not wasting my ammo on this lion!" Mal yelled before turning and fleeing, and it looked like the lion was going to give chase before the sudden appearance of Chris in the foreground distracted it.
"Who will survive?" he asked the camera. "King of the Jungle, or King of the Fumble? Find out right after this, on Total! Drama! World Tour!"
The lion roared at him, and he turned and fled screaming as well.
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2023.05.29 13:03 FelicitySmoak_ On This Day In Michael Jackson HIStory - May 29th
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- Maureen Reillette "Rebbie" Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. She is the first child born to Joe & Katherine Jackson 1956
- La Toya Yvonne Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. She is the 5th child & the middle daughter 1971
- The Jackson 5 play
at the Indiana Fairgrounds Coliseum (now Indiana Farmers Coliseum) in Indianapolis, Indiana 1988
- Michael Jackson performs in concert
to an audience of 53,600 at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino in Turin, Italy on his BAD World Tour
- Michael arrives
, Germany with Tarak Ben Ammar, on the HIStory World Tour. He
meets the mayor of the city, Henning Scherf
Three month old Prince Michael Jr is taken to a Paris hotel suite where he is taken care of by his nannies Grace Rwaramba & Pia Bhatti. Michael joins him after each concert of the European tour. Debbie Rowe also flies every weekend to spend time with Michael & their son. 2006
- While still in Tokyo, Michael has business meetings in his hotel suite and then goes out shopping 2009
- Michael invites some fans into CenterStaging
, where This Is It rehearsals are taking place. According to them he seemed worried, upset and his voice crackled as if he was on the verge of tears as he revealed that he had "gone to bed thinking it was 10 concerts and woke up finding out it was 50".
Michael’s curly hair is back!
Later Michael goes for the second time in 10 days to a sound design studio on Magnolia Boulevard. 2013
- Jackson v AEG Trial Day 19
Katherine and Rebbie Jackson are at court. Paul Gongaware Testimony Jackson direct
"My understanding Michael Jackson is a party (to the contract)," Gongaware said about Dr. Murray's contract. Gongaware told jury he's never looked at Conrad Murray's contract to serve as Michael Jackson's tour doctor
Panish: "Why did AEG have to enter into a contract with Dr. Murray?"
Gongaware: "I don't know about AEG terminating Dr. Murray"
Gongaware said he didn't believe they could do it, because he was Michael's doctor. Gongaware said it was fair to say he didn't know why AEG would enter into a contract with a doctor for Michael Jackson. Panish asked Gongaware if Michael negotiated the price/contract with Dr. Murray.
"I believe he did through me, he instructed me what to offer"
Gongaware said he didn't know for sure whether Karen Faye was an independent contractor or not.
"Dr. Murray would've been 100% charged to Michael Jackson," Gongaware testified.
Gongaware said he didn't know what the $300k budgeted for medical management was for.
Panish tried 'impeaching' Gongaware, which is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual who's testifying. Yesterday and today the plaintiffs' attorney would ask a question then play parts of the deposition to catch Gongaware in contradiction.
At one point, a portion of Gongaware's deposition was played in which he discussed a meeting at Michael's house with Conrad Murray. In his deposition, Paul Gongaware said the meeting "was about Dr. Murray and engaging him"; Gongaware later changed testimony to state "him" meant MJ. That change was read to the jury, leading attorney Brian Panish to question Gongaware about what he meant by the word "engage". "Here I think we were talking about making sure Michael Jackson was engaged and focused", Gongaware said. He told the jury he was concerned about getting Michael involved and focused, engaged mentally. "I believe that was Kenny's concern, that he wanted him to be focused," Gongaware explained. "Michael had gone before without rehearsing", Gongaware recalled. "When he got to London, he was going to be sensational." Gongaware said he thought at the meeting they discussed Jackson's nutrition, not his health (i.e. sleep issues.)
Panish asked Gongaware about another meeting at Jackson's house in which Michael showed up late after a visit to Dr. Arnold Klein. "I didn't know what he was under the influence of, but he was a little bit off", Gongaware said of the meeting adding that he didn't know what kind of drugs Dr. Klein was giving Michael
Panish then asked Gongaware whether he was involved in getting Jackson a nutritionist. Lots of back-and-forth on this issue. Panish showed emails in which Gongaware emailed others at AEG telling them Jackson needed a nutritionist and physical therapist. "Obviously I was looking for a nutritionist for him, but I wasn't involved in his nutrition," Gongaware said. Panish played Gongaware's deposition where he said he was not involved in finding a nutritional person. Gongaware explained he believes nutritional person and nutritionist were not necessarily the same.
On June 15, 2009, Gongaware sent an email to Ortega in response to request for nutritionist and physical therapist for Michael . Email:
We're on it. AEG owns major sports teams in this market so we think we can find the right people quickly. Kenny responded: Super.Not a minute too soon. Let's turn this guy around!
Panish then asked Gongaware about a friend of AEG CEO Randy Phillips who was going to work with Jackson. Gongaware said he didn't know whether this friend of Phillips was a nutrition specialist. He told Panish he'd have to ask Randy Phillips. Gongaware testified he remembers someone named David Laughner working with Michael. Panish pointed out Laughner is Randy Phillips' friend. "I don't know if he was a nutritionist, it was someone in charge of making Michael eat," Gongaware explained.
Gongaware: "He's a guy who's dealt with artists quite a bit"
Panish: "Artists in trouble?"
Gongaware: "Artists in general"
Gongaware said he doesn't know what Laughner did, but he's seen him working with JLo and Enrique Iglesias.
Gongaware didn't know why MJ would need a nutritionist when he had a doctor hired. "Kenny asked for it," Gongaware explained. Gongaware said he told Dr. Murray he wanted him to have everything he needed. He said Michael Jackson had always been thin
Gongaware said he didn't attend rehearsals frequently.
"I was at the rehearsal facility at all the times but I wasn't in the arena much."
"We were always concerned about Michael's health and well being," Gongaware explained, saying he was responding to Kenny Ortega's requests. Gongaware said Kenny Ortega was responsible for keeping an eye on everything, including Michael and his health. Gongaware was then asked whether there was anyone responsible for handling AEG's interests at rehearsals. Gongaware responded "Yes, that was Kenny Ortega"
Panish: "Do you think Ortega was overreacting?"
Gongaware: "Perhaps. I was never concerned about Michael Jackson. I knew when the houselights went off, he would be there and on."
Panish: "You think Ortega was overreacting when raised concerns about Michael's health?" Gongaware: "I think I wasn't concerned as he was"
Talking about the email Gongaware wrote saying he wanted to remind him (Dr. Murray) that it's AEG, not Michael, who's paying his salary. In his deposition, Gongaware said he didn't know what he meant to say in the email. Gongaware testified he spent some of the time himself looking at this email, putting it in context with the rest of the material he had.
Panish: "After meeting with your lawyers and talking about an hour or two about this email, did you refresh your memory of what you meant?"
"I did come to conclusions a lot on my own, then I discussed it with my attorneys," Gongaware explained
Panish: "You didn't have psychotherapy to refresh your recollection?"
Gongaware: "No, I still don't recall writing it"
Panish played for jurors a section of Gongaware's deposition, recorded in December, in which Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle questioned him about what he meant when he wrote to Ortega:
"We want to remind him that it is AEG, not Michael, who is paying his salary."
Boyle: "Based on the assumptions that AEG is your company and Michael is Michael Jackson, do you have an understanding of what that means?"
Gongaware: "No, I don't understand it, because we weren't paying his salary"
Boyle: "So why would you write that?"
Gongaware: "I have no idea"
Boyle: "Now, let's go on to the next sentence. When you say 'his salary,' who are you talking about?"
Gongaware: "I don't know."
Boyle: "Oh, but how do you know you weren't paying his salary if you don't know who we're talking about?"
Gongaware: "I don't remember this e-mail"
Boyle: "Didn't you just testify that 'we weren't paying his salary'?"
Boyle: "Yes.You just testified 'we weren't paying his salary.' You just testified to that a few seconds ago, right?"
Gongaware: "I guess"
Boyle: "Well, whose salary were you referring to? Dr. Murray?"
After Gongaware began recalling in court what he meant in the e-mail, Panish suggested it may be a case of "repressed memories" where "someone doesn't remember something for three or four years."
"You didn't have any psychotherapy to remember what you wrote here?" Panish asked. "You didn't like get put to sleep? (Judge Yvette Palazuelos injected: "Hypnotized?") to see if you remembered this?
"No," Gongaware answered
Panish went through every word of the email, which was to Kenny Ortega and Frank DiLeo:
Frank and I have discussed it already and have requested a face-to-face meeting with the doctor, hopefully Monday. We want to remind him that it is AEG, not Michael, who's paying his salary. We want him to understand what's expected of him. He's been dodging Frank so far
Panish: "You're referring to Dr. Murray and what's expected of Dr. Murray, right?"
Gongaware: "Yes, we did talk about Dr. Murray's salary, but a deal was never consummated. His responsibility was to take care of his patient"
Panish asked if he thought Dr. Murray knew what his responsibility was, so why the need to remind him what was expected of him?
"This thing was shorthand between me, Kenny and Frank. I was going through hundreds of emails a day. If I knew lawyers four years later were picking everything apart, I may have been more careful choosing my words", Gongaware testified.
He claimed he was referring to Kenny's email regarding nutritionist, physical therapist.
"I certainly feel Dr. Murray should be competent to do that (be a nutritionist). He's a doctor!" Gongaware testified.
Panish asked why Gongaware thought they needed a nutritionist when they had a doctor hired.
"Kenny asked for one," he responded
"If Michael signed the contract and if Michael would've instructed us to pay him, we would've pay him," Gongaware said about Dr. Murray
"Frank and I have discussed it already and have requested a face-to-face meeting with the doctor, hopefully Monday
AEG Live co-CEO Paul Gongaware wrote on June 14, 2009, 11 days before Murray administered a fatal dose propofol
"Michael didn't like to rehearse, it didn't surprise me," Gongaware expressed, saying it was known that Michael didn't go to rehearsals. But when the lights went up, Jackson was "on," he stated.
Email on 5/5/09 from Gongaware to Carla Garcia:
Pray for me. This is a nightmare. Not coincidentally, I have them now every night. Cold sweats too. Life used to be so much fun...
It was not an admission that he was concerned about Jackson's ability to do the show, he said. "It was just playing around, joking," with AEG President Tim Leiweke's assistant, Carla Garcia, he testified.
"Carla is an absolute babe and I was just chatting her up. I don't have cold sweats, I don't have nightmares, I sleep great!" Gongaware said.
Panish asked him if he was lying in the email, "white lie?"
Gongaware: "Let's just say I was joking"
Panish: "You ask people to pray for you joking?"
Gongaware: "I did there"
Response from Phillips on Jun 20:
Bugzee, I know because I just got Kenny's message on my voicemail.What did he do when he got there and what happened between him and KO? I have a meeting with Michael tomorrow morning
From Hougdahl (Bugzee)to Phillips, cc'd Gongaware:
MJ came out and watched all the pyro demonstrations and endorsed the all the effects then went into his room and asked Kenny "you aren't going to kill the artist, are you?" We assumed this was reference to pyro, but Kenny said he was shaking and couldn't hold his knife and fork. Kenny had to cut his food for him before he could eat, and then had to use his fingers. I don't know how much embellishment there is to this, but (Kenny) said repeatedly that Michael was in no shape to go on stage. He kept going on and on how no one was taking responsibility for "getting him ready". We might be getting beyond ... damage control, here
"I didn't worry about, it sounded like he was sick and they were going to talk about it next morning," Gongaware explained
Tim and I are going to see him tomorrow, however, I am not sure what the problem is. Chemical or physiological?
Gongaware said he was at a family wedding and wasn't really paying attention to this. This was 1st time he heard something was wrong with Michael
Take the doctor with you. Why wasn't he there last night?
"Yes, if he (MJ) was sick, why wasn't he (the doctor) there?" Gongaware said he meant in the email
Phillips responded and added Tim Leiweke in the chain:
He is not a psychiatrist so I'm not sure how effective he can be at this point. Obviously, getting him there is not the issue. It is much deeper.
"I think Randy is stating his opinion," Gongaware said.
Panish asked if Gongaware inquired what Phillips meant by "the issue... It's much deeper."
Gongaware: "Well, there was going to be a meeting that day to discuss it"
Panish: "Were you concerned?"
Gongaware: "Not necessarily"
Panish: "Nobody told you anything where Dr. Murray was?"
Panish:"And never sought to find out?"
Response from Hougdahl to Phillips, about needing trainetherapist:
I've watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks. He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He'd fall on his ass if he tried it now
"There was a meeting on June 20th. I wasn't there, I was back East," Gongaware recalled.
Email from Phillips (6/20/09):
Unfortunately, we are running out of time. That's my biggest fear
"He was afraid of that, I wasn't," Gongaware said. Gongaware said he didn't agree with Phillips' assessment, "He may have said that, but I didn't agree with that"
Panish questioned Gongaware about whether the company put too much emphasis on the showbiz maxim, "The show must go on." Gongaware denied that was the case. He told the jury that he was concerned about Jackson's health, but that he thought This Is It tour director Kenny Ortega may have been overstating concerns about the singer's wellbeing. Gongaware agreed that in this business, the show must go on
Gongaware testified he didn't know when Dr. Murray's contract was to begin. "That contract was for London and the shows for London, I believe," Gongaware said.
Email on 6/20/09 from Phillips to LeiwekeComm and "Kazoodi"(private email address that belongs to Gongaware):
This guy is really starting to concern me. Read his email and my response. Dr. Murray and I are meeting with Michael at 4pm today at The Forum.
Gongaware testified that he wasn't sure who Phillips was referring to, and his boss may have been expressing concerns about Jackson or Murray.
The artist's health is paramount. Without the artist, there's no show. The artist is the most important thing," Gongaware testified
Email on 6/19/09 from Phillips to Leiweke:
We have a real problem here
There was a meeting that was going to happen the next day, Gongaware said, and he waited to see what would come out of it
Email on 6/19/09 from Leiweke to Phillips:
Let's set up a time for you and I to meet with him. I want Kenny in the meeting as well
Ortega wrote back:
I will do whatever I can to be of help with this situation. My concern is now that we've brought the Doctor into the fold played the tough love .He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a terrible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light it's going to take a strong therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing. I was told by our choreographer during the artists costume fitting w/ his designer tonight they noticed he's lost more weight.: As far as I can tell, there's no 1 taking responsibility (caring) for him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight? Tonight I was feeding him wrapping him in blankets to warm his chill, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor. There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea. Finally, it's important for everyone to know I believe he really wants this. It would shatter him break his heart if we pulled plug. He's terribly frightened it's all going to go away. He asked me repeatedly tonight if i was going to leave him. He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy. There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.
Kenny: I will call you when I figure this out,we have a person like that, Brigitte, who's in London advancing his stay. We will bring her back asap and Frank, too, however, I'm stymied on who to bring in as a therapist and how they can get through to him in such a short time
Gongaware said Brigitte is a lawyer who was in charge of accommodations for MJ in London
Gongaware: "He was obviously concerned"
Panish: "Seriously concerned, right sir?"
Gongaware: "Seemed to be"
"This all happened prior to the meeting, and I was waiting to understand what the situation was," Gongaware explained
"I think they are special," Gongaware said about artists.
Email response from Philips to Kenny urging him, and everyone else, not to become amateur psychiatrists or physicians on 6/20/09:
You cannot imagine the harm and ramifications of stopping this show now
Panish: "Can you name a single person at AEG who checked Dr. Murray out?"
Gongaware: "I don't know if anyone did. I didn't know anything about him. Some people work for reasons other than money," Gongaware opined, but said he didn't know whether Dr. Murray was in that category. "I believe every doctor is unbiased and ethical," Gongaware said. "I think it's a natural assumption on my part."
Gongaware: "I never checked any doctor that I used. I just go by recommendation, never checked anyone's financial situation"
Gongaware said everyone thought Michael had all the money in the world, and it was not unusual for him to see people asking for a lot of money. Gongaware said he never heard before today anything about Dr. Murray's financial conditions
Panish: "He knew Michael's health was declining based on what the doctor told him, right?"
Gongaware: "Based on what his doctor told him, yes"
"I did talk to him and he said the meeting went well," Gongaware recalled
Email on 6/22/09 from Hougdahl (Production Manager, known as Bugzee) to Gongaware:
Further to the earlier email Let's keep our two docu people out of here today, unless they stay in the dressing room area only. Tomorrow is another story...
Panish: "Sir, Michael was sick this time, wasn't he?"
Gongaware: "I don't know, he showed up the next day and was great!"
Panish: "But you were not at the rehearsal, sir?" Gongaware: "I saw reports"
Panish then asked Gongaware about his attendance at Jackson's rehearsals. Gongaware said he didn't attend many. He watched Jackson perform "Thriller" two days before he died, but that was the only time he spent at that rehearsal.
"He appeared to me to be fully engaged. I recall seeing "Thriller" because it was the first time they were rehearsing with the costume and I wanted to see it," Gongaware said Court Transcript
2017 - Lifetime original movie, Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland
is featured in TV Weekly
magazine, with Navi on the cover
2023.05.29 09:28 Honest-Credit-1297 AMAZONIA
by Andrew Roller
It was a soft summer night. School would be out soon. His pickup was new and smelled new, and it made Susan more responsive. Her blonde hair trailed down over her face and onto his shoulders. They kissed. Crickets took up a new symphony in the long grass surrounding his pickup to celebrate the arrival of his hand, for the first time, within her tight jeans.
He felt the front of Susan’s panties. Strange, how there was nothing there, except soft folds of flesh. Susan had sweet perfume. Her lips worked harder against his.
Lifting his hand from within her jeans, he took hold of Susan’s head. She breathed a remorseful sigh. Did she want him back between her legs? Her lips seemed to beg for his return, but his mouth was pressed so tightly to hers that she couldn’t get any words out.
His fingers infiltrated the long, honey-hued strands of her hair. He felt her ear, her jaw. He seized Susan by her neck.
Susan gave a shriek as he lifted her by her neck and slammed her head into the windshield of his pickup. Her blood splattered brightly against his new, leather-like dashboard. He pulled back his fist, still gripping Susan by her neck, then slammed her head forward again.
The windshield cracked. It was safety glass and it splintered into a tightly-glued pattern of see-through jigsaw puzzle pieces. He rammed Susan’s blonde head into the jigsaw pattern. Again. Again. He broke through into the hot summer night beyond the glass.
A white glare burst through the windshield. It was made of neon bulbs. He held Susan’s lifeless neck in his hand, stared at the hole he’d made in the windshield. Then he let go of Susan. She fell unresponsively into the footwell of his truck’s cab, on the passenger side. Her 14-year-old feet, clad in sneakers, remained draped over his lap.
“My God, what have you done?” he heard from beyond the hole in his windshield. It was kind of a half-scream, this question, and instinctively he pushed himself up from the seat of his truck’s cab toward it. He groped at the broken windshield in front of him with his hands. He found he could bend it back where he’d made a hole in it. He pushed at the glass.
He climbed out of the cab through the hole in the front of the windshield. There was no dark summer night beyond the windshield, not even the hood of his shiny new truck existed beyond it. Instead, he was standing in a neon-lit laboratory. He stared at a white-coated technician.
“God, you’ve broken through,” the technician said to him.
“Are you... my father?” was all he could think to ask.
“Huh?” the technician replied. Then he gulped, once, and, seeming to understand his question, answered, “No. I just work here.”
He looked at the technician. The man was thin. His cheeks were gaunt. Sewn on his coat was a name badge. It read: “Pope”.
“Who are you?” he blurted. He began to feel a rage inside him. It was the same rage that had caused him to strike Susan’s head, so suddenly, against the windshield of his new truck, even as they kissed and she’d given him what he’d wished for from her for so long. Frantically he glanced back at the hole in the windshield of his cab, saw just shadows beyond, and wires, and some kind of a body, the person he’d once called “Susan”.
“You don’t know what you’ve done. You don’t know what it’s like. Out there... you had a good life...“ Pope said to him in a voice as frantic as he himself was feeling. His head turned from the broken windshield back to Pope. Strange, how the windshield was set into the wall of the lab behind him, was part of the wall! And he was standing on a floor, not on the hood of his new truck, as he should be. And there was no grass, no crickets. Had there ever been grass? Was it night, or day? Where was he? Who was he? A vision of a rat in a cage flitted through his mind. The rat bore his head, and he lived in a cage. Pope stood outside the cage, studying him.
And now he was free of the cage and could confront Pope directly. His hand swept briefly over his backside. No, he didn’t have a tail. And, seeing his reflection in the glass cover on a laboratory machine, he saw he was human, just like Pope was. In fact, he was several inches taller than Pope. And he was young, 15, with his Learner’s Permit in his pocket, letting him drive, and he felt strong.
Pope was going gray. He had spindly fingers and a thin neck.
“Who am I?” he blurted at Pope. “And who are you, if you aren’t my father?”
“I’m just... I just... they wanted to study a human in the wild. You had a good life. Sure, it was a six foot by six foot Emulsion Cage, but you didn’t have to ever know that. For you, it was Sedgeway, Iowa, and you were scheduled to have a normal life, right through to old age.” Pope seemed to choke on a sudden, ironic laugh. “I was working on your old age pension plan this morning. You’d have gotten it in the mail in 13 years.”
He stared at Pope. The lab technician stared back. It was just the two of them, in this brightly-lit laboratory room, with the broken windshield set into the far wall. He still regarded the man as some kind of father, despite the man’s denials.
“Thanks, I won’t be needing an age old pension plan,” he said, angrily. He wanted to grab the man by the neck but he felt somehow that the man was real, not like Susan, who wasn’t real, but only seemed real. Real humans could tell tales, tales that died when they did. He needed some tales right now. Any tales.
“Who am I? What’s my name... Pope?” he said furiously to the man.
“Huh?” Pope replied. The graying man seemed half-bewildered by having to confront, face to face, the “rat” he’d studied for so long. “No... Pope is my name. Not yours,” Pope finally managed to say as they stared at each other in the laboratory. “Yours is, well, ‘Cum-Andi’ is all it really is. Cum... sperm from the subject named Andi... that’s all you’re really known by. Plus a number.” Pope grinned. It was that wry, ironic grin that had made him utter a choking laugh a minute ago. “Do you want to know the number?” he asked.
“What’s the number?” Cum-Andi said.
“2A-95596E-2320541-3000,” Pope grinned. It was a Stephen King kind of grin, except Cum-Andi was beginning to wonder if there had ever been a Stephen King. There had, after all, never been any Susan.
“What’s that, my goddamn phone number?” Cum-Andi growled.
“No, dear boy. It’s you,” Pope replied. “It’s your identifying number and I suppose you’ll want to memorize it now, or not. The choice is yours. All choices are yours now. You had a nice life but now you’re here, aren’t you? And you can’t go home again. Because home was a six foot by six foot box that you knew as Sedgeway, Iowa, in the great United States of America at the end of the 20th century.”
Cum-Andi peered at Pope through a haze of rising anger. Who was this little man, and why was he grinning now? Pope straightened his posture and pressed his fingers to a Notebook-sized, computerized pad he was holding in his hands.
“Forgive me but I must call security,” Pope said. “You’ve escaped from your cage and we can’t have you running loose around the building. I’d get in serious trouble. I could be killed…”
Cum-Andi grabbed Pope and smashed him headfirst into a glass covering over a computer. Pope screamed. The computer sparked bits of firefly lightning and its dials dimmed. Blood ran down the face of the computer. Pope fell lifeless to the floor. His notebook fell clattering between his legs.
Bending over, Cum-Andi picked up the notebook. The fall from Pope’s hands had shattered its viewscreen. Yet Cum-Andi studied it, looked at the lettering written across its top: “Renno
Amazonia League, D.C.,” the lettering spelled out, quite distinctly, “Do Not Remove from Building”. Underneath that, in smaller lettering, was written a rationale. The computerized notepad wouldn’t work outside the building and, hence, there was no point in removing it from the building.
Cum-Andi dropped the notepad to the floor. It wasn’t working inside the building, any more. Then a chill ran down his spine. Was he like the notepad? Could he still “work” if he himself left the building?
Dashing through a door, Cum-Andi felt a sense of desperation. Who was he? Just a number? Just a rat in a cage? He left the brightly lit laboratory only to find himself in an equally brightly lit hallway. He wanted to jump up and smash the light overhead. He tried, but couldn’t quite touch it. Cum-Andi jumped again and still managed to fall just short of it.
“Damn!” Cum-Andi swore. He dashed down the hall. He saw a door set in the wall of the corridor. He grabbed the door’s knob and tore the door open. He wanted to wrench the door off its hinges but found he couldn’t.
Staring into the small dark room beyond, he felt a sudden flash of fear. He’d opened a door on a closet. The cage. Sedgeway, Iowa. His truck. Susan. His eyes scanned across a mop, a cleaning bucket, and, next to the bucket, he saw a head. It stared at him. It blinked.
“Let there be light,” the head said. It grinned up at Cum-Andi from a shelf. Wires trailed out of the bottom of its neck. It had no body.
“Who--?” Cum-Andi felt a deep chill. He was about to slam the door shut on the closet but couldn’t quite bear to because the head was grinning up at him in a casual, accepting way, despite repeatedly blinking its eyes at the sudden intrusion of light into its dark closet.
“I’m Stan, if you must know my name,” the head said to Cum-Andi. “Do you want to play?”
“No, I —“ Cum-Andi couldn’t think of anything to say. It was ridiculous. He’d been in Sedgeway, Iowa, kissing a girl he’d longed for, and now he was staring into a cleaning closet at a head with no body. Was he dreaming? He pinched himself. Nothing. No change. But he remembered dreaming before, and pinching himself in the dream to see if it was real, and being assured it was real because the pinch in his dream was a dream-pinch, not a real pinch, and so didn’t wake him.
“I’m a BabbleBot,” the head told Cum-Andi. “I can be male or female. Just get me the body you prefer, and we can play together.”
“No thanks,” Cum-Andi answered. He felt again the need to slam the closet door shut but the BabbleBot stared at him so benignly, he grabbed it instead.
Cum-Andi lifted the head so that it was level with his own.
“Who are you?” Cum-Andi asked.
The head smiled, seemed unoffended by having to restate its identity. “I’m Stan. I’m a BabbleBot. Get me a body and we can play. Male or female, your choice.”
Footsteps echoed in the hall. Cum-Andi shut the closet door. Then, thinking quickly, he opened it again. Steeling himself against the possibility of finding himself in a cage once more, clutching the head as proof of what he’d found outside Sedgeway, Iowa, he stepped into the cleaning closet. He pulled the door in behind him but left it ajar, lest he find himself locked into the closet.
“Ooooh, Post Office! I like games in the dark. I need a body, though,” the head said under the crook of Cum-Andi’s arm.
“Shhhh!” Cum-Andi told the head. Then, looking down at it in the near darkness of the cleaning closet, he asked, “Who am I?”
“Oh, I don’t know that game,” the head replied.
“Keep your voice down!” Cum-Andi scolded the head. “Whisper.”
“Okay,” the head answered. “Who am I?”
“Don’t be useless to me or I’ll kick your head in,” Cum-Andi warned the head. It seemed to understand that Cum-Andi was serious.
“Who are you? I don’t know. You haven’t told me your name yet. I’m Stan,” the head said to Cum-Andi.
Footsteps hurried past the door outside. Cum-Andi heard hissing. The noise, a conversation of hisses, died as whatever was outside the door hurried past.
“Sisguards,” the head whispered. “Have you been bad? They’ll take you to a Detention and Reeducation Center. You won’t like that. I lost my body there.”
Cum-Andi glared down at the head. It had whispered, though, and whatever was outside the door seemed to have passed by without hearing it.
“What are... Sssguards?” Cum-Andi asked.
“Sisguards?” the head replied. “My, my, you’ve never heard of them before? And you so big, how could you...?” the head paused. “You wouldn’t be a Wild One, would you?”
“A what?” Cum-Andi asked.
“Yes, you must be,” the head said to itself, still whispering, as Cum-Andi had ordered it to. “A human, from the look of you, one of the experimental ones grown in the wild. Why aren’t you in your cage?”
“You know about my... cage?” Cum-Andi paused. He still had trouble believing Sedgeway, Iowa, could really be nothing but a fictional illusion inside a six foot by six foot cage. Silently he assured himself he’d wake up at any moment and find himself in his own bed, at home, with no new truck bought for him by his dad for his birthday, and Susan still an unattainable love-object, a kind of 14-year-old Jenny McCarthy. Just like she’d always been, until she’d agreed to go riding with him in his brand-new truck this evening.
“You’ve broken out of your cage,” the head said. “My, my. We won’t have much time to play, then.”
Cum-Andi pushed open the closet door. He peered out. He clutched the head under his arm, not sure if he wanted it, but afraid to let it go just yet. It seemed to have more tales to tell him. And it didn’t seem as much of a threat as Pope had been. For one thing, it had no computerized notepad and, for that matter, no body. It had nothing but a mouth.
“Keep your voice down,” Cum-Andi said to the head under his arm.
“Sure,” the head agreed.
Cum-Andi glared up the hall, then in the other direction. All he could see was the hall’s neon-lit walls. They seemed to close him in on both sides, like a tube-shaped cage. He still felt like a rat.
“Which way? Where do I go?” Cum-Andi asked the head.
“To the bathroom?” the head answered. Cum-Andi glared at the head and it chuckled. “Sorry. A bit of levity, brighten your day, before we both wind up in Det Ed.”
“Det?” Cum-Andi asked, unable to finish because the head interrupted.
“Detention and Reeducation. They’ll get us both now, I’ll bet. I’ll lose my head,” the head answered. Its face broke into a self-pitying smile.
“Look, if you want a body, I’ll see what I can do,” Cum-Andi told the head under his arm. “But if you... if you joke around and fuck with me I’ll kick your head like a football down this hallway.”
“Sounds like a deal,” the head answered. It grinned up at Cum-Andi.
“Good,” Cum-Andi said. “Now who am I, who are you, and where the fuck are we? And how do I get out of this idiot dream I’m in?”
“Not a dream,” the head said. “You may be dreaming soon, and quite painfully, once the Sisguards get hold of you. You’re an escaped animal. Escaped from a cage. I’ll bet you came from right down the hall, hmmm? You don’t seem to have gotten very far from your cage, I’ll bet, considering how little you know. You’ll be back in your cage soon. If you haven’t polluted yourself too much with knowledge of the world outside your cage.” The head looked up at Cum-Andi, and seemed to evaluate him. “If you have polluted yourself, if you know too much, then they’ll kill you. Perhaps you’d best put me back in my closet and turn yourself in before
you know too much.”
“No!” Cum-Andi said. He looked frantically up and down the hallway. Then back at the head. “No, I’m not going back into any fucking cage,” he hissed at the head.
“It’s a nice life. You’ll get to live a full life,” the head replied. “You won’t know you’re in a cage once they’ve got you properly locked back into it. You’ll be... God knows, in Sedgeway, Iowa, if you’re one of that man’s subjects. What’s his name? The guy down the hall? Did you meet anyone besides me?” The head peered up at Cum-Andi from the crook of Cum-Andi’s arm.
“Pope?” Cum-Andi said.
“Yes! Pope! He used to have me sing to him on Friday afternoons,” the head said. “When he had to clean his lab.” The head peered at Cum-Andi closely. “You’re Pope’s subject, aren’t you? Raised in the wild. Or, rather, in a cage that you thought was a real place. Sedgeway, Iowa, right?”
“That’s right,” Cum-Andi answered.
“Pope promised me a body someday, if he could afford it, so I could clean his lab for him,” the head said. “A nice man.”
“Yeah,” Cum-Andi agreed. Something told him to keep his own hostility toward Pope under wraps. The head might not like hearing that Pope was dead.
Footsteps sounded once more in the hall. Cum-Andi jerked his head in the direction of the laboratory. There was a gentle curve to the hallway. It prevented him seeing all the way to the lab, but he guessed that whatever had passed by the hallway closet was on its way back.
Cum-Andi clapped his hand over the BabbleBot’s mouth. The head worked its jaw, futilely.
“Yeah,” Cum-Andi thought. “Blab that I’m here, fucking head. Turn me in and get a body for yourself. No way.” Mewling sounds escaped from between Cum-Andi’s clamping fingers. He pressed them more tightly to the head’s mouth.
Cum-Andi turned and ran. He was wearing sneakers. They muffled his footfalls as he ran down the hall. He was glad he hadn’t taken his Dad’s advice and worn hard-soled shoes for his date with Susan.
Cum-Andi felt a freezing sensation in the pit of his stomach. That father, that man he’d called “Dad,” hadn’t been real. Unless this was just some crazy dream he was in. That meant his mother wasn’t real either. Or his kid sister.
Bethany! Six, going on seven, just old enough to read Dr. Seuss by herself. She’d gotten lost at the Mall last weekend and Mom had gone nuts. Now, it turned out she was lost forever, or, rather, never born. Cum-Andi would have stopped, perhaps even cried, but he could hear footfalls behind him and they were numerous. They, whoever “they” were, had heard him running, despite his sneakers.
This had to be a dream. In dreams, you always wound up being chased. Cum-Andi was torn between stopping, turning around, and confronting whatever was after him. At the same time, he kept his hand over the BabbleBot’s mouth. It kept working its jaw. Cum-Andi adjusted his fingers. The head seemed to be trying to bite one of them.
“Now would be a good time to find a rabbit hole,” Cum-Andi muttered to himself, remembering a book he’d read to Bethany a few days ago, after school. She’d insisted. It had been the only way he could keep her from putting a mud-pie in the oven. And keep her from telling Mom about the pot she’d found sneaking around in his bedroom.
Cum-Andi stared at the floor. It looked solid. He jumped, once, to test it. Hey, this was a dream, right? He’d probably sink right into it.
The floor held.
“There’s the animal!” Cum-Andi heard behind him. Cum-Andi whirled about. Something burned into his arm. He screamed. If it had been his right arm, he’d have dropped the head onto the floor. But it was his left, and in his left hand he held nothing.
Cum-Andi felt tears well up in the corners of his eyes. If this was a dream, it was a damn painful one! His arm felt like it was on fire. Cum-Andi would have looked down at his arm but he couldn’t take his eyes off the creatures who were coming toward him. They resembled lizards! Lizards without tails!
They had long hair, like Susan. One lizard was blonde, two were brunettes. A brunettes had her hair pulled back into a tight, Puritan-like bun. The other two lizards let their hair flow freely down over their shoulders. The lizards had slitted yellow eyes. They seemed to be wearing blue body armor. It consisted of a blue helmet, with a Sheriff-like gold star on its front. A blue armored vest was fitted over each lizard’s torso. The lizards, underneath their vests, seemed to have bosoms. Some of the lizards were more amply endowed in their chests than others. Their arms were bare, but covered with what appeared to be small, mesh-like scales. Their legs were covered with the same cloth, or was it bare skin? Cum-Andi couldn’t decide. Most amazingly, except for one other feature, the creatures wore no pants. Cum-Andi could see what appeared to be pubic hair where the legs of each creature joined.
It was the faces, though, of the lizards that most riveted Cum-Andi. They were crocodile faces. Every lizard had a long, protuberant snout. The snout of each lizard was graced, hideously, by long, glittering fangs.
Each lizard had long claws growing from her hands. Her fangs and claws seemed to match. In fact, they did match, Cum-Andi noticed, for each lizard seemed to have chosen her own personal color to paint her fangs and her claws with.
Almost involuntarily, Cum-Andi glanced at the lizards’ feet. Yes! Protruding from what could only be described as open-toed, sandal-like boots, each lizard had claw-like toes. They had colored their toes’ claws to match their fingers’ claws and their fangs. One lizard had pink fangs, pink finger claws, pink toe claws. Another had chosen yellow as her color. A third lizard had chosen garish purple.
“Is it a Man?” Cum-Andi heard one of the lizards ask another. They hurried toward him.
“Yes. One of the specially-grown, primitive men, created for study purposes,” one of the lizards dashing toward Cum-Andi replied.
“It’s a plot! Pope cloned himself! Now he’s released his creation on us,” one of the lizards cried. The lizard who led the pack seconded this. She said:
“Kill it! Pope was wise to commit suicide. We must not be unwise and let this animal run loose, spreading his diseases among us!”
Cum-Andi watched as one of the lizards rushing at him raised what looked like a gun. Cum-Andi remembered his left arm. It still burned, badly, like a sunburn laid on with a vengeance by a too-long day at the beach.
“Don’t! You’ll kill the BabbleBot!” Cum-Andi cried. He raised up the head to block the inevitable blast of the gun aimed at him.
“He’s an animal! An escaped animal!” the BabbleBot screamed at the approaching lizards. Cum-Andi’s hand had come off the Bot’s mouth as he raised the head to protect himself.
“No!” one of the blue-armored lizards shouted. With apparent sympathy for Stan, she knocked her mate’s gun aside. The blast meant for Cum-Andi went off anyway. However, it went awry. A hole was blown into the wall to Cum-Andi’s right. Shards of it cut into Cum-Andi’s right side.
“Owwww! God!” Cum-Andi yelled. This dream was getting too painful to bear. He turned. He ran. Behind him he heard contentious yelling, as if the lizards had turned on one another.
Cum-Andi tucked the BabbleBot back under his arm so he wouldn’t drop it as he ran. Then he remembered how the head had betrayed him. Cum-Andi lifted the head. He glared at it. He kept running, though, for he could hear the lizards somewhere behind him, still shouting at one another.
“Hi. Exercise is good for you,” the head said with forced nonchalance.
“Where I come from, we play football,” Cum-Andi panted. “If you want to find out what it’s like to be a live football, betray me again.”
“You were using me to block the gun,” the head answered. “I only betrayed you after you betrayed me.”
“Yeah, sure,” Cum-Andi said. He didn’t believe the head had only been getting a just revenge. The head had yelled the minute it could, and it had been trying to talk, or shout, the whole time he’d had his hand clamped over its mouth. “Tell me how to get the fuck out of this dream. NOW!”
The head looked up. “Air conditioning is a wonderful invention,” the head replied.
Cum-Andi looked up. He slowed his pace. He scanned the ceiling. Of course! Air ducts were spaced at regular intervals in the ceiling. If he could pry off a duct’s cover, assuming he could reach it, he might... Yes! He might be able to get up into an air duct!
“You’ll need to jump high, or find something to stand on,” the head said.
Cum-Andi looked along the hall. He saw a door. He rushed to it, turned the knob. It was locked.
Cum-Andi ran on. He came to another door. It too was locked. Then, running on, he came to a hallway that cut across the one he’d been running through.
Rounding the hall’s corner, Cum-Andi found himself staring at a lizard like the ones he’d been running from. But this one had her hair pinned up in a loosely-tied scarf. She was mopping the floor. Cum-Andi scanned her figure for a weapon but saw none.
“Eeeeyah! An animal!” the lizard screamed. She raised her mop at Cum-Andi. She swung it at him, hard. It connected with his chest and sent him sprawling. Cum-Andi landed on his back. He dropped the head as he did.
“Yow!” the head cried. It went clattering across the floor.
Without thinking, Cum-Andi leapt to his feet. He attacked the lizard with the mop. He managed to wrench the mop from her hands. He began to beat the lizard. Viciously, without remorse. The lizard responded, kicking him in the groin. Cum-Andi suppressed a scream, somehow, and beat the lizard even more violently.
Cum-Andi found himself standing over the lizard. It lay at his feet. Blood gushed from its head and mouth. Cum-Andi reached down between his legs and gingerly massaged his crotch.
“Nice work. It’s dead,” the head called from across the hall.
“Now what?” Cum-Andi asked. He felt slightly disoriented by the kick he’d received in his groin.
“Her cleaning cart, idiot. Get up on her cart,” the head said. “And don’t forget me. I doubt they’ll let me off, much less give me a body, now that you’ve killed one of them. They’ll figure I’m polluted, just by having seen one of them killed. By a man. A primitive man. They wouldn’t want me talking.”
“Hmmm, I guess we’re partners in crime, then,” Cum-Andi said. He turned to the head. He walked over to it, his gait slightly awkward from the kick he’d received in his groin. “Good. You won’t be screaming about me any more.”
“Yeah,” the BabbleBot agreed. Cum-Andi scooped up the head from the floor. He looked at it. It had a dent in its forehead but otherwise it seemed just as it had been before.
Cum-Andi heard the blue-armored lizards somewhere around the corner and down the hall. They were running toward him.
I’m getting sick of this,” Cum-Andi said suddenly. He was gripped with a desire to stand his ground, to confront the lizards. He’d end this stupid dream and wake up in his own bed and--
“Look at me,” the head said in a strange, low voice. It might have been a furious voice but the head was just a head, and it seemed silly for a head with no body to be angry with him. Still, Cum-Andi obeyed the head. He looked down at it.
The head glared up at him. “Everything you ever knew is over,” the head said. “This isn’t some dream, like you wish it would be. Your past life is over. It never existed, except in your head, in your cage.” The head said the word “cage” vengefully. “You can’t smoke pot to get out of this one, or listen to Nirvana. This is real. Real life. And they’ll make you pay for killing one of them. They’re wymen, after all. Twenty-fifth century wymen. You’re a throwback. A primitive man from an earlier era. You’re not supposed to be alive, except in your cage, and then only so you can be studied.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Cum-Andi replied. And he wished he could get that name out of his head. He wasn’t Cum-Andi. He was George. George, named after George Washington, George Harrison Smith. He lived in Sedgeway, Iowa, and he had two parents, two parents who hadn’t gotten divorced, like most of his friends’ parents. And he had a 6-year-old sister, almost seven, who had just learned to read Dr. Seuss books on her own.
Cum-Andi winced at the pain in his left arm. At the shards of broken hallway in his right side. At the throbbing in his groin where earlier in the evening he’d been feeling a welcome tightness, in his briefs, as Susan proved remarkably responsive to his kisses.
Susan! He’d bashed her head into his windshield. That’s how all this had started. He’d felt, somehow, a need... a sensation that he was boxed in, inside his brand-new pickup, that he was being studied, watched, observed, and...
He’d killed Susan. Cum-Andi felt it in his gut and knew it was true. Yet Susan never had existed! Pope had said he was living in... what was it? An Emulsion Cage.
Due to Reddit’s character limit, I can only post part of my book here.
A free copy of “AMAZONIA” is at: http://andrewroller.com
Copyright 2023 by Andrew L. Roller. AMAZONIA is a trademark of Andrew L. Roller.
submitted by Honest-Credit-1297
to sciencefiction [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 07:22 Public-Local4385 Free pfSense Firewall and Limiter configuration for Nintendo Switch
Hello all. This post is to help
the thousands of readers
of my previous post get started using pfSense.
This guide can help you reduce bufferbloat and lag spikes while playing Smash Ultimate or other Nintendo games online.
My previous post can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/SmashBrosUltimate/comments/11lfvi1/stopping_lag_in_smash_ultimate_online/
In my other post I discuss various ways to mitigate online lag in Smash Ultimate. In this post I am providing a set of pfSense firewall configuration .xml files so readers may engage themselves with pfSense, view my settings and optimize their Nintendo Switch connection.
This post and firewall configuration covers Firewall Rules, Port Forwarding
as well as limiters
which combat bufferbloat with CoDel and fq_codel.
Please note, this is probably not worth your time if your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) router already has QoS features, or if you have a gaming router, with "gaming mode" or a different router which uses fq_codel automatically. Since pfSense doesn't do these things automatically (neither does my AT&T router at home), I have done them for you, and have added extra security to the router via this configuration file which I will discuss more below. If your ISP or gaming router still has lag spikes, even with the gaming mode enabled, perhaps this hands-on approach can help or inspire you.
The configuration files are stored on dropbox, the link is attached to the posting and can also be found here:
Download - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7oz8vtxz4rxjl2f/AADLnF3Ts12wybl9zv9Nbcnra?dl=1
Dropbox File - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7oz8vtxz4rxjl2f/AADLnF3Ts12wybl9zv9Nbcnra?dl=0
Let's get started. Requirements:
- A laptop or desktop computer with multiple ethernet ports, with pfSense 2.6 installed, or a hypervisor of your choice with pfSense 2.6 installed as a virtual machine (you still need two ethernet ports but I prefer 3.)
- The pfSense 2.6 iso. Download pfSense Community Edition
- Rufus to make a pfSense USB install stick. Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way (oh god advertisements!)
- I personally enjoy Type 1 hypervisors and use Proxmox. However, this can also work on a Type 2 Linux or Windows Hypervisor using virtual ethernet bridges for WAN and LAN. IOMMU is not necessarily a requirement for the Type 1 Hypervisor setup, as mine is working perfectly fine. I also have a bare metal pfSense installed on an HDD and one on an SSD just in case.
- A Nintendo Switch with an ethernet cable and a USB adapter or dock with an ethernet port.
- An internet connection. You can place the pfSense behind your internet service provider's gateway, or (for more advanced users) you can replace the ISP router (but probably not the modem) with the pfSense router.
- 50 mbps or higher download and upload speeds. If your internet is slower, this could still help, however you'll need to adjust the limiter and possibly could benefit from the Squid Proxy section.
- a PoE or non Poe wireless access point.
- A (managed) smart switch or (unmanaged) dumb switch.
- Install pfSense to a USB stick using Rufus.
- Install pfSense on your laptop or desktop (aka bare metal install) or through your hypervisor as a VM.
- Plug your non-pfSense computer into the pfSesne's LAN port. You can optionally plug your Modem/ONT/upstream router into the pfSense's WAN port. However I recommend not doing so yet.
- If you have a managed or unmanaged switch, now is a great time to plug it into the pfSense's LAN port and then plug your desktop into the switch.
- Alternatively, if you are using Virtual Machines, you can either plug another computer into your LAN ethernet port, or you can create another desktop environment and assign it the same LAN virtual bridge as the pfSense. Easy.
- Boot the pfSense and wait. While you are waiting, you should watch this video.
- Assign LAN interfaces in the pfSense's console UI.
- You view the console's UI by plugging an HDMI cable into the pfSense box or through QEMU via proxmox.
- pfSense by default will assign your LAN interface IP address 192.168.1.1 & for convenience, please leave this IP address as-is.
- pfSense by default will assign you a DHCP WAN address, however, I recommend leaving your WAN port unplugged and not assigning a WAN address yet.
- Open your web browser and navigate to 192.168.1.1:80 (make sure your pfSense is powered on and has gone through the bootup sequence. Note that the system will hang for a while during the WAN configuration if your upstream modem/routeONT is not connected to the pfSense. pfSense didn't crash, it is just trying all of the different possible ways to auto-connect to the internet.)
- Log into the pfSense WebUI.
- Username: admin
- Password: pfsense
- pfSense will now try to take you through the setup wizard and prompt you to change the username in password. Don't do anything quite yet (unless you want my config file to overwrite your password with the defaults again). AlterNATively, if you choose to run the wizard, I have included partitions of my entire configuration file, which are the only parts of the entire configuration that matter. I have listed the names of the partial configuration files below and their purpose.
- Navigate to Diagnostics > Backup & Restore > Restore Backup
- Download my dropbox configuration files and unzip them.
- If you want to assemble the configuration yourself, use the config files excluding config.xml.
- Under Restore Backup, leave the dropdown as all and choose the config.xml file.
- Click "Restore Configuration"
- Sometimes you have to click it again.
- A dialogue will pop up, asking if you are sure you want to restore the configuration. Click OK.
- Let the system reboot. After it reboots, now you should configure your WAN settings. Edit: You will also need to reconfigure your LAN interface IP settings because my default LAN interface is a virtual interface. Yours should look something like "igb0" if you use an Intel network card: Introduction — Interface Naming Terminology pfSense Documentation (netgate.com)
- Do you want to keep your ISP router? Plug your pfSense WAN into your gateway and play games through a double NAT.
- AT&T fiber gateways (I have tested the BGW-210 and BGW-320) may be more friendly to double NAT setups and videogames, as the Nintendo Switch doesn't detect the double NAT.
- If your Nintendo Switch does detect the double NAT, you may receive a NAT F score in the Nintendo's internet test. Your ISP router may have a bridge mode you can configure as well. AT&T fiber routers have IP passthrough for (nearly) true bridged mode, and it binds your public IP address to your pfSense's MAC address via DHCP. With this setup I prefer to set a Static WAN IP in pfSense, and create "allow" floating firewall rules on WAN for ports 67 & 68 (DHCP), as well as allow ICMP to the upstream gateway. This is considered more professional, and can prevent DHCP packets leaking from your pfSense, through the AT&T router and to the public internet.
- If you use a Static, Public IP, you can simply assign it as a Static WAN IP.
- For the record, I have no idea how to set up PPPoE or any other crazy ISP bridging requirements, such as with Satellite internet like Starlink. Just DHCP or Static WAN options.
- Let it reboot, plug your Nintendo Switch into the managed or unmanaged switch, or into the pfSense where your desktop is configured. (The LAN interface).
- To log back in you must navigate your browser to https://192.168.1.1:250
- I used port 250 because it has no associated services.
- Edit: I suggest enabling one of the allow ICMP rules at the bottom of the floating rules list.
- The first allow rule is made to work in conjunction with the block rule directly above it.
- All of them are disabled by default for security reasons
- Play some Smash Ultimate!
- Don't forget to change the default username and password for security.
- Configuration files and their functions:
- Config.xml - This is the complete configuration file which includes all of the configuration files listed below integrated into the system.
- Aliases.xml - Lists Security Aliases for a decent firewall. These aliases themselves don't block these ports or IP addresses, but make it easier to create firewall rules which do.
- Located under Firewall > Aliases
- There is a single IP address list from CINS Army ( List Download - CINS Army ).
- There is also a SANS TCP and UDP Port List for a complete SANS firewall audit ( FirewallChecklist.pdf (sans.org) ). I excluded blocks to ports 80, 443 and 123 because we will actually need those for gaming. Please note, that some game servers may also need port 445.
- You can always look up the game server you are trying to connect to and see what ports are open. If they have it open, chances are you need it open too. I had a single Ark: Survival Evolved Server have port 445 open once, and any time I closed it on my end I would get booted from that server. None of the other servers needed it; only that one.
- Additionally, I added the malicious ports listed on whatismyipaddress.com
- dhcp6 (disabled).xml - Since the Nintendo Switch doesn't use IPv6, I disabled the DHCP6 server, as well as router advertisements. Both are very chatty in system logs in a non-IPv6 environment. Please note that if you choose to not use the config.xml file, and you want to use this to quickly disable the DHCP6 server, you will also probably want to completely disable IPv6 in the pfSense advanced settings. System > Advanced > Uncheck Allow IPv6.
- Located under Services > DHCPv6 Server & RA
- DNS Resolver.xml - This setup is made to work with Cloudflare anti-malware DNS servers with the DNS forwarding SSL/TLS options to 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. I couldn't build you guys a firewall in good conscience without actually trying to make it secure.
- Located under Services > DNS Resolver
- I also disabled WAN IPv6 Link-Local as well as LAN IPv6 Link-Local because of how chatty they are.
- I disabled everything except WAN under "outgoing network interface binding."
- I checked "Strict Outgoing Network Interface Binding" because it sounds secure. The feature was not in previous versions of pfSense. I have had issues with the DNS resolver being susceptible to hacks in the past and this aims to prevent those hacks in conjunction with the DNS resolver ACL. I have used it both on and off with NordVPN/OpenVPN through pfSense in the past and it didn't break anything, although you'd think it should.
- I disabled DNSSEC support. Good luck getting this to work as a home user. The Nintendo Switch uses its own encrypted DNS anyways through Akamai.
- I enabled DNS Query Forwarding and SSL/TLS.
- Please note that if you choose to install this configuration file by yourself, instead of via the Config.xml file, you'll need to set up the DNS servers your pfSense will communicate with System > General Setup > DNS Server Settings.
- I changed the Advanced DNS Parameter "Incoming TCP Buffers" to "0"
- The SANS firewall audit recommends not allowing LAN devices to request TCP DNS connections. Most optimally, you should set a firewall rule to reject TCP requests from LAN devices in addition to this setting being set to zero.
- I checked the Advanced Parameter "Disable the automatically added access control entries"
- I added a DNS ACL which allows your LAN devices to query the DNS resolver.
- I added a DNS ACL which refuses local-data queries from anything other than your LAN devices. This is to prevent creeps who work for your ISP from screwing with your DNS resolver when they are jealous you aren't using theirs.
- Firewall.xml - I've (mostly) optimized this firewall setup for security while using my Public Static IP block (no double NAT). Using this IP block I have no protection from my ISP (AT&T). These firewall rules probably won't hinder your user-experience. And may definitely keep your devices more secure.
- Floating Rules:
- Located under Firewall > Rules > Floating Rules (aka Unassociated Rules)
- Added a Match Rule for the bufferbloat limiter. This match rule is required to reduce bufferbloat using the traffic limiter. NOTE: pfSense limiters absolutely require a firewall rule. "Matching" firewall rules like mine absolutely require the Quick option to be disabled per netgate instructions. ***"***The match action is unique to floating rules. A rule with the match action will not pass or block a packet, but only match it for purposes of assigning traffic to queues or limiters for traffic shaping. Match rules do not work with Quick enabled." - Firewall — Floating Rules pfSense Documentation (netgate.com). This can also be done with "Pass" firewall floating rules, or under the default LAN "allow all" firewall rule. How To Solve pfsense Bufferbloat With A CodelQ / FQ_Codel Limiter in 2.4.4 - YouTube However, I've already done the lifting and research for you.
- Added a block rule for access to the WebUI over WAN (port 250 because there are no registered services on port 250)
- Added CINS Army firewall block rules using the CINS Alias - "The CINS Army List is a subset of the CINS Active Threat Intelligence ruleset provided to our Sentinel IPS customers, and consists of IP addresses [whose] . . . recent Rogue Packet score factor is very poor." - List Download - CINS Army
- Added SANS TCP and UDP block rules.
- Added an RFC 1918 traffic exiting from WAN reject rule (enabled by default but you may need to disable it if you have a double NAT setup.) pfSense® software Configuration Recipes — Preventing RFC 1918 Traffic from Exiting a WAN Interface pfSense Documentation (netgate.com). This firewall rule can cause a lot of lag if you are using a double NAT setup because it blocks ICMP to your upstream router. Too bad they don't have a "block all protocols except this protocol" protocol/port inversion feature.
- Added Ping rules for you to play with while optimizing your setup. All of them are disabled by default.
- Block all except ICMP request and reply
- Allow all ICMP request and reply
- Allow all ICMP (because who cares)
- Associated Rules (non-default):
- Located under Firewall > Rules > WAN or LAN (aka Associated Rules)
- WAN - Port Forwarding rule you can enable for an A-Type (Open) NAT to your Nintendo Switch. Disabled by default (Please read the description first. You must actually enable this rule under the Port Forwarding Menu for this Allow rule to function correctly.
- LAN - Added an allow LAN to port 250 rule for HTTPS to the pfSense's WebUI (works in conjunction with disabling port 80 under advanced system settings). Deleted the default anti-lockout allow rule for port 80 and 443 to the pfSense Firewall. Left the default allow LAN to any rule.
- LAN Policy Routing - Added an allow rule which allows LAN devices to communicate with the local DNS resolver via the LAN interface. Added a reject rule which prevents devices from going around your RouteDNS Resolver for DNS queries. If you'd like, you can also add Port Forwarding rules which intercept all DNS requests and queries from LAN devices and send them to either localhost (127.0.0.1) or the LAN interface. -- Not all devices are compatible with direct localhost communication. The Nintendo Switch, in particular, doesn't seem to be.
- Limiters.xml: The bread and butter of the whole operation. The traffic limiter which fixes lag in online gaming! This function is mentioned in Method 9 of my previous guide.
- Limiter Settings are found under Firewall > Traffic Shaper > Limiters
- NOTE: These limiters absolutely require a firewall rule. Matching firewall rules like mine absolutely require the Quick option to be disabled.
- With this limiter I restricted the Download Bandwidth to 50mbps and Upload Bandwidth to 40mbps and I adjusted the CoDel and fq_codel parameters in accordance with this guide on limiting connections which use less than 100mbps: https://community.ui.com/questions/Best-Practices-for-Smart-Que-tuning-FQ-CoDel-on-and-ER-X/845b3bd4-676c-4b3e-be0e-2fb9abe97415
- #FQ-Codel notesrecommended settings (as I see fit):target = default 5 ms For slow links , set to 5ms + max-MTU send duration This adds 13ms at BW=1Mbit and MTU=1500 Using HTB with multiple classes: Take into account reserved BW and ceiling, as they might be way lower than link speed On 10GigE, lower to 1msinterval = default 100 ms For slow links, set to MAX ( target+95ms , 10*target )Quantum = default 1514 Up to 100Mb/s , set to 300. This favors smaller packets in VOIP/Data mix For huge bandwidth (datacenter): setting to 4000 might capture entire single conversation in "new mode"Limit = 10240 default This is way too big , and wastes memory. set at 1000 for 1Gb , to 600 for 10Mb/sFlows = default 1024 Use defaultECN: Default enabled. Disable on upload for speed below 4Mb/sbtw: this is how target and interval are set by ubnt-defaultUsing UBNT SmartQueue at default settings, varying BW:256k limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 48.1ms interval 143.1ms ecn512k limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 24.1ms interval 119.1ms ecn1Mbit limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 12.3ms interval 107.3ms ecn2Mbit limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 6.2ms interval 101.2ms ecn4Mbit limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 5.0ms interval 100.0ms ecn8Mbit limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 5.0ms interval 100.0ms ecn50Mbit limit 10240p flows 1024 quantum 1514 target 5.0ms interval 100.0ms ecn
- Set QMA to CoDel and AQM to fq_codel for created limiters WANUp, WANDown, WANUpQ and WANDownQ. All targets are set to 23ms, all intervals to 1ms, all quantum 300, all limit 1000 and all flows 1024. Had some issues with using the 600 quantum he mentioned above . So I set it to 1000.
- 1st Edit: I may have misread what to set the interval at. Above it says to leave it at 100ms. I set up mine with a 1ms interval. I have been playing on it for about a week now and it is fine. An updated Limiter.xml with a 100ms interval for all of the settings was added to the patch 1.1 folder. Thanks!
- My average ping is 13mbps but yours may be 40mbps on cable/dsl. If so, you may need to adjust the target parameters to your average ping + 5ms. I'd recommend changing both the limiter target parameter and the AQM parameter under the WANUP and WANDOWN limiter settings and the respective queues. Try a few rounds of smash first and see if it works for you!
- Before you adjust your target parameter, first try increasing the Download and Upload limiter speeds slightly. On my fiber connection, it seems that my optimal download speed for these limiter settings is 70mbps download and 50mbps upload.
- I set ECN notifications for Downloads only as recommended above. Turning it on for uploads seemed to cause some stutters in Smash Ultimate while using my Static Public IP block and pfSense as my border gateway, but not while I was using a Double NAT setup. Turning on ECN for uploads while using my AT&T router as my border gateway seemed to help a bit, but it is hard to know if it is your settings causing lag, or your opponents.
- In the past I have also increased the Bucket size to 128 slots, up from the default 64. It seemed to have helped with stutters a bit.
- You can also optionally delete all of the Queue Length settings (this was an oversight I made) and the system will automatically determine its queue length.
- Here is some insight into the science behind the CoDel limiter:
"One of the key insights in the design of CoDel is that there is only one parameter that really matters: how long it takes a packet to make its way through the queue and be sent on toward its destination. And, in particular, CoDel is interested in the minimum
delay time over a time interval of interest . . .
Less time spent in queues is always better, but that time cannot always be zero. Built into CoDel is a maximum acceptable queue time, called target
; if a packet's time in the queue exceeds this value, then the queue is deemed to be too long. But an overly-long queue is not, in itself, a problem, as long as the queue empties out again. CoDel defines a period (called interval
) during which the time spent by packets in the queue should fall below target
at least once; if that does not happen, CoDel will start dropping packets . . . Dropped packets are, of course, a signal to the sender that it needs to slow down, so, by dropping them, CoDel should cause a reduction in the rate of incoming packets, allowing the queue to drain. If the queue time remains above target
, CoDel will drop progressively more packets. And that should be all it takes to keep queue lengths at reasonable values on a CoDel-managed node.
parameters may seem out of place in an algorithm that is advertised as having no knobs in need of tweaking. What the authors have found, though, is that a target
of 5ms and an interval
of 100ms work well in just about any setting. " - The CoDel queue management algorithm [LWN.net]
- NAT.xml - While not the bread and butter of the setup, it is still equally as important as the limiter settings and match firewall rules.
- Installed Packages (Squid).xml (Not included in Config.xml) - This pfSense package is awesome for downloading games, and from my experience in Smash Ultimate, a great package for reducing the frequency of lag spikes online. The proxy itself, even with the caching disabled increased download speeds massively, and over my fiber connection with no limiters enabled my Nintendo Switch can reach download speeds in excess of 120mbps.
- Located under Services > Squid Proxy Server after restoring the package under "Backup and Restore" (choose the Packages dropdown).
- Enabled the transparent http proxy on port 251. No known services are known to run on port 251.
- Added the CINS Army IP list to the proxy blacklist just in case.
- Created an ACL for the proxy which only allows 192.168.1.1/24 subnet.
- Note the ACL may not be effective unless you uncheck the "Allow Users on Interface" feature.
- Disabled the VIA header because the Nintendo Switch isn't compatible with the header.
- Suppressed the Squid Version because it seems legitimate for security.
- How to make it work? After restoring the Installed Packages (Squid).xml (in the dropbox) navigate to your Nintendo Switch and set up the proxy option under Nintendo Settings. Set the proxy server as 192.168.1.1 the port to 251 and auto-authentication to off.
- That's it! The proxy prevents HTTP traffic from communicating directly with your console and the ICMP helper assists in keeping Ping in check.
- pfSense® software Configuration Recipes — Configuring the Squid Package as a Transparent HTTP Proxy pfSense Documentation (netgate.com)
- If you have a block of Static, Public IPs, you can set the Squid Proxy's outbound to your VIP/IPAlias to emulate a TRUE proxy, and change your public IP address to be different than your firewall's. You may still need to NAT your Nintendo Switch to the VIP to actually find matches in Smash Ultimate online. If you want a step-by-step guide on this, I'll walk you through what I know.
Edit: Due to the nature of virtual machines, you may need to reassign your IP addresses to your interfaces after loading my config.xml file and assign them to the correct interfaces. My vm's interfaces are vtnet but yours will definitely be different unless you use virtual proxmox bridges. You can reset them with Option 2 from the console menu. Introduction — Interface Naming Terminology pfSense Documentation (netgate.com)
I hope you enjoy this experience once you get it set up and working. It is very much a functional, budget setup for those who don't feel like buying a gaming router. There are many other ways to customize the limiters such as with source or destination dynamic limiter masks (I still don't know how to use these, but they seem to be a legitimate way to automate optimizing the limiter settings.) If you have any suggestions to improve the setup for gaming + home security let me know! If you have other questions, I will answer them as I correct my grammar and formatting at my leisure.
I added all of the firewall options because internet downloads are inherently pretty sketchy, and I couldn't bare sharing a router configuration file without maxing out its security as much as possible. Please note, that this setup works and was tested on a virtual machine using one CPU core and 1 gigabyte of RAM. It hardly uses more than half a gigabyte of RAM, if ever.
If anyone is able to extract CoDel and fq_codel settings from an actual gaming router, please do post and I will update the Limiter.xml files and give them a try myself!
submitted by Public-Local4385
to SmashBrosUltimate [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 05:44 HeadOfSpectre The Casanova
Even though I knew that it was probably just going to be a hookup, I still wanted to look nice. I spent a lot of time agonizing over the outfit that I’d wear. The black dress showed off some cleavage (not that I had much), but it didn’t really seem very me.
The floral blouse and skirt combo on the other hand was much more my speed, but I didn’t know if it looked too frumpy or not. I didn’t really want to show up to my first casual hookup looking like somebody's grandmother.
Then there was the choice of underwear. I didn’t own anything that sexy, so I’d bought something just for the occasion. It was comfortable but I didn’t really know if it was me
I guess if all went to plan, my clothes weren’t really going to matter, were they? They were probably going to be in a puddle on the floor pretty early into the night, but I still wanted to look sexy.
I wanted to make a good impression! Maybe if I did, it might lead to something a little more lasting… I doubted it, but… well, a girl can dream, right?
I’ve never had a lot of luck with dating. Putting myself out there isn’t easy. I want to do it! But I just struggle. The moment I try to talk to someone, my voice dies in my throat and I immediately run out of things to say. I struggle to make eye contact. It’s not an attractive look. I’d always imagined that someday my love life would just work itself out and that I’d meet the perfect girl in some charming little meet cute. But by the time I was 32, it still hadn’t happened yet and I was starting to doubt that it ever would. I think that’s why the ad I saw a few weeks ago really got to me.
‘Life’s too short to wait for someday! You deserve to find someone! Sign up today and feel the butterflies!’
I’d seen worse advertisements for dating sites before, and considering the headspace I was in, signing up for another one didn’t seem like that bad of an idea. Besides, ‘Butterfly’
was supposed to connect queer girls to queer girls and well, I just so happened to be a queer girl so why not give it a try? It’s not like I had a lot to lose. Although I can’t say I did a whole lot better with online dating than I did with in person dating. I just never seemed to know what to say and most of the conversations I had fizzled out pretty quickly when I either got nervous or ran out of things to talk about. I’m an accountant with no social life. Unfortunately I’m exactly as boring as I sound.
Then I met Dominique… and she seemed to be able to do the talking for both of us.
I matched with her about a week or so after I’d joined up, although I admittedly didn’t think our conversation would last that long though. Dominique was pretty upfront about what she was looking for.
“I’m just in town for a few weeks. So I’m sorta looking for a summer fling, you know?”
Honestly, I didn’t know. I never really saw myself as a ‘summer fling
’ kind of girl. But despite how clear she was on what she was looking for, Dominique was sweet, she was charming and she was easy to talk to, so I let things play out just to see where it went. I mean, I may be a socially awkward introvert but I’ve still got needs! And judging by her pictures, Dominique was a very
good looking woman. She had the body of a goddess, tall and tanned with messy red hair, nice arms, and a full set of abs. And while I was pretty sure that she would snap me like a twig if she so much as put an arm around me, I still couldn’t say no to her.
When she’d asked if I wanted to meet for dinner yesterday, I hadn’t been able to stop myself and even though I knew that this was probably going to end in meaningless sex, I was okay with that. I ended up unable to pick an outfit and sent a picture of both to Dominique, asking which one she liked more.
She picked the skirt and blouse combo, so I went with that. Then, with my heart racing so fast that I could almost hear it and with my legs a little shaky in anticipation of just where this night might lead, I called an uber to take me to meet her.
“Dina! I’m so glad you could make it!”
The way that Dominique greeted me honestly made me blush a little. She already had a table at the restaurant and she stood up to pull a chair out for me. I don’t know how she pulled it off, but she was somehow even hotter in person, with sun kissed skin, hair tied back in a messy bun and warm smile that almost made me melt.
“Y-yeah, I’m sorry I’m late!” I said.
“It’s fine! I actually got here a little early,” She said. “I actually kinda love this restaurant. So I might
have had a second reason to be excited for tonight!”
“You’ve been here before?” I asked.
“Yeah, my sisters and I always go whenever we’re in town. We love Thai. You ever been here before?”
“Once or twice,” I admitted, watching as she sat back down across from me. As she did, I noticed a tattoo on the back of her right hand. It sort of looked like the zodiac sign for Sagittarius, with the point of the arrow resting on the knuckle of her middle finger.
“You’re into astrology?” I asked.
“Oh? Yeah, kinda.” Dominique said, “It’s more of a family thing. My sisters and I all got one.”
“Sounds interesting, how many sisters have you got?” I asked.
“Twelve. One for each sign,” Dominique said caually, before correcting herself. “We’re technically not all related, it’s just sorta a… I dunno, like a found family kind of deal, you know? None of us really have anybody else, so we mostly just call each other sisters since it’s basically what we are, and we call our Mother our Mother because… well… you get the idea, right?”
“Found family?” I repeated, before stifling a laugh. “That actually sounds kinda wholesome.”
“Yeah, it is for the most part. We’ve been through a lot together. They mean the world to me,” Dominique said. “What about you? Got any family?”
“Eh, yes I don’t keep in touch with them,” I said. “My parents and I sorta stopped being on speaking terms after I came out of the closet… liking girls wasn’t part of ‘Gods Plan
’ I guess.”
“Oh… I’m sorry to hear,” Dominique said softly. She reached over to put a hand over mine.
“It’s fine! They made their choice! If they never talk to me again, it’s their loss, really!” I said although I couldn’t hide the flush in my cheeks. “So… um… your family, do they…”
“They’re all pretty supportive. And I’m not the only one who’s not exactly straight,” Dominique replied. “One of my sisters even got married a few years back… Vera. She’s the Gemini, funnily enough. Now her wife is also
Gemini. I mean, if the shoe fits, right?”
“Really? Sounds like you’ve got a very interesting family,” I said.
A waiter showed up and took our drink orders before she could reply to that. Dominique ordered herself a beer, I just got water. Alcohol never really agreed with me.
“So… do you do this kind of thing often?” I asked, when the waiter left.
“Dating? Yeah. I like meeting new people,” Dominique said. “You?”
I laughed nervously.
“Not really… this is… um… this is my first time out in about a year, actually. I’ve never really been good at this sort of thing and I’ve never really done anything… you know… casual, before…”
“Well hey, good on you for getting out of your comfort zone, a little!” Dominique said.
“Thanks… I’ve got to ask… these kinds of dates… I’m not implying I’m expecting you to do anything but… you mentioned… I…”
My words completely and utterly failed me at this point, and honestly, it was kinda impressive that I’d managed to last so long with her. But here was the inevitable moment where I went and royally fucked it all up. Good job, Dina!
Dominique just smiled at me, though as if my flustered babbling didn’t put her off in the slightest. Her hand was on top of mine again.
“Hey… we don’t need to do anything you’re not comfortable with, okay? If you just wanna have dinner, then we’re just gonna have dinner. We’ll see where the night goes, alright?”
“A-alright…” I squeaked, still not entirely convinced that I hadn’t just blown it with her. Her hand was comfortably cool on top of mine, and she gently ran her thumb over my knuckles.
I’d been half expecting her to be a little more… I don’t know… straightforward with what she wanted but she made me feel like she really
cared about me! Like I really mattered to her! She made me feel so warm and soft and she made my heart race and I just wanted to kiss her and feel her arms around me and… oh God, I was so fucking red!
“Sorry, too much?” Dominique asked, lifting her hand away from mine.
“N-no! Just enough! Just fine! A-okay here!”
Was I coming on too strong? Was I not coming on strong enough? How exactly did I let this woman know that I was very
interested in kissing her without coming across as a fucking psychopath? She just chuckled, although the waiter brought us our drinks before she could put her hand back over mine.
I may have drank my water a little too
“So… you’re an accountant, right?” Dominique asked. “What’s that like?”
“Boring,” I said. “Really… really boring. I mean, I find it interesting. I’ve always sort of had a head for numbers and everything, but most people find it boring, I guess.”
Case in point, the people at the next table were leaving. Oh God, I hoped I hadn’t just ruined their dining experience. The people at the table behind us were leaving too, and I caught Dominique eying them warily before her attention returned to me.
“Well, maybe it’s not interesting to everyone but, we need people with a head for numbers in the world. My sister Claire’s always been like that. It’s part of why Mom has her running a lot of the family business. Me? I’m more personable. I do better in sales.”
“Is that why you’re in town?” I asked.
“Yeah, meeting up with a client. I probably shouldn’t get into the details, but it’s mostly just a distribution thing. I don’t really need
the money, but I like to travel and I like to feel like I’m contributing, you know?”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your family business?” I asked.
“Jewelry, clothes, fashion items. Stuff like that. It’s more of a luxury brand, I guess but it pays the bills. I’ve been looking for other oppotunities, though. I figure it might be time for a change of pace. Do something a little more… altruistic, I guess? I mean, jewlery really isn’t the business you get into when you want to save the world.”
“I guess not. What did you have in mind?”
“I dunno. Something… helpful…” Her voice trailed off as she watched the customers at another table quietly get up and leave. The restaurant wasn’t empty yet. But there were only a small handful of people left, sitting alone at a few tables. All of them men, all of them well dressed.
Something felt off about this… although I couldn’t exactly tell just what. It almost felt like the men in the restaurant were sitting there, watching us. Dominique looked around at them, before her attention shifted to a man coming out of the back of the restaurant. He appeared to be middle aged, with a full head of thick hair and a large moustache. He wore an expensive suit with a black vest underneath it, and a bolo tie. He sort of reminded me of a cowboy.
I saw Dominique’s eyes narrow, but she didn’t say a word.
“That’s funny…” The man said coolly, “Alturism ain’t really common in your kind.”
He stopped by our table, before fixing me in a cold glare that made my skin crawl.
“You’d best git, girl. Your date and I have some business.”
I looked back at Dominique, who looked more annoyed than intimidated.
“So can I not just have a night out… or is that against your religion, or something?” She asked.
“Your very existence is against my religion, vampire.” The Cowboy replied.
I looked over at Dominique. She looked like a lot of things, but a vampire wasn’t one of them! She sighed, and hardly seemed to notice as the other people in the restaurant who’d been watching us rose from their seats.
“You know what, my sister Claire told me that this was going to happen… she fucking told me.
And you know what I said? I said that you guys wouldn’t be stupid enough to try anything, especially after the other recent ass beatings you got from her and Eris. But here I am, eating my words… good grief…”
Dominique shook her head before looking at me and putting on a sheepish smile.
“I’m so sorry about this!” She said, “I really didn’t think that this was going to happen. You should probably just go.”
From the corner of my eye, I saw one of the men surrounding us taking a gun out from his jacket, and felt my heart skip a beat.
They were here to kill her.
And for a moment the restaurant went silent.
They were waiting for me to leave… and it would have been so easy to do it. So easy to run, and let these men… these vampire hunters kill Dominique. I mean, if she really was some kind of creature of the night, that was probably what was best, right?
“Well?” The Cowboy said impatiently, “Get a move on, dyke!” I noticed a gun in his belt too.
I felt my entire body tense up… but I couldn’t make myself move. I couldn’t leave her to her fate.
Whatever she was, in the short amount of time that I’d known her, she’d been nothing but sweet to me, nothing but kind and understanding and goddamnit even if she’d only done that to get me alone so she could feed on me… hell, I’d probably welcome it.
“N-no…” I said, “You leave her the heck alone!”
I caught Dominique raising an eyebrow as I stood up, looking the Cowboy dead in the eye. He looked moderately surprised, before looking back toward his companions and scoffing.
“Welp… you heard her boys. Looks like we’ve got collateral.”
I saw him go for the gun and felt my heart stop in my chest. It briefly dawned on me that I’d just tried to talk back to a man with a gun, and that this was about to go exactly as badly as expected.
But before he could even get the gun out of his holster, I saw a flash of movement. Dominique lunged at the man with almost blinding speed, grabbing him by the arm and slamming him down into the table between us. The Cowboy hit it hard enough for the table to actually break and he landed at my feet, still alive, but probably no longer entirely sure exactly what day of the week it was anymore.
I heard a few guns go off, but Dominique appeared between me and the shooters. I saw one of them collapse dead to the ground, his head burst open like a watermelon and I really should have been more horrified by that than I was.
“She’s a Di Cesare you idiot! Don’t shoot!” I heard someone else cry, although Dominique had moved to subdue the next man before they could do anything else.
She moved quickly, grabbing a bowl of pad thai off one of the empty tables and smashing it against his head, before using a shard of that same bowl to open the throat of the next man. They struggled to try and stop her, but Dominique was too fast. The next closest man was grabbed by the shirt and pulled toward her. She sank her fangs into his throat and immediately dispelled any lingering doubts I’d had that she was actually a vampire. She was very
clearly drinking that mans blood, and when she was done she kicked him into the last two of his friends who were still standing.
“Somebody get the goddamn Malvian stake!” I heard one of them yell, and from the back, I saw two new men coming out, one of them holding something that looked like a stake made out of a pinkish ice. Dominique turned her head toward them, before grabbing one of the nearby chairs and hurling it at the men. Then, her mouth still covered in blood, she ran for me, grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the door.
I really wasn’t in any state of mind to fight her, considering the fact that I’d just found out that vampires were real, and watched one kick the shit out of an entire resturant in the span of about three minutes. As Dominique pulled me down the street, toward a sporty red Dodge Challenger, I barely even had time to adjust my glasses before she’d unlocked the doors and was getting inside.
“C’mon, they’re gonna be following us,” She said.
I blinked in mild disbelief at the absolutely madness that had just seemed to happen around me before realizing that my legs were already carrying me into the passenger seat of Dominique’s car. The engine roared to life, as she tore out onto the street, while Guns and Roses screamed out over the speakers.
Five minutes ago, this had not been the direction I’d figured that this date would go in.
It’s amazing what can happen in five minutes.
I looked out through the rear view window to see the men that Dominique hadn’t just killed shuffling out of the resturant, onto the street. The Cowboy was among them, and I saw him staring at our car as we sped away.
“Sorry about this,” Dominique said. “I really, really
didn’t think these jokers would actually have the balls to take a run at me.”
“Who the heck even are those people?” I asked.
“Oh, just some assholes. Long story short… they think they’re the Knights Templar and really
hate anything that’s not human,” Dominique said. “They’re not a big fan of a lot of humans either… and my family may or may not have a four hundred year long blood fued with them.”
“Oh…” I said, “Is that all? The rest of your family, you’re all… you’re all…”
“Vampires? Yeah. Sorry… it’s not really the sort of thing you bring up on a first date,” Dominique said, sounding a little embarrassed. “Technically, my sisters and I are a cut above your average vampire. We were actually witches first. The vampirism came later. It’s sorta a whole thing… I can tell you about it later, if you want.”
“A vampire witch…” I said, trying to wrap my head around exactly what the hell that was. I couldn’t so I gave up and tried to focus on another one of the millions of questions racing through my mind.
“Were you going to eat me?”
“What?” Dominique asked, “No! I mean… okay, to be fair I probably would have asked
after I told you I was a vampire. But just so we’re clear, no. I don’t really feed on the girls I date unless they tell me I can. It’s sort of an ethics thing, you know?”
“So where do you normally get your blood?” I asked, a little bit suspicious of that answer (and for good reason.)
“I mean, lots of different ways. There’s a lot of us out there, you know? Thousands at least. Maybe even millions. We’ve got infrastructure. It reduces the need to hunt. Gives us access to either living donors, or blood from a source that’s reasonably fresh. I guess most of us do still hunt for fun, and so long as we don’t leave bodies we don’t really get in any trouble for it. But I generally prefer something a little more personal.”
She looked over at me and took note of the look of utter confusion on my face.
“I’m probably not explaining this all that well, am I?” She asked.
“I have no idea,” I replied honestly, “So… you’re not going to kill me, then?”
“No Dina, I’m not going to kill you… hell, I’m actually kinda impressed! That was pretty ballsy of you, standing your ground back there!”
I had no answer for her as to why I’d done that, and I may have just caught myself mindlessly blushing again.
From the corner of my eye, I noticed a pair of SUV’s coming up behind us in the side view mirror and looked back at them. They weaved violently through traffic, trying desperately to catch up to us and though I couldn’t see through the tinted windows, I knew who was behind the wheel.
“Jeez… they’re really determined today…” Dominique said under her breath.
“Why exactly do these people hate you again?” I asked.
“About four hundred years ago they tried to kill my sisters and me for being witches, and we kinda responded by becoming vampires… then after they killed one of us, we may have killed a bunch of them in turn, and they never really got over it,” She said. “Like I said, it’s a whole thing.”
“I’m kinda impressed that they’re still trying. My sisters and I went out of our way to be hard to kill,” Dominique said. “We kinda cursed ourselves, so that anytime someone wounds us, they get hurt instead. Attribution on the spell can be a little sketchy at times, but it works for the most part. Although that stake they had looked like it’d cut right through the spell… guess they’ve gotten smarter.”
The SUV’s were catching up and Dominique watched them closely as they drew closer.
“So, they can’t kill you without that stake, right?” I asked, hoping that meant that we weren’t actually in any danger.
Dominique’s brow remained furrowed.
“I mean it would help… dunno if the spell would help me survive a car wreck, though.”
Her tone implied that she was starting to have second thoughts about the whole ‘getting into a car and driving away from them’
“I don’t suppose you know any witchy things that will get rid of them?” I asked.
“I just might…” She replied, “Here, take the wheel for a moment.”
She didn’t wait for me to take the wheel, she just let it go and forced me to grab it. I watched as Dominique bit down hard on her finger, drawing blood before reaching up toward the windshield to start drawing some sort of sigil on the glass in her own blood.
I kept my eyes on the road, trying to keep us from hitting any of the cars we passed, so I didn’t get a particularly good look at the sigil.
“What’s that supposed to do?” I asked although Dominique didn’t respond to me.
The streetlights that we passed started to flicker violently. I watched as Dominique pressed her hand into the center of the sigil, before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. The streetlights around us dimmed, then grew brighter, almost to the point where they were blinding. “Bruciare,”
I heard her say under her breath.
The lights grew even brighter, before one by one they started to burst. The explosions from them were blinding, as sparks showered down on the road around us. I heard something that sounded a little bit like a deafening thunderclap, but I couldn’t see a thing! I felt Dominique grabbing the steering wheel from me as we veered into another lane. I looked back to see what was left of one of the SUV’s sailing through a shower of sparks, its cabin looked as if it had exploded, with little left of it but twisted metal and angry flames.
Dominique smirked as she saw the totaled SUV, before focusing on the road again.
"Electrical rune. Hell of a shock, right?" Dominique said.
Oh, so the magical vampire just deep-fried the religious Knights chasing us with lightning. That was all. I mean, I might have thought it was a little too much but clearly all logic had gone out the window now and insanity had taken hold. I briefly wondered if perhaps I was actually just hallucinating all of this and drooling on the table back at the Thai restaurant while the real Dominique called for a doctor. Or maybe I'd just embarrassed myself so badly that I'd gone completely mad and this was all simply my delusion with which to escape from reality. Who could say, really?
I saw the second SUV weaving through traffic behind us. I guess watching their friend explode hadn't dissuaded the driver at all, since they were still coming right for us. Dominique's eyes were on the road. I didn't know if she'd noticed them or not. The SUV sped closer to us before suddenly slamming into our side and the entire car lurched violently as Dominique tried to right it.
"Asshole!" She spat. "Dina, the wheel!"
This time I was ready. I grabbed the wheel as Dominique prepared another rune. The SUV was coming to ram us again. They dipped into oncoming traffic to build some distance between us, before suddenly veering closer to try and ram us again.
I jerked the wheel to the side, slamming Dominique's car into the SUV before it could hit us and keeping them on the wrong side of the road. Even through the tinted windows, I could see the driver glaring at me... and it wasn't until the last second that he saw the oncoming truck I'd seen about a minute ago. I actually heard him screaming from inside his car the instant before the truck hit him.
I wasn't really sure how to feel about that and decided that I'd probably need to process the complex emotions that come with having just killed a man later.
Dominique was looking at me with a look of utter bewilderment. She looked back at the truck, then back to me.
"You said to take the wheel!" I said!
"Yes... Yes. I did." She replied, before taking the wheel back from me. She took a hard turn onto a new, slightly less busy road. Around us, I could see some quiet warehouses, telling me we'd ended up in the more industrial part of town.
For a moment, everything was quiet, and we sat there in silence, my heart still racing from experiencing my first ever car chase.
"So… I'm guessing you just want me to drop you off somewhere, huh?" Dominique asked.
"Actually…I could still really go for something to eat," I said quietly just embracing the madness. I was hungry. I had not eaten yet. Might as well fix that!
"Wait, really?" Dominique asked. "Well… shit, what's around then?"
"I'm really not picky," I said. "What do vampires eat?"
"Whatever we want. The blood is more of a nutritional thing. We only really need it every few days or so We still need to eat otherwise."
"Really?" I asked, "So what happens if you don't drink blood?"
"You basically just waste away," She said, "And usually you go a little bit crazy… it's never happened to me, but I've heard things. It's not pretty."
"Jesus… yeah, that does sound pretty awful," I said. "Wait, was Jesus real?"
"I dunno. I'm only about 400 years old, give or take. Christianity was a thing long before I was born."
"Right… sorry," I said.
"It's alright! I can tell you a lot about the history of Venice and Brazil though!"
I was about to take her up on that when I noticed a new set of headlights behind us.
"Oh hell… are there more of them?" I asked, almost exasperated at this point.
"Seriously, how many people do they have?" Dominique asked, "This is getting stupid!”
“How do you deal with this on a daily basis?” I asked.
“Funnily enough we don’t, they usually leave us alone. I heard that somebody’s jonesing for a promotion though and figured they’d take another crack at us… guess they forgot how badly all of their previous attempts went.”
The final SUV sped closer to us, and Dominique pumped the brakes, letting him shoot past us. She jerked the wheel hard, pulling into the parking lot of some nearby warehouse, and I saw the SUV desperately trying to make a U turn. I clamped onto the passenger side grab handle (I didn’t actually know what they were called before I sat down to write this. I’ve always called them the ‘Oh Jesus Handle’) as Dominique did a donut, spinning her damaged car to face the entrance to the parking lot she’d just entered. She watched intently as the SUV followed her in, before revving her engine like a complete and total psychopath and rocketing toward the SUV.
Normally I would have voiced some concern over her absolutely reckless driving skills, but at this point all I could really say was something that sounded a little like: “OHMYGAWHA ARE OH GAAAAAHHH!”
The SUV jerked to the side, trying to avoid being hit by Dominique, who turned her wheel suddenly, doing a wide donut around the SUV. Her tires squealed against the asphalt as the SUV tried to avoid her, heading toward the factory before making another hard U Turn to try and face us again. I could see some muzzle flashes through the SUV’s window and heard the sound of bullets striking the body of the car. One of them must have hit a tire, since Dominique seemed to suddenly lose control and the overpowering smell of burning rubber filled my nostrils. The car spun, and Dominique gripped the wheel tightly, trying to control it. She looked up at the SUV, which was coming around to ram us.
Her eyes narrowed.
“Out,” She said.
“But what about-”
Before I could say a word of protest, she’d hit the brakes, stopping her spin.
The SUV was speeding toward us. I didn’t want to leave her, but every self-preservation instinct I had was telling me to move! I looked Dominique in the eye. She had a stern, somewhat determined expression. I trusted that she knew what she was doing.
I mean, I don’t think I really had a choice but to trust that she knew what she was doing… I got out of the car, running as fast as my legs would let me as Dominique sped away.
The SUV followed her, veering to pursue her as her battered car tried to circle around the SUV again. The destroyed front tire of her car smoked and screamed against the asphalt as she made a hard turn, letting her car fishtail. The rear end of it slammed into the front of the SUV, sending it slightly off course, toward the warehouse.
Dominique hit the gas again, driving up alongside the SUV and slamming her car against theirs, trying to force them toward the wall. The SUV tried to turn, but couldn’t do so fast enough.
Both cars hit the wall and crumpled.
I felt my breath catch in my throat.
For a few moments, everything went silent. I stared at the cars, waiting for some kind of movement… and when the door of the SUV opened, I felt my heart sink.
I watched as the Cowboy dragged himself out of the drivers seat, before his legs gave out from under him. He collapsed onto the pavement, breathing heavily before trying to pick himself up. His hat tumbled off of his head, and he paused to grab it, before gripping the side of his totaled SUV to try and stand again. I saw his eyes shift toward me, although he didn’t say a word. We stood there for a moment, staring at each other from across the parking lot before he reached back into his car and took out the stake I’d seen earlier. The one that Dominique said could probably kill her.
He looked back at me, before limping around the back of his SUV, heading for Dominique’s car.
I was running for him before I even knew what I was doing. I grabbed at his jacket, trying to hold him back, stop him from getting closer to her. He growled in frustration before slapping me hard across the cheek and sending me crashing to the ground.
He snarled, “Enough…”
He glared down at me, and for a moment I thought he was going to use that stake on me.
But he didn’t.
“I don’t know what the hell you think you’re trying to protect, girl… but that thing in there… that isn’t a goddamn person. It’s a fucking plague. I dunno why you motherfuckers try and defend these things. They ain’t human! They ain’t people! Not anymore. Killing it… it’s God’s work, girl. And you don’t stand in the way of God’s work. You understand that? He always wins, girl. God. Wins.”
“Fuck God…” I rasped, trying to pick myself up again. “A-and fuck you, Mister!”
The Cowboy just laughed breathlessly.
“Ah hell… welp, shoulda known better than trying to reason with stupid, I guess.” He said, before taking a step toward me. I stumbled back, as his gaze fixated on me with a single minded, murderous dedication.
Dominique’s engine roared to life. The Cowboy froze, looking back at it with wide, terrified eyes. I took the opportunity to run, getting out of the way before Dominique’s car jerked backward, slamming into the Cowboy and sending him back to the ground with a cry of pain. Dominique’s car door flew open, and I watched as she stumbled out. Blood trickled from the corner of her mouth and she had a few minor cuts on her face from where her windshield had shattered. Her hair was a mess.
But she was alive.
“Leave the girl alone… jackass…” She spat, as her car door came off entirely.
The Cowboy brandished the stake he had at her, holding it between them as if it was going to shoot out some kind of death beam that would instantly kill her. Although he didn’t seem to have the strength to actually use it. Dominique stared down at him, before looking back at her fallen car door and grabbing it, dragging it toward him.
The Cowboy watched as she came, and I saw a grim resignation settle over his face.
“There’s gonna be more of us, Di Cesare…” He hissed, “So long as your motherfuckin’ family is still alive, we will never
stop coming for you. You hear me? God wins, vampire! God… wins…”
“Yeah, you guys have done great so far. This is the closest you’ve come in what, over 200 years? Nice work. I’m sure God’s gonna be real proud of you,” Dominique huffed as she approached. She gingerly kicked the stake out of the Cowboy’s hand. He meekly tried to reach for it, although I grabbed it off the ground, keeping it away from him as Dominique stood over him with the car door.
He looked up at her, trying to remain composed but I could still clearly see the terror in his eyes.
“Hail Satan, asshole,” Dominique replied, before lifting the car door and bringing it down hard on his head. I didn’t watch as she killed him. But I heard his skull cracking and from the corner of my eye, I saw his body twitch before going limp.
Dominique tossed the broken piece of the car door aside, before looking down at the body, and giving an exhausted sigh. She looked back at her totaled car, frowning and taking a moment to quietly mourn it before leaning against it and letting out an exhausted groan.
After a moment, I stepped over the body of the man she’d just killed and stood beside her.
“So… wanna go back to my place?” I asked, looking up at her.
Dominique looked back over at me, and for a moment we just sort of stared at each other.
About thirty minutes later, I was back at my apartment, on my back with Dominique on top of me, having the most intense orgasm of my life. My fingernails dug into her back as she kissed me over and over again. I could still taste my own blood on her lips but I didn’t care. I could see stars and there wasn’t a single coherent thought in my mind.
I vaguely remember screaming her name as she sank her teeth into me again, and oh God, why did nobody tell me that getting bit by a vampire felt so fucking good?
I felt a little dizzy, but in a good way as Dominique kissed the small bite mark she’d left on my neck. My entire body trembled as she lifted her hand from between my legs, smiling knowingly as she kissed me one more time. I held her close, losing myself completely in this moment, and savoring the sensation of her arms wrapping around me. It was exactly
as nice as I’d hoped it would be, and as we basked in the afterglow of what had easily just been the best sex of my life, I felt content.
Dominique kissed me on the head, before checking on the bite mark again.
“Still doing okay?” She whispered to me.
“Y-yuh…” Was the only response that I was really able to get out.
She kissed me again before playing with my hair and fixing my glasses, chuckling softly as she did. I curled up beside her. Her body was cool to the touch, but she pulled the blanket over us so we’d be warm. I closed my eyes, feeling sleep calling me and quietly wished that Dominique would be staying in town for a little bit longer.
I had every intention of making the most of our time together.
It’s been about a week after Dominique left, and since then I’ve found myself back on Butterfly. I didn’t think I’d have much success there… especially after what happened with Dominique, but strangely it’s been going pretty good, lately. It’s hard to say what’s changed about me, but I’m finding that I’m having an easier time talking to people lately.
I guess once you’ve survived a car chase with a bunch of religious fanatics, talking to strangers online doesn’t seem as scary anymore.
I’ve even got another date lined up for tonight! Her name is Piper, and while I don’t think it’s going to be as crazy as my first date with Dominique was, I’ve still got a good feeling about it. For the first time in a while, I feel like things are going to work out for me.
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2023.05.29 05:13 LivingFickle I finally finished the Tomb Raider Legend Trilogy and it was a somewhat frustrating but otherwise good time. [Xbox 360]
Howdy folks, so after not really touching this particular set of TR games since Legend on the Gamecube, I finally decided to sit down and go through the "Next Gen" version of it plus the other two in it's Trilogy for the first time, and since I played on Xbox I was also able to purchase and play the two story expansions for Underworld but more on those in a bit.
If you care about story, start here - I'll run through the story and lit tidbits about the games as a whole, and then conclude my nitpicks and praises per game about gameplay and such so lesgo - - The story actually starts with Anniversary, as it's a remake of Tomb Raider (1996). Despite it not originally releasing on the Xbox 360 until a later date from the Playstation/PC release, it's actually essential you understand what happens in the plot. It's available on Xbox as both DLC for TR Legend and as a Standalone. This also means you must own and play Anniversary through Legend if you wish to get 100% achievements. The story though, starts in said remade year, 1996 - Lara is greeted by a man named Larson, who with a little satellite PDA looking thing? (I think it's a laptop in the original, but I can't tell what it's supposed to be in Anniversary) introduces Lara to Natla, who sends her on the quest of getting one of the pieces of the Scion of Atlantis. This has Lara travelling from the likes of Peru, Greece and Egypt battling things from bats and bears to flying, fireball spitting goblins and minotaurs. Once Lara has obtained two of the pieces, a vision is played in her head where some of the lore is explained by Steve Blum. The second time this happens (after getting the third piece and completing the Scion) more lore is explained and it's shown that Natla is obviously the game's big bad - so Lara wakes up from this revelation with Natla holding the now complete Scion and Lara's in custody by Natla's baddies and has been robbed of her weapons (this is a bummer). Natla leaves in a car on her way to a boat while Lara QTEs her way out of a tight situation and cutscenes her way onto a motorcycle chase and Lara sneaking her way onto said boat. Somehow the baddies you QTE'd are also on this boat before you. The Final level takes on an Unknown Island where Natla has been digging. Since Lara doesn't have her weapons after the last cutscene - her first objective is to get her hands on some inconveniently placed Dual Pistols. After completing the area's final puzzle and getting the mine cart moving, Larson shows up to stop Lara until she kills him in a QTE. This really has psychological damage that she seems to forget about in the following games but the game carries on until she can QTE her way through the last few of Natlas goons and mozie on about the wicked structure within. This wicked structure within is what Lara eventually realizes is essentially Atlantis in a confrontation with Natla, who then asks the obvious rhetorical question of "Would you join me?". This results in Lara shooting the Scion and breaking it, thus finally giving her some boss fights that end with us on top and Lara stealing a boat. - Legend starts with a flashback and doesn't acknowledge any of what I just said because "technically" hasn't happened yet because Anniversary came later. The flashback is of Lara as a child and her mother in a plane during some rather turbulent weather. This results in the plane crashing and Lara waking up while climbing cliffs. Not sure how safe it is to sleep while rockclimbing but she's the expert, not me. The game kicks off in Bolivia as Lara as information of certain artifacts that possibly have to do with other flashbacks tied to why she's here and her mom isn't. This game has Lara mostly killing human enemies, with the tutorials going from platforming and equipment to combat in a pretty quick amount of time. The other games usually start with something small, but Legend starts with guns in your direction. Anywho, at the end of Bolivia, Lara is confronted by a man named Rutland who talks a lot but doesn't really respond to anything Lara says and an obscured antagonist from Lara's past named Amanda. After Lara commits several counts of murder the game picks up and goes to Peru because of a thing Rutland says. Peru has Lara going through more baddies until a pretty cool motorcycle sequence ending in she and her escort arriving at an old dig site (the one Rutland mentions). This takes us into a gameplay flashback where we get a "Classic Lara" bit without weapons. It's all platforming and puzzles which isn't a bad thing! However, what is a bad thing is a mysterious Wraith that appears in these mines and ends up killing everyone in the flashback except Amanda. They become the best of friends - Snap back to reality and "modern Lara" goes through the same, but more decrepit mines, making good progress until we've been ambushed by Rutland's baddies. After more murder, Lara helps the escort friend who is also counted in the ambush and this ends the level because Lara is realizing more things are connected. From Peru we go to Japan because a Yakuza member has something we want, and we're willing to kill him for it. After we doesn't want to give it to us without death, we slay numerous of his minions and eventually... HIM! Taking his artifact with us we head to Ghana because that's where Rutland is, and we want the piece he was waving around because it looks like the piece we got from the Yakuza man. We kill Rutland just to be sure, and viola! They DO go together! Wrapping this up because not a lot of story happens but there's a fight with Amanda's Wraith, we seemingly kill it with the power of Tesla, from Kazakhstan the game takes us to England, presumably the Tomb of King Arthur, where it's realized that the Artifacts we've been gathering are actually fragments Excalibur. We also kill a big snake here, maybe two of them but I'm unsure. From the Tomb it's off to Nepal - the crash site of the beginning of the game's Flashback. After getting our mother's pendant from the crash in a QTE we proceed through the level until it's time to put the pieces together and complete the Sword. Completing the Sword sets us off to the final section of the first level - Bolivia, where after some fighting with goons and Amanda, Lara puts the sword into the ruins and touches them in an order based on something she wrote as a child. This starts a scene that looks like the other side of a flashback Lara had, showing that Lara had initiated a device that her mother pulled her away from, the device seemingly yelled at her causing her mothing to pull the sword from the stone and vanish. In modern time, we hear Lara trying to communicate with her mother, the way it plays out would indicate that "modern Lara" is the reason her past mother pulls the sword and disappears. Amanda is in the background yelling for "modern Lara" to pull out the sword but she doesn't and the machine explodes. This upsets Amanda who seemingly was trying to use the machine to go to a place called Avalon and claims that's where Lara's mother "currently" is. This interaction ends with Amanda getting pistol whipped. - Underworld starts with Croft Manor exploding (this is bad). Lara tutorials her way through the burning house until she ends up at the front door with her butler and Zip. Zip is mostly a voice in Tomb Raider Legend but does have a model and does appear in Legend's Manor mode. I didn't mention him before because he doesn't really do anything in that game besides quip over the radio. He's here now and with a gun, and he doesn't like us too much but before we can find out why he started blasting the game does that super cool thing media sometimes does where it takes us back in time a few weeks so we can build up to and expand that moment. The game puts us in the Mediterranian Sea, where Lara is looking for clues to Avalon, as mentioned at the end of Legend. The game ends up going almost full Norse mythology as Lara's venturing in the caves of the sea leads her to discovering a gauntlet of Thor. Only to then be ambushed by soldiers of no other, Amanda. The soliders knock Lara out and take the gauntlet but leave her guns. They do take her bullets in a cutscene but that's silly because she has unlimited ammo in those things. The baddies start detonating the caves so we need to get out and make our way back to our boat. Doing this sets Lara off to the nearby baddie ship. Going guns a blazing on the ship results in Lara finding a big ole tube with none other than Natla within it. After some words are exchanged, Amanda shows up to break up the interaction and take Natla off the boat by helicopter. With the boat now going down because Lara's on it, Lara needs to get off of it and fire potshots at Amanda as she climbs the helicopter ladder. After taking a graze to the chin Amanda throws the gauntlet into the ocean, causing Lara to jump in and retrieve it. If you're wondering "Why would she do that?" it turns out it's Account-Bound to Lara from when she interacted with it before the goons stole it and is therefore useless to anyone but Lara. From the ocean to Thailand, Lara goes delving into ruins that she learns her father was once also looking into. Once she discovers a clue left by her father she goes home, taking us down into the crypts of Croft Manor where Lara finds that her father had the other gauntlet of Thor. Lara does the obvious and binds it to her as well, giving her access to a new mechanic that only appears like 4 times the entire game. However, we can't think about that now because an explosion takes us back through the beginning of the game where we find out the reason Zip wanted to dust Lara is because there's a Doppleganger, like from the end of Anniversary but not a full mimic and with skin! The doppleganger kills our other "over the comms" friend Alistar which is very sad, I think. Lara gets Allistar's body out of the crumbling house and goes back to business as usual, believing it will lead her to those responsible for his death. She's correct, but not immediately. First she needs to get the belt of Thor, which she does which then leads to the obvious "So can she wield Mjolnir?" and yeah, you totally can and it's totally sick! However, what isn't sick is needing Natla's help to get to Avalon, because oh yeah, that was the objective - but we needed our MacGuffins first! Lara uses the hammer on an identical looking boat to the one that went down earlier, freeing Natla with the assistance of Mjolnir and the doppleganger pulls an Episode VI and just yeets Amanda overboard. Upon arriving where Natla told us to go so we could go to Avalon, we find a thrall of our mom that Natla made, because trauma is cool. This has Lara shooting her mom thrall and finding out that yeah, the doppleganger listens to Natla and is going to kill us now, and that Natla lied and used Lara the same we she used Lara's dad. Natla's trying to bring about the end of the world and goes on her way to do that. The doppleganger is thwarted by Amanda who somehow lives and tells us to go finish Natla because "ending the world" wasn't part of her (Amanda's) plan. Upon arriving at the end of the game Lara has to platform her way around Natla's thralls and fireballs while making the world ending device unstable. After unstabilizing the device, Natla tries to save it but gets Mjolnir tossed at her head for her efforts. After taking Natla down, Lara goes to help Amanda while they try to figure our how to not die here. It's figured out by remembering what happened in Tomb Raider Legend and so Lara and Amanda pull the sword from the stone, sending them through the network and back to somewhere in the world, not sure where but I don't believe it's Bolivia. "The game ends" with Amanda and Lara going their separate ways and Excalibur staying in Lara's possession once again. - "The game ends" is what I WOULD say if I played this on any other platform, but for some reason the Xbox 360 exclusively got two post-story expansions. The first is Beneath the Ashes, which has Lara going back under the Manor (post explosion) and trying to recover an artifact that would, in theory, let Lara control the thralls much like Natla does. Fortunately, after finding the device she finds out that this works well indeed, as the doppleganger had showed up to finish the job before being converted under Lara's control and being sent to finish Natla. - The second expansion, Lara's Shadow has you playing as the doppleganger and it actually starts when Amanda yeets the doppleganger off of Lara before the final battle. The clone wakes up, beginning gameplay and it proceeds to look for Natla so it can help her cover. It finds her, helps her into a revitalization chamber and turns it on. Natla sends the clone off to finish Lara then finish itself (rude). The game then puts us at the end of the prior expansion where Lara gains control of the clone with the device she found under the Manor. In an extended version of that scene, Lara frees the clone of it being bound to servitude and requests that it "Make sure Natla suffers". It does. It heads back to the place where Natla is resting, destroys the machine, and without uttering a word, lets Natla drown as she struggles to comprehend why it won't obey anymore. It's REALLY messed up, all things considered. THAT is how the game ends, and the trilogy for that matter as the series would get rebooted again in 2013, kicking off the Survivor trilogy.
If you don't care about the story start here - Now that the story is out of the way, here's the "game parts" per game:
Legend - Easiest of the three, outside of some wonky physics the game is pretty functional and a heck of a good time. Favorite level is Japan. Even though it's by far the shortest, it's the most pleasing to me in the game. Collectibles were pretty fun to obtain as well. I didn't get em all but felt good about the ones I did find. Gunplay is also the most basic of the three but it's the one I like the most because Anniversary and Underworld just feel like they have gimmicks strapped on. A complaint many would have is how short and linear the game is. None of the levels really ever wrap around on themselves and some are legitimately just a straight line. It's an entertaining straight line, though.
Anniversary - Definitely the hardest of the three games, not in combat, just some of the platforming and timing windows are incredibly tight. I definitely struggled through some of the later sections, but I still enjoyed myself. This one definitely feels the most "Tomb Raider" because it's a remake. My main complaint are how many QTEs there are and me personally not being a fan of the Adrenaline Dodge. It felt incredibly inconsistent. This one I believe is a Backwards Compatibility issue but may be worth noting - on an Xbox One X, this game has a little strip of pixels in the bottom left corner of the screen. It goes away during cinematics but is otherwise there during gameplay and honestly looks like a dying GPU. It's not, fortunately, but it IS consistent enough of an issue that you can look up XBX gameplay videos of this particular game and see the pixels in the capture or even people in the comments saying, "Oh I see that you have the issue too". The only way I've "fixed" this is through HDMI Override on the Xbox and TV setting finicking to effectively zoom in just enough of the screen where those pixels are off view. Favorite section of the game was the Midas Palace, also enjoyed the visual of the Sphynx in Sanctuary of the Scion as well.
Underworld - My goodness, the camera is absolutely dreadful. It's almost like it's trying to be "stuck" to Lara so any time you're climbing you can see the camera jitter vertically a little bit. It also loses its mind in tight places, very nauseating. Gunplay is fine, you have all of the weapons from the start and swap through them on the PDA so Ammo is really never a problem. It also had an "Adrenaline" Mode that you built up rather than it being forced upon you, it One Hits literally anything so it's best to save it on "elites". Pretty handy at the end of the game but I definitely forgot about it for the first several hours. I didn't have a favorite level for this game, but I did appreciate how big some of the levels like Remnants/Bhogavati and The Unnamed Days/Xibalba are - visually a lot of them were very nice and I can tell "Next Gen" was a focus considering those open levels are absolutely littered with things like reacting foliage just to push it a little more. That being said while they looked nice, I didn't really love playing through them, especially when going through them too quickly shows pop-in issues. Last words are that I wish the DLCs weren't tied to the platform, they're honestly good stories and super fun puzzles for what they are, even if they are wrapped in Underworld's engine troubles.
Soooooooooooooooooo yeah, that's pretty much it - there's some top notch platforming and some really pretty levels marred in some annoying camera, hit detection and physics issues across all three titles. Still an absolutely worth it adventure if you don't mind when a game fights back a little :)
My ranking is: 1. Legend (Mostly for nostalgia) 2. Anniversary (if it weren't for my nostalgia, this would be #1) 3. Underworld (Idk, I didn't hate it but the Story/DLC and visuals are really all that game has going for me personally)
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