i work at a pretty well sized clothing retailer and the building i work at has no air conditioning, causing me (a heat sensitive individual) to pass out at work. nothing was done about this, they even wanted me to continue my shift after the incident. now with the current wildfire situation north of us the building is retaining so much heat. pretty sure our ventilation system is shot too. i’m not allowed to wear shorts and they don’t even pay us a livable wage. i just really needed to vent bc it’s so bleak being here.
Hello all, for the next about 7-8 days where I live is expecting a pretty big heat wave, with temps reaching up to 35 degrees celsius potentially. My apartment that I live in unfortunately lacks air conditioning, and I'm worried my cat is going to get too hot while I'm away at work. (I work Mon-Fri, 8-4).
I currently have 2 fans going all day, one small one directly on the floor so it can reach my cat, and a bigger one oscillating to keep the air moving in my apartment. I also bought a cooling pad for him, and I throw it in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes in the morning while I get ready for work, and take it out and place it down for him just before I leave and it usually stays pretty chilly for a few hours. I refresh the water in his fountain every morning so he has cold water throughout the day, and leave some ice cubes floating in the top so as they melt it keeps the water cooler for longer. I also leave the bathroom door open and shower curtain open because the ceramic bathtub generally stays cold to the touch and he can go lay down in the tub if his cooling pad isn't cold enough.
I'm still worried he's going to overheat, is there any tips and tricks y'all have on keeping pets cool for a while?
Hey all! I recently graduated with my master's degree and I'm feeling an upgrade for my recent achievement. I currently work in mental healthcare. Although, I love my macbook, the battery life sucks, internal heat, and not a ton of storage (128 gb).
I've been eyeing the newer 13" MacBook Air M1 or M2. I wouldn't be doing any gaming on it nor would I be running multiple apps at once. I do own an iMac 24", but I like the portability of a laptop as well.
Would love any and all suggestions! Thanks :)
Hearts and minds, under attack? — The risks of e-cigarettes and advertisements. By BlueEarlGrey 8th June, 2023
Over the past decade, a new smoking trend has undoubtedly taken the world by storm: electronic cigarettes, or ‘e-cigarettes’. These battery-powered devices have gained significant popularity, especially amongst young people, offering an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking. Unsurprisingly, e-cigarettes have sparked both enthusiasm and controversy, raising questions about their safety, efficacy, and their impact on public health. E-cigarettes in their process being battery-powered devices, heat up a liquid solution containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals, producing an aerosol (commonly referred to as vapor) for inhalation. Unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, which eliminates the combustion and smoke associated with traditional smoking. This has led to e-cigarettes in their origins to be promoted as a safer and healthier alternative for traditional tobacco cigarettes. Whilst this is true with many health services offering e-cigarettes as a means to wean off tobacco smoking, in recent years have we seen these once noble aims be brought into question of safety and impact to public health as the development of consumer behaviour and commercialisation of the products revealed uneasy truths.
The commercialisation of e-cigarettes can very much explain itself in the corporate environment they reside in. Did you know that vaping companies such as ‘Blu’ and ‘10 Motives’ are actually owned by Big Tobacco? Funnily enough this correlation does not end there and quite a few vaping brands are owned by the tobacco companies they’re trying to steer customers away from. The e-cigarette industry is undoubtedly owned very much by dominant tobacco companies. From 2012, the e-cigarette industry’s rapid rise subsequently saw landsweeping purchases of once perhaps noble origins, into the hands of big tobacco companies. Whether it is through subsidiaries or direct ownership and operations, the hand of the tobacco industry remains an inseparable fact in how Governments ought to address the market too. Government Action on Advertisement
Which is why the spurring of the debate of e-cigarettes in Parliament is the Government’s proposed bill to ban the advertisement of the product with the ‘Advertisement of Vape Products (Regulation) Bill
’ currently making its way through the House of Commons. The current second reading of the session has seen statements in favour of the proposal from members of the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and the Pirate Party, whilst Solidarity members have opposed the move by the Government, unsurprisingly.
One of the primary concerns associated with e-cigarette advertising is its impact on young people. Aggressive marketing campaigns, often featuring attractive models and enticing flavours such as ‘peach ice’, have drawn the attention of adolescents, young adults and even the elderly old Cornishmen. The result has been a disturbing increase in e-cigarette use among this demographic, with potential long-term consequences for their health and well-being. The nature that the Government has went about this is very paternalistic, echoing Disraelian one-nation Conservatism, for what it believes is in the public interest, and it would be right to do. It is undeniable that young people are often vulnerable and susceptible to influence from advertisement that embeds itself through the use of celebrities, public figures, influencers and social trends. The rationale behind the policy can be explained in which by banning the advertisement of e-cigarettes, the exposure of young people to these products can be limited and can curb their curiosity and experimentation. Restricting advertising would help counter the glamorisation of vaping (as a result of usage and promotion by the aforementioned celebrities, public figures, influencers and trends) and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming a gateway to nicotine addiction and traditional cigarette smoking. Advertising targeting young people?
As of 2016, about 80% of U.S. middle- and high-school students reported to have came across advertisements for e-cigarettes, says a March 16, 2018, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, “Exposure to Electronic Cigarette Advertising Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2014–2016.”
About 70% of these students saw e-cigarette advertising in retail stores, with roughly 40% that saw the ads on the internet or on TV, and about 25% saw e-cigarette ads in newspapers or magazines.
It is clear that the focus of e-cigarettes and their advertising is linked to the popularisation and commercialisation of the products towards younger audiences, whether directly or even indirectly. The banning e-cigarette advertising as policy is argued to discourage non-smokers, including younger people, from starting e-cigarette use and protect them from potential risks. Informed decision-making regarding personal health choices requires access to unbiased information, and limiting advertising can prevent misleading commercialised claims that may downplay the risks associated with e-cigarettes.
Exiting regulations actions against e-cigarettes very much reflects that the opponents will tend to be those in the pockets of the tobacco industry. Which certainly places into question the intentions and goals of opposing members of Parliament to the Government’s plans. Case in point being the European Union has remained a strong bulwark against the advertisement of e-cigarettes with its update to the Tobacco Products Directive, which brought e-cigarettes under the strict regulatory umbrella in 2016. Whilst it was challenged, however, by several important players in the tobacco industry -- the revised directive bans menthol flavorings (that typically aim to appeal to young people’s and imposes other restrictions some were not happy with, as well as the parent company of major UK e-cig retailer ‘Totally Wicked’. In any case, as far as the EU is concerned, if you want to sell a product containing an addictive substance, then prepare to be regulated, which is very much the tone the United Kingdom should take. The Case for Regulation
In such a short time period, the e-cigarette market has experienced rapid growth, with numerous brands and products available. However, regulations and quality control measures have struggled to keep pace with this expansion. This lack of regulatory oversight can lead to inconsistencies in product safety and quality, increasing the risk of harmful substances or faulty devices reaching consumers. With how varied sources of production and their range of availability are, the lack of oversight and regulation has allowed the ease of access to these products at cheap prices and poor quality, inducing greater risk to public safety and consumer health.
Government action against e-cigarettes are very much reinforced with the economic concept of e-cigarettes being a ‘demerit good’. Demerit goods being where their consumption is regarded as unhealthy, degrading or otherwise socially undesirable as a result of the perceived negative effects on the consumers themselves, where there would be overconsumption of left to natural market forces.
Whilst e-cigarettes are often marketed as a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, there is undeniably growing concern about their long-term health effects. While they may pose fewer risks compared to combustible tobacco products, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, an addictive substance. Nicotine addiction can lead to various health issues, including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and potential harm to the developing brains of young individuals. The inclusion of nicotine within the product is what places it entirely comparable to tobacco in how the Government ought to regulate the industry. As the elasticity of demand is very much negative (price inelastic) especially due to the nicotine additive, for the Government to not regulate this market would be allowing the greater exploitation of impressionable individuals and increased consumption of a demerit good. Risks of e-cigarettes
The consumption of e-cigarettes, being a demerit good, have been argued to create further external costs that are not borne directly by the individual user. These costs may include increased burdens on healthcare systems due to nicotine addiction-related health issues or the potential for future generations to bear the consequences of increased tobacco use resulting from e-cigarette initiation. In assessing the necessity of regulation, the policy from the Government very much has taken into account the social costs and public health risks already present.
Comparatively, as recognised, they are advertised as the ‘healthier’ alternative to tobacco, but many are quick to cite the relative infancy of e-cigarettes for supposedly invalid and misleading studies and assumptions. That is very much not the case, proponents of vape culture do tend to obscure if not dismiss the science and facts on the matter, but ought to be informed of the very present dangers it already has and is having on societies. The Inhalation of Harmful Chemicals Can Cause Irreversible Lung Damage and Lung Disease
(Findings by the American Lung Association) Cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette consumption
In January 2018, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine1 released a consensus study report that reviewed over 800 different studies.
That report made clear: using e-cigarettes causes health risks. It concluded that e-cigarettes both contain and emit a number of potentially toxic substances. The Academies' report also states there is moderate evidence that youth who use e-cigarettes are at increased risk for cough and wheezing and an increase in asthma exacerbations.
Studies from the University of North Carolina found that the two primary ingredients contained within e-cigarettes — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — are toxic to cells and that the more ingredients in an e-liquid, the greater the toxicity.
E-cigarettes in their current form produce a number of dangerous chemicals including acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde. These aldehydes can cause lung disease, as well as cardiovascular (heart) disease. They were further found to also contain acrolein, a herbicide primarily used to kill weeds. Which can cause acute lung injury and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may cause asthma and lung cancer.
Both the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine have warned about the risks of inhaling secondhand e-cigarette emissions, which are created when an e-cigarette user exhales the chemical cocktail created by e-cigarettes.
2016, the Surgeon General concluded that secondhand emissions contain, "nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead."
Even the US Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be “safe” and effective in helping smokers quit.
(Data obtained by February 2020)
A total of 2,807 lung related cases of hospitalisation across all 50 states resulting from the use of e-cigarettes/vaping products.
A total of 68 deaths confirmed in 29 US States.
Laboratory data showed that vitamin E acetate, an additive within e-cigarettes/vape products, were strongly linked to the cases of lung injury with many tests finding the chemical present in fluids extracted.
The CDC itself recommends that youths, young adults, and pregnant women should not use E-cigarettes or vapes containing nicotine and acetate.
The risks of e-cigarettes are very present, numerous studies will affirm the Government’s position, and very much growing public awareness, on why regulatory action needs to be taken. So why not just ban e-cigarettes entirely?
The main reason as to why the Government has seemingly taken to restrict but not outlaw the e-cigarette industry, is because there is a useful lesson to follow in that of tobacco. The laws of supply and demand, in which a banning of the industry altogether would only see the creation of a black market. The demand for the product, especially being inelastic, would persist this, added with the containing of the addictive, nicotine, consumer demand.
Banning the advertisement of e-cigarettes would align with existing laws aimed at curbing tobacco advertising. The Policy places e-cigarettes on parity to that of tobacco in regards to regulated ban on advertising in the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act, 2002, and the Health Act, 2009. The very laws against the tobacco industry were put in place to protect public health, particularly the health of young people, by reducing the promotion of addictive and harmful substances. That is why Bright Blue very much recommends that e-cigarettes should be subject to similar scrutiny, considering the potential risks they pose, especially for non-smokers. Concluding Recommendations
Moving forward, it is further recommended the Government ought to to equally adapt the arguments made on the opposing side about the benefits in e-cigarettes being used as potential harm reduction tools for current smokers. The proposed policy banning commercial advertisement is most apt with this, as by strengthening the current laws to fully support the use of e-cigarettes It is also advocated that the policy of an advertisement ban would encourage responsible use and regulation of the products. Rather than relying on persuasive marketing tactics, individuals ought to be informed about the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes through reliable sources such as public health campaigns and educational initiatives, and not commercialised advertising. This approach is argued to foster responsible decision-making and empowers consumers to make informed choices regarding their health.
Similar to the European Union’s actions against e-cigarettes and many other nations, Bright Blue very much endorses the idea of Government imposing a ban on certain flavours being produced in e-cigarettes. If their origins and potential for social benefit truly is in to weed off tobacco smokers, then the necessity of an ever expanding list of sickenly sweet and commercialising flavorings are simply superficial. Last term, Parliament saw the introduction an attempt for Plain Packaging Laws within the UK on e-cigarettes. Whilst this bill was withdrawn, it is very much a policy in support of, and believed to mitigate the harmful effects and risk of the products.
Already the move to ban advertisements for e-cigarettes has been expressed not just by countries and medical professionals, but even corporations themselves. The corporations that own CNN, CBS, TNT, TBS and other major broadcasting brands have announced that they will not air advertisements amid growing public concerns and the studies shown on the risks of e-cigarettes and how advertisements can promote them. The decision by the Government to make a move that is recommended by professionals, acted on by corporations and even shown to have high public support is a decision that has been made in the interest of public health and market parity.
Hello, we just moved to Louisville this weekend and the rental we moved in to has had very severe issues that are causing health and safety concerns for us. We would prefer if there are any female real estate attorneys as well we can request a consultation with.
To summarize, we moved in and the ownePM never hired any cleaners after an addition was built in and there is layers of dust and drywall particles throughout the house and in the air and it's become a serious health hazard for us and our animals.
Thank you for any help in advance
My wife unexpectedly bought me a Stakes Is high vinyl and I had already preordered it. So I’m sitting on 2 copies. I just want what I paid for it $36 plus $4 shipping
De La Soul- Stakes Is High (Brand New Sealed) $36
Summer clear out choose any TWO of these vinyl for $35 shipping included. Will mail out tomorrow. US only. PayPal G&S only. I ship out of Louisville,Ky
Kendrick Lamar- GKMC (Clear 2LP only Played Twice
Kendrick Lamar- MM&TBS (Brand New Sealed)
Queen- A Night AT The Opera (2022 reissue Brand New Sealed)
Thundercat- The Golden Age Apocalypse (RSD Red Vinyl Brand New Sealed)
Townes Van Zandt- Live At The Old Quarter VMP (Brand New Sealed)
Metallica- Black Album (Reissue Brand New Sealed)
Metallica- Ride The Lightning (Brand New Sealed)
Black Thought& Danger Mouse- Cheat Codes (Only Played Once)
Bob Dylan- Love & Theft ( Brand New Sealed We Are Vinyl Reissue)
Dr Dre- 2001 ( 2019 reissue Only played twice)
As the first rays of morning light peeked through the tattered blinds, Jack slowly opened his eyes, groaning slightly as he rolled out of bed on reflex and began his pushups. Lowering himself down and pressing himself up again like it was second nature to him, Jack slowly woke up and took stock. He felt a little more relaxed and well rested than normal, an unusual but welcome change from the nightmares and poor sleep he had gotten used to. But whether it was his time spent relaxing and watching films with the others the previous night or just sheer exhaustion finally catching up to him, he wasn't sure.
Regardless, Jack checked the time, the system of which Sephy had gone through with him a few times. Measurement systems were quite finicky here, but after just over a week of waking up in similar fashion Jack saw that the numbers looked similar to all the previous nights, and when he stopped a moment to listen, he couldn’t hear anybody else moving about. Even Dante was still asleep, and Jack was pleased to see that the ‘dog’ was breathing a bit better. Whatever Rayle had done seemed to work, though he’d still search for the nearest vet just in case Dante got this way again.
Tiptoeing across the room Jack quickly changed into some exercise clothes and grabbed his towel from where it was dumped on the floor from the previous day. This was a routine he had very rarely ever compromised on ever since he arrived in this realm, and like clockwork Jack tiptoed down the stairs and poured himself a drink of cold tea from the pot, downing it quickly before carefully opening the door to outside. Rayle was still asleep, resting their body on the natural ground to take advantage of their Druidic powers to slowly heal as they slept, but the two opossum-like Screediips, Thulu and Stega poked their heads out nervously to stare at Jack as he crept his way down the long-abandoned ancient road to the district wall. The only sounds were a few small birds fluttering well above him, and the soft thuds of his feet dragging themselves to the starting line.
Pulling out the display for his commlink was always a hassle for Jack ever time he tried, but he was getting better, correctly selecting the music app, clicking on the ‘workout’ tag and hitting ‘random’ with only a few errors or missclicks. As the heavy bass kicked in, beginning a strange combination of what sounding like a cross between death metal and yodelling, Jack started his warm up, his legs feeling stiff and barely functional until he got into a rhythm and soon began running without a problem.
It was about an hour before Jack wound down, seeing that Rayle had gotten up from their spot and left the back door open. So, finishing his workout he lightly jogged over, slipping through and seeing Nika awkwardly make another pot of tea.
“Wish I could have joined you.” The Kizun sighed. “Still sore but at least I’ll be able to come to school with you guys, no way am I gonna risk getting in detention, so it looks like I’m gonna try and tough it out.”
“Hey, you shouldn’t feel pressured to go if you’re hurt!” Jack cautioned. “We know a bunch of people that definitely won’t be able to come in, surely they won’t hand out detentions after a crisis?”
“They have before.” Rayle shook their head as they handed Jack a mug of water, which he downed greedily. “Glad I woke up in time, if it wasn’t for that Lifestone of yours I would probably still be in a coma.”
“Yeah about that.” that reminded Jack. “How are you holding up Rayle?”
“Much better!” The Squa’Kaar smiled nervously. “My connection to the earth is much stronger here, so I’ll be fine! I feel bad for those that lack the ability though…”
“Yeah, if it’s all the same with you Rayle I prefer sleeping in my room instead of freezing my ass outside.” Nika snorted.
“We always have the Lesser Lifestone?” Jack questioned. “Are you able to use that and get better?”
“You have a point.” Nika smiled. “But I’ll wait for the others to get up first, they probably need it more.”
“Doubt it.” Jack shrugged, “You’re hurt the most, you might as well get patched up otherwise you’re gonna have me worried all day.”
“Alright.” Nika smiled unsurely. “I’ll talk to Alora, you go have a shower before you stink up the place!”
“Heh, alright.” Jack sighed as he quickly made his way upstairs.
Once he left, Nika immediately reached into one of her pockets, frantically pulling out her bottle of pills. Quickly taking one, she gave the bottle a shake and sighed when she realised she was getting low. She had been taking pills to throw off her heat cycle more regularly now Jack was living with them, and times like these when he was either helping her with something or just straight up worried about her really set her off.
“You should stop fighting it.” Rayle pointed out from where she was curled up on the sofa sipping her tea, still wrapped up in the blanket they had taken outside while Nika gave her a look. “It’s not healthy to fight against an important aspect of your nature, why not just give in to it?”
“No.” Nika sighed before elaborating. “I mean, yeah I’ve thought about it but I honestly don’t think I’m anywhere near ready for that kind of stuff yet and I don’t think Jack is either. Besides, it’s not debilitating and the pills usually last a while. It’s just one of those things I’ll need to get used to.”
“Will it have any long-term effects?” the Druid asked curiously.
“Um…I don’t think so.” Nika shrugged. “My people have been using these since before our recorded history, ever since we no longer needed to rapidly spread, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of built-up resistance over the generations. Buying these is the real problem though. My people are quite spread out amongst known and probably unknown space too, but finding a regular supplier can be a real pain sometimes even on the Ring. I’ll be alright. I usually am...”
Jack’s body was still glistening with sweat from his run as he entered the bathroom and locked the door. Quickly shucking his clothes off and turning on the water, he waited for it to warm up a little bit before stepping in. As the hot water cascaded down his body he let out a sigh of relief as he washed away the grime, before leaning back against the cubicle wall and allowing a moment of relaxation before he knew he would have to walk into whatever shitshow awaited the group today.
He was brought back from his thoughts when the shower made a slight stuttering sound, prompting him to quickly turn it off and wrap a towel around him. Walking over to the sink and looking into the old, cracked mirror, he inspected the telltale signs of hair growing above his top lip. He hadn’t really been taught to shave before his arrival, because he hadn’t needed to learn yet, but Jack didn’t really like the idea of starting to grow a moustache or a beard at his age. Reaching into the bag he brought in with him he pulled out a knife he had been using for this purpose for the last week or so, which he kept reasonably sharpened. Though he didn’t know if there was any shaving cream or anything sold that could help protect his skin and make the process a little quicker and less stress-free, he still proceeded regardless, carefully running the blade up and down…
He quickly looked around as without warning, the door opened to reveal Vanya, who looked at him in a panic as he nicked his skin with the blade.
“No!” She yelled as she rushed over to him. “What are you doing!”
“Woah wait! Vanya! Calm down!” Jack tried to wave her off in confusion as she grabbed the arm holding the knife, allowing her to take it from him as he just stood there baffled, as she cast a quick healing spell on him.
Wait? Did she think he was…
“Hey.” Jack calmly put his hands on Vanya’s trembling arms. “That wasn’t what you thought it was, I’m not checking out just yet.” ‘At least never like that, since I’m a fucking coward…’
Jack thought to himself. “You okay Vanya?”
“Um…I’m sorry, I…” Vanya began, and had to take a few moments to calm herself down, breathing deeply in and out as a coping mechanism. “I’m sorry Jack.” She started again. “In the moment I didn’t know what you were doing and I thought the worst.”
“Nah, it’s fine.” Jack tried to give her a reassuring smile, knowing that he must have inadvertently triggered something in the rabbit-like girl. “I was just doing guy stuff, didn’t mean to spook you. How did you even get in if I locked the door?”
“I don’t know, I just turned it as normal and it opened, it might be broken.” She motioned to the long-cracked mirror. “Just like a bunch of other things, you guys mentioned you needed to do some home repairs.”
“Yeah.” Jack sighed, though realistically he didn’t feel bad about it. It was something more normal that he had an aptitude for, as he often helped his father and his brothers around the house with chores on the weekends. “Something might be off with the plumbing or something too, the shower was sputtering a bit towards the end but I wasn’t actually using it for that long.”
“Yeah I think Alora mentioned having the occasional utility problems when guests are over, I’m guessing it might be more problematic now there’s more people living here for the foreseeable future.” Vanya sighed. “I hope there’s enough for me.”
“There should be. If not then maybe Zayle can help with their water spirit?” Jack grinned, before suddenly realising something. “Um…mind getting off me and letting me get changed first?”
“Oh! Sorry!” Vanya panicked as she quickly moved back, freeing the towel around Jack’s waist to fall to the ground…
“Oh…” The Chuna just about got out with wide eyes, before Jack took the initiative and gently manhandled her out of the room, shutting the door behind him.
Quickly finishing his shave and getting dressed Jack waved the embarrassed Vanya in, who had pulled out her small handbag, somehow managing to yank out a fully folded school uniform for the day. Jack guessed it was something similar to the extra-dimensional wicker basket the Squa’Kaar twins had used to store most of their belongings. Heading downstairs, Jack was happy to see that the rest of the household was awake in various states of lucidity. Nika was wide awake and eating breakfast with Alora, who was a little tired but otherwise coping. Chiyo and the Squa’Kaar were sitting on the sofa catching the headlines while Sephy was still looking tired browsing her commlink.
“You’ve got some more bounties on you Jack.” Sephy cautioned. “But nowhere near as bad as last week, probably not gonna be a problem.”
“Who has he pissed off now?” Nika asked curiously.
“Actually it’s all of us.” Sephy shrugged. “Apparently the Ogar clan the Laird belonged to seeks a Weregild for his death. They either weren’t able to put up much or just don’t give a shit and put up a token amount that satisfies their tradition. We’ve also got some anonymous accounts freshly made that are bumping Jack up again…”
“Malakiel?” Jack asked, worried.
“Nah. It’s gotta be related to the Klowns. They’ve tagged a bunch of people, all prominent people that are publicly known to have had a hand in fighting off the Klowns. You, Luvia, Svaarti, Devil’s Daughter, and everyone’s favourite asshole Svaartal are up there, but the amounts are spread fairly evenly. Oh hey! Mr Sparrel’s here too! And holy crap, so is Master Kull!”
“How are the Klowns able to post bounties?” Zayle asked in confusion as their earth spirit lumbered over and brought over a tray of tea.
“Because it isn’t them themselves actually doing it.” Nika pointed out. “It’s all the crazies actually backing them on the datanet that want to see everything burn. The damn simps!” The Cult of Jingubash is likely involved too.
Chiyo added. They are known to exist but they’re treated the same as the Cult of the Destroyer. The Klowns are their public force, but there are many worshippers that hide in the shadows and keep their allegiances well hidden. They’re not believed to be organised in the way cultists of the Destroyer usually are, but they’re still very dangerous.
“Good to know.” Jack shrugged. “At least I’m one of many, any bounty hunters I should know about?”
“Nope.” Sephy smiled. “You’re all clear on the public list, but that doesn’t mean hunters aren’t coming after you, or they just haven't announced it publicly yet.”
“Yeah, when you’re known to have done a public service for the city, people tend to frown on those that want to mess with you.” Nika grinned as the conversation ended, with Jack quickly accepting the breakfast Zayle made for him as he watched the news, with Rayle occasionally skipping the more boring stories.
“...dire news as people are still being recovered from this scene of devastation…”
“..The CEO of Corvin Enterprises has threatened to hunt down and expel all ‘peasants’ from the newly annexed district…”
“It is currently unknown what occurred at the Pallid Pit, however Drow involvement in cleansing it is speculated to be the likely cause…”
“Red Legion forces have been pushed back from the Taurin Sector, causing many to wonder - Is the Red Legion on the brink of defeat?”
“....it is unknown if this is a possible sign of a new Nascent Demon Lord awakening on Hive Station Bastilla, but local factions are investigating….”
“Local rangers have confirmed a mass-migration of many Zorn tribes heading westward into the unexplored wilderness. The reason for this is unknown…”
“We have Breaking News!” A cheery avian female suddenly popped up on the screen. She was in a large hall amidst a crowd of journalists with a podium and lectern combo at the end. “I am reporting live from Cocaine Keep, where local warlord Commander Cocaine has called a press conference in light of the apparent death of Devil’s Daughter…oh! Looks like he’s about to speak!”
The camera zoomed in on a large biped walking to the podium. With greenish grey skin and several bone plates protecting their maw, the mean-looking, aquatic-looking warrior was wearing a full set of lithe combat armour that hugged his large frame, with an oversized pair of goggles and a plain white bandana.
“Ooooh yeah!” The warrior roared intensely, shutting up the crowd instantly as he posed with bulging muscles for the cameras as his voice echoed throughout the hall. “I’ve heard the news, yeah! I’ve seen the Klowns, yeah! I’ve smelled the chaos, yeah! And I sense the cries of the people for a hero, yeah! SO COMMANDER COCAINE WILL ANSWER! OOOOH YEAH!”
In the views of the cameras, Jack could see the front rows of journalists start to back away, almost as if they were afraid of the volatile warlord doing something crazy.
Jack couldn’t blame them.
“Yeah! I know you’re all feeling scared and alone out there, yeah! I know things are bad, yeah!” The lunatic continued, with energetic motions towards the stunned crowd. “But let me tell you people something. Commander Cocaine may not be the biggest or strongest there is, but I’ve got heart! I’ve got spirit! And I’ve got lots of cocaine! Ooooh yeah!”
He made several poses with his muscles bulging beneath his armour before he concluded his speech.
”You know who I am, but just in case you don’t, I am Commander Cocaine, and I am the hero this city needs! Anyone with an active bounty better watch out, because Commander Cocaine is coming! OOOOH YEAH!”
With that he strutted off as several reporters from the front row tried to ask him some questions.
“Well, we just heard from Commander Cocaine, who has just sworn to be the hero this city needs!” The reporter started after regaining their composure. “If you want to aid him, you can join the Cocaine Crusaders at the following…” That’s enough crazy for me right now.
Chiyo interrupted as she used her powers to call the remote to her and changed the channel.
“Heh, check this out!” Sephy suddenly cackled. “Svaartal’s got a fat bounty on him, probably from fans of Devil’s Daughter!”
“I hope Devil’s Daughter is okay…” Alora spoke up sadly, causing Sephy to calm down. “We may be partially responsible for what happened…”
“No, Devil’s Daughter made her choice using the information we gave her, we couldn’t have predicted what she would do with it.” Nika reasoned. “And we’re totally going for that bounty, right? We still owe Svaartal a receipt for coming after Jack last week, it’ll be the perfect time to get him if we all work together to take him down.”
“You forget that he’s aligned himself with a powerful Drow House!” Alora chided her. “Who we really want to shake off! As good as we are, we cannot stand against them if we give them greater cause to seek our destruction!”
“They came for us already!” Sephy pointed out. “How could it be worse? Besides, we can take them!”
“It could be a lot worse!” Alora cautioned. “And not only are the Drow Nobles powerful individually, they have a powerful force backing them. There’s a reason why they are a major faction here! You’d risk putting all of us in massive danger!”
“Svaartal has to separate from them at some point.” Nika reasoned. “What do you think Jack?”
“I don’t want to go after him.” Jack immediately replied, truthfully. “But if he gives me a good reason to, I'll face him again. However, if he leaves us alone, we can leave him alone.”
“Well, that’s decided.” Alora sighed in relief. “We haven’t got too much time before we need to go, so let’s all hurry up and get ready!”
As they all hustled and did what they needed to do, Nika sat down on the sofa already ready, unhappy with the decision on Svaartal. He was a dangerous threat to the group, and after his ambush on them she knew he had to be taken out before he had a chance to come for them again. She had tried to take him out during the Klown attack when everyone else was safe and nobody was looking, without success. But here, there was an opportunity to take him out for good without getting their own hands dirty.
Logging in to one of her proxy accounts, Nika bumped up Svaartal’s bounty some more, making it that much more lucrative…. ‘Shouldn’t have tried to kill Jack, asshole.’
She thought to herself with a sly smile.
The queues to the school entrance checkpoints were shorter than usual due to the Klown attack, but not depressingly so. Several of the students were talking to each other while they waited in line as they looked up and down the rows in hopes of seeing their friends. To Jack’s mind, many seemed relieved that there weren’t as many victims as they had expected, and the realisation that he played a major part in saving a lot of his fellow students around him during the attack gave him a warm feeling in the back of his mind.
Unfortunately, said good thoughts evaporated when they got closer to the prefects.
“Halt!” One of the Korrigan prefects ordered the group as they approached. “Due to increased security measures you will submit to a full pat down. Failure to comply will result in your immediate termination.”
“Heh, as if they could take us.” Sephy grinned to the others as she was surprisingly the first to volunteer, though Jack had no doubt the sneaky Skritta had ways of hiding what she didn’t want to be seen.
“You two, come this way.” The head prefect observing their queue told Jack and Alora as they moved separately to be searched.
“What have you got hidden here?” the Prefect narrowed his eyes at Jack as they neared the end of their check. It had been quite thorough but he hadn’t given the Prefects a hard time because of it. He could understand the need for additional security in light of the Klown attack, but he wished they weren’t so heavy handed…
“Those are my balls.” Jack squirmed away. “Handle with care, or preferably not at all!”
“Yeah only we get to do that!” Sephy grinned as Jack sputtered in shock.
“You may go.” The Prefect told him. “Actually…wait a moment.”
“Is there a problem?” Jack asked warily, not wanting to be given any grief by these guys.
“I…” the grey-skinned Prefect began before they found their words. “I want to thank you and your friends for what you did at the party, many of my friends and colleagues are still alive because of you.”
“I…that’s alright, I just did what I could to help.” Jack replied, abruptly taken aback by the words. As bad as the Prefects could be, they were still people.
As the rest of the group made it past the checkpoint to head to the lifts, Jack groaned internally as he saw several drow waiting for them up ahead. If looks alone could kill, Izadora was certainly trying as she snarled at the human, who grinned defiantly in return while wearing the shades he had picked up from one of the two Drow Nobles that had attacked him during their raid on the Pallid Pit. The two brothers, Soren and Kravel, were nearby dealing with the checkpoint, but Jack could see they had clocked their group’s arrival.
The huge drow was there too, close to Izadora, and casually leaning against the entry staircase looking bored. Another smaller drow was there who he didn’t immediately recognise, wasn’t she with Soren when the drow came to pick up Svaarti? She certainly stood out from the crowd; despite the slim, athletic build similar to most of the other Drow, Jack could see several school uniform violations, with the thin, high collared black leather-like jacket, with interwoven silvery circuitry that appeared functional being the most blatant, and several dyed strands of light purple amongst her naturally white long hair.
And finally, Svaartal himself. Standing at attention, he was leaning on the staff of Devil’s Daughter, and staring right at him.
“Someone’s chasing clout with that staff.” Nika growled, keeping her hands ready to draw weapons, ignoring the pain of movement as she put on an air of confidence.
“Let’s try not to escalate this if we can.” Alora cautioned.
“You.” Izadora growled under her breath, and the Eladrie sighed resignedly.
“Hey there!” Jack grinned widely, as he gave the Drow Matriarch a friendly wave while many students stopped to watch the exchange, knowing what had happened the last time. “How was your weekend?” He mocked, though he kept up the friendly facade.
“Better than yours I suspect.” She snarled back. “I’m surprised you’re alive, Outsider.”
“Wait, what?” The unknown Drow with them perked up, looking baffled, turning around to stare at Izadora, as Jack saw the traces of several neon circuitry designs peek up from the collar of her school uniform. “This
is the guy that kicked your ass and got you all worked up, sister? He doesn’t look so tough to me! My mech could totally wreck him, shame the High Matriarch said no!”
Jack didn’t think the foul expression of Izadora couldn’t get worse, but he was almost amused to see that he was quite wrong. Both Svaartal and the huge drow covered their smirks as the Matriarch rounded on who was apparently her sister, even as the unusual Drow waltzed closer to Jack, peering at him with a curious expression. Nika immediately had her shotgun levelled at their head as Chiyo drew in her power, ready to lash out.
“What?” The strange drow rolled her eyes at the girls as she stopped. “I haven’t even done anything yet!”
“Dextra.” Izadora snapped with gritted teeth. “Satisfy your foolish curiosity another time.”
“You talk too much for a humiliated Matriarch trying to save face.” Sephy chipped in with her ricocheting plasma pistols pointed at the ground, though Jack knew from the angle that she had subtly taken aim at Izadora. “Jack kicked your ass right here, and we took out your special forces at the Pallid Pit!”
“I will make you…” Izadora snarled, before they were interrupted by a familiar, cool voice.
“Izadora, what is the reason you are accosting this group of students?” Rena called out, as she approached the crowd, and Jack was surprised and glad to see Nya trailing gingerly behind her, staring at Svaartal’s newly acquired staff. “It appears that you are holding up the flow of traffic.”
“I am simply ensuring that they know the rules, Rena.” Izadora dismissed. “I-”
“I doubt it.” Rena snapped, unamused. “Your duties are done here, I have been instructed to tell you to report to Mr Zhiel’s office immediately before class.”
Izadora grumbled but ultimately complied, while Svaartal and Dextra slinked away. Only the large one remained behind, looking at Rena almost amusedly as she gave orders to the students to disperse, before he finally turned lazily and slunk up the stairs, but not before subtly looking at Jack for just a tiny moment with a thin smirk.
“I would suggest you all go to your form classes, as there have been several changes in light of the Killer Klown’s attack. I will however address you about this incident later.” Rena sternly told their group, as Alora gently pulled Jack away, quietly pleading with him not to start any trouble, despite the human’s wish to chase after and attack Izadora again, and to give Rena some backtalk.
“Jack, did you really have to wear those shades you looted from the Mal’Kar’s around their surviving family?” The Eladrie sighed disapprovingly as they left the area.
“Yep!” He grinned as they made their way to the lifts.
“Totally worth it…”
OOOOOOOOOOOOOH YEAH! COMMANDER COCAINE IS COMING!
If you're impatient for the next chapter, why not check out my previous series?
Some pictures have been added to The Galactic High Info Sheet!
If you have any fanart or any pictures you think might fit one of the entries, please let us know on the discord!
Don't forget! You all have the ability to leave comments and notes to the entries, which I encourage you to do!
As always I love to see the comments on what you guys think!
Don't forget to join the discussion with us on Discord
, and consider checking me out on Youtube
if you haven't already! Until next week, it's goodbye for now!