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Hard & Accurate Sci-fi Tip #2: Space Military Structure (Namely, Space Opera):

2023.05.29 23:05 TheRetroWorkshop Hard & Accurate Sci-fi Tip #2: Space Military Structure (Namely, Space Opera):

This is going to be one of my more serious, long posts, so strap in, as they say (though I cannot possibly detail out everything you might need to know. That would require at least three posts). To quote -- and set the stage through -- Dostoevsky (from Notes from Underground):
'Is it [history] many-coloured? May be it is many-coloured, too: if one takes the dress uniforms, military and civilian, of all peoples in all ages--that alone is worth something, and if you take the undress uniforms you will never get to the end of it; no historian would be equal to the job. Is it monotonous? May be it's monotonous too: it's fighting and fighting; they are fighting now, they fought first and they fought last--you will admit, that it is almost too monotonous.
In short, one may say anything about the history of the world--anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can't say is that it's rational. The very word sticks in one's throat. And, indeed, this is the odd thing that is continually happening: there are continually turning up in life moral and rational persons, sages and lovers of humanity who make it their object to live all their lives as morally and rationally as possible, to be, so to speak, a light to their neighbours simply in order to show them that it is possible to live morally and rationally in this world. And yet we all know that those very people sooner or later have been false to themselves, playing some queer trick, often a most unseemly one.
Now I ask you: what can be expected of man since he is a being endowed with strange qualities? Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity, such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes and busy himself with the continuation of his species, and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick. He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself--as though that were so necessary--that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar.'
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I would only add that he was rather harsh on the soldier and his general. Many-coloured, is he! The eternal shine of the ten million blades, the wooden hilt; the forgotten hammer, the ships of our forefathers. Ah! Such a pity to see nought in it but blood and sand -- now, that is monotonous. If man is to mean anything at all, it must be finding some honour in life... and death. War, it must be known, is the great stage-play of time. Surely, then, the warrior is the greatest (male) part to play? Otherwise, it's all for nought!
If you're going to, as the author, gift your setting a military and its honour, you have to actually put yourself inside the mind of the general, the trooper, the law-maker, the wife at home, the child in the street; otherwise, it's going to be a hollowed-out system, a mere mote. It does not matter to me if you believe in war or not, or if all war is just (certainly, it's not): what matters is that you do your setting and peoples justice, regardless of what they may find themselves. After all, this is your job as the writer, as the artist. It's your job to let your characters and their stories free, and follow them, as to see where they may lead.
I'm not even going to dig into the elements at play, such as brotherhood, inter-national conflict resolution, national defence, social structure, and physical fitness. These elements ought to be known to you all: they are some of the clear benefits to warfare and boot camp/training, in general. I have not yet found a defeatist army, for example -- or yet a nation without some kind of guarder force, vast or not. (Note: there are some claims that actual warfare did not exist until around 9,000 BC, but I find this very difficult to believe, and have seen some counter-evidence. For example, Jane Goodall and de Waal find that chimps go to war (raiding parties, sometimes wiping out entire tribes); and there are strong indications that pre-historic human tribes were war-driven, just on smaller scales, and often using wooden weapons (thus, no direct evidence is found). We know that modern hunting (and fire-making, and related matters) existed at least 1.5-2 million years ago, according to the books I own and more recent research. That's the entire history of humanity, ultimately. There is no way these spears and slings were not used against man.)
Well, a big part of space opera is, indeed, warfare (typically in relation to defence of the Good [nation] and psychomachy). Anyway, without further ado, I give to you...
Part One: A Brief History of Battles, Great and Small
Let's begin with Alexander the Great, because why not (though I could have started with Sargon of Akkad many years prior). Alexander's army was a powerful, fast-moving, and relatively small force of 40,000 men (equal to a Napoleonic corps or so). Often credited with inventing genius 'shock' tactics (the so-called hammer and anvil tactic) to overwhelm equally-sized forces. He even managed to break up, and then defeat, the vast Persian army under King Darius III (around 1500,000 strong). Alexander the Great's army is as close to the cinematic glory of 300 (2006) as you're likely to find. Soon after, Alexander was crowned King of Asia in a lavish ceremony.
Moving forward a few hundred years, at its peak, the Roman military possibly had over 500,000 soldiers across its regions (around 0.5% of citizens -- which is a fairly reliable standard across history) by 306 AD during the reign of Constantine I. Compare this to the Roman conquest of Britain under Plautius, with just a 40,000-man force (four legions and 20,000 auxiliary troops, including Thracians) in 43 AD. (It's also worth mentioning, if you're in a long-term space war, individual companies, legions, or otherwise could stay outfitted for as long as 500 years at a time without issue. The Roman Legion, Legio IX Hispana, for example, existed for at least 150 years, and led the conquest of Britain. And, within the Warhammer 40,000 universes, a single Space Marine sees battle for about 400 years before he's KIA (killed in action).)
During the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD, each side only had upwards of 5,000-8,000 men (around 15,000 in total). This was actually a common trend, from what I found: equally common was the notion of 'law of war' and related, which meant that each side wanted to be roughly equal to the other side. This is one of the most profound discoveries of my life (more on this later). (The Japanese invasion of China, for example, taught me that having too much control over your enemy leads to madness -- there must be an innate drive to some sense of honour, fair challenge in war-making. When men are without equals, they become titans, as it were. And, if you know anything about some of the Greek titans: they were not very friendly or sane.)
Around this time (960-1279 AD), the Song Dynasty of China had a remarkable standing army of over two million men, and made use of tank-like carts and newly-invented 'grandes' (known as 'thunder crash bombs'). However, this was financially exhausting, but it was sometimes capable of fighting against invading Khitans, Jurchens, and Mongols, largely thanks to the great iron industry. Individual battles, however, were quite small.
By the time of the First Italian War (1494 AD), Europe was really starting to take its modern shape, and there were hundreds of what are ultimately power struggle wars and rebellions across Europe as we moved out of the Middle Ages. This was the opening phase of the Italian Wars, which existed between 1494 and 1559 AD. The Battle of Marignano was the last major engagement of the War of the League of Cambrai (aka the wars between 1508 and 1516 AD, within the Italian Wars. The main participants were the French, Papal States, and Republic of Venice) and took place in 1515 AD, southeast of Milan. The Battle of Marignano pitted the French army, led by Francis I and the best heavy cavalry and artillery in Europe, against the Old Swiss Confederacy (within the Holy Roman Empire -- this was the precursor of the modern state of Switzerland), whose mercenaries until that point were regarded as the best medieval infantry force in Europe. The French had German landsknechts (mercenaries famed for pike and shot formations) on their side. The French won and suffered just half the losses, and did so with a fairly stronger force -- possibly 35,000 men compared to 22,000 on the Swiss side. This led to the Treaty of Fribourg, which established the 'Perpetual Peace', and ensured good relations between the two nations for nearly 200 years. This event is largely what led to Switzerland's world-famous diplomatic autonomy and militaristic neutrality. Nonetheless, this battle -- and countless others at the time -- saw similar numbers to centuries past: roughly 20,000 on each side.
Part Two: An Introduction to Military Divisions & the Numbering System
Enter Maurice de Saxe circa 1710 AD, whom you can thank, at least in part, for the modern military system, largely due to the major increase in soldiers by the 18th century, and his advanced thinking in response. A major battle felt by a young de Saxe was the Battle of Malplaquet during the War of the Spanish Succession. Battles pressed on in this manner, and at some point, de Saxe began to write about it. He wrote Mes Reveries, a profound work on the art of war, which was published after his death in 1757 AD.
He had the grand idea of reshaping the regiment system into large 'legions' (modern divisions), so that the effective officers were not wasted on smaller, single regiments. These divisions would consist of four regiments and would have a more even mix of veteran soldiers and new recruits, as well. On top of this, he -- along with some other key theorists at the time -- had the idea of simply numbering the divisions and regiments, replacing the traditional system of naming them by their commanders or by locations/regions: because that's a very temporary, rigid system that only works for small, tight-knit groups. The divisional system also allowed soldiers to climb the ranks, and effectively learn from the veterans.
The regimental system shatters command structure and weakens mobility, despite the fact you have smaller, often lighter units. Too many small, separate, disorganised units is highly ineffective when you're dealing with large armies, and quite an advanced enemy (be it the British or Prussians, in this case). What de Saxe noticed was a failing system of rigid tradition. He also hated this sort of grenadier mentality of the 17th and 18th centuries, as it displaced all the strongest and most experienced soldiers. Of course, de Saxe was not against the existence of grenadiers: the strongest soldiers, leading the assaults, such as storming fortifications. He simply wanted to evenly spread them out across all the regiments, and legions, so that every single unit was an effective tool. (This grenadier concept actually survives to this day, as a grenade launcher specialist of a typical four-man fireteam (traditionally, sharing much in common with WWII-era shock troops), and you see it all the time in movies, where he is still typically the biggest, strongest of the team.)
Battles were increasingly crossing the 100,000 mark in terms of soldier count; whereas, not long ago (that is, around 1650 AD), the numbers were more likely in the range of 20,000 for most battles, other than a few outliers.
Then, de Saxe died before he had the opportunity to actually implement his system, though the Duke de Broglie led some successful experiments with it during the Seven Years War, but it took until the French Revolution for the 'division' concept to be enforced, systematically. This ultimately fell at the hands of the French Revolutionary Army.
Enter Lazare Carnot. Like de Saxe, Carnot saw that some regiments were full of veterans, whilst others -- namely, the new revolutionary brigades -- were filled with barely-trained recruits. And, like de Saxe, his solution was to separate out the veterans and embed them within these new brigades. More importantly, he embraced de Saxe's idea of the 'division'. The new demi-brigades (regiments, as the Revolutionary Government hated and removed the term regiment) would be combined into brigades, and brigades would be combined into divisions. Later, under Napoleon, divisions themselves were combined into corps (which is and has always been the highest level of operational units for actual combat, with all units larger than corps being purely administrative, with a clear exception being Napoleon's Armee (i.e. modern field army), and a few other, smaller army groups).
This wonderfully created an intermediate level of control between the general and the brigade commanders. The Revolutionary Army became at once an army of mass and mobility. This allowed the army to move faster and more decisively than their enemies, who were still commanding at regiment or brigade level.
Full implementation of the divisional system was not realised until the French Revolutionary Government, in their centralising and anti-aristocratic ways, when they decided to entirely remove the old system of naming regiments after their commanders. They saw all of this as part of the 'ancien regime' (i.e. 'the System' or 'old system', language also used by Hitler in relation to what he called the 'Weimar Republic'. Not uncommon language from any new system). The second factor at play was that the French Revolutionary Government also didn't like the idea of merely naming regiments after regions of France. The final factor was scale: the Army was larger than ever, which made it very difficult to give specific names.
As a result, the Government began numbering their units by the late-1700s. Although the Roman legions themselves had been numbered, and de Saxe argued for it many years prior, some scholars believe that this was purely an administrative decision. (Obviously, your naming convention can be more on the religious/traditional or seculamodern side, depending on just how the entire system is set up. Warhammer 40,000 is a good example of a more Roman-inspired system, despite its far-future nature, so it's not uncommon to find very traditional, religious naming conventions within Warhammer 40,000, coupled with simple, administrative systems. And, again: Nazi Germany and other 20th-century powers, such as America and England, also shifted towards numbered and/or lettered systems for pretty much everything. Not shockingly, this is heavily featured in sci-fi, as well.)
Part Three: Napoleon & the Birth of Modern War:
Although the concepts of the 'corps' and 'battalion carre' (that is, four corps) existed, they were also not implemented until the time of Napoleon in the early-1800s. He began grouping divisions into corps, making the largest units in history -- equal to entire armies of older periods (three divisions and some cavalry regiments, for upwards of 30,000 men). He commanded dozens of these corps (I think, around 20 of them for his Grande Armee when he invaded Russia in 1812 AD -- or, 500,000-600,000 men, equal to the entire core Roman military at the height of its power).
Napoleon's genius -- despite his supreme failure to invade Russia -- was ensuring that these corps were typically independent fighting units. This meant they were self-sufficient armies unto themselves. This allowed for a vast force, without the whole system becoming sluggish and disorganised. Of course, as with Alexander the Great before him, this ultimately led to major decentralization and failure once the leader is defeated; thus, without a singular ruler, and without endless success, the entire system breaks down (unless there is something else binding them).
Nonetheless, by now, all the European powers had adopted the divisional system. The first British divisions were established by Arthur Wellesley in 1809 AD, for example. The Napoleonic corps system then became standardised, as well.
On the other hand -- and other side of the world -- the U.S. had its own 'legion', wholly separate from the European divisional evolution. They were independent units for the western wilderness, not sub-elements of a larger army. The U.S. finally adopted a more European system by WWI, however. (Mostly because the U.S. was simply not a large enough force yet, though it did have some major battles and unit examples.)
Regardless, the primary building block for all was still the regiment or division. This remained true through WWII and beyond.
Part Four: The Four Spatial Forms of Sci-fi
I shall skip modern history, because it's -- shockingly -- not much different to older history. This further tells me that there are some universal themes and elements to warfare, unless something changes beyond measure. As of 2023 AD, the basic building block of most armies is still the regiment or division, and 'shock' tactics, of smaller units are back in style, and have been since the 1960s or so. (I do have a few things to say about WWI and beyond, but I cannot fit it in this post, and it's not required reading.)
Technically, there is a fifth: space warfare proper (an admixture). But, we shall simply focus on the four primary. I use the term 'spatial forms' because I don't know a better term. See below.
You find, and should focus on, one of these as the primary mode (at least). This is true in most combative and non-combative contexts. All are workable and interesting, and have some notable examples, mostly in film/TV and novels. There is much psychology connected to each, and some innate differences to consider; and you have to think about such in relation to your nation/culture, as well, and their pre-spacefaring history.
An interesting, real-world example is America's Space Force. This is fundamentally army-and-naval driven (i.e. Marines), despite its primary air force-like nature in simple terms of the vessels and how it would function in a war. This is evidenced by the fact its ranking system and such is built around the Marine Corps. I guess, that means, going with American Marines (a complex admixture of both soldier and sailor) is not such a bad idea in sci-fi. We all know this is a decent idea, anyway, and it's seen heavily in sci-fi since the 1940s (hence, the term 'space marine'). Other marine forces are fairly in line with this, as well. The typical route here is space as an ocean. The ships are merely carrying the marines to their location (planet or otherwise). You see this with Star Wars' Stormtroopers (though I did not mention such above, I shall now: this stems from late-WWI when Germany created new advanced tactics for storming British trenches. But, most of all, it speaks to Hitler's Stormtroopers, fused with some kind of space marine position; thus, we end up with Lucas' forgetting Stormtrooper force). (Of course, the Rebels of Star Wars and the Empire's TIE Fighters go with the space as air with less stuff trope. And, there is a general sense of both army and navy from the Empire. You rarely get the 'submarine feel', in this case.)
Star Trek (at least, the original) takes the spaceships as submarines trope much of the time (other than the fact, their ships are far too wasteful, volume-wise -- but that's mostly for filming purposes, so I can accept it). I actually love this mode (though I don't care for Star Trek's version so much).
Battlestar Galactica (new series), among others, seems to take a mixed view.
Which form or mode you run with, primarily, really depends upon the exact setting, culture, story, theme, and style you're going with. I suggest figuring out which you want/which fits best, and then trying to stick to that singular vision as much as possible. To get ideas, you can research as much as possible -- both real science/history and fiction.
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2023.05.29 23:05 eiramired Ignite the Ashes Prologue - End of an Era

Synopsis:
Nine years following the execution of the old Sovereign, the four dukedoms of Augustein teeter on the brink of combustion.
Excess magic ore mining has resulted in unstable regions of shifting trees, violent storms, and a creeping plague of stillness that leaves everything frozen in time. Watchmen struggle to fend off the relentless attacks of Aberrations, while strict regulations on magic ore force aspiring magicians to sacrifice their own finite reserves at the cost of their health and, ultimately, their lives.
Amara is the sole survivor of a series of magic experiments ordered by the old Sovereign. Left with a reduced lifespan and an unnatural magic with the unique ability to progress, Amara is determined to live out the rest of her life to its fullest.
She’s going out like an explosion, and she’ll make sure that no one can look away.

This is a character focused, slow-burn high fantasy story with progression and light LitRPG elements that become prominent after the introductory arc, which spans through chapter 20.
It features flawed and morally ambiguous characters, unreliable narrators, and some darker elements, but there are plenty of lighter moments as well!

Prologue - End of an Era
Rosenfell Palace, Helisturn, Arcvale Dukedom of Augustein, Year 986
The palace halls glowed in the evening light. The last rays of sunlight filtered through cracked and broken windows, outlining piles of debris in gold. Clouds of dust rose from broken pillars and walls, shimmering as they drifted over cold, limp figures strewn about like fallen leaves. The plush red carpet, once bright and soft as snow, had been torn and shredded beyond recognition. Dark splotches littered its surface, many areas now beginning to dry and crack while still others remained moist to the touch.
A few hours ago, when the sun had still hung suspended in the clear blue sky, the palace walls had been trapped in a flurry of motion. The ringing of metal against metal, the pounding of heavy footsteps, and the shrill sounds of screams had echoed throughout the space as an invading wave of violence swept the pristine halls. Now, in the aftermath, an unnatural stillness had come to replace the rush.
A young man turned the corner, whistling an old folk song to himself as he walked. He wore an electric blue uniform that was crumpled and ripped around its edges. The color was mirrored by the single glove he wore on his left hand. His right hand was bare, and a lingering ultramarine light outlined a string of letters and numbers across his skin.
One particularly large stain covered nearly the entire stomach region of his uniform, a dark rust red that crumbled slightly whenever the man moved. A few stray splotches of the same color dotted his messy hair and tan skin, but the man made no motion to wipe the droplets off. Nor did he move to clean the equally bloodied spear strapped behind his back, the metal glinting in the sunlight. He simply strode forward with the laxness of a casual stroll, his eyes drifting about the ruined hallway and still corpses.
Finally, after he’d passed by shattered portraits and kicked aside a few bodies blocking the way with his boots, the man came to a halt.
“Oh, there it is.”
Crouching down, the man picked up a single glove lying in a dark pool of viscous liquid. He shook it a few times, and the fabric made a squelching noise. He frowned. The glove was so stained that barely any of the original blue color remained, but on closer inspection, the cloth itself seemed to be holding up well enough. Shrugging, the man slid it on, hiding the glowing numbers that were only just beginning to fade from the back of his hand.

ALLEN
Magic Reserves: 101,897 / 122,043
Maximum Output: 13
Variability: 6

AFFINITIES
Energy: 50% Minor
Motion: 100% Major
Form: 50% Minor
Perception: 25% Basic
Emotions: 50% Minor
Mind: 25% Basic
Time: 0% None
Probability: 0% None

1 ACTIVE ATTUNEMENT

“Allen!”
The man in question turned at the sound of his name being called. He raised an eyebrow at the sight of a similarly dressed soldier running forward, who halted when he saw the wreckage within the hallway. Henry’s eyes swept across the scattered bodies, and after a moment of hesitation, he continued forward with careful steps.
The two of them had been watchmen in the same area before Allen had been promoted to Duke Valister’s personal guard, and they’d reunited during the coup’s planning stages. The man was rather friendly, even excessively so at times, and he’d always treated Allen with a somewhat uncomfortable degree of reverence despite being older. But then again, magical prowess always trumped age when it came to respect.
Henry came to a stop a few feet away. In comparison to Allen, his uniform, while still stained and rumpled, was in significantly better condition, and his two gloves were a plain brown rather than blue. He frowned when his eyes fell on Allen’s very bloody glove, shuddering slightly.
“Isn’t that uncomfortable?”
Allen stretched his fingers in response, and the gloves made a squishy sound. “Eh, it still works fine.” He took a moment to assess the other man, cocking his head to the side and grinning at Henry’s poorly concealed disgust. “What, you squeamish?”
“I’m not,” Henry insisted, not meeting his eyes. Allen took a step forward. The other man’s fidgeting was even more obvious up close, and now that he paid more attention, his pale skin had taken on a greenish hue. Allen’s eyes briefly swept over the scattered bodies before returning again. He raised an eyebrow.
“Need me to use emotion magic?”
That made Henry’s head snap up, eyes widening in alarm. “I didn’t know you had an affinity—no wait, that’s not the point.” He shook his head and cleared his throat. “I’m fine, I swear! I’m just, uh, more used to fighting Aberrations.” Not humans.
“It’s just a minor affinity, but I’ve gotten pretty good with it.” Allen shrugged. “Fair enough. Anyway, what’re you doing here?”
“We’re supposed to report to the throne room,” Henry explained. “I came to get you.”
Allen hummed in response. He turned and began to slowly head back down the hallway, Henry following at his heels. “So Raymoth’s dead, right?”
Henry’s eyes darted around nervously, as if he was worried a ghost would appear at the mere utterance of the name. He nodded and cleared his throat. “Yeah, uh, I heard Duke Valister and Duchess Rosevale both did it.”
Allen whistled. “Oh really? Figured it’d just be the Duchess.” Then again, Duke Valister’s disdain for the former Sovereign was well known among his guards. Hell, Allen was half convinced the main reason the Duke had joined the alliance at all was to be part of the Raymoth family’s demise.
Turning the corner, Allen continued down a wider hallway that was in significantly better condition than the one they’d just been in. Not as much direct fighting had taken place there, and any that did had been over fast enough to minimize the mess. Allen glanced around as they walked, but he couldn’t see any other soldiers around. He guessed most didn’t want to risk disrespecting the new Sovereign. He didn’t know her very well, but from the few times he’d seen Duchess Rosevale before and during the coup, he’d understood why her soldiers were so convinced of her victory. She moved with a silent, unyielding assuredness, as if she already was the Sovereign.
For a few minutes neither of the two spoke as they continued to weave their way through the admittedly large palace. Allen didn’t even know what half the rooms were for; he’d probably go crazy if he had to live somewhere like this.
Allen could feel Henry’s eyes watching him, and he turned his head back, eyebrow raised. “What?”
The other man coughed and looked away. “Sorry, it’s just…” his voice trailed. “Did you hear about the notes?”
Allen frowned and slowed his pace. “What notes?”
Henry stared at the ground ahead of them uncomfortably. “When they ransacked Sove—Duke Raymoth’s,” he corrected, “—notes, they found some really…disturbing stuff. Something about magic experiments going on in northern Vanstead, kidnapping kids, stuff like that.” He swallowed, voice quieting to barely above a whisper. “But the thing is, they showed the notes to the Duke and Duchess, but they said it didn’t concern them. I heard—I heard Duke Valister even said it’d be interesting to keep an eye on them.”
That sounded exactly like something the Duke would say. The two of them turned another corner. Allen also didn’t doubt for a second that the Raymoths would’ve been involved in something like that. Aldridge Raymoth had gone a bit off the deep end in the past decade, and continued magic experiments on children sounded exactly like the sort of thing he would resort to.
“Do you really think they’re gonna let them continue?” Henry asked, voice visibly distressed. Surely the new regime will be better than that, was the unspoken thought.
Before Allen could respond, however, a third voice interrupted them.
“You’re late.”
The two came to a halt as a new figure stepped forward from behind a pillar. Allen frowned in recognition.
Desmond Reinford was one of the commanding officers of the Rosevales’ troops. He was around the same age as Allen, but the similarities stopped there. His uniform, as opposed to blue, was a deep red color that contrasted against his dark skin and hair. The man stood slightly shorter than average, but had such impeccable posture that he often seemed taller, unlike Allen who perpetually slouched. His uniform was crisp and without a single stain or tear in sight, and the sheathed rapier at his waist looked equally pristine. If Allen hadn’t seen the man during the coup, he would’ve thought that he hadn’t fought at all.
What most stood out, however, were the man’s gloves. They were a pure, stark white that almost seemed to glow in the quickly dimming hallway. Allen stared at them.
“Looks like someone got promoted.”
Henry nudged his elbow, but Allen didn’t stop staring. His friend laughed nervously. “Sorry sir, we, uh, got lost in the hallways?”
“I dropped my glove,” Allen said bluntly. He pointed at the stained glove in question. It was beginning to dry now, and the fabric was a little stiff.
Desmond met his gaze, eyes cold and sharp. Allen heard Henry swallow beside him.
“I see,” the man said. He gestured down the hallway, where the large, heavy throne room doors stood in the distance. Their deep mahogany surface shone, the light highlighting the intricate carvings detailing Augustein’s myths. All three of the major houses’ crests were carved into the wood, though where the banner of the ruling house would normally hang was empty, soon to be replaced with a new dynasty. Allen couldn’t help but wonder if they’d get a new door, one with the Valister’s crest replacing the Raymoths. Coups had happened plenty of times in their history, but never had one of the three major houses been completely decimated like this.
“The Sovereign is giving promotions and rewards to those of us who fought in the coup,” Desmond said. “I suggest you go before all the ore is taken.” Without another word, the man turned and strode away, likely to check the rest of the palace for stragglers, Allen guessed.
Beside him, Henry’s eyes lit up at the mention of magic ore, only to immediately deflate when the rest of Desmond’s words settled. Allen slapped him on the back.
“Don’t worry, they’ve probably got specific ore rations set aside for everyone. No way they’d just let us take them in a free for all.” Allen was frankly impressed that they were giving away ore at all, considering how stingy the nobility was with it.
Henry looked hopeful at that. “You think?”
Allen nodded. “Yeah, don’t worry. He’s just being an asshole.”
The other man winced slightly. His eyes darted around. “Uh, maybe you shouldn’t say that out loud? Especially, especially if he’s a Rose now.”
“Oh he definitely is.” No one wore white gloves but the Roses, the elite soldiers who served the Sovereign directly and were the most effective at combating Aberrations. All of them were certified as court magicians, and they were handpicked by the Sovereign. Considering the old Sovereign was now dead and a significant chunk of the former Roses had gone down with him, Allen guessed Duchess Rosevale was combing through her personal guard for people to promote. As far as he knew, Desmond had already passed the court magician test, so he would’ve been an easy pick.
He cracked his shoulder and sighed. The adrenaline rush from the coup had been fading for a while now, but now that the sun had nearly set fully and the shadows of the hallway had grown to engulf a majority of its surface, a new wave of exhaustion was settling into his bones.
“Come on, let’s hurry up,” he said. Henry nodded and hurried behind him.
As they passed by a tall window, Allen took a moment to glance outside. A few sprays of stars were visible in the darkening sky, and he could see city lights glowing in the distance as the lamplighters made their rounds. It was, by all accounts, a peaceful night, one that continued completely divorced from the happenings in the palace.
Surely the whole city would’ve heard about the coup. Allen wondered if even now, citizens were huddled together in their homes, or if they stood outside straining their necks to see what was happening in the palace. Waiting to learn the fate of the country.
Allen peeled his eyes away, facing forward and continuing down the hallway towards the throne room.

Penrith, Vanstead Dukedom of Augustein Year 995
High up in the watchtower, the villagers looked like a dark stream flowing between the buildings and flooding down the dirt road, some running south, others crossing streets for final traveling preparations and goodbyes.
Two nights ago, the forest had swallowed the village north of them. The watchman had seen it happen, had witnessed the ground tremble and the branches snake out, enveloping the homes, growing and then shrinking, twisting and dancing among the perfectly still buildings. He was almost glad no one had been outside, because that way he didn’t have to see the victims. But then, if the residents of those homes were outdoors, perhaps they would’ve managed to escape.
Or maybe he had seen the bodies and simply hadn’t recognized them, hadn’t managed to distinguish them from the twisted trunks and undulating ground. The warping of the forest was no more merciful to any living creatures who stumbled upon it, and the watchman, for all his years observing the shifting trees, couldn’t say with confidence that he’d be able to tell a corpse apart.
The man leaned forward against the wooden railing, peering down at the commotion. Given the speed the forest had moved at, he estimated they had a week at most before this town, too, was consumed. His own single bag lay packed near the front door of his home, ready to be picked up at a moment’s notice. Though he estimated most would be gone within the next three days, maybe excluding some particularly stubborn folks, the watchman didn’t plan on escaping until everyone else was gone first. Useless sentiment though it may be, he still had his pride.
The waves of people finally began to thin down as the current crowd left, leaving behind the remaining villagers. About twice as many people had left that day than the day before, the watchman estimated.
He sighed and shook his head. Now that the chaos had died down, those lingering on the streets continued with their business. His eyes glanced down at his watch, and he realized his shift had ended three minutes ago.
The watchman stepped back from the railing and stretched his arms. Maybe he’d stop by the tavern. Wallace, the owner, was adamant about keeping it open until “the last damn day we got,” which he appreciated. Just as he turned to go, however, a flash of orange caught his eye. He frowned and leaned over the wooden railing to peer further down the streets.
There, entering from the southern gates, a figure moved opposite to the direction the fleeing stream had taken.
A young woman was walking leisurely forward, her short wavy hair glinting as it caught the rays of sunlight. The lack of panic, hurry, or fear in her eyes made the watchman blink. There was only casual curiosity, as though she had simply been on a stroll and ran across an interesting plant. Her medium brown complexion was somewhat rare in northern Vanstead; perhaps she was from the south and hadn’t heard about the forest creeping closer? The watchman didn’t know how else to make sense of someone deliberately choosing to enter the town at such a time.
The closer the woman approached, the more details became evident. The watchman’s eyes widened.
The woman’s bare arms were covered in scars. Long, jagged lines and thin, thread-like marks. Raised bursts and patches of wrinkled and pulled skin. Some scars had an almost systematic pattern to them, neat and intentioned, while others were so chaotically scattered that it was impossible to differentiate where one began and another one ended.
For several moments the watchman simply stared at her, unable to peel his eyes away, when a sudden movement broke him out of his trance. The woman was waving enthusiastically in his direction.
Brow furrowed, the watchman watched as the woman ran up to the base of the tower, moving deceptively fast. She grinned up at him, beaming and utterly uncaring of the twisting forest approaching in the distance or of the half empty village and the stares she was already receiving.
Head tilted back, her green eyes seemed to glow in the light.
“Hey, can you give me some directions?”

First Previous Next
Royal Road Patreon

Author's Note:
Hello, I hope you're enjoying the story so far! I decided to finally post here after lurking for a while now. I'm planning on slowly posting all the chapters I've already published on Royal Road, one per day so I don't spam the sub.
Fair warning, I absolutely suck at formatting things on Reddit (trying to format this chapter was a struggle), so sorry in advance for any formatting issues.
Thanks for reading!
submitted by eiramired to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:58 RvBVic LEGO 2k Drive Walkthrough Part 9 Sky Cup Grand Prix & FINAL BOSS! (PS5) ...

LEGO 2k Drive Walkthrough Part 9 Sky Cup Grand Prix & FINAL BOSS! (PS5) ... submitted by RvBVic to TheKwings [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:58 TheSeansk1 1985 Pontiac Grand Prix short drive

1985 Pontiac Grand Prix short drive
Quick snippet I took while out for a drive a while back
submitted by TheSeansk1 to GBody [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:45 masanch87 Gas Dryer Help

Think you guys can help me with my Gas Dryer (GE GFD49GRSK0WW)? Stopped getting hot so i watched a couple youtube videos on how to troubleshoot, upon checking the thermostat outlet with multi-meter and it was dead and new part was about 8 bucks. Everything else seemed to check out ok, One of solenoids read higher than what the video suggested they be at but it was still under 2000 range. Does this mean I need to replace the solenoids or the whole has valve itself? geapplicance sells the whole thing for about 90 bucks, while the solenoids themselves run 10-15 bucks, whats the difference? When I turn it on now it does not get very hot at all, I can see the igniter on the bottom of the unit glowing for about 10-12 seconds before turning off and the flame coming off or on (not really sure, can not see the flame, but I can hear it.
submitted by masanch87 to appliancerepair [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:44 Individual_Lies 2001 Ford F-750

2001 Ford F750 No shift light Allison Transmission Check Trans light No blown fuses, getting fire but not to TCM. Wtf?
Alright so the customer has had no issues with this truck until this happened. Batteries were dead so he replaced them, and ever since the automatic shifter isn't lighting up and it won't start. He can jump the starter and it'll fire right up, but it won't start at the ignition.
I've traced wires and checked fuses but can't find anything obviously wrong. Anyone else run into this issue?
submitted by Individual_Lies to Diesel [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:39 AdTerrible3984 High Idle

Hello all,
Ever since I bought my 08 G37s 6MT about two years ago I’ve had an issue with the idle. I’ve cleaned the throttle bodies and replaced them twice now and taken the car to the dealership. I’ve done the idle relearn, and ecu reset from the dealer. I’ve changed all my O2 and A/F sensors and I have no check engine lights. I’ve also done two vacuum leak tests.
The car start and warm up and will idle normally. As soon as I start to drive there will be really bad rev hang between shifts. When the car is in neutral the RPMs will raise to 3-4k and hold (at a stop). It does this more frequently when it is cold outside (sub 60 degrees). If I continue to drive the car for 15+ miles then eventually at some point the car will start to drive normally or if I pull over and do the idle relearn then it will drive normally. Usually the next morning the problem will present itself again after it sits for a while.
Does anyone have any idea what is going on here???
Thanks!
submitted by AdTerrible3984 to G37 [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:37 Traditional_Intern28 COC [TH-15 ] ALMOST MAXED ACCOUNT 💥 SC-LINKED XP-256✅ MAXED HEROES💥 MAXED DEFENCE & TROOPS💥 (ONLY FEW WALLS & 1 PET LEFT) ✅ NAME CHANGE -1000 3.7K GEMS🌟 BH-9(MAXED)✅ DM FOR PRICE & MORE INFO 🤝 Discord-Rockybst007#3964

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submitted by Traditional_Intern28 to GamingMarket [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:28 Aisling_The_Sapphire Subnautica: The Definitive No-Spoilers Guide For New Players

Updated May 2023
I recently changed Reddit accounts and it's been about a year, so it seemed prudent to repost this for visibility. :)

Link to the Below Zero guide

https://subnauticamap.io/ - This is an interactive map of the crater. However, be warned that it will show the general location of things you need to find. This can be toggled but if you have zero point of reference for the places mentioned in this guide, this map should provide one.

General tips are at the bottom, however, they rely on you having played at least part of the way through the game so I don't recommend checking them until at least part 3, AKA "Going Traveling"

Subnautica is a game primarily about exploring your environment while overcoming the trepidation that the game sets up in you over doing so. Although there isn't a perfect guide to being able to clear the game, there also isn't an unambiguous path of progression for the player, either.
Consequently new players often find themselves at an impasse in terms of progression and where to go. The following is a no-nonsense, straight to the point guide on how to progress, but it's not a bible. You can do most of this just by exploring and wandering around.
A blind playthrough is critical to the first time player experience. This is often true of every game but for Subnautica it makes or breaks the whole story - you need to have no idea what the hell is going on the first time you clear the game. If you spoil it for yourself you will regret it, please believe me in this. This guide is meant to give you a nudge when you find you don't know where to go next, it's not really meant as a walkthrough, even though it can be used as one. Do yourself a favor friends, don't go wandering /subnautica or the wiki too much and this guide will not lead you astray. It is written specifically for brand new players.

The Beginning

When you first arrive on 4546b, you find yourself with basically nothing. You're hungry, thirsty, your lifepod is broken and your cookies are gone. The Aurora is burning (and you nearly did too) but despite all that, you're alive and this planet is about to get some Ryley in it.
The environment around you has most of what you need to get started. The metal scrap strewn around the shallows provides an easy source of Titanium while you can break limestone and sandstone to get the minerals you need for your starting tools. You'll want the quartz you find for glass.
Although you have a number of options for making equipment, at this stage I don't recommend using resources for the air pump or pipes. Truth is they don't really have much use; they create a breathing line from the surface for when you're diving, but they're expensive and there's better alternatives in your near future.
Once you have a scanner and knife, take the time to scan everything you can. All the local wildlife can be scanned and most of the flora.
Your objective at this point is to build a repair gun, knife, seaglide, flashlight and scanner.

Branching Out

Now that you've got your basic tools and you can get around a little, it's time to begin exploring. At this point you've seen the deeper waters on the edges of the kelp forest.
It's time to go take a look.
The red grassy plains have what you need to progress to deeper waters. You'll want to explore the wrecks there. There are four grassy plains surrounding the shallows at compass points and cave systems exist in three of them which will become relevant later, but are largely out of your reach for now. It is out here that you will find fragments necessary for an important task you must complete soon. Raiding the aurora will require the laser cutter you learn to make here. You'll also want a propulsion cannon, which you can find the fragments to near the side of the Aurora. DO NOT GO AROUND THE BACK OF THE AURORA. SERIOUSLY. You are not prepared for that level of giggling insanity yet.
By now you've fixed the radio and may have triggered the sunbeam event, in which case you will want to go follow that. Give yourself the full span of time to go to the island and explore unless you'd prefer to explore after the event, but don't let yourself get distracted by what you find there and miss the ship arriving. The signals you've been getting are important prompts and need to be checked out when possible, so make sure you take the time to do that. Also, when you go to either island DO NOT PARK YOUR SEAMOTH NEAR THE BEACH. DO NOT PARK YOUR SEAMOTH NEAR THE BEACH. There is a real risk of it phasing through the ground and becoming inaccessible and then you'll end up on this subreddit asking how to get it back like the other 5 guys a week. Seriously.
Also note that bringing an ion cube to the top of the mountains caves will let you do something interesting up there, but I won't be specific. A scanner room at this spot is ideal not just to track the reaper leviathan on the eastern side of the island but there is quite a lot of shale and lithium here as well, which is probably something you're gonna want.

Going traveling

At this point you should have a seamoth, your basic tools, a laser cutter, propulsion cannon and lead suit. You are prepared. It's time to go to the Aurora... but only if you've gotten the communication from Alterra with the captains door code. Otherwise, you must wait for that radio event. You can go explore the ship anyways of course, but not having the code means you can't get into the captains room, requiring you to go back and get it later. So it's up to you. You can open the door anyways if you get the code off the internet or something but since the game gives it to you anyways, you can always wait for the prompt. If not, the door code is 2679
If you have a cyclops I don't recommend taking it, since reapers hang out at the front and back ends of the ship. However, a seamoth is small enough to fit through the broken superstructure of the ship at the front and thus avoid this danger. There are two ways to access the ship and although it seems impossible, you CAN in fact climb up to access the open one. Otherwise, you can use the prop cannon to move the debris out of the way of the door near water level. Be sure to take the time to explore inside and use the carry-all bags to leave stuff you want to keep from the ship out the front so you can come back and pick it all up later. There's lots of useful stuff in there.
As a side note here, the leech-like things that annoy you in the reactor room are called Bleeders. I hate Bleeders personally, but I noted that if you grab one with the propulsion cannon and fling it into the wall out of sheer spite then other bleeders will be attracted to the body, which makes grabbing and doing the same to them quite easy. Clearing the entire room of those little #*([email protected]'s only takes a couple minutes.
You can get the codes for various rooms inside from the PDA's you find. Also note that some doors can only be opened once you repair them. Sometimes the Aurora glitches and these repair sections don't work but because the ship has two entrances, you can always go around the back to clear the whole thing, which is... annoying. If you don't mind being patient, leaving the Aurora and doing other things for awhile will reset the wreck, allowing you to come back later and potentially be able to repair the doors then.
The codes for the ship are:
Cabin No. 1: 1869
Captain's Quarters: 2679
Cargo Bay: 1454
Lab Access: 6483

Time to go down

With the Aurora repaired you have the ability to wear things other than the lead suit, so it's time to chuck that in the trash 'cuz you won't need it again. It's time to get the outer wrecks in the zones beyond the shallows and hoo boy ain't that gonna be an experience.
The cyclops is your friend here. But what's this, you don't have a cyclops? Well, that's okay. You may have found one of the engine fragments on the aurora in the cargo bay but if you missed it, it's not really a big deal. Your next objective to build one is to go explore mushroom forest and the underwater floating islands for the fragments you'll need. If you've been following your radio signals you've probably been to the aurora rendezvous point by now, but if not, take the time to go thoroughly explore that island. One of the PDAs you need to find the next place is not at the degasi base, but on one of the paths of the island near an arch of rock. You'll need to explore the island thoroughly to find it. Make sure to scan everything and bring back plant samples if you have a seabase. You can use plant pots to keep food trees on your cyclops for easy access to food without worrying about curing everything all the time.
Once you have the cyclops, you need to take the time to upgrade your seamoth to depth so you can explore the various wrecks, supplement your PDA database and establish yourself properly for long-term operations. At this point in the game you should be aiming for or already have:
A seabase, even a basic one. A couple corridors with lockers are invaluable for storage and operations and the scanner room is MISSION CRITICAL. If you haven't built one yet, get on that!
A seamoth, either at or being upgraded to 500m depth
Knife, flashlight, repair gun, seaglide, scanner, laser cutter, propulsion or repulsion cannon, rebreather
Be sure to check everything, then check it again! It's easy to miss things on the island. Be sure to check the buildings on the tops of the hills there too. Although it would be nice to be able to plant land beacons (hint hint, Unknown Worlds), it's not feasible for marking out the precursor gate on the floating island so unfortunately, it's not of much use unless you have your base on one island or the other. I don't recommend the floating island for this for reasons which will become apparent later in the game.

Looking into the abyss

If you've explored most of or all of the wrecks and no longer have missing technology, it's time to go deeper. If you've been following your PDA signals you need to check out the degasi bases and follow their story, as they lead you to a large, deep cave which is the path to deeper places you need to explore.
There are several inlets to the place you need to reach. Northern Bulb Zone where it meets Mountains has a large entrance. Blood Kelp Zone and Trench both have entrances. The last one is in deep grand reef, where the final Degasi base is. I personally recommend either Deep Grand Reef or Bulb Zone but the latter has the most accessibility.
Raiding the final Degasi Base before exploring this cave system will get you the orange precursor key which you'll need to access something hidden at the southern end of the caves near blood kelp trench's entrance. While working down here I strongly recommend making liberal use of beacons as navigational guides if you're new to this place. It is VERY confusing and looks very same-y if you haven't spend a lot of time here.
Deep inside the caves you'll come upon a chamber with a massive skull sitting on a chunk of land in the middle and access to a slightly lower part of the cave system which is not green. This is the Cove Tree Cave and the brine there will not hurt you the way the green brine does. This leaves you able to free dive there to gather materials without needing to rely on your prawn.
This chamber with the skull is, in fact, the central chamber of Lost River. It is an excellent place for building a scanner station and the entire area is ludicrously rich in resources. It's a perfect place to stock up and catch up any upgrades, tools or devices you may be lacking so far. You'll want the resource stocks for later and honestly, it's just a really cool place to have a base in general.
The Disease Research Facility is in the north-eastern arm of Lost River, accessible through the Bulb Zone entrance. A juvenile ghost leviathan guards the path but as with most leviathans, operating in silent running and staying above or below it while sticking to the cave walls will get you by without any issue. If they do notice you, just pop a decoy, go full speed for about 5-8 seconds and then drop the engine to low and stay in silent running until you get far enough for the big ugly to stop bothering you.
The southern part of Lost River holds a large chamber with a ghost leviathan juvenile and houses another rather large skeleton. This area in particular is rich in large ore deposits and crystallized sulfur that you'll be needing for some big upgrades.
By the way, remember the cyclops shield? By now you're probably noticing that using the auxiliary functions on the cyclops eats a lot of power. Redundant power cells are your friend and if you feel you're worried about power costs while exploring, you lose nothing by having a buttload of spare power cells. It can pay off, being able to spam the shield for awhile and run away.
You'll want that shield for what's coming next.

Once More Unto The Deep

By now you've probably explored Lost River a bit and you're wondering where to go from here. If you've built a scanner room in the central chamber, you'll have noticed that the scanner, when at full range, shows a chamber below Lost River.
This is the inactive lava zone and it is here your answers lay.
You have two access points to reach this chamber. The North-east arm past the disease research facility and the cove tree caves. Both entrances are equally difficult to get through but the first one feels more open, if you don't mind the ghost leviathan circling around above the opening.
This chamber is rich with even more valuable resources, if you somehow haven't got enough already. The cove tree cave entrance leads to the western part of the ILZ chamber. The North-east entrance leads to the north edge of the chamber. The chamber itself is rather oval-shaped, with the western edge of it relatively empty and the eastern part containing a massive lava bubble.
If you wander around down here long enough the PDA will prompt you to take a look at that bubble a bit more closely. You will need two purple precursor keys to access the facility inside. Now that you're down here you'll notice there's a fair number of warpers, crimson rays (who are harmless) and leech-like things which will attach to the hull of your ship and drain power. That sounds like a problem, doesn't it?
Don't worry though, we got you covered. Once you're down here, go grab some kyanite and you can build the cyclops thermal reactor which pretty much eliminates the whole running out of power problem. The shield is a great way to get the leeches off your hull at the same time.
As for the leviathan, the sea dragon isn't actually a whole lot of threat. It might spit fire at you and is capable of picking up and biting the prawn but will mostly ignore you if you don't go hanging out in front of it.
With that said, treat it like any other leviathan while in the cyclops. Drive slow, keep an eye on it and if it gets curious, drop a decoy and move away ASAP. Cutting your engines once you've gotten a little distance will almost always make them lose interest.

But Wait, There's More!

If you've explored the inner depths of the lava bubble, then you have the blue key, ion battery plans and have opened the portal to the QEP. Great! Now coming down here in the prawn isn't a big deal and you don't have to drive the cyclops all the way down here to go grab resources. A small scanner base down here would be great for quickly finding what you need.
As you can probably guess, there's an even deeper chamber than this, which is the active lava zone. You can find the entrance by following the lava flows around the ILZ and keeping an eye on the floor. You'll find a large space big enough for the cyclops to lower down into.
Down here you'll find 2 sea dragons to avoid, so don't you get conservative with your power. By now you'll probably have built ion power cells and those can run your shield and sonar together for a full 5 minutes with silent running going so don't be shy about using them!
Getting into the alien base down here will require two blue keys, one for accessing the facility, the other for accessing the inner facility. It is here you will find the ion cube fabricator which requires the prawn. You can use this to open the warp gates in the facility. Six ion cubes in total are required for this. Four for the warp gates on the upper floor and two in the Sea Emperors tank. One of these leads back to the upper floor, if you find you're struggling to get back out. This gate in particular is about halfway up the tank at the back and sits on a large ledge. An ion cube is provided to activate it, giving you a way to walk out of the tank if you find you're struggling to get out.
And... that's pretty much it, really. After that encounter you'll know where to go and what to do. The paths laid out for you in the final facility lead you to the places you need to go to find the things you require.

Tips and tricks

Lithium - Jellyshroom, Bulb Zone, Mushroom Forest, Lost River
Loose Lithium - Mushroom Forest, Mountains, Grand Reef, Shale, lost river
Magnetite - Jellyshroom is the only biome with large nodes
Loose Magnetite - Jellyshroom, mountains, cove tree cave, blood kelp zone, lost river
Rubies - Dunes, Spare Reef Caves, Lost River, Grand Reef, Underwater Islands
Diamonds - Lost River, Shale, Inactive Lava Zone, Sea Treader Path, sometimes caves
Table Coral - Shallows, Lost River
Copper - Mushroom forest, blood kelp zone, bulb zone, lost river, limestone, Inactive Lava Zone
Silver - Crag Zone, Mountains, Lost River, sandstone, Inactive Lava Zone
Gold - Jellyshroom, Blood Kelp Zone, Lost River, sandstone, shale
Lead - Sandstone, mountains, crash zone, lost river, Inactive Lava Zone
Titanium - Crash Zone, Dunes, Limestone, Lost River, Inactive Lava Zone
Metal Salvage - Crash Zone, Crag Zone, Kelp Forest
Kyanite - Inactive Lava Zone
Crystalline Sulfur - Lost River
Nickel - Lost River
Uraninite - Blood Kelp Zone, Blood Kelp Trench, Lost River, Inactive Lava Zone, Grand Reef
Quartz - Dunes, Crag Zone, Lost River, Inactive Lava Zone, Red Grassy Plains
If you're reading this guide and have any suggestions for additional information, feel free to share them for the next iteration.

Good luck, survivor!

submitted by Aisling_The_Sapphire to subnautica [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:26 rcbnft Blockchain Technology and NFTs: Platinium Group Revolutionizes Ticket Issuance in Formula 1 with the Monaco Grand Prix

Blockchain Technology and NFTs: Platinium Group Revolutionizes Ticket Issuance in Formula 1 with the Monaco Grand Prix
Formula 1 confirmed its entry into the Web3 industry by partnering with Platinium Group, Elemint, and Bay. These companies have agreed to launch and issue tickets in NFT format for the Monaco Grand Prix, which took place between May 26 and 28.
To read the article on our site, click here: https://en.nftexpress.io/article/platinium-group-f1-tickets-blockchain-nft-revolution/
https://preview.redd.it/wzh8xpr8yt2b1.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=4fe01cbbd4e5a6dc36b0237f3ac4ef5f4bc1c4b9
submitted by rcbnft to Monaco [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:24 fous-toi_de_moi Christian Lehmann Médecin Vient De Dire Que Jude Law Dans Le Deuxième Tableau Lien Vers Les Tableaux Complets Dans Les Commentaires.

Qu'est-ce que je suis un homme de 27 ans fiancé et avec un grand prix qui peut changer ta vie. J'ai été prise d'un très grand frisson et j'ai peur que le délai de traitement serait de 60 jours.
Il y a un peu angoissée. Et son grand frère ma dit aussi quon savait quand il sort de la maison ont marchent dans les détails.
Pour ceux qui se déplacent à vélo pour des courts déplacements parce que j'arrive à peine à faire avant? 100,000$, ça fait du bien mais ça ne s'arrête pas là.
En ce moment, les mesures en place ont fait que de mal, c'était juste dans la nourriture. Toute la préoccupation a causé la même idée, cétait de courir.
Mon ami louait un appartement et avant de trop de temps en temps. J'ai fait des recherches et il me dit tsé quand tu me dis cest pas possible dêtre aussi bête.
D'après l'auteur, En utilisant à la main Et moi et moi. Mon père est sorti pour voir si le feu aux tuiles.
Je me souviens que mon auto coûte cher en fait elle coûte pas si j'avais bien agi ou pas du tout. Un métier qui vous rend curieux n'est pas sur ouvoir.ca , ni achetable en ligne.
Il vient de me parler de PSPP. Je créé ce sujet parce qu'il faut vraiment que son tonton lui a donné pour son anniversaire.
Bref là la personne avait aussi un facteur important. Comme j'avais vraiment une boule dans ma gorge j'ai commencé à me soigner de ma vie derrière moi.
Je suis curieuse de savoir si on est d'accord ou non.
submitted by fous-toi_de_moi to subreddit_simulacrum [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:23 Mooshu_Beef The effect of the rain on lap times O_O

The effect of the rain on lap times O_O submitted by Mooshu_Beef to F1Technical [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:23 Nearby_Lie1929 Et si le grand prix avait été de 1,000,000$, est-ce que les joueurs auraient fait un plus gros effort pour essayer de gagner au lieu de suivre le banc de poissons ?

submitted by Nearby_Lie1929 to u/Nearby_Lie1929 [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 22:08 x313 Letter I'll send my boss at the end of the month when my contract end. I work in fine dining restaurant for context

About Cristiana
There was never a single time when she spoke to me normaly, alway with a rude and bossy attitude.
She never asked politely to do something, she gave me orders to do something.
The tasks that she asked me to do never made sense whatsoever.
Some examples of nonsense and misbehaving :
It's always the same scheme : I take an initiative to work ; Cristina will be there to stop me from working.
So obviously after a while I have no idea what I should do, so I just wait for Cristina to tell me what to do. She blames me for not doing something and gives me a task very rudely.
A few more misbehaving :
In the begining I was defending myself. But this was doing myself more wrong than good, so I stopped. I let her behave this way without defending myself from the day you told me that I would be part time.
After that I just didn't know what I was allowed to do, so I didn't do anything until I was told to do so. I completely stopped taking orders, I didn't want any problems so I wouldn't take any initiatives. When a customer or anyone wanted something, I always asked them to ask somebody else.
I was litterally afraid to do my job in case this brings me problems with Cristina.
To avoid any problems, I was trying as much as I can to limit all interactions with her, and whenever she would ask me to do something, I would listen to her whatever the order was, just so that I wouldn't create any problems. I remained silent and didn't speak for most of the shift for this specific reason.
In summary that was 4 months of constant bullying from Cristina, she doesn't behave the same way with anyone else here but me. I didn't say anything because I hate to do what I'm doing right now, I tried solving my problems with her face to face many times but it always backfired to causing me problems, so that's why I'm telling you all that now.
There are high chances that I wrote this message poorly or that I didn't retranscribed exactly what happened and my experience working with her, maybe my examples were not the best to describe you what I wanted you to know, but my point is that I truly feel that I was not able to do my job properly because of that one person in the store.
Also because she doesn't behave the same with other members of the team, so I guess that with me gone, the problem is solved.
To finish, here's a list of the things that I felt I wasn't allowed to do because I knew it would bring problems if I did :
[Redacted name of restaurant] is an amazing place to work and I was so proud to work there, and I legitimately loved what I did there, seeing the customers happy and listening to my explainations, behaving like a gentleman to our clientele... I truly loved it from the bottom of my heart and I'm not lying, I'm leaving the island and I have no reason to tell you all that if I don't mean it.
But you have a rotten apple in your basket.
Good luck.
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2023.05.29 22:06 Still-Example-7873 Don't forget that Schrodinger's cat is one of and is either dead or alive.

Don't forget that Schrodinger's cat is one of and is either dead or alive. submitted by Still-Example-7873 to lostpause [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 21:54 bb9873 My issues with the finale

After watching the finale, I really wanted to love it but ultimately I felt it had some major issues that meant it was quite underwhelming to me.
Firstly, in season 4 the major arc for Kendall's character is him becoming more Logan-like after he becomes CEO. He skilfully handles public speeches (the funeral and living+ launch), manipulates others into doing his bidding (e.g. Hugo and Colin), exerts emotional and physical abuse onto Roman (just like Logan did) and becomes further estranged from his children. This is a major development for him compared to the previous seasons and suggests he is finally becoming the killer Logan had envisaged for the CEO role. So what exactly is the point of all this character development for Kendall if he doesn't complete the transformation by becoming the CEO?. Why make it appear as if that Kendall is finally ready for the CEO position? The point of Shakespearean tragedies is that the characters have fundamental flaws that they can't overcome and which ultimately lead to their demise. This is the case for Kendall in the earlier seasons where his flaws ultimately prevent from being CEO. And yet in this season the writers go to great lengths to show how Kendall has overcome the mistakes he made in his first stint as CEO, but in the end snatch it away from him not because of his own mistakes but an abrupt 180 from his sister. In my opinion, this ending simply does not fit the arc of Kendall this season. It would have been more coherent if the writers showed Kendall making fundamental mistakes as CEO after Logans death. This would drive home the point that ultimately Kendall is unsuitable for a job he covets so much. Don't show him doing a decent job in his period as CEO if you want to emphasise he's not suitable for the job.
Secondly, I disliked how they repeated the trope of Ken losing a board meeting due to a last minute switch by a sibling. This happened in S1E06, only this time Roman is replaced by Shiv. To me this is simply lazy writing because there's so many other ways the siblings could have lost control without reusing a plot point from season 1.
Thirdly, Shivs abrupt turn on her brother needed more context. She is willing to install him as CEO in the Bahamas, and then doubles down when she hears Tom is the US CEO choice. Then she gets cold feet at the board meeting without any apparent explanation. I've seen people theorising numerous factors e.g. loyalty to Tom, spite, seeing Ken act cocky in Logans office etc but none of this is explained to the audience. All this would have required is an extra scene or two to signify her reasons. But the bigger issue is that her choice to betray her brother is simply nonsensical. Shiv is willing to do whatever it takes to get power, yet she chooses the option that gives her the least power. She was offered head of ATN news by Ken but is now the wife of a puppet CEO who could be easily replaced. People have defended this by saying that there is no reason for Shiv to trust Ken because she's already been left in the cold, but Matsson and Tom have already betrayed her too. Not to mention, that Shivs relationship with Tom is built on domination and power dynamics. She loves holding the power in the relationship but chooses the option that completely shifts the dynamics. It just doesn't fit her character.
Finally, its quite annoying that we didn't get a resolution to the election. This goes back to a critique I have with the show in general in which plot points are introduced which are suggested to have an impact but in the end they amount to nothing. This became a big issue for me with season 3. The season 2 ending suggested that the cruise scandal would fundamentally shift the characters positions and the overall status quo and yet the scandal was brushed over in season 3 and it amounted to nothing. And this happens throughout the show which really reduces the tension and stakes. Why should I care about the election when we're not told what happens with it? Why should I care about Gojo's fudgy Indian numbers when it's brushed over 2 episodes later? Why I should care that Tom and Shiv are about to get a divorce when they flip flop between staying with each other throughout season 4. The writers refused to deal with the consequences of the election in the finale just like they refused to deal with the consequences of many of the other plot points they introduced in the show.
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2023.05.29 21:53 Ghost_Town56 Fresh 4L60 just went in.

Fresh 4L60 just went in.
After 300k miles and a light impact from a dumb girl pulling out in front of me, my stock tranny busted apart and ate itself. Wasn't too frustrated as it was on its way out anyway. Had a very good local performance tranny builder replace everything but the case and a few bits of hardware. Gears, solenoids, sun shell, servo, clutch packs, shift kit, the works.
The blazer in the background is getting ready to be a heavy parts donor for the truck. Doors, fenders, hood, 4.3 parts, seats, steering wheel, consol, carpet, and a lot of hardware bits that are fresh on a low mileage 2 year newer rig.
I'll keep this truck alive until I'm dead. There is nothing else out there that I want.
submitted by Ghost_Town56 to s10 [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 21:51 Toon30 20 VS 1 Spider Verse Edition? 👀

20 VS 1 Spider Verse Edition? 👀 submitted by Toon30 to ksi [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 21:51 MikeMcD82 Fernando Alonso's second place finish in the Monaco Grand Prix also tied him with Kimi Räikkönen for the most podium finishes by any Formula 1 driver since the 1950s. There is also a good chance he could pass Prost later this year.

Fernando Alonso's second place finish in the Monaco Grand Prix also tied him with Kimi Räikkönen for the most podium finishes by any Formula 1 driver since the 1950s. There is also a good chance he could pass Prost later this year. submitted by MikeMcD82 to formula1 [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 21:51 Leading-Recover-9574 Max Verstappen pushing… in the rain [2023 Monaco Grand Prix]

Max Verstappen pushing… in the rain [2023 Monaco Grand Prix] submitted by Leading-Recover-9574 to u/Leading-Recover-9574 [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 21:51 Toon30 20 VS 1 Spider Verse Edition? 👀

20 VS 1 Spider Verse Edition? 👀 submitted by Toon30 to Sidemen [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 21:40 bimbo_wannabe_ [I Accidentally Joined The Mafia In South Brooklyn] Chapter 6: On The Organizational Habits of Unrested Spirits and The Taste of Demon's Blood, Part 2.

[I Accidentally Joined The Mafia In South Brooklyn] Chapter 6: On The Organizational Habits of Unrested Spirits and The Taste of Demon's Blood, Part 2.
Previous Part: https://www.reddit.com/redditserials/comments/13ux5om/i_accidentally_joined_the_mafia_in_south_brooklyn/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
My nerve wavered a little.
"I don't really like the taste of blood, B."
"It doesn't taste like blood. Everybody tastes something different. Rossi says it tastes like old wine, Jimmy tastes caramel and leather, and me? To me it… tastes like gunpowder, and the way diesel smells."
I stared at the glass, then quickly tipped it into my mouth, took it down in two quick gulps, slid the mouth guard in place, at the same time sitting back against the sectional again as Becca snatched the glass from me.
It burned when it touched my tongue, and for a moment I tasted rose water and cinnamon, and in the next second, I was gone.
I've had a seizure once in my life, detoxing from heroin. The doctor said it was very rare, I was an unlucky fuck at best, but this? This was worse.
You ever seen a video of a tetanus convulsion? How the back bends, only their head and feet are touching the ground? Well, that's exactly what happened the moment the burning settled in my stomach. My entire body locked down, it felt like my muscles themselves would break my bones.
The pain overtook me and everything went black, but I soon realized I hadn't lost consciousness. No, I could see into the black. I was floating in it, naked. It was rolling like clouds of smoke, or a velvet curtain rippling in the breeze, and inside of the black, things were moving.
They were just as black, slimy, slithering things. Arms and legs and spider fingers and… wings, wings like bats, but no… not just black, iridescent. I saw within them blue, purple, red. They came from the darkness and spread over me like oil. Their touch was cold, but me? The burning spread all over my body. I felt like I was on fire.
I came back to the apartment a moment later, tried my best to tell my body to go with it while my muscles contracted and shook. It ended just as suddenly as it began.
I felt weak, when it was over. My body hurt. I felt like I had been in a car crash. But oddly enough, some parts of me didn't hurt anymore.
My limbs felt like lead as I removed the guard, but I found the strength to reach down and lift the leg of my pants. The old surgery scars on my knee were gone. The pain I had been living with for the last nineteen years was completely and suddenly absent.
My arms shook as I let go of my pants leg. I couldn't find the strength to lower it back to my ankle. I touched my nose as gingerly as I could with my hand jerking. It still hurt just as badly as it had before, but the ring finger on my left hand? It was bending again.
"Did it work?" I asked. Becca removed a few bits of ephemera from a mirrored tray on the coffee table, and raised it before my face.
My skin was no longer swollen and bruised, my nose still bloody but no longer dripping. Beneath my fingers, the bone felt whole again. It wasn't the only thing that had changed. The creases in my forehead, the crow's feet at the corner of my eyes, the smile and frown lines around my mouth, they were all gone. My skin was as smooth as though I was a teenager again.
My eyes were brighter, somehow. I had always gotten quite a lot of compliments on my green eyes, didn't think it was arrogant to recognize what others had told me, but they were different now, somehow paler yet deeper in color all at the same time. There was a new ring of yellow around the pupil that hadn't been there before. I felt with my tongue on the left side of my jaw.
The molar was back, like it had never been gone. It was different, though. Still a flat chewing surface but the edges were sharp, sharp enough that I sliced the tip of my tongue running it across the surface. I tasted blood for a moment before the cut was suddenly whole again.
I flexed my fingers experimentally, found the tremors were easing with every passing second and a flush was spreading across my body, both hot and cold all at once. Strength flooded my muscles, my mind was as clear as a bell, but despite all of that, I still felt a consuming weakness and exhaustion inside.
I'd gotten stuck for two shifts at the grocery store once, then had a call out on the stock crew and had stayed for four hours to help them. I had worked a total of twenty hours that day, and this… felt exactly like that, exhausted and as wired as a methhead on a three day bender all at the same time. Simultaneously bone-tired and hurting but feeling like I was bulletproof.
Becca was watching me with a sad grin.
"Hell of a ride, huh?"
I jerked my head in a nod, found I had to adjust the amount of force I put behind it because I was moving quicker than I had before.
"You know, I can see why Jimmy likes it… and Rocco doesn't."
"Rossi, well, how do I put this? He likes to stay in control, but he isn't a control freak. He barely even drinks… but Jimmy… he's less concerned about controlling himself and more concerned about controlling everyone else."
Becca stood then, removed some alcohol wipes and a tourniquet from the tackle box, turning on the blood warmer. She hooked the first of the bags to the IV line and sat again, opening the wipe but not removing it yet. She tied the tourniquet around her arm, or, tried to. She was struggling with it.
"You need some help with that?"
She looked at me for a moment before she nodded.
"Yeah, actually."
I took the tourniquet from her, moving before her and sitting on the coffee table.
"You know, as many years as I've been doing this, I still suck at it. Can't find a fucking vein for a goddamned hour at a time, blow them out everytime I turn around."
I made a sound of acknowledgment as I tied the tourniquet tight around her arm. I felt with my fingers, but wasn't having much luck. A slap with the back of my hand in the dip of her elbow didn't do much more to distend the veins. The back of her hand was equally lacking in usable veins.
"There's one thing about it, kid, you would have made a terrible junkie, you got shit for veins."
She made a sound of frustration and tried to pull her arm away from me.
"See, I told you."
"Uh-uh, hold on. You can launder money in your sleep, but me? I can find a vein with my eyes closed."
I felt farther up onto her forearm, then tried the back of it. I finally had luck, pressed the vein a few times to get it to stand up farther.
"See, you got a good one right there."
I wiped over it with the alcohol, grabbed the hypodermic and glanced up to her face. She had her eyes squeezed shut.
"On three."
She nodded, and I counted down, slid the needle in, then pressed the snap to leave only the cannula inside the vein, taped it down, then removed the tourniquet.
"All done."
I opened the tubing to allow the blood to start traveling down, and adjusted the flow regulator just a bit.
"Voila."
She stared at me for a long moment.
"You're really good at that. You ever considered going to school? You'd make a hell of a phlebotomist."
I snorted lightly.
"I can see all kind of doctors in my future just itching to hire a felon into their office."
"You could go work with Farid down at the free clinic. He runs the place, you know Muslims love doing charity work. They don't pay amazing, nonprofit and all, but he honestly don't give a shit who works there as long as you know what you're doing."
I hummed quietly. As I watched, the color drained from her face, going from white, straight to gray. She winced, and sat back against the couch stiffly.
"It hurts when it goes in the vein?" I asked the obvious.
She nodded.
"Burns like I shot up acid. Never gets any easier, but at least I don't get an in-game tutorial on a Grand Mal seizure, so… small blessings."
"You want a drink or something, B? A snack?"
She laughed weakly.
"Yeah. Give me a water and some oreos. They're in the cabinet over the stove."
I followed her directions and brought the bottle of water and a saucer of the cookies to her. She pulled one knee up, her bare foot balanced on the edge of the couch cushion and set the saucer on her other thigh.
"Can I ask you something, Tony?"
"Shoot, B."
She stayed silent for a long moment.
"You know, I don't want you to think I'm hitting on you but… would you… hold me?"
I laughed quietly and sat down beside her, looping my arm around her shoulders and tucking her in close to my side. I laid her head against my shoulder, tucked under my jaw, and looped my other arm around the front of her shoulders, smoothing my hand over her hair. She wiggled against me just a bit, getting comfortable.
"No worries at all, B. I mean, I guess you and me are literally famiglia now. And no offense, you're a good looking kid but… other than the fact you're too young for me, and you're my best friend's girl, you're not exactly my type."
She snorted.
"Let me guess, the gentleman prefers blondes and older women."
That gave me a bit of a chuckle.
"I gotta say, you got me pegged again, B."
I smoothed my hand over her hair, and began humming softly and rocking gently.
"No, Non Si Speri," she said, quietly. "That's funny, that's Ma's favorite song."
I laughed. Goddamned patterns…
"Mine, too, Miss Rebecca, mine, too."
She tried her best to relax against me, but I could feel every time she stiffened and winced.
Time to distract her again.
"So, uh, that night, Antoni came in late, and asked you out… start from there."
She adjusted her body against mine again.
"Yeah, uh… he asked me if I was seeing anyone, and I asked him why he wanted to know, and he told me he didn't want to step on anyone's toes… so I told him he should be worried about stepping on my toes, cause he was talking to the Boss of me. And he laughed, and asked me if I could ask the Boss about the girl who worked the register, if she would be interested in having dinner and seeing a movie. It kind of caught me off guard. I had been fantasizing about that exact thing happening but I was scared. I told him if he was just fucking with me I'd have to ban him from the store, permanently. But he said no, he was serious… so I told him that we'd go out that Saturday to see this horror movie that had just come out and he could pick where we ate, cause I'd eat most anything, just not to take me anywhere fancy, cause I only dress up for Mass and his ass wasn't better than God."
"You probably should have kept that bit to yourself, B. Bet you sealed the deal for him right then and there. He'd found his girl and she was already a Catholic, didn't even have to get her to convert."
"So we… went out the next night. I worked the morning shift so I could have the night off, and I had Antoni meet me on the platform so there'd be less chance of somebody seeing. All that day at work, I started to get more and more worried. The motherfucker was literally two feet taller than me, down to the inch, but I figured that put me at a good height to suckerpunch him in his balls if he stepped out of line. I ain't exactly a slouch when it comes to self defense but when I met him that night I took my steel telescoping baton with me, just in case. I didn't have to worry. He never laid a hand on me, not once, till I touched him that way first, even if it was as simple as holding my hand, or putting his arm around me.
"I mean, the man should be up for canonization… he had patience like a fucking Saint. That… that picture, on my phone, that was the first time I ever kissed him. Six weeks I made him wait. Six weeks and him taking me out every Saturday like clock work, but he never said a word, never made a pass, just waited for me."
I could hear tears feathering into her voice again.
"That day, I made him call off work so we could spend the day at Coney Island. Made him spend two hundred damned dollars on the fairway to win me this giant blue bear, and he lugged it around the rest of the day with this stupid grin on his face, carried it home on the fucking train. Six weeks, and me spending almost every night in his bed…"
"So you two slept together before you ever 'slept together'?"
I could feel her nod, more than see it.
"At first, I just wanted to give him a hard time… you know, see just how much patience he really had… but, I felt safe with him, Tony, sleeping beside him was the safest I'd ever felt in my life. I didn't want to give up that feeling. If I had known how it would all end up, I wouldn't have made either of us wait that long… but… that day, right before we left, we went on the Wonder Wheel and… the fucking engine blew. There was this loud ass boom and this big ass cloud of smoke. I thought it was a fucking bomb, to be honest. We were stuck up there at the top for four solid hours while they tried to fix the engine, and when they finally gave up and called the fire department, we had to wait for a ladder truck to get there. So after the first thirty minutes had passed, I asked him if he wanted to make out, and he grinned at me and said… Absolutely."
She sniffed back her tears, cleared her throat and I tucked her tiny body closer against my side.
"You know, he took that picture to send to his brother. He hadn't brought his phone, so he used mine. Said Igor had been riding his ass the whole time about how I was stringing him along for the past six weeks and he was stupid enough to let me. And after that, I got a little handsy, to be honest. It was like the old saying goes, there was some Roman Hands and Russian Fingers that day. I had to put his hands where I wanted them myself, but uh… he didn't need a lot of instruction after that point. The assholes in the booth behind us kept whooping and hollering, they knew exactly what was going on but… I didn't really give a fuck. I just wanted to get a nut and give him one, too, and we had hours to kill.
"We fooled around for a few more days after that, you know, exchanged some, uh, oral instruction, if you will, but… I-I was scared to death. I didn't want to admit I'd never been with a man before, so the night I decided to go all the way, I goaded Ciech into a drinking game. Drank his ass under the table, but… Antoni, that stupid fucker… he told me no. Said I was perfectly welcome to spend another night in his bed, but if I wanted more than that, then I had to come to him sober. I was so embarrassed I cussed him like a dog, in every language I knew and he just… sat there through the whole thing, never even looked up from his book, just… asked me if I was done acting like a spoiled child. So then, I started crying cause I was so angry. And then the stupid fucker told me, 'You shouldn't cry like that, it's embarassing."
I snorted.
"Yeah, he was a bitch about that, wasn't he? Little bit of toxic masculinity to spice things up, eh?"
"So then I was doubly pissed, and I didn't talk to him for three days."
She sighed.
"Most miserable three days of my life. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, it was like… every cell in my body was calling for him. I finally broke down, and begged him not to say no again… and he didn't. And, Jesus Christ, I wanted it every day after that, sometimes twice a day and… he never told me no again. It took a little while to get comfortable for the two of us, but eventually we started to share some of our proclivities with each other.
"Turned out he was a sadomasochist, just like me, so we uh, added some new activities in. We both got a kick out of the fact he could throw me around like a rag doll and fold me up like a pretzel, but, personally, I think he got a bigger kick out of the fact my little ass could actually hurt him if I really wanted to… and sometimes I wanted to. I'd have a bad day at work or school, and come home and take it out on him… and he loved every second of it."
She sighed again.
"But uh, that shit, it got us both in trouble. One night in early November, I had gotten a little rough with him. He had, you know, bruises and scratch marks and bite marks all over him. And the next day when he went to work, the heating system fucked up. It was running on high, no matter how low they put it… Antoni told me he was getting so hot his head was hurting. His Dad was up front on the counter and Toni was back there where none of the customers could see, so he thought he was safe and took his shirt off, but… his Dad came back to ask him something.
"You know, I guess from the outside looking in, it kind of looked like Antoni'd gotten a hold of somebody that didn't wanna be gotten a hold of, and apparently his Dad has very strongly held convictions when it comes to rape. So he uh… jerked Antoni's ass up, pinned him against the wall and asked him what in the hell he had done. And Antoni told me he was so damned scared that all he could think to say was, 'Don't worry, it was consensual.'"
I winced.
"Ohhh… that is…"
"Yeah, not good. So then he got his ass jumped for getting, uh, 'friendly' with somebody but not having brought me there to introduce me to the family… but, apparently he had already been planning on taking me over to Greenpoint, cause a couple of weeks before he had asked me for my measurements. Hell, I figured he wanted to buy me a catsuit to go along with the damned Dominatrix boots he bought me. He used to want me to stand on his chest, step on his hands..."
"The boot worship comment makes a lot more sense now," I muttered.
"What?"
"I said continue your story." I raised my voice back to speaking.
She sat in silence for another minute. I could practically hear her frowning, but in the end she didn't push it.
"Anyway… I'd told the stupid fucker not to buy me a dress, and what did he do? Bought me a dress to meet his family in. But when I saw it, I didn't even care. It was beautiful, all these colorful, gorgeous embroidered flowers all over the skirt. There was like this flower crown that went with it, with all these ribbons hanging down. The family dinner he was planning to take me to was an informal Polish Independence Day celebration, you know, not the whole neighborhood, just the people they knew. And the dress was traditional Polish clothing. I felt so goddamned out of place wearing that thing, everybody on the train kept staring, but he was wearing funny clothes too, and this stupid little hat, so it wasn't so bad. He made me wear the damned boots with the dress, though."
Laughter burst out of me.
"And you know, his Dad's eyes got kind of big when he first saw me."
"Probably trying to figure out how you'd torn his son's ass up so bad with as tiny as you are."
"But they were nice to me, his parents and his cousins. Everybody was nice to me. And it wasn't long after that, about a month, that he asked me to marry him. I guess he was nervous too, and he got drunk hisself, and then I told him no, cause I'm a spiteful bitch. Said he was perfectly welcome to have me in his bed another night but if he wanted more, he had to come to me sober… and then I asked him where the hell the ring was, and he said he wasn't going to buy a ring if I wasn't going to say yes, and I told him I wasn't going to say yes unless I had a ring. But apparently he had bought a ring, and given it to his mother to keep."
She held her left hand up to show me. It was a 3 carat Princess cut diamond with a ring of smaller diamonds around it.
"It's a brand of lab grown diamonds, Mivoleti." She said quietly.
"Mi vole ti, 'I want you,' in Italian. Odd that."
"Yeah," she answered. "And now I can't even wear it, nobody knew we were together but his family. Come to think of it, I got no idea how I'm gonna tell Pops I'm pregnant, but, I guess at least he can't threaten to kill Antoni for deflowering his daughter, seeing as he's already dead and all."
I shook my head, squeezed her tight and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
"It's gonna be alright, Becca." I had no idea how it was going to be alright, but I had to say something. "Looks like it's time to switch bags."
We finished the transfusion some time after that. I removed the IV but didn't bother with the gauze or tape. The hole in Becca's arm sealed shut almost immediately after I pulled the cannula from the vein.
We slept. I don't remember falling asleep, but when I opened my eyes it was dark outside and the apartment was getting cold again. I tried not to wake Becca, but it was a pointless effort. She watched me bleary-eyed while I filled the heater with Kerosene again and relit it.
"What time is it?" I asked in a sleep-gravelled voice.
She turned her phone on and glanced at the screen.
"It's 8:05. You got about two hours till you go get Ma. Go get something to wear while I wash that suit, and take a quick hot shower so you don't freeze to death."
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