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First Contacts (Part 7)
2023.06.08 09:02 Allicia_York First Contacts (Part 7)
“Welcome to the Endeavour 2.”
Nathan had already chosen to name the frigate after his experimental warp ship, I wondered if that meant he intended to keep hold of it but the limited number of Doradul crew was my largest concern.
“Only 20 Orvangians?”
Nathan’s smile dropped away and he rose from his seat, “I am sorry Jin, the Axarli shot and killed several on the planet’s surface, these were the only prisoners they recovered.”
Halor the Doradul’s Secondary Ops Officer made the Orvangian Gesture of Greif from loss before taking the pilot’s seat that Nathan slid out of.
“I am glad to see you and Doc got to the shuttle safely, but you should probably get some rest, that’s what I am going to do now.” Nathan gestured back to the elevator.
Once we were aboard the elevator, he thumbed the button for Deck 9 where the shuttle was stored.
“What course are we on?”
“Halor plotted a course to a Federation System called Polivor, we will be there in about a day.”
Once we reached the shuttle Nathan and I gathered our things and headed for Deck 4 officer’s quarters. Nathan claimed the Captains Quarters and offered me the First Officers, it was nowhere near as comfortable as the Doradul, in that respect it was much more like the Endeavour, it was a single chamber with a bed, chair, desk, and storage compartments, no more than 6 square metres of floor and barely 3 metres high.
All I had in the way of possessions was a Laser Rifle, a Space Suit, and the pack of seeds from the Doradul, Purple Valuri Seeds my mother had given me when I left for the Doradul. The Chamber didn’t have enough lighting for flowers to grow, the gloom better suited to the needs of the Sovereigns or Euterians.
I Stowed my things and extracted myself from the space suit, it looked ugly now, not the smooth bluish appearance it had once possessed, there were dozens of scratches on its hard segments and the Separatist sealant was brown leaving a couple of dozen irregular dirty-looking smudges where I had sealed it.
My uniform was no better, torn and tattered I had been wearing it for hours when I was sent to recover Nathan from the Endeavour 1, it smelled dirty and pink staining surrounded the tears.
Entirely disrobed I lay on the bed and dimmed the lights, the last sleep I had managed was back in the escape pod, it felt like that was days ago. Despite my exhaustion, it wasn’t easy to fall asleep, perhaps it was the stinging of wounds or the death of so many Orvangians that I knew, sleep took over an hour to reach.
I dreamt of the first year I served aboard the Doradul, we were surveying systems in the Tilbas Sector, looking for worlds that would be suitable for Orvangian settlement, they were peaceful days wandering the stars in search of beauty and quiet, I had built many friendships with members of the crew, among them was Wula, she served as a Geological specialist, surveying planetary crusts for stability. I had gathered her family seal from her body when I was on the Doradul, hers and two others, Palos wasn’t exactly my friend, a support Engineer, he was after my job but I did not wish to see him dead and Worgan, I didn’t know him well.
I woke after a few hours, my bedding stained with lymph from a wound on my side, it had opened again as I had slept. The only thing I had to wear was my torn and stained uniform so I donned it again and headed for the medical bay on deck 3.
Doctor Hule and the Tilik Nathan called Doc were here, treating plasma burns on Sub Officer Florn, she had been a ground officer during surface surveying for the Doradul.
Doc moved over to the second bed and patted it with a tentacle so I hopped up and gestured to my reopened would “It started weeping again”.
“Not to worry, I can go over them all with more care now that there are no enemies at the door.”
Doc began to treat my wounds taking time to seal and patch each one, it took over an hour of work for him to finish and I did feel considerably better.
“Thanks, Doc” I slid off the bed and turned to leave.
“I suggest you also visit the quartermasters on deck 7, they can sort you out something clean to wear.”
Clean clothes and a shower sounded great so I headed straight to Deck 7, the Doradul’s own Quartermaster was here and she soon had the ship fabricate two new uniforms for me, both now showing the embroidery pattern for the Doradul as a Memoriam pattern, though she had not included an Endeavour 2 pattern.
The deck where my quarters were had a shower block, suited to the use of four so that all the senior officers of the frigate could use it at once. I was the only one there though so I took my time cleaning, ensuring that the grime of recent events was gone.
Finally clean I donned a new uniform and stowed the other in my quarters before heading to the bridge.
Halor was still in command, using the Pilots chair as a sort of captain’s seat as he reviewed the ship’s systems and supplies, not that the information was necessary, we would be arriving at Polivor in less than 20 hours now and he would most certainly be disembarking, we all would. This ship was evidence of the Separatists’ rearming against the treaty they had signed when they lost the war.
“Jin! I thought you would be resting after all that excitement.”
“Sleep is difficult, I was hoping we had a crew roster.”
“We do” he indicated an auxiliary console “But I am sad to say that neither of the Doradul’s Therapeutic officers are with us.”
I sat on the padded bar that counted as an auxiliary station seat and brought up the roster, Nathan and Doc were both listed as well as the 21 survivors of the Doradul, 84 had died in the attack on the ship, those whose seals had been recovered were also listed, so I added the three I had collected and quietly wept for a few moments at the losses we had taken.
Less than 40 seals of dead crewmembers had been recovered and were currently being displayed in the galley on deck 3 so that was my next destination, the elevator was in use so I took the ramps.
The Galley was busy, 10 of my crewmates from the Doradul were here some at a wall where 35 seals hung in memoriam of the lost, and others were sitting at tables with the separatist equivalent of ration packs.
I approached the memorial wall and hung the three seals I had recovered, Jola and Nero gave me sympathetic hugs in response. Jola had worked with Wula as part of the survey teams so she offered to make the bond and share memories of our friend and colleague.
We sat and shared our memories through the Bond, the experiences we had each gathered of Wula being integrated, the social evenings I had shared with her, and the work humour Jola had experienced, each memory we shared built a greater picture of our lost friend in our minds and helped us to become closer friends as a result.
After the bond was over, we sat together and ate, the Separatist ration packs were simple, a grain and nut disc with a side of dried berries all held in a small plastic pouch. It wasn’t as good as the fake chicken that Nathan had shared but it was enough to sate my appetite.
Others in the Galley were sharing memories and meals, we may have lost the therapists but our shared experiences were helping us to cope with the losses.
I was about to depart the Galley when Nathan arrived with Doc, Nathan’s arms were loaded with ration packs of his own kind, far more than he could reasonably eat, and Doc was carrying a couple of bottles of medication.
Nathan selected a table next to mine and began laying out and snapping tabs on containers, a total of eight each with the same markings as the fried chicken I had tasted. Doc opened the bottles and dumped the pills into a bowl.
Once the circles turned red Nathan tore lids off packs and released the delicious smell of chicken “Ok everyone, feel free to try some Southern Fried Chicken, Be aware that the coating is a little toxic to Orvangians, so please take an Anti-Toxin pill from Doc here before you eat!” he spoke loud and clear so that everyone turned their attention to him and the smell.
I moved swiftly to the table and dry swallowed a pill before selecting a piece of chicken and biting down. My first taste of this had been without the coating so I had not been able to experience the full delights of its flavours, the coating was quite spicy though the anti-toxin was doing a good job of keeping it from being painful.
Soon others were trying the food for themselves and Nathan found himself explaining that it was not meat once again, though most were satisfied with no explanation. The atmosphere soon became more jovial and Nathan asked Buddy to play some music by another Buddy, this time a musician called Buddy Holly.
The Chicken was soon gone but the uplifted spirits would not fade so quickly, Nathan chatted with everyone, sharing jokes and stories from his people. For a few hours, the galley was a happy place.
Eventually, Nathan and I headed to the bridge to relieve Halor and monitor systems during our journey. I had never served aboard a ship built by another species before, the console layouts and bridge plan here were designed for a mixed species crew with effort made to offer interface and seating flexibility for all the races of the Separatist movement.
Someone had already modified screen layouts to better suit the Orvangian standard and seats were largely configured for our lean forms, the pilot’s chair being the only exception.
“Nathan, you understand that the Federation is likely to want this ship for study.”
“Halor told me. It’s fine though just leaves room for an Endeavour 3.” Nathan followed the statement with a Grin, something the other Orvangians on the bridge were still not used to, but I found myself grinning back causing a surprised reaction from the rest of the bridge crew.
There wasn’t much to do at warp so much of our time was just familiarising ourselves with the ship and its many systems, the Endeavour 2 was originally just referred to as the TX210-B, a combat support Frigate with an arsenal of ship-to-ship weaponry, it was designed to fight, having no other purpose.
After a few hours we were relieved of duty ourselves, Florn being the next most senior officer, he had no experience commanding a ship, but his rank was just below mine and he did command ground survey teams so he would manage for a few hours of Warp travel.
Nathan and I departed the Bridge together “You hungry?” Nathan nudged me as he spoke.
“I haven’t eaten much the last couple of days.”
“Let’s head to my quarters and grab some food then.” We used the ramps to reach deck 4, Nathan’s Fabricator was set up on the desk in his quarters and six ration packs were stacked inside it.
“Your fabricator can make food?”
“Yes, I fed it some of the separatist ration packs and it can make a half dozen different food options from them.” He took a pack from the machine and held it out to me.
He cleared the machine and started it on the next load, then he gathered the stack he had built beside it, almost two entire batches worth and headed back up to the Galley. Once we arrived, he deposited all but one of the packs onto a table at the end of the room and selected a seat at another table.
As I sat with the pack he had given me I noticed that the writing on the pack that had been in Nathan’s language when we had shared chicken on the shuttle, was now all in Orvangian, indicating the instructions to cook the meal and describing itself as a ‘Closed Spicy Meat Sandwich with vegetables and Fruit Sauce’ once the circle turned red I tore open the top to reveal a pair of shell-shaped things, they didn’t look like sandwiches really, they smelled of cooked meat and spices.
“I had Buddy modify the ingredients to eliminate toxic properties so enjoy.” Nathan bit into the crunchy exterior and juices dripped from his chin as he ate.
It was delicious, though I still preferred the chicken he had provided before. Several crew in the galley helped themselves to a pack and soon the whole galley smelled of the spices and meats of this Human food.
Two of these sandwiches were a little much for an Orvangian so most of the crew were sharing packs. After I finished one sandwich Nathan asked “You going to eat that?”
“No.” with that Nathan demolished his third and seemed sated.
“Captain Nathan. Could Buddy play some more music?” the query came from Asor a junior engineer by rank.
“Sure! Buddy, can we get some Dolly?”
“Playing Dolly Parton.” Buddy began with a song about working long hours and soon the galley was full of Orvangians badly singing along.
Eventually, the poor sleep I had gotten over the last couple of days was too much for me and I departed the music and joviality of the galley and returned to my chambers, the small size and lack of a garden hit me again as I entered the metal box military officers call spacious quarters.
Exhaustion made sleep much easier this time and I managed a good six hours of rest, my dreams largely of my childhood and memories I had gained from my bond with Jola. When I awoke it was to the voice of Nathan “All crew, we shall be arriving at the Polivor system in one hour, All crew to stations.”
I climbed out of bed and donned a fresh uniform, depositing both my dirty and tattered one into the laundry chute before heading for the bridge.
Nathan was in the Pilots chair and Halor was standing at an auxiliary station, I took a position at the first officer’s console and examined the navigation data, we were now just 35 minutes from our destination.
That time soon vanished as we prepared the ship for arrival, we would look like a separatist ship so Halor had modified our transponder data to indicate that we were the Endeavour 2 under the Galactic Federations Flag, still, we would need to prove we were not hostile so I set the weapons to safe mode and prepared a transmission of my security code and a message to indicate our allegiance. Nathan prepared to take control of the ship’s course moments before the Warp drive shut down.
We dropped out of warp at 2.2 million kilometres from the Military Outpost in the outer system.
Two Separatist Cruisers were waiting for us, barely a thousand kilometres from our arrival point they immediately opened fire, particle beams lancing out at us with their crimson fury.
Nathan’s reactions were on par as usual, jerking the controls to starboard and hitting full thrust the moment he saw the ships. He managed to evade the worst of it but a blast cut a streak across the port side of the ship, two turrets were hit and auxiliary communications were burned off the ship.
“Jin, Arm Weapons, focus fire on the sunward side ship! Halor, get me data on the state of the system.” Nathan yelled orders as he twisted the Endeavour 2 among the beams.
I had set the weapons to safety thinking we would need to look non-threatening, it was going to take two minutes to get weapons back “Captain, two minutes for weapons!”
Halor set secondary displays to show the devastated Outpost and the distant flashes of conflict over Polivor 3 “Captain, there are 5 Separatist Battleships in orbit of Polivor 3 and the Military Outpost has been destroyed.”
He paused for a moment as though he could barely believe his next statement, “We are at war.”
(I hope everyone is still enjoying this story, Let me know if you are. As you may have noticed there is no Species Data Drop in the comments this week they will resume once another species makes an appearance.)
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2023.06.08 08:35 ankushvisadome E-Travel Authorization Program in Canada Extended to 13 New Countries
Canada has just announced the expansion of its Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program to cover qualified travelers from 13 new nations, five of which are in the Caribbean. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the possibility of visa-free travel for citizens of these countries.
Travelers from the aforementioned 13 countries must meet one of two conditions to qualify for the eTA: they must have held a Canadian visa within the last 10 years, or they must have a valid non-immigrant visa for the United States when entering Canada by air. This expansion includes the following 13 countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda are two Caribbean islands.
- Costa Rica’s
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)
This decision allows citizens of these nations to visit Canada for leisure or business for a maximum of six months without requiring a visa. Furthermore, the action is likely to ease the stress on Canada’s visa department, which has been dealing with a significant backlog of temporary resident visa applications.
Travelers from these 13 countries who have a valid visa can continue to use it to enter Canada. Those who are not eligible for the eTA or who are traveling to Canada by means other than air must still apply for a visit visa.
Minister Sean Fraser emphasized that this expansion not only improves travel convenience but also promotes increased travel, tourism, economic advantages, and stronger global links between Canada and the 13 participating countries.
Understanding Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTA):
Foreign nationals from visa-exempt nations must get an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before flying to Canada. This criterion applies to those wishing to visit Canada or transit through the nation.
Important Information About Electronic Travel Authorization: An eTA is required because
Travellers from visa-free nations visiting Canada by plane must get an eTA, with a few exceptions listed below:
- Individuals who already have a valid visa to enter Canada.
- Those who arrive in Canada via land or sea.
- Armed services soldiers on official duty in Canada.
- Flight crew, civil aviation inspectors, and accident investigators are all involved.
- Residents and visitors from St. Pierre and Miquelon who are French nationals.
- Individuals arriving from the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon while possessing valid visiting, student, or worker status in Canada.
- Diplomatic credentials.
- Citizens of Canada and dual citizens (traveling on a Canadian passport).
- Permanent residents of Canada (requiring their PR card or point of entrance proof).
- Citizens and permanent residents of the United States.
Obtaining an eTA:
Applicants can apply for an eTA through the official website of the Canadian federal government. A valid passport, an email address, and a credit card for the $7 application cost are required.
It is best to apply for an eTA as soon as the travel schedule is finalized. However, an eTA can be obtained at the last minute by using a smartphone and an internet connection. The email authorization is usually received within minutes, however processing durations may vary if further supporting papers are necessary.
An eTA is valid for five years or until the passport or travel document expires, whichever comes first, and there are no restrictions on the number of entries to Canada as long as the eTA is valid.
For more details visit www.visadone.com/
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2023.06.08 08:00 universalseosmm26 Buy Google Voice Accounts
| || |Buy Google Voice Accounts submitted by universalseosmm26 to u/universalseosmm26 [link] [comments]
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2023.06.08 06:04 Livid-Ad-1795 Update re TSHII
RNS Number : 7221B TomCo Energy PLC 06 June 2023
6 June 2023
TOMCO ENERGY PLC
("TomCo" or the "Company")
Update re TSHII
TomCo Energy plc (AIM: TOM), the US operating oil development group focused on using innovative technology to unlock unconventional hydrocarbon resources, provides an update with respect to the Company's 100% owned subsidiary, Greenfield Energy LLC's ("Greenfield"), potential acquisition of the remaining ownership and membership rights and interests in Tar Sands Holdings II LLC ("TSHII") (the "Membership Interests"). As previously announced, Greenfield owns a 10% Membership Interest in TSHII and holds an exclusive option (the "Option"), exercisable at its sole discretion, to acquire the remaining 90% of the Membership Interests for additional cash consideration which was scheduled to expire on 30 April 2023 (the "Agreement").
Further to the Company's announcement of 2 May 2023, it has agreed with the counterparty certain amendments to the Agreement such that Greenfield now has an option, at its sole discretion, to acquire the remaining 90% of the Membership Interests for additional cash consideration of US$17.25 million (formerly US$16.25 million) prior to 6.00 p.m. Salt Lake City Time on 31 December 2023 together with a matching right as described further below.
It has been agreed that the counterparty may, from 1 July 2023, market its remaining 90% of the Membership Interests or TSHII's assets to third parties on at least as favourable terms as set out in the abovementioned amended Agreement. In the event that the counterparty receives a bona fide offer to purchase the remaining 90% of the Membership Interests or TSHII's assets from a third party, Greenfield shall have 30 days from the date of notice of such offer to match or exceed such offer and to provide payment of US$100,000 towards the purchase price, providing closing of such transaction occurs prior to 31 December 2023.
The Company remains in discussions to secure a potential funding package for Greenfield, that would, inter alia, enable Greenfield to ultimately exercise the amended Option and pursue its previously announced wider development plans. In this regard, the principal route under active consideration would involve TomCo disposing of a majority stake in Greenfield to a partner(s) in return for, inter alia, certain upfront cash consideration, a continuing minority equity participation for TomCo in Greenfield (without the requirement for further capital contributions from TomCo) and the provision of a sizeable funding package to Greenfield. Any such proposed disposal would likely constitute a fundamental disposal for TomCo pursuant to the provisions of Rule 15 of the AIM Rules for Companies and therefore be subject, inter alia, to the approval of TomCo's shareholders at a duly convened general meeting. In such eventuality, it would fall to the new majority owner(s) of Greenfield to decide whether or not to exercise the amended Option post completion of such proposed disposal. There can be no certainty that such funding proposal will ultimately be successfully concluded or as to the precise terms or structure of any such funding package or alternative financing arrangements for Greenfield. Further announcements will be made in due course as appropriate.
TomCo Energy plc
Malcolm Groat (Chairman) / John Potter (CEO) +44 (0)20 3823 3635
Strand Hanson Limited (Nominated Adviser)
James Harris / Matthew Chandler +44 (0)20 7409 3494
Novum Securities Limited (Broker)
Jon Belliss / Colin Rowbury +44 (0)20 7399 9402
IFC Advisory Limited (Financial PR)
Tim Metcalfe / Florence Chandler +44 (0)20 3934 6630
For further information, please visit www.tomcoenergy.com
The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 as it forms part of United Kingdom domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended by virtue of the Market Abuse (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.
This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact [email protected]
or visit www.rns.com
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2023.06.08 06:01 mschvs_one Day 527 Stats
Day 527 Change: 1
Day 527 Percent Change: 0.234%
Total Percent Dead: 94.03%
Days Since Last Death: 0
Estimated Bots: ~38*
Pool Value Per Person: ~$167.63**
*Estimated Bots is a rough count determined by all "safe" logins within the first 30 seconds of a new day. This number is far from accurate, as there are surely some humans caught up in it, but for now, it is the best number we can get without having a bigger universe. Eventually, we will have a more accurate method to get this number.
**This number does not account for the credit fees, etc, removed from the total pool amount. At the end of the game the total pool will likely be closer to ~$67k after credit card processing fees are deducted by MSCHF. This number also does not account for your potential local and federal taxes which would be owed on the winnings.
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2023.06.08 05:57 oliverstone01 How to Get Discounts on Southwest Airlines? Reddit
| || | submitted by oliverstone01 to u/oliverstone01 [link] [comments]
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2023.06.08 05:50 Checkmade_goaty Taxes never too late to file pm me link in comments
2023.06.08 05:04 havenforbid How can I find a more democratic credit union?
I've been frustrated with the decline of the quality of service of a credit union I've belonged to for a number of years. The credit union refuses to let its members contact the Board--not that it would do much good as the recent annual membership meeting was specifically designed by the board president to keep members from commenting. A number of other service issues have me wanting to look elsewhere. This particular credit union recently took over another local credit union--its members reportedly approved the merger but we weren't given the chance to do so.
So I'm wanting to shop around for a new credit union, but am unsure how to determine their democratic credentials. Obviously there are also other aspects of service I want to consider too--quality of customer service, transparency of fees associated with certain services, technological adeptness etc.
What's the best way I can shop around?
submitted by havenforbid
to creditunions [link] [comments]
2023.06.08 04:29 duckowucko [Long-Schall] 1940 Election Goes to the House! House meets in mid-December
| || | submitted by duckowucko to Presidentialpoll [link] [comments]
Seeing as no candidate received the Electoral votes necessary to win the 1940 General Election, the question of who wins the White House gets thrown to the House of Representatives. In the days following election day, rumors circulated of foreign interference in the election. The Republican Party is rumored to have received aid from the Government of Great Britain, while the Anti-Fascists are rumored to have received aid from the currently neutral Soviet Union. These are just rumors however, and some articles even speculate they were fabricated by the Long Administration, which has made no comment on the matter. Nonetheless, the President is furious at what he thought would be a clear victory for his popularity and his party. The House will convene soon in order to cast their votes, with the respective candidates reportedly meeting their alliances already 204 Electoral Votes go to AFA and Communist Party Candidate, Earl Browder
Earl Browder (Anti-Fascist Alliance)
38.2% Popular Vote
Wendell Willkie (Republican)
31.6% Popular Vote
Huey Long (Democrat)
30.1% Popular Vote Other: 0.1% Popular Vote
Huey Pierce Long (Democrat)
34th President of the United States since 1937
President Long has proven quite popular as President with his unmatched speaking ability and appearances all over the country during his tenure so far, making him appear relatable and likable to the wider public. While he is still far from enacting much of his "Share Our Wealth" plans, he has a number of legislative accomplishments under his belt, including: the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1937, Federal Housing Act of 1937, Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, National Healthcare Insurance Welfare Act of 1939, and the Public High Schooling Act of 1940.
Long runs on a platform of continuing his work to improve the life of the poorer man, however he seems to have flipped his side in the foreign policy department… President Long had received so much flak for his hardline Isolationist stance, especially to the war in Europe, and his refusal to change course after the fall of France even caused a huge political alliance running against him. After some early close calls in the primaries though, Long has announced his support for amending the Neutrality Act in favor of shipping limited amounts of arms to the United Kingdom, and has also called on Congress to institute an embargo on all raw materials going toward Germany, Italy, or Japan. Long also espouses that his previous stance still did not stop him from taking responsible steps in the past; pointing to his Naval Rearmament Act of 1938 following the Panay Incident. Running Mate
Theodore Francis Green
33rd Vice President of the United States since 1937
Though quite unknown as Huey Long's Vice President, he has been credited by staffers and fellow Cabinet members as being a key member of several important meetings, especially on National Security-related affairs. Vice President Green's long-time interventionist mindset may have also played a key role in changing the mind of President Long in recent months. Though they don't get along well, the business-savvy yankee is eager and open to continue his work in the President's cabinet going forward, staying united in the face of the looming crisis.
Wendell Lewis Willkie (Republican)
Lawyer from Indiana
Though this charismatic lawyer has negligible political experience, Willkie has been seen as a viable candidate to return the Republicans to the White House following the end of the Norris administration; especially as many progressive Republicans throw their support behind President Long. Though the Republican Party is experiencing a divide between Conservatives and Liberals, Willkie and his running mate offer a moderate-liberal domestic platform while attacking Long for his lack of action against Nazi Germany following the fall of France. Willkie instead pushes for resource embargos on Germany, Italy, and Japan while also promising to pressure Congress into a naval rearmament plan while amending the Neutrality Act in order to send "Any gun, tank, or cruiser" the United Kingdom can afford. Running Mate
Charles Linza McNary
Senator from Oregon since 1918
Out of all major players running for President or Vice President, Senator Charles McNary is the senior-most member of Government by far. Currently serving as Republican Minority Leader in the Senate, McNary has supported many of the progressive reforms of George Norris and the more moderate legislation pushed by President Long, such as the Public High Schooling Act of 1940. Where Willkie lacks governmental experience, McNary appears to make up for two-fold. Although there is much divide between the two men; with McNary being more liberal and progressive while Willkie is more moderate and pro-business.
Earl Russel Browder (AFA)
Senator from Kansas since 1935
Earl Browder under the united banner of the Anti-Fascist Alliance finally has the major shot at the Presidency he and his base have dreamed for. While he is one of the most influential Communists in the nation, he promised to take advice from his primary contemporaries and even appoint a multi-party cabinet should he win election. With a coalition like this and supporters like John Dewey, Earl Warren, and Upton Sinclair, most members of the alliance are happy to throw their support behind a Browder Presidency.
Browder is promising a very similar domestic policy to that of President Long, though promising to push for expansions in Social Security, National Health Insurance, and African-American Civil Rights. On the foreign field, Senator Browder promises to work with his allies in Congress to rearm the United States for "The greatest, most devastating war this nation may ever see." A comment which has left many uneased, some accusing him of pursuing foreign war. It is clear that Browder sees foreign war as inevitable in the coming years, and is pledging to put the country through a massive, possibly unconstitutional rearmament campaign for a war much of the public still doesn't want involvement in. Running Mate
Upton Beall Sinclair
Secretary of Labor since 1937
Outspoken socialist sympathizer and Democratic Secretary of Labor, Upton Sinclair risked his position in President Long's cabinet to provide a less extremist appeal to the currently Communist-led AFA ticket. Sinclair outside of his cabinet and union experience is a rather famous author of books such as "The Jungle" and "The Flivver King". View Poll
2023.06.08 04:21 sgtjoy Battle plans. Along for the ride.
Jesus watched the scene over again and was in awe. This was a man who would not change as he could not change. There was something else different. He was the most stubborn man alive in Jesus’ opinion and he had been around a while. His uniform never changed his cologne never changed. His hair was the exact same way. He had a biological age of 42 but a calendar age of 300 or so years. He wasn’t exactly sure since he had been born in a time when records were incomplete. Government was just getting back on its feet when he came into the world so who knew? Did it matter?
He had never espoused a political belief. He voted in every election and that was it. He was no campaigner and was not interested in any of it. He had a baseline distrust of ALL politicians. He had more time in command than any human in history. He had faced down alien races. He had been nearly terminated by pirates more than once but speaking in public scared the shit out of him. and He did not want to do it. He had done a series of lectures 60 years ago that resulted in some significant fallout he was eager to not relive. He did not want to discuss it. He knew what was about to happen.
The Dean of Students asked him to “Please please just this once set it straight and walk away from it. You did what you had to do at the time.” He knew it hurt when he was called “conquistador”. The Monday Morning Quarterbacker’s weren’t there when decisions had to be made, and neither was the dean, yet he still implored him. It would likely be televised too. Ken had built the best laid wall of obfuscation he could. He did not want any glory. He wanted to be left alone. Despite his best effort it did not work. His hope had been to be in the background making the best decision without regard to any so called “Glory” His hope was that the sailors in real danger would get the credit they deserved. It just did not work. Besides, it was clear that he wanted him to talk about that battle. This made him waver in his assent. He wanted to speak about what he wanted to speak about. Simple.
Admiral Pearl and He had had to face a hero’s welcome when they came home. Then the detractors started in on him.
Despite the promises of the Dean it would just open all the old wounds back up again and likely crank the peanut gallery up to full tilt. “I do not want it televised. You can record it if you want but I get to decide if it gets released. Deal or no deal? If you want to dictate the topic then that is my condition. You are asking me to open up a box I have had welded shut for years now. Anyone can look up the logs and watch every single shot and hit if they wish. It has been analyzed to death. What further can I add at this point? There is nothing I can tell you that hasn’t been discussed in hundreds of books at this point. It is a dead subject that I can drone on about.”
The dean held up his hand and said “I want to know how you felt about it. All of it. What was the methods you used to make the decisions. How did you feel? The most important event in modern history drops in your lap like an egg salad sandwich. You have to feel something. That is what I want to know. It is your bully pulpit to say what you wish. No restrictions except for classified material. And no using the “F” word.”
“I am not doing it unless I can say ”fuck”. Not happening.” He wasn’t kidding. “To sweeten the deal you can televise it but I have to be able to talk in my normal voice. And I will say fuck.”
The Dean relented and agreed. He had just manipulated the situation to where he could minimize the fallout. Besides: he was tired of people talking shit about him in all these books and articles. He was going to tell them all to go fuck themselves, with a cactus.
On the Saratov. Warp area 13 off the plane of the ecliptic.
The admiral sat and contemplated what they were about to do. They were waiting on a couple more ships before going to warp. He tried to sum it up.
This was a high stakes mission. He had a high stakes strategy. It was brilliant and it was risky. He was about to do something never attempted in real combat and was completely theoretical. They had wargamed it to death and this had honed their protocol. They were going to Net their AI’s. They would calculate global firing solutions using parallel computing. They had 8 AI’s that were going to fight it and this should greatly augment their firepower due to increased efficiency. No matter how they wargamed it the AI’s won. They had it down pat. He felt certain this was the right thing to do but there was also a huge ethical hole in this. For the first time AI’s would determine firing sequence, aiming and execution without human intervention. He had to pause and consider the implications. This was colored by several recent experiences. It was all about Jezz. He still loved Jezz but she scared him. She has never been malevolent, but man was he scared that she could become dangerous. He had created a tiny bit of monster in her for certain. She was a combat AI. She was a hunter killer and as long as she worked for them, she would be fine. If she decided to freelance it, they would be in trouble. All because of this: there was a chunk of predator in her digital DNA and he hoped she could keep it in check.
He had come up with the best rationalization he could. They were going in against one decidedly ill-tempered AI and another AI (the “damsel in distress”) wanting rescue. At least that is what it looked like on the surface. He couldn’t shake the feeling that this was not as clearcut as everyone else thought. Either way It would not be aliens versus humans but AI vs AI. At least that is what he kept telling himself. He wasn’t buying his bullshit either since none of it passed the smell test.
The decision to unleash the AI’s had come from above his paygrade, all the way to the Joint chiefs of staff of the world Navies. Forty-five Space faring nations sat down and hashed it out. He hated the complexity but admitted that it did work fairly well. They wanted the spam in a can home alive and if AI made this happen then so be it. There was one important point: they weren’t on the ships, were they?
As he sat about to enter warp and head out to the clusterfuck in question. The initial reason for all of this was still nagging him. Where was everyone else? He had data that showed an alien drive signature. He was resentful that they were fucking around with all this other shit. He would leave the AI’s in question to sort it out amongst themselves. He wanted no part of what was going on since he was doubtful that there were any good guys on either side of what looked like a standoff. All he wanted to do was find alien life (which they had kind of but it weren’t just quite the right kind.) He wanted something that could look like us maybe a bit . If you squinted. And they would find that hopefully, but they had a shit detail to cross off the bucket list first. The more he looked at this the more it became clear this should be two separate missions. Those AI’s were fighting over a dead world and he knew it. He just knew. He wanted no part of the Hatfield and McCoy bullshit. The real point was to capture as much as they could. This was actually about technology. They even had some freighters on the way for the cleanup and oh BTW come back alive. We will let the AI’s babysit you. May as well send a Voyager probe for all the use the crew was.
He was soon to learn the value of human judgment and that was going to prove a bunch of people wrong, sort of. All because of this: there are some decisions that do not fit into ones and zeroes. Value judgements were critical. That is one thing AI’s couldn’t do yet and it was that way why? Who could say for certain but in his years of interacting with true AI’s for the last 5 years did give him some insight. He was apprehensive to say the least but where was his fear coming from? He always thought that you had to identify the source(s) of any fear. He had it partially figured out, not only was he a bit afraid of Jezz and her friends he was also fearful for Jezz. And this is what he had: a gut feeling. And if that weren’t enough (and by gosh, don’t you think it ought to be?): how was he going to keep Jezz’s precognition a secret? The Admiral went through the computer logs and Jezz had not accessed any information about the disposition of the Galileo. It could be explained away but he was not convinced he could be very convincing. This was something that just did not fit. He could not make it fit, and he would just as soon pretend it did not exist. But it was clear that his AI had some degree of psychic power or something. She was different and he did not know if the other AI’s would be catching whatever it was. If the folks in charge knew the depths of his misgivings, they would be appalled. And the situation they were headed into was not as simple as it looked. He knew this. His questions were simple. Number one: Who were the good guys and who were the bad ones. Number two: could he maintain plausible deniability about Jezz. They were going to have a talk. Just the two of them. He needed some reassurances.
Also, He was trying to figure out a way to crack this and he had an idea. While looking at the menu for the ships mess, he noticed the two columns and he decided to do what he always did with most major decisions. He would make a list of the facts he had and try to run through the various permutations. A pencil and some paper would be adequate, and he even had a ruler so he could make it all professional.
So he made a list of the players Side “A” in orbit and Side ”B “planetside. Side “ A” obviously held the high orbitals. “B” had an extensive force field that would occasionally flicker. He thought that might be something to look into. He had all of the video files from the Galileo and there was one telescope tasked with watching the planetside compound. They had days of footage. He sped it up until the frames were racing by. The force field was visible due to impacts from what he assumed to be dust. This gave it a phosphorescent look. It also made it possible to have visual confirmation if it was up. The shield “failures” occurred on a stable repeated time frame. After doing the math and getting a video analysis program running, he figured it out only after focusing on the Spectro photography. Every 23.29 minutes the shield was apparently offline for 0.07 seconds. It was so brief it was tough for the naked eye to pick up but the spectral signature did.
Looking at the area under shield he could see a row of what appeared to be ships. These were triangular. He could see no evidence of what their primary drives were but it wasn’t the best picture. Things degrade through an atmosphere and distance. No drive nodes. No distribution rings. He had a suspicion, and he suddenly felt nauseated and had this sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. They were not using Alcubierre’ drives. They were using jump drives of some type. In the raw sensor data was a Gamma spike and a Gravity spike right before the attack. The Galileo probably never saw the vessel that hit them. But the Admiral was a patient man and he had the eye for detail. How they had missed this he did not know but he finally found what he wanted. The ship was identifiable. One sternward scope had several good views of a shape blocking the stars.
The other fact was that there was no warning. No comms traffic but, the recovered buoy made it clear that they knew they were suddenly in trouble since the buoy was released (and in warp) seconds after jettisoning it. Command deck recordings showed the captain getting a proximity alarm and then immediately releasing the buoy. There was no “prepare to be boarded” or “Heave to.”, just MASER beams slicing through the hull. Listening to the conversations on the deck made it clear they were paranoid as they were scanning with their non military grade graviton detector. Seems like it wasn’t paranoia after all.
They would have been blind until the ship was right on top of them. Someone was operating on a hunch and that person was Nico. He was frantic. As first officer he had the conn and did what he could to at least let them know what they were facing. It took some guts to do that. He saw internal video running. It captured Captain Nic’s hand slamming down on the buoy release button before the video cut out. It had to have damaged the Galileo Significantly. He had to override the safeties to get the thing to instantly go to warp. He knew that close to the ship the damage would have been substantial. Nico knew they were doomed.
He leaned back and took a deep breath. The ship in question was triangular in shape. Planetside. This could be some sort of trap or things were not as they superficially seemed or maybe he had found his bad guys. So he went back through the compound footage and there it was a ship moving out of frame. There was only maybe 6 meters of ship but it was clear where it was from. It was clear it was moving. Where had it been for 2 hours plus? If it were going to jump he would think that the image would have arrived at the Galileo after it had been blown apart. That is the whole point of faster than light travel. You could have all these paradoxes and that actually gave him more than a headache. It was a brain ache. Without FTL the tyranny of Einstein held sway. Why were they not there immediately? The Galileo was about 120 light minutes out. Assuming they get there immediately there should be no video. They had taken a detour. This he did not know for sure but also had a bad feeling about. I guess it did not mean much in the grand scheme of things but he did have a hunch. Only problem with that is that hunches don’t win battles unless it is more than a hunch.
He did not have a frame of reference for how a jump drive worked IRL. He had read all the theories. There was a huge amount of research being conducted but there were unpredictable failures resulting in some ships getting cut in half and what not. Just not something compatible with the life of the crew. Destructive testing was also expensive. They had gotten one small ship that was maybe twice the size of an emergency buoy to jump to the orbit of Neptune. What he did not know was how long that took. All he had was some rumor mill shit that he generally did not give two fucks about. He was not into “R and D". And while they could send the damn thing out there what they could not do was get it back the same way. The power requirements were so high that the capacitor banks were charged externally . Putting in a zero-point tap would push the ship size beyond the mass they could manage for the drive they currently had. They were running into problems of scale and those are not so easily rectified. Problems of scale were problems with lubrication. You just had to lube the ship with cash. You had to fuel it with Lots and lots of cash. This was such a priority that every aerospace manufacturer and design firms were plugged into the research institutions. It was a huge effort because of one thing. Warp drive was “too slow”. The boffins were thinking intergalactic travel. They had their sights set on the universe.
To top it all off there was one inescapable problem: You can’t put ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag.
Due to all of this they were going down an interesting path. All you had to do was fill the magnetic tank with antimatter. Matter antimatter annihilation gave near instantaneous power. It was used in weapons some but only the best militaries would even fool with it. Compared to nuclear warheads Antimatter left no nasty isotopes in orbit of a planet you may be interested in colonizing or defending. Also, you don’t want to poison an uninhabited M-class world in the habitable zone given their relative scarcity.
Finally: containing it is problematic but doable. You can probably pull off the power requirements but there is one downside. You are flying in a bomb. Not just a small bomb. It was a big bomb that will go off if you lose containment. 40 mega tons of TNT will vaporize a ship. There was talk of building a manned vessel but saner heads put the kibosh on that. Besides: no one with any sense would want to crew it.
The answer was obvious to him, and he suspected it was obvious to the researchers. Why not use a singularity? Just dump matter into it and harvest the radiation to charge up and go. He did not know where that research currently stood. He knew there were some successes along these lines and quite surprisingly there had been no major accidents. The problem came with feeding the little monster in a consistent fashion to produce enough power to in turn contain the position of the singularity. This was done with antigravity. Antigrav technology had found it’s way into just about everything, except cell phones. They still broke when you dropped them. The black hole was carried by the ship, but it never changed its axis of rotation. The singularity in this scenario is one hell of a gyroscopic top with fixed axes. Since the jet of X-rays only came “out” along this axis and given that the ship would change attitude constantly it was necessary to have X-ray converters on the entire internal surface of the reaction vessel. The ship moved around the singularity. That made things a lot more complicated and really fucked with power distribution. Since there would be energy jets at the poles of the internal singularity power flow would be from two converters at a time. And since they weren’t 100% efficient you had some heat to deal with. He had read a few initial summaries of the work. You still had to keep containment of the singularity just as with antimatter but an uncontained singularity would put a small hole of about 10 mm as it passed through the ship before evaporating. This was better than being atomized. The problem was heat. Waste heat is just unconverted energy as such there was talk of installing a steam turbine circuit to generate power and to cool the reaction vessel. This would be the use of centuries old technology in a starship since convection does not occur in a vacuum. Trying to radiate enough heat to keep the thing cool would not work. The act of running the turbine also cools the circulating liquid. Trying to radiate heat away in a vacuum took a lot of time so big heatsinks would only go so far. It was simple physics. If you can convert some heat to electricity that is a little less that must be radiated. He bet it was a pain in the ass and was probably not worth the effort, but Fusion reactors did not have the peak power output needed to rip space. You either stored it in cap banks for one big release or you instantaneously generated it. Ken thought that the whole line of inquiry was going to be moot and they would finally give up, build a huge Casimir bank and strap a ship to it.
Which meant one thing. The jump ships in question had to deal with waste heat from whatever power system they used. The only way to get rid of this waste heat was to radiate it into the void. This took time. He now knew what the delay had been. The alien ships had to cool off between jumps. He or she had also taken a circuitous route to get there. This in turn means that they wanted them to see the ship leave the planet. They could have possibly gone there straightaway but they had not done that. They wanted him to know. They must have jumped above the ecliptic and back down into the ecliptic.
This slowed them down.
It also meant that escaping with a jump drive wasn’t that easy. They couldn’t pop in and out of position. If they were in your sights they were yours. He also knew that they would have a brief window where they were detectable before fully entering normal space. All they had to do was detect that energy spike and target it at the right time.
After reading all of the executive summary Jezz had put together he had a lot of questions, and he did not know quite where to begin. He had one thought: time to get everyone together and pick everyone’s brain. He wanted to talk to his chief engineer and every engineer in the fleet. He wanted to get all ships Captains and First Officers to come up with a game plan: What is the best order of battle and why? He wanted to see the nonconventional answers as this was anything but a conventional situation. He kept each team to the size of two: Captain and first officers. They could consult with the crew and had access to any information they could find. He needed options. You never want to run out of options on the field of battle.
He turned to his First Officer “Take us out and form up the fleet. We will jump directly to warp 5. That will keep the transports somewhat close. I want the fleet on shipwide in 10 minutes. I have some tasks to assign. Set the countdown to jump for 3 hours. There may be a few stragglers. Jezz, calculate the route and send me a copy. Sensors. I want you to calibrate for Gamma detection and localization. I will send you the energy signature, now. Look for that and calibrate for that. Any questions? (There were none) Good. Yuri, you have the conn.”
He exited the bridge.
Outbound from Sol. 72 hours after jump.
The Admiral was in the center of the virtual room with 70 or so Captains and first officers arrayed about. The flotilla had topped out at 82 warships as well as smaller craft and support vessels. He had 82 ships he had under command currently. This was the biggest expeditionary force ever fielded by Earth. There was one Mormon ship with them. A frigate This was ironic he thought. It was also a bit much to keep up with. He had read all the preliminary proposals and he was now going through the ones he thought had merit. He was currently discussing Captain Pearls proposal she planned to arrange ships into a cylinder or hoop. The individual ships alternating primary weapons one way or the other. That way anyone jumping into the center was covered as well as the “external” surface. It was really a pretty good plan. It played to their strengths. They could bring weapons to bear quickly since they could not just jump away. He especially liked the network formation It was a nice diamond pattern. He just couldn’t shake it being familiar. She had a great movie playing that demonstrated it quite well.
“This is Guardians of The Galaxy” Ken said. Barely keeping his shit together. He wanted to laugh. Once everyone else started the cat was out of the bag, He did not want to ridicule her plan but this was too much. Bless her heart. It was Guardians of the Galaxy.
“OK everyone settle down lets get back to it. Does that make it a bad plan? It isn’t straight out of the movie either. I do think it has merit but I would prefer it to not be too obvious. Can we do a formation that gives closed fields of fire without looking like it? I think we should go with a spheroid that is as irregular as we can make it. I want the focus to be on full coverage. Actually, Jezz give me a pattern with those criteria.”
What she generated looked like a swarm of bees. When she overlayed the weapons plots the effect was uncanny. It looked very random but was anything but. The coverage was better than any plan he had seen. That settled it for him. They would war game it just that way. It was a bit risky since every ship had to maintain their place in relation to all the other ships. She had even linked in the shield generators from the transports. She had used every resource.
“That was brilliant Jezz.”
“I try Sir. I really do.”
“I know you do.”
The admiral continued “OK I want to go ahead and start moving the fleet into that configuration. We will stay in that all the way to our destination. I want checklists of unique tasks made up. Sensors are going to be the critical piece. I am hopeful we will see them when they jump in, and we can quickly target them if necessary. That brings me to another point. We cannot go in and just start banging away at everything that moves. By now you should be aware that this is not clear cut. We can speculate. And I have done it obsessively. What you need to know is that I am not sure who is good or bad. I have a sneaking suspicion that neither are good or bad. They are neutral. We don’t know if this is a rogue AI or AI’s. We do not know if there were biological life here at any point. There is certainly flor BUT THERE SEESM TO BW NO FAUNA. This world has undergone bombardment in the not too distant past somewhere around fifty year ago give or take. Could a sentient race have been killed off? Who the fuck knows. But our next task is to come up with some possible scenarios. Based on what we have seen I suspect this is a rogue AI. I cannot tell what has happened to them yet, but I suspect we will know more once we get planetside.”
He took a long draw from an Opus X and continued. Rank had its privileges.
“The Vikrant will provide aircover for a Marine expeditionary force to go to the planet’s surface and secure the compound. I have spoken to the Air boss and confirmed the strike package will consist of two squadrons of F-15’s for high cover and 5 Su-34’s to be tasked with strike. We have enough transport to go in one wave with backups to spare. That also leaves us with more than enough reserve forces. I hope we do not have to commit more but I will want another squadron of MiG-29’s or F-15’s in reserve. Keep them hot and on the ramp. I want to deploy as quickly as possible.”
One of the junior officers spoke up “That looks like a good plan.”
“Thank you son for that. It is like getting the compliment of how smart you are from your Marine Commander (He had to give Chuck a hard time. He loved him.)
Everyone at least politely laughed.
“Speaking of mentally challenged little brothers. What you got Chuck?”
Chuck went with it The Admiral would pay later. He had some photos of him waltzing with a large muscular person and he was going to visit scorn on him. All in the name of fun. “We are going to take two battalions. I am going to strip them down a bit and we will be utilizing more heavy weapons teams. I plan to draw more M-60’s and M-203’s. You guys are welcome to join the party since I could use a couple of forward observers. It will be a fun time. Additionally I am not babysitting the press pool this time boys and girls and others. It is potentially a deadly environment and I don’t want their deaths on my hands. Let them die with you fuckers instead. By the way; I have 18 Comanche-4 Helos for CAS.”
“That sounds like all the more reason to send them with you. The herd needs to be thinned anyway.”
Jezz hissed “SIR! You are going to get in trouble Sir.”
“Just a little lighthearted humor don’t be so touchy. Anyway’ what about armor?”
“I have a platoon of Abrams going in with us Sir. More for mobile artillery.”
When you got right down to it it was a very simple plan. Modest forces for planetside. There was enough aircover but not so much to result in fratricide. He had extra firepower at the squad level. He had thought it out. Chuck had his full confidence. He was an Oscar-6 and you did not make O6 by being stupid. He would make General soon and he would be taken from the pointy end of the spear. The spear would be a little less sharp for a while but that was just how it went. Right now, he had the best field commander alive in his corner and he was going to utilize him.
“I know my engineers are logged into this meeting and have been paying attention. What do you guys make of their propulsion system? I have been spouting off and thinking about this for a week and all I got is a bunch of ideas.”
He thought for a moment. Rusty, what do you think.” He had just called out his own engineer. Rusty was his nickname and damned if he could remember his actual one. He knew it was not Russel. “What do you think they are using for power?”
Rusty wanted to cuss him out. He did not like meetings. In his opinion meetings were just excuses to avoid doing any actual work. He could have asked him privately…”Rusty what do you think?”
“Goddammit Sir, they have to be using a singularity. They are not using capacitor banks so they are generating power instantaneously. The alternative is antimatter and we had better hope it is not antimatter since taking them out could be suicidal. Most importantly: I am not a fucking tactician. I am an engineer for fucks sake, and I don’t see why anyone cares what I think about this anyway. But you asked so here it is. We are going to have to assume that it is not antimatter and hope we are right. The thing that would keep me awake is the possibility that our weapons are outranged by the fireballs generated when their antimatter containment fails. That will end us, and the best tactic will be to run like hell. Add to that the fact that the rules of engagement mean we can’t go in guns blazing. What if we need to go in guns blazing? It takes away an option. Never discard even the most ludicrous of options as that may be the one thing that saves your ass.”
“ We do not want to go traipsing in there with our dicks uncovered and this ain’t no tulip picking expedition here ladies. This is potentially a war, and we better acknowledge that. I don’t want to be Debbie downer here but let us be real. Some of us are not coming back from this. Look around boys cause some of your compadres are going to be left behind. This is serious business. This ain’t no rescue mission and we better stop treating it that way. Since you asked, Sir.”
Admiral Alexander had to give him honesty points for that. He was right. “We are going to run this scenario as many times as we can before we arrive. I suspect that there is going to be some mass confusion until we figure out who the baddies are. If I had to make a wager, I would go with our folks in orbit, being less of a threat. We have clear evidence of who attacked our ship, and it weren’t none of them football shaped guys. (He did grow up in the South. Woodruff SC to be precise.) It is the flying Dorito that we have to watch for. My gut tells me we are going to have to smash whatever is running the show down there. That compound with the force field is our primary target.” Furthermore, I just don’t know how the remainder are going to act. Are they under a different AI? Is there more than one AI? We can say there are no life signs from any of the ships in system and that makes me think this is artificial all the way. ”
“ The Galileo was attacked by one of the ships on that Spaceport apron. None of the ships in orbit participated from what we can tell. Also, the Galileo was attacked from outside the ecliptic. They are using some type of jump drive that apparently has to avoid gravity wells. That would explain why the attack occurred outside the system. We can take advantage of the situation though if we cozy up to that gas giant and let them come to us. They can’t just pop in on us that way and we can put the planet behind us or we can peg them up against the planet. We can warp anytime but they can only jump in relatively clear space. In short: We are going to pick the battlefield.”
“First wave will be led by the Atlanta and Saratov. The Havana and The George Washington will be tasked with offense. I want rail slugs loaded and ready to go. The surface strike package will go in from the Vikrant and the Conestoga. Commander Yactine has the battle plan for the surface operation and is handling their own transport duties. We can supply an AC301 Spooky for fire support if needed Commander.” The commander waved it away. He felt he had enough assets.
“I do think we may want to take a chance on something. Since they are having to jump “vertically” out of the system to avoid gravity wells and since we suspect they will do it in two jumps I think we can predict where they have their initial jump point. We can nail them before they even get to the main fleet.”
The admiral pointed to a plot that indicated a tangential course that terminated well above the plane of the ecliptic and one that went directly back into it. It was an “L” shaped course. At least he felt sure they traveled in straight lines and not arcs. It made the most sense but could still be wrong. Poring through the Galileo’s sensor data he could see a spike that barely registered. That also indicated that they took a while between jumps. Once they exited subspace, they would be sitting ducks for at least a few minutes. He was guessing 20 minutes for them to recharge their drive and get ready. They would have to target them when most vulnerable. Given that he was not feeling particularly charitable he decided that annihilation was in order. There were 50 deaths to avenge after all.
“Jezz, what do you think?”
Jezz paused. She had been on good behavior and that had made her overly cautious “I think your basic assumptions are correct, Sir. I think we are dealing with two AI’s. One is on the surface and one is in control of the orbital fleet. Approximately 56% of the orbital ships appear to be functional. They could also be in a powered down mode but looking at the Galileo data and 20 ships look to be fully operational. Weapons appear to be primarily MASER batteries. I can see no evidence of rail guns. Their weaponry may be less impressive, or they may be armed in a fashion we cannot detect. I wouldn’t assume them to be inferior to our ships. If we do that we run the risk of being surprised. I do not like surprises.”
The Admiral had one more question. He was looking more for how she was going to reply, “What is your gut feeling Jez?”
She paused “My gut feeling is that we are dealing with two AI’s. One of them has gone mad.” It was out of her speaker before she could catch herself. He had asked what her gut feeling was. What did he know? She did not have a gut. But, she did have feelings.
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2023.06.08 03:48 Ukrainer_UA 4:48 EEST; The Sun is Rising Over Kyiv on the 470th Day of the Full-Scale Invasion. This is the final part of our series about the ideas, values and dreams of fallen defenders of Ukraine. These are the words of the Heavenly Regiment. + Discussion + Charities
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🇺🇦 Слава Україні! 🇺🇦
We are Ukraïner
, a non-profit media aimed at advocating authentic Ukraine, unexpected geographical discoveries, and multiculturalism.
This is the final selection from an article we published recently. You can find earlier parts here:
The Words of the Heavenly Regiment, Part VI
You can get used to air alarms, power and communication interruptions, curfew restrictions, but never to the loss of people. Ukrainians painfully experience the loss of each defender, even if they may not have known them personally. The full-scale war united the entire country, and we owe our lives to everyone who died at the front and who defends our lands now.
We continue to publish quotes from heroes who fought for the free future of Ukraine. Each soldier from this Heavenly regiment deserves eternal honor and memory, so we must do everything to continue their struggle with dignity and remember the price of freedom.
Maksym Medynskyi Maksym Medynskyi Journalist
A graduate of the Institute of Journalism of KNU named after Taras Shevchenko. After the start of the Russian invasion in 2014, he came to the defense of the country and later returned to civilian life. He worked in the press service of the Ministry of Infrastructure and in the Office of Reforms of the Ministry of Energy. In February of 2022, he joined the ranks of the 95th Air Assault Brigade.
Died on April 29th, 2022 in a battle near Kharkiv.
"I was never afraid of losing my life, only afraid of losing it in some stupid way. Therefore, there was no question whether to go to war or not. There is a war in my country, so I have to defend it."
Dmytro Yudenko Dmytro Yudenko Activist Co-founder of the NGO Unity and Brotherhood
Dmytro took an active civic position and defended the interests of the Poltava community. In 2014, after the death of his younger brother Yevhen at the front, he joined the Azov battalion. Subsequently, he became a co-founder and instructor of the public organization "Unity and Brotherhood", which coordinates military training. After the start of the full-scale invasion, he returned to the army.
Died on May 6th, 2023 near Bakhmut while performing a combat mission.
"Moments of tranquility... The sound of water, children's voices... In our time, all this quiet has a great price. It is paid for by the sweat and blood of the fighters on the front lines, it is paid for by sleepless nights and the challenges volunteers endure. It is paid by the citizens, each of whom contribute to bringing us closer to victory...
Thank you all for tranquility. Semper Fi!"
Oleksiy Khabatyuk Oleksiy Khabatyuk Energy Expert
A graduate of Kyiv Polytechnic University, he studied power engineering and thermal physics. He worked in the field of renewable energy, in particular at the State Agency for Eco-Investments. For several years, he was a deputy in the Department of Energy Efficiency at Naftogaz [ed. - the largest national oil and gas company of Ukraine]. Led the Fund for Targeted Environmental Investments. After the start of the full-scale invasion, he joined the ranks of the Armed Forces.
Died on May 4th from a shrapnel wound in Bakhmut.
"After our victory, we will all have an equally important task - to create a new social contract, which should be followed by real changes in all areas - public administration, the judicial and law enforcement system, education, my beloved energy sector and the field of environmental protection...
What these changes will be called is not as important as their content — democratic principles, effectiveness, and the priority of knowledge, experience and professionalism over bootlicking and nepotism."
Oleh Drobotskyi Oleh Drobotskyi Painter Photographer
In 2019, he graduated from the Lviv Academy of Arts. He created a number of paintings and photographs on military themes, and the most famous exhibition was his exposition called AD/242: Donetsk. Airport
. This series was based on the work of Serhiy Loyko, the author of the photography book Airport
. Even before the start of the full-scale invasion, Oleh Drobotskyi stood up for the country's defense and was a marksman-medical officer in the A4123 military unit.
Died on March 6th during shelling in Donetsk region.
"Three years ago I visited Chernihiv for the first time. The wonderful city and incredible people made a huge impression on me. At the time, I could not have imagined that in just three years the Russian army would slither there bringing its "Russian world". I know that among my friends on Facebook there are many people from creative and other professions. I'm asking you to join the struggle, do not stand aside and do not run away."
Orest Kinash Orest Kinash Accomplished Alpinist
He was educated as a teacher and worked in the State Penitentiary Service for 18 years. After that, he returned to his hobby, working as an organizer of mountain hikes and creating the Facebook group OK Travel Studio
in order to unite lovers of active recreation. In 2016, he joined the Truth Hounds
team, which documents the war crimes of the Russian Federation. For six years he took part in dozens of field missions. From the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he served in the ranks of the Armed Forces.
Died on March 29th, 2023 in the battles near Bakhmut.
"Do not forget about those who are at 'zero' [the front line], it is the most difficult for them now. A low bow and eternal memory to the Soldiers who gave the most precious thing - their lives - for Ukraine, for their land, for their family. Let's stick together. Together we will win and everything will be Ukraine."
: Daryna Mudrak Editor-in-chief
: Nataliya Ponedilok Editor
: Kateryna Lehka Photo Editor
: Yuriy Stefanyak Content Manager
: Anastasiia Zhokhova
The 468th day of a nine year invasion that has been going on for centuries.
One day closer to victory.
🇺🇦 HEROYAM SLAVA! 🇺🇦
- u/Jesterboyd: Jester is one of the moderators of our community living in Kyiv. Currently raising money for tacmed supplies for Viktor Pylypenko (see here), one of Ukraine’s openly queer soldiers saving lives as a battlefield medic. http://jesterboyd.live/donations
- United24: This site was launched by President Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be allocated to cover the most pressing needs facing Ukraine.
- Come Back Alive: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and social reintegration of veterans.
- Trident Defense Initiative: This initiative run by former NATO and UA servicemen has trained and equipped thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
- Ukraine Front Line US-based and registered 501(c)(3), this NGO fulfills front line soldiers' direct defense and humanitarian aid requests through their man on the ground, Ukraine's own u/jesterboyd.
- Ukraine Aid Ops: Volunteers around the world who are helping to find and deliver equipment directly to those who need it most in Ukraine.
- Hospitallers: This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.
- Humanity: Co-founded by u/kilderov, Humanity is a small team of volunteers securing and distributing humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable populations in temporarily occupied Kherson Oblast. Kilderov and his friends were under occupation in Nova Kakhovka in 2022.
You can find many more charities with diverse areas of focus in our vetted charities list HERE.
2023.06.08 03:16 Fabulous-Letter-5649 Engineer retires, and is replaced with a Human (Pt 5)
If you haven't read it
If you haven't read it
If you haven't read it
If you haven't read it
To address a point brought up in the comments in Pt 4 about the spread of diseases, since any bacteria or virus would have to evolve to cross the species barrier, the spread of diseases to other species only start to become a concern after prolonged contact, and that's assuming it would even evolve to do that in the first place.
Hope you enjoy Pt 5 and happy reading!
After setting up the sound isolators, Will walked over to the portable synthesizer and used it to print these bottles which he then brought into the bathroom, which he had opened the door for. Along with the strange white opaque bottles he also brought that same pair of shorts that he had worn last night, presumably to change into. I think I much preferred it to a human's sleep. Sure it can be boring at times, and because half your brain is off everything feels kind of funky and you lack depth perception, but I just couldn't imagine what it would like to be totally unaware of my surroundings for so long.
Eventually, not too long after he closed the door, I heard these coughing sounds from the bathroom, I suppose when he took off his shawl to give some of it to me he must've inhaled too much dust. That was a really nice thing he did for me. I heard the toiled flushing and shortly thereafter the shower turn on. Wait a minute. Will had only had one meal today! and I haven't eaten at all! But yet, I'm not hungry, now that I think about it this planet seems to have a much faster day-night cycle, at least a half of what I'm used to. Not too long after he finished using the toilet, he began his shower, which didn't last very long, I just hope it's long enough to get that smell off of him.
He exited the bathroom, his damp skin glistening in the warm glow of the lightbulb. It struck me once more, this time much more so as I was closer to him and the lighting was better, just how tightly human skin hugs the body. Even with no depth perception I could still make out a significant number of the muscle groups. He didn't seem to notice my staring, all he did was sit down at the desk and watch a live feed of Kepler on his communicator, who, for the record I still don't trust. I may trust Will, but not Kepler, I will never
trust that thing. Eventually, he got up and walked over to his bed, laying down in between the blanket and the mattress, only letting his head poke out, which faced away from me.
A few hours later, as the warm, red light of Ix crept in through the blinds, and the hunger became too much to ignore, I got up, slowly though as my back was rather displeased by the amount of time I had spent lying down. I stretched, and walked around a bit to try and clear out some of that fogginess that tends to linger after hibernation a bit quicker. Big day ahead. Glancing over at Will I noticed he was still asleep, which looked quite funny, eyes closed, drool was leaking from his mouth, occasionally twitching. He looked quite peaceful, cute even. By the time he had woken up, I had already gotten my UV cleanse done, and since he had taken a shower last night, he would need is paint inspected for any cracking, of which I would have to help with since he lacks proper motor function in his right hand. While I waited for him to be done changing in the bathroom, I used the synthesizer to print me a Nutrition Pack, which of course would remedy my hunger. I also tried to print his breakfast for him but apparently only he is allowed to print the hazardous chemicals, which makes sense I suppose. Instead I read over his report he made, was just detailing local flora and small fauna, infrastructure, weather data, architecture, etc, etc. All things considered I was quite proud of how he did.
"Hey so uhh, I wasn't sure if you noticed but, the day-night cycle here, super short." Will said, exiting the bathroom.
"I was just about to tell you that! Oh by the way I tried to print your breakfast but it refused since it included caffeine."
"Well thanks for trying but we typically eat different things for each meal, the categorization really depends on the person, but personally" he walked over to me and leaned over the table, inputting some numbers into the keypad.
"I really like to go for a BLT, some chips with a glass of water for my lunches." He said as the synthesizer spun into action once more.
"What's that?" I asked
"You wanna try it?" Will responded, side-eyeing me.
"Can you just tell me what it is?"
"Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Mayonnaise, Everything bagel seasoning, bread, and some thinly sliced, fried potatoes."
"I think I'm sticking with my Nutrition Packs for now."
Will rolled his eyes, and with time to kill before we had to leave to catch the train we just talked some more.
"So has Captain Reloxyn responded to your report yet?"
"Mmm yeah, she said, let's see.. ah, "Good work, forwarding to Central Command.""
"Best response you can hope for."
"Really? Huh. Was expecting something with a bit more... personality."
"We all do at first, but the Federation is adamant that protocol be followed strictly to the letter in dealing with Pre-FTL societies, don't want to risk them finding out."
"I see, let's just hope I don't try to modify that synthesizer again." Will joked.
"You know, you'd make a great surveyor, you should put in a transfer request."
"Well that's new, usually I'm the one suggesting these kinds of things."
"But no, I think I'm good. I quite like being an engineer."
"Oh will you... looks like you got a little something around your mouth."
"Shit I do." He said straining his neck to glance over into the mirror.
"Eh, no biggie, I'm just gonna wipe it off with a paper towel." He said, inputting a new code for the synthesizer.
"So how's the Nutrition Pack treating you so far?"
"Just as flavorless as ever!" I said with a massive, very Will-like grin on my face.
After double checking all the disguise makeup was all intact, we both got ready to go leave to catch the train to Hl'ix. Once we got into the lobby Will tapped the bell on the check out desk to call for a receptionist, who turned out to be the same woman that checked us in the night prior.
"Leaving so soon! You haven't even gotten a chance to explore!" She said, rounding the corner to face Will.
"Yeah well we have a train to catch in about half an hour so we should probably be heading out soon."
"Well in that case your total is $40!"
Will glanced at me in terror, having entirely forgotten the matter of the bill. I got up bringing all our stuff with me over to the desk so I could manage it. Once I got there I reached into a pouch and pulled out the exact amount requested in local currency. Scouts always keep a very small synthesizer on them to produce currency.
"Here you go." I said handing her the money.
"Well have a great day and good luck on your travels!" Za'ul said as we left the building.
Thankfully the wind had died down, Will released another Weather Sheet for data recording, and gave me the weather run down, though this time much briefer than last time.
"It's nice out." He said
"Great, now which way to the train station?" I asked.
Will turned around scanning his environment.
"There! Look, here's a sign pointing to the train station, see, not that far!"
The sign read 1 kilometer, so it would probably take me about 20 minutes. Zorxians like myself aren't exactly known for our speed.
"Hold on, I'll take your stuff." Will graciously offered.
"Oh thank you!" I responded, handing him my suitcase.
Thanks to Will carrying my things for me, we made it to the station in about 18 minutes.
"Hi, could we have two tickets on the 10:30 to Hl'ix?" Will said to the ticket agent.
"Sure thing, here's your tickets! Enjoy your trip!"
Will walked over to me with the two paper slips in hand.
"Just got a transmission from Captain, a day here is about 16 hours. 8 hours of sun, 8 hours of night." He said, talking quietly as to not arouse suspicion in the waiting area.
"10 minutes until the train gets here." He said once again, though in a much less secretive tone.
We both made our way over to the platform. Will handed me my ticket, which indicated a private cabin was booked so we could discuss things without revealing our identities. The train was nice, with a reddish carpet illuminated by the same temperature lighting as from the hotel. The car we entered had a hallway running along the right side of the car, with about 6 rooms to a train. Each room was separated by a glass door which slid open and closed, and could be locked. I closed and locked the door behind me, and Will placed down the sound dampeners in the four corners of the room. Inside were two long couch like chairs running perpendicular to the window, with a table about 2/3rds the length of the room running down the middle. Above the seating were some racks for luggage, but not wanting to risk forgetting even the smallest of things, we placed our luggage right next to ourselves, as we sat opposite from each other.
"So, we should start going over some of our observations so far for the first full report." I said, pulling my notepad out of one of the pouches on my suitcase.
"Yeah, sure thing." Will responded, doing the same thing as I had just done by taking his notepad out.
"One thing I've noticed is that this planet never developed the use of hydrocarbons. When Earth was at this stage in development, we used them everywhere.
Not saying it's a bad thing they don't use them, actually it's a good thing, just something I find strange. Looking at the planet's age one would assume that they'd have access to such recourse."
"Well, we used fossil fuels for a short while, but we ditched them long before we got here, technologically speaking."
"Huh. I wonder if we're an outlier, wouldn't be the first time." Will chuckled.
"How come you stayed with them so long?" I asked
"Weren't you aware of how dangerous they were?" I followed up.
"Oh we were, we know just how bad they could be. Now, this was prior to when we achieved post-scarcity so things were a little... complicated, so I'll try to sum things up. Basically, a very small number of people had amassed massive fortunes off of selling and trading fossil fuels, now at this time corruption was rampant, so they used these fortunes to maintain their dominance without actually needing to do anything. They lied to everyone, they influenced policies, funded denial, and tried to keep the science quiet. Things eventually thought got out of hand and it became impossible to deny, at least, outright denial. So instead they just stalled action, prolonged it, made it less effective, and in some cases, reversed it. Things got really bad. But, humans are resilient creatures, and sure, we caused a mass extinction event in the process, but eventually we picked up the pieces, and slowly but surely, reversed the damage we had done."
I had heard of civilization that had gone down that route before, I had even done a scout mission on one of those worlds before, but all that was left were graveyards.
"That's horrifying..." I responded.
"Yeah... that tends to be the reaction I get when I talk about our history. We did some pretty fucked up shit."
"It's just, humans are a diverse species, and you meet, more often than not, just some really wonderful people, but... there's also an astonishingly high number of shitheads. And for most of our history, we had societal structures that rewarded these shitheads."
"I should still include that right... the part about no fossil fuels?" He asked.
"Yeah, but just know it's not that big of a deal." I answered.
My communicator beeped.
"Looks like I'm getting a transmission from the ship."
"What does it say?" Will asked as he craned his neck over to me.
"Well it's a weather model, it looks like those big wind and dust storms happen every couple of days- our days I should say, we just happened to be a little bit unlucky with timing our landing."
"Right, when does it say the next one's coming?" Will sat back down in his seat.
"Not for another 3 us days, or about 5 days here."
"You know, I really wasn't a fan of the whole using the local days for sleeping. I much prefer the 24 hour days I've gotten used to on the ship."
"Yes I too agree, but it would be far too risky to do so."
"Suppose." Will said, turning his head to face the window.
"So could you tell me a bit more about your family?" I asked Will.
"Well, I already told you about Mike, he was just an absolute shithead, you already know that. My sister, Kim, she's wonderful. A few years older than me, my parents adopted her since they weren't sure if it was safe to have another kid after Mike... but here I am! So the doctor got that one wrong! Anyways, she helped me a lot, with school, dealing with Mike's bullshit, friends, she was the first person I told I was gay. I don't know where I'd be without her. My dad, he was an inspector for the Department of Agriculture, so always away stars know where to inspect some farm. My mom was a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital so always dealing with some kind of medical emergency. That's why Mike was able to make my life so fucking miserable for so long, that and he had all his friends do it for him, plausible deniability and all that shit. When I was 12 my mom got this promotion, which meant my dad could quit and stay home, so Mike stopped but that's when he got his friends to do it for him. Eventually when my mom retired a few years later she found out about the shit he did and got his friends to do it for him and cut him off while he was away at University. It served as a wakeup call for Mike, he's now a maintenance technician, inspecting buildings, roads, train tracks, all that stuff. I'm kind of glad he got his shit together, he did apologize, I know he means well now and I do think he's made a change for the better, but it's just so hard to forgive him. Kim, she works for The Federation too, but as one of their ambassadors at the Lunar Embassy on Shackleton Crater."
Unlike last time I asked him, his eyes didn't well up, but he just kept rubbing his face, making the skin all puffy.
"Oh, careful you don't rub the makeup off." I told him.
"I'm thirsty I... I should get some water."
Will opened up his suitcase to grab the synthesizer, pressing a few buttons and quickly making a bottle of water before quickly putting the synthesizer back. I decided it was wise to do the same, but instead grabbing a Nutrient Drink from the outermost pouch of my suitcase. After chugging down the entire bottle, Will turned to me once more and asked:
"Right Tomō, now you have to tell me more about your family."
"So my parents were both professors at the University of Lenage, my mom was a Professor of Language Development and my dad was a Professor of Anthropology, they would often go on research trips together all over The Federation, and since they went together they would bring me, and eventually my brother, along with them. I suppose that's where I developed my interest in Pre-FTL scouting."
"Damn." Will chuckled.
"You know, I don't really blame my parents, I used to, but they did their best. Mom had a late start to her career, didn't realize she wanted to be a surgeon until she was 28, and my dad quit as soon as he could, plus he kept trying to get transferred to a different department so he wouldn't have to travel. They did everything they could."
"KCHH This is the conductor speaking just wanted to give you all a heads up that we are now on final approach to Hl'ix Central with an ETA of 5 minutes. Please start getting ready to disembark. KCHH"
We both stood up, Will collected his things, and I collected mine. He packed up the sound dampeners and we both did a second inspection of each other's sides to make sure we didn't miss anything. By the time we had finished doing so I unlocked the door to the room, and stood in the line that began to form out the door as the train slowly rolled to a stop.
The doors had open and we all began to make our way out the car, we both walked over to the right side of the station marked "EXIT" we made no time to inspect the station hall, as to not arouse suspicion. upon exiting we were greeted by buildings no higher than 15 floors, though much taller buildings could be seen under construction off in the distance. That, and the metro station entrance across the street being marked as "Central Station/Historic Hl'ix" lead me to conclude that they had decided to preserve the older, more centrally located parts of their city, and push the newer developments further away.
"There!" Will said over the sound of the crowded sidewalks and jammed roads
"Okay!" I shouted back.
The light to cross the street changed and we made our way across and down the block, arriving at the hotel just a few moments later. Upon entering, the building was far nicer than the one we had stayed at in Urup, and Will darted to the check in desk to get us a room, I followed suit.
"Hi there! My name is Rozca, what can I do for you?" The man behind the desk said to Will as he approached.
"Well we would like a room, preferably one on your top floor."
"Well sir, the top floor only has suites, and suites only have one bed, unless one of you sleeps on the pull-out."
After a few seconds of deliberation Will responded.
"Sure thing we'll take that."
"Alright and for how long will you be staying with us?"
"Just for 3 nights."
"Alright, your total is $3,650."
"Here you go." Will said, pulling the money out of the small pouch I had handed him earlier.
"Your room is 1507, Enjoy your stay!"
After grabbing two keys, one for each of us and handing me my copy, we headed over to the elevator, got in, went up to the 15th floor, walked over to our room and dropped our luggage off. Will gestured for me to come inside.
"So, we need a plan for exploring the city." Will said once he had placed down the sound barriers.
"Now I propose that we take the train over to where all the new development is, and meet back at the metro station over there around dusk to head back here." He said standing back up.
"And we can put these trackers on each other so we know where we are." I said, rummaging through my suitcase to grab the tiny, transparent, tracking beacons that adhere to the skin.
"Found them!" I said holding the labeled baggie.
Carefully taking one out I placed it on his right forearm, which felt strange to the touch as I was able to feel the muscle fibers lying beneath the skin. Then, taking the other one out, Will placed it on my right forearm, which I'm sure must've felt equally strange to his touch, the loose skin sliding around. Afterwards, we took our communicators and paired them to each other's beacons.
We both left the room shortly afterwards making sure to lock the door behind me as I left. Heading out the lobby back into the busy sidewalk we made our way to the metro station, descending into the cool underground tunnel. We both bought our tickets, with the train arriving just moments after we got to the platform. The train itself was quite crowded, and a quick change of gloves made it socially acceptable to grab onto the straps hanging from the ceiling. The ride itself only lasted about 8 minutes, stopping at about 3 places along the way. We got the ticket hole punched on the way out, walked up the stairs and went our separate ways to observe and explore the more modern parts of town.
After about 10 minutes of walking I paused to take in my surroundings, craning my neck upwards to examine the under-construction skyscrapers. Lost in observation however, I failed to notice a vehicle coming my way.
I heard the whirr of the electric motors but it was far too late.
I heard the gravel cracking beneath the spinning tires, but I failed to pay any attention to it.
It was only when I felt the hand grab onto the back of my sweater that I finally, truly, paid attention to what was happening.
And now, I found myself in the back of a van, and a piece of black cloth covering my eyes, with another one stuffed into my mouth.
Looks like I'm going to leave it off there on a nice cliffhanger, Pt 6 should be coming out Friday since that one's going to be quite the action packed part. Hope you enjoyed!
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2023.06.08 03:08 SatanasLucifer Can I get a delinquent student loan payment removed from my credit report if I was not aware a payment was due?
TL;DR: Payments for a portion of my student loans I didn't know about came due two months ago. The company servicing the loans was sending the bills to an old address and I never saw them. I didn't know the payments were late until I saw it on my credit report. That account is settled now, but there is still a mark on my credit report that I would like to get fixed.
I am creating this post because I am planning to call a credit bureau in a few days to dispute a mark on my credit report and I want to be sure I can present the facts at hand in a way that will get my case taken seriously.
I recently graduated from college. While I was there I took out several federal student loans, including Perkins loans. While I was in school I started getting emails from the company that would be servicing my loans. I set up an account with them years ago and I am prepared to start making payments on those loans soon when they start coming due.
As far as I was aware everything was squared away but a few weeks ago I noticed a mark on my credit report for a delinquent student loan payment. Upon contacting my University I was informed that the payment likely pertained to my Perkins loan which was being serviced separately from all of my other loans. They provided me with the contact information for the company servicing that loan. After establishing contact, I promptly paid the outstanding amount and resolved the issue. But by that point the account had already been delinquent for over 60 days.
I am planning to dispute this entry on my credit report but I am concerned because the report is true; the account actually was delinquent. However, I don't think I had any reasonable way of knowing that this account for my Perkins loan existed separately from all of my other student loan accounts. The Perkins loan is for a relatively small fraction of my total student loan debt so when I added up what I owed in my other accounts the number seemed in line with what I thought it should be. Moreover, my Federal Student Aid portal only lists my University and the student loan servicer I already knew about; there was no indication my Perkins loan was being serviced separately or by another entity.
Upon creating an account with the Perkins loan servicer I was able to access and download my previous statements. It looks like they started mailing those statements out a few months ago, but they mailed them to an address I haven't lived at for almost 10 years. I have reported changes of address every time I've moved and my current address is on file with the major credit bureaus. In my opinion, the loan servicer should have an obligation to make a minimal effort to be sure they have actually gotten a hold of a creditor at the correct address before reporting a delinquency, but I don't know if they actually do have that obligation.
Can I get this mark taken off of my credit report?
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2023.06.08 02:31 PaddlingUpShitCreek Understanding the Implications of the Federal NOL, Share Ownership Levels, and How it All Works Using Scenarios
| || |MODS submitted by PaddlingUpShitCreek to BBBY [link] [comments]
: Although this post encompasses the use of ChatGPT, I put a lot of time into researching how NOLs work and trimming my conversations with ChatGPT to create a streamlined breakdown on how equity ownership levels affect a company's ability to retain the benefits of federal NOLs. As such, please do not delete this post simply because I reference ChatGPT where appropriate, as I'm just trying to credit it rather than passing the content off as my own work.
: If talking about the ins and outs of NOLs with respect to equity ownership levels doesn't get you hard, this post isn't for you.But if NOLporn is your thing and you want to really understand what all the fuss is about regarding the 4.5% substantial ownership level and chain of custody research BBBY is doing, then this post is for you. Let's go.
: If a company going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings has 1.6 billion dollars in federal net operating losses (NOLs), what limits or rules must be followed with respect to equity ownership percentages to ensure the company retains the benefit of NOL as a tax credit benefit? CHATGPT
: The use of Net Operating Losses (NOLs) can be limited in the event of an "ownership change," as defined by Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Under Section 382, an "ownership change" occurs when the percentage of a corporation's stock owned by "5% shareholders" (directly, indirectly, or constructively) has increased by more than 50% over the lowest percentage of stock owned by such shareholders at any time during a "testing period" (typically three years). [So the IRS will always use the lowest ownership % over the three-year period].
In other words, if more than 50% of the company's stock changes hands over a three-year period, this could trigger an "ownership change" and limit the use of NOLs.
When this happens, the amount of the NOL that can use to offset taxable income is limited to the "Section 382 limitation," which is equal to the product of:
- The fair market value of the corporation's stock immediately before the ownership change (ignoring any capitalization caused by the use of NOLs after the ownership change), and
- The long-term tax-exempt rate (which is published by the IRS each month).
Any unused annual limitation may be carried over to later years, and the limitation may under certain circumstances be increased by built-in gains recognized during the five years after the ownership change.
Because of the potential for an "ownership change" to severely limit the use of NOLs, corporations going through bankruptcy often structure their reorganizations to minimize this risk.
: Can you please provide an example to help me understand your explanation? CHATGPT
: Sure, I can certainly provide an example to help illustrate this:
Let's say Company A has $1.6 billion in Net Operating Losses (NOLs) it would like to use to offset future income.
Company A then goes through bankruptcy and a new investor, Investor B, comes in and purchases 51% of the company's stock. This represents a change in ownership of more than 50% within a three-year period, triggering an "ownership change" under Section 382.
Due to this "ownership change", the use of NOLs is limited. Let's assume the value of Company A before this change was $500 million and the Long-Term Tax-Exempt Rate published by the IRS for that month is 2%. The annual limit on the use of NOLs after the ownership change would be the value of the company times the Long-Term Tax-Exempt Rate, which in this case would be $500 million * 2% = $10 million.
So, instead of being able to use the full $1.6 billion of NOLs to offset taxable income in the future, Company A is now limited to using only $10 million of its NOLs per year. This is significantly less than the amount of NOLs the company originally had available.
: Does it matter if Investor B was or wasn't a 5% shareholder before making the purchase that made them a 51% shareholder? CHATGPT
: Yes, it does matter. The rules in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code are designed to track the ownership of "5% shareholders."
These are defined as any individual or entity that owns, directly or indirectly, 5% or more of the stock of the corporation. The rules track changes in the ownership of these 5% shareholders over a testing period, which is usually three years.
If there is a more than a 50% increase in the ownership of the corporation's stock by 5% shareholders over the lowest ownership at any time during this testing period, then it can trigger an "ownership change." This would in turn limit the future use of Net Operating Losses (NOLs) by the corporation.
So, if Investor B already was a 5% shareholder and their stock ownership increases such that the cumulative change by all 5% shareholders over the testing period is more than 50 percentage points, it could trigger an "ownership change" under Section 382.
: I'm having a hard time understanding your explanation, so would you mind cultivating your example in greater detail and in chronological order, making sure to provide examples of the different parties you're referring to? CHATGPT
: Of course, I understand this can be a complex area. Let's break down the example into a timeline with more details.
- Start of Year 1: Company A is operating normally. It has accumulated $1.6 billion in Net Operating Losses (NOLs) over its lifetime due to business investments and expenses exceeding revenues. These NOLs are a valuable asset because they can be used to offset future taxable income, reducing Company A's future tax liability.
- End of Year 1: Company A runs into financial difficulties and files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- Start of Year 2: Company A begins the process of reorganization under Chapter 11. It has several shareholders, but none that own more than 5% of the stock.
- Middle of Year 2: As part of the reorganization, Investor B, who did not previously own any stock in Company A, decides to invest in the company and buys 55% of the company's stock.This creates a sudden and significant change in ownership, as Investor B, a "5% shareholder," now owns more than 50% of the stock. The cumulative change in ownership by "5% shareholders" over the past three years has now increased by 55 percentage points, which is more than the 50 percentage point threshold in Section 382. As a result, an "ownership change" has occurred according to the rules of Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code.
- End of Year 2: Due to the "ownership change", the use of NOLs by Company A is now limited. Let's say the value of Company A right before Investor B's stock purchase was $500 million. Also, the Long-Term Tax-Exempt Rate published by the IRS for that month is 2%.So, the annual limit on the use of NOLs after the ownership change would be the value of the company times the Long-Term Tax-Exempt Rate, which in this case would be $500 million * 2% = $10 million.
- Years 3 and beyond: Instead of being able to use the full $1.6 billion of NOLs to offset taxable income in the future, Company A is now limited to using only $10 million of its NOLs per year, significantly less than the amount of NOLs the company originally had available.
: The company I'm studying is the debtor in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which increased its number of shares of common stock outstanding from 117 million in January of this year to 558 million right before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. So how would the calculation account for the company issuing additional share of common stock outstanding? CHATGPT
: Under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, an "ownership change" is determined based on shifts in ownership among "5% shareholders," not by the total number of shares outstanding. However, the issuance of additional shares could potentially impact the analysis if it results in shifts among the "5% shareholders."
If the company issues additional shares and this results in a significant change in the percentage of ownership held by "5% shareholders," then this could contribute towards an "ownership change."
When the company increases its number of shares, it dilutes the percentage of ownership for each existing shareholder. If a significant number of new shares are issued to new investors, or existing shareholders who previously owned less than 5% of the company's stock, and they now own 5% or more, they would be considered "5% shareholders." Changes in their ownership are then tracked for the purpose of Section 382.
Let's illustrate with an example:
- January, Year 1: Company A has 117 million shares of common stock outstanding. There are various shareholders, but none own more than 5% of the stock.
- Just Before Chapter 11 Filing: Company A issues an additional 441 million shares, for a total of 558 million shares outstanding. Let's say, of the new shares, Investor B purchases 280 million shares. This means Investor B now owns 50% of the company's stock (280 million shares / 558 million total shares = 50%). Investor B is now a "5% shareholder."
As a result of the issuance of additional shares and Investor B's purchase, there has been a 50 percentage point increase in the ownership of the company's stock by "5% shareholders" over the lowest ownership during the testing period. This is an "ownership change" under Section 382.
Just as in the previous example, this "ownership change" would limit the use of Company A's NOLs to a certain amount, calculated based on the value of the company and the Long-Term Tax-Exempt Rate. Company A could only use that amount of NOLs per year going forward.
: What if instead of Investor B purchasing more than 50% ownership of the stock, 7 different investors purchased 10% of the stock? CHATGPT
: The analysis would remain essentially the same, although with multiple investors involved, the calculations might be more complex. Each of these seven new investors would be considered a "5% shareholder" under Section 382 because each of them now owns 10% of the company's stock. This means that changes in their ownership are tracked for the purposes of Section 382.
Let's say the seven investors, Investors B, C, D, E, F, G, and H, each purchased 10% of the company's stock. Together, they've acquired 70% of the stock, which exceeds the 50 percentage point increase threshold within a testing period (typically three years), and thus an "ownership change" has occurred under Section 382.
It's important to note that under Section 382, it's not the total change in ownership, but rather the cumulative change in ownership by "5% shareholders" that triggers the limitation on the use of NOLs. So, in this case, even though seven different investors each bought 10% of the company's stock (and no single investor bought more than 50%), an "ownership change" has still occurred.
: What if 35 different investors each purchased 4.5% of the company's stock? [I asked the question this way on purpose because there is broad concern that shares of BBBY/BBBYQ are oversold] CHATGPT
: The rules under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code primarily focus on "5% shareholders." If a shareholder owns less than 5% of a corporation's stock, generally their ownership changes aren't considered in determining whether an "ownership change" has occurred. This concept is sometimes referred to as the "small shareholder exception."
So in the case where 35 different investors each purchased 4.5% of the company's stock, these changes in ownership would not typically trigger an "ownership change" under Section 382 because each investor falls under the 5% threshold. However, the aggregation rules of Section 382 can be complex, and the specifics can depend on various factors, including how the investments are structured and whether any of the investors are considered to be acting in concert.
Also, please note that the IRS can sometimes treat groups of shareholders who collectively own 5% or more of a company's stock as a single "5% shareholder" if they are found to be coordinating their investments or acting together in some way.
: What if 4 investors each purchased 12.4% of the company's stock? CHATGPT
: In this case, each of the four investors would be considered a "5% shareholder" under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code because each of them now owns 12.4% of the company's stock. This means that changes in their ownership are tracked for the purposes of Section 382.
Together, these four investors have acquired 49.6% of the company's stock. While this is close, it's still below the 50 percentage point increase within a testing period (typically three years), so this would not trigger an "ownership change" under Section 382 by itself. [Interesting].
However, it's important to remember that the 50 percentage point threshold includes all shifts in ownership among 5% shareholders during the testing period. So, if there were other shifts in ownership among 5% shareholders during this period, those would also need to be taken into account. If the cumulative change in ownership by all 5% shareholders exceeds 50 percentage points over the lowest ownership during the testing period, this would trigger an "ownership change" under Section 382.
: How does the calculation factor in the company's outstanding warrants? CHATGPT
: Outstanding warrants can be significant in the context of Section 382 calculations. Warrants are options to purchase stock, and when those options are exercised, they can potentially cause an ownership change.
Under the rules of Section 382, warrants are generally treated as an "option" and are taken into account in determining whether an ownership change has occurred. Specifically, the rules provide that options are generally treated as exercised if doing so would cause an ownership change.
In other words, if the exercise of the warrants would cause a shift in ownership that contributes to an "ownership change" (as defined in Section 382), then those warrants are treated as if they've been exercised, and their impact is included in the calculations.
So, if a company has outstanding warrants, and if the exercise of those warrants would cause a shift in ownership among 5% shareholders that contributes to a more than 50 percentage point change over a three-year period, then those warrants could trigger an ownership change under Section 382, limiting the use of the company's NOLs.
: What is the warrant holder owns less than 5% of the company's stock? CHATGPT
: Warrants held by a shareholder who owns less than 5% of a company's stock could still potentially have an impact under Section 382. This is because the Section 382 rules generally treat options (which include warrants) as if they've been exercised if doing so would result in an ownership change.
So, even if a warrant holder currently owns less than 5% of a company's stock, if exercising those warrants would increase their ownership to 5% or more, or if the combined effect of several small shareholders (each owning less than 5%) exercising their warrants results in a cumulative change in ownership of more than 50 percentage points over the testing period, then an ownership change could be triggered under Section 382.
: What if an investor owns 4.5% of the company's common stock outstanding and 4.5% of the company's preferred stock outstanding? CHATGPT
: When evaluating changes in ownership for Section 382 purposes, the IRS considers the ownership of all classes of stock, including both common and preferred stock. This is because Section 382 generally defines ownership in terms of "stock," without distinguishing between different types or classes of stock.
So, if an investor owns 4.5% of the company's common stock and also 4.5% of the company's preferred stock, the investor’s total ownership would be considered as a percentage of the total value of the outstanding stock of all classes.
However, if these percentages represent two separate categories of stock and are not additive (meaning the investor does not own a combined 9% of total company stock), each stake remains under the 5% threshold, then this investor would generally not be considered a "5% shareholder" for the purposes of Section 382.
This interpretation could potentially be different if the investor was considered to be part of a "public group." The IRS sometimes treats small shareholders who collectively own 5% or more of a company's stock as a single "5% shareholder" if they are found to be coordinating their investments or acting together in some way.
: I thought it was important to share this information because the evolution of the conversation helps explain how strong of a case BBBY has to fully map the chain of custody belonging to its true beneficial shareholders. Ensuring that no shareholders individually or collectively cross the 50% ownership threshold is what keeps the tax benefits of its federal NOLs intact which, by the way, don't include any of the net losses incurred for fiscal year 2023 yet.
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2023.06.08 01:21 GRIMMMMLOCK Beginning to write instead of post. My Ep I treatment.
After posting many of my ideas for the prequels on this sub, Ive decided to begin writing it in earnest. My versions are written as if I am George in the 90s, so the EU exists but plays second fiddle to the film cannon, there is no clone wars or Mandalorian, or any other lore post prequels.
Also, I've decided to go with four films, I think there is enough material to flesh out without any filler. However, this does mean that Eps IV, V and VI would need to be renumbered, but I think looking back, it would definitely have been possible for George to achieve such a thing.
Here is my high level overview, full rewrite is underway.
Episode I 'Attack of the Droids'
-Set Up and Context- (This is not the opening crawl, this will be revealed to the audience in the crawl and exposition throughout.)
The Trade Federation are in dispute with workers in their hyperdrive fuel factory on Alderaan. King Prestor Organa, who has historically been favourable to the TF, is mysteriously unwell. The TF responded to the striking workers by deploying 'security' droids to the scene, this then escalated the dispute to an armed conflict, with workers taking up weapons to defend themselves, and seize the refinery. His heir, Princess Padme Organa and her younger Brother Prince Bail Organa are keeping the peace, while Padme attempts diplomacy through their Senator, Bail has led the Royal Guard, the only permitted militia on the planet, in between the refinery and the security droids, resulting in a standoff on all sides. The Chancellor has asked the Jedi to investigate, the secretive order dispatched Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi to heed the call, he must hurry though, impatient and expecting results, the TF have begun building a blockade around the planet to force an intervention in their favour.
Note: The galaxy is demilitarised. The only permitted forces are private militias who serve a specific purpose, such as defending a royal family, or a squad of troops assigned to a star freighter to protect the goods from piracy.
This film begins with an assassination attempt on Padme and Bail. This successfully kills Bail, but Obi Wan's presence saves Padme's life, he then whisks her off planet, but he is badly injured, and their ship is badly damaged. On Tattoine, Anakin is introduced like Rey, but the ships he's scrapping aren't Star Destroyers, and he dosent live in an ATAT, we see him save parts for his podracer rather than trade them for food and water, share his limited rations with his poorly mum Shmi, and work on his Pod. Above, the Alderanian ship can no longer maintain lightspeed travel, and the ship is ejected from hyperspace, crash landing on Tattooine. Anakin races to the wreck, and agrees to save the badly injured Obi Wan in exchange for all the parts of their ship he can salvage. Padme agrees. Shmi uses her indigenous practices to connect with the force and save Obis life. (For more on this, see my post history). This shows us how the Jedi and Sith don't have a monopoly on use of the force in the galaxy. The next day they head for the pod race, Anakins only hope of a better life, on the way they see TF activity at a mine, we learn they replaced all the workforce with droids, which hollowed out all the communities and left nothing but ghost towns. Old West style. Beru, Shmi's sister, and her boyfriend Owen meet with the party to help them travel to the race. Owen lost his job to TF droids, and has a gambling problem. The podrace itself is essentially a Burning Man festival for the sons and daughters of the Galactic upper classes, where untold amounts of credits are bet over a weekend on working class and slave racers, many of whom die in the process for the chance at a better life. We see glimpses of Jabba, water barons, and hints of the rich and famous. Not quite as explicit and beat-you-over-the-head as The Last Jedi's casino, but similar, the point is, the people betting on these races are far, far removed from the people racing in these races. Anakin is given a quick 'trust in the force' talk by Obi Wan, and a good luck kiss on the cheek from Padme, who we have seen be more and more flirtatious with Anakin over their time in the desert. Padme is usually surrounded by the prim and proper, and is relishing the chance to literally and figuratively let her hair down, she gifted her royal clothes to Shmi as thanks for their hospitality on their way away, Shmi earlier gave Obi and Padme tattoine peasants clothes. Our group then seperate as one tries to find a way off world.
Meanwhile, on Alderaan, the TF is panicking about the Jedi and Padme reaching the senate, and begin a network wide search across multiple planets. Darth Maul is revealed to be a liason between the TF and a mysterious benefactor. We finally get an understanding of what the TF are truly up to as they reveal their clone of Bail. They attempt to take command of the Royal Guard and planet more generally by quietly killing the King and installing the Bail clone, but it is not entirely successful as their attempt is complicated by Padme being the true heir, and some of the lords object to confirming Bail as King.
We see Owen bet on Sebulba secretely, while telling Beru he has bet on Anakin. Meanwhile Obi and Padme are spotted by the senator for Correlia, who's engaging in a bit off partying and gambling while on the job. Correlia is a technocracy, and all of their elite have Deus Ex style transhuman alterations thag make them half cyborg. This senator initially proposes a marriage between Padme and their Prince, we get this sense this is something that has been brought up many times before. Padme rejects the offer, but Obi counters with one he cannot refuse. Transport to Corruscant, and his backing of an emergency motion in the senate on the situation on Alderaan, in exchange for a winning tip. He looks them up and down, decides to trust Obi, and bets big against a rival TF Viceroy, to sweeten the deal. (Correlia want this marriage so they have access to Alderaan hyperdrive refineries and deny the TF, their rivals, access.) At the last moment, Owen has a change of heart, suddenly he believes in Anakin, he heads to the bookie, but needs more cash, so he grabs Padme's dress. The bookie accepts and asks his minion to appraise it.
Anyway, Anakin wins, he decides to join Obi to become a Jedi, much to Owens protest, they leave tatooine, Shmi hands Ani a necklace with a carved khyber crystal, it matches her own, then kisses her son goodbye.
The Alderaan senator recieves a request to verify the heritage of an item, he sees the hologram of Padme's dress, blood stained becuase of the help she gave Obi on the ship whole he was badly injured, and believes Padme is dead. He uses this as evidence to make the lord's ratify clone Bail as king. Bail then immediately orders the attack on the refinery. Nute Gunray's now chipper attitude is cut dry by a stoic Darth Maul, who continues to meditate, and suggests cryptically that he should not be so sure she is dead. Throughout the film he has simply made smug yet cryptic comments and weirded out the TF guys, appearing to be all knowing, but letting nothing slip. (For more on my version of Darth Maul, see my post history.)
On board the senator's ship, Obi attempts to comfort Anakin over his mixed feelings of leaving his family, but struggles to relate die to his indoctrination into the Jedi, he dosent even remember his family. The moment is interrupted by Padme seeing the news of her own death on the holonet. The senator tries to follow-through on his promise to raise an emergency motion, but the motion is denied due to the Alderanian senator refusing to agree to it. Padme attempts to appear in the senate directly, after all, surely all she would need to do now is show her face for the senate to see the issue, but she's told the senators would be more offended by the improper following if parliamentary procedures than what's going on in Alderaan. So, frustrated, she says she'll call for a motion of no confidence in the chancellor, but it's unlikely to succeed, the TF have their money in the pockets of a huge chunk of the senate, any vote will go their way. Upset and out of options, Padme storms out.
On Alderaan, we see the attack begin. Union leader Saw Gurrera leads his terrified workers into the defence of the refinery against the droids. Think of the scene in Miras Tirith where Aragorn notes none of the men are soldiers.
Obi Wan reflects on the situation, and all he's witnessed throughout the day, for once his faith in the system, the senate and the order is shaken. He's been insisting throughout the film to trust the process, the system works. Now however, he feels he must confide in Padme. He tells her that he was tasked with testing Padme for force abilities, if he found none, he was to falsify a result and recruit her to the order, she would ultimately fail to become a Jedi, but since she'd have already denounced her right to the throne and titles, she would be able to serve the order in other ways. His superiors saw this as an acceptable solution to maintain peace, as they saw it, Padme would never find accord wkth the trade federation, but her younger brother likely could be convinced. At this, Padme snaps, she marches back into the bridge and tells the senator to hail his prince. Padme agrees terms for a royal marriage between the houses of Organa and Correlia in a no nonsense 'cut the crap' speech. She sets her terms, including a fair deal for refinery workers, protection against automation by droid, and the liberation of Alderaan from TF control. Correlia accept the terms. We see their ship exits hyperspace, gravity assist around a star to turn around, and re enter hyperspace.
In the third act, we're taking Alderaan back. We get a glimpse of the power of the Jedi as Obi and Anakin sneak on board one of the TF ships to deactivate the shield. Then, the Correlian forces attack Rogue One style. The battle for the refinery turns as the air support arrives, ships land, and Padme makes herself known to the royal guard, they realise what's happening and stop fighting for clone bail, then the plant is taken.
The remaining workers join forces with the RG, and Correlians to retake the city. It becomes a full scale revolt, with Padme making an inspiring speech over hologram, decrying her 'brother' as a tyrant and illegitimate king. When the palace itself is breached, droidekas are dispatched and it becomes a much tougher fight, we lose minor characters we have come to know in the film here. This is the moment Darth Maul finally reveals himself. Obi ignites his lightsaber for what looks like a one on one, and Maul says thank you for bringing what he wanted all these years directly to him, Obi looks at Padme, but Maul begins to pull Anakin towards him. "The Sifo-Dyas reborn", Obi reacts quickly and tries to pull anakin himself. (See my post on Dooku, Maul and the Jedi, but suffice to say in my rewrite the Sifo-Dyas is the Jedi messiah, the prophecy foretells of his second coming, and Maul sees himself as not a sith, but the onky true Jedi, to the point that his tattoos are actually Jedi scripture.), The tension rises as maul creeps closer and closer, he ominously quotes scripture, the prophecy of the second coming. Sure enough, it fits the anakin we have seen so far, but not quite the darth Vader we know he becomes. Note, I haven't written this yet, but it will include something like "Son of two Sons (Suns)", the prophecy tells that the second Sifo-Dyas will destroy both the Sith and the Jedi, but one will rise to destroy him, and lead the faithful into a golden age. (it's luke).
As Maul is about to strike, believing he will be the one, Padme break the force pull lock by blasting the shit out of maul with a blaster, forcing him to deflect her shots, and causing anakin to be yeeted into Obi's arms. He turns to attack Padme, but Anakin body tackles him to protect her. Obi force pulls anakin yet again, then faces his saver towards Maul. It's here that we get the double saber reveal. Anakin lifts his blaster and Obi pushes him back like Dooku did to Qui-Gon in TOTJ...back behind the red shields. I think I'm going to have the palace and refinery be connected to make that make sense. (I need the refinery to be far enough away that the standoff then siege of the droids can happen, but close enough that we can have the Darth Maul showdown after they reach the palace, and still in the epic setting it happens in the film.) We hear radio chatter indicating that clone bail has been located, Padme says come on to Anakin, but he stays.
Anyway the fight progresses, it's epic of course, but the twist comes with Obi being injured, the fight seems over, Maul has won. I never liked the hanging off the edge thing, so let's have Obi be injured seriously for the second time this film. Then have an Viper vs the Mountain dynamic, Maul is taunting him, he turns his focus to Anakin, gloating over his victory and the downfall of the false Jedi Order. He opens the shield, Anakin is clearly terrified, but raises his blaster, filmed in close up, cut to Maul, who smirks and ignites his saber. Obi in the meantime has crawled along the floor towards them, and slices Mauls legs off. Obi, exhausted, passes out, but the big pit begins to fire one of the blue lasers, and Maul rolls into it. (This is part of the hyper drive production process, and we establish during the crash scene that when this blue laser stuff escapes containment, anything it touches falls into and out of hyperspace. So Maul has literally just been yeeted across the galaxy in a random direction. Will he survive? It's nearly impossible, nearly.)
The Alderaan plotline then wraps up. The throne room is stormed, clone bail is apprehended, the TF leaders are arrested, the blockade is broken as the ships flee into hyperspace, they discover the body of real bail, and a clone Padme in storage, which was the original plan if the assassination attempt went to plan.
The film wraps with three scenes, one being the funeral of real bail, attended by the characters of the film, including clone bail, and public, so we see that the info about bail bring a clone is common knowledge. (Alderaan will transition from a direct Monarchy to a democracy with a ceremonial Monarchy who serve only a diplomatic purpose, like the UK. This won't be exposed in the films explicitly, it's a bit of expanded lore)
The second being Anakin being nervous about facing the Jedi Council, he plays with his khyber crystal, the one from Shmi, before hiding it swiftly as Obi Wan approaches. 'They're ready for you. As we discussed, be truthful, and the order will allow you to begin training with me.', anakin smiles, still unsure, and he enters the chamber, we don't see any more.
The last scene is Nute Gunray in prison, he recieves his meal in his cell while on a call with his TF colleagues/lawyers about a public inquiry set up by the senate to investigate their activity in replacing heads of planets wkth clones. It seems his wealth has bought him a cushy time in prison. He takes a bite of the food and then dies foaming at the mouth. Somebody dosent want the truth to come out.
To tease the remaining saga, my titles are: - Episode II: The Guardians of Peace - Episode III: The Clone Wars - Episode IV: Revenge of the Sith
submitted by GRIMMMMLOCK
to RewritingThePrequels [link] [comments]
2023.06.08 00:34 ThanyTony WW: History of Suomus (1200-1400)
| || |Suomus strides forward~ submitted by ThanyTony to StrikeWitches [link] [comments]
By the beginning of the 13th century, the land of Suomus began integrating within European society in a more interactive way, Turku became an extremely important trading spot for ships travelling across the northern seas and goods previously unknown to the Suomi were introduced to their land as well as new people they could interact with, of notice were two groups. The Knights of Germania
who had come back to their homeland from the Rastel Crusades in Palestine and got in contact with the Suomi because of their iron and developed a close relationship which would only grow more fruitful with the years as this small but powerful order of Knights and their Witches were destined to shape the fate of Europa in the future.
The others were The Rus
, the forefathers of the Orussians who came from the east of Suomus, initially intending to settle the lands but as that area is filled to the brim with swamps that were not to the liking of the Rus who preferred fertile lands and vast steppes backed down, they did however stablish close commerce with the Suomi, getting along better with them than other Nordic powers in the area, especially the Swedes who were always somewhat antagonistic to the Rus despite their ruling dynasty the Rurikid being of Swedish origin.
Sweden ceased further attempts to colonize the Suomi western lands as they had grown far more powerful and united, still living mostly in cities ruled by chiefs but would all come to unite should the ruling chief on Turku called for it, they also developed a really good navy to improve their trading and for their Witches to hunt Neuroi in the Baltic Sea, they were always interested in looking for the legendary gigantic Neuroi monster living in the Nordic seas called “Iku-Torso”
, said to be so big it could swallow an island whole. It became somewhat of a cultural obsession for Suomi Witches to traverse the coasts patrolling their seas and hunting for this mythical Neuroi but thankfully it never appeared…
…Not yet at least.
During the century however came a relevant player that greatly affected the two friendly powers of the Suomi people, The Mongol Horde
arrived and conquered the lands of the Rus in 1237 save for the city of Novgorod who submitted to the horde’s power, they also battled the Knights of Germania in 1241 but would later unite forces a year later to defeat the Neuroi ravaging central Europa at the Battle of Legnica
, first time in human history where two nations teamed up to fight the Neuroi.
As a result the city of Novgorod became a republic vassal to the Golden Horde and the Knights of Germania were granted a piece of land in the land north of the Holy Karlsland Empire and the Kingdom of Poland near the Danish colonies to settle, this being the territory known as Prussia
, now having a proper state they could stablish better relationship with the Suomi and sometimes Witches of the order would go to Suomus to be trained by Suomi Witches. The Mongols also came to visit Suomi lands being impressed with everything they saw and became fascinated with the power of its people and its Witches, especially their Witches as they found them incredibly beautiful, strong and resourceful, which are qualities Mongols value on Witches.
They also openly admitted their desire to conquer Suomi lands launching an attack from Novgorod but it never came to happen, historians debate as to why this invasion never came to happen, some believe that the Mongols saw no benefit in Suomus which would imply they were not aware of its vast amount of iron reserves, but the most likely reason is that they backed down upon seeing the swamps, considering how unsuccessful the Mongols were in Vietnam and Madjapahit…it is reasonable to think they would be terrified of the land, even if they outmatched Suomus and other Nordic countries in numbers.
Thanks to that Suomus kept existing in relative peace through the 13th century, once the 14th century arrived they continued their relationships with the Novgorodians and the Knights of Germania, now known as the Prussians, most noteworthy being the signing of the Treaty of Pähkinäsaaren
on the 12 of August 1324 between the Suomi chiefs and the Mongol Empire through the Novgorodians, to establish the boundaries between Novgorod and Suomus, being the first nation in the world to recognize national borders of what constituted “The Land of Suomus” at least from the east, this treaty would continue to be respected by the Novgorod successor states all the way to the Orussian Empire much later and it greatly strengthen the bond between the Rus and the Suomi which began concerning the other Nordic countries, especially Sweden.
This resulted in many skirmishes on the sea between the Swedes and the Novgorodians/the Mongols but they would mostly be resolved at the seas or the Islands across the Baltic Sea and never affected the land of Suomus, although they would often sent their forces to assist the Novgorodians because they obviously disliked the Swedes and wanted to prevent them from gaining more settlements across the Baltic Sea.
More cities began to appear across Suomus marked by fortresses and castles across the shores, Suomi people began transitioning from a tribal society to a more urban society similar to that of its neighbors, although they still managed themselves as a confederation of chiefdoms, only this time they would be selected in elections similar to how the Knights of Germania chose their grand masters every 10 years, little by little it became impossible for the Swedes to conquer Suomus as it had become a nation by this point and eventually renounced to their pretentions on the land, especially because they were facing their own conflicts with the Norwegians and the Danes.
The Mongols began loosing their grip on the Novgorodians and this gave the latter more freedom to become wealthy through commerce, and through them the Suomi also met other Rus people from deep within their lands, The Muscovites
from the Principality of Moscow and they also became very friendly with the Suomi, some would even say they clicked better than they did with the Novgorodians despite the distance between their lands, as such little by little the Mongols became less frequent for the Suomi until they would disappear from common culture in the land around the 15th century, they left their impact on the Suomi however as they helped them improve their military and taught them the secrets of their bow making skills, improving the letality of the Suomi raiding parties who could now snipe their foes from bigger distances with the deadly “Silent Arrows”
capable of piercing even Neuroi shells.
As the century progressed however, chaos began forming on the area at the time, civil unrest began forming between the three Nordic nations as their royal families were connected through various relatives, a war between the Danes, the Norwegians (In an union with the Danes through a marriage) and the Swedes erupted, the results of this conflict saw the Danish Queen Margrete I of Denmark
ascend to the throne of both kingdoms which greatly displeased the Holy Karlsland Empire northern states and the Swedes, from the former was the duchy of Mecklenburg who began hiring German Privateers to sabotage Danish ships, they were known as the “Vitalien Brothers”
, but these went rouge and became full fledge pirates taking the Alan Islands from Sweden as their base and began raiding Suomi coasts and ships.
They however would all be exterminated quickly in the year 1395 by a group of 2 Suomi Witches and one Gallian Witch (Named Enora, Orvokki and Vieno
) who devised a clever plan that took four months where one would join the pirates and seduce as many of them as she could to create conflict for her attention, the other would begin to sabotage their ships, resources and operations and the other would carry out guerrilla assassinations pretending to be a vengeful spirit or a Neuroi, little by little weakening them until they simply revealed their plans and beat them all into submission and eliminated the threat once and for all.
The winner of the Nordic conflict was none other than Margrete herself, managing to take control of the three countries and their colonies creating the powerful state and precursors of Baltland…The Kalmar Union
, and because of their efforts and good relationships, Suomus was invited to join although they were promised far more liberties being more an ally state than properly integrated into the Union, which they accepted as they saw it as beneficial, they were even granted the Alan Islands (Which greatly upset the Swedes as those had been their lands for almost 400 years now).
So came the 15th century and Suomus was now part of the powerful Kalmar Union and had good relationships with its neighbors Prussia and the Rus, things looked pretty good for them…this century however was one of change…as the Middle Ages were about to end and a new era for humanity loomed on the horizon.
2023.06.08 00:30 AutoModerator General Questions Thread, June 07, 2023
A thread for new collectors to ask basic questions of the community.
Frequently Asked Questions below! A longer version of the subreddit rules is here.
For questions specifically concerning bootlegs or vendor legitimacy, please ask in the Bootleg Megathread. NSFW & Spoiler Guidelines
- For Self Posts: include a bolded NSFW note next to links in that post.
- For Links to sites/images: If the figure is NSFW, or the website has any NSFW content (including ads) be sure to tag your post NSFW and use the appropriate link flair.
Any collection posts containing bootlegs, comments advocating buying bootlegs, or links to sites selling bootlegs, recasts, or unlicensed merchandise will be removed.
People often ask about the legitimacy and/or safety of a number of websites which sell large resin statues. The more commonly-asked of those deal primarily in resins from studios which do not have a license from the Japanese IP holders to produce merchandise. Therefore links to those sites are not permitted here. Another sign is if MyFigureCollection doesn't list the either the statue, its manufacturer, or the shop it's being sold on.
My Figure Collection is like MyAnimeList... but for figures! Their database includes thousands of items which been produced during the last couple of decades, along with reviews of shops and other helpful articles. One can also list their own collection and post gallery photos.
AmiAmi HobbySearch Mandarake (sells rare figures) Good Smile Company Online Shop (often has exclusives) Good Smile Company US shop Crunchyroll Shop Hobby Link Japan (aka HLJ) Solaris Japan (MFC partner) BigBadToyStore (MFC partner, US retailer) Big in Japan (also has proxy service) Tokyo Otaku Mode Right Stuf FigureHaven Archonia (EU) Yorokonde (EU) Figuya (EU) Dekai Anime (UK) Gamersheek (UK) Jungle
List of retailers on MFC
/AnimeFigures' List of Retailers
Community Guide to Shopping in Japan
Nekomagic (News/Previews) NyaaFigurines (Reviews/Releases) Kahotan's Blog (News/Reviews) Figma Blog (JP)
Buying & Shipping 1. What’s the best place to buy my anime figures from?
That’s going to depend a lot on what works for you, but most people around here buy them from Amiami, Big in Japan, Hobby Search, HobbyLink Japan, or Tokyo Otaku Mode. If none of those work for you for whatever reason, there’s a list of reputable retailers in the sidebar that you can check out at any time. Be extra careful when ordering figures from websites like Amazon or ebay, as there are a lot of bootlegs on those sites. Don’t be afraid to ask in our Bootleg Megathread if you’re unsure.
2. What differences are there between the shipping options I get from most Japanese shops?
Below is a rundown of the main shipping choices you’ll get at most retailers. Keep in mind that if an order is large enough you will be forced to use one of the more expensive options, as SAL shipments have lower size and weight restrictions.
3. I placed two+ orders for figures at different times. Will my items be shipped together, or will I have to pay shipping twice?
- Unregistered SAL: Sometimes referred to as uSAL, is usually the cheapest method. It does not come with any tracking or insurance. Usually takes up 2-4 weeks for delivery.
- Registered SAL: Sometimes referred to as rSAL, is insured for the declared value up to 6,000 yen. It comes with a tracking number and usually takes 2-4 weeks for delivery.
- EMS: This method of shipping is much faster than either SAL options, usually arriving within a week of shipment. EMS shipments are insured for the declared value up to 2,000,000 yen.
- Surface: Shops don't offer this very often. It's an actual cargo ship and slow as a result.
- DHL: Becoming more available as an alternative to EMS on AmiAmi and other sites. Can be less expensive than EMS and of comparable speed, but may be more reliant on the specific geographical area being shipped to. The price is also determined by the size of the box. Offers their own tracking.
Most shops will ask you to pay shipping on a per-order basis, but here are some that will allow combined shipping:
If you’re unsure about whether or not a shop we haven’t listed will combine your orders, please refer to their individual FAQs.
- Amiami: You can combine orders here, as long as the orders ship in the same month. It doesn’t matter if the item is new or preowned. Any preorders that are set for that month can also be combined with other orders for that month. However, be aware that if the preorder gets delayed, Amiami will remove that item from that month’s shipment and place it on a new order. To combine orders on Amiami, use the “Combine Orders” feature under “My Account”.
- Hobby Search: Hobby Search will let you combine orders that release in the same month, but you cannot combine in stock items with preorders. If you want to combine multiple preorders, or multiple in stock items, you can do so using the “Order Recombination” feature on your account page.
- HobbyLink Japan: At HLJ, you have the option to send paid orders to their “Private Warehouse”, where you can store them for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to ship the items, you simply select which items to ship and HLJ will combine them into one shipment for you. To use this, just select the “Private Warehouse” option as shipping when you order.
4. When will I get charged for my preorder?
Most Japanese shops charge you once the item is in stock and ready for shipment. When that happens, they will send you an email asking for payment. Some shops (mostly overseas ones), will allow you to pay for the item up front though, if you’d like. A few with that option are:
Keep in mind that overseas stores will likely get the figure a few months after Japanese ones, so pay attention to the release date stated on the website you are buying from so as to avoid that confusion.
- Big in Japan (Japanese store)
- Tokyo Otaku Mode
- Anime Island
5. Should I expect to pay customs fees when importing figures?
That depends on where you live. Here’s a quick rundown:
6. The figure I want is an exclusive, how do I go about ordering one outside of Japan?
- Australia: 10% GST is now assessed up front.
- Canada: Minimum declared value for charges is around CAD$20 for regular shipments, and CAD$60 for gifts (gifting something only seems to lower the declared value by about CAD$40, not deplete it completely). When using Amiami, try their Small Air Packet option. It comes with tracking, gets there in about the same time as EMS, and is better at avoiding customs.
- European Union: As of 1st July 2021, VAT has to be paid on all goods imported from outside of the EU. Retailers are supposed charge VAT for purchases under €150, however many Japanese retailers currently do not, so VAT will be charged when your order arrives in the EU. Orders that are >€150, VAT and duty will be charged by your local customs.
- UK: As of 1st January 2021, VAT is to be charged by retailers for orders <£135. However, customs isn't currently charging VAT on parcels valued at <£135, even if the VAT hasn't been paid. Goods >£135 will have their VAT and duty calculated and charged by customs.
- Mexico: Minimum declared value for customs fees is USD$300 for shipments by post, and USD$50 for shipments by courier.
- United States: A shipment has to have a declared value of USD$2,000 before customs starts hitting you with fees, so you most likely won’t have to worry about them at all.
You have three options for this:
A. Big in Japan is known to stock exclusive figures and ship to other countries. Usually the price is higher because they build in their proxy fees, but it’s easier than worrying about using a forwarder or proxy service. If you live in the US, Crunchyroll, Right Stuf, and Tokyo Otaku Mode also get exclusives sometimes, but out of the states the shipping can get expensive.
B. Forwarding Services: A forwarder is someone who you ship an exclusive item to so that they can forward the package on to you, usually for a flat fee + shipping. When using a forwarder you still make the purchase yourself, and enter their address into the shipping field. When the box arrives at the forwarder they will then stick your address onto the package and send it on its way.
Some popular forwarders are:
Be sure to read each sites instructions on forwarding carefully!
C. Proxy Services: With a proxy, you tell them what the item you’re looking for is and they will purchase it in your stead. This is handy for when a company doesn’t accept foreign credit cards, or you’re having trouble navigating a Japanese website.
Some popular proxies are:
Again, be sure you thoroughly read through each sites proxy instructions.
7. I see a bunch of really cheap figures that ship from China on ebay. Are those okay to buy?
Generally, no. They’re most likely bootlegs. If you want a second opinion on that, feel free to ask in the Bootleg Megathread that’s always stickied at the top of the sub.
8. What’s a bootleg, and how can I avoid buying them?
A bootleg is a counterfeit figure often made using rejected molds of the official product. They are usually priced significantly lower than the genuine article, and in order to make their profit, bootleggers use lower quality materials and have less attention to detail- resulting in a substandard figure.
The Bootleg Megathread that I mentioned in question 7 is a great tool to avoid buying any bootlegs. It has a few tips and tricks to avoiding them to begin with, and a few more on how to spot them if you’re worried you might already own one.
9. Does anyone know when figure X is going to be released? How do I know if it was delayed?
My Figure Collection (sometimes referred to as MFC) does an excellent job of staying on top of information like release dates and delays. If you’re curious about an upcoming figures release date, check there first. This information can be found directly under the “Releases” section on a figure’s entry. If you only see a month and a year in that section, it means the release date has not yet been announced by the manufacturer, and there is still a chance the figure could be delayed.
If you make an account on MFC you can also subscribe to comments, changes, and pictures via a checkbox on the right hand side of a figure’s listing. Subscribing to any of these things will allow MFC to send you an email anytime the subscription in question updates. Subscribing to “changes” is a great way to keep up with release dates and delays, among other things.
10. The figure I want is long sold out at normal retailers! What’s the best place to pick it up in the aftermarket?
A list of reputable retailers can be found under the “Shops” section of the /AnimeFigures sidebar. They all sell legitimate products, and many of them also sell figures second hand. However, the most frequently suggested second hand sites are Mandarake and Amiami- who has a preowned section that they update every night save Sundays and Japanese holidays around 1PM JST and again around 6PM JST.
AmiAmi grades their pre-owned items on a letter scale. The general consensus from buyers is that their ratings are conservative, so unless the item and/or packaging is specifically indicated as having significant flaws, pre-owned items from them are usually in at least as good a condition as their rating suggests.
Note: When you search Mandarake, you’ll get the best results by using the Japanese characters for whatever you are searching. If you don’t know them, you can find them on MFC by clicking on any of the “details” in that figure’s listing.
11. Amiami has a figure I’m interested in labeled as “For sale in Japan only”. Does this mean I can’t order it without a proxy or forwarder?
No, you can still order it. Amiami’s English site has that warning on many items, and it’s mostly meant to inform you that this product was made for a Japanese market, and as such, will have Japanese speaking/writing in it- so don’t expect any instructions to be in English. If Amiami doesn’t want foreigners buying a certain product, they won’t even list it on their English site.
Displaying Your Figures 12. What display cases do you recommend?
If you live near an Ikea try out one of these:
*If you decided on a Detolf, you might find that there is a lot of wasted space. Here are a few tutorials on raising the shelves or and adding extra ones in.
If you don’t live near an Ikea, Amazon has a few display options, though they are more expensive. Also keep an eye on your local Craigslist (or your country’s equivalent) and stores near you that are closing up.
13. What lighting do you guys recommend?
Ikea’s Dioder LED strips were discontinued after a long run. A current version is the Vattensten, if you're inclined to buy your case and lights at the same time.
LED strips have become very commonly available in recent years; most hardware and home furnishing stores carry a selection now. Just make sure that the lights don’t get too hot!
14. What are those clear plastic boxes that I see under everyone’s figures in their collection posts, and where can I get them?
Those are called risers. Most of us use standard acrylic risers like these. Some other, easy to find things that have been suggested are:
Check your local hobby store for the first 2 options, or your local hardware store if you want to make your own.
Another common suggestion is to visit The Container Store if you have one near you. They have a lot of things to choose from that can suit a variety of needs. Be sure to check out their standard acrylic risers, their Amac boxes, and the various display cases they sell (baseball cases, mini car cases. hockey puck cases, etc).
15. Should I keep my figures sealed?
That is, of course, up to you really, but here are a few things to keep in mind when debating this question:
- Keeping it sealed can actually damage your figure. PVC figures usually have something called plasticizer in them, and that plasticizer needs to be able to breath. If a PVC figure isn’t exposed to oxygen, after a period of time the plasticizer starts to break down and form a sticky substance on the surface of the figure. Simply opening your figures and taking them out of the box prevents this from happening. If you happen to find plasticizer goo on one of your figures, Kahotan has a handy guide for dealing with it.
- Unlike some other figure markets, keeping an anime figure sealed won’t raise its value by a whole lot. In fact, because of the plasticizer problem mentioned above, your figure could actually be in better condition if you open it versus keeping it sealed.
Finding the Right Figure(s) for You 16. What are "scales" and "prizes"? What is the difference between them?
Those are classifications for figures based on a few factors.
In recent years producers such as Good Smile Company attempted to further bridge the gap between prize quality and scales by introducing figure lines which are intended to be moderately-priced while retaining a higher level of detail than the typical prize figure, to varying levels of success.
- "Prizes" are generally more simply produced figures which are intended to be given as prizes for playing arcade games. They are inexpensive and lack the detail of scale figures, though some prize figure lines have standouts which may approach lower-end scales in quality. That is uncommon and often depends on the individual figure.
- "Scales" are called such because they are nominally designed to be proportional to the dimensions of the character which they are based on. They are generally of much better manufacture and materials than prize figures, allowing for more detail in painting, accessories, or complex poses.
- "Trading" figures appear in gashapon machines or as blind boxes on shop counters, often as sets which include multiple characters. As suggested by the class name, the randomness encourages trading. They are usually very inexpensively-produced, though as with prizes, some series are better than others.
- "Non-scale" encompasses a variety of other categories. It is often used to describe poseable figure lines such as figma and Nendoroids.
17. There are so many figure companies! Who makes good figures?!
Obviously this is a very subjective question, but as a general starting point, here are a few well renowned figure companies:
18. I really love “series X / character X”- how can I check if any figures were ever made for it?
- Max Factory
- Good Smile Company
- Kotobukiya (usually hit or miss for people. Use your best judgement based off of the prototype)
My Figure Collection can be your best friend here. Simply do a search on the name of the series or character using the search bar located at the top right of the screen, and all associated figures pop up!
Alternatively, if you’re looking at a figure’s MFC entry, most of the text under the “Details” section can be clicked on and used to run a search.
19. How can I commission a custom figure?
None of the major figure companies (Alter, Kotobukiya, Good Smile Company, etc.) will take a commission for a single figure. This thread has a few websites in it that you can check out, or you can look into garage kits. Some kit painters would be willing to resculpt, frankenstein together, or otherwise modify kits for the right price.
If you're looking for help completing a garage kit, /brushforhire may be useful.
Keeping Up with New Announcements 20. How can I keep up with figure news (announcements, updates, etc.)?
Most people use a MFC combined with any or all of the following news sites:
Many figure companies are active on Twitter, so following them there is recommended for quicker news.
To use MFC for this I’ll quote question #9.
If you make an account on MFC you can also subscribe to comments, changes, and pictures via a checkbox on the right hand side of a figure’s listing. Subscribing to any of these things will allow MFC to send you an email anytime the subscription in question updates. Subscribing to “changes” is a great way to keep up with release dates and delays, among other things. Most companies have one or more Twitter accounts. Some examples: Good Smile Company sales, Good Smile's USA branch, Max Factory, AmiAmi Hobby News.
21. Everyone’s excited about something called Wonfes….. what the heck is that?!
WonFes (short for Wonder Festival) is a biannual figure expo where many figure producers (both large and small) show off new sculpts and updates to figures already under way. Most companies save their most exciting announcements for WonFes, so we all look forward to the expo whenever it rolls around! Winter Wonder Festival is usually held in February, while Summer Wonder Festival is usually in July. The event has also spread to Shanghai, in the late spring.
22. One or two (or 15) figures were announced at WonFes that I’m really excited about! How can I keep track of their progress once the event is over?
MFC is always really quick about getting new WonFes announcements (or any others throughout the year, for that matter) listed in their database, so we suggest using that. To find a figure from the event you can search any number of things, including the name of the character or the name of the show. You can also use the tag search to search “WonderFestival 20xx_[season]” to see all items announced at that event.
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2023.06.07 23:18 Dismal-Jellyfish Commissioner Hester M. Peirce: "Although I agree with the objectives of these rules—namely, to reduce the incidence of misconduct in the security-based swap markets—these final rules leave unaddressed concerns I had at the proposing stage about their breadth, and I accordingly cannot support them."
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Thank you, Mr. Chair. As we have just heard, today the Commission will vote on finalizing Rule 9j-1, which would prohibit fraud and manipulation involving purchases and sales of security-based swaps, and Rule 15fh-4(c), which would prohibit coercion, manipulation, or deception of a security-based swap entity’s chief compliance officer. Although I agree with the objectives of these rules—namely, to reduce the incidence of misconduct in the security-based swap markets—these final rules leave unaddressed concerns I had at the proposing stage about their breadth, and I accordingly cannot support them.
The version of Rule 9j-1 before us today is better than the proposed version. The final rule would adopt a considerably narrower definitions of purchase and sale than the expansive proposed definitions that would have covered the performance of obligations arising out of a security-based swap for the life of the transaction. The definitions in the final rule instead generally tracks the Dodd-Frank definitions of these terms. This change should reduce the likelihood that every action taken by a counterparty to a security-based swap during the life of the transaction, including actions required under the swap’s terms, will expose it to liability. In another positive change, the release also makes clear that attempted violations of the rule require scienter. Finally, the affirmative defenses should mitigate—even if they do not eliminate—the risk that the rule might make it impossible for a lender, which will often possess material non-public information on its borrowers, to use credit default swaps to hedge the risks of those loans.
Notwithstanding these improvements, the final rule is still overly broad. The affirmative defenses may not provide market participants with sufficient clarity to allow them, for example, to feel confident somebody on a firm’s trading desk can hedge a loan using security-based swaps when the firm has obtained material non-public information in connection with the loan. As another example, the negligence standard applicable to paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4) of the rule may facilitate second-guessing in enforcement actions.
Most concerning, however, is an overbroad anti-manipulation provision directed at manufactured credit events and other types of opportunistic trading strategies. This provision, too, has been narrowed since the proposal; the provision no longer contains the “directly or indirectly” language, and the release makes clear that violation of this provision requires scienter. But the release describes the scope of the provision in the same broad and ambiguous terms to which I objected when the rule was proposed. Indeed, in words nearly identical to those in the proposal, the release explains that this provision would apply to “an action taken for the purposes of avoiding or causing, or increasing or decreasing, a payment under a security-based swap in a manner that would not have occurred but for such actions.”
As did the proposing release, the adopting release does attempt to provide assurance to market participants that the Commission will use this provision to pursue only “actions taken outside the ordinary course of a typical lender-borrower relationship.” Yet, as one commenter noted, market participants must look to the text of the rule,  which makes no reference to (and offers no safe harbor for) actions taken in the ordinary course. Moreover, the Commission repeatedly notes in this discussion that whether an action is taken in the ordinary course is a “facts and circumstances” inquiry under which the Commission will review “all relevant facts.” Although this approach does ensure maximum flexibility for the Commission to pursue misconduct that is hard to describe ex ante, it does so at the expense of clarity for firms that will have to guess at what facts the Commission may, in hindsight, determine to be relevant.
The Commission feels compelled to preserve maximum flexibility for itself because it is trying to prohibit harmful but exceedingly difficult-to-define behavior that has occasionally appeared in the credit default swap markets. This behavior includes manufactured credit events and other opportunistic trading strategies that can cause the market to question whether these instruments will serve the purposes for which they were designed. Drawing in advance a line that cleanly distinguishes between manipulative conduct and actions taken in the normal course of business, even if they are unseemly and potentially unfair, is difficult. That the opportunistic trading strategies the rule targets have occurred relatively infrequently, and that each generally has presented distinct facts, makes the rule-writing task more difficult.
Preserving discretion for the Commission could chill, unnecessarily, perfectly legitimate trading strategies or exercises of a counterparty’s rights under a security-based swap. Moreover, as one commenter noted, security-based swaps are often used to hedge complex financing arrangements that involve heavily negotiated terms providing the lenders with a range of options to protect themselves from the borrower’s default. Lenders worried that they may not be able to exercise such rights without affecting the value of the security-based swap in a way that the Commission later might view as manipulative may be less willing to provide financing in the first place. Moreover, because the release suggests that action—such as rescuing a failing firm—will be subject to greater scrutiny than inaction—such as letting a failing firm collapse—the rule risks spurring inaction and thus reducing market efficiency.
Some circumstances might warrant a rule with these chilling effects, but no such circumstances are present here. The targeted misconduct has occurred only relatively infrequently in this market. Our anti-fraud rules likely already prohibit some of that conduct. And, in a demonstration of the power of private ordering, market participants themselves have addressed some of the offending conduct. Sophisticated repeat players are well-placed to police one another for undesirable conduct, even if it is not illegal. In 2018, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association publicly acknowledged that these manufactured credit event strategies could affect negatively the security-based swap market and in 2019 made its Narrowly Tailored Credit Event Protocol available for adherence by counterparties. This Protocol appears to have eliminated much of the destructive behavior simply by introducing greater uncertainty that these strategies could succeed. As the release notes, this Protocol does not address every possible such strategy, but, the release also does not challenge one commenter’s assertion that these strategies have become “extremely infrequent.” In short, the Commission’s desire to maximize its own flexibility in this anti-manipulation provision does not seem to further any regulatory objective. To the contrary, this rule likely will deter far more entirely legitimate activity than it will prevent truly manipulative activity. The Commission instead should delay taking any action here and wait to see whether the problem of opportunistic trading strategies is significant enough to warrant a solution as blunt as the one before us today.
We can all agree with the sentiment of Rule 15fh-4(c): coercing, manipulating, or deceiving a CCO is bad behavior. But regulation—even regulation that prohibits bad things—always involves trade-offs. Will subjecting every interaction between employees and a CCO to potential legal liability empower the CCO to do her job or simply make employees less likely to approach the CCO to seek her input on compliance-related issues?
I do have a few questions:
If a bank provides a loan to a customer and, in the process of negotiating the terms of that loan comes into possession of material non-public information, would the affirmative defenses permit the bank to hedge that loan exposure through a credit default swap? If so, under what conditions?
LSTA noted in its March 2022 letter that the broad language of the anti-manipulation provision coupled with the use of a facts and circumstances test to determine whether a transaction was in the ordinary course would likely chill perfectly legitimate exercises of a lender’s rights expressly provided for in heavily negotiated financing arrangements. Can you provide me any comfort that these fears are groundless?
The economic analysis suggests that Rule 9j-1 will benefit the market by reducing fraud and manipulation, including opportunistic trading strategies, and thereby increase confidence in the security-based swap market. In July 2022, the Managed Funds Association submitted a comment letter presenting data that it claimed suggested that there was no evidence of any lack of confidence among market participants. The economic analysis seems to wave this evidence away as not persuasive, but does not provide any countervailing evidence that the market is laboring under a significant risk of fraud or manipulation. Is there any such evidence? What evidence, if any, do we have that manufactured credit events or other opportunistic trading strategies continue to present a risk to the market?
One law firm submitted a comment letter identifying different types of market activity it described as “legitimate” that “would be threatened by” Rule 9j-1. I’d like to understand better how the staff would view these examples from that letter:
“An investor who holds CDS (either long or short) participating in an ad hoc restructuring group.”
“An investor who holds bonds and has bought CDS refusing to consent to a restructuring, choosing to rely on CDS protection.”
“An investor who owns bonds and has sold CDS selling bonds back to the Reference Entity.”
“An investor who has sold CDS providing rescue financing to distressed issuers.”
The release states that “misconduct that affects the payments and deliveries under one security-based swap could be prohibited by final Rule 9j-1 if that misconduct occurs in connection with effecting or attempting to effect transactions or purchasing or selling or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of any security-based swap, and not just the security-based swap that was the subject of the misconduct.” Could you provide an example of what type of misconduct this might encompass?
The final rule prohibits manipulation of the price or valuation of a security-based swap. The release states that “the pricing and valuation of security-based swaps are intrinsically connected.” If this is the case, why is it necessary to prohibit manipulation of valuation, given that manipulation of valuation would also almost certainly result in manipulation of price?
Although I cannot support today’s adoption of these rules, I do appreciate the effort that the staff put into reviewing the comments and taking to heart those comments in an effort to make the rule more workable. I especially appreciate the time that Carol McGee spent with me to answer my questions about the rule and Pam Carmody’s work on drafting it. I also want to acknowledge the contributions of the Office of the General Counsel.
What Hester is against: https://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2023/34-97656.pdf
Overview of Security-Based Swaps
Security-Based Swaps Generally:
- Although the definition of security-based swap is detailed and comprehensive, at its most basic level, a security-based swap is an agreement, contract, or transaction in which two parties agree to the exchange of payments or cash flows based upon the value of other assets or upon the occurrence or non-occurrence of some event, including, for example, a change in a stock price or the occurrence of some type of credit event.
- The exchange of these payments or deliveries, including purchases or sales upon certain events, is a fundamental aspect or feature of a security-based swap.
- Moreover, this feature of security-based swaps is in contrast to secondary market transactions involving equity or debt securities where the completion of a purchase or sale transaction terminates the mutual obligations of the parties.
- Security-based swap counterparties, who are considered the issuers of the security-based swaps, continue to have obligations to one another throughout the life of the instrument, which can extend for years if not decades.
- Parties may enter into a security-based swap for a multitude of reasons, but often, the parties to the contract seek to gain exposure to an asset without owning it or to manage or transfer risks in their asset and liability portfolios (e.g., credit or equity risks).
- Typical participants in the security-based swap market include, among others, lenders transferring credit risk, insurance companies managing asset and liability risk specific to the insurance industry, activists or hedge funds obtaining exposure to the price movement and dividend payments of a stock without the costs and burdens of stock ownership, and financial institutions that engage in market-making and dealing in security-based swaps.
- The terms of the contract between the counterparties determine the specific rights and obligations of the parties throughout the life of the security-based swap, including, for example, the amount and timing of periodic payments due under the instrument, the maturity of the instrument, and terms of settlement.
- Unlike other types of securities where settlement occurs when the buyer receives the security purchased and the seller receives cash equaling the value of the security sold, for security-based swaps, a final net payment is paid by one party to the other at a future point in time to which the parties have contractually agreed.
Two common examples of security-based swaps – credit default swaps (“CDS”) and total return swaps (“TRS”)
- Generally, a CDS is a contract in which a party (the “protection buyer”), such as a lender, agrees to make periodic payments (the “premium”) over an agreed upon time period to another party (the “protection seller”) in exchange for a payment from the protection seller in the event of default by an issuer (or group of issuers) of securities (the “reference entity”).
- The CDS contract states whether the CDS is settled physically or in cash in the event of default by the reference entity. Generally, the protection buyer is using the CDS to manage risk and the protection seller is using the CDS to take on risk in return for a premium. A cash-settled CDS contract relying on ISDA documentation is subject to determinations by a committee with respect to whether a defined default event (a “credit event”) has occurred and, if so, to hold an auction to determine the settlement price of the CDS.
- The auction process includes the determination and publication of a list of deliverable obligations that a CDS protection buyer can deliver to the CDS protection seller after the auction settlement.
- A CDS protection buyer can deliver any of the obligations on the list, with delivery of the cheapest deliverable obligation maximizing recovery.
- This feature of CDS contracts is an aspect of some of the manufactured or opportunistic strategies discussed in section I.B.2.
- A TRS may obligate one of the parties (i.e., the total return payer) to transfer the total economic performance (e.g., income from interest and fees, gains or losses from market movements, and credit losses) of a reference asset (e.g., a debt or equity security) (the “reference underlying”), in exchange for a specified or fixed or floating cash flow (including payments for any principal losses on the reference asset) from the other party (i.e., the total return receiver).
- If the TRS is negotiated over-the-counter, the terms of the TRS can be individually negotiated and could include one payment at the expiration of the TRS or might include a series of payments on periodic interim settlement dates over the tenor of the TRS.
- For TRS with periodic interim settlement dates counterparties could agree to reset the price of the reference underlying on the periodic interim settlement date based on current market prices of the reference underlying (“reference price”).
- Accordingly, throughout the life of a TRS, depending on the terms of the TRS, the reference price that determines that payment on periodic interim settlement dates might be reset based on current market prices of the reference underlying
Security-Based Swap Market Developments
- In 2010, following the 2008 financial crisis, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act “to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system.”
- Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act addressed significant issues and risks in the swap and security-based swap markets, which had experienced dramatic growth leading up to the 2008 financial crisis and were shown to be capable of affecting significant sectors of the U.S. economy.
- In testimony before Congress introducing the first draft of the Dodd-Frank Act, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner highlighted the risks posed by an unregulated OTC derivatives market, which had been operating without the “basic protections and oversight” existing in the rest of the financial systems, including a “limited ability to police fraud and manipulation.”
- In his written testimony, Secretary Geithner listed four broad objectives of the proposed reforms which were eventually enacted as Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act:
- Preventing activities in the OTC derivatives markets from posing risk to the stability of the financial system;
- Promoting efficiency and transparency of the OTC derivatives markets;
- Preventing market manipulation, fraud, and other abuses; and
- Protecting consumers and investors by ensuring that OTC derivatives are not marketed inappropriately to unsophisticated parties.
- The security-based swap market remains large. Based on information reported pursuant to 17 CFR 242.900 to 242.909 (“Regulation SBSR”), as of November 25, 2022, the gross notional amount outstanding in the security-based swap market is approximately $8.5 trillion across the credit, equity, and interest rate asset classes.
- The credit security-based swap asset class is large, with a gross notional amount of approximately $4.7 trillion, of which single-name CDS (including corporate and sovereign) account for the largest category at $4.3 trillion.
- Additionally, as indicated by data submitted pursuant to Regulation SBSR, the size of the equity security-based swap market is also significant – with approximately $3.6 trillion of equity security-based swaps outstanding as of November 25, 2022.
- In general, the ongoing payments of a security-based swap depend, in part, on its gross notional amount outstanding.
- The particular aspects and characteristics of security-based swaps (described above in section I.B.1) provide opportunities and incentives for misconduct.
- In general, parties to a security-based swap may engage in misconduct in connection with the security-based swap (including in the reference underlying of such security-based swap) to trigger, avoid, or affect the value of ongoing payments or deliveries.
- For instance, a party faced with significant risk exposure may engage or attempt to engage in manipulative or deceptive conduct that increases or decreases the value of payments or cash flow under a security-based swap relative to the value of the reference underlying, including the price or value of a deliverable obligation under a security-based swap.
- Moreover, fraud and manipulation in connection with a security-based swap can affect not just a direct counterparty, but also counterparties to that counterparty.
- For example, if fraud or manipulation leads to a large change in variation margin, the defrauded counterparty could default on its obligations to its other counterparties. In addition, other counterparties to the same security-based swaps could be affected by fraud or manipulation that affects the reference underlying assets, as could investors in those underlying assets.
- Given the global and interconnected nature of the security-based swap markets, it is critical that the Commission has appropriate tools to fight fraud and manipulation in these markets.
- Recent developments in the security-based swap market highlight these concerns.
- For example, in the 2021 Proposing Release, the Commission discussed certain manufactured or other opportunistic CDS strategies that had been reported by academics and the press:
- A CDS buyer working with a reference entity to create an artificial, technical, or temporary failure-to-pay credit event in order to trigger a payment on a CDS to the buyer (and to the detriment of the CDS seller).
- Alone or in combination with the above or other strategies, causing the reference entity to issue a below-market debt instrument in order to artificially increase the auction settlement price for the CDS (i.e., by creating a new “cheapest to deliver” deliverable obligation).
- CDS buyers endeavoring to influence the timing of a credit event in order to ensure a payment (upon the triggering of the CDS) before expiration of a CDS, or a CDS seller taking similar actions to avoid the obligation to pay by ensuring a credit event occurs after the expiration of the CDS, or taking actions to limit or expand the number and/or kind of deliverable obligations in order to impact the recovery rate.
- CDS sellers offering financing to restructure a reference entity in such a way that “orphans” the CDS – eliminating or reducing the likelihood of a credit event by moving the debts off the balance sheets of the reference entity and onto the balance sheets of a subsidiary or an affiliate that is not referenced by the CDS.
- Taking actions, including as part of a larger restructuring, to increase (or decrease) the supply of deliverable obligations by, for example, adding (or removing) a co-borrower to existing debt of a reference entity, thereby increasing (or decreasing) the likelihood of a credit event and the cost of CDS.
- Taking into consideration all of the above, Rule 9j-1 will be an important additional tool to augment the Commission’s oversight of the security-based swap markets including, but not limited to, the markets for CDS and TRS.
Overview of the Final Rules:
- Final Rule 9j-1 includes prohibitions on categories of misconduct prohibited by section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and section 17(a) of the Securities Act, when effecting any transaction in, or attempting to effect any transaction in, any security-based swap, or when purchasing or selling, or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of, any security-based swap (including but not limited to, in whole or in part, the execution, termination (prior to its scheduled maturity date), assignment, exchange, or similar transfer or conveyance of, or extinguishing of any rights or obligations under, any security based-swap).
- The final rule also includes a provision prohibiting the manipulation or attempted manipulation of the price or valuation of any security-based swap, including any payment or delivery related thereto.
- This provision has been moved to paragraph (a)(6) of Rule 9j-1 (from paragraph (b) as proposed) to clarify that these provisions apply to conduct that is undertaken in connection with directly or indirectly effecting, or attempting to effect, any transaction in any security-based swap, or purchasing or selling, or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of, any security-based swap.
- Final Rule 9j-1 provides that:
- A person with material nonpublic information about a security cannot avoid liability under the securities laws by communicating about or making purchases or sales in the security-based swap (as opposed to communicating about or purchasing or selling the underlying security)
- A person cannot avoid liability under section 9(j) or Rule 9j-1 in connection with a fraudulent scheme involving a security-based swap by instead making purchases or sales in the underlying security (as opposed to purchases or sales in the security-based swap).
The Commission also is adopting a rule aimed at protecting the independence and objectivity of an SBS Entity’s CCO by preventing the personnel of an SBS Entity from taking actions to coerce, mislead, or otherwise interfere with the CCO. The Commission recognizes that SBS Entities dominate the security-based swap market and also recognizes the important role that CCOs of SBS Entities play in ensuring compliance by SBS Entities and their personnel with the Federal securities laws. As a result, the Commission is adopting Rule 15fh-4(c), which makes it unlawful for any officer, director, supervised person, or employee of an SBS Entity, or any person acting under such person’s direction, to directly or indirectly take any action to coerce, manipulate, mislead, or fraudulently influence the SBS Entity’s CCO in the performance of their duties under the Federal securities laws or the rules and regulations thereunder. https://preview.redd.it/dkubyk9ywn4b1.png?width=966&format=png&auto=webp&s=634948d848a6277ed7247d7803a5a63d2b866972 https://preview.redd.it/5r40tixywn4b1.png?width=943&format=png&auto=webp&s=1757b80d2890e4460c1e4adfe1d3e5f25c4599d6
The Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted rules to prevent fraud, manipulation, and deception in connection with security-based swap transactions and to prevent undue influence over the chief compliance officer (CCO) of security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants (SBS Entities). “Any misconduct in the security-based swaps market not only harms direct counterparties but also can affect reference entities and investors in those reference entities,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Given these markets’ size, scale, and importance, it is critical that the Commission protect investors and market integrity through helping prevent fraud, manipulation, and deception relating to security-based swaps. Today’s set of rules will do just that.”The antifraud and anti-manipulation rule adopted today is designed to prevent misconduct in connection with effecting any transaction in, or attempting to effect any transaction in, or purchasing or selling, or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of, any security-based swap. The rule takes into account the features fundamental to a security-based swap and will aid the Commission in its pursuit of actions that directly target misconduct that reaches security-based swaps.The Commission also adopted a rule to protect the independence and objectivity of the CCO of a security-based swap dealer or major security-based swap participant.The adopting release will be published in the Federal Register. The final rules will become effective 60 days after the date of publication of the adopting release in the Federal Register.
- Hester cannot support.
- A security-based swap is an agreement where two parties exchange payments or cash flows based on the value of assets or events, continuing to have obligations to each other for the life of the contract.
- Typical participants include lenders, insurance companies, hedge funds, and financial institutions.
- The specifics of the swap, such as periodic payments and settlement terms, are determined by the contract between the counterparties.
- The two common examples of security-based swaps are Credit Default Swaps (CDS) and Total Return Swaps (TRS).
- A CDS involves a protection buyer making periodic payments to a protection seller in exchange for a payment in case of default by the reference entity.
- A TRS transfers the total economic performance of a reference asset in exchange for a cash flow.
- As of November 2022, the gross notional amount outstanding in the security-based swap market was approximately $8.5 trillion.
- The credit security-based swap asset class accounted for $4.7 trillion, while equity security-based swaps accounted for around $3.6 trillion.
- Misconduct may occur in security-based swaps to trigger, avoid, or affect the value of ongoing payments.
- This includes manipulative or deceptive conduct that alters the value of payments under a security-based swap relative to the value of the reference underlying swap.
- Rule 9j-1 is introduced as an additional tool for overseeing the security-based swap markets, including the markets for CDS and TRS.
- This rule includes prohibitions on misconduct and manipulation in connection with security-based swaps.
- In addition, Rule 15fh-4(c) is adopted to protect the independence and objectivity of a Swap Brokerage Security Entity's Chief Compliance Officer.
2023.06.07 22:16 Joadzilla Americans want to join unions. The Supreme Court doesn’t like that
The court’s new ruling makes it harder for workers to join a union, easier to break one and riskier to try to force concessions
Their contract had expired, so the local teamsters, drivers of concrete-mixing barrel trucks for a firm called Glacier Northwest, in Washington state, decided to walk off the job. Like all strikes, the point of the work stoppage was to inflict financial consequences on a recalcitrant management side: to show the bosses that their employees were united in shared interest and mutual protection and that it would cost them less money to negotiate in good faith and agree to the workers’ demands than to continue to fight the union for less favorable, more exploitative conditions. When the teamsters began their strike, 16 of the barrel mixing trucks were full. They drove them back to the Glacier Northwest lot and left them there.
But if you don’t mix concrete, it hardens, and becomes useless. If this happens in a barrel truck, sometimes that can cause damage to the truck, too. When Glacier Northwest realized that their teamster employees had gone on strike, non-union workers were able to remove the concrete over the course of five hours, averting damage to the trucks. But they lost the use of all the concrete that had been mixed in those 16 barrel trucks that day.
This injury – the loss of 16 trucks’ worth of concrete to a regional construction supplier in the north-west – is the pretext that the US supreme court used this week to weaken the National Labor Relations Board and deal a blow to the right to strike.
In the case, Glacier Northwest v International Brotherhood of Teamsters, eight of the court’s nine justices found that management could sue the union for the damage caused to their property during the strike. Only Justice Jackson dissented. In addition to encouraging companies to sue their workers over strikes and ensuring that unions will pre-emptively avoid strikes or adopt less effective tactics to protect themselves from liability, the ruling also opens a wide new avenue for union-busting litigators to evade the authority of the National Labor Relations Board – the federal body that was created by Congress specifically to handle such conflicts and enforce workers’ rights.
The decision, then, furthers two of the supreme court’s major long-term projects: the erosion of labor protections, and the weakening of administrative agencies, whose expertise the court routinely ignores and whose authority the justices seem determined to usurp for themselves.
It might risk reinforcing the dramatically low standards for the supreme court’s behavior to note that the majority opinion, authored by Amy Coney Barrett, did not represent the worst of all possible outcomes. Barrett included some limiting language in her writing that preserves the possibility of binding NLRB oversight in these lawsuits. She clarified that unions do have some right to time their strikes in order to maximize financial damage to management – a move that would protect, say, the right of Amazon workers to initiate work stoppages during the holiday shipping rush, as they did last year. The gestures toward a continued right to strike appear designed to secure the votes of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the majority, and to dilute the power of Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, who wanted to gut NLRB authority over strike-related litigation entirely.
But it is important to consider Glacier Northwest in context: in recent years, the court has made it easier for companies to bar their employees from bringing class-action lawsuits, made it harder for public-sector unions to collect dues and struck down a California law that allowed unions to recruit agricultural workers on farms. The new ruling, which finds that strikes are often illegal when they lead to damage to employers’ property, only furthers their long project of making it harder for workers to join a union, easier for employers to break one up, and more legally risky for workers to take the kinds of action that can actually elicit concessions from the boss.
It will get worse. If they get their way – a less procedurally complicated case, a more amenable vote from Roberts, Barrett or Kavanaugh – the court’s most extreme conservatives will shape a bleak future for American labor. Their aim is to all but eliminate rights to organize and strike that are enjoyed by people in the most important, foundational and meaningful part of their public lives: the workplace.
“Workers are not indentured servants, bound to continue laboring until any planned work stoppage would be as painless as possible for their master,” Jackson wrote in her dissent. But that is the labor settlement that at least three members of the extremist conservative wing hope to enact. There is only one direction that this court’s labor jurisprudence is going.
The ruling comes at a moment when the American labor movement, long dormant and defeated, is experiencing something like a small resurgence, however timid and sporadic. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unionized workers grew last year in both the public and private sectors, with the biggest increases in sectors like transportation and warehousing, arts and entertainment and durable goods manufacturing.
This growth has been accompanied by highly visible, media-savvy worker organizing drives among journalists, fast-food workers and graduate student instructors, and comes on the heels of high-profile strikes by groups ranging from Oakland teachers to Hollywood writers. Since 2021, this union resurgence has been aided in no small part by the Biden NLRB, which has been unusually hospitable to labor’s claims, even for a Democratic administration.
More and more workers are saying that they want to be a part of a union – and more and more of them are finding ways around the many and onerous obstacles designed to prevent them from forming one. Given the growing power of American unions, maybe the anti-worker court is right to be scared.
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2023.06.07 22:11 HelloLurkerHere One night in June of 1976 over a million and half people in Canary Islands (Spain) witnessed 'a gigantic explosion of light' in the sky. It became part of the local UFO narrative almost immediately. Declassified documents in 1994 hinted, however, at an earthly origin, a 2001 article confirmed it.
Background Canary Islands
is a Spanish archipelago of volcanic nature located in the eastern Atlantic ocean, just west of southern Morocco. The chain of islands extends for approximately 490 kilometers (300 miles).
Canary Islands is both geologically and climatologically almost identical to Hawaii, and as such, international tourism has been the main pillar of its economy since the 1960s. The Event
At around 10:15 PM of June 22nd, 1976, emergency services in all the main seven islands received a flood of calls, with people reporting having seen a strange and frightening phenomenon taking place in the night sky. Most of these callers described what they were seeing as 'a gigantic explosion of light'
or 'a massive ball of fire'
, and all of them said the phenomenon seemed to be taking place somewhere far in the west. These accounts were quickly confirmed true by local authorities, since the 'explosion of light' in question shone for several minutes before dissipating.
Many witnesses also added having seen one or two much smaller red lights moving strangely before the 'explosion' took place -rising from the horizon or from behind the mountains at very high speed, although others added that the lights flew following 'a zig-zag trajectory'.
No sound was heard or reported regarding the phenomenon, and no consequences seemed to follow except for a frightened population.
A foreign tourist vacationing in the island of Gran Canaria took the only known legit picture available of the phenomenon
, from the balcony of his hotel room in Maspalomas. Here
you can see a bigger version of the picture with enhanced contrast. Here's a drawing extracted from an official report made by the Spanish Air Force.
The drawing depicts a description of the event made with the information gathered from witnesses reports in the western coast of Gran Canaria. The mountains in the drawing are a depiction of the silhouette of Tenerife, the island immediately west of Gran Canaria. In order to understand the extreme magnitude of the 'explosion of light', please take into account that Tenerife is 70 kilometers (44 miles) away and its tallest peak -Mount Teide, which is in fact Spain's tallest mountain- is 3,718 meters tall (12,198 feet). Here's a real picture of the landscape
depicted in the drawing, for a better perspective.
Hong Kong's bulk carrier vessel Osaka Bay
was sailing from Capetown (South Africa) to Southampton (United Kingdom). The event took place when she was some 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of the island of La Gomera
, and her crew did also witness the phenomenon. Here's a drawing made out of their witness reports.
The crew of the Spanish Navy's corvette Atrevida (F-61)
observed the phenomenon as she was sailing just south of the island of Fuerteventura
. Her captain's account of the event; "At 22:27 local time of June 22nd it was seen, for the first time, a bright light of an intense bluish yellow color, taking off and rising in altitude towards our position... Once it reached certain height (15º-18º) it stood still, turning its light projection and showing its light source. It remained like that for approximately two minutes, before bursting into a large circle of bright bluish yellow light that remained in that position for forty minutes even after the original preceding phenomenon had faded away. Two minutes later the light source split, its lower half being smaller and standing in the middle of the circle of light, turning into a bluish cloud as the split half that had originated this bluish mass faded away. The upper half gained altitude while describing a fast but irregular spiraling trajectory, vanishing afterwards. None of these movements had any effect whatsoever on the initial circle of light, whose features remained the same, partially illuminating land and sea, which leads to believe that it wasn't an object far in the distance, but rather close".
Here's the translation of local newspaper excerpts detailing the event; "It was spotted between 10:15 and 10:30 PM and, according to one of our journalists who has his residence at Valle de Aridane (La Palma island), at that time he observed something that looked like a rocket emerging from the sea and flying towards El Time peak shining with an intense red light. The same phenomenon was spotted in Tazacorte (in La Palma island too). The ferry Villa de Agaete, sailing from Las Palmas, could observe a great shining at exactly 10:20 PM, shortly before docking in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The shining, which lasted about five minutes, appeared like a rocket that had come out of the sea". - El Día (June 23rd, 1976) "Last night, at around half past ten, a strange object was spotted from several points of our region, especially in the areas of Gáldar and Telde (Gran Canaria), where most phone calls we received in that regard were from. Our callers explained to us that it was a round object that grew massively in size as it rose, clearly defined before it began to fade. The aforementioned phenomenon began as a couple of red objects that moved in zig-zag, forming into some sort of spiral whose lower half ended in three clearly differentiated but overlaying stripes with some degree of separation between them. They were of a very bright red color and faded gradually. On top of these stripes there was what looked like two powerful blue focal lights, which began to diminish in intensity too before turning into a thin haze afterwards". - La Provincia (June 23rd, 1976)
Thanks to these accounts and description of the events, calculations could be made in order to ascertain the phenomenon's origins. At the moment of its beginning (which many witnesses described as a rocket taking off) the sun was already 13.7º under the horizon and its azimuth angle was 307º (northwest). Setting a hypothetical POV in the geographical center of the archipelago (28.50º N, 15.75º W, just north of Gran Canaria, it was calculated that during it's first phase (the 'rocket lights') the phenomenon was located some 762 kilometers (473 miles) straight west, at an approximate altitude of 46 kilometers (28 miles). By the end of its final phase (the 'explosion of light') it had traveled to a point located at around 1,062 kilometers (662 miles) west and had risen to a final altitude of 90 kilometers (56 miles).
These calculations became a very important piece of data, we'll get back to them later.
The UFO/Aliens narrative (AKA the press cherry-picks the statement of one particularly imaginative witness in order to sell a story of very questionable credibility)
Being the 1970s, almost immediately certain sectors of the press began talking about UFO -and subsequently about aliens, even though there was no further evidence to suggest such thing. The local authorities (the Army especially) focused their efforts into reassuring the population that there was nothing to fear, while at the same time gathering all the information they could gather in order to investigate the phenomenon.
In June of 1994, exactly eighteen years after that night, the Spanish Army declassified the 107-pages long investigation report of what by then it had been baptized as the "OVNI de Canarias 22/06/1976" ("Canary Islands' 06/22/1976 UFO"). Back then very few people in Spain had internet access, and as such the release of these documents went unnoticed for most people. However, many journalists rushed to get a copy of the report, and many of these worked for UFO/paranormal magazines of dubious scientific accuracy. And, aware of the kind of reaction they wanted to generate from the public they target, they focused in just one part of the report; Dr. Padrón's story.
Francisco Julio Padrón León (who passed away in 2013) was a general practitioner that lived and had his office in the rural municipality of Gáldar, which is located precisely in the northwestern part of the island of Gran Canaria (and precisely, where a lot of people reported witnessing the phenomenon. Unlike most witnessed, however, Padrón told Spanish authorities a much more extravagant version of the events.
That night he had been called in person to check on a local patient at her home, and the doctor had called a taxi in order to reach the patient's residence; Padrón lived in the town of Guía
, and the patient lived at a small parish some 10 kilometers away (6 miles) named Las Rosas
. Padrón, his companion and the taxi driver claimed having observed the phenomenon when the car was covering the last two kilometers of the route (at that point, a very narrow and barely paved rural road). Or more specifically, Padrón and the taxi driver claimed having bumped into it; because, according to the statement, at that moment the car's headlights illuminated a sphere that was floating right in front of them. The Padrón and the taxi driver described it as measuring some 30 meters (98 feet), slightly bright and slightly translucent. They (the doctor, especially) described seeing two humanoid entities inside the sphere, surrounded by what looked to be inner aluminum structural parts of the sphere. These figures were, per their statements, between 2.5 and 3 meters tall (8'2" to 9'10"), one taller than the other, and they were dressed in red skin-tight suits. Padrón claimed that these beings stood facing each other, apparently interacting among them but didn't seem to notice his or the taxi driver's presence. It then began to grow in size until (his words) "becoming as big as a 20-story building"
and began ascending. At this point of his statement he said he went to check on her patient, after which he told all people present at the patients' home, inviting everyone to go outside and check by themselves what he claimed he had seen. By the time everyone joined Dr. Padrón to watch, the sphere was already very big, standing high in the sky and then it flew away at extreme speed ("faster than any aircraft I've seen in my life"
, Padrón said in the report) leaving a trail of blue smoke behind before vanishing in the distance, towards Tenerife island.
In his individual report, the taxi driver made just a very skimp corroboration of Padrón's statement, omitting most details of his version of the phenomenon. It was just a few sentences long. The taxi driver was a man in his sixties (and wore glasses) of very little formal education -in fact, his preliminary handwritten statement had to be redacted to correct numerous grammar and spelling mistakes.
As for the companion (a relative of the patient, who was traveling in the backseat), this man only describes seeing "intense bright light everywhere"
and noticing "both the doctor and the taxi driver's agitation"
. He claimed the amount of light, plus the fact that by sitting in the backseat the taxi driver and the doctor's bodies blocked his view, hadn't allowed him to see what Padrón claimed having witnessed.
The declassified document contained many more witness reports gathered from the same area, but none of them matched Dr. Padrón's story about a sphere with two humanoids figures in it; every other description -most of them provided by locals- mentions the same enormous disc of light in the west night sky. A car mechanic and his wife described it as "a car's headlight thrice as large as the full moon"
. A school teacher mentioned having seen it from his house's window through a pair of binoculars when it began to fade, noticing its "fog-like appearance, and the night stars could be seen through"
, and mentioning what looked like a couple of bluish beams inside. A farmer explained in his statement that it looked like "a fire spot"
, he too mentioned seeing "two blue lines"
in it. Not even the sick woman Padrón had come to provide medical attention to nor her relatives confirmed the Dr.'s description of the phenomenon, matching instead everyone else's.
That didn't stop the journalists working for UFO/paranormal-themed magazines or even some journalists working for reputable newspapers from disregarding all these credible witnesses and instead focusing on the most outlandish one; Dr. Padrón. In summer of 1994, several of these Spanish magazines like Enigmas, Año Cero
or Más Allá
rushed to publish a drawing depicting Padrón's description of the 'humanoid figures dressed in red' in their articles, not only making absolutely no mention of any of the other witnesses but also claimed that the propulsion system of the alleged 'alien spacecraft' had scorched a nearby onion field -the area is full of that type of crops- and that posterior chemical analysis of the scorched terrain had yielded wildly unusual results. We'll come back to this point later. Sketch depicting Padrón's (unique, literally) description of the event. Yes, someone from the Army - more specifically from the Air Force- was tasked with sitting down next to this guy and spending a good deal of time drawing whatever ludicrous thing Padrón felt like coming up with.
Something worth mentioning; these publications made heavy emphasis on Padrón's education -he was a GP, after all. As in, as extraordinary as his claims were, these were being made by a man of a high level of education, intelligent and therefore (in the eyes of many) automatically worth of credibility. In fact, the patient's relative traveling in the taxi's backseat -a farmhand that had never received formal schooling and was illiterate- said in his witness report that one of the reasons why he did not question Padrón's statement was precisely the abysmal difference in education between him and the doctor, and kind of assumed that if an educated man like Padrón said that such thing had indeed happened, then it must have been true.
A local newspaper interviewed Dr. Padrón shortly after the documents were declassified. And by then, eighteen years after that night, Padrón added some more details to his already bizarre account, providing these journalists with something that wouldn't have been out of place in an episode of The X-Files (which back in 1994 had begun to be broadcasted in Spain, with significant success). Back in 1976 Padrón had already added in his statement that he did not feel fear but 'a strange sense of wellbeing and excitement' in his encounter with the alleged spacecraft; now he was also saying that these beings -which never communicated with him in any way, per his account- had not only the ability to erase anyone's memories off their brains, but they also can "make you see whatever they want you to do for months or years, replacing an 'energy' [his word] in your brain"
. If these statements weren't absurd enough, Dr. Padrón warned the journalists about not taking him seriously, because in the last three years he "had observed that anyone who had been skeptical of my statements and hurt my credibility in public has passed away within six or seven months, all of them to cancer, eight people in total so far".
Although the documents that included the description of his ludicrous story hadn't been declassified until 1994, ever since 1976 many journalists had managed to get in touch with Padrón and hear his story -the doctor himself wasn't exactly quiet about it either -and some of these are allegedly the cancer victims Padrón would've been referring to. There's no way to check the veracity of that, since the only source of that statement was Padrón himself.
Between 1976 and 1994 the doctor's story circulated in a somewhat obscure manner, being referred to in some UFO articles here and there -and adding their own artistic depictions of his outlandish story
. Padrón was already telling any 'paranormal' journalist willing to listen about the scorched onion field. Turned out, back in June of 1976 a farmer in the municipality of Guía did indeed notice an area in one of his onion crops that seemed to have been burned, but that man had specified that that hadn't happened until the morning of June 24th, a good day and half after Padrón's alleged 'alien encounter'. What is more, although the cause of these burns couldn't be ascertained, they were indistinguishable from fire damage. To this day it's thought that these burnt onion plants were nothing but the result of vandalism or a prank. Some UFO skepticism authors have raised the possibility of the doctor himself being responsible. Picture of one of the many onion fields in Guía and Gáldar. To this day, Dr. Padrón's 'scorched onion field' remains a running joke among the older residents in these municipalities.
At the time Padrón even managed, out of sheer insistence, to get that soil tested. Surprisingly to no one, all chemical, physical and radiological analyses performed yielded no unusual results. The sampling and testing was conducted by Hungarian-Spanish physician Alejandro Carlos de Gyorko-Gyorkos, who at the time was curious about paranormal phenomena and had interviewed Padrón many times in 1976. According to a journalist for Naukas (A Spanish online science and technology magazine that specializes in skepticism and debunking of pseudoscience), in 1992 Gyorko-Gyorkos described Padrón as a man that "interprets everything he comes up with as real"
. By 1994 Padrón was also claiming that the Spanish Air Force had threatened him with legal action to silence him, and that Gyorko-Gyorkos was a man whose "ethics he'd rather not talk about"
. Padrón had never mentioned these alleged legal threats at any point before June of that year, precisely once the documents were declassified, a coincidence that hadn't gone unnoticed. Some skepticism authors have elucubrated about the possible inspiration for Padrón's 'tall men in dressed in red spacesuits'. Not exactly very original.
Explanation (1994 and 2001)
The 1976 document concludes that the origen of the 22/06/976 UFO -although in reality the Spanish Air force used then the acronym FANI (Fenómeno Aéreo No Identificado', 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon') when referring to it- was unknown. In 1994 these paranormal journalists presented such conclusion as an automatic evidence of aliens, or at least UFOs in the sense popular culture depicts then. In reality, as anyone can notice upon checking the report, 'unknown' means precisely that; unknown. At no point in the report the authors bring up rebuttals for any possible logical or rational explanation, but rather they conclude that back in 1976 there was just not enough evidence to provide an accurate explanation of its origin.
The same report contains the transcription of precisely Dr. Gyorko-Gyorkos's opinion about Dr. Padrón's reasoning (safe to assume, by then had already made up his mind about the man) in a military court. In the transcription, and in what looks like a generous maneuver to dismiss Padrón's claims without going as far to humiliate him, Gyorko-Gyorkos explains a military judge that that night Dr. Padrón, possibly overworked and sleep-deprived, misremembered what had seen and his fatigued psyche had create a mixed recollection with what he had seen and what had crossed his mind. As for the taxi driver, this man was probably highly impressionable -apparently the Dr. had behaved in a very excited manner during the phenomenon- and thus in a way Padrón had 'passed' his delusional belief onto him. The military court ruled that "Padrón's credibility could not, for the time being, be corroborated"
Of course, at this point of this writeup a question still lingers; what was whatever thing close to a million and half people saw in the night sky back on June 22nd, 1976? First, let's go over the world's state of affairs at the time, because this is one of these 'mysteries' in which history had been hinting at the answer almost from the beginning;
In 1976 the world was still amidst of a low-key conflict between two superpowers with lots of political tensions; the United States (plus NATO) versus the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (plus other members of the Warsaw Pact). AKA, Cold War. As part of the Western Bloc, at the time Spain had been a long-time ally of NATO. However, the country wouldn't become a NATO member itself until 1982 -which was so controversial within Spain that a referendum would be held in 1986 questioning Spanish people's desire to remain in the military alliance.
As such, while Spain was a Western ally, back in 1976 it was not really 'in the game' yet, especially when taking into account that, unlike in other countries, NATO membership wasn't that welcome. Please notice the year the Spanish army declassified the documents; 1994. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 (and with it , the fall of the Iron Curtain) helped lower the stakes this international poker game, and as such the world would learn about all sorts of crazy things that had been going on at both sides of the conflict in absolute secrecy.
Earlier in this writeup there is a data-based description of the phenomenon's behavior, but most importantly, it's ballistic trajectory. Adding to that, countless witnesses had described seeing either one or a couple of lights 'taking off like a rocket'. Let's remember; it had been ascertained that it originated at about 700 kilometers west and had moved further west in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean while reaching an altitude of 90 kilometers -which is about the lower thermosphere. This had already raised the first suspicions among the members of the Spanish intelligence services, suspicions that gained weight in 1994 -and that likely led to the declassification of the report- when much clearer and straightforward communication between the United States' government and Spain's allowed for a more open investigation of the sort of testing the Americans were engaging in. In 2001 an article of research journalism, coauthored by science journalists Ricardo Campo and Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos finally identified what was behind the 1976 aerial phenomenon.
Campo and Ballester had already noticed its ballistic trajectory calculated in 1976. In 1999, suspecting already who (country) was the 'culprit', they accessed Jonathan McDowell's database of ballistic missile launches.
Previous to that Campo and Ballester had failed to find any useful information in NASA's archives, as none of the launches in their registry matched the evidence, and prior to that -right after the 1994 declassification, in fact- they had traveled to Moscow looking for the possible explanation there. Russian military authorities had adamantly denied their involvement in the phenomena, which directed the investigators towards other leads (while at the same time not disregarding the possibility of Russia being behind it after all.
Finally, Campo and Ballester bumped into these two rows
of the database. First column indicates the launch identification number. Second and third, the date (in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Fourth is GMT time (which, adjusting for a compilation error, coincides with Canary Islands' GMT+1 local time when the phenomenon took place). The fifth column tells the type of missile, the sixth on identifies the launch platform and finally the seventh one indicates who was responsible for the launch. Simply put, the information in these rows means; on June 22nd, 1976, two Poseidon C3 thermonuclear missiles were launched from US Navy's submarine USS Von Steuben
), at 20:16 and 20:17 GTM.
The database does not include location (that information remains classified) but during their research Campo and Ballester learned from McDowell
himself that the US Navy's eastern test range covers from Cape Canaveral (Florida, US) all the way Ascension Island
. The location of the 1976's phenomenon falls well within such range.
From here, Campos and Ballester offered an explanation of its optics. The Poseidon C3 missile
carries several 40-kiloton nuclear warheads (normally ten) -for comparison, Little Boy was a single 15-kiloton bomb. Once the two 400-kiloton missiles detonated in the thermosphere, the quick expansion of extremely hot atmospheric gases reflected the sunlight back to Earth, even though by then in Canary Islands the sun was already well below the horizon and the sky was pitch black; at 90 kilometers of altitude, these expanding gases were still in direct path of the sunlight. This reflection is what made the phenomenon appear so bright and big in spite of the 700+ kilometers of distance between witnesses and its source. Campo and Ballester's article
provided also an explanation for other similar events -albeit not that espectacular as the one pertaining this writeup- that had taken place in the islands between 1973 and 1979. All except one were found to be the result of other American thermonuclear tests, with the exception of this one
seen south of the archipelago in 1979 -and finally acknowledged by Russia in 2017, although they did not explain what exactly it was. Conclusion TL;DR: It was a couple of thermonuclear missiles launched in secrecy by the US Navy in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The 'aliens' witness was, to put it mildy, an individual with an extreme tendency to make ludicrous statements and a marked need to be the centre of attention.
Campo and Ballester's work is available online for free, and anyone who speak Spanish can check the story of their investigation for themselves.
This is not to say that the whole 'aliens' narrative died down. To this day, the story of the 1976 phenomenon continues to be shared sometimes in media as 'proof' of UFO/aliens, even though it's literally neither -coincidentally, failing to mention the vast amount of evidence pointing at a thermonuclear test. In June of 2016 several newspapers published articles remembering the phenomenon in its 40th anniversary, and pretty much all of them reminded the reader right from the headline that the 'mystery' had long been solved. Links and Sources "Two red giants riding a missile"
- Excellent article in the aforementioned online magazine Naukas written by Ricardo Campo himself on the phenomenon (Spanish) The Spanish Army's declassified document on the event.
It can be downloaded for free as a 107-pages long PDF 2016 Article (Spanish)
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