2013 dodge dart wheel bolt pattern
DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE
2023.06.03 17:57 tryna_write DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE
I parked in the tower's lot, letting my headlights bore into the amalgam of twisted metal and glass for a few moments before shutting them off.
Josh muttered, his voice low. "We're really doing this, huh?"
He ran a hand through his mop of curly hair— a dumb tic he developed last summer when his girlfriend, Annabeth, told him it was sexy. She was beside him now, cuddled up in the backseat across his lap.
I glanced at my own girlfriend, Ellie, in the passenger seat. She was trying her damndest to appear brave, but I knew better. There was no way she was comfortable with trespassing tonight.
I sighed, realizing that Josh would also chicken out.
doing this? You sure you want to come?" I prodded.
Josh shifted in his seat, hand running through his hair yet again. "Maybe it's better if I stay in the truck.”
Annabeth shrugged next to him, unsurprised.
"Me, too,” Ellie chimed in, nodding at Josh.
Annabeth met my eyes, a glimmer of understanding passing between us. Our partners were both boring, god-awful goody two shoes.
"Pussies," I jabbed, swinging open my door without giving them a moment to respond.
Annabeth hopped out behind me, waving at the two losers in the truck before spinning towards me with a grin on her face.
"They're weird," she said, rolling her eyes.
For a moment, I was drinking in the way her golden hair shimmered in the moonlight. A light breeze tickled at our faces, sending sparkles of her moon-lit hair between us.
"Yup," I mustered.
I turned, strolling towards the chain link fence that formed a circular perimeter around the base of Sabe's Tower.
Sabe’s Tower. Thirteen stories of abandoned potential, whispering of times past when our town's inhabitants thought we'd hit a population boom, becoming the Houston of West Virginia. In the 70s, our success was tied to coal. Jobs flooded in, and with them, a myriad of people trying to make their way in life. Then the mines abruptly ran dry, decimating our town's economy. Since that time, our population has done nothing but dwindle.
Sabe’s Tower. Thirteen stories of decaying grandeur, silently rotting from the inside out. Some say that's what happened to Sabe himself— a rot took hold in his core, spreading and spreading until nothing but rot was left. In the end, he took his own life, which some say was for the best. He was a greedy fool, the wealthiest man for miles, owning half the surrounding countryside before the mining industry took off. Made a fortune selling his family's land to coal companies, putting every ounce of profit into making his towering hotel more luxurious than a Ritz Carlton.
Sabe’s Tower. Thirteen stories of failed dreams, now screaming vulgar obscenities at our eyes. It is a truly ugly behemoth, domineering our town's skyline with unmerited arrogance. Sabe thought painting the tower purple would give it an air of majesty, like royalties of the past, swaddled in silky lavender robes. His aspiration, after all, was nothing less than to emulate the sacred Tabernacle of Moses, to make his hotel a dwelling place for gods among men. In its current state of disrepair, however, the tower was no more than an eyesore— a visual cacophony of broken glass, peeling sickly-purple paint, and rusted steel inlays.
Adding to the hotel's disgrace, it was cylindrical in form, perched atop the highest peak for miles, jutting into the sky like a middle finger to the gods. Its phallic outline stood in stark contrast to the run-down strip malls lying in its wake.
The fence surrounding the tower was a bit too tall and a bit too wobbly to safely scale, so we circled, looking for an entry point. Every few yards, a DO NOT TRESPASS sign hung, tied to the fence with zip-ties in each corner. Someone had taken the liberty to spray paint a word underneath each sign, now making them all read: DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE.
"Good thing you're coming with me," I joked, pointing at one of the signs.
Annabeth paused to read it for a moment. "Yeah... kinda weird that someone did that. I wonder why?"
I shrugged, continuing around the perimeter.
Eventually, we found a gate in the fence, held closed with chains at waist level. The gate's post careened steeply outward, creating a manageable gap near the top. The gate post was only held in place by the chains, not even slightly anchored to the ground. Without too much of a struggle, we hoisted ourselves up and through the gap.
Once inside the fence, I found myself spellbound by the abandoned hotel. The stars in the night sky reflected across the windows, bending and warping around the curved perimeter. Each glimmer of starlight turned into dizzying fractals, melding together and slipping between the shards of broken glass with each shift of my gaze.
The result was honestly breathtaking.
At night, the eyesoriffic tower was beautiful. Its silhouette dared to embrace the star-studded cosmos, standing with a quiet dignity that defied its daytime mockery.
I felt Annabeth shuffle beside me.
Suddenly, her phone flashlight was on, illuminating a path through overgrown concrete to the tower. At the end of the path was the structure’s entrance— a gaping hole with no attempt to conceal the darkness within.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!" I yelled, spinning to face her.
"W... What do you mean?" she stuttered.
"Turn that off, you idiot," I explained, lowering my voice. "Someone might see the light and call the cops."
The light flicked off, Annabeth mumbling apologies.
I blinked away the afterimage of weeds eating through the concrete lot, silently cursing myself for being so ridiculously hostile toward her.
"Sorry," I mumbled.
"You're good, Donovan" she whispered, brushing her hand across my arm.
As we continued to the open doorway, the outside of the tower came into focus. It was far further dilapidated than I had realized— each accent of purple paint, faded and peeling, was bulging out from between the glass and steel like it was trying to escape. I rubbed a fingernail on the paint, revealing a soft, rotting wood beneath.
I entered the tower first, pausing to let my eyes adjust. The darkness of the doorway opened up into an atrium that must have once made for a magnificent entrance. It was shaped like a slice of pie, us standing near the crust, peering inward toward the center. Above was pitch black, not yielding any answers to just how high up this mighty room's ceiling stretched.
The musty scent that filled my nose was surprisingly welcoming— somewhere between the smell of fishing trips and century old bookstores. I took a deep breath, relishing in the soft stench.
I could vaguely make out wires dangling down from the ceiling of the atrium. They were impossibly long, stretching upward into the infinite gloom.
"They look like vines," Annabeth whispered, her voice a soft purr.
The air was thick with falling dust, filtering down from the abyss above, twirling between the wires in satisfyingly slow-motion. The falling dust made it even harder to see in the dark, leaving the walls on either side of the room foggy blobs. I waved my hand, sending fleeting dust spirals through the air.
I remembered seeing photos of the atrium online, taken on some of the earliest digital cameras ever made. Those pictures showed marble countertops, intricate wooden carvings, and lushly carpeted floors.
The room, as it stands today, is a barren husk of Sabe's vision. The carpet, only present in scattered clumps, was impossibly dark, soiled to the point of true black. It clung to the concrete foundation, viciously holding on for dear life in a losing battle.
I bent down to examine a clump of carpet in front of me, amazed by the absence of light reflecting back. It was like staring into a pit of nothing, a vague absence, an outline of something that should be there.
I poked the toe of my boot at it. FPOOSH.
It exploded, erupting into my face.
I gagged instinctively, tasting the vile substance mix into my lungs. Annabeth slapped my back as I continued gagging and coughing, begging the mucus to tear itself free from my lungs and just fucking get out of my body because it feels like I'm dying oh GOD.
And eventually, it did.
The violent hacking subsided into slight wretching, then was gone.
"Are you okay?" Annabeth tested. Do you think I'm fucking okay?
"What the fuck was that?" I spewed.
She bent over the clump of carpet. Underneath the blackened top layer that just violently erupted was a pale network of matted spiderwebs.
"Hmm..." she began, "It kind of looks like mycelium."
She met my raised eyebrow with an eye roll.
"You know, like the roots of a fungus or some shit, I don't know. I just saw the shrooms growing in Bryce's closet that one time he showed me his stash. This white stuff looks just like it. So I guess that makes this black stuff like the part of the shroom we eat, or whatever."
"Oh dip," I responded, nodding. "That makes sense. One time I saw a nature show about some plants that shoot their seeds everywhere when something touches them. It's probably just spreading its spores when we touch it."
"Yeah," she breathed, "pretty gnarly."
We shuffled deeper into the gloom, weaving between dangling cables and clumps of fungus. I felt a drop of moisture flick off a cable, sliding onto my arm.
I groaned. "Fuck. That cable was wet."
"Disgusting," she whispered back.
We made our way to the apex of the room, the center of the tower, revealing a rusted set of elevator doors leaning together like drunks at a quinceanera. The doorway to the stairs, however, beckoned to us with the same unobstructed, pitch-black allure that the tower's entrance emanated just minutes before.
In the dark, it's truly amazing how utterly void all open doorways look.
Upon stepping inside the stairwell, the world vanished. The only proof of having working eyes was a faint, vertical glow of light filtering through the door, abruptly fading into all-consuming black.
Every sound in the entire building bored through my soul, bouncing from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, echoing on and on for all of eternity. The stairwell, directly in the center of the decrepit hotel, was the focal point of every creaking floorboard, every popping nail, every howling gust of wind. It was as if I was holding up a monstrous conch shell to my ear— a deafening murmur of echoes in disarray, smelting together to form satanic harmonies.
"Whoa," Annabeth mumbled.
Her word cut through the other echoes, impossibly loud against their monotonous hum.
Instantly, the echo of her voice filled the stairwell, rising like the build up of a dubstep song until peaking, impossibly overwhelming for a few brief seconds. The echoes of her voice then faded as quickly as they arrived.
She put a hand to her mouth, the whites of her eyes barely visible in the glow coming from the doorway.
I reached out, placing a hand where her shoulder should be. There was not enough space for us to stand abreast in the stairwell, leaving us in a comically squished proximity. She was breathing rapidly, barely managing to stay silent. I squeezed, and her breathing quickly slowed. I felt her hand creep onto mine, and we stood for a minute, simply listening to the cries of the dying building echo around us.
As my eyes adjusted, I could make out a staircase spiraling up the curved wall. Clearly this was a service stairwell, as it is much too cramped for the likes of Sabe's guests. Only a few steps were visible through the darkness at a time, making the staircase feel even tinier than it already was. Luckily, no fungus grew on the stairs themselves, leaving the metal alone to rust.
Annabeth shuffled onto the first step, producing a small object from her pocket. She handed it to me, then pointed up the stairwell, careful to not send echoes through the cylindrical chamber again.
I brought it close to my eyes for inspection, straining against the lack of light. A joint... She wants to go to the roof and smoke.
A smile cracked my lips. Classic Annabeth.
Every couple stairsteps, there would be a doorway. Most of them let in a dim glow, offering a glimpse into what must have once been a custodial closet on each floor.
On floor 9, I tugged at Annabeth's hand. We made eye contact in the faint light coming from the doorway. I motioned through it, pointing to the nearly fungus free floor. I wanted to explore at least a little bit, to see if the closet circled around the stairwell or not.
I poked my head through the doorway, freeing myself from the overwhelming cacophony of echoes in the stairwell.
I verified that the closet did, in fact, curve around the circular staircase like a donut. A few steps in one direction led to a terrifying drop— the elevator shaft. Next to it, a sidewalk sized ledge led to an open door, giving a view of the floor's main hallway. The path looked safe— no fungus, cracks, or otherwise obvious defects— so I proceeded, treading as light as a fox, fumbling for Annabeth's hand behind me.
The main hallway ran between the custodial closet and the guest rooms, creating another donut ring around the central stairwell. Throughout the hallway, patches of fungus grew alarmingly close together, threatening to overtake the concrete.
"That stairwell was insane," Annabeth whispered.
I nodded. "Fuck yeah, I wonder what it was like when the hotel was actually open. Must have been miserable for the staff."
We weaved through the fungus filled hallway, coming to room 901. I glanced at Annabeth, raising my eyebrows. The door was slightly ajar, hanging from its one remaining door hinge. I pushed gently, eliciting a monstrous creak.
The room was empty, extending away to the outside in a familiar pie shape. The mold seemed to grow thinner in the room, leaving most of the exposed concrete safe to cross. At the far side, a floor to ceiling panel of windows looked out over our town.
I gasped, taking in the view. Never before had I seen our town from this high up. My eyes drew to the smokestacks by the river, their blinking lights ominously flickering over downtown. Individual streets ran in parallel lines away from the tower, lit with yellowing streetlights. Between the roads, tiny lights cast from window panes twinkled, blending with one another into a starscape of their own.
"Dude," I said. "Look at this."
I spun, looking for Annabeth, frantically scanning the room. My eyes had adjusted to the outside light, leaving me sightless.
" I hissed.
A cold tingle went up my spine, pulling at hairs on the back of my neck.
I crept back across the floor, now aware of the entire room at once. There was nowhere for her to be hiding. No desks, cans of paint, ladders, nothing. Just an empty room with patchy fungus growing on the cement. Something must have happened.
I studied each fungal growth in the room as I passed by. Even with the light cast from the windows, the tops remained impossibly dark. Not a single feature was discernible— only an outline was visible.
Halfway to the door, a three foot wide hole led straight to floor 8. I could have sworn it wasn't there before. I peered into the opening, seeing straight through to the room below. From what I could see, it was identically empty.
" I tried again, nearing the door to the hallway.
I stumbled backward, tripping over my own feet. I landed squarely on a patch of fungus. FPOOSH.
I remembered to hold my breath, close my eyes, and plug my nose.
Annabeth cackled from the threshold of the doorway, standing over me with both hands on her forehead.
"You should have seen the look—" she began, breaking off into another fit of laughter.
"Shut up," I groaned, pushing to my feet. My entire body was covered in squishy fungus gunk. I pointed at the hole behind me, continuing. "You could have killed me."
"Blah, blah, blah," she mocked. "You're fine... you're just being a baby."
Annabeth gave me a playful shove, hands lingering for a moment overdue. Swatting her paws off me, I marched back to the stairwell. I led the rest of the way to floor 13, followed by her snickers.
As I reached the top of the stairs and stepped onto the 13th floor, my jaw dropped. It was a scene straight out of a surrealist painting. An enormous pool room lay before us. Glass walls extended up from the tile floors, creating a massive, clear domed perimeter. A swath of stars twinkled brilliantly through the clear ceiling, their light refracting through the glass, casting ethereal patterns onto the room's otherwise bleak surroundings.
The pool itself was a semi-circular cutout covering half the floor space, starting at ground level and deepening in a corkscrew motion. Its ceramic tiles, once probably a bright blue, were now tinged with patches of the same fungal growth we had come across on the lower floors. The growth was sparse here, though, letting the original floor design take prominence.
In the center of the room— on top of the staircase we just stepped out of— stood a circular pillar that extended up to the middle of the glass dome, like a spine holding up the entire tower. A small antenna jutted out from above the pillar atop the dome. Surrounding the antenna was a low fence, perhaps a safety measure for maintenance workers.
Annabeth, having finally contained her laughter, stepped beside me, her face illuminated by the soft starlight filtering in through the dome. She too stood silent, taken aback by the unexpected beauty of this forgotten space.
As we moved around the room, our steps echoed across the vast emptiness. With every patch of fungus we passed, the same eerie darkness hovered, the undulating mold standing stark against the ceramic tiles.
We made our way back to the central pillar. A ladder, carved into the pillar, connected to the glass ceiling with a trapdoor.
"To the roof?" Annabeth sang, rubbing her hands together in a goblin-like motion.
As she climbed above me, I couldn't help but crane my neck and drool. She slammed open the trapdoor, and we burst through to the roof.
The fenced-in area was covered with a dark spongy surface, gripping at my knees when I stood up. Wind whipped around us, carrying a chill that cut through my clothes and bit into my skin. With each gust, the antenna above us groaned and swayed, almost as if it were joining in a dance with an unseen partner.
We sat on the squishy rubber surface, comfortably in silence. I met her eyes, smiling dumbly. We passed the joint back and forth until it dwindled down, its ember glow flickering one last time before extinguishing completely. A familiar haze crawled through my thoughts, slowing the passage of time to a languishing crawl.
"Hey..." she started, "I think I've finally found inspiration for my next album."
I scooted closer to her, taking her hand. I knew the topic brought about an unusual timidity in her— a blemish in the badass persona she's so keen on presenting. She won't even talk to her own boyfriend about her music career.
"Yeah?" I floated.
She hesitated for a second, settling into the moment. I felt a tug at my crotch, suddenly all too aware of how pretty she looked in the moonlight. I took in every detail— the way her hair fell across her face, the pattern of her freckles, the soft speckling of stars reflecting across her eyes.
"I think you need to take off your shirt, first, though," she whispered, now inches from my face. "You're filthy."
I glanced down, remembering the fungal gunk that had soiled my clothes when she scared me.
Without warning, her hands slid under my shirt, warm and sure. I helped her yank it off, collapsing into her lips.
When we got back to the truck, I was still high enough to see everything in slow motion. Before pulling out of the parking lot, Annabeth and I regurgitated the events of our urban exploration, trying to show our significant others what fun they missed out on. It goes without saying that part of the story was intentionally omitted.
Ellie and Josh were unamused. Their lack of adventure will forever be a mystery to me.
We swung out of the lot, hopping onto the highway headed into town. I swayed between lanes, struggling to keep the double-yellow lines in focus.
"Are you sure you're good to drive?" Ellie asked, gripping the armrest.
"I'm fine," I slurred.
Seconds later, another truck materialized in front of us. I swerved to avoid it, then everything went black.
I woke up to a strong hand pulling me out of the window. My truck was upside down, the roof completely caved in.
I groaned. "Aww... fuck...."
The person who pulled me out looked like the kind of guy to chew tobacco and spit wisdom. His fishing cap cast a deep shadow across his eyes in the moon's glow, concealing his gaze. He was an old timer, that's for sure, one of those folk who came during the coal rush and decided to stay when all was said and done. I could see his truck— the same truck I saw moments before the crash— pulled into the shoulder of the highway with its blinkers on.
"Easy now," he reassured, his voice like gravel under a boot. "Anyone else inside?"
I nodded, unable to speak.
I plopped onto the grassy slope embarking off the side of the road. The old man pulled their mangled bodies out, one by one.
The countryside shrank around me. I felt the corners of my vision pulling in, the weed in my system straining the limits of shock I could take before melting down.
"I'm sorry, son," he whispered, his voice carrying the weight of my guilt. "The police will be here soon. Don't you worry." The police.
I stood up. I knew exactly how the police treated people with my skin color in this town.
"Hey now!" the man hollered.
I kept running.
Away from my truck, away from my dead friends, away from the police.
I ran until my breath came in ragged, uncontrollable huffs. I flopped to the ground, laying on the cool concrete, cradling my head with my hands. Blood flowed between my fingertips, pooling onto the pavement.
I laid there until police sirens wailed through the night, rapidly approaching. They stopped at the wreck, leaving me in silence. Moments later, the sirens picked up their mournful song again, heading toward me.
I sat up.
I was back in the lot of Sabe's Tower. Only then did I realize how little distance I really ran from the wreck— a couple hundred yards at most.
Four, five, maybe even six sirens filled the air. They were all coming for me. They knew what I had done.
I bolted from my position on the concrete. I could hide in the tower. No way the cops would look for me in that rotting place. They wouldn't dare.
I squeezed through the gap in the fence, same as before, vaulting past the DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE
signs in a fluid lunge. The sirens behind me screamed into the night, melding together into a continuous doomsday chant.
Red and blue lights filled the lot. I hit the ground right in front of the gaping entrance to the tower, praying that the weeds poking through the concrete would be enough to mask my form. I army crawled, inch by inch, dragging myself across broken bottles and plywood shrapnell, until I was safely in the darkness of the tower.
A police cruiser parked in the lot. Its siren drowned out all other wails for a moment before shutting off. A chubby white officer hopped out, surveying the scene. His gaze came to rest on the spot where I had lain. He squatted down, raking a finger through the pool of blood I left behind. He took a few steps toward the tower, squatting down yet again. Another splotch of blood, no doubt.
His voice floated through the plaza, slightly nasal and a little out of breath. "Dispatch, this is officer Chetty, badge number 741. I'm on the scene at 1019 Pleasant Valley Lane, in the lot of Sabe's Tower. I've located a pool of fresh blood that may be linked to our hit-and-run suspect. Possible injury, suspect could be close. Requesting immediate backup and forensics for evidence collection." Fuck.
I wormed my way further into the tower's belly, sliding between patches of fungus like a mouse in a snake pit, heading for the stairwell. I had to ascend, to find some nook or cranny out of reach of the pursuing officers. The godforsaken tower was one big game of hide and seek, only this time, losing meant far worse than a bruised ego.
Something gurgled in the darkness.
My blood froze. I halted, my heart hammering a tattoo against my ribs. Holding my breath, I strained my senses, eyes peering into the graying murk, searching for the source of the sound.
It came again, a wretched retching, like an animal choking on its own vomit. Hacking, gurgling, bubbling wetness bursting through strained vocal chords, a sound of fading vitality. It was coming from near the door, just outside the meager halo of light slipping through the hole.
A wet line smeared across the back of my neck. A yelp escaped my lips before I realized it was just a cord dangling from the ceiling.
At my yelp, the gurgling paused.
A heavy hush fell over the place, the quietude of the hunted.
I could faintly make out echoes emanating from the stairwell, only a few feet behind me.
The gurgling continued, sucking at the thick air. It began to drag itself forward through the fungus covered floor— a slow, steady, rhythmic drag against the concrete. FPOOSH.
A geyser of spores bloomed, mingling with swirls of dust in the meager light. The creature, or whatever it was, did not slow its approach. Out of the darkness, a form began to shape— a silhouette clawing its way toward me. FPOOSH.
I could see this eruption envelop the mass on the floor. One hand appeared, then another. Its fingers scrabbled over the concrete, searching for any purchase to grip. They flexed, heaving the thing even closer.
A mop of curly hair appeared between the hands. A body, face down. It pulled itself closer, into another fungal growth, grinding its face through the rough concrete. FPOOSH.
A knife protruded from its back. The handle jutted upward, a grim totem amidst the grime and gore. I shuddered, involuntarily taking a step closer to the stairwell.
It looked up at me.
Or rather, Josh looked up at me.
I stared back, mouth agape.
His face was nearly sanded off from the concrete. His nose took the worst of it, ground down to the bone, leaving only two sucking, gurgling holes between his eyes. His cheeks were a mangled mess of blood and rocks, viscous red flowing freely to the tip of his chin before dribbling off. The chunks of meat hanging where lips should have been flapped against his teeth with every jerky motion, tethered to his face by all too little strands of flesh. Beneath them, his teeth showed bright red and white in a perpetual grimacing smile.
"Josh?" I managed to whisper, my voice a frightened squeak.
Josh opened his mouth as if to respond, ripping both cheeks in half. He hacked, gurgling, spitting up blood that came from deep within his torso. He slowly cocked his head to the side, but instead of stopping at a slant, he kept twisting his neck until bones started to crack and his head dangled upside down.
His mangled, upside down head swung limply as he pulled himself to his knees, his neck like jelly. He wasn't wearing the same clothes he was wearing earlier tonight— no, he was wearing clothes from the night Annabeth first cheated on him with me. He was at a Villanova game, supporting his favorite team since birth. Annabeth knew he would be gone for the weekend, so we took our chance. I was still at her place when he came back, wearing his Collin Gillespie jersey and reeking of beer.
Now in front of me, his prized jersey was in tatters, torn to ribbons by the concrete. He groaned, shuffling and reaching for me with bloody fingers.
I bolted into the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time. I pushed myself faster and faster until the door to floor 9 loomed to my side. I didn't pause for a moment, pushed forward by the gurgling echoes reverberating from below.
My thighs, weak from the frantic climb, begged for a break. I wobbled into the hallway, painfully tip-toeing through the fungus. The door to 901 beckoned ahead, hanging open like it had been awaiting my hasty return.
I stumbled over the threshold when Annabeth's singing filled the room. "Oh, Donovan!
Outlined against the window was a two-headed beast. One face belonged to Annabeth, the other to Ellie. The creature swayed, an obscene dance of bare, fused flesh. It wore no clothes, as if to mock God himself. It had two sets of everything— eight appendages total, like a humanoid arachnid. Annabeth's breasts, now side by side with Ellie's, put Ellie to shame, even now.
Annabeth crooned again, "Oh, Donovan!" each syllable laced with acid and honey. The sound made my skin crawl as it floated through the silent room.
"You always did want more, didn't you Donovan?" Ellie sneered, a harsh grin splitting her face.
Annabeth spat, "More than Ellie could give. More than anyone could give."
The thing dropped to the floor with a thud. All eight limbs moved in unison as it crawled.
"Isn't this what you wanted? Both of us at the same time?" Their voices tumbled over each other, mouths moving in synchrony. Together, their laughter filled the hollow room. "Don't you like the thrill, Donovan? Don't you like playing with fire?"
The thing scurried at me, jumping over fungal growths with powerful leaps. The sudden movement broke my paralyzation, spurring my legs to action. I darted into the closet and through the stairwell door, into the gurgling echoes.
Back down the stairwell I ran, the two headed beast in pursuit. Both girls snarled, hindered by their conjoined size in the narrow passageway. Their struggle echoed through the stairwell, mixing with the gurgling. I fled further down, needing to put distance between that thing and me.
I stopped dead in my tracks between floors 2 and 3.
Josh was there, leaning against the wall with the knife removed from his back, now grasped tightly in his hand. I staggered back up the stairs, instinctively retreating, narrowly avoiding the blade as he lunged at me.
Glancing up, I caught a flash of pale skin bearing down on me, cutting off my escape. My only way out was the door to floor 3. I charged through the closet, leaving the echoes behind me.
Floor 3 was empty— no walls, only fungus and windows. The atrium loomed to my left, a pie shaped hole missing from the floor and ceiling. I backed away from the door, eyeing the dangling cords hanging in the atrium. Maybe... Just maybe....
Josh stumbled from the stairwell, filling the air with his wet slurping. Annabeth and Ellie followed, scrambling toward me.
I didn't have time to think.
I jumped, grasping at the dangling wires, praying they would hold my weight.
Time stuttered, hanging suspended like an icicle on a winter's morning. The world spun in a dizzying blur as I twisted, fingers stretching for a grip. Panic clawed its icy fingers up my spine, but it was the surprise that struck me most. The simple disbelief that this was happening.
A wire found its way into my hand, snapping without slowing my fall.
The wind whooshed past, ripping the breath from my lungs. Above me, the third floor retreated, its grimy concrete replaced by a view of the atrium's ceiling, wires swinging back and forth from my desperate escape.
Then came the sensation of falling. It's a feeling that strikes a primal chord, an orchestra of fear and adrenaline that means the end of a life. My stomach lurched, free-falling alongside me, while the rest of my body seemed to hover in a state of disbelief.
The impact came as both a shock and an inevitability. There was a moment of sheer, undiluted pain, a soundless scream reverberating through my very bones. It felt like being shattered from the inside out, an explosion of agony that started from my back and radiated outwards. An iron-hot spike of pain shot through me, and then, a chilling void as everything below my waist slipped into a terrifying numbness.
The echo of my body's collision rang in my ears as the world spun into a disorienting whirl of blurs, shadows, and pain. The cold concrete beneath me felt real, solid, a chilling contrast to the sudden loss of sensation in my legs.
In the throbbing silence that followed, I understood. I had fallen. I was broken. I lay sprawled on the atrium floor, gasping, the world tilting dangerously in my vision.
Annabeth and Ellie emerged from the staircase, scrambling across the atrium floor. Red and blue police lights filtered through the tower’s windows, making shadows dance between the monster's eight limbs. Josh wasn't far behind, still clutching onto the bloody knife, head rolling upside down between his shoulders.
"Police, we're coming in!" a familiar nasally voice shouted.
The moment officers stepped foot in the tower, the monsters vanished in a spray of spores.
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2023.06.03 17:17 Proletlariet Spyro
Hold your horns, here comes Spyro! Spyro the Dragon is, as the name suggests, a young dragon. Over the course of the series, he goes on many adventures. That's basically everything.
This RT only covers the classic timeline, and not The Legend of Spyro or Skylanders.
Dragon Breath General Strength
One of Spyro's most notable abilities is breathing fire. Metal enemies are resistant to fire, but can be defeated by charging, while enemies that are too big to be charged can be knocked down with a fire attack (as seen here)
- Sparx states that Spyro's fire is at least 7800 degrees Fahrenheit
- Ashes Toasty's costume, scorching the grass underneath
- Ashes a haystack
- Ashes a large pencil
- Ashes some tents
- Ashes a painting
- Ashes a cuckoo clock
- Ashes a large mushroom
- Ashes thick thorns
- Ashes a gear
- Ashes Rhynocs, killing them
- Burns a tree black
- Burns a cactus black, which then explodes
- Burns a large, magic plant, causing it to revert into a seed
- Melts candle wax instantly
- Melts a block of ice a fairy is trapped in without hurting the fairy
- Melts a large block of ice
- Vaporizes a snowman
- Destroys two sausages and fries a dragon's facial hair
- Scorches Dr. Shemp's rear, sending him fleeing in pain
- Scorches Bianca
- [Burns N. Tropy, N. Brio, and N. Gin]()
- Fires a cannon
- Fires a rocket
- Lights a large candle
- Lights lighthouses
- Keeps "sun seeds" lit, from which a new sun can be grown
- Regrows a tree, somehow
Originally, Spyro could only breathe frost with a superfreeze powerup, or altering the magic that lets him breathe fire, but in later games he gained the ability to breathe it naturally.
Originally, Spyro could only use electric breath (also known as "lightning breath") with a powerup, but later gained the ability to breathe it naturally. It's effective on metal enemies and objects
Spyro has the ability to breathe out powerful gusts of wind.
Spyro has the ability to breath out a spray of water. Unlike his other breath attacks, he cannot injure enemies with this, only push them back
Magic and Equipment Superflame
With a fairy's kiss, or another special powerup, Spyro temporarily gains the Superflame ability. This allows him to breathe fire which is more powerful than his regular flame breath. It can either be breathed like normal, or be shot like a projectile, depending on the game.
Spyro can supercharge on special supercharge ramps (or with the help of special gates), allowing for a much faster and more powerful charge. Spyro runs so fast in this form he burns with red, then purple fire, and can smash a type of chest which he is incapable of charging through normally
Spyro has the power to shield himself with his wings and reflect attacks. It can reflect blunt objects but not piercing attacks
The Shadow Amulet is a powerful artifact which can refine and focus Spyro's magic
Sparx Sparx is the dragonfly that follows Spyro, helping and protecting him, usually by collecting gems for him. His color changes depending on his health. He can also point in the direction of nearby gems.
- Charges poles to knock gems off the top
- Charges coconut trees to shake coconuts out of them
- Charges a monster into a gong, knocking it out
- Charges a sheep into the air
- Charges enemies into the air
- Charges through heavily armored enemies, breaking their armor
- Charges through snowmobiles
- Charges through a robot
- Charges large, armored enemies backwards on slippery ice
- Charges large, stone Earthshapers backwards a fair distance
- Charges the large monster Buzz back repeatedly
- Charges the large Ineptune backwards, pushing her through water and shattering the structure she hits
- Charges into charging bulls, sticking their horns into the ground
- Charges into a birdcage, breaking it apart
- Charges rolling metal barrels, knocking them backwards
- Charges bombs across an arena
- Charges a giant bomb into the water
- Charges through large wooden crates
- Charges through metal chests that cannot be broken with fire
- Charges through Metalhead's power poles
- Charges through a stump
- Charges through a large shell
- Charges through a pile of rocks
- Charges through a large door
- Charges through a wall of wood planks underwater
- Charges through a brick wall
- Charges through a stone wall
- Charges through a large, cracked crystal
- Charges through a cracked stone wall underwater
- Charges through thick, cracked stone
- Charges through thick rock
- Charges through a large rock
- After having a spell cast on him to make him stronger, Spyro can charge through rocks that he could not break before
Durability Blunt Force
Swallowing and Spitting
Skill Hockey Skill
"I thought that dragons had all been dead for a thousand years, or something."
"Well, the rumors about our extinction were slightly exaggerated."
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2023.06.03 17:00 Proletlariet Composite Bond - Main Body
I admire your luck, Mr...? Special Agent 007, James Bond is the star agent of MI6. Always cool under pressure and licensed to kill, James is sent to infiltrate enemy organizations and destroy them from the inside. Over the decades, James Bond has gone from serious to campy and back again, but always manages to get the job done through wit, physical ability and superior equipment.
Bond. James Bond.
Bond generally wields a sidearm with lethal efficiency, along with a number of incredible gadgets developed by the geniuses at Q Branch. With his remarkable physical ability and ever-changing bag of tools, there isn't an international crime organization that Bond has failed to take down. The only thing that could possible distract Bond are his own vices: women or booze, both of which have gotten one over on him in the past.
James Bond Respect Threads by Actor
Sean Connery- 1962 to 1967, once more in 1971. Physically strong, numerous gadgets disguised as everyday items. Adept in traditional spy skills, like infiltration and observation.
George Lazenby- Once in 1969. Very similar to Connery in his craftiness, skilled specifically in winter sports.
Roger Moore- 1973 to 1985. Downright campy, making use of almost cartoonish skills that actually work in-universe. Skilled driver and pilot with a variety of gadgets.
Timothy Dalton- 1987 to 1989. Colder and more quick to become violent than the others. Usually carries a firearm and a lethal gadget to kill enemies.
Pierce Brosnan- 1995 to 2002. Best variety of gadgets of any Bond. Great feats of endurance and athletic ability.
Daniel Craig- 2006 to 2021. The most realistic Bond, yet has some of the most impressive physical abilities in any of the movies. Low variety of gadgets, but excels in gunfights.
Hover over a feat to see the film it’s from. Additionally, the name of any gif on Gfycat contains the last name of the actor that accomplished it.
You have a nasty habit of surviving. Strength
Well, you know what they say about the fittest.
- Keeps fighting after getting a wooden chair broken over his back
- Stays conscious after strikes from Oddjob
- Fights on through hits with a fireplace poker
- Jumps from a bridge to a passing boat, falling through the roof and onto a wedding cake
- While hanging onto a blimp, he’s smacked into the Golden Gate Bridge and quickly starts climbing up
- He’s knocked down a ladder, but recovers by the time he gets to the bottom rung
- Continues fighting Stamper after a number of blows to the face
- Falls from a low hot air balloon onto a domed structure, and he recovers by grabbing some nearby cables
- When jumping off a low crane, Bond stumbles, falling into a metal air vent. He’s up and running moments later.
- Recieves cock and ball torture by Le Chiffre’s rope, at first barely responding, then laughing in his torturer’s face
- Falls one or two stories onto the top of a bus, but gets up quickly
- Fights on after being hit across the back with a metal pipe four times
- Keeps fighting through repeated strikes from Hinx, like getting thrown into walls or getting thrown through thin walls
- [Limit] Has a recurring weakness to blunt force trauma to the back of the head
Problem solver? Unarmed Combat
More of a problem eliminator.
Quick Knock Outs
Against Multiple Attackers
Against Armed Attackers
You wouldn’t kill me. You’d miss me. Pistols
I never miss.
I always enjoyed learning a new tongue. Athletics
You always were a cunning linguist, James.
Right, now pay attention 007. I want you to take great care of this equipment. There are one or two rather special accessories. Weapons
Q, have I ever let you down?
- Carries a Walther PPK, a discreet pistol with excellent stopping power
- A collapsible Armalite AR-7 sniper rifle with an infrared sight, allowing for use in the dark
- Bond carries a S&W model 29 revolver in early Moore films, then later switches to his iconic Walther PPK, then, finally, uses the Walther P5
- Carries a very small firearm, the Beretta 950 Jetfire
- Has a firearm disguised as a camera. Additionally, the device is programmed to Bond’s own palm signature, meaning only he can fire the weapon.
- A suppressed UMP-9, used to fire on Mr. White’s leg at range
- A Walther PPK with a palm-print sensor coded to Bond’s hand, meaning only he can fire it
- A heavily modified Glock 17, with laser sight and microphone attachment
Continued in Comments
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2023.06.03 16:54 Proletlariet Kamen Rider Ichigo - Main Body
"Rider… Henshin!" ♫ Let's Go!!! Rider Kick ♫
- ♫ Kamen Rider no Uta ♫ Takeshi Hongo
was a genius biochemist and motorcycle racer working at Johnan University in Tokyo when he was kidnapped by the evil secret organization Shocker
. Hongo was transformed into a cyborg intended to serve Shocker as a super soldier in their quest for world dominance. Rebelling against his would-be masters, Hongo takes the moniker of Kamen Rider
and vows to fight for justice, a promise that takes him across the world and inspires generations of successors to follow in his footsteps.
Feats will be marked with the source.
Note for scaling: Shocker Combatmen are humans who have been enhanced by Shocker cybernetics,
though not to the extent of the elite Shocker cyborgs like Kamen Rider or the various kaijin he fights. The Kamen Rider Official Zukan
says that they have several times the physical ability of regular humans. While superhuman thanks to Shocker's cybernetics, Hongo can't access his full power without transforming.
General Kamen Rider's original form from early in the series.
Stats Page (Kamen Rider Official Zukan)
General Kamen Rider's upgraded form that he used temporarily, named after the region of Japan it first appeared in. From this form on, Kamen Rider no longer required a wind source to transform and could do so at will.
Rider Double Kick All performed with Kamen Rider Nigo
Skill/Misc Kamen Rider's most used and most iconic form, an upgrade over his previous forms.
Stats Page (Kamen Rider Official Zukan)
- Album of killing monsters and making them explode but not causing any significant collateral damage
- Rhinogang says that the Rider Kick is 10x stronger than his own imitationE66
- Defeats Kamen Rider KivaHS
- Hits Kamen Rider Gaim, pushing him back and breaking the rock beneath him until his guard is brokenHS
- Kills the Nazca Dopant L3FO
- Kills Spiderond, causing an explosion that destroys a nearby buildingE57
- Breaks Bearded Dragon's tongue, which broke steel barsE58
- Kills Worm Man, causing an explosion that destroys Shocker's underwater baseE59
- Kills Namazuguiller, causing an explosion that destroys a large mirror array and causes Shocker's underground base to cave inE61
- Kills Gillercricket with a knee, causing an explosion that destroys a nearby buildingE69
- Kills Armadig, who withstood Skyrider ramming him with his motorcycle, which can drive through metal doorsGO
- Kills Spiderbaban and Golden Jaguar at the same timeSO
- Destroys a group of Badan CombatroidsHS
- Breaks off Franken Bat's wingFR
- Kicks Eaglemantis' blade back at him, cutting him in halfE86
- Kicks Catgecko, somehow curing him of the brainwashing/cyborg surgery Gel Shocker performed on himE88
- [Rider Screw Kick] Breaks through a barred windowE69
- [Rider Lunar Kick] Kills Crowox who withstood a mineE95
- [Rider Double Kick] Kills Rattlander, launching him back hard enough to carve two small trenches in the groundDS
- [Rider Double Kick] Overpowers Shocker Greed's blasts, launching him hard enough to damage stone and killing himLG
- With the other Seven Legendary Riders, knocks over a giant monsterK54
- Joins all Kamen Riders up to Decade in performing a barrage of Rider Kicks that destroy Dai-Shocker's castleDS
- Takes hits from Neo-Shocker's Great Leader, whose strikes make earthquakes that affect TokyoK54
- Takes hits from Centigerpede, who overpowers the Rider Kick with a punchE91
- Takes hits from Shocker Rider 1, who matches him in strengthE92
- Takes hits from Rattlander, who downed Kamen Rider DiEnd with one strikeDS
- Takes hits from Rhinobeetron, who is strong enough to push a busE65
- Takes hits from Kamen Rider Sango, who punched a hole in a shipping container and a concrete wallGP
- Takes hits from Sawsharkus, who can punch through a stone wall, while suffering the effects of a gas designed to destroy cyborgsE67
- Takes hits from Mantiskid, who punches through a concrete floorJT
- Takes hits from Bearded Dragon, who breaks through a wallE66
- Gets thrown down a hill and kicked by Squidevil, who burst through the groundE68
- Tanks punches from Sea Snake ManE54
- Takes some blows from SpiderondE57
- Takes a point blank nuclear explosion,V2 then contacts V3 to tell him that he's fine and in AustraliaV21 and shows up perfectly fine laterDM
- Hit by Grand Zairus in fireball form, which is over 1000º and destroyed an artificial island
- Fine after being hit by meteorites called down by Shocker, which blew up an observatory and burned a man to deathE68
- Gets shocked by Namazuguiller, who was enhanced from his base electrical charge of 100,000 voltsE61
- Shocked by JellywolfE82
- Withstands Badan's Space Break System, which obliterates people and buildingsBT
- Bearded Dragon's venom only makes his body numb where it melts normal peopleE58
- Takes extended soundwaves from Gillercricket, which can blow up CombatmenE69
- Withstands Newtgeth's tongue, which reduced a woman to ashE77
- Jumps off of a cliff and reappears unharmedE62
- Jumps off a cliff with Centigerpede, causing it to explode, then shows up fine later
- Falls from a great height inside an ambulance that explodes and emerges some time later stunned but otherwise unharmedE95
Rider Combinations Kamen Rider can join his power with other Showa Riders to
do whatever the plot calls for perform techniques
"As long as evil exists in this world… Kamen Rider will be there to fight for justice!"
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2023.06.03 16:46 Proletlariet Ninth Doctor
"You know what they call me in the ancient legends on the Dalek home world? The Oncoming Storm
. You might have removed all your emotions, but I reckon right down deep in your DNA there’s one little spark left... and that’s fear. Doesn’t it just burn when you face me?
At the conclusion of the Time War, the withered and wartorn Doctor
started his life anew. Though he reclaimed his name after it was disowned by his War incarnation, he tried to distance himself from his past as the last remaining Time Lord in existence. He continued fighting injustice throughout time and space with steely determination while also remaining detached and brooding over his trauma. This incarnation may not have been among the longest in the totality of the Doctor's regeneration cycle, but marked a crucial period in the Doctor's life. Make sure to check out the Tenth Doctor's thread because he uses the same versions of the sonic screwdriver and TARDIS as his predecessor.
Sources Hover over a feat to view its source.
- Doctor Who (2005) series 1= E#
- The Day of the Doctor = 50th
Intelligence & Skill Technological Aptitude
Observation & Deduction
Physical Attributes Biology
Speed & Agility
The TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) is the Doctor's mode of transport as well as his home. By traveling through the Time Vortex, it can materialize to any point in space and time. Though this model is rather old and semi-functioning, it's still a very powerful object in its own right. Oh, and it's also bigger on the inside.
Space Travel & Mobility
Time Travel & Manipulation
- Travels 100 years in the future, then 10,000 and finally 5,000,000,000 years.
- Rose claims she can go on countless journeys and arrive back in 10 seconds, but didn't either because the TARDIS malfunctioned or she just forget.
- Along with twelve of his past and future incarnations, he uses the TARDIS to freeze Gallifrey in time and seal it in a pocket dimension.
- Certain points in time are in flux, meaning somebody's existence in the future does not always ensure that undesirable outcomes will not happen.
- Means to take Rose home 12 hours after her departure, but messes up and takes her 12 months after she left.
- Takes Rose back to witness her father's death, then takes her back again thereby creating two sets of the Doctor and Rose in the same place in time. When Rose prevents her father's demise, the original pair disappear. This violation of time brings upon the Reapers to devour anyone in sight and turns the TARDIS into an empty shell. All of this is reversed when Rose's father follows out his death and lets himself get run over by the same car which had been forced into a perpetual loop by Rose's actions. Though the timeline is restored, miner changes from its first iteration remain.
- Chases a spacecraft to Earth and ends up weeks behind it when they land.
- The Doctor's heroic deeds at one point in time have negatives consequences that he encounters first hand when he ends up in the same place 100 years later.
- The Doctor can't just use the TARDIS to go back in time to avert the current problem.
Security & Defenses
The sonic screwdriver is the Doctor's multi-purpose handheld tool. It's mostly used for opening or unlocking doors, but can fulfill a myriad of other functions.
Scanning & Tracking
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2023.06.03 11:09 needisaymore ChatGPT short story of Geralt vs the alien from the Alien movies
Geralt of Rivia, the renowned Witcher, found himself on an unfamiliar planet, drawn by rumors of a deadly creature wreaking havoc on a remote colony. He had faced countless monsters in his lifetime, but this alien being was unlike anything he had encountered before.
The atmosphere was thick with tension as Geralt cautiously navigated the dark corridors of the colony's abandoned outpost. The walls were scarred, evidence of the creature's destructive power. He had learned that this alien, born from a parasitic life cycle, had the ability to adapt, making it a formidable foe.
Geralt's enhanced senses detected movement nearby. He drew his silver sword, preparing for the encounter. As he rounded a corner, the alien lunged at him, its sleek black form oozing menace. Its elongated head featured a set of razor-sharp teeth and a second inner jaw, ready to tear through flesh.
Dodging the creature's attack, Geralt retaliated with a quick swipe of his blade, but the alien's exoskeleton proved formidable. It screeched, launching itself into the air and latching onto the ceiling, evading Geralt's strikes. The Witcher's eyes darted around, seeking an advantage in the environment.
Spotting a gas canister nearby, Geralt had an idea. He ignited his Igni sign, conjuring a flame in his hand. With precise aim, he hurled the fireball at the canister, causing a fiery explosion. The alien screeched in pain as it plummeted to the ground, momentarily stunned.
Geralt seized the opportunity and closed in, swinging his sword with unmatched precision. Each blow landed with lethal accuracy, but the alien fought back ferociously, slashing at Geralt with its sharp claws. Despite his agility, the Witcher couldn't escape unscathed.
As the battle raged on, Geralt's instincts kicked in. He evaded the alien's attacks, recognizing its pattern, and struck back with calculated strikes. Eventually, his relentless assault took its toll, and the alien faltered, weakened and bleeding acidic blood.
With one final powerful swing, Geralt severed the alien's head from its body, putting an end to the deadly creature's reign of terror. The colony could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
After ensuring the threat was neutralized, Geralt surveyed the aftermath of the battle. He took a moment to clean his sword, his thoughts lingering on the strange creature he had just defeated. As he prepared to leave the planet behind, Geralt couldn't help but wonder about the origins of this otherworldly predator and what other secrets the vast universe held.
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2023.06.03 10:02 tidderscot Science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning through the lens of Te whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early childhood curriculum
Julia Holdom New Zealand Tertiary College
Practitioner Research： Vol 5, No 3 - May 2018
A personal reflection
Figure 1: Children at Little Einstein’s Educare in Cambridge lead the design, planning, and execution of the construction of a hut made out of tree branches after recent stormy weather.
When introduced to the acronym STEM (which stood for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in early childhood education (ECE), I was immediately intrigued. Having been a kaiako (teacher) in rural New Zealand and growing up on a dairy farm, natural, hands-on, child-lead, and inquiry-based learning was my passion. It always sat well with me that Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki) (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017) backed by decades of research and literature supports a play-based approach to learning in the early years in New Zealand. It did not come as a surprise to me then that STEM learning, a term for the learning areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a buzz phrase making its way around the international academic world, was something I recognised as intrinsically woven throughout early childhood curriculum and programs in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As a result, I presented on STEM learning in ECE with Fiona Woodgate, at the 2017 New Zealand Tertiary College symposium and have since been speaking with kaiako from different regions in New Zealand to get a broader idea of how STEM learning is integrated into their ECE programs.
Due to a rapidly evolving, complex and technologically advancing society, it is now well recognised that future societies are going to need to be equipped with a range of problem solving and creative thinking dispositions, rather than specific skill sets (Allen, 2016; Smith, 2016; Rodriguez, 2016; Wise Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015). The young children of today need to be involved in real world, contextually relevant learning, in order to support their communities, preparing them for educational opportunities in the future, as well as a wide range of careers that may not currently exist (Allen, 2016; Draper & Wood, 2017). This realisation has resulted in a strong international focus on the concept of STEM learning in today’s varying education settings. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), whilst a relatively new term in the early childhood education sector in New Zealand, is not a new concept. Its focus is to support children in learning problem solving, creative thinking, investigation skills and design, through multi-content curricula (Sharapan, 2012; Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Gartrell, 2016).
This reflective article begins to explore the concept of STEM through the lens of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017). The world renowned curriculum document is well known for its focus on dispositional, play-based learning, and the weaving of multiple curriculum content areas throughout daily and ongoing learning experiences. Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017) not only focuses on skill acquisition, but on dispositions and attitudes that support learning throughout a lifetime. This article presents an explanation of how teachers can support STEM concepts and experiences from ECE settings inAotearoa/New Zealand are shared to provoke thinking and reflection.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics – An introduction In ECE, recognising individual aspects of STEM learning can be relatively simple. Children are naturally curious, and begin to explore the world around them from infancy, developing their own working theories about how the world works through the people, places and things that they interact with (MoE, 2017). In this sense, they are natural born scientists, investigating, questioning, exploring, and experimenting. As they explore, they are often confronted with simple scientific and mathematical concepts, such as learning about gravity, force and motion, quantity, number, weight, space, and time through play (Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Sharapan, 2012; Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012; Bosse, Jacobs & Anderson, 2009).
Figure 2: Building a relationship with Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) is seen as an essential aspect of early childhood in Aotearoa/New Zealand, which can lead to increased environmentalism and sustainability in years to come. Children are encouraged to be involved in the care of the natural environment, and here, they are engaged with centre family members in exploring the garden, utilising and leaning valuable STEM concepts in the process.
Working theories are the evolving ideas and understandings that children develop as they use their existing knowledge to try to make sense of new experiences. Children are most likely to generate and refine working theories in learning environments where uncertainty is valued, inquiry is modelled, and making meaning is the goal” (MoE, 2017, p. 23).
Often within children’s play arises the opportunity to use varying tools to support their learning. Utilising tools with a purpose for design or problem solving can be understood as technology (Dietze & Kashin, 2012; Young & Elliot, 2003). Technology in ECE is often viewed by kaiako as digital technology, and the use of information communication technology (ICT) (Wise Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015), however it is imperative to recognise that technology is anything that has been designed for and is used for a purpose, generally being to make a task easier, quicker, or more productive (Young & Elliot, 2003; Fleer & Jane, 2011). In my experience, engineering is perhaps the more challenging notion to identify as part of young children’s learning and development, in part due to some teachers’ lack of content knowledge in this area, but also the complexities of this concept for children in the early years. Much of the literature on STEM learning focuses on engineering for children from preschool age onwards (3+) without mentioning the infant and toddler years. Perhaps this is due to the perception of what design and engineering is for differing ages. Is a toddler not engineering when they are constructing with sand in the sandpit? Is an infant not designing when creating art with finger paints or food on different surfaces during experiences every day?
“The day-to-day programme and environment are organised in such a way that children can initiate purposeful, problem-solving activities and devise and solve problems to their own satisfaction using a variety of materials and equipment” (MoE, 2017, p. 49).
Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations (MoE, 2007, p. 26).Technology is intervention by design: the use of practical and intellectual resources to develop products and systems (technological outcomes) that expand human possibilities by addressing needs and realising opportunities. Adaptation and innovation are at the heart of technological practice. Quality outcomes result from thinking and practices that are informed, critical, and creative.... Technology is never static. It is influenced by and in turn impacts on the cultural, ethical, environmental, political, and economic conditions of the day (MoE, 2007, p. 26).Engineers design technology using a combination of science and math (Pantoya, Aguirre-Munoz & Hunt, 2015, p. 61). Engineering is solving problems, using a variety of materials, designing and creating, and building things that work (Boston Children’s Museum, 2013, p. 3).Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in quantities, space, and time. Statistics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in data. These two disciplines are related but different ways of thinking and of solving problems. Both equip students with effective means for investigating, interpreting, explaining, and making sense of the world in which they live (MoE, 2007, p. 26).
Whilst internationally, the concept of STEM focuses on inquiry and project-based learning, often planned for, facilitated and led by adults, I see this concept being represented in a range of educational settings, woven through a range of pedagogical approaches and philosophies of teaching in New Zealand. In line with the vision of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017), STEM learning occurs naturally in children’s play, need not be teacher-led or project focused (Gartrell, 2016; Draper & Wood, 2017) and can effectively be supported in a socioculturally relevant context for individual learners and their learning communities (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012; Moomaw & Davis, 2010; Neill, 2009).
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning is important for all children, individually, and within social groups of learners. The common theme within the four STEM concepts, is that they are all content areas that occur naturally through play. When children are natural learners, curious in nature, they do not require adults to give them answers to questions, and do not benefit greatly from this method of teaching (Allen, 2016; Sharapan, 2012). Instead, children develop life-long dispositions of inquiry, curiosity and independent thinking by having inquiry skills scaffolded or modelled to them. Often children embrace the opportunity to investigate for themselves, experimenting, exploring, making mistakes, and using trial and error. In this sense, STEM learning is a way of being, a way of playing and a way of learning (Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.). So where do kaiako fit into STEM learning?
Figure 3: Through their natural urges, infants and toddlers explore mathematic and scientific concepts through play with the support of their kaiako, as well as through environmental prompts, provocations and play invitations.
The science, technology, engineering and mathematics environment There are a number of areas worth considering when planning for and facilitating learning in diverse and unique education settings. One of the most obvious in play-based, child-led settings is the physical environment. Those familiar with the Reggio Emilio approach will have heard of the notion of the environment as the third teacher (Delany, 2011) and providing opportunities for child-led learning through the design of and resources available in the child’s physical learning environment. It is imperative that the environment supports STEM learning so that children may engage in STEM learning experiences both independently, as well as with peers and kaiako (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012). Long gone are the days of including a science, mathematics or technology corner in your classroom or setting (Neill, 2009; Delany, 2011), instead the emphasis is on saturating the environment in resources that encourage authentic, real-world, familiar and culturally relevant ways of exploring. These resources do not need to be expensive and single purpose, and can easily be found in our natural environments. As New Zealand makes more of a move towards environmental sustainability, and eco-schools become more popular (Vincent-Snow, 2017; Enviroschools, n.d.), reusing and recycling materials becomes an exciting way to make the most of what we have available to us, and supports children’s creativity.
Figure 4: Uninterrupted play allows these tamariki time to work together to create, design, problem solve, and imagine. Here, children in the Tui room of Little Einstein’s Educare have created a structure to protect themselves from the ‘Lava’ beneath.
Another popular move in recent years appears to be the inclination to get out into nature to support real life, hands on learning. Emphasis has been made on preventing a generation of children with Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv (2005) in his book Last Child in the Woods. Kaiako and children are venturing out into whatever natural environments they have available to them, such as local parks, reserves or forests to make the most of natural learning that occurs when children are empowered to explore, question, and discover. science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning could not be more evident in these opportunities to explore and build a relationship with Papatūānuku.
Figure 5: Nature Days are becoming increasingly popular in ECE settings that can accommodate such expeditions. Children are empowered to use a variety of tools to explore, create and design, and developing working theories through the relationship they are building with the natural world around them.
Reflective Prompts Consider the ECE settings and environments you are familiar with.Does your environment invite exploration? Are there spaces, in which children can taste, touch, smell, listen and look?Are there gardens and natural spaces for children to independently explore nature science, earth science and opportunities for children to play with different matter to build working theories about the natural and physical world?Are there loose parts provided both inside and out for children to construct, build, design, create and begin to develop theories around science and mathematics through size, weight, height, gravity, momentum, trajectory and more?Do you have pen, paper, clipboards, scissors, cameras and other technological tools available to children in different areas that they can easily access and use to document, plan, take notes and draw about their learning and discoveries – inviting engagement in the concept of engineering?
“Children have opportunities to explore how things move and how they can be moved by, for example, blowing, throwing, pushing, pulling, rolling, swinging and sinking. Children have access to technology that enables them to explore movement, for example, wheels, pulleys, magnets and swings. Children have opportunities to develop spatial understandings by fitting things together and taking things apart, rearranging and reshaping objects and materials, seeing things from different spatial viewpoints and using a magnifying glass” (MoE, 2017, p. 49).
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics books Books are an essential resource for any STEM learning environment (Bosse, Jacobs & Anderson, 2009; Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.). Not only is it important for children to access reference books with correct images and names of items, something Fred Rogers found instrumental in supporting children’s language acquisition and development (Sharapan, 2012), but also fictional and non-fiction story books about people and characters whom are investigators, explorers, inventors, designers and problem solvers themselves (Pantoya, Aguirre-Munoz & Hunt, 2015). Children’s scientific and engineering identities are supported as they explore literature that introduces concepts, dispositions and attitudes children recognise within themselves, and they are able to develop deeper understanding of STEM concepts as they explore these in context through stories, characters and the arts (McLean, Jones & Schaper, 2015; Sackes, Trundle & Flevares, 2009).
In addition to this, Kathy Trundle’s work on inquiry-based learning emphasises the opportunities that arise through purposeful interactions between kaiako, children and books to scaffold children’s inquiry skills.
Fictional children’s books to support STEM learning and identity in the early years:Inventor McGregor by Kathleen T. PelleyThe Grandma McGarvey series by Jenny HessellOh the Things they Invented by Dr SeussRosie Revere, Engineer; and Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beatty and David RobertsAnything is Possible by Giulia Belloni
Risk taking Wise Lindeman and McKendry Anderson (2015) emphasise that children need real-world experience and real-world problems in order to have a chance at developing solutions to these. Pawlina and Stanford ( as cited in Wise Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015) add that educators must view mistakes as opportunities to grow children’s brains. Here, teachers must consider both physical risk taking, as well as emotional and mental risk taking. In today’s society, maintaining the physical health and safety of the children in our care settings seems to have counterbalanced the human need to take risks in order to learn. Kaiako are finding themselves challenged beyond comfort when it comes to children’s safety, and the balance between safe and calculated risks, children learning from experience, and adults protecting children from physical injury is out of sync. However, research shows that children need these experiences to learn for themselves, and that without these risk-taking experiences, children will not be adequately prepared for challenges they will face in the future, both physically and mentally (Brynes-Swiatek, 2017; Curtis, 2010; Gramling, 2010; Warden, 2010). When it comes to emotional and mental risk taking, we must consider how we are supporting children to try new things, supporting them to push themselves out of their comfort zones, and risk making mistakes and being wrong, all whilst remaining confident that their holistic wellbeing needs are being met to maintain a safe learning environment.
Figure 6: When the tolerance for risk is zero, children don’t really risk loss of life or limb, but more often than not, they risk losing valuable experiences with the world they inhabit. (Gramling, 2010, p. 51).
Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017) supports this through its sociocultural approach to learning, outlining the need for children to learn in culturally and socially relevant contexts. In addition to this, aspects of dispositional learning such as perseverance, persisting with difficulty, and facing challenges or uncertainty (MoE, 2017), are outlined as important for life-long learning. Risk taking is highlighted as a desirable learning outcome throughout the Exploration strand of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017), particularly for toddlers and young children. Risk taking, mistakes, failure, trial and error are all significantly important in STEM learning and developing perseverance, inquiry skills, attitudes towards exploration and creative thinking.
Reflective Questions Does your learning environment, both material and otherwise, provide opportunities for children to take risks physically, cognitively and emotionally?Are children encouraged and supported to experiment, to trial, to make mistakes, to fail or succeed, and to revisit their learning?Do your environments allow for independent and group creative thinking and problem solving?
Time Providing children with not only the space and resources needed for exploration and enquiry learning, but the time to discover at their own pace, and the opportunity to document or revisit their learning is crucial. Gifting children the time to figure things out for themselves, without interrupting their learning with a quick answer, supports an attitude and disposition towards creative thinking and problem solving. Dr. Emmi Pikler (as cited in Christie, 2012) emphasised the importance of slowing down one’s practice and interactions to deeply engage with the children during interactions. Toni Christie (2012) states that the practice of taking adequate time deepens teachers’ awareness and knowledge of each child. The same concept can be applied to children’s interactions with the world around them. Can giving children the time to explore, think and discover deepen their awareness and knowledge of the world around them, teaching them more about science, mathematics, engineering and technology in real-world, contextually relevant and authentic ways?
“The learning outcomes in each strand are broad statements that encompass valued knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions that children develop over time” (MoE, 2017, p. 22).
Figure 7: Hands on Science in action! Many New Zealand ECE settings are making a move to embrace children’s natural inclination to get messy during their exploratory play. Science occurs in many forms, why not through mud and water play?
In addition to giving children the time needed to learn, do teachers support children to stay on task and be focused on the interest they have taken, or do they interrupt this learning with routines? In Carr and Lee’s (2011) research on children’s learning wisdom, they highlight the importance of teachers adopting strategies to support children to revisit their learning. One strategy suggested is that “Teachers can document the changes in children’s understanding” (Fleer, 2008 as cited in Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012, p. 85). This allows children to deepen their engagement, and develop an openness to experiences and a capacity to reflect, in order to make sense of their learning.
Figure 8: Working together as a team to solve problems, think creatively and develop theories about how things work. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics all evident through child initiated play experiences.
Reflective Questions:Are children gifted the time needed to explore, design, create and learn in uninterrupted environments?Do the routines of the day disrupt this learning or do they support busy learners to continue their work?Are children given the tools and strategies required to support them to document and revisit their learning? Are kaiako skilled in the art of observation, knowing when to step in, and when to step back?Are kaiako gifted the time to support children’s learning in this way, or are they too busy with the organisational tasks of the day?Do teacher - child ratios support quality STEM interactions?
Purposeful, intentional teaching Once we have decided as kaiako whether we should step back to observe, or step in to add value to the child’s learning experience, the responses we provide must consist of high quality, purposeful, thoughtful interactions with children (MoE, 2017). In these moments, teachers need to be highly sensitive and aware of what the child needs from them – more often than not, it is not an answer they need, but stimulating investigation habits and behaviours being modelled to them (Sharapan, 2012). Kaiako must embrace opportunities to model moments of wonder, using questions that may prompt curiosity within children, and the opportunity to co-construct ideas and working theories in collaborative settings (Allen, 2016; Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Sharapan, 2012).
The key to these experiences is not to make the mistake of answering children’s questions with an answer, but to provide intentional, open-ended questions and comments that get the children thinking (Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Sharapan, 2012). Equally as important, is the need to model and introduce the use of varying tools to support their enquiry, so that they may seek their own answers independently in future.
Modelling STEM language is crucial to a child’s ability to learn STEM enquiry and thinking themselves. In addition to questions, modelling scientific, mathematical and investigative language is important to support children’s inclination to develop their own working theories. Supporting children by modelling language, describing using scientific, mathematical and technological words will give them the tools to use to do the same in future experiences. This will also normalise STEM concepts and learning for children (Sharapan, 2012).
It is important to support children’s scientific enquiry in new ways too – perhaps in ways they had not thought of themselves. This is where we are scaffolding their learning, in that they are learning new ideas and knowledge in a social situation from others. Part of STEM learning is how children understand investigative thinking and processes. Imperative to science, engineering and design are STEM process skills (Neill, 2009). The Ministry of Education supports this by adding that children should have opportunities to demonstrate “curiosity and the ability to enquire into, research, explore, generate and modify working theories about the natural, social, physical, spiritual and man-made worlds… [and the] ability to represent [these] discoveries using expressive media, including digital media” (2017, p. 47).
“Kaiako are the key resource in any ECE service. Their primary responsibility is to facilitate children’s learning and development through thoughtful and intentional pedagogy. This means they require a wide range of capabilities [including being] knowledgeable about play-based curriculum and pedagogy and able to conceptualise, plan and enact curriculum that is motivating, enjoyable and accessible for all children, [and] able to integrate domain knowledge (for example science and arts knowledge) into the curriculum” (MoE, 2017, p. 59).
Conclusion The rapidly changing world that we live in, is providing us with many new and exciting technologies that make our lives easier, more enjoyable, and enable quick access to new information at a rate never seen before. However, with these new and exciting changes, also come challenges for children’s natural, enquiry learning. More and more ECE centres, particularly in city environments are designing spaces with little-to-no large open natural spaces for children in the outdoors, and are resorting to man-made environments of turf, concrete and other year-round, all-weather materials to support indoooutdoor play. Does this mean that these children miss out on the opportunity to learn natural science? Or can nature be woven through the environment and program in other ways? Children are also more inclined to want to be engaged with digital media, as their parents and society are modelling the use of these in everyday interactions. Is this cause for concern in the ECE setting, or can children be empowered to use technology in constructive ways? Are kaiako equipped with the understanding of STEM learning and child development that they need to support life-long learning dispositions of enquiry, problem solving, risk taking and perseverance, or are current pedagogies failing tamariki (children)? As learning and information consumption grows exponentially to the highest it has even been, it is now more than ever that children need teachers to be the facilitators of learning, the models of curiosity, the inspiration to learn, explore, discover, think, design and to be leaders of the future. Dispositions, rather than skills, are what tamariki need to succeed in the future. A final question for reflection therefore asks are educators preparing tamariki adequately for life-long success?
Acknowledgement Special thanks to Jo, Jade and the entire learning community at Little Einstein’s Educare Ltd in Cambridge for giving permission to publish their inspirational photographs, and shared understanding of STEM learning in action. Special thanks also to Catherine at Hobsonville Point ELC, and Jen at Changepoint ELC, Tauranga for your wisdom and input on STEM learning in your ECE learning communities.
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2023.06.03 09:25 crogonint List of Alternate Barovian Maps which are Needed
I'm pretty sure that the majority of Barovian content creators have already seen some version of this list. I actually went back to update my original post of the list to discover that I never made my own post of it! I put together the first version of this list a couple of years ago. I'm pretty sure this is the most complete list of its kind anywhere: Alternate areas of Barovia that are commonly needed, besides the commonly published CoS specific battlemaps:
0) The (Dark) Carnival - nobody ever makes maps / assets for this, even though gobs of people always throw it in to their campaign, even though it's old as crap. I understand that there's a Carnival Realm in the new VRGtR book.. I'll probably never use the realm-carnival, but that's a second place the Dark Carnival maps/assets could be used. There are also a trio of third party Ravenloft carnival modules as well that they could be used in.
1) Battlemap sized maps of the towns. At LEAST a 5 foot per square / hex map for the tiger chase. (Obviously modern VTT platforms don't actually need the grid on the map. ;) )
2) Random shops, stables, blacksmiths and generic places the party is likely to go anyway.
3) Generic encounter locations.. country roads / rivers / bridges and combinations of the three. It sounds dumb because you can get generic encounter maps like that anywhere.. but it would be AWESOME to have matching Barovian roads and Svalitch woods on all of your encounter maps. Don't forget the specific crossroads with the gallows from CoS.. I don't recall if there were hanging cages mentioned, but you could throw in some PNG options for them.
4) A covered bridge, including the roof, deck and under views. (To tack on to the Headless Horseman add-in.) The Woodcutters hut as well.
5) Besides the Carnival, there are a few other old school modules that people like to bolt on to CoS (Adam, etc. etc.).
6) DragnaCarta, MandysMod and Pyram King have all developed alternate encounters and a handful of setting that might be able to use an alternate map here and there. (Orphanage.) In particular, I recall battles in/near the bogs, on mountain sides with/without roads and watch towers. Military and outfitter style tent interiors and exteriors and camps placed.. you know what? Make those camps be PNG assets that could be dropped in a bog, next to a river or on a mountain side as needed. ;) I recall Lunch Break Heroes making an encounter for Borgia/Borca, but I don't recall if they made any scenarios / encounters for Barovia. I got a special request for Beneath the Abbey.
7) The Interactive Tome of Strahd sends the party back in time and would be a PHENOMENAL set of maps to expand Barovia. Seriously, you could drop those on DMsGuild and make some bank. Some additionally pre-Strahd bright and shiny versions of the village of Barovia and other basic maps might be nice for some throw-back adventures.
8) Retro Castle Ravenloft.. Castle Ravenloft fully restored to its former glory! (Castle Barovia? I picture it as more of a walled garrison, looking like a giant stone bubble from a distance, but it did have at least one tower overlooking the cliff.) We know that the old pre-Strahd castle had multiple floors located in roughly the same place as Castle Ravenloft, but with significantly different floor plans, as the ghosts walk staircases and pass through doorways that don't exist anymore. :D (Important side-note: Strahd did not grow up in Castle Ravenloft. I believe that there is one (1) painting of him looking out over Yesterhill, through the mists at a vision of the castle he grew up in, but I don't think anyone has ever tackled it.)
9) The caverns and the alter area in and under the Pillarstone of Ravenloft (from Expedition to Ravenloft) are frequently added in to CoS. I've never seen a map of a hidden cavern entrance in the Svalitch woods, let alone a set of creepy Barovian caverns.. or the Castle side of the entrance, for that matter.
10) Around a decade ago, some weirdo drew an artistic image of Castle Ravenloft with the foundation bedrock rotted away under it. I'd like to see a detailed elevation map of the curtain wall and gatehouse with the bedrock still under the curtain wall, because that irritates me to no end. NOBODY would build a massive curtain wall on a questionable foundation. Reference Vlads actual castle (which is admittedly ten times smaller than Ravenloft) for a rather specific example of a (THE) castle built on the side of a cliff. As I recall, if looking at the gatehouse, the left side and back left corner of Vlads actual castle are protected by a cliff, and that's where the inspiration for Castle Ravenloft came from.
11)Speaking of elevation, at the other end of Castle Ravenloft are balconies and windows jutting out over the cliff. I'd love to see detailed maps of those areas, an 'ant sized' map of the Svalitch woods and Barovia as seen from the castle, and an elevation map of the cliff-side reaching from the Svalitch woods up past the windows and balconies to the Curtain wall. Parties occasionally decide to attempt to scale the cliff. Having a cliff and curtain wall that actually matches would be awesome.
12) Odd ball areas we never see. The druids must have huts or a village somewhere. The Roc must have a nest somewhere. The Mad Mage in Barovia has one of either a tower / cavern / pocket dimension somewhere. We could use Barovian flavored versions of all three. Oh, and the woods and encounters with said mage on the backside of the lake.. so a lake / forested area with spread out trees for players to run in terror or attempt to attack at range.. or whatever.
13) UNDER Lake Zarovich, there are a handful of generic encounters. There are also a few river monster encounters, generally near the Berez Swamp, could use a lair map and an underwater river encounter map, Barovia flavored. Speaking of Berez, I've never seen a detailed large scale swamp map for the Berez Swamp.. let alone the whole town being overrun by the swamp.
14) A proper Berez Swamp. A full sized swamp, with river banks, fields of cattail and reeds, murky backwaters, underwater groves of trees, and a couple of dozen oddly shaped islets and sandbanks.. a few dead logs.. not to mention a proper full sized assortment of Berez town ruins.
15) What's the village in the Adventurer's Guild Supplements?? Orasnou! There's a tiny village there (the size most people depict Berez as, because the CoS book doesn't describe the whole town of Berez properly). So that map is needed, along with.. 4 interior maps, if I recall? (Probably more, + a manor.) As well as an alternate werewolf lair and a few others, like a Barovian bluff, again if I recall off of the top of my head. I've had requests for the Gundarak villages Teufeldorf, Zeidenburg and Renika, as well as the other minor villages and..
16) The complete map of Barovia, post Grand Conjunction (done in standard modern style/graphics).
17) Various encounters have been depicted on Mount Baratok. Which would be a stark stone mountain, snowy and generally above the treeline, not like the hilly tree covered mountains where Argynvostholt and the Roc and etc. are located. I think a largish rocky encounter map of the mountainside would be the first needed. I (seem to) recall a three tiered monastery built on the side of a cliff, with a freshwater spring enclosed that would require an elevation map along with three small interioexterior maps showing the wooden stairs going up and down the cliff-side. I recall one encounter involving a lai small cave sized area.
18) Lots of people want Van Richtens magic shop and other stuff described in his escapades. We could also use a handful of Vistani Vardos and Camps. If I recall, there are only two described in the CoS book, but there are many more tribes of Vistani than that, and we're told that they move around frequently. If might be easier to provide PNG files for the vardos, outfitter tents and assets for a large scale camp. Come to think of it, there aren't a whole lot of tokens for those smallish horses they use either, so someone might whip up 10-12 smallish shaggy horses with unique patterns to show off. They don't care one ounce for a horses pedigree, and are more than happy to keep unique looking mongrel horses as their personal caravan animals. They use mountain horse stock when breeding their horses, so they would be a bit hairier and stockier then say an Arabian.. just scaled closer to a pony size. Donkey size! They're donkey sized horses. :D ..real donkey size, if I recall 5e has some weirdness going on with their official donkey/wagon sizes that makes no sense at all for Vardos sized horses and wagons like the Vistani would have.
19) The valley where the village of Barovia is located is described as a massive fertile farming area, yet we never see any medieval farms, ranches, graineries or farmers markets for Barovia. Definitely need a few of those. Barovian farmers and ranchers would SPECIFICALLY all have the buildings that (in the real world) later became fortifications, Thick werewolf proof walls and heavily barricaded doors everywhere. No window on the ground floor. Livestock was housed indoors, in enclosed courtyards with family areas wrapped around them, or with the animals on the ground floor and the family living above on the second floor. Horse stalls and farrowing areas would be fenced off within the area. Graineries would be large round wooden buildings with barricaded doors and sturdy out-buildings. 10 foot tall max, today's 4-5 story tall graineries are a modern invention. There would probably be a large stone community grainery far on the other side of the valley from the Village of Barovia. for that matter, there ought to be a functioning grainery or warehouse somewhere between the Village of Barovia and Bonegrinder. ALSO, if Bonegrinder is no longer being used as a mill, there would HAVE to be another windmill or waterwheel driven mill somewhere else in Barovia. Many artists have envisioned a water-wheel grainery on the River Ivlis near the Village of Barovia. Corn cribs would be on the second floor of a barn for drying grain, doubling up to dry bales of hay, not primarily as a hay loft. PNGs for 2-3 styles of fencing and gates, water troughs, and some medieval horse drawn plows and rakes would be nice. Dog kennels!! Every farm would probably have it's own horse pasture or rink with a training post, and a dog kennel or run for dogs to run during the day. You know those giant mastiffs that the Barovian nobles are so fond of? Yeah, the farmers in the fertile valley near Barovia would be the only ones rich enough to be able to afford to raise those pups for the nobles. Somewhere out here would be a medieval rancher set up to raise mastiff puppies with an assortment of full grown mastiffs. Mongrel pups or runts would be sold off to neighboring farms at a discount. Roaming wolves would stay FAR away from them, and werewolf packs would likely attack them for any reason at all (if they could find a way in to the basin). I picture a LARGE farmers market and stockyards just inside the River Ivlis bridge of the Valley of Barovia. We know that Barovia is a trade center.. so there MUST be one. The bridge would offer protection if needed, and it would be the closest place farmers and ranchers could set up to provide commerce with the other villages and domains and still have the protection of being inside the gates. Hmm.. they might have a dirt race track there for showing off horses going up for sale. Make that very probably, The Vistani/Romani are famous for defending their mountain horses at the drop of a hat. This would be the main place of commerce for farmers goods in Barovia. This is (the main area) where Vistani Caravans would import and export farm goods in to and out of Barovia.
20) There would absolutely be homestead (small) sized farms and ranches carved out up in mountain valleys or even on mountain sides facing south. In fact, a south facing mountain side might get enough sunlight to raise delicate crops, spices and herbs, whereas most of Barovia can't, due to the mists blocking the sunlight. Also, a couple of mountain pastures with matching rocks / trees bordering them would be nice. Honestly though, if you pass out some rock and tree assets that match the ones you already use, anybody could throw together their own mountain pastures, or even their own valley pastures. Rows of crops are hard to find though! You could easily have scenarios of wolves/werewolves hunting the party in a cornfield.. but there are no Barovian cornfield battlemaps. ACTUALLY, I don't think I have any battlemap sized crop assets, and I probably have the largest collection of map assets around. You could probably sell these farming assets/maps on DriveThruRPG and DMsGuild as well, I've never seen them anywhere. ..OR you might ask Forgotten Adventures or Tom Cartos to throw some together, whatever seems clever. :) I've been asked specifically to try to get Yaedrag (barbarian-esque village in the mountains that Dragna wrote up) made up.
21) Jenny Greenteeth's Hut.. perhaps a grove of her untainted trees from the Quivering Forest? (Also the Glumpen Swamp and Vanishing Hills, various locations within these.) I picture the Quivering Forest loaded with fruit and nut trees and songbirds fighting for real estate (the text mentions angry squirrels).. surrounded by classic Svalitch Woods half-dead spooky trees. ;) I recall seeing a couple of versions that roughly followed the description given in DDAL04, but they're just a hut, not the whole barrow surrounding her hut as described. Additionally, many artists have upscaled her hut to be a small trading post, and put it on wooden poles, swamp style (never seen a battlemap of it, though). Lots of room for creative renditions there. :)
22) Another thing that I haven't seen ANYBODY making is small abbeys. The hills and mountains of Barovia are said to be littered with small abbeys. ..some of them abandoned, some not.
23) Abandoned mansions and manors. Strahd massacred the noble families of Barovia for their involvement in his father's murder. There is one legend of a nobleman possessed by a demon that Strahd left alive, as a curse 'worse than death'. At any rate, there ought to be a handful of abandoned / haunted mansions and manors dotting the Barovian countryside for the party to stumble in to (or check out due to a hook dropped by an informative villager).
24) There are currently NO mines in the CoS version of Barovia.. bizarre for a mountain country. It would suit that some of those decimated noble families ran some mines that have since been abandoned. Of course, it wouldn't do to host your standard monsters in a Barovian mine. I'm thinking Lair of the White Worm. Something more horrifying than dungeoneering.
25) It's been mentioned that instead of murdering the losers from the werewolf trials, they might be shipped off to be slaves in a mine, or to a plantation in the swamp. The plantation would be stick construction, as you would expect in a swamp, they would collect tubers and reeds that grow in the swamp, not traditional plantation type crops.
26) The various Barovian villages NOT included on Schleys map of (Central) Barovia usually have a town sized map plotted out and published somewhere, but no really decent overview maps or battlemap sized maps of them exist. (This need might easily be filled by a couple of handfuls of generic Barovian village buildings, field-stone and dirt street assets, and sundry village constructions.
27) Besides the Gates of Barovia, there are supposed to be watch-towers dotting the landscape as well. An operational watchtower and a couple of partially ruined ones would be awesome.
Assets nobody has made like the Dark Carnival and lake/river encounters and the Mad Mages various lair options would be the most needed. I simply don't understand why EVERY CoS map developer doesn't provide matching roads, forests, rivers and generic shops with matching Barovian assets. The maps I mentioned which you could make money selling on DriveThruRPG and DMsGuild (to me) would just be silly NOT to make. ...Van Richtens magic shop is requested a LOT. When the party first enters Barovia, I can picture them being chased in to a fortified farm by a pack of dire wolves / werewolves at dusk (perhaps the first couple of farms won't unbarricade their doors). I'm sure you can see the utility of the rest. Will everybody need a Roc nest on a cliff above the forest? No. Will DMs derail their campaign for a minute just for the opportunity to make the party loot a Roc nest? Yes. :
Finally, I would note that since I wrote this list, a few cartographers have added some of the above locations to their Library, but the vast majority of these are as of yet, untouched. :)
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2023.06.03 06:13 British_Tea_Company Respect: Cato Sicarius
: Cato Sicarius is a sergeant during the events of "Blades of Damocles" and likely is wearing an inferior pattern of armor as well as being overall less experienced.
The Talassarian Tempest Blade is labelled as TTB
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2023.06.03 05:18 ndlacajunwiseguy 2020 (goldilocks) ridgeline with modifications
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Wanted to post the 2020 ridgeline (goldilocks...I like the old style, but has the new transmission) version that I bought new before all the pandemic weirdness https://preview.redd.it/qixi4kqf1q3b1.jpg?width=2560&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f7cba60d921b75a67aebefa6198f2d7135dd6d5f https://preview.redd.it/rrlqrnqf1q3b1.jpg?width=2560&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3cbff889786fd604a0f2bd2e5556053ec1bcb58d https://preview.redd.it/gd8y6dqf1q3b1.jpg?width=2560&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d8486f9efce244f1051933781e8351ad239a2e3b
1: 2 inch traxda lift. This is really the sweet spot, going over really runs up the price and 2 inches puts it on par with the taco/rangecolorado that run next to you
2: firestone destination at2 265/60-18 . No rub on full lock forward/reverse. Reason for getting was white lettering and the reviews were very positive on highway manners and wet performance. Wet performance is big for me since I am driving in the wet a good majority of the time.
2A: Tires plus lift is roughly 2 1/2 inches up. Wife: why did you make it so high? its hard to get into!
3: under body protection of mostly no low design front skid, front diff and catalytic protection (mostly to slow down/prevent someone going after my cat...its a thing in my area)
3a: front skid plate NEEDS replacement m6 bolts on the front that are automotive grade class 10.9. The stock bolts are meant to hold a tin shield and they will loosen and cause a bunch of creaking/groaning. If you attempt to tighten..they just break.
4: fog lights are diode dynamics SLF white, the 780 lumens is a great match and does not over power the main headlights. They are actually very useful in our dark and rainy nights here in Louisiana!
5: Brush guard, I think this was CarID...but not even sure you can buy anymore. It was roughly $350 at the time. Downside is the top tabs running under the hood...I had to take a stainless pad to them and really scour them and put on real black paint that could stand up to the rain. The stock coating rusted very quickly.
6: AEM drop in air filter. Clean/wash it every 3 months...works great.
7: CarID for the dash cover, I keep my vehicles for a long time and most end up with cracked dashes so wanted to prevent that on this ridgeline. Plus I could geek out and put my gamer handle embroided on it...kids/wife roll eyes... me dont care.
8: Steering wheel cover off amazon for $20, keeps the steering wheel in great shape and the aftermarket is really decent.
9: Full size spare on the back. This takes some amazon...you need a m8 140 to 160mm in length. I got the 160mm in length from England and its just a tad too long. I used rubber spacers on the stock insert. The stock tire holder requires a new hole, I screwed in my bolt...put some paint on the top and put the tire on with the stock holder. It showed me where the bolt hit the stock holder and voila...drilled my hole there. Its pretty much right on the edge..like 2mm off the edge if you need to guess. I put the bolt in and put a rubber spacer (again 160mm is a tad long, 150mm would be perfect) and just used a ratchet to screw it in. Is the view out of the back window great? No, but it beats the tire just lying in the back. I would love the tire to be side mounted on the bed behind the driver...but I don't know how to fabri-coble such a beast.
10: threw the engine cover away...I like to hear the engine.
11: Yes....I put a honda Trailsport badge on it. Its the version of the 2020 ridgeline that is really trail rated, but never made. haha...true unicorn
12: Put ceramic tint on the front windows. Its a bit less then the stock rear so nobody questions it and its a good look imho. I had it done professionally and it looks stock and has held up for 3 years with zero problems...and it really does block out the UV. They were also the same shop that installed the traxda lift, it was unique for them since they do a LOT of custom lifts...but never a ridgeline.
What I like:
1:Payload is great, I've really pushed it a few times with 1700lbs...but it handled it like a champ every time.
2:Towing is fine, small trailer for my daughters band, a few boats, etc. I do need to install a brake controller on the off chance it hits 4k lbs or more.
3:Ride is great...way better than most every truck I've driven
4:Handling is vastly better in the corners, I can really whip this thing into a tight turn and not end up plowing or bouncing like mad....this is NOT something you want to do on a taco/rangecolorado.
5:More height on the sidewalls makes a real difference in handling pot holes...ride is not as jarring. We don't have great roads here in Louisiana.
6:I use the in bed speakers waaay more than I ever thought I would.
7:Love the transmission
8:making people regret not getting a ridgeline after they borrow my truck for the weekend
9: its pretty damn unique in town, I mean ridgeline is already pretty much "wheres waldo?" in a sea of ford/chevy/dodge/toyota...but this puts it into the unicorn status
10: oh yeah..cabin space is awesome!
11: trunk really keeps the cabin clean...just toss it in the trunk!
What you need to accept:
1: acceleration takes a hit with more weight and bigger tires
2: gas mileage goes down. stock height/tires it was easy to get 25-29mpg, now its around 21. I drive like a monkey in town...17
3: Head unit is slooow. It doesn't crash/freeze...but it is slow. Basically android auto is your friend.
4: getting it aligned takes more than your usual shop. They have to work with lifted trucks...your normal shop has no clue on how to get this aligned. I took it to 2 shops, multiple times..fails. I then looked around for an alignment shop that knew wtf to do with modified trucks and it finally was done right.
5: eco mode in town is death...it takes so much off the acceleration that to turn into traffic is: ok..barely going..push more pedal...hmm still not moving...more pedal...damn they are right there! mash it to the floor!
I am totally that crescent wrench guy....I don't do anything that well, but can toss myself into most situations and make it work. This is my perfect truck in that it can do pretty much anything I ask it and my daughters are learning to drive on this as it has most of the modern safety features.
2023.06.03 04:57 nimmoisa000 Open world crime game idea Cartel: Palm City.
Developed by Hangar 13, DICE, Ripple Effect Studios, EA Gothenburg, and Criterion Games and published by EA.
Additionally former EA Black Box and Ghost Games employees who would help access game assets and code from previous NFS titles to streamline the development)
Cartel (or alternatively as “Cartel: Palm City” or "Cartel: Miami" ) would be an open world title based on the Mafia Games, the GTA games and the Saints Row games, with elements of Battlefield: Hardline thrown in with an array of weapons and vehicles based on their real life counterparts.
Gameplay wise the driving would be like Need for Speed titles, and on foot and shooting mechanics like BF: Hardline and Saints Row. Plus you can customize your cars and weapons to the same extent in BF: 2042 and some cars would allow for mounted weapons,on foot you can execute people with your equipped weapon like in The Godfather games. On foot would be an FPS view (you can change to a third person view as well) same with having an FPS view in your car.
There would an single player experience point system (like in BF Hardline single player) you gain XP from killing gangsters, and cops blowing up or capturing enemy vehicles and completing main missions, side missions and activities also there will be 15 levels to achieve with each level up unlocking new weapons, vehicles and customization for your weapons and vehicles. As well as a New Game Plus (NG+) where everything you unlocked is carried over and you can also play on the higher difficulties through NG+.
Also there would be five wanted levels for police and five vendetta levels for the gangs should you reach level five gang vendetta you start a Gang War there are three ways to stop a Gang War either bribe the feds, blow up a gang stronghold, or hide out in a safe house. Police wanted levels one and two local units would come after the player, at police wanted level two or three the state police would come after the player. At wanted level four and five the feds would come after the player. The military will only come after the player if they trespass in Fort Rockport or the Palmount Naval Shipyard
In Cartel: Palm City; in a different universe and timeline where there's a total prohibition of all narcotics in the United States in 2010; tells the story of Jack Rourke (the player character) a hardworking rideshare driver at day and a street racer at night who's scraping by in Palm City circa 2019. One fateful night, Jack Rourke has an inadvertent brush with the Blackwell Syndicate (mainly Carl Stoddard and that showcases a life of reward too big to ignore. As he joins the Blackwell Syndicate who are fighting for control of Palm City against five other criminal groups and take the city for the Blackwell Syndicate including recovering evidence that could not only convict the Blackwell Syndicate, as well as a network of crime lords in many countries, (including the other gang’s backers) including the Blackwell Syndicate's backers the Mob and it would also directly implicate the CIA in Palm City’s drug trade with Jack Rourke earning the nickname “El Sicario” for his efforts in driving the other gangs out of Palm City. When he learns how much the drugs were hurting the people of Palm City and all over the country as well as learning that the Blackwell Syndicate had gotten into the drug trade themselves, he contacts FBI agent Chase Linh who relays the story to her and offers the evidence and his testimony in exchange for full immunity for him and his associates, and the evidence on the computer was enough to convict everyone form all the five gangs, but also their crime lord backers from at least half a dozen countries, as well implicating the CIA in this as well as lobbying efforts to keep all narcotics prohibited, leading to a new administration repealing the Narcotics Prohibition law and legalizing low level cannabis. However six months later after the repeal of the Narcotics Prohibition Jack Rourke would be gunned down by Russian Mafia hitmen, Dimitri "Dima '' Mayakovsky and Henry "Black" Blackburn.
- Sean Faris - Jack Rourke
- Erik Armando Alvarez - Marcus Blackwell
- Kieth David - Julian “Julius” Little
- Philip Anthony-Rodriguez - Nick Mendoza
- Kelly Hu - Khai Minh Dao
- Travis Willingham - Carl Stoddard
- Eugene Byrd - Marcus “Boomer” Boone
- Adam J. Harrington - Tyson Latchford
- Jack Derges - Tyler "Ty" Morgan
- David Ajala - Sean "Mac" McAlister
- Jessica Madsen - Jessica "Jess" Miller
- Ramon Tikaram - Ravindra "Rav" Chaudhry
- Brooke Burke - Rachel Teller
- Josie Maran - Mia Townsend
- Jonny Cruz - Lucas Rivera
- Ana Marte - Ana Rivera
- Maggie Q - FBI Agent Chase Linh
- Bentino Martinez - CIA Agent Julian Dawes
- Coolie Ranx - Benny King
- Jason Michael Zumwalt - Roman Barkov
- Michael Andrew Hollick - Niko Barkov
- Fred Tatasciore - Tony Alpert
- Josh Coxx - Frank Mercer
- Shontae Saldana - Eva Torres
- Josh Collins - Danny Shaw
- Moti Margolin - Dimitri Glebov
- Jack Yang - Chan Wu
- Graham Shiels - Leo Ray
- Mark Rolston - Neil Roark
- Dean McKenzie - Jonathan Cross
- David Rees Snell - Gregory "GMAC" MacDonald
- Heather Fox - Rose Largo
- Joshua Alba - Zack Maio
- Kurt Caceres - Hector Maio
- Lawrence B. Adisa - Brad Rogers
- Dominique Tipper - Lina Navarro
- David Palffy - Caleb Reece
- David Menkin - Hector "Ming" Domingo
- Bruce Johnson - Wes "Webster" Allen
- William Roberts - Joe "JV" Vega
- Jun-Yamazaki - Toru "Bull" Sato
- Derek Hamilton - Clarence "Razor" Callahan
- Chuck Norris - Chief Norris
- Paul Pape - Jack Keller
- Christina Hendricks - Sam Harper
List of activities
- Story Mission: Missions that advance the plot
- Side Mission: Missions that do not advance the plot but earns extra experience/money
- Street Race: Just like it is in Need for Speed, finish first.
- Combat Race: Just like Street Race, but weapon use is allowed.
- Mayhem: Cause as much destruction as possible and get the highest Cost to State score.
- Car Snatch: Steal a car from the cops or one of the four gangs and bring it to a chop shop and also unlock the car you stole for free.
- Drug/CigaWeapon Trafficking: Deliver drugs/military-grade weapons/Cuban cigars to dealers and avoid the cops and rival gangs.
- Car Delivery: Deliver a load of high-end cars to car dealers.
- Assassination: Find and kill a named character, bonus if you fulfill a special condition
- Acura NSX '17, Acura RSX-S '04,
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio '16,
- Aston Martin DB5 '64, Aston Martin DB11 '17, Aston Martin DB11 Volante '19, Aston Martin Vulcan '16,
- Audi R8 V10 Performance '19, Audi S5 Sportback '17,
- BMW i8 Coupé '18, BMW i8 Coupé K.S. '18, BMW i8 Roadster '18, BMW M2 Competition '19, BMW M3 '06, BMW M3 '10, BMW M3 Evolution II '88, BMW M3 GTR L.E. '06, BMW M4 '18, BMW M4 Convertible '17, BMW M4 GTS '16, BMW M5 '18, BMW X6 M '16, BMW Z4 M40i '19,
- Buick Grand National '87, Buick Cascada '16
- Chevrolet Bel Air '55, Chevrolet C10 Sidestep Pickup '65, Chevrolet Camaro SS '67, Chevrolet Camaro Z28 '14, Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 '17, Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport '17, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 '13, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 '19, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (2020), Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible (2020), Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 (Cross’ ZO6)
- Dodge Challenger SRT8 '14, Dodge Charger '69, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat ‘18
- Ferrari 458 Italia '09, Ferrari 458 Spider '11, Ferrari 488 GTB '15, Ferrari 488 Pista '19, Ferrari F40 '87, Ferrari FXX-K Evo '18, Ferrari LaFerrari '13, Ferrari Testarossa Coupé '84,
- Ford F-150 Raptor '17, Ford F-150 SVT Raptor L.E. '17, Ford Focus RS '16, Ford GT '17, Ford Mustang '65, Ford Mustang BOSS 302 '69, Ford Mustang Foxbody '90, Ford Mustang GT '15, Ford Crown Victoria ‘08
- Honda Civic Type-R '00, Honda Civic Type-R '15, Honda NSX Type-R '92, Honda S2000 '09,
- Infiniti Q60 S '17,
- Jaguar F-Type R Convertible '19, Jaguar F-Type R Coupé '16,
- Koenigsegg Regera '16 (Roman’s Regera)
- Lamborghini Aventador S '18, Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster '17, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Coupe '19, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster '19, Lamborghini Countach '89, Lamborghini Diablo SV '95, Lamborghini Huracán '18, Lamborghini Huracán Performante '18, Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder '18, Lamborghini Huracán Spyder '18, Lamborghini Murciélago SV '10, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 '08
- Land Rover Defender 110 '15, Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR '15,
- Lotus Exige S '06,
- Mazda MX-5 '15, Mazda MX-5 '96, Mazda RX-7 Spirit R '02,
- McLaren 570S '15, McLaren 570S Spider '18, McLaren 600LT '18, McLaren F1 '93, McLaren P1 '14, McLaren P1 GTR '15
- Mercedes-AMG A 45 '16, Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé '18, Unlocked at REP LVL 18, Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé K.S. '18, Mercedes-AMG G 63 '17, Mercedes-AMG GT '15, Mercedes-AMG GT R '17, Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster '19
- Mercury Cougar '67
- Mini JCW Countryman '17
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX '07, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X '08, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X K.S. '08
- Nissan 180SX Type X '96, Nissan 240SX '98, Nissan 350Z ‘03, Nissan 370Z ‘09, Nissan GT-R ‘07, Nissan Fairlady 240ZG '71, Nissan GT-R '17, Nissan Silvia Spec-R Aero '02, Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R '71, Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec '93, Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec '99, Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec '02,
- Opel Astra '09
- Pagani Huayra BC '17
- Plymouth Barracuda '70
- Polestar 1 '20
- Pontiac Firebird '77, Pontiac Firebird '99, Pontiac GTO '05, Pontiac G8 '08
- Porsche 718 Cayman GTS '18, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS '18, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet '18, Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 '73, Porsche 911 Carrera S '97, Porsche 911 GT2 RS '18, Porsche 911 GT3 RS '19, Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS '18, Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet Ex '18, Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive '18, Porsche 918 Spyder '15, Porsche Cayman GT4 '15, Porsche Panamera Turbo '17, Porsche 911 Carrera S (991) '12
- SRT Viper GTS '14
- Subaru BRZ Premium '14, Subaru Impreza WRX STI '06, Subaru Impreza WRX STI '10,
- Volkswagen Beetle '63, Volkswagen Golf GTI '76, Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport '16,
- Volvo 242 DL '75, Volvo Amazon P130 '70
- Light Vehicles: M1161 ITV, VDV Buggy, LYT2021, MRAP, SPM-3, ZFB-05, Quad Bike, Dirt Bike. Desert Patrol Vehicle. Skid Loader
- Infantry Fighting Vehicles: LAV-25, BTR-90, ZBD-09, AAV-7A1. AMTRAC
- Main Battle Tanks: M1 Abrams, T-90A, Type 99 MBT, HT-95 Levkov
- Anti-Aircraft Vehicles: LAV-AD, 9K22 Tunguska-M, Type 95 AA
- Mobile Artillery: HIMARS
- Helicopters: AH-1Z Viper, Mi-28 Havoc, Z-10W, AH-6 Little Bird, Z-11W, KA-60 Kasatka, UH-1Y Venom, Z-9 Haitun
- Naval Craft: DV-15 Interceptor, RCB-90, RHIB Boat, PWC, ACV
- Emplacements: .50 Cal, M220 TOW Launcher, 9M133 Kornet Launcher, HJ-8 Launcher, Centurion C-RAM, Pantsir-S1, LD-2000 AA, Schipunov 42. Launch Pod
- Optics (Pistols): Iron Sights, Improved Iron Sights, Ghost Ring, Mini (RDS), Deltapoint (RDS), Comp M4S (1X) Magnum Scope (2x)
- Optics (Rifles): Short Range; Barska Reflex (RDS), Kobra (RDS), Coyote (RDS), EOTech Sight (1x), PKA-S (1x), HD-33 (1x), F2000 (1.6x) (F2000 only). Medium Range; M145 (3.4x), PK-A (3.4x), PRISMA (3.4x), Mark 4 HAMR (3.5x) ACOG (4x), PSO-1 (4x), JGM-4 (4x). Long Range: CL6x (6x), PKS-07 (7x), Rifle Scope (8x), Hunter (20x), Ballistic (40x), IRNV (1x), FLIR (2x)
- Accessories: Canted Iron Sights, Magnifier (2x), Variable Zoom (2x-14x), Flash Light, Tactical Light, Laser Sight, Tri Beam Laser, Green Laser Sight, LaseLight Combo, Range Finder, Target Detector, Stabilizer.
- Barrel: Standard Barrel, Heavy Barrel, Light Barrel
- Muzzle (ARs/Carbines, DMRs, LMGs, PDWs, and Sidearms): Muzzle Brake, Compensator, Suppressor, Flash Hider, Flash Enhancer.
- Muzzle (shotgun): Duckbill, Full Choke, Modified Choke
- Underbarrel: Underslung Rail (M320, GP-30, M26 MASS), Bipod, Ergo Grip, Angled Grip, Stubby Grip, Vertical Grip, Folding Grip, Potato Grip
- Auxiliary: Straight Pull Bolt, Bipod
- Ammunition: Shotshells, 12 Gauge Buckshot, 12 Gauge Dart, 12 Gauge Frag, 12 Gauge Slug
40mm Grenades, 40mm HE, 40mm Incendiary, 40mm CS, 40mm Dart, 40mm Flashbang, 40mm LVG, 40mm Smoke, 40mm 3GL.
- 25mm Grenades - 25mm Airburst, 25mm Dart, 25mm Smoke.
- Arrows - Broadhead Arrow, Bullet Point Arrow, Explosive Tipped Arrow (Tek Arrows), Poison Arrow
Key: Base weapon (special variant)
- Melee Weapons: Blunt Weapons, Knives, Collapsible Baton, Machete (L.S 16 Machete), Breaching Hammer, Sledge Hammer, Axe, Inquisition Sword, Shovel, Bayonet, ACB-90, Shank, Machete, Bowie, Carbon Fiber, Scout, Survival, Trench, Boot, SEAL, Dive, Tactical, BJ-2, Precision, Baseball Bat, 2x4, Lead Pipe
- Light Pistols; P226, M9, QSZ-92, MP443, G17 (Street Racer Special), FN57. Machine Pistols; CZ-75. G18, TEC-9, MAC-10, MP9, 93R.
- Heavy Pistols: M1911, Compact 45, SW40, DEagle .38, DEagle .357, DEagle .44, DEagle .50, DEagle .501, DEagle .700, 45T (Mercer’s 45T), .40
- Revolvers; Unica 6 .38, Unica 6 .357, Unica 6 .44, Unica 6 .50, Unica 6 .501, Unica 6 .700, .38 Snub, .38 Special, .357 RS, MP412 REX, .44 Magnum (.44 Magnum Force), .501 Magnum Enforcer, .700 Magnum
- Short Rifles/Shotguns; Mare's Leg, Lupara, Shorty 12G (Modern Lupara)
- Personal Defense Weapons/SMGs: MP5, MX4, PP-2000, UMP-45, CBJ-MS, PDW-R, CZ-3A1, JS2, P90, UMP-9, MP7 (Combine MP7) , AS VAL, SR-2, MPX, Groza-4, K10 (Dillinger II), M1A1, M1928 (Dillinger), MP5SD
- Shotguns: QBS-09, 870 MCS, M1014, Hawk 12G, Saiga 12K, SPAS-12, UTS-15, DBV-12, DAO-12, USAS-12, AA-12, 870P Magnum, 37 Stakeout (Cross’ 37 Stakeout), Double-Barrel Shotgun, KSG12, M26 MASS
- Carbines: AK5C, ACW-R, SG553, AKU-12, A-91, ACE 52 CQB, G36C, M4, ACE 21 CQB, Type-95B-1, MTAR-21, Phantom, Groza-1, RO933, AKS-74U, CAR-556, ACWR.
- Assault Rifles: AK-12 (Shovak AK-12), SCAR-L, SCAR-H, M416, SAR-21, AEK-971 (Russian Dillinger), FAMAS, AUG A3, CZ-805, QBZ-95-1, ACE 23, L85A2, F2000 (SC-20K), ARX-160, Bulldog, AN-94, M16A3, M16A4, AKM, L85A2, ARM, MDC, SAR-21, AUG A3, HCAR, SA-58 OSW, HK51, FN FAL, SG510.
- Light Machine Guns: U-100 MK5 (Modern Dillinger), Type 88 LMG, LSAT, PKP Pecheneg, QBB-95-1, M240B, MG4, M249, M60-E4 (M60-ULT), AWS, L86A2, RPK, RPK-74, RPK-12,
- Designated Marksman Rifles: RFB, Mk11 Mod 0, SKS, SVD-12, QBU-88, M39 EMR, ACE 53 SV, SCAR-H SV, M39 EMR
- Sniper Rifles: R700PPS, TRG-42P, CS-LR4, M40A5, Scout Elite, SV-98, JNG-90, 338-Recon, M98B, SRR-61, FY-JS, Dragunov SVD, L115, GOL Magnum, SR338, CS5, .300 Knockout, M200 Intervention, M82A3 .416, M82A3 .50, M82A3 .501, M82A3 .700, M82A3 .900, M82A3 20mm Vulcan, AMR-2 .416, AMR-2 .50, AMR-2 .501, AMR-2 .700, AMR-2 .900 AMR-2 20mm Vulcan, HVM-II, M136 CS, Vidhwansak, Rorsch Mk-1, Rorsch Mk-4, 20mm Vulcan Grenares: M67 Frag, V40 Mini, RGO Impact, M34 Incendiary, M18 Smoke, M84 Flashbang, Hand Flare, CS Gas Grenade, Molotov, AA Mine, AT Mine, SLAM, C4 Explosive, M18 Claymore
- Launchers: M32 MGL, M203, M320, GP-30, M26 MASS, RPG,MBT LAW, FIM-92 Stinger, RPG-7V2, SA-18 Igla, Mk153 SMAW, FGM-148 Javelin, FGM-172 SRAW, XM-25
- Gadgets: Defibrillator, First Aid Pack, Medic Bag, Repair Tool, Ammo Box, Ammo Pack, M224 Mortar, MP-APS, XM25, UCAV, Ballistic Shield, MAV, Motion Sensor, PLD, Radio Beacon, SOFLAM, T-UGS, SUAV, RAWR M240B, RAWR M203, XD-1 Accipiter
Other: Nail Gun
- The Birth of Art - After winning a big race, Jack Rourke collects the winnings at the Palm City Historical Museum
- An Offer you Can't Refuse - Jack Rourke must evade Volk sicarios with Tyson Lachford and Carl Stoddard members of the Blackwell Syndicate
- Race Day - After the events of the last mission, Jack Rourke partakes in a race day event and wins three events with his Porsche 911 Carrera S (991) '12
- Running Man - Volk sicarios Niko and Dimitri crashes the race day and Jack must get to the Blackwell Garage
Chapter 1 (2019-2021)
- M34 Party - Jack Rourke joins the Blackwell Syndicate and gets acquainted with everyone before going with Tyson in a Pontiac GTO '05 to burn the Volk's cars with M34 Incendiary Grenades as well as stealing GMAC's Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4
- Standard Routine - Jack Rourke rolls with Tyson, Stoddard and Jonathan Cross to collect protection money but things go south when they collect from a hotel out of town and Jack Rourke chases after the hotel owner in Cross' car.
- Fair Play - Jack Rourke is tasked with stealing Ryan Cooper's Nissan 240SX and sabotaging it on the eve of the biggest Speedhunter race of the year, the SpeedHunter Championship Finals and in a last minute swap Jack Rourke has to race in place of Tyler Morgan
- Mia Townsend - Jack Rourke is tasked with taking Mia Townsend out for a night at the city... until a gang of Wraith street racers led by Caleb Reece hassles her and Jack Rourke takes them on in a fight
- Get Used To It - After the events of the previous mission Jack Rourke and Tyson Latchford are sent to teach the Wraiths a lesson But Caleb Reece makes it serious and Caleb Reece is wound up being killed by Tyson after a chase around the city alongside Danny Shaw.
- The Saint and The Sinner - It's revealed thtat Caleb Reece was Chief Norris' best friend, and Danny Shaw survives the crash however Stoddard would handle Shaw as Jack Rourke is tasked with infiltrating the Elmore Plaza Hotel and has to kill the manager, Nikki Morris and bomb the hotel before escaping to a funeral and confronts, Danny Shaw and Frank Mercer who are also in attendance. Jack Rourke kills Shaw and nearly kills Frank as well. But Frank tasers Rourke and escapes. It would be revealed that some of the Volk sicarios recognized Sotddard and had to deal with them, then the two escaped in a hearse.
Chapter 2 (2021)
- A Trip to the Countryside - In order to get a large supply of cannabis from Mexico, Jack Rourke takes a team to retrieve the Mexican from Mexican smugglers only to be ambushed by Los Zetas L.S 16 and Volk sicarios, then it's revealed that Roman had paid off the FBI to go after Rourke and his teammates then they came off with the cannabis killing their pursuers in the process.
- Code of Silence - The evidence that Tyson and Stoddard had ripped from the Volk had fallen in the hands of Hector Maio who cut a deal with the FBI, total immunity for the evidence and Jack Rouke is tasked with killing him and retrieving the evidence
- Visiting Rich People - Jack Rourke is tasked with sabotaging a federal proscutor's case against The Mob, the Blackwell Syndicate's backers as well as killing the federal prosecutor in charge of the case.
- Visiting Powerful People - Jack Rourke is tasked with meeting and protecting a powerful member of Palm City's elite, the owner of Prefered Outcomes Julian Daws... though he more than meets the eyes of Jack Rourke
- Agent Dawes - Julian Daws is revealed to be a CIA agent who is tasked with keeping the flow of drugs to Jack's surprise and that he is backing the Blackwell Syndicate through Prefered Outcomes.
- The Drug Trade - Julian Daws walks Jack Rourke through Palm City's drug trade and how the illicit street racing scene is used as a cover to smuggle drugs.
- Great Deal - Tyson Lachford scores a major deal with a drug farm in Georgia who promises to supply them with large amounts of drugs in exchange for access to databases concerning highway patrol routes; however when the deal goes down at a parking garage, the Volk and L.S 16 ambush them.
- Bon Appetit - Jack Rourke drives Eva Torrez, Marcus Blackwell and Julian Daws to the rebuilt Elmore Plaza Hotel for brunch only for Niko and Dimirti with a Volk hit squad to blast the entire lobby with gunfire and C4 explosives, Jack Rourke vaults over with Eva Torrez, Marcus Blackwell and Julian Daws, there Jack Rourke and Eva Torrez rush out through the side entrance and confronts the hit squad with Jack Rourke killing both Niko and Dimirti. However Blackwell wants Jack to confront Jonathan Cross at a doughnut store and reveals that the Volk threatened to turn him over to IAD and is chased throughout the city with Marcus Blackwell putting Cross on permanent retirement by killing him with a Lupara.
Chapter 3 (Finishing the other gangs and downfall of Jack Rourke) (late 2021)
- Happy Anniversary - Jack Rourke is tasked with completing a contract hit against Frank Mercer at the fifth anniversary of the formation of the High-Speed Task Force by firing a sniper rifle stashed in a bathroom
- You Lucky Bastard - After a failed attempt to kill Razor; Roman's personal driver and #2 of the Volk, Jack Rourke is given the contract to kill Razor, first by car bomb but ends up killing Deputy Chief Jack Keller. instead of Razor. Jack Rourke, Tyson and Stoddard would later find Razer at a Burger King. In this Rourke can choose to kill or spare Razor. Rourke would spare him after he tells him that the CIA is deeper in Palm City's drug trade than Jack Rourke is led to believe
- Creme de la Creme - Marcus Blackwell plans to kill Roman, Niko, Demintri and Chan Wu in front of the city's Creme de la Creme, the mayor, the police chief, the FBI director and even the city's richest elite. However things go south and Jack Rourke chases Roman and Niko at the airport where they get to a private jet but is shot down and crash lands on the Cross Mermeroral Bridge Chan Wu is still alive and Jack Rourke executes him and leaves before the cops show up.
- Plugging the Chief - After the events of Creme de la Creme; Chief Norris places to take on the Blackwell Syndicate and to dismantle them, and a contract hit is placed on him where Jack Rourke accepts the contract and kills Chief Norris.
- Election Campaign - The State Governor had launched his reelection bid with the promise get tough on the cartels that had plagued Palm City and like Chief Norris has a contract hit out on him which Jack Rourke is tasked with taking, using a sniper rifle
- Just for Relaxation - Marcus Blackwell tells Jack Rourke about a shipment of Cuban cigars as well as a hidden shipment of diamonds (hot ice) straight from Africa however and Jack Rourke takes a crew to retrieve the shipment from federal customs however it's revealed that instead of diamonds it's Cold Shot... the same drug being pushed by the other gangs.
- The Truth - Jack Rourke and Kahi Minh Dao eavesdrop on Marcus Blackwell and Julain Daws and they learn the truth.
- Moonlighting - Jack Rourke after knowing about the truth takes Tyson to rob the Palm CIty First National in order to retire from the sicario lifestyle and gets into a massive shootout with the PCPD Heat-style.
- The Death of Art - After the heist of Palm City First National Jack Rourke finds Tyson dead and meets Stoddard at the museum only to find out that Stoddard knew about the heist, and used his share of the drug money and clout at Prefered Outcomes to buy out The7 as his personal hit squad, however Jack Rourke manages to kill every member of The7 but spares Stoddard (the player can also kill him but canonically Jack Rourke spares him)
After the trial and the repeal of the Jack Rurke is placed in the Witness Protection Program in Lakeshore City but six months later after the repeal of the Narcotics Prohibition Jack Rourke would be gunned down by members of the West Side Club, Dimitri "Dima" Mayakovsky and Henry "Black" Blackburn.
The Gangs of Palm City
L.S 16 (Los Salmos 16) - Also known as The Salmos. Backed by the most powerful Mexican drug lords and the most powerful arms traffickers in the world, L.S 16 once ruled all of Palm City In fear until The House stepped in. They’re also the strongest gang in the game with access to military grade weapons and vehicles and each gang kill from them awards 500-1,500 XP depending on the enemy type. They are led by Neil Roark.
The House - The House is a gambling gang with strong ties and backed by the Sicilian Mafia; they run the street scene and the casinos in Palm City. They’re pretty strong but weaker than L.S 16, and they have access to military grade weapons and vehicles each gang kills from them awards 250-800 XP depending on the enemy type. Headed by Lina Navarro.
The Volk - The Volk is a Chinese-Russian gang led by Roman Barkov with Niko Barkov as their enforcer backed by the Triads (Chan Wu), the Russian Mob (Dimitri Glebov), and GMAC's crew (Gregory "GMAC" MacDonald, Rose Largo) for cars who control the weapon smuggling and arms dealing in Palm City. With this backing and access to military grade weapons. They are a mid tier gang and each gang kill from them awards 200-600 XP depending on the enemy type. They are also the ones who go after the Blackwell Syndicate the most.
Palm Kings - The Palm Kings (PKs) is a Black gang made up of Black nationalists who controls Palm Harbor’s rackets and extorts store owners. Led by Benny King, they’re equipped with police-grade weaponry and has strong ties with the PCPD despite this, they are the second weakest gang in the game and each gang kill from them awards 150-500 XP depending if it's a regular to elite
Dixie Paladins - The Dixie Paladins are a white supremacy gang and a militarized version of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) who controls the Gold Coast Mountains in the mountainous regions of Palm City. they’re the weakest gang in the game and each gang kill from them awards 100-250 XP from regular to elite members. They are led by Tony Alpert
Blackwell Syndicate - The Blackwell Syndicate is a underground criminal organization based in Palm City and is led by Marcus Blackwell with Julian “Julius” Little as underboss, Hector Maio before "Code of Silence" and Zack Maio after "Code of Silence". Nick Mendoza. Khai Minh Dao and Carl Stoddard are caporegimes and Tyson Latchford, Tyler "Ty" Morgan, Sean "Mac" McAlister, Jessica "Jess" Miller as soldiers. Other members include Ravindra "Rav" Chaudhry as the gang's car expert Rachel Teller as the gang's customization expert, Marcus “Boomer” Boone as the gang's weapon experts. The Blackwell Syndicate would be the gang that the player would join. In Act 1, they're an outside and fast tracked to soldier, but in Act 2 the player would be a capo until the end of the game. They are secretly backed by both The Mob and the CIA through Agent Dawes. Jonathan Cross and Mia Townsend are also on the gang's payroll until "Bon Appetit" where Marcus Blackwell executes him with a 870P Magnum to the head. Also Mia would also go with Jack Rourke as well
The police/military force
PCPD - the police force of Palm City/Miami if the player does hostile acts (killing civilians, firing unsuppressed weapons in public, etc) will attract police attention and each kill from them awards 50 XP for regular members and 100 XP for armored members, However the player can bribe the PCPD to look the other way or will even help the player fight the other gangs but would be the target of higher level police forces. (Sort of like it was in The Godfather game) The player can also buy favors from them as well. Also they’ll deploy stronger units at higher heat level alongside the FBI. The cars PCPD drives are the Ford Crown Victoria, Dodge Challenger, Pontiac GTO, and the Chevy Grand Sport
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) - The state police force and Only appears in wanted levels 3 and above, Each kill from them awards 75 XP for regular state troopers and 150 XP for tactical state troopers. Regular state troopers drives Ford Mustang GTs tactical state troopers drives Nissan GT-R
FBI - Only appears in wanted level 5 the FBI will be called in if the player continues to retaliate against the PCPD. Each kill from them awards 125 XP for regular agents, 250 XP for FBI SWAT and 375 XP for FBI HRT, Like the PCPD the player can bribe the FBI to look the other way, or even help the player fight gangs, or the PCPD but at the second highest price. The FBI also has the second widest array of favors the player can buy. regular agents drives the Nissan 350Z or Porsche 911 GT3 RS, FBI SWAT drives the - Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster or Ford F-150 SVT Raptor L.E. and FBI HRT drives the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X or Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
Military - Only goes after the player if they trespass in Fort Rockport or the Palmount Naval Shipyard. Each kill from them awards 200 XP for regs, 400 XP for experienced troops and 600 XP for elite troops. Like the PCPD, State Police and the FBI, the player can bribe the military to look the other way, or even help the player fight gangs, the PCPD, State Police or even the FBI but at the highest price and The military also has the widest array of favors the player can buy in large part due to Agent Dawes’ connections in Washington.
Multiplayer portion of the game would take place during the five cartels war where the Blackwell Syndicate, The Volk, Palm Kings, Dixie Paldines, Los Salmos 16, and The House (basically where Jack Rourke glosses over saying "It was non-stop chaos for weeks")
Also there would be a free ride mode where the player can explore the city at their leisure or pick a fight with either other cartels or the cops.
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2023.06.02 20:42 AzureBeast Respect Hobgoblin (Marvel 616)
"My name's Roderick Kingsley. That was my brother you killed. Which, honestly, I'm fine with. He was an idiot. But then you went too far… You stole my brand … SO YOU'RE A DEAD MAN!" Roderick Kingsley
was a ruthless designer in New York City who developed a financial empire that stretched far beyond the fashion industry. When a rival designer donned a costume and attempted to steal Kingsley's designs, he was saved only by the interference of Spider-Man. Kingsley acquired the original Green Goblin suit and equipment from a bank robber who had discovered one of Osborn's hidden caches around the city. Taking the name Hobgoblin
, Kingsley used his costumed identity to grow his business interests without implicating himself, and became a regular foe to Spider-Man and other New York heroes.
Feats will be marked with the source. Encyclopedia Entries: Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition Spider-Man Unmasked Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man 2004 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z
Misc Respect Threads for scaling:
submitted by AzureBeast
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2023.06.02 18:54 DixNeufsz Creative writing mark please
Can some one mark this creative writing did it in exam conditions thanks, I didn't get to finish so I don't know if that will make me lose marks
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense. Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn't think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn't want Dudley mixing with a child like that. When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window. At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, 2 because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls. "Little tyke," chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house. He got into his car and backed out of number four's drive. It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar -- a cat reading a map. For a second, Mr. Dursley didn't realize what he had seen -- then he jerked his head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive -- no, looking at the sign; cats couldn't read maps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day. But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, he couldn't help noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn't bear people who dressed in funny clothes -- the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this was some stupid new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdos standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedly together. Mr. Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of them weren't young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some silly stunt -- these people were obviously collecting for something... yes, that would be it. The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills. Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor. If he hadn't, he might have found it harder to concentrate on drills that morning. He didn't see the owls swoop ing past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed open- mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never seen an owl even at nighttime. Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five different people. He made several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more. He was in a very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he'd stretch his legs and walk across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery. 3 He'd forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker's. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn't know why, but they made him uneasy. This bunch were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn't see a single collecting tin. It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying. "The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard yes, their son, Harry" Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better of it. He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone, and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind. He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking... no, he was being stupid. Potter wasn't such an unusual name. He was sure there were lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry. Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry. He'd never even seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold. There was no point in worrying Mrs. Dursley; she always got so upset at any mention of her sister. He didn't blame her -- if he'd had a sister like that... but all the same, those people in cloaks... He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and when he left the building at five o'clock, he was still so worried that he walked straight into someone just outside the door. "Sorry," he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almost fell. It was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a violet cloak. He didn't seem at all upset at being almost knocked to the ground. On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passersby stare, "Don't be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!" And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off. Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot. He had been hugged by a complete stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping 4 he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination. As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw -- and it didn't improve his mood -- was the tabby cat he'd spotted that morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes. "Shoo!" said Mr. Dursley loudly. The cat didn't move. It just gave him a stern look. Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursley wondered. Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife. Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all about Mrs. Next Door's problems with her daughter and how Dudley had learned a new word ("Won't!"). Mr. Dursley tried to act normally. When Dudley had been put to bed, he went into the living room in time to catch the last report on the evening news: "And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern." The newscaster allowed himself a grin. "Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?" "Well, Ted," said the weatherman, "I don't know about that, but it's not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they've had a downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early -- it's not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight." Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters... Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He'd have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. "Er -- Petunia, dear -- you haven't heard from your sister lately, have you?" 5 As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn't have a sister. "No," she said sharply. "Why?" "Funny stuff on the news," Mr. Dursley mumbled. "Owls... shooting stars... and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today..." "So?" snapped Mrs. Dursley. "Well, I just thought... maybe... it was something to do with... you know... her crowd." Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered whether he dared tell her he'd heard the name "Potter." He decided he didn't dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could, "Their son -- he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?" "I suppose so," said Mrs. Dursley stiffly. "What's his name again? Howard, isn't it?" "Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me." "Oh, yes," said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. "Yes, I quite agree." He didn't say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed. While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there. It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for something. Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the Potters? If it did... if it got out that they were related to a pair of -- well, he didn't think he could bear it. The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr. Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. His last, comforting thought before he fell asleep was that even if the Potters were involved, there was no reason for them to come near him and Mrs. Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought about 6 them and their kind.... He couldn't see how he and Petunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on -- he yawned and turned over -- it couldn't affect them.... How very wrong he was. Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness. It was sitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all. A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed. Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man's name was Albus Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known." He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again -- the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down 7 on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it. "Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall." He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. "How did you know it was me?" she asked. "My dear Professor, I 've never seen a cat sit so stiffly." "You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall. "All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here." Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. "Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no -- even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shooting stars.... Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent -- I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense." "You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years." "I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors." She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day YouKnow-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he 8 really has gone, Dumbledore?" "It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?" "A what?" "A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of" "No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone -" "My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this 'You- Know-Who' nonsense -- for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name. "I know you haven 't, said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of." "You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have." "Only because you're too -- well -- noble to use them." "It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs." Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?" It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going to believe it until 9 Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer. "What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are -- are -- that they're -- dead. " Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped. "Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want to believe it... Oh, Albus..." Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know... I know..." he said heavily. Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But -- he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke -- and that's why he's gone. Dumbledore nodded glumly. "It's -- it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done... all the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?" "We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know." Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?" "Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?" "I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now." 10 "You don't mean -- you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore -- you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son -- I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!" "It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter." "A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous -- a legend -- I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future -- there will be books written about Harry -- every child in our world will know his name!" "Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! CarA you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?" Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, "Yes -- yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it. "Hagrid's bringing him." "You think it -- wise -- to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?" I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore. "I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to -- what was that?" A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a 11 headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky -- and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them. If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets. "Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?" "Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sit," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir." "No problems, were there?" "No, sir -- house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol." Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning. "Is that where -?" whispered Professor McGonagall. "Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever." "Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?" "Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well -- give him here, Hagrid -- we'd better get this over with." Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house. "Could I -- could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his 12 great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog. "Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles!" "S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it -- Lily an' James dead -- an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles -" "Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out. "Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations." "Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall -- Professor Dumbledore, sir." Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night. "I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply. Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once, and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four. "Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone. 13 A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.
submitted by DixNeufsz
to GCSE [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 17:49 2000celica Rim choice
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Anyone run any wheels like this size. I would need a spacer to change the bolt pattern. The hub size is a little diffrent to. Would I be able to find a spacer that can make it work? submitted by 2000celica to Celica [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 17:35 RTRvera The Tales Of The Brotherhood
The city of Caligo, capital of the magical kingdom Luminis Obscurum, sat nestled at the heart of a labyrinthine mountain range. Its ominous silhouette sprawled in every direction, its myriad structures draped in dark violet hues, gleaming under the eerie light of a moon perpetually shrouded by a veil of foreboding crimson clouds. The city was surrounded by an intricate lacework of floating islands, shrouded in perpetual twilight, held aloft by a blend of mystical forces and practical alchemy. Like a thousand demon eyes, the lights of Caligo blinked and twinkled in the perpetual night.
At the center of the city rose the Coliseum Arcanum, a gargantuan amphitheater that dominated the skyline. Its impossibly tall spires pierced the heavens, each adorned with statues and banners that howled in the ceaseless wind. Built from dark obsidian stone that seemed to drink in the light, the coliseum was the heart of the city, pulsating with the rhythm of the wild and brutal contests it hosted.
The air was thick with anticipation as the annual Grand Arcana Tournament was about to begin. Warriors from every corner of the kingdom and beyond had gathered to partake in a ruthless test of strength, endurance, and arcane mastery. The stakes were high, for the winner would be granted one wish — any request within the realm of possibility, as promised by the arcane potentates who ruled Luminis Obscurum.
And so, five extraordinary individuals found themselves on the cusp of the city, overlooking the sprawling urban expanse. The depth of their bond was reflected in the aura of resilience they radiated, a testament to the hardships they had weathered together.
Askari, the warrior monk, was the group's spiritual compass, guiding them through their trials with an unwavering determination reminiscent of his celestial forebear, Sun Wukong. His build was sinewy, every muscle carved from a lifetime of discipline and dedication. He carried the Ruyi Jingu Bang, an unyielding staff as flexible in combat as the very air, a symbol of his birthright and testament to his strength.
Skyblitz, an Aarakocra of intimidating stature, stood beside him. His feathers were as sharp as razors, their metallic sheen reflecting the enigmatic moonlight. He was a master of the turbulent winds, manipulating the very air around him into deadly weapons or sturdy shields. His eyes held a hint of wisdom that belied his avian wildness.
Next stood Redroot, the Goliath, towering over his companions. His skin bore the weathered marks of the mountain he hailed from, and the deep, unyielding roots that had fostered him. His magic was as much a part of him as the very rock he could command — sturdy, unwavering, and titanic in its ferocity.
Joneson, the Oathbreaker, was a stark contrast to the rest. A former Paladin who had turned his back on his sacred vows, he was a mystery, even to his closest friends. The void he mastered was as perplexing and enigmatic as the man himself. His aura was dark, pulsating with an energy that sent shivers down the spines of even the bravest.
Lastly, there was IraTater, the Poison Dragonborn, a creature of mischief and mayhem. His scales shimmered an iridescent green under the glow of the distant city, a signal of the deadly toxin that coursed through his veins. His crooked grin revealed rows of sharp teeth, a sign of his nonchalant attitude towards the world and its troubles.
Their gazes were collectively locked on the imposing structure at the heart of the city, an ominous sense of destiny pervading their silence.
"Y'all ready for this?" IraTater broke the silence, a playful grin spreading across his face.
Skyblitz responded with a solemn nod, his avian eyes reflecting a hardened resolve. "It's why we're here, isn't it?" His voice was calm, a lull in the storm.
Redroot's massive hand came to rest on the Aarakocra's shoulder, his deep voice rumbling like a landslide. "We face this together. As always."
Askari turned towards Joneson, his eyes searching the Paladin's shrouded countenance. "What of you, Joneson? Are you prepared to stand with us once again?"
The Oathbreaker turned his gaze away from the city, looking into the eyes of his comrades. His eyes held a profound sadness, but beneath it lay a flicker of defiance. "The void in my past may never be filled. But today, I fight for you, my brothers. For us."
A shared grin spread among them, and they extended their hands into a joint fist bump, their pact reaffirmed. They had faced challenges before, but the battles that lay ahead were unlike any they had experienced. The stakes were high, the odds were daunting, but the strength of their bond held firm.
As the first rays of false dawn cast their ethereal light on the city of Caligo, the friends stepped onto the path leading into the heart of Luminis Obscurum, their hearts aflame with determination and camaraderie. The Grand Arcana Tournament awaited, and the fate of five friends was about to intertwine with the destiny of an entire kingdom.
Having traversed the twisted maze of Caligo's cobblestone streets, the friends found themselves at the foot of the Coliseum Arcanum. Up close, its enormity was almost incomprehensible, the structure dwarfing everything around it.
The surrounding area was a riotous carnival, alive with an intoxicating mix of excitement and dread. Vibrant market stalls, whimsical parades, and arcane showcases adorned the streets, a tumultuous celebration of the upcoming bloodshed. Over the cacophony of jubilations, the friends could hear the roar of the crowd within the coliseum, their excitement a palpable force in the air.
As they entered the coliseum, a servile goblin ushered them to a preparation chamber. The room was dimly lit, the air saturated with the metallic tang of past battles and the musk of warriors preparing for combat.
"The matches will be one on one," the goblin's voice crackled, his eyes filled with a strange blend of fear and respect. "You'll be facing the Revenant Reapers. They're a brutal team—"
"No need to worry, friend," IraTater interrupted, flashing the goblin a toothy grin. "We can handle a bit of brutality."
The goblin nodded nervously, taking a few steps back before scurrying away.
"The Revenant Reapers, huh?" Skyblitz murmured, the name rolling off his tongue like a curse. "I've heard rumors. They're supposed to be ruthless."
"Most competitors here are," Redroot rumbled, his massive hands balling into fists. "But so are we."
Askari nodded, the warrior monk's eyes reflecting a deep-seated determination. "We will face this challenge as we have faced all others - together."
The air in the chamber vibrated with their shared resolve. The friends began to prepare for the upcoming fight, the sounds of their armor and weapons echoing in the chamber.
Meanwhile, in a similar chamber on the opposite side of the coliseum, a team of formidable warriors prepared for combat. The Revenant Reapers, a team as ruthless as their moniker suggested, were eager to engage in the deadly dance of the tournament.
There was Grimmhilt, a necromancer dwarf whose powers had brought him an unsettling semblance of immortality. Aridorn, an Elven sorcerer with the essence of elemental fire at his fingertips. Shifty Snigg, a halfling rogue with a penchant for bloodshed. Zul'Kur, an Orc shaman capable of summoning the wrath of the ancients. And finally, Galros, a tiefling warlock whose pact with a powerful demon endowed him with a frightening array of dark magic.
"Got our match-ups for the first round," Grimmhilt's gravelly voice resonated in the chamber, his hands holding a piece of parchment. "I've got Askari, the warrior monk. Aridorn, you're up against Skyblitz, the bird-man. Snigg, you'll take the Goliath, Redroot. Zul'Kur, you have the Oathbreaker, Joneson. And Galros, you get to play with the poison Dragonborn, IraTater."
A chorus of anticipatory laughter echoed through the chamber. These were fighters who lived for the thrill of the fight, the rush of blood, and the sweet taste of victory.
The time for the first match approached, and an electric tension filled the air. As the friends exited their preparation chamber, they stepped into the staggering expanse of the Coliseum Arcanum.
High above them, in a throne overlooking the entirety of the Coliseum, sat the announcer, an eccentric gnome by the name of Razzle Fizzlebop. With a voice amplified by magical means, he welcomed the crowd to the grand spectacle about to unfold.
"Welcome, one and all, to the Grand Arcana Tournament!" His voice boomed across the Coliseum, echoing off the obsidian walls. "In this corner, a team like no other, bonded by courage, a quintet of outstanding warriors: Askari, Skyblitz, Redroot, Joneson, and IraTater! And in the other corner, a ruthless band of hardened fighters, known for their merciless tactics: the Revenant Reapers!"
A deafening cheer erupted from the spectators as the two teams stepped into the arena, each fighter sizing up their respective opponent.
"May the best team prevail!" Razzle Fizzlebop's voice rang out, a signal of the brutal spectacle to come. "Let the Grand Arcana Tournament commence!"
The friends shared a final look of camaraderie, each promising the other that no matter what happened, they would face it together.
As the echoes of the crowd's cheers filled the air, the friends braced themselves. The stage was set. The dance of death was about to begin.
With the commencement of the tournament, the atmosphere within the Coliseum Arcanum transformed. The anticipation reached fever pitch, the audience holding their collective breath as the first combatants took center stage.
"IraTater of the Brotherhood!" Razzle Fizzlebop's voice resonated through the coliseum, his enthusiastic tone whipping the crowd into a frenzy. "Versus Galros of the Revenant Reapers! A venomous dance with the flames of the inferno!"
IraTater walked into the spotlight, his scales shimmering like deadly emeralds. He offered the crowd a cheeky wave, his usual levity on full display despite the high stakes.
Across the battlefield, Galros stood, a menacing figure swathed in a cloak of shadowy flames. His eyes glowed with a fiery intensity, a visual testament to the infernal pact that fueled his magic.
"As per the rules of the Grand Arcana Tournament," Razzle continued, "The fight will go on until one fighter yields, is incapacitated, or… worse."
IraTater couldn't help but roll his eyes at the gnome's dramatic flair. "Alright, big guy," he called to Galros, "Let's give 'em a show."
The tiefling merely smirked, his hands beginning to dance in the intricate patterns of arcane sigils, summoning the deadly magic of his infernal pact.
The match began in earnest, Galros opening with a volley of "Hellfire Bolts", flaming projectiles that exploded upon impact. IraTater nimbly evaded, his agile form a blur on the battlefield.
With a growl, IraTater retaliated with a "Venomous Torrent," a wave of toxic energy that radiated from his outstretched claws. Galros, however, was quick to erect an "Infernal Barrier," absorbing the brunt of the toxic assault.
The two continued to exchange blows, Galros utilizing destructive pyromancy, while IraTater countered with his unique blend of agility and venomous magic. Despite his playful demeanor, IraTater's prowess was undeniable, his movements punctuated by fluidity and precision.
However, as the battle progressed, it became apparent to IraTater that he was gradually being outmatched. Galros' infernal magic was relentless, and while IraTater's agility and venom-based attacks were formidable, they were not enough to keep up with Galros' fiery onslaught.
Spotting his opportunity, Galros decided to play dirty, casting a "Shadow Bind," an underhanded spell designed to immobilize his opponent by exploiting a moment of weakness. The crowd gasped as dark tendrils snaked from Galros' fingers, aiming to entrap IraTater.
But the Dragonborn was not so easily subdued. A deep, guttural growl escaped him as he looked into Galros' smirking face. "You want to play dirty?" He hissed, his scales standing on end as a surge of poisonous energy coursed through his veins.
Embracing his raw power, IraTater unleashed his "Basilisk Strike." His form became a blur, moving with such speed that it seemed to split into multiple images. In the blink of an eye, he closed the gap between him and Galros, his claw striking true. A potent burst of venomous energy erupted from his fingertips, the impact rocking the entire arena.
Galros' smirk was wiped clean off his face as he was thrown backward, crashing into the arena's boundary with an impact that left a crater in the obsidian. The tiefling's body was immobile, his defeat unmistakable.
"And the first round goes to IraTater!" Razzle Fizzlebop's voice echoed throughout the Coliseum Arcanum, the crowd erupting into cheers.
In the shadows of the entrance to the arena, Askari watched with a stormy expression. His fists clenched at his sides, his gaze fixed on the incapacitated form of Galros. He had always believed in the sanctity of honorable combat, and Galros' underhanded tactic had struck a nerve.
As Razzle Fizzlebop announced the next match - Askari versus Grimmhilt - the warrior monk stepped onto the battlefield, his gaze determined and unwavering. He had always held himself to a code of honor, and this fight would be no different. He would win for his friends, and he would do it with dignity.
And so, as the crowd's cheers echoed through the grand Coliseum, the stage was set for the next deadly dance in the Grand Arcana Tournament.
A tense hush fell over the spectators as the next combatants were announced. "Ladies and gentlemen, the next duel in the Grand Arcana Tournament," Razzle Fizzlebop's voice rang out, clear and resonant. "Askari of the Brotherhood versus Grimmhilt of the Revenant Reapers!"
Askari moved to center stage, his warrior monk training evident in his fluid grace. The crowd watched in anticipation as an ethereal golden aura shimmered around him, an echo of his inherent power. Even from a distance, the intensity of his aura was palpable, a testament to his descent from the legendary Sun Wukong.
Opposite him stood Grimmhilt, a dwarf necromancer shrouded in an aura of decay and death. His eyes glowed with an unnatural light as he prepared his formidable defenses.
"Hey, Grimmhilt," Askari called out, his voice carrying over the silence of the coliseum. "I hope you're prepared. Because I plan to end this quickly."
A sinister grin spread across Grimmhilt's face, his voice raspy with cruel amusement. "We'll see about that, monkey boy."
With a resounding gong, the duel began. As expected, Grimmhilt wasted no time in erecting his "Undead Bastion," a towering barrier of necrotic energy intended to shield him from Askari's attacks.
However, Askari was not deterred. With a deep breath, he centered himself, focusing his energy as he had been taught in the monasteries of his homeland. His aura shimmered and intensified, the spiritual energy forming a colossal image of a multi-armed deity, an embodiment of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion.
Grimmhilt's grin faltered as he beheld the spectacle. But before he could react, Askari launched his attack.
"Avalokiteshvara Strike!" Askari roared, the ethereal deity mimicking his movements as they launched a barrage of attacks. Each strike was a concentrated blast of his aura, a devastating assault that battered Grimmhilt's barrier.
The "Undead Bastion," despite its formidable defenses, crumbled under the onslaught. Grimmhilt, robbed of his protective shield, was at the mercy of Askari's barrage. The warrior monk's assault was relentless and in an instant, it was over.
Grimmhilt was left sprawled on the ground, his defenses shattered, his energy depleted. The crowd erupted into cheers as Razzle Fizzlebop announced Askari's victory. "Askari of the Brotherhood is the winner!"
As Askari made his way back to his friends, he was met with high fives and words of praise. The victory, however, brought him no joy. His face remained stern, his mind already on the upcoming battles.
As Skyblitz stepped forward to take the stage, Askari extended his fist to his oldest friend. Skyblitz bumped it with his own, a silent promise of the fight to come. Askari could only hope that the rest of their battles would be fought with honor, for the sake of their brotherhood and the sacred principles they upheld.
"Prepare yourselves, for the gust of competition is about to take flight!" Razzle Fizzlebop's enthusiastic proclamation echoed throughout the coliseum, whipping the spectators into a whirlwind of anticipation. "Skyblitz of the Brotherhood versus Aridorn of the Revenant Reapers!"
Skyblitz emerged onto the battlefield, the embodiment of avian majesty and power. His feathered form shimmered as a warm gust swirled around him, a tangible display of his command over wind magic.
His opponent, Aridorn, carried an imposing aura of his own. His silver hair seemed to flow like mercury, capturing the ominous sheen of his cold eyes. As an Elf warrior, he drew upon the arcane forces at his command, his body language exuding icy determination.
As the starting signal echoed across the coliseum, the tension morphed into a dazzling spectacle of magical prowess. Aridorn was swift, initiating the duel with a "Frost Edge" attack that transformed his longsword into a chilling blade of freezing energy.
Skyblitz, ever the master of the wind, reacted with perfect timing. His "Wind Blade" took form, a blade of compressed air that met Aridorn's icy onslaught head-on. The crowd erupted into cheers, the sheer display of magical mastery a feast for their eyes.
The battle raged on, morphing into an intense back-and-forth between the two combatants. Aridorn kept on the offensive, wielding his chilling magic to launch a series of potent attacks. His "Glacial Wall" forced Skyblitz to keep his distance, while his "Frost Spears" kept the Aarakocra on his talons.
Skyblitz was not to be outdone. His mastery over wind magic was a spectacle in itself. His agile movements, augmented by "Gale Dash," allowed him to evade Aridorn's icy attacks with an effortless grace that seemed almost choreographed. His "Tempest Cyclone" countered Aridorn's defenses, the swirling vortex of wind magic breaking through the icy wall Aridorn had erected.
This thrilling exchange of magic and martial prowess continued, each warrior holding his ground. The crowd watched, breathless, as the two powerhouses collided, each new clash raising the stakes.
Eventually, however, Skyblitz decided it was time to end the match. Channeling his wind magic, he executed his final move, an attack he had perfected over years of rigorous training. "Twister Throw!" he bellowed, the powerful shout resonating across the coliseum.
In a swift, fluid motion, Skyblitz seized Aridorn, his powerful wings carrying them high above the arena. The crowd watched in stunned silence as he summoned a powerful tornado around them, his wind magic swirling with an intensity that left everyone breathless.
The force of the wind spun them around, accelerating until Aridorn was a mere blur in the eye of the storm. With a final, powerful shout, Skyblitz threw Aridorn, propelling him with the force of the swirling wind.
Aridorn plummeted to the ground, his descent marked by a tailwind of force. The impact echoed throughout the coliseum, the ground quaking beneath the force. Dust and debris filled the air, obscuring the view as the crowd held its breath.
When the dust finally settled, Aridorn was revealed, unconscious and defeated, cradled in the heart of a massive crater. Skyblitz landed elegantly on the battlefield, his victory secured.
"Victory to Skyblitz of the Brotherhood!" Razzle Fizzlebop's voice echoed around the arena. The crowd erupted into cheers, their exhilaration shaking the coliseum.
Skyblitz, despite his victory, did not celebrate. His expression was serious, his gaze focused. His mind was already on the battles to come. The Grand Arcana Tournament was far from over, and the Brotherhood was ready to face whatever came next.
As the dust from the previous battle cleared, the Brotherhood gathered in a huddle. Their attention was fixated on Redroot, the Goliath, whose presence was as sturdy and intimidating as a fortress of stone.
"Redroot," Askari began, looking up at his towering friend. "We've seen you hold back, always opting to shield rather than strike. This time, let them witness your true power. Be the landslide, not just the mountain."
Skyblitz joined in, a spark of anticipation illuminating his avian eyes. "You've got this, Red. Make the ground tremble beneath your might."
Redroot nodded solemnly, acknowledging the encouraging words of his companions. "The earth shall quake in my honor."
The crowd's excited chatter fell silent as Razzle Fizzlebop made the next announcement. "Step forward, Redroot of the Brotherhood and Snigg of the Revenant Reapers!"
Snigg, a small yet wiry goblin, walked onto the battlefield, an air of dark magic surrounding him. Redroot followed, his imposing figure causing a wave of silence to sweep across the spectators. The air around him rippled with earth magic, projecting an image that was equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying.
With a mighty roar, Redroot charged at Snigg, his fist colliding with Snigg's in a thunderous impact that sent shockwaves pulsing through the coliseum. It was a clash of raw strength against potent magic, and the crowd watched in awe as the battle unfolded.
Snigg was swift and cunning, employing his dark magic with a surprising finesse. His "Shadow Warp" allowed him to dodge Redroot's massive strikes and retaliate with "Abyssal Shards." However, Redroot was no easy target. His earth magic countered Snigg's attacks, his "Stone Fist" shattering Snigg's dark energy projectiles while his "Earth Shield" offered unyielding defense.
Despite Snigg's agility and cunning, Redroot stood firm, countering with powerful attacks of his own. He used his "Granite Grasp" to trap Snigg, while his "Boulder Bash" sent the goblin sprawling across the battlefield.
The back-and-forth continued, each fighter displaying their unique set of skills to the fullest. Snigg continued to exploit his nimbleness and dark magic, but Redroot remained a formidable opponent, his resolve as unshakeable as the earth he commanded.
As the battle reached a fever pitch, Redroot decided to end the duel. Gathering his earth magic, he channeled it into a final, devastating attack. With a roar that echoed throughout the coliseum, Redroot slammed his fists into the ground, calling out, "Tectonic Rupture!"
The ground beneath them trembled and shook, a wave of stone and earth erupting beneath Snigg. The goblin had no time to react as the force of the attack knocked him off his feet, sending him crashing onto the battlefield.
When the dust finally settled, Snigg lay unconscious, the aftermath of Redroot's attack evident in the crater surrounding him. Razzle Fizzlebop's announcement of Redroot's victory echoed across the coliseum, met with a deafening roar of approval from the crowd.
The Brotherhood cheered for their friend, their voices drowned out by the thunderous applause. Despite his victory, Redroot remained humble, a gentle smile playing on his lips. His victory wasn't for himself; it was for his friends and the bond they shared. For the Brotherhood, this was just the beginning, and they were ready for the challenges that lay ahead.
As the dust from Redroot's battle settled, the Brotherhood gathered once more. This time, their focus was on Joneson, the Paladin oathbreaker, a man whose past was filled with guilt and redemption, and whose power stemmed from the void itself.
His fellow warriors gave him a solid, reassuring clap on the shoulder. "You've got this, Joneson. You're a Paladin, through and through. Oathbreaker or not, you uphold honor and justice like no other," Skyblitz said, his avian eyes flicking with a hint of admiration.
The others nodded in agreement. Redroot’s gravelly voice echoed Skyblitz's sentiment. "You're not just a warrior, Joneson. You’re a protector. That's your strength."
The air filled with anticipation as Razzle Fizzlebop's voice once again echoed across the coliseum. "Ladies and gentlemen, the final bout of this round. Step forward, Joneson of the Brotherhood and Zul'Kur of the Revenant Reapers!"
Zul'Kur was a towering figure, adorned with intricate tribal tattoos glowing with an arcane energy. He was an orc shaman, known for his potent spirit magic. A formidable opponent, one who had won his previous battles with a ruthless and savage efficiency.
Joneson walked onto the battlefield, his aura of void energy cloaking him like a shadow. Despite the cheering crowd, a sense of stillness enveloped him. His expression was calm, his gaze steady, the air around him seeming to warp slightly as his void magic reacted to his focused state of mind.
The fight began with a massive clash of magic, Joneson's void energy colliding with Zul'Kur's spirit magic. The crowd gasped as the arena filled with a blinding light, both fighters' powers creating an awe-inspiring spectacle.
Joneson was adept with his void magic, utilizing "Void Shield" to block Zul'Kur's spirit attacks, retaliating with his own "Shadow Strike." Zul'Kur was equally skilled, his spirit magic taking the form of ancestral warriors through his "Spirit Summon," each one engaging Joneson with ruthless ferocity.
Back and forth they went, each clash more intense than the last. Zul'Kur’s spirit magic was relentless, but Joneson’s void manipulation allowed him to absorb and deflect the attacks with increasing ease.
However, as the battle wore on, Joneson's void energy started to dominate the field. His "Abyssal Chains" attack ensnared Zul'Kur's spirit warriors, dissolving them into nothingness. His "Black Hole Strike" pulled Zul'Kur off balance, allowing Joneson to land a decisive "Void Punch."
Just as it seemed that Joneson was gaining the upper hand, a commotion stirred from the sidelines. The previously defeated members of The Revenant Reapers rushed into the arena, their expressions desperate and wild.
The crowd gasped as Galros, Grimmhilt, Aridorn, and Snigg stood beside Zul'Kur, their powers radiating menacingly. The odds had abruptly shifted. Joneson, though strong, was now standing against the full force of The Revenant Reapers.
The anticipation was thick as the crowd watched in shocked silence. The Brotherhood stood at the sidelines, their expressions a mix of concern and determination. The stage was set for a showdown like no other, the true test of the Brotherhood's unity and strength yet to come.
The Revenant Reapers' aggressive entrance onto the stage was met with mixed reactions from the crowd, the Brotherhood, and most interestingly, from Joneson himself. The Reapers exuded a sinister, dark energy as they joined Zul'Kur in facing Joneson.
In the Brotherhood's corner, Skyblitz was already halfway into his takeoff, his wings ruffling in anticipation, ready to swoop down and help Joneson. Redroot had tightened his grip on his massive boulder hammer, his eyes reflecting a fierce determination.
But, it was Askari who raised his hand, signaling them to halt. His eyes were locked onto the scene unfolding before them, a calm yet intense look etched onto his face.
"This is his fight," Askari's voice cut through the rising tension. The words were met with immediate confusion and even protest.
"But they're outnumbering him, Askari," IraTater argued, his draconic eyes glaring towards the spectacle in the arena.
Askari, however, was resolute. "Joneson has a strength we've not yet seen. He's been holding back, for reasons only he knows," he continued, his gaze never leaving the center of the coliseum.
There was a pause before Askari recounted a tale, one of a Paladin who had broken his oath to protect those he loved. It was a tale of guilt and redemption, of strength and love. The tale of Joneson, their comrade, their brother in arms. The Brotherhood listened in silence, their eyes now understanding the depth of Joneson's power that lay dormant.
Back in the arena, Joneson stood steady, his gaze meeting Askari's. There was a silent communication, a nod of acknowledgement, and an understanding. It was time.
Without breaking his gaze from the Reapers, Joneson muttered an incantation under his breath. As the words left his lips, the air around him started to warp, and a cold chill swept across the coliseum. His eyes began to gleam with an ethereal light as the Oathbreaker's Seal began to break.
"Void Infinity," he whispered. The two words carried a weight, a promise, and a threat. The darkness swallowed the arena, blotting out the light and encasing the battleground in an impenetrable shroud. The Reapers, about to attack, found themselves in a sea of uncertainty.
Out of the engulfing void emerged figures, formless yet formidable, each a living embodiment of void energy. With every word of Joneson's continued incantation, they grew stronger, their presence more intimidating.
The Reapers tried to retaliate, but their attacks were swallowed by the void. The shadowy figures closed in, a relentless storm of dark energy that crushed their resistance and drowned their cries. The sheer force of the onslaught sent shockwaves through the arena, causing the crowd to gasp in awe.
When the darkness finally receded, the scene that emerged was one of utter devastation. The Reapers lay strewn across the battleground, their energies depleted, their pride shattered.
The crowd erupted into cheers, the echo of "Joneson" resonating throughout the arena. As the Brotherhood rushed to join their victorious comrade in the center, their smiles were as wide as they were proud.
With his friends surrounding him, Joneson looked at each one of them, his eyes softening. The void magic around him faded, replaced by a warm aura. This was more than just a victory. It was a testament of their friendship, their trust, and their unyielding brotherhood. They had emerged triumphant, and for the time being, they could bask in their victory.
It was a powerful conclusion to a stunning display of magic and camaraderie. The Grand Arcana Tournament was far from over, but the Brotherhood had made their mark, and they were ready for whatever came next.
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2023.06.02 04:52 Lepony A look at some of the common complaints that frequent fighting game discourse
A Necessary Preface
To start things off, some baselines need to be set for the sake of sidestepping a lot of talking points. This post will come entirely from the perspective that fighting games are a multiplayer genre first. There's a lot of very valid criticisms of the genre's single player aspect. I am actively choosing to ignore them for this post. When these discussions occur, it's meant from the perspective of the fighting game community trying to convince people to play and stick
with the genre. For hundreds or even thousands of hours. In the same way that people would League of Legends, Apex, Rocket League, etc. The single-player aspect ultimately have very little bearing on the multiplayer aspect since it only increases impressions
and not retention.
I'll also make a deeply arbitrary distinction between accessibility and accommodations for the disabled. They're two very different issues where the latter needs to be tackled in ways that I, or most people, am completely uninformed in. I am going to be addressing the layman's accessibility concerns.
FGC-heads, I know many of you have also thrown in the towel and now sing the virtues of gatekeeping due to not wanting "intolerants". But don't be an ass about it and remember there's a lot more wiggle room than you think. This post already comes across as condescending despite my best efforts, so cool it.
Finally, you don't have to read all of this. Just keep an eye out for the bolds that catch your eye. I'll try to keep things as simple as much as I reasonably can, but things will ultimately be technical. You will likely need a passing familiarity of the terms I'll be using, and I'll try to assist you in that by linking to a definition
when appropriate. I will avoid requiring rigorous knowledge of the subject matter though, so don't get too caught up in the details.
This conveniently segways to one common criticism.
There is too much terminology for me to learn
There sure is a lot of them. But they're not used to make things esoteric. They're words meant to concisely convey otherwise intuitive concepts for the purposes of discussion, learning, and troubleshooting.
In other words, you don't really need to explicitly learn them. Eventually, you'll implicitly learn all the terminology. Just not the words to express them. Think of it like how many of us trying out chess will start games by moving a pawn to allow the Queen to move around, completely unaware of the fact that what we're performing is likely a Queen's Pawn
or a King's Pawn
opening. In the same vein, many are likely already familiar with certain popular concepts in fighting games. You're just unaware of what they're called, or know them by another name.
Take for example, spacing
. You're likely familiar with snipers in a multiplayer shooter. If a sniper is uncontested, they completely own or dominate the "space" they're looking at. Running in full view of a sniper is a terrible idea because of it, and hiding behind cover is a solid idea because they don't "dominate" the space behind cover. To shut down a sniper's control of an area, you need to either physically overpower them (kill them), approach from a space they're not in control of (ambush them), or to force them to move else where (flush them out) via grenades or simply shooting in their general direction. Or in fighting game terms, whiff punish
them (kill them), by playing footsies
(ambush them), or by zoning
(flush them out) them out. Frame data
deserves a special mention. The simplest way to put is that they're measurements of time. If you play any game somewhat seriously, you're already familiar. Reload speeds, fire rates, attack rates, and even movement speeds. Hell, something as simple as not wanting to use Knights of Round
on generic encounters due to the long animation is a decision rooted in frame data.
There are too many things I need to learn
That's fair. There's no way around it. Fighting games are so far removed on a physical level that most people will have to learn everything from scratch. But it's not for the sake of it. There's too little overlap for you to rely on to draw experience.
I'll try not to bore you with the details by delving deep into stuff like Razbuten's series about gaming for non-gamers
. But there's an inherent language to video game conventions and how things control or happen. It's all very learned behavior and not all of it translates to every game. For fighting games in particular, almost nothing translates unless you play exclusively 2d beat 'em ups, spectacle fighters, Monster Hunter, and Soulslikes. And even then.
And that's all okay. We all have a finite amount of time in our lives, with responsibilities to attend to. We can't invest the time to learn everything we need for everything we have a passing interest in. We all pick our battles.
No, seriously, it's all really overwhelming even when I'm trying
It sure is. And there are lots of ways the on-boarding process could be significantly improved upon. These days, the games with the most renowned tutorials are from French Bread or Arc System Works. And they're very excellent... at being a reference. Primary learning material they are not. I could talk about all about the ways things could be improved, but I'm not part of the industry. Waste of character limits if you ask me.
Until things improve drastically, my only advice is to take things slow. A lot of the things you're tempted to learn are cool combos, special techniques to make people stop blocking, or every single move your character has. Maybe all at once. Don't. Pick one or two things to focus on. Play against people where your only goals in life are the one or two things. Move onto new things when you feel that you're comfortable. Rinse and repeat until you've had enough.
The controls aren't intuitive
There's a funny thing about intuition. Despite it being rooted in instinct, it's entirely learned behavior
. If you've used mnemonics before, you probably know that some just aren't very useful no matter how hard you try. It's kinda arbitrary. Things being intuitive or unintuitive also don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. Like mnemonics, intuition only go so far to help you remember or learn something.
Movement tech in other genres is often brought up as an argument for intuition. They're typically a "logical" sequence of inputs that the player is already familiar with. Smash Melee's Wavedash
actually gets brought up as an example time to time. It's jump then air dodge directly back onto the platform. On paper, it's very simple and easy to do.
It's not. The dexterity required to do it is a lot more than you'd expect it to be. Then there's frequency of its use, which causes a very real, physical strain on you. No matter how you look at it, you'll spend several orders of magnitudes more learning the rhythm than you do remembering the sequence of actions. The sequence themselves are a very minor step.
Not to mention, there is
a language to how fighting game controls. Most people aren't used to it because most games aren't anything like fighting games. Take for example the quarter circle forward
input. It's also known as the fireball input. Why? Because the average QCF input is a fireball. If not, it's probably a move that lunges your character forward. The fact that it ends in forward
usually indicates that it's designed to control space in front of you. Hey look, a made up mnemonic. It's also probably useless!
Motion controls are superfluous and should be simplified
A very popular misconception, no doubt due to the widespread popularity of Smash. But the matter of fact is that motion controls are not
superfluous and have momentous consequences. But at the same time, the consequences kinda don't matter. It creates a different type of fighting game for people to enjoy, which people do. The problem comes when people assert that it should be mandatory across the entire genre thinking that nothing would change. It's the same as saying that every FPS needs to have parkour mechanics or every action game needs to have animation canceling or every RPG needs to be real time: it's incredibly short-sighted. There's a reason why Smash has poor cross pollination or why not every TF2 player likes Overwatch.
If you're willing to accept the previous paragraph at face value, skip to the next checkpoint. The following will be dense.
The simplest example of the consequences of simplified inputs is the single input invicible DP
. Their existence completely redefines how offense is structured and how it is played out. In particular, it heavily emphasizes true gapless blockstrings
because the ease of the DP make it so that any unintentional
gaps are fundamentally bad pressure
. Because of that, pressure becomes more telegraphed and rigid, to the point of turns
becoming almost concrete. Or in other words, homogenized and potentially requiring study at all levels.
I also need to stress the word unintentional here. There are entire series and subgenres that thrive on forcing chaotic, ambiguous situations that neither player is fully aware of but have to place their bets anyway. But with a one button DP, intentionally causing mutually ambiguous situations will almost never be in your favor because doing anything will lose out to a DP.
There's some other reasons why the ease factor can cause new problems that need to be addressed, like how most motions don't end in a blocking input which means you must forgo blocking or how some inputs assume that you forgo your ability to move forward. But there are ways around this with surprisingly minimal effects on gameplay or even cause novel situations. But I'm ready to move on.
See, simplified inputs have a very inherent and significant design cost to them. Grapplers
in fighting games historically have insanely fast grabs. It's not uncommon for a grappler's command grab
to be tied for literally the fastest move in the game, while simultaneously being 2-4x the range of other similarly fast non-grabs, and typically leading to much more advantageous situations post-grab than fast non-grabs. As seen here.
Not only are they incredibly strong offensively, but also incredibly strong defensively. Almost as strong as a DP generally, and sometimes stronger than DPs in very specific (but potentially common) scenarios. This is often balanced out by the motions tied to these moves have an associated time cost to perform them in most but not all situations, ontop of the fact that it requires some modicum of effort to perform. Combined, this results in a surprisingly low margin for error to utilize this move effectively, and even players at the highest levels fail it every so often in stress-free, at home in their boxers, scenarios.
Think of it like the choice between slamming on your brakes to minimize collision damage or swerving to avoid it entirely. With enough of a heads up, everyone would choose to swerve. But sometimes you don't realize that you have enough room to swerve and by the time you did, it's too late. You have to pick the next best option. Mental burden
is the concept I'm stressing here.
Of course, we can adjust how one button command grabs work to minimize the differences. The most common answer to this is by making the command grab themselves slower. But by doing so, the command grab is now a fundamentally different move. It cannot be used defensively. It is offensively neutered and the scenarios where it is a good idea to use is significantly reduced. The alternative answer is by tying the command grab to a resource. In turn, it's no longer a move that you always have access to. It's something that must be built towards and then managed alongside all the other mechanics that likely share the same resource.
Nothing mentioned so far are inherent downsides and won't make games bad. You can even omit more nuanced moves like command grabs and DPs entirely and people can still like it. The problem is that these would be the only kind of games that could exist if motion controls would be permanently retired. My preferred solution would be not to remove them, but to add more characters who don't have motions.
Anyway if you've read all that, then you might think I'm making up assumptions. That I can't know for sure that this is how one-button specials would affect the game. Except they're not assumptions. They're real world observations of games that already have one-button specials.
Games with one button specials: Fantasy Strike, Smash, DNF Duel
Games with simplified-but-still-motioned specials: Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Dragonball Fighterz, Skullgirls
Games with both: Granblue Versus, Street Fighter 6, Idol Showdown
Combos are too long
This is a really interesting complaint that comes up a lot. But what it means
is one of three very different concerns that all need to be addressed in their own ways.
...because I keep getting stuck in one and dying to them
A very common and popular problem that is unfortunately born out of complete and total ignorance. Allow me to demonstrate with a clip
Do you believe this was one combo? A really long infinite
? A 100% to 0% combo
? If your answer to any of these were a yes, then you are wrong. That was about six separate combos
. I try to not get caught up on definitions as a rule of thumb and focus on the meaning instead, but this is a pretty big deal for this concern. Because people don't actually know
the language, they misuse words all the time. They don't actually know how to express their concerns in an immediately understandable manner. This is... a huge can of worms that I won't get into for this post.
The thing about combos is that combos only work
if the recipient of those combos have failed
. One failure = one combo. Therefore, six separate combos means that the opponent has failed six times. But if it's the result of failure, then that must mean that success is an option, right?
Yes. It's called blocking
, or more accurately, having good defense
. Really focus on this bit here:
Players and characters with strong defense tend to be able to survive long offensive sequences from their opponent and take little overall damage
This leads into the next separate concern expressed in the same way.
...and there's nothing I could have done Here's a clip
. The player with the long whip (P1) looks really oppressive, right? The player with the hat (P2) had nothing they could do to stop the onslaught of combos coming their way. It was a miracle that they didn't take more damage from all of that. There's a bit of a hitch to all of this though:
None of those were combos. It wasn't oppressive at all. In the context of that clip, P2 willingly chose to do nothing but exclusively block because they wanted to see if P1 was capable of doing anything else.
What do I mean they weren't combos? They just aren't. For this specific concern, it's a simple misunderstanding of term. A sequence of attacks in quick succession are better known as strings
. Not all strings are combos, but all combos are strings. What makes a string a combo is if it makes a character start physically reeling
from an attack. This is a very important distinction for reasons that are irrelevant to this concern.
Okay, they're not combos but strings. Why does that matter? It still doesn't seem like P2 could have done anything. The thing with strings is that they must inevitably end
. When and where they end is highly game and character dependent, but it's one of the few constants of the genre. From Street Fighter, to Smash, to Fantasy Strike. One of the most significant aspects of the genre is figuring out when someone is actually
done so that you can take your turn
. How a fighting game handles "the end of offense" is one of the most common ways to distinguish itself from other games. The clip I linked is a game that likes to keep things intentionally vague for the defender. Tekken famously requires you to know frame data
to know when it's your time. Some games like to simplify things with rules of thumbs. Some games make it extremely short.
In the clip I shared, there were plentiful of solutions that P2 could have done that didn't require much thinking. Ignoring the DP
that character has access to or any of the other moves they had, they could have ran forwards
. They even had a second point
to run forward.
What's really being complained about in this concern here is actually more along the lines of this:
I don't know what's going on and there's nothing I could do
This has a multitude of solutions. Some of them are tough pills to swallow. Some of them requires an adjustment of how information is conveyed
. Some require slowing things way down. They all work, all with their own caveats. But you can't remove the problem entirely. It's not how video games work. It's like how you know it's safer to move while the enemy is reloading or charging or whatever.
Technically, you can make it so that it's theoretically always your time to shine regardless of what the opponent is doing. There are two games I'm aware of where this idea has been played with. A character named Baiken from Guilty Gear XX, and the Touhou games' Typhoon condition.
Nobody likes playing against Baiken. Typhoon is not a good time for anyone involved.
...and I can't be bothered
We're finally here. A complaint that actually means what it means. And it's 100%, completely, unarguably, fair. This a common complaint of fans from different series/subgenres too. There are games I love that have really long combos and I still have a limit. It's actually so common that it's been very consistently addressed:
Games with short combos exist. Games with almost no
combos exist. We can go a step further: there are specific types of characters common to the genre that don't really do combos. There's usually at least one of them in most games. If you're okay with seeing them but not doing them, that's an option too.
One sidenote. The length of combos make a large difference in how games are played at a very fundamental level, beyond the combos themselves. Like everything else mentioned so far, short combos or long combos aren't better than the other. They simply offer different experiences. The problem is being shoehorned into a specific experience were one implemented genre-wide.
...and do too much damage
A bit distinct from the other concerns. It's suggesting almost
a touch of death
, but not quite. Fighting games do
have an informal equivalent to time-to-kill from FPS that is measured in how many "touches" until you lose a round but that's a little too nuanced and tangential to get into for this.
Combos that do a lot of damage exist. This is true. There are lots of long combos. Also true. Here's one for example
. It's a 30 second combo, where 17 seconds of it involves the P1 pushing buttons and then 13 seconds of watching a cinematic. You're probably not having a good time if you're on the receiving side of this.
There are some very, very important caveats. One, this particular game has an above average combo length in the first place. Two, that combo is an especially egregious example even in that game. Three, that combo is a culmination of a multitude of mistakes that required being hit by a very specific attack from P1 while P2 tried to attack, when P1 has at least 80% super meter, while P1 has nigh-max character-specific resources, while P2 is backed into a corner, while P1 has won a minigame. And it barely does enough to do 65% of a life bar. It's pretty rare for a combo this damaging to happen in most games. In some games, the opportunity can only occur once a match.
There's also the cinematic we need to talk about. Personally, I believe that the cinematic could be shorter. Especially in games where cinematic stuff happens all the time such as in Guilty Gear Strive or Tekken 7. One really big problem though:
Cinematics push copies. A very significant portion of a fighting game's marketing strategy is to showcase them because most people see something cool and think it's exciting. Think about how every time a new Mortal Kombat or Injustice comes out, gaming social media is flooded with supers and fatalities for a while. It just works. It also unfortunately has a very real effect on your personal experience when you're playing a game for >10 cumulative hours.
Games that try to make it obvious you didn't get the right answer: Guilty Gear Strive, Street Fighter 5, Skullgirls
Games with short combos: Fantasy Strike, Granblue Versus, Samurai Shodown
Games where combos don't exist: Divekick
Games that try to make it easy to do combos: Every fighting game released after 2014
There are too many buttons and it's too hard to keep track of
A pretty specific complaint that pops up time to time. And again, it's fair. Low button games do
exist and actually in fact are more frequent than high button games, but that's besides the point. Let's address the primary purposes of more buttons:
- More actions/options can be mapped
- Pressing multiple buttons can be fun
- Actions are more clearly delineated
I'll focus on the final point since I think the first two are self-evident. There are ways to make low-button games have the same amount of actions as high-button games. The problem is that no matter how you do it, the chances of input errors get increased. A clear delineation of input options makes being in control a lot more accessible. Which is a pretty big thing in this genre.
With a low button game, there are two choices: maintain a comparable amount of actions compared to higher buttons and accept we'll get more input errors, or accept that we'll have fundamentally less actions.
Games with two buttons: Smash, Divekick
Games with three buttons: Fantasy Strike, Granblue Versus, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Soul Calibur
Games with four buttons: Touhou IaMP, Touhou Hisoutensoku, Persona 4 Arena, Melty Blood, Under Night, Samurai Shodown, Blazblue, Dragonball Fighterz, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, etc
Combos have no bearing on strategy
Another complaint about combos, but a lot more directed. It's a complicated concern, as misguided as it may be, isn't without reason. Doing combos at some point can
feel dialed in, and getting comboed is the equivalent of getting stunned in other video games. Except it can happen multiple times in about 30 seconds, which is frustrating to a lot of people.
A previous section already covered the idea of low-combo or comboless games, so I won't repeat myself on that front. I'll instead try to make a case for combos and why they shouldn't be removed entirely.
...because it is an exercise in rote memorization
This sort of complaint comes up a lot from very specific crowds. Primarily people who have experience in platform fighters like Smash or people who are very interested in the other aspects of fighting games but specifically dismiss combos.
I'll get the elephant in the room out of the way first: what's wrong with rote memorization? There are entire genres of games pretty much dedicated to tickling that part of the brain. If you were there for the 2000's rock band/guitar hero boom, you probably took part of it too. There are competitive rote memorization games. Jeopardy has been a worldwide phenomenon for decades. There's nothing wrong with it, and it's okay to acknowledge they're not your thing. Games that deemphasize combos exist.
Okay, there's still another reason why this complaint exists. People hate losing agency when playing video games and being comboed definitely takes it away. A very common example is brought up as a solution: Smash's Directional Influence
. While a player's typical agency is gone, they do gain a new form and a new "game" forms between both players with it.
DI is pretty cool, and can be fun. Not everyone likes it. Some fighting games try to add agency in their own way through a combo breaking mechanic called Burst
. Killer Instinct is famous for having a very specific way of handling combos through their combo breaker
mechanic. Not everyone likes these either. There are likely other ways that agency can be added that haven't been done yet. And not everyone will like them. And that's okay.
Now, let me try to sell you on the idea that losing agency while being comboed is okay. Fighting games can be a lot
. Some of them relish in being a lot
. They can be overwhelming to absorb everything that's going on. Not to mention the whole part where you're trying to outwit the opponent.
You need time to breathe and get your bearings back in order. And that's exactly the window that being comboed provides. You can take a mental step back and look at what's going on. How many more times can you get hit and still survive? What is everyone's resources at? Are you winning that weird tug of war minigame? What has the opponent been doing? What's the chances they're going to do the same thing when they're done with the combo? Do you have a response to that thing?
Breathers are really important. People aren't built for full-throttle thinking and action for long stretches. Video games have realized this decades ago. It's why even the most spastic, twitchy of monsters in Monster Hunter will stop in place and roar. Why bullet hell games constantly swap between hyper dense, rapid patterns and patterns where you can kinda veg out for a moment. Why plenty of Zelda/Mario bosses will make you do some slow paced jump roping before they expose their weakpoint again.
This all also applies for the person performing the combo provided
that they are at total comfort with the whole sequence. It won't always be the case, but it's worth mening.
...because nobody drops them so why not cut out the middleman?
A very modern take due to the prevalence of accessible high level footage, the massive
growth of fighting games overall, and due to evangelical efforts for the genre. Not to mention, the vast majority of games these days have made it very easy to do very simple combos that everyone has access to and is practical at all levels. From more lenient input buffers
, to simplified and standardized motion inputs, to autocombos
, and an overall philosophical change on how games address damage, it can feel like having to perform combos is unnecessary work.
But people still fail combos. Even players at the highest level when there are zero stakes. The simple increased likelihood that one can fail doing a combo affects their decision-making. If they fail
, the opponent can completely turn the tables. It creates tension. It opens up wiggle-room for the defender. It gives people hope. Allow me to paint a picture:
Both players are at low health and will die in about 1.5 "average" combos. P1 gets hit first, and is getting comboed. P2 has two choices: they can do their standard combo that has little chance of failing and place their bets on winning the next interaction after the combo ends. Or they can do their more damaging combo that should
kill, but if they drop it (or even if the combo is carried to completion), P2 will be significantly disadvantaged for the next interaction. Or in some cases, even potentially the rest of the round. What do they do? What should they place their chips on?
This is such a popular aspect that certain content creators take this whole concept to its logical extreme and make a game show out of it.
Fighting games need no strategy beyond button mashing and combos
This opinion has largely died out in the past decade among the more dedicated video game communities, but it does still persist. Especially among the mainstream crowd.
Ignoring everything that has already been mentioned in the post so far, let's look at this clip
. A very typical and basic interaction in the genre. It may be a little reiterative to what I've already said, but here's a twelve page
explanation breaking it all down.
...because everyone picks the most optimal solution
This is a particularly strange complaint. It kind of arbitrarily ignores the fact that fighting games are primarily a real-time genre. Which fundamentally means that fighting games have imperfect information
. Ignoring the real time aspect and 4head game theory stuff that most people — including myself — don't actually understand aside, fighting games at their core are sort of like weighted rock paper scissors.
A single dominant strategy doesn't exist, because every strategy
loses to something
. You know what always picking the most logical strategy in any given situation makes you?
I don't have the reaction time for them
This is a really fun complaint, because addressing it actively involves understanding what reaction times are
. Most people will not want to be convinced that their use of it has been wrong their entire lives.
What is commonly understood as reaction time is as follow: how quickly one is able to respond to stimuli. Simple enough. The thing is that this is not actually how most people respond to things except as a very last resort.
There's an excerpt
I like to share. It's not at all a formal study and it's pretty anecdotal. You don't have to read through it all, but I do recommend it. This
is the relevant part though. The rest of the excerpt then explains how people are hitting something that is physically unreactable with the human body: because they're reacting to something else long, long, looong before the ball goes airborne.
This is what good reaction times really are. People recognizing a situation long before it happens, and reacting accordingly by adjusting their rhythm
. Trying to rely on pure stimuli to react is ignoring the entirety of a countdown and only responding to the "Go!" There's a reason why basically every track event starts with a countdown through the words "On your marks".
This is actually such an age old argument that someone made a flash game
to make a point back in 2011. You can get it going through an emulator
if you'd like, but that's optional. I'll be explaining under the assumption you haven't touched it at all.
The two moves that you are meant to block here is the weird flip kick
and the moon
. There's something really important to note here: both moves take about 256/288ms (moon/flip) before they can actually hurt you. On a technical level, they land squarely within the average human reaction time
Millia Blocker is really fucking hard. Most fighting game players can't actually react in time. But in the actual game these moves are from, blocking them isn't that big of a deal in most situations. You only ever really see these two moves in very specific situations that often occur a mile away. It ends up becoming a fairly binary "are they gonna use them or not" sort of situation where you're already blocking with whatever you decided to go with, sort of like pre-firing,
or by blocking both
. Defending against them is so little of a deal these days that more experienced players tend to opt for more complicated options instead.
...because I'm too old
When I first started playing fighting games ten years ago, the top players were in their mid-thirties. Most of them are still
top players in their forties and the young rising stars of the time are now in their thirties and top players as well. Something like 40% of the current top 100 tennis players are over thirty. Baseball and soccer both have very significant 30+ year old representation at the highest levels. 20% of the NBA is comprised of dudes in their thirties.
You can go out to your closest metropolitan community park or gym where random people meet up for a game of ball once a week. You're probably going to find an older person playing and keeping up with the rest of them, if the group isn't primarily older in the first place. And they'll steamroll the average high school senior who only play sports for gym class. They could probably keep up with the average HS sports club too.
Why? It's not that they're physically built different. It's because they decided to continue giving a damn about a game of ball in their older age. It's a conscious decision they've made to balance ball on top of whatever responsibilities they already have. This whole reaction time business ultimately boils down to a lack of experience
, not actual reaction times.
...because too much is going on
It gets easier. If you decide to stick with it that is. When you're brand new to something, you're at a total sensory and information overload. It's difficult to parse through all that and you get decision paralysis, but it gets easier. This is known as cleaning up your mental stack
. Or more concisely, turning the unfamiliar into familiar, into routine.
If you have a driver's license, remember when you first learned how to drive. There are 2-3 pedals for some reason, you need to keep track of what's behind you and to your sides, what's up ahead, the traffic laws, how the fuck a steering wheel works, etc. Forget trying to have a conversation or turning on the AC, you're way too focused on trying to not to crash the car. But eventually you get used to it all and now you do something very complex almost automatically. Some people are so
used to it that they think texting during it all is no big deal. Please don't text and drive.
I don't like how you have to take out your credit card to unlock characters instead of unlocking them like you used to
This is a really interesting complaint born from yet another misunderstanding. In the overall microtransaction discourse
, this can be valid regarding things like cosmetics. The good ol' SFxT DLC fiasco during the early days of DLC really does not help things either. But I'm going to spell it out in absolutely no uncertain terms:
You always had to pay money to get new characters in fighting games. The "unlockable" characters were not new characters, they were always part of the base roster.
When most people look back on history, they look at the character roster a game ends with and compare it to a post-DLC era roster and note the differences. But it's missing such a fundamental detail that is always conveniently forgotten in these complaints: fighting games used to have an insane
amount of rereleases. Consider the age ol' meme of Super Street Fighter 2 Super Championship Turbo Edition.
Ever considered why that was? It's because fighting games were console ports of arcade games, where
updating the game was relatively "trivial" on the arcade's end. Consoles? Consoles couldn't patch games until the 360/PS3 era. Which is around the time DLC started being a thing outside of PC games. And do you know what one of the main selling points of new patches/editions were? New characters. Compare Street Fighter 2's original roster of eight
eventually growing up to a total of 16 in its final version. And you had to fork over money to buy the same game again to get those new characters.
To obfuscate things even further, each franchise had their own nomenclature to refer to patch versions. Street Fighter did "editions", reserving new numbers for actually brand new games (ala Alpha/Zero and 3). Tekken just increased the number. King of Fighters used the year they came out. Both franchises didn't properly distinguish whether it was a brand new game or a new patch either.
Anyway, it's 2023 now. Companies usually don't sell patches for $60-70 a pop anymore. Balance updates are entirely free these days with characters being the only things you have to purchase.
Fighting games are too expensive to get all the characters
Yup. Fighting games don't exactly have a better monetization method yet either, so we're kinda stuck with it.
In practice, it surprisingly doesn't matter that much. Even with the entire roster available, the vast majority of players don't actually play more than 2-3 characters. For most games, learning new characters can be really difficult for people. A new character can feel like playing a different version of the game in of itself. Combined with the fact that most people have struggle readjusting muscle memory, a lot of people put very little effort in actually playing new characters.
Alright so learning them is hard, but surely people need to study new characters because matchups
are important, right? They totally are. But most people don't actually bother since the community is far more casual than people outside realize. That said, most people do agree that we should be able to try out characters for free. And hopefully that becomes standard in the genre. In any case, it sucks. But for most people, it's an inconvenience and not a money sink.
Fighting games lack progression
My personal disdain towards progression systems and love for abstract improvement aside, it's true. Fighting games lack engaging progression systems that are popular amongst multiplayer games. And I do believe that a well-made progression system would actually do wonders to resolve a lot of the misunderstandings found in this post. But forget well-made, most fighting games don't have any
Until then, if your desire to play multiplayer games rely on concrete and highly measurable goals, fighting games are going to be a hard pass for a long while.
submitted by Lepony
to truegaming [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 02:29 sparkskal DOT rates golf cart wheels
| || |
Looking for new wheels and was looking into golf cart wheels. The pattern is 4x101.6 not 4x100, does any one know if these will fit? submitted by sparkskal to keitruck [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 01:12 TRiiNiiTii 2013 Dodge Dart Limited 1.4l Automatic.
So I have a 2013 Dodge Dart Limited, and I’m having a really major issue with turning the car off. It’s in park but the car I guess isn’t registering that and pushing the button off just displays a message “ car is not in park” and just gives me an ear wrenching ding. I have no idea what route to Take and no mechanic friends/insight. Anyone?
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to MechanicAdvice [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 00:46 Ultim8_Lifeform Respect Clint Barton, Hawkeye! (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
"Clint. You should not be here."
"Really? I retire for, what, five minutes and it all goes to shit."
Clint Barton worked as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top agents for a number of years under the codename Hawkeye, being put on various assignments from keeping an eye on notable items like Mjolnir and the Tesseract to the mysterious Budapest mission where he recruit Natasha Romanov to S.H.I.E.L.D.. These experiences led to him becoming a founding member of the Avengers despite his own claims of just being a regular guy with a bow. Hawkeye worked with the Avengers for several years, from Ultron's attack to the superhero civil war that saw the group falling apart at the seams. However, his life as he knew it was snatched away after the invasion of Thanos, which saw 50% of all life in the universe being erased including Hawkeye's entire family. Hawkeye took up the alias of Ronin, a vigilante that roamed the globe in a vengeful rampage to kill the many criminals that had survived Thanos' snap. He eventually rejoined the Avengers after they discovered a way to bring back everyone that had been erased, but the guilt from what he had done as a result of his grief still weighed on him even after his family had been brought back. It wasn't until he met his future protégé Kate Bishop that Clint's faith in himself and his efforts as a superhero were restored.
Movies Av - The Avengers
AoU - The Avengers: Age of Ultron
CW - Captain America: Civil War
End - Avengers: Endgame
Other Sources AI - The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative
OH - Avengers: Operation HYDRA
SM:HP - Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude
H - Hawkeye (Disney+)
Pym Particles (Size Changing)
"Yeah, no shit."
submitted by Ultim8_Lifeform
to respectthreads [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 21:31 Clay_Bricks Every retiring LEGO set (June 2023 update)
Another month, another retirement update! A lot of sets changed dates this month, and even more new sets got added! Which reminds me, I'm considering making a /legoleak
Discord server in order to expand more on leaks, answer questions, and provide daily retirement updates. If there's interest in that, I'll work on having it done before the next list!
As always, we owe a massive thanks to ZombieYeti
from the BrickHound Discord
for providing this valuable data. If you're looking for real-time in-stock/deal alerts for Lego.com and other sites, make sure to check out his server: https://discord.gg/BwezK2t5qf
This information is scraped directly from Lego's website, and all dates are subject to change. ZombieYeti
is currently developing a website to host this data and offer real-time updates. In the meantime, here is a list of every set and their corresponding retirement date as per LEGO's system! FULL LIST ON GOOGLE SHEETS HERE <--
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Due to Reddit's character limits, we can't include everything here, but the full spreadsheet contains every set. CHANGES IN JUNE:
|Theme ||Set # ||Set Name ||Old Date ||New Date ||Change |
|Avatar ||75577 ||Mako Submarine ||Dec 31, 2024 ||Dec 31, 2023 ||-1 year |
|Avatar ||75578 ||Metkayina Reef Home ||Dec 31, 2024 ||Dec 31, 2023 ||-1 year |
|Classic ||11020 ||Build Together ||Dec 31, 2024 ||Dec 31, 2023 ||-1 year |
|Duplo ||10966 ||Bath Time Fun: Floating Animal Island ||Dec 31, 2024 ||Dec 31, 2023 ||-1 year |
|City ||60388 ||Gaming Tournament Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Creator ||31143 ||Birdhouse ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Friends ||41735 ||Mobile Tiny House ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Harry Potter ||75969 ||Hogwarts Astronomy Tower ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Icons ||10306 ||Atari 2600 ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Ideas ||21331 ||Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76946 ||Blue & Beta Velociraptor Capture ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76951 ||Pyroraptor & Dilophosaurus Transport ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Marvel ||76226 ||Spider-Man Figure ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Marvel ||76241 ||Hulk Mech Armor ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Marvel ||76243 ||Rocket Mech Armor ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Marvel ||76245 ||Ghost Rider Mech & Bike ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Marvel ||76256 ||Ant-Man Construction Figure ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Speed Champions ||76906 ||1970 Ferrari 512 M ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Speed Champions ||76907 ||Lotus Evija ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Star Wars ||75333 ||Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Star Wars ||75344 ||Boba Fett's Starship Microfighter ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
|Technic ||42138 ||Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 ||Dec 31, 2023 ||Dec 31, 2024 ||+1 year |
NEW SETS ADDED:
|Theme ||Set # ||Set Name ||Retirement Date |
|Holiday / City ||60381 ||City Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Friends ||41758 ||Friends Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Harry Potter ||76418 ||Harry Potter Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Marvel ||76267 ||Marvel Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Star Wars ||75366 ||Star Wars Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71777 ||Kai's Dragon Power Flip ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71778 ||Nya's Dragon Power Drift ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71779 ||Lloyd's Dragon Power Spin ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Batman ||30653 ||Batman 1992 Polybag ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Batman ||76224 ||Batmobile: Batman vs. The Joker Chase ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Batman ||76252 ||Batcave – Shadow Box ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Batman ||76264 ||Batmobile Pursuit: Batman vs. The Joker (4+) ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Batman ||76265 ||Batwing: Batman vs. The Joker ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|City ||60367 ||Passenger Airplane ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|City / 2K Drive ||60395 ||Combo Race Pack ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|City / 2K Drive ||60396 ||Modified Race Cars ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|City / 2K Drive ||60397 ||Monster Truck Race ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Creator ||31144 ||Exotic Pink Parrot ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|DREAMZzz ||40657 ||Dream Village ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Friends ||41756 ||Holiday Ski Slope and Café ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Friends ||41760 ||Igloo Holiday Adventure ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Harry Potter ||76419 ||Hogwarts Castle and Grounds ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Harry Potter ||76421 ||Dobby the House-Elf ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Icons ||40634 ||Icons of Play ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Mario ||71422 ||Picnic at Mario's House ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Marvel ||76249 ||Venomised Groot ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Marvel ||76261 ||Spider-Man Final Battle ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Marvel ||76262 ||Captain America's Shield ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Marvel ||76263 ||Iron Man Hulkbuster vs. Thanos (4+) ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Marvel ||76266 ||Endgame Final Battle ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Minecraft ||21247 ||The Axolotl House ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Minecraft ||21248 ||The Pumpkin Farm ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Minecraft ||21249 ||The Crafting Box 4.0 ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Minecraft ||21250 ||The Iron Golem Fortress ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71789 ||Kai and Ras's Car and Bike Battle (4+) ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71790 ||Imperium Dragon Hunter Hound ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71791 ||Zane's Dragon Power Spinjitzu Race Car ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71792 ||Sora's Transforming Mech Bike Racer ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71793 ||Heatwave Transforming Lava Dragon ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71794 ||Lloyd and Arin's Ninja Team Mechs ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71795 ||Temple of the Dragon Energy Cores ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71796 ||Elemental Dragon vs. The Empress Mech ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71797 ||Destiny's Bounty - Race Against Time ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Ninjago ||71798 ||Nya and Arin's Baby Dragon Battle (4+) ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Sonic ||76993 ||Sonic vs. Dr. Eggman's Death Egg Robot ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Star Wars ||75359 ||332nd Ahsoka's Clone Trooper Battle Pack ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Star Wars ||75360 ||Yoda's Jedi Starfighter ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Star Wars ||75365 ||Yavin 4 Rebel Base ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Star Wars ||75368 ||Darth Vader Mech ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Star Wars ||75369 ||Boba Fett Mech ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Star Wars ||75370 ||Stormtrooper Mech ||Dec 31, 2024 |
|Duplo ||10987 ||Recycling Truck ||Dec 31, 2025 |
|Duplo ||10994 ||3-in-1 Family House ||Dec 31, 2025 |
|Duplo ||10997 ||Camping Adventure ||Dec 31, 2025 |
|Ninjago ||71799 ||NINJAGO City Markets ||Dec 31, 2025 |
|Technic ||42161 ||Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica ||Dec 31, 2025 |
|Icons ||10323 ||PAC-MAN Arcade ||Dec 31, 2026 |
|Technic ||42160 ||Audi RS Q e-tron ||Dec 31, 2026 |
SETS RETIRING IN 2023:
|Theme ||Set # ||Set Name ||Retirement Date |
|Classic ||11015 ||Around the World ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31123 ||Off-Road Buggy ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||10780 ||Mickey and Friends Castle Defenders ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43203 ||Aurora, Merida and Tiana's Enchanted Creations ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41962 ||Unicorn Creative Family Pack ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71404 ||Goomba's Shoe ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71407 ||Cat Peach Suit and Frozen Tower ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71409 ||Big Spike's Cloudtop Challenge ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71412 ||Big Bad Island ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Mindstorms ||51515 ||Robot Inventor ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21187 ||The Red Barn ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71738 ||Zane's Titan Mech Battle ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71754 ||Water Dragon ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71756 ||Hydro Bounty ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71759 ||Ninja Dragon Temple (4+) ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71762 ||Kai's Fire Dragon EVO ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71770 ||Zane's Golden Dragon Jet ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71773 ||Kai's Golden Dragon Raider ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42129 ||4x4 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck ||Jul 31, 2023 |
|Minifigures ||71038 ||LEGO® Minifigures Disney 100 ||Aug 31, 2023 |
|Architecture ||21054 ||The White House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Art ||31203 ||World Map ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Art ||31205 ||Jim Lee Batman Collection ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Art ||31206 ||The Rolling Stones ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Art ||31207 ||Floral Art ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Avatar ||75571 ||Neytiri & Thanator vs. AMP Suit Quaritch ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Avatar ||75573 ||Floating Mountains: Site 26 & RDA Samson ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Avatar ||75577 ||Mako Submarine ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Avatar ||75578 ||Metkayina Reef Home ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Batman ||76181 ||Batmobile: The Penguin Chase ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Batman ||76220 ||Batman versus Harley Quinn (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Brickheadz ||40540 ||Lion Dance Guy ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Brickheadz ||40541 ||Manchester United Go Brick Me ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Brickheadz ||40542 ||FC Barcelona Go Brick Me ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Brickheadz / Avatar ||40554 ||Jake Sully & his Avatar ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40377 ||Donald Duck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40378 ||Goofy & Pluto ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40476 ||Daisy Duck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40477 ||Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey & Louie ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40550 ||Chip & Dale ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40553 ||Woody and Bo Peep ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Disney ||40622 ||Disney 100th Celebration (Oswald, Mickey, Snow White, Tinker Bell) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Harry Potter ||40495 ||Harry, Hermione, Ron & Hagrid ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Harry Potter ||40560 ||Professors of Hogwarts ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Minecraft ||40624 ||Alex ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Minecraft ||40625 ||Llama ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Minecraft ||40626 ||Zombie ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Star Wars ||40539 ||Ahsoka Tano ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|BrickHeadz / Star Wars ||40623 ||Battle of Endor Heroes ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||30590 ||Farm Garden & Scarecrow Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||30638 ||Police Bike Training Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||30639 ||Dog Park and Scooter Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||41723 ||Donut Shop ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||41726 ||Holiday Camping Trip ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60253 ||Ice-Cream Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60313 ||Space Ride Amusement Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60314 ||Ice Cream Truck Police Chase ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60315 ||Police Mobile Command Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60317 ||Police Chase at the Bank ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60318 ||Fire Helicopter ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60319 ||Fire Rescue & Police Chase ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60320 ||Fire Station ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60321 ||Fire Brigade ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60322 ||Race Car Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60323 ||Stunt Plane ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60324 ||Mobile Crane ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60325 ||Cement Mixer Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60327 ||Horse Transporter ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60330 ||Hospital ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60332 ||Reckless Scorpion Stunt Bike ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60333 ||Bathtub Stunt Bike ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60335 ||Train Station ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60338 ||Chimpanzee Smash Stunt Loop ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60339 ||Double Loop Stunt Arena ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60341 ||The Knockdown Stunt Challenge ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60342 ||The Shark Attack Stunt Challenge ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60343 ||Rescue Helicopter Transporter ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60346 ||Barn & Farm Animals ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60348 ||Lunar Roving Vehicle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60349 ||Lunar Space Station ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60350 ||Lunar Research Base ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60351 ||Rocket Launch Centre ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60353 ||Wild Animal Rescue Missions ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60354 ||Mars Spacecraft Exploration Missions ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60355 ||Water Police Detective Missions ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60356 ||Bear Stunt Bike ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60357 ||Stunt Truck & Ring of Fire Challenge ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60358 ||Cyber Stunt Bike ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60359 ||Dunk Stunt Ramp Challenge ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60360 ||Spinning Stunt Challenge ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60361 ||Ultimate Stunt Riders Challenge ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60371 ||Emergency Vehicles HQ ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60382 ||Vet Van Rescue ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60385 ||Construction Digger ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60390 ||Park Tractor ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60393 ||4x4 Fire Truck Rescue ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60394 ||ATV and Otter Habitat ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|City ||60398 ||Family House and Electric Car ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11014 ||Bricks and Wheels ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11018 ||Creative Ocean Fun ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11019 ||Bricks and Functions ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11020 ||Build Together ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11021 ||90 Years of Play ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11022 ||Space Mission ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||11031 ||Creative Monkey Fun ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Classic ||30510 ||90 Years of Cars Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||30641 ||Panda Bear Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||30644 ||Vintage Car Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31111 ||Cyber Drone ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31118 ||Surfer Beach House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31127 ||Street Racer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31128 ||Dolphin and Turtle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31130 ||Sunken Treasure Mission ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31131 ||Downtown Noodle Shop ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||31132 ||Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||40461 ||Tulips ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||40469 ||Tuk Tuk ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||40568 ||Paris Postcard ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Creator ||40646 ||Daffodils ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||10777 ||Mickey and Minnie's Camping Trip ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||30646 ||Moana's Dolphin Cove Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||40521 ||Mini Disney The Haunted Mansion ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||41168 ||Elsa's Jewellery Box ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43187 ||Rapunzel's Tower ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43189 ||Elsa and the Nokk Storybook Adventures ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43194 ||Anna and Elsa's Frozen Wonderland ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43196 ||Belle and the Beast's Castle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43197 ||The Ice Castle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43198 ||Anna's Castle Courtyard ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43199 ||Elsa's Castle Courtyard ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43202 ||The Madrigal House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43204 ||Anna and Olaf's Castle Fun ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43207 ||Ariel's Underwater Palace ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43208 ||Jasmine and Mulan's Adventure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Disney ||43209 ||Elsa and the Nokk's Ice Stable ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||30560 ||Pineapple Photo Holder & Mini Board Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41801 ||My Pets Bracelet ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41802 ||Unicorns Forever Bracelet ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41803 ||Extra Dots series 8 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41805 ||Creative Animal Drawer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41806 ||Ultimate Party Kit ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41807 ||Bracelet Designer Mega Pack ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41947 ||Mickey and Friends Bracelets Mega Pack ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41948 ||Cute Banana Pen Holder ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41950 ||Lots of DOTS - Lettering ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41951 ||Message Board ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41957 ||Adhesive Patches Mega Pack ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41959 ||Cute Panda Tray ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41960 ||Big Box ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots ||41961 ||Designer Toolkit - Patterns ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots / Disney ||41963 ||Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Stitch-on Patch ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots / Disney ||41964 ||Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Back-to-School Project Box ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots / Harry Potter ||41808 ||Hogwarts Accessories Pack ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots / Harry Potter ||41809 ||Hedwig Pencil Holder ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Dots / Harry Potter ||41811 ||Hogwarts Desktop Kit ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10411 ||Learn About Chinese Culture ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10872 ||Train Bridge and Tracks ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10882 ||Train Tracks ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10930 ||Bulldozer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10938 ||Dinosaur Nursery ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10944 ||Space Shuttle Mission ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10948 ||Parking Garage and Car Wash ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10949 ||Farm Animal Care ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10955 ||Animal Train ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10956 ||Amusement Park ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10964 ||Bath Time Fun: Floating Red Panda ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10966 ||Bath Time Fun: Floating Animal Island ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10968 ||Doctor Visit ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10972 ||Wild Animals of the Ocean ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10973 ||Wild Animals of South America ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10974 ||Wild Animals of Asia ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10977 ||My First Puppy & Kitten with Sounds ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10978 ||Creative Building Time ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||10979 ||Wild Animals of Europe ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo ||30648 ||Whale Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo / Disney ||10899 ||Frozen Ice Castle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo / Disney ||10960 ||Belle's Ballroom ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo / Disney ||10962 ||Buzz Lightyear's Planetary Mission ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo / Holiday ||10976 ||Santa's Gingerbread House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Duplo / Marvel ||10963 ||Spider-Man & Friends: Funfair Adventure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||30633 ||Skate Ramp ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||30634 ||Friendship Flowers Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41443 ||Olivia's Electric Car ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41677 ||Forest Waterfall ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41696 ||Pony-Washing Stable ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41697 ||Turtle Protection Vehicle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41699 ||Pet Adoption Café ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41703 ||Friendship Tree House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41704 ||Main Street Building ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41705 ||Heartlake City Pizzeria ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41707 ||Tree-Planting Vehicle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41708 ||Roller Disco Arcade ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41711 ||Emma's Art School ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41712 ||Recycling Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41713 ||Olivia's Space Academy ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41714 ||Andrea's Theatre School ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41715 ||Ice Cream Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41716 ||Stephanie's Sailing Adventure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41717 ||Mia's Wildlife Rescue ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41718 ||Pet Day-Care Center ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41719 ||Mobile Fashion Boutique ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41720 ||Water Park ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41721 ||Organic Farm ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41722 ||Horse Show Trailer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41729 ||Organic Grocery Store ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41732 ||Downtown Flower and Design Stores ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41733 ||Mobile Bubble Tea Shop ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41741 ||Dog Rescue Van ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41742 ||Cat Hotel ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41743 ||Hair Salon ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Friends ||41751 ||Skate Park ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||30435 ||Build Your Own Hogwarts Castle Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||30651 ||Quidditch Practice Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||75968 ||4 Privet Drive ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||75979 ||Hedwig ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76386 ||Hogwarts: Polyjuice Potion Mistake ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76398 ||Hogwarts Hospital Wing ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76399 ||Hogwarts Magical Trunk ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76400 ||Hogwarts Carriage and Thestrals ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76401 ||Hogwarts Courtyard: Sirius's Rescue ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76403 ||The Ministry of Magic ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76406 ||Hungarian Horntail Dragon ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76408 ||12 Grimmauld Place ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76409 ||Gryffindor House Banner ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76410 ||Slytherin House Banner ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76411 ||Ravenclaw House Banner ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Harry Potter ||76412 ||Hufflepuff House Banner ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||40426 ||Christmas Wreath 2-in-1 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||40522 ||Valentine Lovebirds ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||40523 ||Easter Rabbits Display ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||40570 ||Halloween Cat and Mouse ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||40571 ||Wintertime Polar Bears ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||80110 ||Lunar New Year Display ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday ||80111 ||Lunar New Year Parade ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / City ||60381 ||City Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Creator ||30584 ||Winter Holiday Train Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Creator ||30642 ||Birthday Train Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Creator ||30643 ||Easter Chickens Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Friends ||41758 ||Friends Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Harry Potter ||76418 ||Harry Potter Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Icons ||10293 ||Santa's Visit ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Marvel ||76267 ||Marvel Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Holiday / Star Wars ||75366 ||Star Wars Advent Calendar 2023 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10265 ||Ford Mustang ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10266 ||NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10273 ||Haunted House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10276 ||Colosseum ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10289 ||Bird of Paradise ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10290 ||Pickup Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10292 ||The Friends Apartments ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10299 ||Real Madrid - Santiago Bernabéu Stadium ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||10497 ||Galaxy Explorer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons ||76989 ||Horizon Forbidden West: Tallneck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons / Modular ||10255 ||Assembly Square ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons / Modular ||10270 ||Bookshop ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Icons / Modular ||10278 ||Police Station ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ideas ||21325 ||Medieval Blacksmith ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ideas ||21326 ||Winnie the Pooh ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ideas ||21329 ||Fender Stratocaster ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ideas ||21337 ||Table Football ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76943 ||Pteranodon Chase (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76945 ||Atrociraptor Dinosaur: Bike Chase ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76947 ||Quetzalcoatlus Plane Ambush ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76948 ||T. rex & Atrociraptor Dinosaur Breakout ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76950 ||Triceratops Pickup Truck Ambush ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Jurassic Park / World ||76956 ||T. rex Breakout ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Lightyear ||76830 ||Zyclops Chase (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Lightyear ||76831 ||Zurg Battle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Lightyear ||76832 ||XL-15 Spaceship ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||30509 ||Yellow Yoshi's Fruit Tree Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71406 ||Yoshi's Gift House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71413 ||Character Packs Series 6 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71414 ||Conkdor's Noggin Bopper ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71415 ||Ice Mario Suit and Frozen World ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71416 ||Lava Wave Ride ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71417 ||Fliprus Snow Adventure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Mario ||71418 ||Creativity Toolbox ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||10781 ||Spider-Man's Techno Trike (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||10784 ||Spider-Man Webquarters Hangout (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||10790 ||Team Spidey at Green Goblin's Lighthouse (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||30652 ||Doctor Strange's Interdimensional Portal Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76187 ||Venom ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76193 ||The Guardians' Ship ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76206 ||Iron Man Figure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76207 ||Attack on New Asgard ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76208 ||The Goat Boat ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76209 ||Thor's Hammer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76211 ||Shuri's Sunbird ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76212 ||Shuri's Lab (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76213 ||King Namor's Throne Room ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76214 ||Black Panther: War on the Water ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76215 ||Black Panther ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76216 ||Iron Man Armory ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76225 ||Miles Morales Figure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76230 ||Venom Figure ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76242 ||Thanos Mech Armor ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76253 ||Guardians of the Galaxy Headquarters ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Marvel ||76255 ||The New Guardians' Ship ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21164 ||The Coral Reef ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21170 ||The Pig House ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21172 ||The Ruined Portal ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21177 ||The Creeper Ambush ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21180 ||The Guardian Battle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21181 ||The Rabbit Ranch ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21183 ||The Training Grounds ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21184 ||The Bakery ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21185 ||The Nether Bastion ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21186 ||The Ice Castle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21188 ||The Llama Village ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||21190 ||The Abandoned Village ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Minecraft ||30647 ||The Dripstone Cavern/The Stalactite Cave Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Miscellaneous ||40174 ||LEGO Chess ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Miscellaneous ||40382 ||Birthday Set ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Miscellaneous ||40393 ||LEGOLAND Fire Academy ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Miscellaneous ||40584 ||Birthday Diorama ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||30656 ||Monkey King Marketplace Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80008 ||Monkie Kid's Cloud Jet ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80030 ||Monkie Kid's Staff Creations ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80032 ||Chang'e Moon Cake Factory ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80033 ||Evil Macaque's Mech ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80034 ||Nezha's Fire Ring ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80035 ||Monkie Kid's Galactic Explorer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80037 ||Dragon of the East ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80038 ||Monkie Kid's Team Van ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Monkie Kid ||80039 ||The Heavenly Realms ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||30649 ||Ice Dragon Creature Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71757 ||Lloyd's Ninja Mech (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71760 ||Jay's Thunder Dragon EVO ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71761 ||Zane's Power Up Mech EVO ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71763 ||Lloyd's Race Car EVO ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71765 ||Ninja Ultra Combo Mech ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71766 ||Lloyd's Legendary Dragon ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71767 ||Ninja Dojo Temple ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71768 ||Jay's Golden Dragon Motorbike ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71769 ||Cole's Dragon Cruiser ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71771 ||The Crystal King Temple ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71772 ||The Crystal King ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71774 ||Lloyd's Golden Ultra Dragon ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71775 ||Nya's Samurai X MECH ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71776 ||Jay and Nya's Race Car EVO ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71777 ||Kai's Dragon Power Flip ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71778 ||Nya's Dragon Power Drift ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71779 ||Lloyd's Dragon Power Spin ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Ninjago ||71781 ||Lloyd's Mech Battle EVO ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Speed Champions ||30657 ||McLaren Solus GT Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Speed Champions ||76900 ||Koenigsegg Jesko ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Speed Champions ||76901 ||Toyota GR Supra ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Speed Champions ||76910 ||Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro and Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Speed Champions ||76911 ||007 Aston Martin DB5 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Speed Champions ||76912 ||Fast & Furious 1970 Dodge Charger T ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||30654 ||X-wing Starfighter Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75288 ||AT-AT ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75292 ||The Razor Crest ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75300 ||Imperial TIE Fighter ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75301 ||Luke Skywalker's X-wing Fighter ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75309 ||Republic Gunship (Ultimate Collector Series) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75312 ||Boba Fett's Starship ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75317 ||The Mandalorian & The Child ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75318 ||The Child ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75320 ||Snowtrooper Battle Pack ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75322 ||Hoth AT-ST ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75323 ||The Justifier ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75324 ||Dark Trooper Attack ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75326 ||Boba Fett's Throne Room ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75327 ||Luke Skywalker (Red Five) Helmet ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75329 ||Death Star Trench Run Diorama ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75330 ||Dagobah Jedi Training Diorama ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75332 ||AT-ST (4+) ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75334 ||Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75335 ||BD-1 ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75336 ||Inquisitor Transport Scythe ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75338 ||Ambush on Ferrix ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75339 ||Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75342 ||Republic Fighter Tank ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Star Wars ||75343 ||Dark Trooper Helmet ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||30655 ||Forklift with Pallet Polybag ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42096 ||Porsche 911 RSR ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42107 ||Ducati Panigale V4 R ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42111 ||Dom's Dodge Charger ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42117 ||Race Plane ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42118 ||Monster Jam Grave Digger ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42122 ||Jeep Wrangler ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42123 ||McLaren Senna GTR ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42125 ||Ferrari 488 GTE 'AF Corse #51' ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42127 ||The Batman - Batmobile ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42128 ||Heavy-Duty Tow Truck ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42131 ||Cat D11 Bulldozer ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42132 ||Chopper ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42133 ||Telehandler ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42134 ||Monster Jam Megalodon ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42135 ||Monster Jam El Toro Loco ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42137 ||Formula E Porsche 99x Electric ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42139 ||All-Terrain Vehicle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42140 ||App-Controlled Transformation Vehicle ||Dec 31, 2023 |
|Technic ||42144 ||Material Handler ||Dec 31, 2023 |
submitted by Clay_Bricks
to Legoleak [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 21:28 Relevant-Asparagus-2 21” Tesla turbines on a 2nd gen?
Someone near me is selling a brand new take set of Tesla model S wheels for cheap. Seem to be same bolt pattern, offset, and hub. Not a whole lot online, but sifting through forums leads to me believe the weights are the same as my OEM 18”. I wanted to go 20”, but wondering if ride quality would be that much worse with 21”. Tires are 245/35. Seems to be an unexpected perfect match unless I’m missing something.
submitted by Relevant-Asparagus-2
to hondapilot [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 21:24 RandomAppalachian468 Don't fly over Barron County Ohio. [Repost]
The whirring blades of my MD-902 throbbed against the warm evening air, and I smiled.
From 5,000 feet, the ground flew by in a carpet of dark forests and kelly-green fields. The sun hung low on the horizon in a picturesque array of dazzling orange and gold, and I could make out the narrow strip of the Ohio River to my left, glistening in the fading daylight. This time of year, the trees would be full of the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms, and the frequent rains kept small pockets of fluffy white mist hanging in the treetops. It was a beautiful view, one that reminded me of why being a helicopter pilot trumped flying in a jumbo jet far above the clouds every day of the week. Fourteen more days, and I’m debt free.
That made me grin even more. I’d been working as a charter pilot ever since I obtained my license at age 19, and after years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, I was closing on the final payment for real-estate in western Pennsylvania. With no debt, a fixer-upper house on 30 rural acres all to myself, and a respectable wage for a 26-year-old pilot, I looked forward to the financial freedom I could now enjoy. Maybe I’d take a vacation, somewhere exotic like Venice Italy, or the Dominican Republic. Or perhaps I’d sock the money back for the day I started a family. “Remember kleineun, a real man looks after his own.”
My elderly ouma’s
voice came back from the depths of my memories, her proud, sun-tanned face rising from the darkness. She and my Rhodesian grandfather had emigrated to the US when they were newlyweds, as the violence against white Boer descendants in South Africa spiraled out of control. My mother and father both died in a car crash when I was six, and it had been my grandparents who raised me. Due to this, I’d grown up with a slight accent that many of my classmates found amusing, and I could speak both English, and Afrikaans, the Boer tongue of our former home.
I shifted in my seat, stretched my back muscles, and glanced at the picture taped to my console. Both my parents flanked a grinning, gap-toothed six-year-old me, at the last Christmas we’d spent together. My mother beamed, her dark hair and Italian features a sharp contrast to my father’s sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes, I liked to imagine they were smiling at me with pride at how well I flew the old silver-colored bird my company had assigned to me, and that made the long, lonely flights easier to bear.
A flicker caught my eye, and I broke my gaze away from the photograph.
Perched in its small cradle above the controls, my little black Garmin fuzzed over for a few seconds, its screen shifting from brightly colored maps to a barrage of grey static. Did the power chord come loose?
I checked, ensuring the power-cable for the unit’s battery was plugged into the port on the control panel. It was a brand-new GPS unit, and I’d used it a few times already, so I knew it wasn’t defective. Granted, I could fly and navigate without it, but the Garmin made my time as a pilot so much easier that the thought of going blind was dreadful.
My fuel gauge danced, clicked to empty, then to full, in a bizarre jolt.
More of the gauges began to stutter, the entire panel seeming to develop terrets all at once, and my pulse began to race. Something was wrong, very wrong, and the sludge inside my bowels churned with sour fear.
“Come on, come on.” I flicked switches, turned dials, punched buttons, but nothing seemed to fix the spasming electronics. Every gauge failed, and without warning, I found myself plunged into inky darkness.
Outside, the sun surrendered to the pull of night, the sky darker than usual. A distant rumble of thunder reverberated above the roar of my helicopter’s engine, and I thought I glimpsed a streak of yellowish lightning on the far horizon to my left. Calm down Chris. We’re still flying, so it must just be a blown fuse. Stay in control and find a place to set her down.
My sweaty palm slid on the cyclic stick, and both feet weighed heavy on the yaw pedals. The collective stuck to my other hand with a nervous vibration, and I squinted against the abyss outside. Beep.
I jumped despite myself, as the little Garmin on my panel flared back to life, the static pulling aside to reveal a twitching display. Each time the screen glitched, it showed the colorful map detailing my flight path over the ground below, but I noticed that some of the lines changed, the names shifting, as if the device couldn’t decide between two different versions of the world.
One name jutted out at me, slate gray like most of the major county names, appearing with ghostly flickers from between two neighboring ones. Barron County.
I stared, confused. I’d flown over this section of southeastern Ohio plenty of times, and I knew the counties by heart. At this point, I should have been over the southern end of Noble County, and maybe dipping lower into Washington. There was no Barron County
Ohio. I was sure of it.
And yet it shown back at me from the digital landscape, a strange, almost cigar-shaped chunk of terrain carved from the surrounding counties like a tumor, sometimes there, sometimes not, as my little Garmin struggled to find the correct map. Rain began to patter against my cockpit window, and the entire aircraft rattled from a strong gust of wind. Thick clouds closed over my field of vision like a sea of gray cotton.
The blood in my veins turned to ice, and I sucked in a nervous breath.
Land. I had to land. There was nothing else to do, my flight controls weren’t responding, and only my Garmin had managed to come back to life. Perhaps I’d been hit by lightning, and the electronics had been fried? Either way, it was too dark to tell, but a storm seemed to be brewing, and if I didn’t get my feet on the ground soon, I could be in real trouble.
“Better safe than sorry.” I pushed down on the collective to start my slow descent and clicked the talking button for my headset. “Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, over.”
“Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, requesting emergency assistance, over.”
Still nothing. If the radio’s dead, I’m really up a creek.
With my hand shaking, I clicked on the mic one more time. “Any station, this is—”
Like a curtain pulling back, the fog cleared from around my window, and the words stuck in my throat.
Without my gauges, I couldn’t tell just how far I’d descended, but I was definitely very low. Thick trees poked up from the ground, and the hills rolled into high ridges with flat valley floors, fields and pastures pockmarking them. Rain fell all around in cold, silvery sheets, a normal feature for the mid spring in this part of Ohio.
What wasn’t normal, were the fires.
At first, I thought they were forest fires for the amount of smoke and flames that bellowed from each spot, but as I swooped lower, my eyes widened in horror.
They were houses.
Farms, cottages, little clusters that barely constituted villages, all of them belched orange flames and black pillars of sooty smoke. I couldn’t hear above the helicopter blades, but I could see the flashes on the ground, along the road, in between the trees, and even coming from the burning buildings, little jets of golden light that spat into the darkness with anger. Gunfire. That’s rifle fire, a whole lot of it.
Tiny black figures darted through the shadows, barely discernable from where I sat, several hundred feet up. I couldn’t see much, but some were definitely running away, the streaks of yellow gunfire chasing them. A few dark gray vehicles rumbled down one of the gravel roads, and sprayed fire into the houses as it went. They were fighting, I realized, the people in the trucks and the locals. It was horrific, like something out of war-torn Afghanistan, but worse.
Then, I caught a glimpse of the others
They didn’t move like the rest, who either fled from the dark vehicles, or fired back from behind cover. These skinny figures loped along with haphazard gaits, many running on all fours like animals, swarming from the trees by the dozens. They threw themselves into the gales of bullets without flinching, attacking anyone within range, and something about the way they moved, so fluid, so fearless, made my heart skip a beat. What is that? “Echo Four Actual to unknown caller, please respond, over.”
Choking back a cry of shock, I fumbled at the control panel with clumsy fingers, the man’s voice sharp and stern. I hadn’t realized that I’d let go of the talking button and clicked it down again. “Hello? Hello, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot out of Pittsburgh, over.”
An excruciating moment passed, and I continued to zoom over the trees, the fires falling away behind me as more silent forest took over. “Roger that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, we read you loud and clear. Please identify yourself and any passengers or cargo you might be carrying, over.”
Swallowing hard, I eyed the treetops, which looked much closer than they should have been. How far had I descended? “Echo Four Actual, my name is Christopher Dekker, and I am alone. I’m a charter flight from PA, carrying medical equipment for OSU in Columbus. My controls have been damaged, and I am unable to safely carry on due to the storm. Requesting permission to land, over.”
I watched the landscape slide by underneath me, once catching sight of what looked like a little white church
surrounded by smaller huts, dozens of figures in the yard staring up at me as I flew over a towering ridgeline. “Solid copy on that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot. Be advised, your transponder shows you to be inside a restricted zone. Please cease all radio traffic, reduce your speed, climb to 3,000 feet and proceed north. We’ll talk you in from there. How copy, over?”
My heart jumped, and I let out a sigh of relief. “Roger that Echo Four Actual, my altimeter is down, but I’ll do my best to eyeball the altitude, over.”
With that, I pulled the collective upward, and tried my best to gauge how far I was by eyesight in the gathering night, rain still coming down all around me. This had to be some kind of disaster or riot, I decided. After all, the voice over the radio sounded like military, and those vehicles seemed to have heavy weapons. Maybe there was some kind of unrest going on here that I hadn’t heard about yet? Kind of weird for it to happen in rural areas though. Spoiled college kids I get, but never saw farmers get so worked up before. They usually love the military.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, and I turned out of reflex.
My mouth fell open, and I froze, unable to scream.
In the sky beside me, a huge shadow glided along, and its leathery wings effortlessly carved through the gloom, flapping only on occasion to keep it aloft. It was too dark for me to see what color it was, but from the way it moved, I knew it wasn’t another helicopter. No, this thing was alive, easily the size of a small plane, and more than twice the length of my little McDonald Douglass. A long tail trailed behind it, and bore a distinct arrow-shaped snout, with twig-like spines fanned out around the back of its head. Whatever legs it had were drawn up under it like a bird, yet its skin appeared rough and knobby, almost resembling tree bark. Without pause, the gigantic bat-winged entity flew along beside me, as if my presence was on par with an annoying fly buzzing about its head.
Gripping the microphone switch so tight, I thought I’d crack the plastic, I whispered into my headset, forgetting all radio protocol. “T-There’s something up here.”
Static crackled. “Douglas Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, say again your last, you’re coming in weak and unreadable, over.”
“There’s something up here.” I snarled into the headset, still glued to the controls of the helicopter, afraid to deviate even an inch from my course in case the monstrosity decided to turn on me. “A freaking huge thing, right beside me. I swear, it looks like a bat or . . . I don’t know.” “Calm down.”
The man on the other end of the radio broke his rigorous discipline as well, his voice deep, but level. “It won’t attack if you don’t move too fast. Slowly ease away from it and follow that course until you’re out of sight.”
I didn’t have time to think about how wrong that sounded, how the man’s strict tone had changed to one of knowledge, how he hadn’t been the least surprised by what I’d said. Instead, I slowly turned the helicopter away from the huge menace and edged the speed higher in tiny increments.
As soon as I was roughly two football fields away, I let myself relax, and clicked the mic switch. “It’s not following.” “You’re sure?”
Eyeing the huge flapping wings, I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I’m well clear.” “Good. Thank you, Mr. Dekker.”
Then, the radio went dead.
Something in my chest dropped, a weight that made my stomach roil. This wasn’t right, none of it. Who was that man? Why did he know about the thing I’d just seen? What was I supposed to—
A flash of light exploded from the trees to my right and shot into the air with a long finger of smoke. What the . . .
On instinct, I jerked the cyclic stick to one side, and the helicopter swung to avoid the rocket. Boom.
My world shook, metal screeched, and a dozen alarms began to go off inside the cockpit in a cacophony of beeps and sirens. Orange and red flames lit up the night sky just behind me, and the horizon started to spin wildly outside. Heat gushed from the cockpit door, and I smelled the greasy stench of burning oil. The safety belts dug into my shoulders, and with a final slip, the radio headset ripped free from my scalp. I’m hit.
Desperate, I yanked on the controls, fought the bird even as she spun toward the ground in a wreath of flames, the inky black trees hurtling up to meet me. The helicopter went into full auto-rotation, the sky blurring past outside, and the alarms blared in a screech of doom. Panic slammed through my temples, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and for one brief second, my eyes locked on the little black Garmin still perched atop my control panel.
Its screen stopped twitching and settled on a map of the mysterious Barron County, with a little red arrow at the center of the screen, a few words popping up underneath it. You are here
Trees stabbed up into the sky, the belts crushed at my torso, glass shattered all around me, and the world went dark.
Copper, thick, warm, and tangy.
It filled my mouth, stank metallic in my nose, clogged my throat, choking me. In the murkiness, I fought for a surface, for a way out, blind and numb in the dark. This way, kleineun.
voice echoed from somewhere in the shadows. This way.
Both eyes flew open, and I gagged, spitting out a stream of red.
Pain throbbed in my ribs, and a heavy pressure sent a tingling numbness through my shoulders. Blood roared inside my temples, and stars danced before my eyes with a dizzying array. Humid night air kissed my skin, and something sticky coated my face, neck, and arms that hung straight up toward the ceiling.
Wait. Not up. Down
I blinked at the wrinkled, torn ceiling of the cockpit, the glass all gone, the gray aluminum shredded like tissue paper. Just outside the broken windows, thick Appalachian bluegrass and stemmy underbrush swished in a feeble breeze, backlit by flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm overhead. Green and brown leaves covered everything in a wet carpet of triangles, and somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Turning my head from side to side, I realized that I hung upside down inside the ruined helicopter, the top half burrowed into the mud. I could hear the hissing and crackling of flames, the pattering of rain falling on the hot aluminum, and the smaller brush fires around the downed aircraft sizzling out in the damp long grass. Charred steel and burning oil tainted the air, almost as strong as the metallic, coppery stench in my aching nose. They shot me down. That military dude shot me out of the sky.
It didn’t make sense. I’d followed their orders, done everything they’d said, and yet the instant I veered safely away from whatever that thing in the sky had been, they’d fired, not at it, but at me.
Looking down (or rather, up) at my chest, I sucked in a gasp, which was harder to do that before.
The navy-blue shirt stuck to my torso with several big splotches of dark, rusty red. Most were clean slashes, but two held bits of glass sticking out of them, one alarmingly bigger than the other. They dripped cherry red blood onto my upturned face, and a wave of nausea hit me. I gotta get down.
I flexed my arms to try and work some feeling back into them, praying nothing was broken. Half-numb from hanging so long, I palmed along my aching body until I felt the buckled for the seat belts.
“Okay.” I hissed between gritted teeth, in an effort to stave off my panic. “You can do this. Just hold on tight. Nice and tight. Here we go . . .” Click.
Everything seemed to lurch, and I slid off the seat to plummet towards the muck-filled hole in the cockpit ceiling. My fingers were slick with blood and slipped over the smooth faux-leather pilot’s seat with ease. The shoulder belt snagged on the bits of glass that lay just under the left lowest rib, and a flare of white-hot pain ripped through me. Wham.
I screamed, my right knee caught the edge of the aluminum ceiling, and both hands dove into a mound of leaf-covered glass shards on the opposite side of the hole. My head swam, being right-side-up again enough to make shadows gnaw at the corner of my eyes.
Forcing myself to breath slowly, I fought the urge to faint and slid back to sit on the smooth ceiling. I turned my hands over to see half a dozen bits of clear glass burrowed into my skin like greedy parasites, red blood weeping around the new cuts.
“Screw you.” I spat at the rubbish with angry tears in my eyes. “Screw you, screw you, screw you.”
The shards came out easy enough, and the cuts weren’t that deep, but that wasn’t what worried me. On my chest, the single piece of cockpit glass that remined was almost as big as my palm, and it really
hurt. Just touching it felt like self-inflicted torture, but I knew it had to come out sooner or later. Please don’t nick a vein.
Wiping my hands dry on my jeans, I gripped the shard with both hands, and jerked.
Fire roared over my ribs, and hot blood tickled my already grimy pale skin. I clapped a hand over the wound, pressing down hard, and grunted out a string of hateful expletives that my ouma
would have slapped me for.
Lying on my back, I stared around me at the messy cargo compartment of the MD-902. Most of the medical supplies had been in cardboard boxes strapped down with heavy nylon tow-straps, but several cases had ruptured with the force of the impact, spraying bandages, syringes, and pill bottles all over the cluttered interior. Orange flames chewed at the crate furthest to the rear, the tail section long gone, but the foremost part of the hold was intact. Easily a million-dollar mess, it would have made me faint on any other trip, but today it was a godsend.
Half-blind in the darkness, I crawled along with only the firelight and lightning bolts to guide me, my right knee aching. Like a crippled raccoon, I collected things as I went, conscious of the two pallets of intact supplies weighing right over my head. I’d taken several different first-aid courses with some hunting buddies of mine, and the mental reflexes kicked in to help soothe my frazzled mind. Check for bleeds, stop the worst, then move on.
Aside from my battered chest and stomach, the rest of me remained mostly unharmed. I had nasty bruises from the seatbelts, my right knee swelled, my nose slightly crooked and crusted in blood, but otherwise I was intact. Dowsing every scratch and cut with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol I found, I used butterfly closures on the smaller lacerations that peppered my skin. I wrapped soft white gauze over my abused palms and probed at the big cut where the last shard had been, only stopping when I was sure there were no pieces of glass wedged inside my flesh.
“Not too bad.” I grunted to myself, trying to sound impassive like a doctor might. “Rib must have stopped it. Gonna need stitches though. That’ll be fun.
Pawing through the broken cases, I couldn’t find any suture chord, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a small box that read ‘medical skin stapler’. Bingo.
I tore the small white plastic stapler free from its packaging and eyeballed the device. I’d never done this before, only seen it in movies, and even though the cut in my skin hurt, I wondered if this wouldn’t be worse. You’ve gotta do it. That bleeding needs to stop. Besides, no one’s coming to rescue you, not with those rocket-launching psychos out there.
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the skin around the gash together, and pressed the mouth of the stapler to it. Click.
A sharp sting, like that of a needle bit at the skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the cut itself. I worked my way across the two-inch laceration and gave out a sigh of relief when it was done.
“Not going to bleed to death today.” I daubed ointment around the staples before winding more bandages over the wound.
Popping a few low-grade painkillers that tumbled from the cargo, I crawled wriggled through the nearest shattered window into the wet grass.
Raindrops kissed my face, clean and cool on my sweaty skin. Despite the thick cloud cover, there was enough constant lightning strikes within the storm to let me get glimpses of the world around me. My helicopter lay on its back, the blades snapped like pencils, with bits and pieces of it burning in chunks all around the small break in the trees. Chest-high scrub brush grew all around the low-lying ground, with pockets of standing water in places. My ears still rang from the impact of the crash, but I could start to pick up more crickets, frogs, and even some nocturnal birds singing into the darkness, like they didn’t notice the huge the hulk of flaming metal that had fallen from the sky. Overhead, the thunder rumbled onward, the feeble wind whistling, and there were other flashes on the horizon, orange and red ones, with crackles that didn’t sound quite like lightning. The guns. They’re still fighting.
Instinctively, I pulled out my cellphone, and tapped the screen.
It fluttered to life, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get through to anyone, not even with the emergency function designed to work around having no service. The complicated wonder of our modern world was little better than a glorified paperweight.
Stunned, I sat down with my back to the helicopter and rested my head against the aluminum skin of the craft. How I’d gone from a regular medical supply run to being marooned in this hellish parody of rural America, I didn’t know, but one thig was certain; I needed a plan. Whoever fired the missile could have already contacted my charter company and made up some excuse to keep them from coming to look for me. No one else knew I was here, and even though I now had six staples holding the worst of my injuries shut, I knew I needed proper medical attention. If I wanted to live, I’d have to rescue myself. My bag. I need to get my go-bag, grab some gear and then . . . head somewhere else.
It took me a while to gather my green canvas paratrooper bag from its place behind the pilot’s seat and fill it with whatever supplies I could scrounge. My knee didn’t seem to be broken, but man did it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of walking on it for miles on end. I focused instead on inventorying my gear and trying to come up with a halfway intelligent plan of action.
I had a stainless-steel canteen with one of those detachable cups on the bottom, a little fishing kit, some duct tape, a lighter, a black LED flashlight with three spare batteries, a few tattered road maps with a compass, a spare pair of socks, medical supplies from the cargo, and a simple forest green plastic rain poncho. I also managed to unearth a functioning digital camcorder my ouma
had gotten me for Christmas a few years back, though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any filming in such a miserable state. Lastly, since it was a private supply run from a warehouse area near Pittsburgh to a direct hospital pad in Ohio, I’d been able to bring my K-Bar, a sturdy, and brutally simple knife designed for the Marine Corps that I used every time I went camping. It was pitiful in comparison to the rifle I wished I had with me, but that didn’t matter now. I had what I had, and I doubted my trusty Armalite would have alleviated my sore knee anyway.
Clicking on my flashlight, I huddled with the poncho around my shoulders inside the wreck of the chopper and peered at the dusty roadmaps. A small part of me hoped that a solution would jump out from the faded paper, but none came. These were all maps of western PA and eastern Ohio. None of them had a Barron County on them anywhere. The man on the radio said to head north, right before they shot me down. That means they must be camped out to the north of here. South had that convoy and those burning houses, so that’s a no-go. Maybe I can backtrack eastward the way I came.
As if on cue, a soft pop
echoed from over the eastern horizon, and I craned to look out the helicopter window, spotting more man-made flashes over the tree tops.
“Great.” I hissed between clenched teeth, aware of how the temperature dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and how despite the conditions, my stomach had begun to growl. “Not going that way, are we? Westward it is.”
Walking away from my poor 902 proved to be harder than I’d anticipated. Despite the glass, the fizzling fires, and the darkness, it still held a familiar, human essence to it. Sitting inside it made me feel secure, safe, even calm about the situation. In any other circumstance, I would have just stayed with the downed aircraft to wait for help, but I knew the men who shot me down would likely find my crash site, and I didn’t want to be around when they did.
Unlike much of central and western Ohio, southeastern Ohio is hilly, brushy, and clogged with thick forests. Thorns snagged at my thin poncho and sliced at my pant legs. My knee throbbed, every step a form of self-inflicted torture. The rain never stopped, a steady drizzle from above just cold enough to be problematic as time went on, making me shiver. Mud slid under my tennis shoes, and every tree looked ten times bigger in the flickering beam of my cheap flashlight. Icy fear prickled at the back of my neck at some of the sounds that greeted me through the gloom. I’d been camping loads of times, both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but these noises were something otherworldly to me.
Strange howls, screeches, and calls permeated the rain-soaked sky, some almost roars, while others bordered on human in their intonation. The more I walked, the softer the distant gunfire became, and the more prevalent the odd sounds, until the shadows seemed to fill with them. I didn’t dare turn off my flashlight, or I’d been completely blind in the dark, but a little voice in the back of my head screamed that I was too visible, crunching through the gloomy forest with my long beam of light stabbing into the abyss. It felt as though a million eyes were on me, studying me, hunting me from the surrounding brush, and I bitterly recalled how much I’d loved the old Survivor Man
TV series as a kid. Not so fun being out in the woods at night. Especially alone.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, and I whirled on the spot, one trembling hand resting on the hilt of my K-Bar.
Nothing. Nothing but trees, bushes, and rain dripping down in the darkness.
“This is stupid.” I whispered to myself to keep my nerves in check as I slowly spun on the spot. “I should have went eastward anyway. God knows how long I’m going to have to—” Creak.
A groan of metal-on-metal echoed from somewhere to my right, and I spun to face it, yanking the knife on my belt free from its scabbard. It felt so small and useless in my hand, and I choked down a wave of nauseas fear. Ka-whump. Creak. K-whump. Creak.
Underbrush cracked and crunched, a few smaller saplings thrashed, and from deep within the gloom, two yellow orbs flared to life. They poked through the mist in the trees, forming into slender fingers of golden light that swept back and forth in the dark. The soldiers . . . they must be looking for me.
I swallowed hard and turned to slink away.
Ice jammed through my blood, and I froze on the spot, biting my tongue to stop the scream.
It stood not yards away, a huge form that towered a good twelve feet tall in the swirling shadows. Unpolished chrome blended with flash-rusted spots in the faded red paint, and grime-smeared glass shone with dull hues in the flashes of lightning. Where the wheels should have been, the rounded steel axels curved like some enormous hand had bent them, and the tires lay face-down on the muddy ground like big round feet, their hubcaps buried in the dirt. Dents, scrapes, and chips covered the battered thing, and its crooked little radio antenna pointed straight up from the old metal fender like a mast. I could barely make out the mud-coated VW
on the rounded hood, and my mind reeled in shock. Is . . . is that a car?
Both yellow headlights bathed me in a circle of bright, blinding light, and neither I nor the strange vehicle moved.
Seconds ticked by, the screech-thumping in the background only growing closer. I realized that I couldn’t hear any engine noises and had yet to see any soldiers or guns pointed my way. This car looked old, really old, like one of those classic Volkswagen Beetles that collectors fought over at auctions. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a driver inside the murky, mold-smeared windows.
Because there wasn’t one.
Lightning arched across the sky overhead, and the car standing in front of me blinked.
Its headlights slid shut, as if little metal shades had crawled over the bulbs for a moment and flicked open again. Something about that movement was so primal, so real, so lifelike,
that every ounce of self-control I had melted in an instant.
Cursing under my breath, I lunged into the shrubs, and the world erupted around me.
Under my shoes, the ground shook, and the car surged after me in a cacophony of ka-thumps
that made my already racing heart skip several beats. A weather-beaten brown tow truck from the 50’s charged through the thorns to my left, it’s headlights ablaze, and a dilapidated yellow school bus rose from its hiding place in the weeds to stand tall on four down-turned axel-legs. They all flicked their headlights on like giants waking from their slumber, and as I dodged past them, they each blared their horn into the night in alarm.
My breaths came short and tight, my knee burned, and I crashed through thorns and briars without thought to how badly I was getting cut up.
The cheap poncho tore, and I ripped it away as it caught on a tree branch.
A purple 70’s Mustang shook off its blanket of creeping vines and bounded from a stand of trees just ahead, forcing me to swerve to avoid being run over, my adrenaline at all-time highs. This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
Slipping and sliding, I pushed through a stand of multiflora rose, and stumbled out into a flat, dark expanse.
I almost skidded to a stop.
What had once been a rather large field stood no taller than my shoestrings, the grass charred, and burnt. The storm above illuminated huge pieces of wreckage that lay scattered over the nearly 40-acre plot, and I could just make out the fire-blackened hulk of a fuselage resting a hundred yards away. The plane had been brought down a while ago it seemed, as there weren’t any flames left burning, and I threw myself toward it in frenzied desperation.
Burned grass and greasy brown topsoil slushed underfoot, and I could hear the squelching of the cars pursing me. Rain soaked me to the bone, and my lungs ached from sucking down the damp night air. A painful stich crept into my side, and I cursed myself for not putting in more time for cardio at the gym.
Something caught my left shoelace, and I hurtled to the ground, tasting mud and blood in between my teeth. They’ve got me now.
I clawed at the mud, rolled, and watched a tire slam down mere inches from where my head had been. The Mustang loomed over me and jostled for position with the red Volkswagen and brown tow truck, the school bus still a few yards behind them. They couldn’t seem to decide who would get the pleasure of stomping me to death, and like a herd of stampeding wildebeest, they locked bumpers in an epic shoving match.
On all fours, I scampered out from under the sparring brutes, and dashed for the crumpled airplane, a white-painted DC-3 that looked like it had been cut in half by a gargantuan knife blade. I passed a snapped wing section, the oily remains of a turbo-prop engine, and a mutilated wheel from the landing gear. Climbing over a heap of mud, I squeezed into the back of the ruined flight cabin and dropped down into the dark cargo hold. Wham.
No sooner had my sneakers hit the cold metal floor, and the entire plane rocked from the impact of something heavy ramming it just outside. I tumbled to my knees, screaming in pain as, once again, I managed to bash the sore one off a bracket in the wall.
My hand smeared in something gooey, and I scrabbled for my flashlight.
It clicked on, a wavering ball of white light in the pitch darkness, and I fought the urge to gag. “Oh man . . .”
Three people, or what was left of them, lay strewn over the narrow cargo area. Claret red blood coated the walls, caked on the floor, and clotted under my mud-spattered shoes. Bits of flesh and viscera were stuck to everything, and tatters of cloth hung from exposed sections of broken bone. An eerie set of bloody handprints adorned the walls, and the only reason I could tell it had been three
people were the shoes; all of them bore anklebones sticking out above blood-soaked socks. It smelled sickly sweet, a strange, nauseas odor that crept into my nose and settled on the back of my tongue like an alien parasite.
Something glinted in the beam of my flashlight, and my pulse quickened as I pried the object loose from the severed arm that still clung to it.
“Hail Mary full of Grace.” I would have grinned if it weren’t for the fact that the plane continued to buck and roll under the assault from the cars outside.
The pistol looked old, but well-maintained, aside from the light coating of dark blood that stained its round wooden handle. It felt heavy, but good in my hand, and I turned it over to read the words, Waffenfabrik Mauser
stenciled into the frame, with a large red 9 carved into the grip. For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of the blasters from Star Wars.
I fumbled with a little switch that looked like a safety on the back of the gun and stumbled toward a gap in the plane’s dented fuselage to aim out at the surrounding headlights. Bang.
The old gun bucked reliably in my hand, its long barrel spitting a little jet of flame into the night. I had no idea if I hit anything, but the attacking cars recoiled, their horns blaring in confusion.
They turned, and scuttled for the tree line as fast as their mechanical legs could go, the entire ordeal over as fast as it had begun. Did I do that?
Perplexed, I stared down at the pistol in my hand. Whoosh.
A large, inky black shadow glided down from the clouds, and the yellow school bus moved too slow to react in time.
With a crash, the kicking nightmarish vehicle was thrown onto its side, spraying glass and chrome trim across the muddy field. Its electro-synth horn blared with wails of mechanical agony, as two huge talon-like feet clamped down on it, and the enormous head of the flying creature lowered to rip open its engine compartment.
The horn cut out, and the enormous flying entity jerked its head back to gulp down a mass of what looked like sticky black vines from the interior of the shattered bus.
At this range, I could see now that the flying creature bore two legs and had its wings half-tucked like a vulture that had descended to feed on roadkill. Its head turned slightly, and in the glow of another lightning bolt, my jaw went slack at the realization of what it was. A tree trunk. It’s a rotted tree trunk.
I couldn’t tell where the reptilian beast began, and where the organic tree components ended, the upper part of the head shaped like a log, while the lower jaw resembled something out of a dinosaur movie. Its skin looked identical to the outside of a shagbark hickory but flexed with a supple featheriness that denoted something closer to skin. Sharp branch-like spines ranged down its back, and out to the end of its tail, which bore a massive round club shaped like a diseased tree-knot. Crouched on both hind legs, it braced the hooked ends of its folded wings against the ground like a bat, towering higher than a semi-truck. Under the folds of its armored head, a bulging pair of chameleon-like eyes constantly spun in their sockets, probing the dark for threats while it ate.
One black pupil locked onto the window I peered through, and my heart stopped.
The beast regarded me for a moment, with a curious, sideways sniff.
With a proud, contemptful head-toss, the shadow from the sky parted rows of razor-sharp teeth to let out a roar
that shook the earth beneath my feet. It was the triumphant war cry of a creature that sat at the very top of the food chain, one that felt no threat from the fragile two-legged beings that walked the earth all around it. It hunted whenever it wanted, ate whatever it wanted, and flew wherever it wanted. It didn’t need to rip the plane apart to devour me.
Like my hunter-gatherer ancestors from thousands of years ago, I wasn’t even worth the energy it would take to pounce.
I’m hiding in the remains of the cockpit now, which is half-buried under the mud of the field, enough to shield the light from my screen so that thing
doesn’t see it. My service only now came back, and it’s been over an hour since the winged beast started in on the dead bus. I don’t know when, or how I’m going to get out of here. I don’t know when anyone will even see this post, or if it will upload at all. My phone battery is almost dead, and at this point, I’m probably going to have to sleep among the corpses until daylight comes.
A dead man sleeping amongst friends.
If you live in the Noble County area in southeastern Ohio, be careful where you drive, fly, and boat. I don’t know if it’s possible to stumble into this strange place by ground, but if so, then these things are definitely headed your way.
If that happens . . . pray that they don’t find you.
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