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2018.03.08 21:57 ClassyAnalViolator Dating After Thirty / Dating Over Thirty / Dating as a grown-up is more fun.

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2020.10.27 04:50 distancelongmovers Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC

Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC


Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC
What do full services mean when you are about to hire a Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC? It means that we include a professional coordinator with the moving items in your cross country move. On the top of the line, you can go through and hallmark our moving services, including packing unpacking storage, debris pick-up service, and more, to build a customer moving affordable estimate that best meets your needs, financial plan, and working schedule. We offer to add on packages for our cross country moving customers along with cleaning services and much more.
Here’s what is included in every Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC move:
Loading, packing, transporting, and unloading
Basic full value protection plan for customers
Placing boxes and furniture in your desired room
Disassembling standard furniture like bed frames
Moving the connection and services of your appliance not included
Standard wrapping and padding of furniture
Long Distance Movers USA has tailored its cross country moving services to include several custom and popular services based on customer’s demand. Every Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC offer basic needs yet some cross country moving customers demand even more. That’s why we offer a complete suite of add on cross moving services and storage series to make your big move even better. By combining a variety of Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC services, Long Distance Movers USA help to make your adventure even effortless so you can enjoy the journey. Learn more about our add-on services and hire Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC.
With our experience cross country movers, you can expect a quick transit time to your new destination, many times with the same movers who moved your belongings out of your house. Unlike the other Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC who doesn’t guarantee the arrival and departure time. We provide you the exact date of arrival at your new premises which means you can settle into your new home sooner rather than later.
This innovative service brings comfort and convenience of moving with a Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC, at a new and exciting destination offered by few Cross Country Movers in Charlotte NC around the country. Hire Long Distance Movers USA for the best experience, we are looking forward.
How To Get Started
Reach out. First things first – you will need to either complete our online quote request form or call Long Distance Movers at to get the ball rolling.
Share your information. We will collect all of the necessary information about your move, including the date of your move and where you are moving to, as well as information regarding your home, property and any add-on services, such as packing and storage.
Your Binding Estimate. You will get assigned a Professional and Well-Trained moving coordinator. We will go over a very thorough inventory of your furniture items and boxes. Then provide you with a binding estimate based off the information you provide.
The Reservation. Once you are ready to move forward and book your move just reach out to your assigned coordinator and they will take you through the reservation process.
You Can Also Visit Our Website:
https://longdistancemoversusa.com/services/cross-country-movers-in-charlotte-nc/
#CrossCountryMoversinCharlotteNC
submitted by distancelongmovers to u/distancelongmovers [link] [comments]


2020.10.27 04:28 Lyrcmck Bethesda should never have created Nuclear Winter if they didn't have the manpower to maintain it properly.

For a start, I'm not a Nuclear Winter hater. I've gotten to a combined rank of Overseer 163 across Xbox and PC. I enjoy the mode and do have some fun but definitely don't play it as much now.
So Bethesda created Nuclear Winter to try cash in on the BR craze. They seemingly missed the memo on a lot of what makes BRs popular though;
  1. Consistent updates
  2. Free to play (Most but not all)
  3. Battle Passes
Battle Royales are essentially a live service within a live service. Bethesda were never going to be able to do consistent updates as they simply don't have enough people to do that and also work on Adventure (which I agree should be the main focus). They've only ever released 2 maps, you could argue 1 since Morgantown will be picked almost every match you go into. They could pretty easily make a circle around almost any place on 76s map and have it be a fun map to play on since Appalachia is a pretty dynamic map but we haven't seen even a hint of that happening at all.
In regards to Battle Passes they dropped 100 levels of rewards give or take a dozen or so levels towards the end as they're blank. I can't fault that as they're decent rewards and it has had some seasonal events of 5 or 6 rewards which are pretty good too.
I think the biggest glaring issue is that, not only have they not been able to have consistent updates, they barely update it once a year. I believe Nuclear Winter has seen a single substantial update this year and a single (very lackluster) event. The Halloween and Christmas rewards were bugged and were able to be earned at the start of season 1 too but (I believe) later that was fixed.
It was a waste of manpower in the first place, all the time spent making Nuclear Winter could've been put towards Wastelanders, then they drop a mode that was ironically the least buggiest release they'd had in regards to patches up to that date. Clearly a lot of thought and testing had gone into it, just to have it essentially abandoned with maybe 2 people monitoring it to make sure the entire mode doesn't completely crumble. Which is sad because at it's core there is a pretty engaging gameplay loop that weirdly doesn't feel out of place in this game.
Side note: Something I also find quite interesting is all the Vault 51 lore being locked to NW. It might just be my opinion but Vault 51 has some incredibly interesting lore and might possibly be up there as one of my favourite Vault experiments and the lore is kind of just wasted as an afterthought to the mode, though it looks as if they might be changing that later down the line as a couple of things currently in the PTS seem to hint towards it.
submitted by Lyrcmck to fo76 [link] [comments]


2020.10.27 01:28 SPAC_Time Atlas Technical Consultants, Inc. Issues Warrant Tender Offer ATCX ATCXW - Former SPAC Boxwood Merger Corp.

On October 19th, Atlas Technical Consultants, Inc. announced a warrant tender offer:
"AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Atlas Technical Consultants, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATCX) (“Atlas” or the “Company”), a leading provider of professional testing, inspection, engineering, environmental and consulting services, today announced that it has commenced an exchange offer (the “Offer”) and consent solicitation (the “Consent Solicitation”) relating to its outstanding public warrants and private placement warrants (collectively, the “warrants”) to purchase shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of the Company. The purpose of the Offer and Consent Solicitation is to simplify the Company’s capital structure and reduce the potential dilutive impact of the warrants, thereby providing the Company with more flexibility for financing its operations in the future.
The Offer and Consent Solicitation are being made pursuant to a Prospectus/Offer to Exchange dated October 19, 2020, and Schedule TO, dated October 19, 2020, each of which has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and more fully set forth the terms and conditions of the Offer and Consent Solicitation.
The Company is offering to all holders of its warrants the opportunity to receive 0.185 shares of Class A common stock in exchange for each outstanding warrant tendered by the holder and exchanged pursuant to the Offer. The Company’s Class A common stock and public warrants are listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbols “ATCX” and “ATCXW,” respectively. As of October 19, 2020, a total of 23,750,000 warrants were outstanding. Pursuant to the Offer, the Company is offering up to an aggregate of 4,393,750 shares of its Class A common stock in exchange for the warrants.
Concurrently with the Offer, the Company is also soliciting consents from holders of all outstanding warrants to amend the warrant agreement that governs all of the warrants to permit the Company to require that each public warrant that is outstanding upon the closing of the Offer be converted into 0.1665 shares of Class A common stock, which is a ratio 10% less than the exchange ratio applicable to the Offer (such amendment, the “Warrant Amendment”).
As of October 19, 2020, holders of approximately 53.1% of the total warrants outstanding have agreed to consent to the Warrant Amendment in the Consent Solicitation. Therefore, if the other conditions described herein are satisfied or waived, then the Warrant Amendment will be adopted.
The offering period will continue until midnight (end of day), Eastern Standard Time, on November 16, 2020, or such later time and date to which the Company may extend, as described in the Schedule TO and Prospectus/Offer to Exchange (the “Expiration Date”). Tendered warrants may be withdrawn by holders at any time prior to the Expiration Date."
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/10/19/2110714/0/en/Atlas-Technical-Consultants-Inc-Announces-Commencement-of-Exchange-Offer-and-Consent-Solicitation-Relating-to-Warrants.html
This is the Tender Offer filing ( SC TO-I ):
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgadata/1751143/000121390020032117/ea128399-sctoi_atlastech.htm
Background information:
On February 14, 2020 Boxwood Merger Corp consummated its acquisition of Atlas Intermediate Holdings and changed its name to Atlas Technical Consultants, Inc.
Since February 14, ATCX has traded generally in the $7 to $10 price range (excluding the March Covid crash). In the past two months, the price was in the $7 to $9 price range. ATCXW has traded in the 40 to 70 cent range since February.
After releasing the tender offer, the price of ATCX dropped from $9 to about $7, ATCXW rose from 60 cents to about 95 cents.
Atlas Technical Consultants, Inc. September 2020 Investor Presentation:
https://s1.q4cdn.com/951448701/files/doc_presentations/2020/09/Atlas-Investor-Presentation-September-2020-Final.pdf
Website:
https://www.oneatlas.com/
Atlas Technical Consultants is "a leading, world-class infrastructure engineering, testing, inspection and program management firm".
On February 18th, just after the business combination completed, they closed the acquisition of Long Engineering, Inc. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Long Engineering provides land surveying, construction engineering, design and inspection services to a broad range of customers in the transportation, infrastructure and commercial end markets throughout the Southeast.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200218005345/en/Atlas-Technical-Consultants%C2%A0Completes-Acquisition-of-Long-Engineering%C2%A0
In September, they completed the previously-announced acquisition of Alta Vista Solutions, "a key provider of transportation-related testing and inspection services:"
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/09/29/2100947/0/en/Atlas-Technical-Consultants-Completes-Acquisition-of-Alta-Vista.html
On August 11, Atlas announced a stock offering of 5 million new shares, along with 1.25 million shares to be sold by early investors, at a price of $9.20 a share. The money raised would be used for repaying part of their revolving credit line with the remaining used for general corporate purposes.
https://ir.oneatlas.com/News/news-details/2020/Atlas-Technical-Consultants-Inc.-Announces-Launch-of-Offering-of-Class-A-Common-Stock/default.aspx
On August 14th, Atlas withdrew the stock offering "due to stock market conditions."
https://ir.oneatlas.com/News/news-details/2020/Atlas-Technical-Consultants-Inc.-Announces-Withdrawal-of-Proposed-Offering-of-Class-A-Common-Stock/default.aspx
Here is the latest quarterly report, filed August 10th:
https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgadata/1751143/000121390020021185/f10q0620_atlastech.htm
And the accompanying Press Release:
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgadata/1751143/000121390020021220/ea125294ex99-1_atlastech.htm
submitted by SPAC_Time to Spacstocks [link] [comments]


2020.10.27 01:27 newusercali [listing][lease assignment][short-term lease] [no fee] ~1100 Sqft 2bd 2ba in luxury high rise building in downtown BK

[listing][lease assignment][short-term lease] [no fee] ~1100 Sqft 2bd 2ba in luxury high rise building in downtown BK
Hey Reddit!
I'm looking for someone to take over my lease in a luxury doorman building in downtown Brooklyn.
Move in : Flexible around late Nov 2020/Dec 2020/Jan 2021. I am offering 1 month free but price is negotiable depending on move in date!! just ask :)
Lease ends : 7/31/2021. You have an option to renew and negotiate with building management for additional concessions. In the summer you generally have more options... Perfect for someone looking for flexibility with short term lease as most luxury buildings with concessions will lock you in for 14 or 24 month leases.
My apartment is brand new and my family was the only resident since the unit was built. As you can see from the pictures (which i took on my iphone...) the rooms are huge, has a huge walk in closet in master, and has an amazing view of the city and brooklyn. Obviously got washer and dryer in unit, with beautiful bathrooms that have great water pressure (does anyone else care about this?). Kitchen has all stainless steel appliances with movable island which comes in handy. I am in my apt for majority of the time due to the pandemic (I WFH) and I'm always in awe of the view.. the view does not get any better than this! you can even see the ocean near JFK from my apt, in addition to all of the random fireworks that happen on the east river.
As far as the building, it's a full service building with an army of front desk, maintenance, and mailroom staff members. The building figured out the operation pretty well and it's maintained very well across the giant lobby, extensive amenities space (gym,pool,dog run, outdoor lounge, movie room, indoor lounge, skylounge on 53rd floor). Hand sanitizers everywhere and perfect to live during the pandemic. Wholefoods is 1block away that has great delivery, and Trader Joe's is also 3 blocks away if you don't mind waiting in line. There are so many restaurant delivery options that you don't even have to go outside for days... If you do want to go outside, the building is within walking distance to bk bridge park and the prospect park.
If you need additional info, I've written in below link a detailed description about the building and the apartment!
https://www.leasebreak.com/short-term-rental-details/254162/333-schermerhorn-street
If anyone is interested in my post please let me know. Also i am happy to answer general questions around the area (downtown brooklyn) and high rises in NYC, as I have been living in high rises for 10+ years. I found some posts in reddit helpful so also trying to be helpful for the community here! feel free to respond via thread or DM!

https://preview.redd.it/bcs8jj018jv51.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=908d91650d24b86877142518e55a5e3b4d307771
livingroom
bathroom2
kitchen
mater bed
master bath
2nd bedroom view
2nd bedroom
bathroom (same for both 1 & 2)
submitted by newusercali to NYCapartments [link] [comments]


2020.10.27 00:06 kirant Covid-19 Update for October 24 to 26 (3 day total): 1,472 new cases, 639 recoveries, 7 deaths + New Public Health Measures (Edmonton/Calgary) + Changes to Contact Tracing

Data is taken from the Covid-19 portal and today's media availability by Dr Deena Hinshaw. Dr Hinshaw's next scheduled media availability is Thursday.
In an effort to reduce clutter in these posts, the updates to outbreak facilities is shown here.
As a reminder, Edmonton Zone is currently under enhanced public health measures.
Top line numbers:
Value Current Total
Total cases +1,472 25,733
Active cases 4,477 (+826)
Cases with "Unknown source" 1,590 (51.8%) in last 7 days (Change: +462 (+7.1%))
Tests +46,193 (~3.19% positive) 1,744,042
People tested +24,491 1,245,294 (~288,463/million)
Hospitalizations 118 (+6/+3 based on Friday's post/portal data 1,075 (+21)
ICU 16 (+2) 191 (+2)
Deaths +7 (1x 60-69, 2x 70-79, 4x 80+) 307
Recoveries +639 20,949
Division of top line numbers by day (where available):
  • Because of the reporting method, test numbers do not fully add up to the top line values
  • The date would refer to the date of reporting, had the Alberta website updated over the weekend
Value Oct 24 Oct 25 Oct 26
Cases 364 572 504
Tests 16,367 17,106 12,666
Test positive rate ~2.22% ~3.34% ~3.98%
People tested (approximate) 8,755 9,316 6,944
Hospital usage 115 119 118
ICU 15 17 16
Spatial distribution of people tested, cases, and deaths:
Zone Active Cases (Change) New People Tested Total New Cases Total New Deaths Total
Calgary 1,549 (+242) +9,347 497,031 +474 11,345 +3 139
Central 162 (+36) +2,334 106,684 +61 953 +0 8
Edmonton 2,179 (+428) +8,295 410,635 +736 9,210 +4 98
North 311 (+89) +2,759 120,879 +116 1,891 +0 35
South 255 (+21) +1,463 80,818 +73 2,268 +0 27
Unknown 21 (+10) +293 20,247 +12 66 +0 0
Spatial distribution of cases for select cities and regions (cities proper for Calgary and Edmonton):
City/Municipality Total Active Recovered Deaths
Calgary 9,622 (+410) 1,366 (+206) 8,131 (+201) 125 (+3)
Edmonton 7,992 (+597) 1,786 (+333) 6,113 (+260) 93 (+4)
Brooks 1,162 (+9) 30 (+8) 1123 (+1) 9 (+0)
High River county 563 (+1) 3 (+1) 553 (+0) 7 (+0)
Lethbridge 452 (+37) 161 (+0) 289 (+37) 2 (+0)
Mackenzie county 414 (+0) 6 (+1) 395 (+0) 13 (+0)
Fort McMurray 343 (+11) 44 (+7) 298 (+4) 1 (+0)
Grande Prairie 242 (+39) 91 (+29) 149 (+10) 2 (+0)
Red Deer 174 (+14) 39 (+8) 135 (+6) 0
Cardston county 108 (+1) 4 (+1) 99 (+0) 5 (+0)
Medicine Hat 90 (+1) 6 (+1) 82 (+0) 2 (+0)
Wheatland county 87 (+1) 5 (+1) 82 (+0) 0
Wood Buffalo municipality 71 (+1) 7 (+1) 64 (+0) 0
Warner county 71 (+5) 6 (+5) 64 (+0) 1 (+0)
Rest of Alberta 4,342 (+344) 923 (+224) 3,372 (+120) 47 (+0)
Other Counties/Cities with 10+ active cases (change compared to Friday, if I have it recorded):
City/County Active
Red Deer County 10
Foothills County 11
Fort Saskatchewan 11
Municipal District of Willow Creek No 26 11
Municipal District of Opportunity No 17 11
Town of Stony Plain 11
Wetaskiwin 11
Municipal District of Spirit River No 133 12 (+0)
Cold Lake 13
Jasper 14 (+4)
Morinville 14
County of Grande Prairie No 1 15 (+3)
Okotoks 16 (+5)
Leduc County 17
Lac Ste. Anne County 18
Leduc 18 (+3)
Strathcona County 21 (+0)
Sturgeon County 21 (+8)
Lethbridge County 23 (-2)
Westlock County 23 (+10)
Beaumont 26 (+4)
Parkland County 30 (+1)
Rocky View County 31 (-7)
Chestermere 32 (+6)
Spruce Grove 38 (+16)
Airdrie 40 (+14)
Ponoka County 45 (+5)
Sherwood Park 56 (-5)
St Albert 124 (+33)
No regions were removed from this list today
Calgary/Edmonton Regions with 100+ active cases (change compared to Friday, if I have it recorded):
City/County Active
Calgary North 100
Calgary SE 100
Calgary Lower NE 113 (+2)
Edmonton Eastwood 119
Calgary Upper NW 131 (+23)
Edmonton NE 142 (+18)
Edmonton Woodcroft East 150 (+32)
Edmonton West Jasper Place 160 (+20)
Edmonton Mill Woods S&E 168 (+48)
Edmonton Northgate 179 (+22)
Edmonton Rutherford 192 (+57)
Edmonton Castle Downs 217 (+41)
Calgary Upper NE 410 (+57)
No regions were removed from this list today
Changes to the list of Schools with Outbreaks listed online (2+ cases in last 14 days) can be found at this link.
Quick numbers:
  • 39 schools are on Watch (+13)
  • 62 schools have 2-4 cases (-13)
  • 6 school dropped from the "2-4" and "Watch" list
Current list of regions under "Enhanced" measures by the province (new in bold):
  • Edmonton Zone
Current list of regions under "Watch" by the province (new in bold):
  • City of Calgary (in addition to regions below)
  • Calgary Centre
  • Calgary Centre North
  • Calgary Centre West
  • Calgary East
  • Calgary Elbow
  • Calgary Lower NE
  • Calgary Lower NW
  • Calgary North
  • Calgary Nosehill
  • Calgary SE
  • Calgary SW
  • Calgary Upper NE
  • Calgary Upper NW
  • Calgary West
  • City of Airdrie
  • City of Brooks
  • City of Chestermere
  • City of Cold Lake
  • City of Grande Prairie
  • City of Lethbridge
  • City of Wetaskiwin
  • Lethbridge County
  • Municipal District of Opportunity No 17
  • Municipal District of Spirit River No 133
  • Municipal District of Willow Creek No 26
  • Municipality of Jasper
  • Ponoka County
  • Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
  • Rocky View County
  • Westlock County
No regions were removed from the "watch" classification.
Spatial distribution of hospital usage (change based on Friday's post):
  • Hospitalization zone are where the patient is receiving care, not zone of residence
Zone Hospitalized ICU
Calgary 42 (+2) 3 (+0)
Edmonton 62 (+1) 8 (+1)
Central 3 (+0) 0 (+0)
South 7 (+3) 3 (+1)
North 4 (+0) 2 (+0)
Statements by Dr Hinshaw:
Opening Statements
  • "Alberta, we have a challenge", and not just Covid
  • Polarizing narratives of "Dive to zero cases" and "Covid is mild, so pursue herd immunity"
  • We are not well served by such dialogue; cannot live in fear and terror nor stop protecting the vulnerable and the health system
  • Must care for ourselves and our communities by preventing transmission
  • Cannot let Covid divide the population
  • But there is also a Covid-19 challenge - "We have now crossed a tipping point" and are losing the balance desired
Pressures of Cases
  • As Edmonton deferred surgeries to deal with pressures (Covid-19 patients in hospital, outbreaks in continuing care that prevent transfers, staff shortage, and need to treat patients with Covid-like symptoms as if they have Covid)
  • While trigger of hospitalizations growth isn't >5%, we need to respond, not just the metric - Covid-19 numbers tell the story clearly
  • Rising cases can stress key elements of Covid-19, including contact tracing (>800 individuals, with active recruitment)
  • Working with AHS to more effectively/efficiently notify close contacts
Changes to Contact Tracing
  • Effective today, if a positive case attended an event while infectious, AHS will notify the organizer and provide them with written notification they may forward to all attendees. It is requested to be sent within 24 hours of receipt
  • If organizer cannot send out emails, AHS will make phone calls
  • AHS will continue to notify close contacts who were exposed outside public/private events
Schools
  • Active alerts/outbreaks (1+ cases) in ~11% of schools for 680 active cases
  • 101 schools with outbreak (2+), 39 on watch list (5+)
  • 39 schools removed from outbreak list
  • 79 schools with in-school transmission, 45 with only 1 new case
  • "These are significant numbers", but only 6% since Sept 1st have been acquired at school. It shows schools aren't a driver in transmission but that community transmission is rising school cases
Edmonton
  • While last week, R value (rate of growth) was 1.13 after voluntary measures, that has risen in recent days
  • Average positive rate >4%
  • Hospitalization in patients and other impacts are being seen and impacting services (up to 30% of non-urgent surgeries have been postponed) and will remain in place until Covid-19 demands ease
Calgary
  • Calgary is reminiscent of Edmonton weeks ago, with rising cases and ~4% positive rate
  • We risk seeing the same situation in Calgary
  • Must limit growth and must strike the balance between Covid-19 concerns and other health issues
Spread
  • In the last two weeks for Edmonton/Calgary:
  • (1) Social gatherings are 15% of outbreaks, but make 1/3 of cases
  • (2) Workplace outbreaks are 15% of outbreaks and 15% of cases
  • (3) 1 outbreak related to restaurants, <1% of cases
Public Health Measures for Edmonton/Calgary
  • Effective immediately, there is a mandatory 15 person limit in social gatherings
  • e.g. - Dinner parties, housewarming events, birthday parties, wedding receptions, funeral receptions, retirement parties, baby showers...
  • Does not change for structured events (e.g. - dining, theatres, worship services, wedding/funeral ceremonies...)
  • This is chosen as there is increased difficulty to ensure hand washing and physical distancing
  • This is temporary and re-accessed after a month. Goal will be if reproductive value <1 and cases/day in each city is <100
  • Hopes it will be lifted at that time
  • Voluntary public health measures in Edmonton remain in place and are now in effect in Calgary:
  • (1) Non-medical masks strongly recommended at work unless you're in a cubicle alone
  • (2) Number of cohorts reduced to 3 ("core" at home, school, and one other). Childcare cohorts aren't considered as one.
  • Surrounding communities in Edmonton Zone are encouraged to follow while no additional measures are being implement in Calgary Zone
  • Knows this is going to impact many, but they are necessary to prevent further escalation
  • AHS will also increase inspection to ensure guidance is being followed
  • Knows that collective action is much stronger, but a temporary restriction is also required
  • "The warning bell is ringing" and people need to hear it's call
  • Also reviewing symptom list for school children and will update soon
Q&A - Policy
  • What's being done at the Calgary Correctional Centre to protect people?: Doesn't have details, but colleagues at AHS and in Calgary are working with it
  • Should Albertans have avoided Thanksgiving?: Important to look at evidence. Advice was to have small gatherings and outside. Critical for people to look at risk management
  • How will the 15 person limit be enforced?: They can occur in multiple settings (e.g. - community halls). Relying on cooperation in private settings. Complaints filed by neighbours can be investigated by Environmental Public Health, with tickets being issued (up to $1,000). Knows Albertans want to do the right thing and urges them to see it as an opportunity
  • Metrics haven't been crossed. Will the metrics to trigger policy change?: A metric was triggered to make recommendation: Edmonton has >120% of capacity. Whether it is a formal metric to consider is another question. Trends in Calgary are almost identical to Edmonton 2 weeks ago and don't want to see overcapacity in both places as it would limit surge capacity
Q&A - AUPE Strike
  • Impact on lab services from AUPE strike?: Doesn't know
  • Potential impact of AUPE on patient services?: Not in her jurisdiction, but notes that every healthcare worker is important
  • (Asked again the above question): Staffing shortages could impact services offered
  • How many surgeries are being postponed by AUPE strike?: Only knows Covid impact (~500 surgeries/week). Not informed about strike postponed
Q&A - Other
  • Spike after Halloween?: If people disregard measures, we could see it
  • Message to those who plan gatherings on Halloween?: This is not a normal year. Reconsider any gathering and think of having it outside and, if in Edmonton/Calgary, keep it to 15 people. Knows this is a big "ask" for 20-39 year olds, but points to possibility of spreading to vulnerable loved ones and potential "long term" recoveries
  • Outbreak at St Albert Retirement. Linked early September, but not listed until now. Why?: 41 case, 38 active. Doesn't have details of outbreak or why there was a delay in public statement. Notes that outbreaks at long term care are declared with 1 case but not posted publicly as no transmission was seen (and often no spread is seen).
Additional information will be logged below:
Update 1 - It appears most of the deaths over the weekend were tied to known outbreaks.
submitted by kirant to alberta [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 22:27 Stoaticor Victoria records 0 new cases and 0 new deaths 🍩🍩

New cases reported in the last 24 hours

 
Other news:
 
Other helpful information and links:
 

14 day numbers

27 October:
Total cases New case average Unknown*
Metropolitan 39 2.8 6
Regional 3 0.2 0
 
26 October:
Total cases New case average Unknown*
Metropolitan 50 3.6 7
Regional 3 0.2 0
*Rolling 14 days number of cases of unknown source of acquisition.
 

Cases to date

Last 24 hours TOTAL
Confirmed cases +0 20,341
Active -4 87
Recovered +4 19,370
Deaths +0 817
Community transmission +0 4,276
Test results received +15,479 3,081,980
Hospital -2 5
ICU +0 0
Ventilated +0 0
 

Cases in hospital

Age Group Last 24 hours All hospital cases
00-09 1
70-79 3
80-89 1
90+ 2
TOTAL 7
 

Active cases breakdown

Last 24 hours TOTAL
Active TOTAL -4 87
Metro Melbourne -4 89
Regional (R) Victoria +0 2
(R) Greater Shepparton +0 2
 

Other

Last 24 hours TOTAL
Total aged care active +0 4
Aged care (deaths) +0 649
Healthcare workers active +1 7
Healthcare workers total +1 3,581
 
 

Active outbreaks - other

Last updated: Tuesday, 27 October 2020 at 2:10:38 pm AEDT
Type Outbreak Suburb LGA Last 24 hours TOTAL active TOTAL cases Reported by DHHS
OTHER North metro region community - - +0 22 39 Oct: 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19
HEALTH Box Hill Hospital Box Hill Whitehorse +0 5 15 Oct: 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8
OTHER South-Eastern Community - - +0 3 9 Oct: 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13
OTHER Butcher Club/Chadstone Shopping Centre Chadstone Monash - 3 39 Oct: 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
OTHER Hoppers Crossing community Hoppers Crossing Wyndham - 3 4 Oct: 21, 20, 19
OTHER Oddfellows Cafe Kilmore Mitchell Shire - 4 6 Oct: 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7
OTHER Kemp's Bakery Kilmore Mitchell Shire - 1 1 Oct: 18
OTHER Elwood community Elwood Port Phillip - 4 4 Oct: 16, 15
OTHER Frankston Family Frankston Frankston - 5 13 Oct: 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8
 

Aged care outbreaks with 1 or more active cases

The information below was extracted from the DHHS website and is correct and up to date as of Tuesday, 27 October 2020 at 9:07:39 am AEDT. Please view the DHHS website for the most up to date information. Any further changes made are as per the DHHS media release/information found on the aged care website.
Facility name LGA Suburb Total - cases Total - active Total - Staff Total - Residents Total - Other Total - Deaths
Estia Keilor 2 Keilor Downs Brimbank 53 2 19 24 10 6
Estia Aged Care Heidelberg Banyule Heidelberg West 122 1 69 29 24 10
Regis Macleod aged care facility Macleod Banyule/Darebin 2 2 2 0 0 0
 

⚠️High-risk locations as of 27/10⚠️

The table below was last updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2020 at 9:09:26 am AEDT. Please view the DHHS website for the most up to date information.
 
ADDED:
  • None.
 
REMOVED:
  • Box Hill, Woolworths Box Hill Central, Main St
  • Shepparton, Lemon Tree Cafe, 98 Fryers Street, Shepparton
  • Keilor Plains Station to Copernicus Way Keilor Downs PTV Bus No. 421, From Keilor Plains Station to Copernicus Way Keilor Downs
 
Location Site Exposure period Notes
Copernicus Way to Keilor Plains Station PTV Bus No. 421, From Copernicus Way to Keilor Plains Station 19/10/2020 & 21/10/2020, 7.30am-7.45am -
Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines 21/10/2020, 1:15pm - 2:00pm Case travelled on trains between Yarraville, North Melbourne and Glenroy
Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines 21/10/2020, 6:00am - 6:45am Case travelled on trains between Glenroy, North Melbourne and Yarraville
Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines 22/10/2020, 1:15pm -2:00pm Case travelled on trains between Yarraville, North Melbourne and Oak Park
Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown Lines 22/10/2020, 6:00am - 6:45am Case travelled on trains between Glenroy, North Melbourne and Yarraville
Glenroy Coles Glenroy, Cnr Glenroy Road & Morgan Court 20/10/2020, 12:00pm - 12:15pm Case shopped in store
Pakenham Line Pakenham Line 19/10/2020 & 21/10/2020, 8.40am - 9.10am Case travelled from Flinders Street Station to Yarraman station
Pakenham Line Pakenham Line 20/10/2020, 7.40pm - 8.30pm Case travelled from Yarraman station to Flinders street station
Preston East Preston Islamic College, 55 Tyler Street 19/10/2020, 8am - 3:30pm Case attended school
Roxburgh Park Freshplus, Roxburgh Village, 250 Somerton Rd 13/10/2020, 4:30pm - 5:00pm Case shopped in store
St Albans Keilor Plains Train Station, Power St / East Esplanade 20/10/2020, 9.00pm - 9.20pm Case spent 20 min waiting at station
Sunbury Line inbound Sunbury Line inbound 19/10/2020 & 20/10/2020, 7.50am - 8.30am Case Travelled from Keilor Plains Station to Flinders Street Station
Sunbury Line inbound Sunbury Line inbound 21/10/2020, 8.30pm - 9.00pm Case travelled from Flinders Street Station to Keilor Plains Station
 

Other locations

Location Site Exposure period Reported
Woolworths QV Melbourne Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th Oct: 14
 

Affected educational institutions

The table below was last updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2020 at 8:13:27 am AEDT.
Institution Suburb LGA Last 24 hours TOTAL cases (students) Notes Reported
East Preston Islamic College (EPIC) Preston Darebin - 5 - Oct: 25, 24, 22, 23, 21
Croxton School Northcote Darebin - 1 - Oct: 25, 24
Dallas Brooks Primary School Dallas Hume - 0 Student was false positive. Oct: 21
East Preston Islamic College Preston Darebin - 1 Case attended school on 19/10/2020, 8am - 3:30pm Oct: 21
submitted by Stoaticor to CoronavirusDownunder [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 22:24 Wavehead21 Should I preorder Legions?

Help sell me on this preorder (or talk me out of it, either way).
Let me preface by saying this: I need no convincing that I’m going to want this game. I’m going to play this game, definitely, and I am hyped. My only concern is should I pre-order, or wait for a later sale?
Right now, with a new AC and a new WatchDogs coming out, I am reminded that I am not at all caught up on either series. I’m maybe 40% through WD2, and I’m almost done with AC Syndicate. As you can probably tell, I’ve completely given up on preordering Valhalla: I have a little more than 2 whole games to get through before I’m caught up. And while I would like to take this as enticement to hurry up and finish them so I can be right on board with Valhalla release, realistically, I’m closer to making WatchDogs work.
But here’s the thing. Should I? I know Ubisoft like to add in some social features to their games. Even without full fledged multiplayer, there’s little things and features that are fun day one, but get removed down the line. For example, playing AC:Syndicate, there are “social glitches” that show up. These show up like the normal glitches (they’re just collectibles, for those wondering) but when I grab these “social”ones all I get is “unable to connect to the social glitch service at this time”. I have no idea what these are supposed to do since they’ve never worked since this feature has lost its back-end servers by the time I started playing I guess. It’s a small thing, but it’s one of those things that makes me wonder; would I have enjoyed Syndicate more if I had played it on release instead of waiting years? This has seldom been a problem with WD series since you can still play online in both entries, but WD2 online seems scarcely populated and idk if that’s just how it’s always been or if it’s a sign of the game’s age.
Maybe a better example is Hitman. I haven’t caught up to the two latest entries, the cleverly titled “Hitman” and “Hitman 2”. I’m still playing the old games and enjoying each one as I go. I don’t mind getting to the newer games later, except for one issue: elusive contracts. There’s a series of elusive contracts that you get one shot at and they’re time sensitive. Which means that by delaying playing those games, I’ve effectively missed maybe ~10% of the games content in elusive, one time missions.
I’m not big on preordering. I mean especially since I’ve been playing catch up on most of my favorite series, I’m seldom up to date in time to appreciate. For example, I preordered AC:Origins for myself and my friend, mostly because he was going through a rough time and so I wanted to treat him and give us something to talk about to take his mind off his situation. But neither of us have actually played it yet lol! So money wise it felt kind of a waste to spend $100 on the gold everything bundle when I could get that same gold everything for like $40> on sale these days.
So that’s where I’m at with Legion. Im going to play this game eventually, but should I preorder and be there with the crowd on opening day? Or just wait for a sale down the road when I’m caught up? The main two roadblocks to this are spending the cash now (not a real obstacle, I’ll do it if I think it’s worth it) and also binging the rest of WD2 before release (3 days?!)
So what exactly will we get (or at least what do you expect we would get) in unique experience by preordering and playing day 1 as opposed to waiting? What type of experiences would I miss out on if I waited? Might there be elusive, one time events that happen early in release and then never again? Will I care if I’m there for those events or not? Or do you think I should wait, take my time with WD2, and get Legion when I’m done with it? No right or wrong answers. I’m just curious. And I feel I haven’t seen a lot of other discussion on this dilemma. A lot of the “before you buy” type videos on YouTube expect that you’re either going to preorder or never play the game ever, and that those are the only two choices people ever make. So even if you don’t have an answer, I appreciate any feedback.
Edit to add in a TL;DR: Should I rush the rest of WD2 and preorder this game, or buy it later? Do you think the day 1 experience will only diminish over time and the game will feel worse/incomplete months from now (or conversely maybe better after some updates), or will it be about the same preordering day1 versus buying it on sale later?
submitted by Wavehead21 to watch_dogs [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 22:04 UnaEligiturDeo Origin of chemicals

Without sharing any identifying information. There's a business that shows on Google Earth being in the same complex as you. I assume it's not there anymore. And the site seems to be dated 2005.
Here I have copy-pasted the about info from it and censored the company name/identifiers:
****** was established in 1990 to cater the needs of scientists, researchers and students involved in Elemental Analysis, alone and coupled with mass spectrometry/isotopic analysis.
While providing the best EA consumables and accessories in the business our real focus has always been on total solutions with complete technical and application support.
Be assured that the ****** team will keep you and your lab running samples and achieving the best results possible. With extensive services established and decades of combined experience, a solution is always at hand.
****** entered the 21st century with a line of instruments, auto-samplers and accessories ready to meet technology and the industry's expectations. As well, our instrument line is expanding into Microsurface and Biomass technologies, in partnership with our European colleagues, opening doors into new industries and advancing ideas
submitted by UnaEligiturDeo to MatthiasSubmissions [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 21:45 NotABotaboutIt Hurricane Zeta

Zeta is currently a Category 1 Hurricane and is expected to strengthen further before making initial landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula.

A note on the name: When we go past 21 named hurricanes in a season, we switch to the Greek alphabet. It is 21 because in the English alphabet name list we do not use Q, U, X, Y and Z. This has only happened once before, in 2005. Here's the Greek alphabet, for reference: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omicron Persei 8 , Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi, Psi, Omega. You can learn more about hurricane names here.
 
 
Please look to local news, local weather, and local and state emergency management agencies to find out more about how you may be affected, if you need to evacuate, and steps on getting prepared. Please everyone stay safe.
 
U Forecasts, Predictions, and Watches/Warnings
 
Tulsa Preparedness & Planning
College students should check out their university's emergency alert system - if you're not signed up to get notices, you should!
Useful links on: hurricane preparedness, emergency kits, emergency supplies for your car.
 
Louisburg Other things worth thinking about or getting:
  • General: A cooler. Fun/mental health stuff - books, games, etc. Cash. Weather radio and batteries. Flashlights > candles. Backup cell phone, laptop, or other batteries. Extra water. Hand sanitizer. Comfort items (a toddler's blankie, the puppy's favorite toy, your grandpa's watch you can't imagine losing).
  • Specialized: Transportation and assistive devices (think especially about children, pets, the elderly, people with disabilities).
  • Cars: Gas. Window breakeseatbelt cutter.
 
Gattaca Florida Safety:
  • Check your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries!
  • Watch out for downed power lines. Never assume it is dead. Avoid it.
  • Assume floodwaters are deeper than they look. Turn around, don't drown.
  • Learn your flood and evacuation zones!
  • Food safety from the FDA and USDA.
  • If your home floods and you need to go up, head for the roof. Keep an ax in your attic to get out that way if you need it.
  • Be aware of potential 911 delays.
  • Evacuate! If you can, check on people you know to see if they need help evacuating if you can offer it or put them in touch with someone who can.
 
Hertfordshire Documentation:
  • Bring it with you.
  • Store it in a plastic bag to they are together and stay dry.
  • House deed/rental agreement/lease.
  • Insurance information (home, car, renters, medical, flood).
  • Identification (ID card/driver's license, passport, Social Security card, marriage/birth certificates).
  • Take photographs of your home before you evacuate and when you return. Good documentation of the damage may help if you need to file an aid or insurance claim.
 
For long-term preparedness, check out CERT training information.
 
Holland Evacuation
College Information
We'll be updating this list as we get information.
 
/CFB Ball Louisiana
University or College Status Source
LSU Monitoring 10/26/2020
Southern Monitoring 10/26/2020
Southeastern Louisiana Monitoring 10/26/2020
Tulane Mointoring 10/26/2020
New Orleans Monitoring 10/26/2020
Nicholls State Monitoring 10/26/2020
Loyola University New Orleans Monitoring 10/26/2020
Xavier University Louisiana Monitoring 10/26/2020
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Monitoring 10/26/2020
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Monitoring 10/26/2020
Dillard University Monitoring 10/26/2020
Holy Cross New Orleans Monitoring 10/26/2020
Baton Rouge CC Monitoring 10/26/2020
Northshore TCC Monitoring 10/26/2020
Fletcher TCC Monitoring 10/26/2020
Delgado CC Monitoring 10/26/2020
/CFB Ball Mississippi
University or College Status Source
To be confirmed To be confirmed To be confirmed
/CFB Ball Alabama
University or College Status Source
South Alabama Monitoring 10/26/20
University of Mobile Monitoring 10/26/20
/CFB Ball Other States
University or College Status Source
West Florida Monitoring 10/26/20
Gulf Coast State College (FL) Monitoring 10/26/20
 
Touchdown Game Information Penalty Flag
We'll be updating this list as we get information.
This list includes all games played with teams in affected states. Many may not be affected, but given the ripple effects of things like travel and the particular complications of scheduling this season, we've listed them all here for reference.
Date Time (ET) Home Team Away Team Game Location Update
10/29 7:30pm Georgia Southern South Alabama Statesboro, GA
10/31 12pm Tulane Temple New Orleans, LA
10/31 4:30 pm Auburn LSU Auburn, AL
 
Learn More
submitted by NotABotaboutIt to CFB [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 21:03 FuckYourNaziFlairs Building a budget PC for my buddy to play tarkov

Hey, my buddy took care of my cat for me and it died recently. I just wanted to show my appreciation for him caring for my cat all these years while I was getting my shit together. it's not together yet, but it is in the same building now instead of falling out of my pockets everywhere I went like spaghetti.
So I'm not a rich man, and I have a spare video card and memory from a old build (if I can use it great but not a requirement). My buddy is way into guns and I think he'd love tarkov so thus my mission to get him online (he doesn't have any PC currently)
What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.
Plays tarkov, that's the goal
What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?
$600-800 cheaper the better.
When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.
Asap
What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc)
Just the tower, I'll save up for the rest later
Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?
US, and I have microcenter access love the store.
If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.
Geforce 970, two sticks of corsair 4gb ram 1600MHz 1.50V ver 8.16 CMZ16GX3M4A1600c9b, SSD inland professional 2.5" sata 3 960GB.
Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?
Neither of us are super technical, but I can follow youtube videos or instructions relatively well.
Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)
I have a SSD inland professional 2.5" sata 3 960GB
Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?
Cheapest works however it looks is ok with me
Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?
Have windows copy already
It's my first post here, hope I read the instructions and faq right. I salute you for all the community service you all do.
submitted by FuckYourNaziFlairs to buildapcforme [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 21:01 BoxofRain67 Why does my father view my reluctance to accept more responsibility in life as a form of laziness?

My father has taken on a great deal of responsibility in his life, from raising three children and his job to his service in local government. As of now, my greatest responsibilities include my job and school.
I don't want to have children, and I am focused on being able to move out of the house within the next two years. That being said, I have constantly volunteered in our community, from umpiring in Little League games, to working at food drives, to volunteering at local Christmas present donations. I don't think a lack of desire to get involved in local government is a form of laziness.
When I was little, my father constantly preached about being self-sufficient and doing what you want with your life, provided that you're willing to work to get what you want out of it.
I have worked very hard to get to where I am right now with my job, and I potentially have another internship lined up. I might be coaching football in the spring, too. (The local youth leagues and high school football programs in my area were pushed back to an earliest possible start date of March 1st).
So, without even trying to toot my own horn, I fail to see how I am a lazy person. Deciding to have children is obviously a life-altering choice for any person, and I don't think it's fair that my father constantly maligns me simply because I don't want to raise children.
submitted by BoxofRain67 to family [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 20:21 cadtek plexmediaserver.service and tautulli.service fails to start, worked fine earlier today

So I was using it earlier today, and last night, and ever since this afternoon, and at first it started with 500 errors inside Tautulli, went to refresh it then couldn't load. Then I refreshed Plex and then that couldn't load. Both apps I usually use the local pages on 192.168.1.2
Restarted the physical server three times already, just to make sure. And restarted the services a few times already. Both services were up to date on whatever the latest versions are on the public release repo for Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS
Here's the status of plexmediaserver.service
plexmediaserver.service - Plex Media Server Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/plexmediaserver.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Mon 2020-10-26 14:57:19 EDT; 10min ago Process: 1822 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c /usbin/test -d "${PLEX_MEDIA_SERVER_APPLICATION_SUPPORT_DIR}" /bin/mkdir -p "${PLEX_MEDIA_SERVER_APPLICATION_SUPPORT_DIR}" (code=exited, st> Process: 1824 ExecStart=/bin/sh -c export PLEX_MEDIA_SERVER_INFO_VENDOR="$(grep ^NAME= /etc/os-release awk -F= "{print \$2}" tr -d \" )"; export PLEX_MEDIA_SERVER_INFO_DEVICE="> Main PID: 1824 (code=exited, status=255/EXCEPTION) Oct 26 14:57:19 carbon systemd[1]: plexmediaserver.service: Scheduled restart job, restart counter is at 3. Oct 26 14:57:19 carbon systemd[1]: Stopped Plex Media Server. Oct 26 14:57:19 carbon systemd[1]: plexmediaserver.service: Start request repeated too quickly. Oct 26 14:57:19 carbon systemd[1]: plexmediaserver.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'. Oct 26 14:57:19 carbon systemd[1]: Failed to start Plex Media Server. 
Here's tautulli.service status
tautulli.service - Tautulli - Stats for Plex Media Server usage Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/tautulli.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: inactive (dead) since Mon 2020-10-26 14:57:04 EDT; 16min ago Process: 1591 ExecStart=/opt/Tautulli/Tautulli.py --config /etc/tautulli/config.ini --datadir /tautulli --quiet --daemon --nolaunch (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS) Oct 26 14:57:03 carbon systemd[1]: Starting Tautulli - Stats for Plex Media Server usage... Oct 26 14:57:04 carbon systemd[1]: Started Tautulli - Stats for Plex Media Server usage. Oct 26 14:57:04 carbon systemd[1]: tautulli.service: Succeeded. 
When I look at the dmesg file, /valog/dmesgI see a line for Tautulli and a line for mc-be (being my minecraft server) but no line for Plex at all. Also, I have apache going too, so it's not some kind of port error or firewall, I can ssh into the box just fine too.
Any thoughts? Thanks
Edit: Well that's embarrassing... when I went to go install plexmediaserver again, apparently I was out of space on my SSD. Cleared out a couple plex folder backups (they're at ~40GB a piece now...) and reinstalled it, it's now active.
submitted by cadtek to PleX [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 20:15 NRMacellar In Asteré

(This is the first of three parts of a journal dating back to the year 1962. Upon transcribing it, I have decided that it would be appropriate to post it to this subreddit.)
In Asteré, they say, at the intersection of Rue de Mélange and Route de Dabo, there stands the very best hotel in all Alsace-Lorraine; it is far from the most luxurious, and neither is it considered to be most affordable, nor even exceptionally serviceable, save in one aspect—just above the reception desk, there hangs a particular telephone. If one were to make a request of the staff—one spoken with very particular words—the receptionist would reach for this particular telephone, and relay this particular request unto the switchboard operator, something quite particular would happen. Mere minutes after this particular request is made, there would arrive a particular lady of the night—the most beautiful and alluring dame in all Alsace-Lorraine, who has never once failed to fulfill the most intimate of fancies confessed unto her by her clientele, departing from them only when they wish for something other than her company. And to request such a particular bedfellow, one must remember a particular German phrase: Ich wünsche mir, was dem gegeben wurde, der es mir gesagt hat.
These were the words—or rather, a summary of the words—which Renault imparted to me before I took the taxicab to Strasbourg. I cannot begin this account without introducing the minor character of this Renault Jourdain, for it was from him that I first heard of the secluded little town of Asteré, and only he ever informed me of the hotel and its clandestine complements.
When Renault told me of these things, I was initially indifferent, having been prior subjected to countless disquisitions which all tended toward libertine topics; subtle, suggestive tones were woven into his regular speech, and he had a rather unabashed habit of swaying conversation into the realm of obscenity. His age, though I never learned it, I judged to be just beneath middle-years. Despite this, he seemed to have the spunk of an adolescent, and the humor of one at that. When first I met him, he—wearing a scally cap, scarf, and striped sweater, snickering wickedly after every sentence and stroking the hairs of his mustache prudently—seemed overly comical in his outward Frenchness, so much so that I suspected to beguile me with the front of a perfect stereotype, presuming me to be nothing more than another witless exchange student from America. Though that I may have been, I had lived in Europe for quite some years by then; my father had died in the war while I was still an infant, and only three years after its end, my mother decided that we leave New York and move back to Belgium to live next door to her parents in Brussels. When I explained this to Renault, however, the act was not dropped—rather, it seemed to have been exacerbated.
Renault was ever a jester—seldom ever fully serious in his mien and abrasive in his incessant teasing, which, as I have said, was often vulgar in nature. He was never too provocative at once, and for that, he maintained an endurable aura which was sometimes comparable to charm. The patrons with which we had the most contact with were, of course, women—whether or not they were married or mothers, or even whether or not they were joined by the presences of the persons who made them so—he, totally unfazed, spoke to them with the same unremitting sexuality threaded throughout his otherwise polite discourse. And quite to my unending bewilderment, he never seemed to impress upon any of them that he was anything less than genteel or sociable. Perhaps it was his sharp wits, or perhaps it was his flattery; I will never know for sure.
Despite his inordinate personality, Renault was an excellent worker and a very approachable superior at that. If it was not his charm that subdued our patrons, it was the sheer scrupulousness of our labor that pleased them utterly. He had a very meticulous eye for the slightest shades of colors—a very quaint attribute to have, especially given that his left eye was somewhat lazy, as if never quite aligned with his right—and by all rights should have made a profession as a painter. By that, of course, I mean a real painter—one that paints solemn-faced portraits, melancholy market-streets, and similar vistas—as opposed to the painter of houses that he was. His thoroughness and uncanny ability to judge the consistency of a layer of paint upon a plaster wall in any light made our service a favorite of many and never were we short of employment. In fact, I must conjecture that—though the topic of painting did not often penetrate beyond the necessary day-to-day discussions of our business, as his libido always did—his ultimate focus was almost entirely upon the simple act of painting, rather than pursuing any real, sexual exploits.
I must expound further why I propose this. Renault was unrelenting in his prying of me, peppering me with taunts and jeers, or even at times sarcastic admiration only to tempt me to divulge some undisclosed amorous encounters from my past, or to laugh at the lack thereof. Whenever he did so, I told him the truth—which often incurred the latter, and yet more prying, as if he did not believe me. Suffice to say, I was initially repulsed by his behavior, and even moreso unnerved, as he was somewhere close to twice my age, and could have only been motivated to say such things either out of immaturity or divergent perversion. There were instances in which we sat atop vermillion-shingled roofs, clad in our paint-stained pale overalls, and he would catcall down to the various young madames that passed upon the street below us, regardless of how little attention they ever gave him. Other times, I would be painting in another room when he, shouting in a terrible frenzy, would summon me outside post-haste, and I, anticipating the matter to be urgent and serious, would come rushing to his aid, only to see him leaning against a fence, peering over the toothy brink of it at some neighboring lady reposing in the sunlight; he would then whisperingly remark on her more prominent features and generally goad me to climb over the fence and speak to her—an invitation which I always refused.
It was when I realized that Renault never actually acted upon this wanton banter of his that I finally felt at ease working for him. As I truly had little at all to regale him with, his prying eventually subsided, and I became accustomed to his constant ribaldry. Gradually, I met his remarks with vulgar comments of my own, not out of any desire on my own behalf, but only to stave off his needling. I was, however, admittedly very lonely, having remained in correspondence with only a few friends from university, so I was compelled to initiate friendly conversation with Renault in the only way that I knew how—by talking about the things which he so frequently talked about.
I was quite surprised to discover that Renault was actually quite shy to speak of his own amorous pursuits. He was unmarried, of course, throughout the time that I knew him, but the man was clearly experienced in such things, as only a man of his age could be. I supposed for long that his aversion to recounting his past derived from a sour divorce, or perhaps that he may have even been a widower, so I was careful not to broach sensitive inquiries in that regard. I did, however, press him to disclose his most recent coups, but still, he remained mostly reticent.
One day, when we went to lunch at a café just a block down from the house that we were painting, I decided to raise the subject once again. Renault had eaten quickly, as the main course of his meal was a bent cigarette, which he drew from so deeply that it seemed he meant to whittle it down to a butt before we were back on the clock—so, with the question already pregnant in my mind, I asked him:
“Renny, for all your flirtatiousness and Peeping-Tom mischief, you don’t seem particularly inclined toward any lady at all; in fact, I’d say that you would rather paint houses than actually date a woman—unless, of course, you’re hiding an excess of mademoiselles from me, keeping their company all to yourself, you sneaky git.”
At this, Renault grinned, the seam of his lips to spread across his cheek, where there then issued a soft popping noise from his under his ear—his jaw had a habit of dislocating sometimes, and after he had fixed it back into place with a firm tug, he plucked the cigarette from his mouth, about to speak. But to my surprise, he momentarily faltered, gaze lost upon the ground and actually blushing—something which I had never seen him do.
Eempossible,” he said with his extraordinarily heavy accent, proceeding to speak in English in spite of it, as he often did with me—for even though I spoke French fluently, he was persistent to practice his second language me. “I am too old for such liaisons—not like you.”
I could not help but chuckle when he told me this. His mannerisms had become increasingly amusing to me the more I became acquainted with the great irony of his personality, and many times I laughed at things that he said merely because it was he who said them.
“What—that’s it, then? You’d rather whitewash a fence than get into bed with a woman?” I teased him.
Now, quite abruptly, Renault’s blush disappeared, replaced by a start colorlessness in his cheeks and a hollow sort of dread in his eyes. He continued to stare very intently at the ground, his cigarette no longer twitching with a lusty breath. I was shocked at the sudden change which had washed over his demeanor and wondered whether I had accidentally succeeded in dampening his spirits.
Non, monsieur; my brush is a jealous mistress, you see—I shall wet no other.”
His response confused me utterly, but as I said, I had been well habituated to his strangely poetic and suggestive speech by then, so after a moment, I thought of it as little more than another vulgar remark.
It was not many days after this incident that I had to confront Renault with the sour news of my imminent resignation. He was disappointed by it, but not altogether surprised; moreover, he was curious as to why I had to. I admitted to him that while my employment under him paid handsomely and covered the expenses of my housing and necessities, I could scarcely save enough to enroll in university once again. My mother was quite upset when she found out that I had dropped out due to the sums which she sent me not being enough to pay tuition beyond my first two years. However, her brother—my uncle—had recently married and bought a big three-storied house in Strasbourg and, not yet having children, they acquiesced to let me board there free of charge until I had worked to save enough to go back to school. Renault was very understanding and bid me an uncommonly sincere adieu.
He met me one last time, the morning before I left Reims. I was sitting on a bench at a street corner, suitcases packed and waiting for a taxicab when he strolled along, still wearing his paint-stained overalls, evidently looking for me. When he found me, he took a seat on the bench beside me and offered me a cigarette. I declined, as I had often done before, yet still, Renault seemed to ignore the fact that I was not a habitual smoker. And we sat there, weirdly melancholy for a short while, listening to the chirping of the birds and the beeping of traffic as it passed us by. Finally, he piped up.
Strasbourg, you said, hmm? Ah, that route passes by Asteré, non?”
Of course, I told him I was unsure, as I was unfamiliar with the name Asteré, so he proceeded to tell me the great rumor of it, the very same which I have already supplied at the beginning of this account.
I could write countless pages more about Renault and all his queer ways, but my story has very little to do with him from this point onward—in fact, that was the last I ever saw of him. After he told me this, I gave him a half-hearted nod and stepped into a taxicab which had just pulled up to the street corner. As soon as the taxicab had set off, nearly everything which Renault had just told me about Asteré had been forgotten, and I was not even sure if I would really miss the man.
I finally remembered Asteré when the taxicab had just passed out of Nancy. I asked the cabbie if he had ever heard of a place called Asteré, wondering whether we had somehow already passed it by then. He told me he had, but he did not remember if he had ever stopped there, nor did he know anything at all about it other than the fact it was a very small town situated in the woodland hills just before arriving in Strasbourg, across the highway from the natural park.
Being very bored of the stretches of dull, static highway and the all-too-familiar vistas of urban streets monotonously lined with identical townhouses, I nagged the cabbie to take the scenic route through the hills when we approached them. The cabbie seemed to welcome the idea as he was likely even more unenthused with the common roads as I was, so naturally, he offered to drive us through Asteré, since it had been the object of my inquisition. I agreed, anticipating only the probable extension of my fee, and thought no more of it.
The hills of Alsace-Lorraine are, in my own meager opinion, the most beautiful countryside which can be found in all France. It is impossible for one not to gaze out at the abundantly green environs and lose themselves in the lazily-curving slopes of the verdant horizon which brushed against a cloud-mottled sky with a wistful heart, nor to refrain from imagining one’s self wandering down the winding little paths which adjoined wattle-and-daub cottages with hedges and mossy brick walls. It is a place where terra-cotta roofs surfaced from valleys of conifers that were glazed in the early evening light, and where the mellow shade of the trees formed nostalgic fringes around clean, rolling fields of flowers and grass. The hills embodied such a hearty, natural, and endlessly fascinating vista that, from the moment the taxicab entered them, I kept my forehead pressed against the cool passenger window, placidly agog at all that passed me by, and thinking very little of the time as it elapsed into a starry night.
I hardly noticed when the cabbie announced that we had entered Asteré town. Roused from my dormant state of reverie, I peeled my face away from the window and glanced around, trying to determine what sort of place it was. Most of what I saw consisted of silhouetted woodland, as we were very deep in the trees by then, and the distant lights of hillside cottages, peeking just over their drooping canopies. Here, also, we passed a few industrial buildings, lit vaguely by the streetlamps and appearing oddly Americanized in their construction, before arriving slowly at a block bordered on both sides by sidewalks and a few old-fashioned shops and warehouses. The cabbie gestured up ahead to the inky shape of a singularly large building, introducing it to me simply as being a hotel.
Immediately upon hearing the word hotel, my thoughts were flooded with the memory of exactly what Renault had told me earlier that day, and so suddenly overwhelmed by a thoughtless intrigue was I that I prompted the cabbie to stop in front of it, intending only to get a closer look. After rounding the corner, he did so, and, presuming that I meant to stay the night there, relayed the fee of that day’s drive. A bit startled, I resolved quickly that I would, indeed, check in to the hotel, as Asteré was apparently only a short distance from Strasbourg, and with my early departure that morning, I had a day to spare. So, I paid the cabbie, thanked him, and stepped out of the taxicab with my suitcase.
It was only when the taxicab drove away that I severely questioned my choice of actions. I had, unwittingly, allowed my subconscious curiosity for Renault’s parting rumor to take me here—my enchantment with the countryside taking precedence over considering whether or not I really wanted to spend the night in such a place, or whether or not Renault was really telling me the truth. The actuality of the clandestine service, which he attested the hotel could provide, had remained a minor detail in mind until the very moment I was standing before it.
That night was so dark that I could scarcely determine the extent of the hotel, but the hazy glow of lights behind curtained windows outlined its enshrouded measures. In those few places where the dim streetlamps shone against it, I discerned the lay of limestone brickwork that was somewhat greenish with age and hewn with a kind of roughness that denoted chateau-like antiquity in its establishment. From what I could tell, the hotel was wedged between a warehouse and a shadowy woodland—its front and right sides having been bracketed by two streets, which I presumed to be Rue de Mélange and Route de Dabo, just as Renault had told me. Across the street from the hotel was a scattering of lesser buildings, all similarly steep-roofed like cottages, but as they were somewhat retracted from the sidewalk and the streetlamps, and had very few lights of their own, I could only guess at what they might have been. The wooded hills rose all around, encompassing the little town of Asteré with a lofty perimeter of gloomy shapes. Overhead, the stars were uniquely numerous, as only they could be in a corner of the world as dark as this.
I was struck by two conflicting impressions: The first was that, in such an insignificant, sleepy, and old-fashioned place as this, the very thought of the visitation of some promiscuous persons seemed utterly ridiculous, as it appeared more inclined toward being frequented by the elderly, or anyone else who lived socially secluded lives in those hills. The second was that there was, indeed, something tangibly different about this town than any other which I had passed through that day, as if it’s very façade of inconspicuous, old-world modesty served to hide activities which were, as Renault had said, of a scandalous nature. Both these impressions weighed equally in my mind, culminating in a sense of unease.
Having nothing else to do, however, I opened the door of the hotel and entered. My only fanfare was the faint ticking of a clock, which broke silences which seemed to last longer than a mere second. It hung over a wide reception desk, where sat a haggard old librarian of a lady; she did not even lift her head to acknowledge my presence. I was somewhat perturbed to approach her, as I was very young at the time, and only then did I realize I was rather unfamiliar with the process of booking a room, as I had never done so unattended. For some reason, I feared that I had arrived too late, or that I would find that walk-in accommodations were not accepted there. With the briefest revelation of what sort of person the hotel receptionist appeared to be, I had all but banished Renault’s rumor from my expectations, as now more than ever it showed itself to be a bothersome trick played at my expense. I almost had a mind to go back outside and check the street signs to confirm that this was the very same hotel, but I did not act upon it.
After a moment of hesitation, I plucked up my courage and made my way over to the reception desk. The hotel lobby itself was quite vast, and uncannily empty as if meant to receive whole scores of people at a time, yet a quaint stagnation hung over everything there; this led me to presume without much evidence besides that the guests of this hotel were few and far in between. Of any other notable details within that lobby, I observed not, for in my march over to the reception desk, I kept my gaze bashfully low. I hardly even dared to look at the old receptionist when I asked her for a room, as the act felt akin to waking her from a deep and well-overdue slumber. Our conversation was minimal as handed over my down-payment and signature, and as she, blasé in tone, gave me the key and number to my room—she told me it was upstairs, at the very end of the hall. But I did not heed much of what she said, for in my sunken staring I noticed that, upon the reception desk, there sat a very particular telephone. It was a strange, antique device, the model of which I had never seen before, and immediately the particular German phrase which Renault had recited to me surged within my mind.
I do not know how, but I remembered it quite well, even though I scarcely understood a word of German. Dare I say it out loud? Perhaps it actually meant something obscene, by which I would be promptly escorted out of the hotel. But why would it be? Did Renault’s trickery know no bounds? He was something of a bully, to be certain, but never had I known him to be a liar or a deceiver, even at his very worst. What if it was true? Ever since departing from Reims, I had never seriously considered summoning this fabled lady of the night, yet the mere mention of it had poisoned me with an uncharacteristic desire which only now fully revealed itself—one which I could not determine whether it had derived from the queerness of the mystery surrounding the rumor, or some inert desperation not to be so drearily alone, or so intimately inexperienced as I was. I had actually made up my mind just then to recite the particular German phrase to the old lady, telling myself that it was only to prove Renault to be a fibber—but when I opened my mouth again, I could not force the words off the end of my tongue. I stood there for a moment too long, unable to even explain why I did so.
Readily, I stole away from the old lady. I hurried through a door on the right side of the lobby with my gaze still fixated upon the floor before I had even considered the directions which she had given me. When I looked up, I saw no stairs. Rather, I found that I had witlessly entered a parlor that was adjacent to the stair-room but did not directly adjoin it as the lobby did.
Feeling too embarrassed to simply walk back out into the lobby and admit my doltish carelessness, I resolved to stay in that parlor for a little while, staying out of sight of the receptionist so that it seemed as if my retreat had been intentional as if I meant to do something before I retired to my room. Still, I cursed myself for doing so, and for being unable to muster up the confidence to pronounce the particular German phrase.
It was then that I actually took a moment to survey the interior of the hotel. All of the walls within that parlor—and those which I could see of the lobby through the open doorway—were all dressed in a wallpaper of simple, vertical blue and beige stripes, which, though not visibly sullied, conveyed an air of squalor, and were somewhat uncomfortable even to regard. Dim, whiskey-tinted lamps punctuated this abysmal pattern in certain places, mounted at odd intevals across the walls and shining enough to illuminate the whole space of the parlor and the lobby, yet only so much that the atmosphere still felt murky and uncertain. Within that parlor were an array of couches, tables, and bookshelves, which were sparsely furnished with books that were as obsolete in their titles as they were in their dull, blank bindings. Nevertheless, I pretended to take interest in perusing them, deciding which one would be seen in my hand when I eventually reentered the lobby. I could still hear the deliberate ticking of the clock above the reception desk, irritating me with its measurement of the slowness of time.
Suddenly, there was a light outside the parlor window—an automobile had arrived at the hotel. After just a moment, I heard its door open and shut, and its headlights flashed by and disappeared. There followed the sound of the front door of the hotel opening, and of someone strolling steadily inside. I glanced sidelong through the parlor doorway, careful not to remove myself too erratically from the bookshelf but maneuvering just enough to catch a glimpse of the new guest. Briefly, he passed in and out of my clear view; he wore formal attire, carried a suitcase, and was evidently a younger man, as he strode with purpose, but otherwise, there was nothing remarkable about him. Quaintly, however, when I restrained my breath to eavesdrop, I realized that he was addressing the receptionist in full English, and with a distinctly American accent at that. But then, abruptly, his language changed—not to French—to German. To my immense shock, he recited—word for word—the same particular phrase which Renault had told me.
There was no immediate response from the receptionist. Rather, there was a faint rustling, as of that particular telephone being picked up, and then a low whisper, which sounded equivocally German, and could not have been—I determined—anything other than a repetition of the phrase. I then listened to the creaking of the russet floorboards as the new guest walked away from the reception desk and into the stair-room.
It was a long time before I exhaled again. Stealthily, I retracted from the bookshelf and installed myself on one of the couches, taking with me a book whose title I did not even bother to note, and opening it indiscriminately to a page somewhere in the middle. From here, I had a much better view of the reception desk, but I was careful not to ogle too long in that direction.
I sat with my face behind the book, feeling sickly anxious, though I could not trace the reason why. Certainly, Renault had told the truth about the particular German phrase, but was I really to expect the most beautiful and alluring dame in all Alsace-Lorraine to enter that hotel in a matter of mere minutes to service the gentleman that called upon her? I had heard of secret requests that could be made of hotel staff before, but the final portion of the rumor reeked of exaggeration. Beauty is not so exact—it is subjective, is it not? Yes, perhaps a prostitute would come—that was not unheard of at all—but she could not be all that, could she? Renault had a way of talking over-indulgently of women, flatteringly and fantastically; surely, this was the same case here.
At the moment that I least expected it, the front door of the hotel opened again. There had been no noise of an automobile parking and driving off outside, yet now I listened to the resounding clicks of high-heeled shoes across the lobby floor. For just a moment, there appeared before the reception desk a very tall woman dressed in a sable-skin tight dress and a floral cap, but she was also adorned also with a very garish, flowing, furry scarf, which nearly shrouded her entire figure, and as she was turned away from me, I could make no better observation of her than this. The receptionist simply croaked out a room number, which she, upon hearing it, swaggered straightaway without a word unto the very same stair-room where I had last heard the footsteps of the other guest.
Suffice to say, I was astounded by the suave appearance of this dame, but I had witnessed so little of her still to lend credibility to the entirety of Renault’s rumor. I knew that I should not follow her, but my own room was at the top of the very same stair, so I resolved to linger a moment longer in the parlor to avoid any suspicion from the receptionist. Inwardly, I planned only to retire to my room, but my focus upon even this next course of action was repeatedly intruded upon by urges to get up from the couch then and stalk after this lady of the night, only to catch another glimpse of her before she inevitably disappeared into the other guest’s room. These impulses only subsided when I, still sitting motionless upon the couch, realized that I had likely already missed the chance to do so. Where had these sudden passions come from? Had Renault’s mischievous antics somehow rubbed off on me, after all the days that I had spent working beside him?
It was the bothersome ticking of the clock that finally compelled me to pry myself up from the couch. Taking up my suitcase in one hand, and clutching the book in the other, I headed back out into the lobby, careful not to look in the direction of the receptionist as I turned into the stair-room. Resuming my downward gaze, I mounted the stairs, which ascended half a floor before turning left to ascend to the second floor. The walls of the stair-room were continuously striped and dimly-lit, but the pervasiveness of this combination did not occur to me until I arrived at the second floor and stared down the dusky extent of an entire corridor decorated in the same, tacky, crudely carnival-like wallpaper. I clutched my suitcase close and reluctantly strode forth.
I was midway down the length of the corridor when I heard noises—noises of giggling, flirtatious teasing, and moans of delighted surprise. Already I regretted leaving the parlor, but when I reached the end of the corridor, regret flourished anew in me, for I saw that upon the doorknob of the very next room beside my own, there was draped a loosened tie. Hurriedly, I produced my room key and unlocked the door, slipping inside and closing it shut behind me as instantaneously as I had done so.
I tossed my suitcase and the book onto the bed, looking with disgust at the blue-and-beige striped confines of my new suite. It was after a moment of stillness that I realized that I could—quite clearly—still hear the utterances of ecstasy beyond the wall adjoining the next room, even if the sounds were somewhat more muffled here than in the corridor. Now, a sense of frustration welled up within me—frustration at the indiscreetness of these two nocturnal lovers, frustration at the old woman for booking them beside me, and most of all, frustration at myself for not having spat out that confounded German phrase when I had the chance, for not only would I have been relieved of these tortuous noises, but because it would have been I making them, so passionately and carefree as they did then.
I paced around the little suite, clamming my ears shut with my palms and growing more impatient every time I uncovered them—for whenever I did so, I was only met with a heightened continuation of the debaucherous ruckus. I could not fathom how they were still going at it after all that time. I wanted desperately to make a complaint to the receptionist, or even to knock at the door of the adjacent room and reprimand the couple themselves; I even scolded myself every moment that I had not the audacity to storm out of my suite and do one or both of those things, yet I was convinced that such efforts would be of little.
It was amidst this terrible, awkward inconvenience that a reprieve came to me in the form of a little cupboard door under a desk in the corner of the room, which was evidently left halfway open and bedraped with a little towelette by the hotel staff. Upon a single glance toward it, I recognized that it contained a copious supply of compliments, most all of them being bottles of red Austrian wine. Desperately, I fell to my knees and reached into the cupboard, groping for the first bottle which I could touch. Wrenching one out, I bit off the cork and slumped against an empty wardrobe next to the desk, downing the contents of the bottle with a thirst that was not altogether bodily. I was, of course, well-acquainted with strong drink even by that age, as it had been my fancy throughout my two years at university and my nectar while I painted houses with Renault, so it did not take long before I had quaffed the first bottle dry and reached for a second. The more intoxicated I became, the less the noises of the other room penetrated my ears, and slowly, in my drunkenness, I resigned myself to that miserable night, content that I would, at the very least, sleep through most of it, and hopefully remember none of it.
I cannot say how I awoke, only that upon some drowsy blinking of my eyes, and a high-tilted swig of wine, I suddenly realized that I was no longer asleep—if ever I was at all. I sensed very strongly that things were different—though I knew not at once what they were. Dazed, I glanced about at the empty wine bottles around me and felt wetness around my shirt collar. I realized that I had not managed to crawl into bed, or even to douse the lights of my suite, for I was still on the floor, reclined against the wardrobe. As my eyes wavered all about the space of the room, the sight of the loathsome striped walls splashed some recollection of last night’s misery upon my mind, sobering me somewhat. Even as I recalled the events of yesterday, I struggled to actually believe them—that I had, upon a whim, booked a room at this hotel, merely for the sake of discovering of some vague rumor which Renault had imparted me with. What had I been thinking? In that drowsy, still-drunken state, my thoughts were far from clear, but I had at least been afforded the counter-perspectives which came with an early wakening.
As prior events played out in my memory, those of arrivals of the other guest and the lady eventually surfaced as well. It was then that the realization struck me—their abhorrent exclamations had ceased at last. The whole world—or at least it seemed—was now totally quiet. Presuming the morning to be upon me already, I clung to the desk in the corner of my room, heaving myself up onto it and intending to clean myself up before I checked out to hail another taxicab. But when I peered over the desk, I subsequently gazed out the window that was just above it and saw that the sky was ever starry and black with night. I was astounded, and moreover exasperated at this discovery—surely, I had slept longer than that. Or had I? Perhaps my slumber had really lasted no more than an hour or two. My God, what time was it, then? My forehead throbbed with a splitting ache as I steadied myself upon my feet, using the bedpost now like a crutch and shielding my eyes from the ceiling lamp. I was immensely hungover—that much was certain—but no night of drinking in all my university days had ever left me in such a state. It was not my sickest state, though quite sick I was; however, there was a pervasive dizziness which washed over me with my every motion, and I felt increasingly disassociated with the space of the suite I was in, finding it more and more unfamiliar the longer I regarded it.
There was a mirror on the wall beside the wardrobe. I ogled at myself reflected in it, unsurprised that I looked as haggard as I felt. I slapped myself, blinked, and straightened my stained shirt collar, hoping that having a more respectable appearance would bring on a shred of sobriety and clarity as to what I should do now that I was awake. Strangely, I was not sleepy in the slightest, though this daze of mine was ever unfaltering. I figured then that stepping out of the hotel for a breath of fresh air could alleviate my hangover, and after a moment of thoughtless lingering, I resolved to do just that. Opening the door, I staggered out into the corridor, becoming belatedly aware of how heavy my footfalls were upon the creaking floorboards.
I stared once more down the length of the corridor. I was startled by how much darker it appeared to be than I had remembered it; it was if the bulbs of the wall-mounted lamps had burnt themselves bleary over the short time that I was asleep, or perhaps it was merely that I was viewing the corridor from the other end so that the farthest extent of it seemed to be sucked down into the gloomy void that was the stair-room beyond it. Shaking off the small apprehension which had infected me, I started down the corridor, hovering close to the wall as I did so, for the new and uncertain spaciousness of that place was relatively more difficult to navigate in my drunken state. I had only achieved a couple of strides before my groping hand grazed the dim frame of the door of the adjacent suite, which—to my surprise—actually opened just a crack from my slightest touch. I froze at once, and my eyes darted down to the doorknob. The tie was still draped around it.
(The second part of this journal will be posted soon.)
submitted by NRMacellar to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 19:03 jw_mentions /r/KDRAMA - "A discussion on Do Hyun Su, the main character of flower of evil"

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Submission A discussion on Do Hyun Su, the main character of flower of evil
Comments A discussion on Do Hyun Su, the main character of flower of evil
Author chokenchopflipflop
Subreddit /KDRAMA
Posted On Sun Oct 25 09:31:54 UTC 2020
Score 30 as of Tue Oct 27 04:11:38 UTC 2020
Total Comments 67

Post Body:

this is a repost as original one was removed
You know its a great drama if after a month you still can't get over it. I loved do hyun su's character; he was very complex, at times unknowable, sometimes scary, but at most times, impossible not to love. Like what the director mentioned, he possesses all the possible dualities within himself, whether It be strength/vulnerability, evil/innocence, truth/deception, cold/warmth, love/indifference. In the end, we get to peel off the many layers of suffering to finally have a glimpse of the real do hyun su, but even so, the character remains an enigma even to us, the viewers who had gone through an emotional roller coaster with him over 16 episodes.
I guess the writer wanted him to retain a sense of mystery, that's why she never disclosed what happened to him up until he was 10 years old. But I'd like to think the writer gave us some clues along the way, so that we can form our own personal theories about what truly happened to do hyun su and the character remains unique and personal to the viewer.
What do you think happened to him? Did you find your interpretation of the character different from the other people who had watched the drama?
I have a couple of my own theories, just sharing across some based on the hints I felt the writer had dropped along the way
1) memory loss as a recurring theme
I have seen many disappointed comments regarding the memory loss trope that was deployed in ep 16. However I felt that hyun suu's admission of having no memories before 10 years old in ep11 foreshadows the memory loss plot in episode 16(and u know the writer loves to drop a few foreshadow bombs here and there). In 15 he suffers an emotional breakdown because he thought ji won had died. And this severe trauma inadvertedly causes him to lose his memory of jiwon as a form of self protection. Even though he doesn't remember her, his body still remembers the intense feelings he had for her. One could infer from this series of events that the same thing might have happened to him before 10 years old, he loved his mother greatly, but he might have seen something that made him think that she had died. Traumatised, he sealed off all his feelings for his mother and forgot about her. But similar to what happened in 16 (the way he reacts in front of ji won, and the way he kept buying egg tarts), he keeps going back to the tape recorder because his body remembered that he had loved his mother dearly.Hence, my interpretation is that hyun su was always a warm hearted and loving person, but he had to seal away that part of himself because of trauma. And because he lost his memories, he had no definitive understanding of who he was, and was ultimately susceptible to what ever psychopath labels other people gave him.
I believe he doesn't have any specific mental illness, the story has led me to think that it was trauma that affected his personality. The show also mentions that he started developing symptoms only after his mother disappeared. I believe the trauma of losing his mother and the subsequent events (father is a serial killer, being stoned and exorcised by the villagers and the heavy disappointment in the lack of faith others have in him) caused him to seal more and more parts of himself, until he is just a shell where anyone can project hate and malice upon.
Nevertheless, after he meets jiwon, the seed of goodness that lies dormant within the shell is triggered. But because he was living under a false identity, he could only pretend how things could have turned out, and not possess his positive developments and emotional growth as his own. Like Ji Won said, he had to stay hidden; he had to witness his own life progress in strange new ways like he was watching a movie acted out by other people. That was why even though he had an emotional outburst on the bridge and ultimately managed to correct things with ji won, he couldn't sleep next to her because it didn't feel real to him. Because he had been living 15 years under someone else's identity, in a sense he lost that connection with the original do hyun su and was confused over what was actually his and what was Hee sung's.
The second amnesia brought him back to his most vulnerable moment where everyone had turned their backs on him, from his sister to his roommate. This was the moment when he had the least self confidence, and that rightfully explains the self doubting and shit storm that he put ji won through. However, it was the one moment that he desperately needed a saviour and it was truly doing the character justice to have him being saved by ji won this time instead of the baeks. (or one might say he was finally given the chance to save himself)
It was also the perfect timing for him to reconnect with who he truly was, and to make the progression truly his. Which is why i believe after episode 16, he will work with ji won to rediscover all the emotions that he sealed away years ago, and the seed of goodness that still laid dormant within him will finally bloom into a beautiful flower that bears no name other than his own. This i believe was the true brillance behind the amnesia trope. I really loved how the writer explored the themes of memory, identity and emotion in this drama.
2) another theory I have seen discussed is the myth of haephaetus.
Besides being married to venus, haephaetus was the son to zeus and hera. Haephaetus loved his parents, but is not zeus's legitimate son. Zeus and hera fought often, and one day, haephaetus saw hera being chained by zeus and freed her. Zeus was so angry he threw haephaetus down mount olympus, the trauma was so great that haephaetus kinda forgot he was a god a started to live with the mortals. Maybe hyun su was not min seoks son, and he had freed his mother from some kind of imprisonment and got punished by min seok.The punishment was so scary that he lost all memories.this explains why hyun su was always fearful of his father, even though he seems rather kind to his son. The image of his father with the black eyes is a call back to what happened to him when he was 10 years old, when min seok went full psycho on hyun su and caused him to attach the image of the devil with the vision of min seok
3) I have seen this theory bounced around by some knetizens that the key to the mystery of the missing memories lies in the last conversation hyun su had with hae soo, about being lost and having to find oneself from the starting point. I am not sure how this is linked though, as my Korean is not that great.
What about you, what theories do u have regarding the missing memories?
And also, who did you think the true do hyun su actually was? There were so many iterations of the character throughout the show,
1) the loving father
2) the docile/whipped husband
3) the emotionless manipulator
4) the self sacrificing hero
5) the traumatised baby
6) the self doubting jerk
I liked to think he possessed all of these traits as part of his multifaceted "true self", but I felt the way he behaved in front of moo jin was probably the most authentic version. I thought that the real do hyun su is kind and warm hearted, but at the same time not so nice to his loved ones and rather quick to sarcasm, like when he lost his temper in front of jiwon in the beginning of episode 014 and the whole of episode 16. Again what do you think?

Related Comments (3):

--- --- Notes
Author verbal_mint
Posted On Sun Oct 25 16:14:25 UTC 2020
Score 1 as of Tue Oct 27 04:11:37 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
The conversation with his sister is rooted in the present. His sister can see that he has changed and remarked so during their first meeting. She became unbelievably happy seeing that he's managed to live a normal life and even has a happy family to boot. When they parted ways, with his character as a teenage HS, she thinks that he would probably live a destitute or thug's life because he didn't finish school and is a wanted suspect. We also know that he joined a gang before.
With the change she's seen in 30y.o HS, that conversation is for the benefit of the 20y.o HS, she's hinting that he's capable of change and there is actually 2 people that really loves him (but she doesn't outright say so) that can anchor him. She's aware that JW has been hoping/fighting to get him back, but finally let him find himself. She leaves this realization to him to find in his own time respectingJW's wishes.
The great thing about the ending scene with HS and JW, is that the 20y.o HS realizes that he's starting to want to become the 30y.o HS as he gets parts of his memories back. HS & JW are getting a 2nd chance to experience dating again (note the formal speech they're still using) after 14 years of marriage. They also get to stay married without the deception. Bonus is that eventually his memories will return and we'll get the 30y.o HS back.
--- --- Notes
Author verbal_mint
Posted On Sun Oct 25 16:40:24 UTC 2020
Score 3 as of Tue Oct 27 04:11:37 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
Body link
Nope, Hea-soo is same age as JW (the detectives remarked to JW when they were looking at Hea-soo details in the police database). Moo-jin (the reporter) is younger than JW, that's why Det. Im was puzzled when JW uses polite speech with MJ and while MJ uses casual speech with JW. MJ is the schoolmate of Hea-soo, not classmate. MJ is same age as HS. Here's a relationship chart with the age.
--- --- Notes
Author verbal_mint
Posted On Sun Oct 25 14:11:35 UTC 2020
Score 7 as of Tue Oct 27 04:11:38 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 32
Body link
Spoilers ahead
I don't think that missing memories is as mysterious as some people make it out to be, at least for me. It's just something uttered in passing, as I for one do not have strong memory of my childhood before 11 years old. I get told stories often by my parent about what I did, but have no recollection of it so it's just stories to me. I do feel a certain nostalgia about certain familiar scenes or object but no visual memories.
The story behind the meaning of the workshop is pretty much what HS tells JW in ep.16 - he thinks he's ugly in character, like Hephaestus because nobody has been warm to him his entire life. In fact his real name strikes fear in people as the suspected accomplice, son of a serial killer, & the scapegoating due to the foreman & nephew's rumors - until he meets JW. JW is someone who's always on his mind, especially so when he's working alone with his thoughts, in his workshop.
First off, we get the he can't love out of the way because he's being misdiagnosed by the psychiatrist - ep.11 (JW's conversation with him on the burner phone) so we know he does feel love but he doesn't know the name of what he's feeling is love. We only know he loves JW because whenever he thinks he has hurt her, he instinctively feels pain in his heart and lo-and-behold - he clutches his chest.. Therefore, HS is who we see he is. Taking on another identity doesn't mean you take on another persona. We will take the line from JW and say oppa, actually you only got one problem - which is HS had at the start of the series, started his life with JW with a lie - he took someone else's official name. This one lie necessitates more and more lies as he tries to cover up that original lie. HS motive has only been one - his family is everything he has, and he will go at great length to not have it taken from him. He also tells JW, Don't ever change. You just need to keep loving me like you do right now. All I need is your trust. If you do that for me, I'll live my entire life for you. in ep.9.
In ep.14, the reason HS is angry at JW is in the dialogue. The whole conversation is quite good actually, but here's the excerpt for the cause of the anger
JW: I suspected you. So I checked. Is that so wrong? Anyone in my position would've done the same.
HS: You're not anyone...to me. I never cared, you know. When others hated me for no reason...and always accused me first, I never cared. But now...Because it's you, I couldn't be more devastated.
HS has high-functioning autism where he has problems with emotion recognition and expression. The opposite end of this spectrum is Sang-tae in IOTNBO. There's a believe that autistic people tend to have above average talented in other areas, so we'll run with that hypothesis and we can say he excels at reading people, as he knows he is lacking in this area, and needs to mirrors his interaction with others according to visual cues to appear normal. This gives him the mastery at manipulation when he goes Dark HS.
If you see the amnesia story as time-travel, you'll be able to understand his actions & self-doubt better in ep.16. Remember that whenever you see him, he's the 20 y.o HS before meeting JW, instead of the 30 y.o HS. It's a noona romance (literally and symbolically).
Summer 1997 - BHS meets DMS Fall 2005 - HS agrees with Beaks to take new identity Summer 2006 - HS moves to new neighborhood & meets JW at the store Winter 2006 - HS stands guard Summer 2007 - JW confess to HS 2007 ~ 2008 - First date Spring 2008 - HS & JW first kiss, JW passes Police Civil Service Exam
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2020.10.26 19:02 geeksquad_number Geek SQUAD Customer Care (+𝟏 785 279 𝟒098) Phone Number Geek Customer Service Phone Number

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2020.10.26 18:47 SyncAccounting Profit vs. Cashflow

Have you been wondering why your business feels like it’s making healthy profits, but it feels like you never have any cash in the bank? Then this article is for you. We’ll be covering the difference between cashflow and profit as well as some tips on how to improve your cashflow.

The Basics

Before we get into the difference of these two concepts, we’ll cover some financial reporting basics. At the end of your financial period, your accountant will generally provide you with a balance sheet, income statement and statement of retained earnings and, sometimes, a statement of cashflows.
The Balance Sheet
The balance sheet deals with the assets that you own and debts that you owe. Example of assets include your bank account, equipment, items that you have prepaid as well as sales amounts that you are expecting to receive but haven’t received yet (otherwise known as accounts receivable). Examples of debts that you owe like credit card bills, bank loans and money that you’ve received from clients for service you still have yet to provide and other bills you have outstanding (a.k.a. deposits and accounts payable).
The Income Statement
The income statement looks at the amount of sales that you have earned during the year less the expenses that you have incurred to earn that income. Depending on the type of business you have, let’s look at retail for example, you may have had to purchase inventory to make that sale and that cost is subtracted from your sales to calculate gross margin.
There are some other deductions, such as amortization/depreciation on equipment purchases, that are non-cash expenses that are deducted on the income statement. The rules covering this are beyond the scope of this article however it is important to note that all expenses listed on your income statement are not necessarily cash amounts that were paid during the year.
At the end of this statement, your profit or loss for the year will be determined showing the starting point for your tax return for that year.
Statement of Cashflows
The statement of cashflows is divided into three sections, operating, investing and financing and will look at the amounts of cash you had at the beginning and end of your fiscal year and show you how much was spent in each area.
Operating refers to cash received/spent in the sales and expense categories of a business. Investing looks at what equipment or portfolio investments were purchased and sold. Lastly, financing looks at the amount of loans that were extended or repaid during the year.
Non-cash expenses like amortization/depreciation, also get added back since they didn’t affect the company’s cash position during the year.
Most small business don’t require a statement of cashflows as most of their activities fall under the operating area and investing activities occur are fewer and farther in between.

The Difference

Given the concepts above, profit is a mix of the company’s financial results that include primarily cash and some non-cash items over a period of time. Cashflow on the other hand looks primarily at how much cash you have now and take into account that cash can cover your upcoming bills or, will you be receiving cash to cover those bills? The amount of bills that you have to pay will be listed on the balance sheet as well as the amount of cash that you expect to come in.

The Importance of Cashflow

Cashflow can make or break businesses, that’s way it’s important to ensure that you are aware of how much cash you have in the bank now and to make sure that you can cover the bills. Cashflow is also all about timing since sometimes you may have a client who will pay you $30,000 for an invoice in two months time, but you have $30,000 in debt that is due today and no other cash on hand. With the right amount of planning some of those bills could have been for gone and purchased later or the due date for your invoice could have been moved up through your terms.
The terms of sale that you list on your invoice is an important aspect that is often overlooked. What we mean by terms are the number of days that you give clients to pay their invoices. There are no standard terms that have to be followed, you as a business owner have the freedom to set your own terms.
Terms that are commonly used include, “Due on receipt” and “2/10, net 30”. Due on receipt means that payment is due on the same day that the invoice is issued. The term 2/10, net 30 has a lot packed into so few characters. First, let’s dissect “2/10”. It looks like a fraction but for accounting, this means that you’ll be offering a discount of 2% if your customer pays their invoice in 10 days. The “net 30” portion means that the customer has 30 days to pay their invoice if they are not taking the discount. Different variation of this can be “3/5, net 60” meaning a 3% discount if paid in 5 days, otherwise the invoice is due in 60 days or just “net 15” stating that there are no discounts being offered and the invoice is due in 15 days.

A Note on Profitability

Sometimes there’s a disconnect when businesses are bringing in a lot in sales but your income statement is saying otherwise. When this happens make sure that you have a good sense of your costs. First, we would suggest looking at your expenses and making sure that they are all required to run your business or if there are some extras or nice-to-haves tucked away in there. Once you’ve done that, look at your gross margin to see if that can first cover your expenses and, in an ideal world, that would also include your expected profit. Then if that is still not working out the way you expected, it’ll be important to look at the selling price of your product or the price of the goods you are selling. Lastly, you can also look for grants that the government may offer, such as subsidies for hiring summer students or credits for hiring red seal apprentices.
Our first example is a company that brings in $15,000 a month however, their operating costs are $18,000 a month showing that even though there are notable sales coming in the door, they can’t cover their everyday costs. Looking at expenses would be a good way to start. Sneakily tucked away in the expenses are redundant monthly software costs of $500 and additional phone lines that you’re no longer using amongst your other expenses.
Our second example is a seasonal business this is run out of their home primarily in winter and summer and had to shut down from mid-March to mid-May. They also usually only add one or two more staff members each busy season. In the age of COVID-19, these would generally be their slowest months however in 2020, they were closed. Your first thought would be that this year would have less profit than their 2019 year, however, while they were closed, they only had to pay very few of their daily operating costs. So, even though their overall sales for the year have decreased, their profit was higher because they didn’t have to pay overhead costs for months that didn’t generate a lot of sales.

Take Home Point

While both profitability and cashflow are important, make sure that you are watching the amount of cash that you have in the bank to make sure that you can cover your bills as they come due and that your company can make it through the hard times.
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2020.10.26 18:46 EugeneBYMCMB /r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may encounter online or in real life. Thank you to the many contributors who helped create this thread!

If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and it will be added to the next edition.

Previous threads: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/search?q=common+scams+master+post&restrict_sr=on
Blackmail email scam thread: https://www.reddit.com/Scams/comments/jij7zf/the_blackmail_email_scam_part_6/
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.

Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing
It is very easy for anyone to make a phone call while having any number show up on the caller ID of the person receiving the phone call. Receiving a phone call from a certain number does not mean that the person/company who owns that number has actually called you.
Email spoofing
The "from" field of an email can be set by the sender, meaning that you can receive scam emails that look like they are from legitimate addresses. It's important to never click links in emails unless absolutely necessary, for example a password reset link you requested or an account activation link for an account you created.
SMS spoofing
SMS messages can be spoofed, so be wary of messages that seem to be from your friends or other trusted people.

The most common scams

The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent.
Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it.
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Email flooding
If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere.
Cartel scam
You will be threatened by scammers who claim to be affiliated with a cartel. They may send you gory pictures and threaten your life and the lives of your family. Usually the victim will have attempted to contact an escort prior to the scam, but sometimes the scammers target people randomly. If you are targeted by a cartel scam all you need to do is ignore the scammers as their threats are clearly empty.
Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse.
Employment certification scams
You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist.
Craigslist fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule.
Craigslist Carfax/vehicle history scam
You'll encounter a scammer on Craigslist who wants to buy the vehicle you have listed, but they will ask for a VIN report from a random site that they have created and they will expect you to pay for it.
Double dip/recovery scammers
This is a scam aimed at people who have already fallen for a scam previously. Scammers will reach out to the victim and claim to be able to help the victim recover funds they lost in the scam.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
Phishing
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious.
The blackmail email scam part 5: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/g8jqnthe_blackmail_email_scam_part_5/
PSA: you did not win a giftcard: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/fffmle/psa_you_did_not_win_a_gift_card/
Sugar scams
Sugar scammers operate all over the internet and usually come in two varieties: advance-fee scams where the scammer will ask for a payment from you before sending you lots of money, and fake check style scams where the scammer will either pull a classic fake check scam, or will do a "bill pay" style scam that involves them paying your bills, or them giving you banking information to pay your bills. If you encounter these scammers, report their accounts and move on.
Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a messaging platform used extensively by all kinds of scammers. If you are talking with someone online and they want you to switch to Hangouts, they are likely a scammer and you should proceed with caution.
Publishers Clearing House scams
PCH scams are often advance-fee scams, where you will be promised lots of money after you make an initial payment. You will never need to pay if you win money from the real PCH.
Pet scams
You are looking for a specific breed of puppy, bird, or other pet. You come across a nice-looking website that claims to be breeding them and has some available right now - they may even be on sale! The breeders are not local to your area (and may not even list a physical location) but they assure you they can safely ship the pet to you after a deposit or full payment. If you go through with the payment, you will likely be contacted by the "shipper" who will inform you about an unexpected shipping/customs/processing fee required to deliver your new pet. But there was never any pet, both the "breeder" and the "shipper" are scammers, typically operating out of Africa. These sites are rampant and account for a large percentage of online pet seller websites - they typically have a similar layout/template (screenshot - example)
If you are considering buying a pet online, some easy things to check are: (1) The registration date of the domain (if it was created recently it is likely a scam website) (2) Reverse image search the pictures of available pets - you will usually find other scam websites using the same photos. (3) Copy a sentence/section of the text from the "about us" page and put it into google (in quotes) - these scammers often copy large parts of their website's text from other places. (4) Search for the domain name and look for entries on petscams.com or other scam-tracking sites. (5) Strongly consider buying/adopting your pet from a local shelter or breeder where you can see the animal in person before putting any money down.
Thanks to djscsi for this entry.
Fake shipping company scams
These scams usually start when you try to buy something illegal online. You will be scammed for the initial payment, and then you will receive an email from the fake shipping company telling you that you need to pay them some sort of fee or bribe. If you pay this, they will keep trying to scam you with increasingly absurd stories until you stop paying, at which point they will blackmail you. If you are involved in this scam, all you can do is ignore the scammers and move on, and try to dispute your payments if possible.
Chinese Upwork scam
Someone will ask you to create an Upwork or other freelancer site account for them and will offer money in return. You will not be paid, and they want to use the accounts to scam people.
Quickbooks invoice scam
This is a fake check style scam that takes advantage of Quickbooks.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on.
Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
Digit wallet scam
A variation of the fake check scam, the scammer sends you money through a digital wallet (i.e. Venmo, Apple Pay, Zelle, Cash App) along with a message claiming they've sent the money to the wrong person and a request to send the money back. Customer service for these digital wallets may even suggest that you send the money back. However, the money sent is from a stolen credit card and will be removed from your account after a few days. Your transfer is not reversed since it came from your own funds.
Cam girl voting/viewer scam
You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories.
Amateur porn recruitment scam
You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer.
Hot girl SMS spam
You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card.
Identity verification scam
You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to.
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.

Phone scams

You should generally avoid answering or engaging with random phone calls. Picking up and engaging with a scam call tells the scammers that your phone number is active, and will usually lead to more calls.
Tax Call
You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world.
Warrant Call
Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards.
[Legal Documents/Process Server Calls]
Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program.
Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam.
Chinese government scam
This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats.
Chinese shipping scam
This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators.
Social security suspension scam
You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information.
Utilities cutoff
You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin.
Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same.
Mexican family scam
This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help.
General family scams
Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money.
One ring scam
Scammers will call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, causing you to incur expensive calling fees.

Online shopping scams

THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Dropshipping
An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer.
Influencer scams
A user will reach out to you on a social media platform, usually Instagram, and offer you the chance to partner with them and receive a free/discounted product, as long as you pay shipping. This is a different version of the dropshipping scam, and is just a marketing technique to get you to buy their products.
Triangulation fraud
Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer.
Instagram influencer scams
Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time.
Cheap Items
Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off.
Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items
You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam.
Scams on eBay
There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month.
Scams on Amazon
There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items.
Scams on Reddit
Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online.
Computer scams
Virus scam
A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.

Assorted scams

Chinese Brushing / direct shipping
If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings.
Money flipping
Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.

General resources

Site to report scams in the United Kingdom: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Site to report scams in the United States: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Site to report scams in Canada: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
Site to report scams in Europe: https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online
FTC scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
Microsoft's anti-scam guide: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds
https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 18:43 AmericanNewt8 Boned: Problems (but not too many) in the US Air [and Space] Force!

No. You don't frighten me, Mollari. If you try to go up against our forces, you'll lose.
Yes, your ships are very impressive in the air, or in space--but at this moment, they are on the ground.
Right--they're on the ground. But they can sense an approaching ship from miles away. So what are you going to do, Mollari, blow up the island?
Actually--now that you mention it--[pulls detonator from pocket]
No!
[presses detonator]
Babylon 5, explaining the vulnerability of aircraft to ground attack in typical hammy fashion
Hello, and welcome to another episode of "AmericanNewt8 explains the global military situation at present in a convenient, possibly easy-to-read guide". Maybe I should make a YouTube channel or something. All the cool kids [and a lot of idiots who know nothing about military equipment] are doing it. Anyway, today we have the US Air [and, for the moment, Space Force--they haven't fully separated yet], and, surprisingly for once, a somewhat more positive message. I'm sorry this one took so long; I've been busy for the past month or so, but I figured I should get this one out I already had 80% done before talking about Turkey and the war in the Caucuses, which are likely to be shorter, more current, and arrive sometime in the next week if all goes as planned.

Current Effortposts In My Series:
  1. What you [might] need to know about South Korea's ludicrous arms buildup
  2. We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches.... uh, what do we do after that again?: The Perilous Defensive Position of Taiwan
  3. "You've hit another cargo ship? The Problems with the US Navy: Not all of them begin with "Seven" and end with "th Fleet"."
  4. Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?
  5. Biden's New START and modern nuclear war
  6. Boned: Problems (but not too many) in the US Air [and Space!] Force
  7. Erdogan Sallies Forth [inserted largely on account of the recent breakout of a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan]
  8. Begun, the Drone Wars Have: Why You Should Pay Attention To This "Tiny" War
  9. First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
  10. --Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
  11. --Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
  12. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
  13. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
  14. Conclusion?

1. Our Pride And Joy

America's Navy may be its key instrument of power projection abroad and in some ways the most important service branch, but the one that is by far the greatest beneficiary of American skill, the apex of our capabilities, is without a doubt the US Space Force. From Day 1 the US has had a commanding lead in the field. Mind you, that's not saying that nobody's ever challenged or exceeded the US in limited areas for limited periods of time--the early 1950s were about the last time that happened though [aside for commercial launch vehicles from around 1980-2010]. In the modern era, it is very rare that buying something other than an American-made aircraft or rocket makes any sort of economic or strategic sense [political is of course a different matter entirely]. The US Air Force has generally benefited from high, consistent levels of investment and has had relatively light burdens placed on it operationally [though in recent years post 9/11 this has changed to an extent], and it has developed into one of the best-trained and most doctrinally sophisticated forces in the world. More on that later. Anyway, the Air Force is probably the best-loved branch politically [Marines might be more respected but they get budgetary scraps], at least of the military as a whole, and it ends up with more funding, smarter people, and a much better QOL as a result. In fact Air Force personnel are usually treated to quite a bit of envy and ribbing about how much better their conditions are than their Army, Marine, or Navy counterparts.

2. Aging Equipment [again!]

Guess what? The same problem that seems to afflict most of the US military [and, for that matter, most European, Latin American, and non-East Asian militaries] is aging equipment from the Cold War finally wearing out. In the Air Force, this takes a number of different forms. Often, it's a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but even then airframes do wear out eventually and need replacement and a lot of them are getting to that point.
Logistics, Support, That Kind of Thing
One of the least glamorous parts of the Air Force, logistical and support capabilities are rapidly aging. The primary airframe the Air Force uses for these is the.. wait for it... Dash 80, as the C-135 whose commercial variant is better known as the Boeing 707. It was a very impressive aircraft, but it was designed in the 1950s. Even though we've reengined the C-135 with more modern engines, and done some serious overhauls, they're getting pretty long in the tooth. Most notably we have the 398 KC-135 Stratotankers which make up the bulk of the US midair refueling fleet, which are joined by 31 E-3 Sentry AWACs, a number of specialized RC-135 derivatives doing everything from SIGINT to hunting for nuclear weapons and 17 E-8 Joint STARS. While these were produced up until the early 1990s, the airframes are aging and they need replacements, and the sheer quantity of aircraft is likely to cause trouble. There are also other aircraft that have to be replaced in the mid-term [by the early 2040s] like the C-5 Galaxy and the KC-10 Extender, but these are somewhat less of an immediate concern. There are some C-130 Hercules replacements also needed but those are largely being done with newer versions of the same aircraft.
Bombers
The B-1 Lancer is first on the chopping block, due to high maintenance costs and time [it generally takes 120 hours of maintenance for an hour of flight time]. That represents 60 bombers, on paper anyway, and a good chunk of the USAF's supersonic strike capability. However, cutting it should free up resources for new hardware, and in fact new USAF budget proposals suggest rapidly retiring the B-1. The B-2 Spirit is also on the chopping block due to high price and high maintenance demands, but it can't really be replaced until the B-21 Raider shows up. There is also a need to find a replacement for the B-52, but nobody is really sure what that looks like and it's much less urgent--the B-52 will soldier on for the indefinite future and may well hit a full century in operational service. Even if one runs into the "airplane of Thesus" the fact that you could well have fourth or fifth generation B-52 pilots flying on 90-year-old aircraft is, to be honest, kind of neat.
Fighters
The F-15 and F-16 originally took flight in the 1970s and are still seeing interest today, though the modern F-15 and F-16 are very different beasts from their originals. However, the overall fleet is starting to age--primarily the F-15C fleet operated by the US Air National Guard which does air policing in the US. This is why the Guard is actually first in line for new F-15EX aircraft and has even received brand new F-35s [that, and the fact that the Air National Guard is actually pretty integrated with the Air Force]. F-16s are also starting to wear out; the USAF still operates over a thousand of the type. They are set to primarily be replaced with the F-35, though, with around 1500 aircraft on order. They will also replace the A-10 [along with drones, I suppose], and I'll take a moment to say that the A-10 is heavily overrated, there's a reason the USAF wants to dump it, and it's notorious for friendly fire incidents. Its job would be better done by drones or even aircraft like the Super Tucano.
Trainers
These are, guess what, also wearing out. The USAF currently operates over 500 T-38 Talon trainers, but it already has a replacement lined up for this aircraft which was first flown in 1959. It just adds to the list of things that need replacing.
ICBMs
Also should mention these, I suppose. The US is currently operating the Minuteman-III) as its sole ground-based nuclear deterrent/ICBM, and these 1970s-era missiles have survived their replacement, the LGM-118 Peacekeeper. They have to be replaced as well, and the USAF actually recently awarded a contract to do so to Northrop Grumman [though there are issues with that mentioned below].
Maintenance
One side-effect of all this is that the Air Force has increasingly high demands for maintenance which are simply not met, which combined with a shortage of maintainers [partially due to good outside pay but mostly because anecdotal reports suggest life as an Air Force maintainer is terrible] means that the Air Force has a poor readiness rate, especially because a lot of airframes aren't in good condition to begin with, having been worn out by decades of use.

3. Procurement Woes... fixed?

So, the Air Force has had a pretty troubled history with procurement in recent years. By far the most infamous one is the F-35. Well, yes, the F-35 was a procurement disaster. Another Redditor has done a great service by writing up the account Ash Carter [Secretary of Defense under Obama] gave of the program. It's long [full version here] and probably doesn't give a full account as it is Carter's memoir--but I'll just pick out one of the most significant parts of it:
At one point of the meeting, after we'd made it abundantly clear that the grossly inflated price for the JSF jets was unacceptable, CEO Bob Stevens casually said to me, "Well, if you tell me how much money you have, I'll tell you how many planes you can buy."
I was taken aback. Rather than negotiating a fair price with us, Stevens was behaving as if his company were entitled to all the money the taxpayers could afford. And although he obviously had a per-plane price in mind, he didn't care to divulge it openly, nor would he agree to a fixed-price contract holding him to it. I found this cavalier attitude offensive. With deeper disrepute, the JSF program would go down the political drain, and we wouldn't be able to buy any of these needed aircraft.
With all this in mind, I let his question hang in the air unanswered for a moment. Then I replied, "How about none?" With that, I walked out of the room. "None" was a reasonable prediction in the political climate surrounding this out-of-control program.
However, the F-35 was a pretty uniquely messed up procurement program due to suffering from what I'd broadly call "jointness", where interservice procurement made things less efficient.

The Air Force on its own has had some pretty impressive procurement messups though. Look no further than the KC-46 Pegasus, a tanker designed to replace the KC-135 [as mentioned above loads of these are getting retired in the next couple years]. The first sign of trouble probably should have been when the first program to replace the tankers with the KC-767 [now the KC-46] was cancelled on account of a bribery scandal involving the CFO of Boeing offering the procurement official an executive position. The second sign probably should have been the whole bit where, unlike its competitor, the A330 MRTT, the KC-767 didn't actually exist. And when the A330 won the contract bid, Boeing of course protested and, ultimately, got the contract evaluated again, with [at least per Northrop Grumman's claims, who was running a joint bid with Airbus] requirements rigged for the KC-767, and, finally, almost a decade after the program started, Boeing won the bid.

Except there was the small problem that Boeing hadn't built the plane yet, which turned into a large one. Ultimately the program was marred by years of delays and major technical problems. It only recently finally began delivering aircraft to the Air Force, years late and over-budget [though the USAF did manage to claw quite a bit of it back from Boeing].

However, there are some positive signs that future procurement will be better. Besides the F-35 being saved, there's the example of the T-X program, which is to replace the elderly T-38 Talon trainer. It invited foreign competition to the field, featured vigorous competition, and resulted in an actually effective aircraft--developed by both Boeing [of course] but also Saab--yes, the Swedes have a significant hand in the trainer jet likely to equip much of the world.

In particular, something very interesting the US Air Force is doing is diving heavily into computer design and open systems architecture. What this means, in short, is that they'll design new planes with a heavy emphasis on doing detailed computer design and simulation, only finally building an aircraft to demonstrate it works IRL--which of course cuts costs substantially--and they'll try to build common hardware and software that will work in any number of aircraft. The overall idea is to make aircraft inexpensive, easy to design, and modular. The Air Force even has a buzzword for this already, the "Digital Century Series", referring to the last time the Air Force very rapidly built a whole bunch of aircraft on a relatively common hardware platform. Whether this will bear fruit remains yet to be seen.

4. Fighting the Peer Conflict

The USAF, for the past thirty years, has not faced a peer competitor. Arguably it didn't even face one before that--the Soviet Air Force was no match for what the USAF could field, as was demonstrated quite well in a number of conflicts. The good news is that the USAF has had a long time to build up a lead, and is still far ahead of China or Russia, further ahead than the Army or Navy is by a long shot--Americans like their planes and electronics. For an illustrative example, China'sJ-20 stealth fighter has been produced in a quantity of... 50; while the USAF has almost 200 F-22s and is ordering over a thousand F-35s. The Su-57 barely even flies and is nowhere near peer to what the United States can field despite whatever scary articles you might have read. The bad news is that only recently has the USAF actually begun preparing to fight a peer conflict, which will tax it in different ways.

The main vulnerabilities the Air Force has in a peer conflict are more logistical and operational than regarding the quality of its aircraft or pilots, which are moreless unmatched. The first problem is that readiness isn't fantastic thanks to the War on Terror burning through all the ancient Cold War aircraft that the USAF has operated, and yes, aircraft do wear out. In fact, large numbers of F-15Cs operated by the US Air National Guard have been grounded due to age and fatigue. The shortage of maintainers also plays a role here. There's also the problem that the US Air Force is still quite vulnerable on the ground in any peer conflict; especially to precision strikes with ballistic and cruise missiles--the US Air Force has downsized considerably and now only has a handful of bases for both political and budgetary reasons, but that means that, when facing, for instance, China, the USAF must rely heavily on just six airfields--Osan, Kunsan, Misawa, Yokota, Kadena and Andersen [maybe bring that to 9 by adding USMC and Navy installations, which field fewer and less capable aircraft].

Thus, the primary challenge that the USAF faces is a quiet one--ensuring that it can operate from dispersed locations, at high opstempo, and repair its facilities rapidly. This is really also the biggest question mark in terms of the USAF's performance, but there's some reason to be optimistic here--the USAF is aware of the threat and is actually working to solve it. However, ultimately only changes in the political environment [the addition of bases in the Philippines or Palau, or the development of readied airfields in Japan] will fix the basing problem. Better ballistic missile defense will probably also help here. Russia or China will probably have poor luck against the USAF in the air; seeking primarily to deny the USAF free reign and thus the ability to support ground offensives, but they could cause significant damage by hitting ground facilities, and everyone knows it.

There's also the question of surface-to-air missiles; which have driven quite a bit of concern the past few years as China and Russia field increasingly capable systems like the S-400 and HQ-9. It is feared that the sophistication of these weapons could create "A2/AD bubbles" where the USAF and USN are unable to operate. While the access bubble does still look quite real for the Navy, recent developments have seriously called the efficacy of surface-to-air missiles into question--particularly the fact that the Israelis and Turks seem to be able to almost ignore them, or at least their shorter-range counterparts. The destruction of Armenian S-300 launchers by Azerbaijan with Turkish drones is certainly an ominous signal for anyone thinking advanced air defenses would keep them safe. How good the full-scale systems are against conventional targets is still unknown, but my guess is much less effective than the marketing--and keep in mind that despite years of concerns, SAMs have only been successful from about 1960-1980, and even then relatively minor adjustments in strategy seemed to significantly mitigate damage--so it's unclear how concerned we should actually be about such technology.

There are also questions about whether or not the USAF is operating the right mix of aircraft for the job, and these are valid ones. The USAF is buying new F-15EX, which has literally been described as not survivable after 2028 [though there is a case for the plane as a carrier of standoff weapons or a homeland defense fighter], and still operates the A-10 [an aircraft now mostly known for a number of notorious blue-on-blue (friendly fire) incidents] which, if used in a modern environment where the USAF didn't have total air supremacy, would simply not be able to survive. Yes, there's a reason the USAF wants to scrap the A-10, and no, the GAU-8 is cool but it doesn't even kill columns of modern main battle tanks. Unless you're primarily planning on fighting North Korea, the A-10 is close to useless(ly dangerous). The B-1 has also been highlighted as obsolete, largely due to high maintenance costs. However, the USAF is working hard to scrap these aircraft as fast as politically feasible.

5. New Technologies

The Air Force has always had a certain inclination towards adopting the newest, shiniest technologies, and at the moment there are a number of interesting concepts that it is exploring. I'll talk about two of the most significant ones [especially combined] here.

First, the Air Force is seeking to create future aircraft entirely virtually--using highly detailed computer models to design numerous types of specialist aircraft, and only building prototypes to test the results that simulations produce. Their latest trainer, the "eT-7", uses this methodology--the "e" is supposed to designate that it was designed this way. There's also a move towards using common avionics and software for a variety of different aircraft. Figures high up at the Pentagon have discussed a "Digital Century Series", modeled after a chain of fighters rapidly developed in the 1950s for a number of different roles, from the F-102 interceptor to the F-105 fighter-bomber. This could potentially create numerous new aircraft rapidly; a shift back towards the times before the 1990s where a single fighter project took the entire attention and budget of the Air Force. Nobody is really sure how this will pan out but it looks quite promising. In particular, the fact that the USAF was able to take its new prototype fighter jet into the skies a year after it was originally envisioned is stunning--and suggests that this potential return to the old days of the 1940s and 1950s when new aircraft showed up every year is not just a pipe dream.

Second, the Air Force is investing in UCAVs [Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles], most notably in the Skyborg concept. The goal is to develop a low-cost drone that can both deliver additional weapons to target while being accompanied by a manned fighter--a sort of drone wingman, which is cheap enough to be expendable [thus serving a secondary purpose, soaking up enemy air to air missiles]. Numerous companies have been awarded contracts to develop UCAVs and this program is looking quite promising, so expect to hear more of it in the future.

6. Drones

Drones are a rather interesting topic and one that I'll most likely get into more detail in on my next two posts specifically regarding Turkey. The US was one of the pioneers of UAVs, with the other big player in the field being Israel--in fact the US has bought Israeli drones from time to time, though of course China and Russia have also established a presence, without even mentioning Turkey. The US has a number of drones for different purposes--largely for reconnaissance of different types and precision-strike capability. It has the RQ-4 Global Hawk, for reconnaissance, the MQ-9A Reaper, for strike missions, and the RQ-170, which.... well, probably something involving reconnaissance, it's half-CIA so who knows. However, the US may not have kept up on the ongoing drone revolution, which is actually something I can't really blame them for since the 'revolution' only started in January. Yes. Last January.

This 'revolution' began on January 5, 2020, to be exact, and was led by an unlikely candidate: Turkey. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this was certainly the case for the Turkish drone program. After the US refused to sell Turkey drones on account of the fact that they might be used against Kurds [use of Turkish drones suggests they definitely are used against Kurds], Turkey decided to make their own drone program with blackjack and hookers--or, well, just drones. Their DIY effort didn't really garner much attention until sent to Libya,but investment in their program skyrocketed, largely for two reasons. First, Turkey has been largely barred from major hardware acquisitions from the US and, to an increasing extent, Europe. Second, Erdogan deeply distrusts the Turkish Air Force and has dramatically cut pilot numbers through his multiple purges of the service. Third, Turkey is competing out of its class, against Russia, the UAE, and other major regional powers.

Once it arrived in Libya, it suddenly became clear that the Turkish drone program was much more important than previously thought. In many ways it bore the primary responsibility for turning the war around from what looked to be almost certain defeat for the UN-recognized GNA into a state where whether or not Haftar could survive was in question. In particular, it came as a great shock to most how easily Turkey defeated the very systems that were designed to shoot down UAVs--the Russian Pantsir in particular, which has been destroyed in great quantities with few Turkish casualties to show for it--and with the sticker price for a Turkish drone less than half of the Pantsir systems they kill, it could well revolutionize warfare. Experiences in Syria, and now in Armenia, where Turkish drones have destroyed hundreds of main battle tanks and casually destroyed SAM systems from some distance above, continue to bring into question just how vast the drone revolution is going to be. I'll cover this in more explicit detail in my next two posts.

However, the USAF is watching and learning--its main difficulty with drones is more political than anything. Drones are often considered less important than manned aircraft by a leadership that largely flew manned aircraft [particularly fighters at that], and it is the bottom tier of officer recruits that fly drones [though, interestingly, some drones are actually flown by enlisted pilots] and even then there's usually a shortage of RPA pilots--that's why a few are flown by enlisted in the first place. Whether or not they'll take these lessons to heart, only time will tell, but the history of the Air Force leaves me relatively optimistic on the matter--more than many other services, it's willing to embrace change.

7. Nukes

The US Air Force runs two legs of the nuclear triad--the air and ground portions. The first is dominated by, believe it or not, gravity bombs--mostly the B61. This weapon has been sitting around in the United States [and Europe under nuclear sharing, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and Turkey] for a while now, the first variants being made in 1968, and has recently been updated to the latest B61-12 variant, which offers high precision [as precise as JDAMs, not that it's likely to matter in most situations where nukes are being dropped] and flexibility--the bomb can be deployed from low altitudes at high speeds, and from within the internal weapons bay of the F-22 and F-35 [not to mention the B-2 and future B-21], so it's not as dumb as it might sound. Air-launched weapons also have useful features like the ability to recall them once launched, which isn't an option for missiles, along with fitting into doctrine for a tactical nuclear war. While I could go on about the lack of air-launched nuclear cruise missiles [which hopefully will be fixed by the end of the Intermediate Forces Treaty] it's not a big deal.

The main concern here [and perhaps a suggestion that procurement is still messed up] is the ground-based deterrent, which currently consists of a few hundred Minuteman III missiles buried in the northern central United States. These missiles, like much of the Air Force, date to the 1970s and have outlasted their supposed replacement--the MX Peacekeeper. These missiles are finally approaching end of life and are to be replaced by a new ICBM system. This process is... problematic. First off, it was a sole-source bid because Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK Systems, the primary American producer of solid-fuelled rockets and missiles, and this resulted in Boeing pulling out of the competition. Second, the cost seems rather high, at least in my view, with lifetime cost estimates of as much as $90 billion, with development alone amounting to $13 billion at sticker price. It positions the cost of rebuilding the ground-based deterrent as comparable to the US Navy's program to replace the Ohio-class submarines with the Columbias. The ground-based deterrent has also lost substantial importance as sea-launched and air-launched weapons have become much more accurate and capable of fulfilling the ground-based counterforce mission [which arguably died with Peacekeeper], and it remains the most vulnerable portion of the triad. What good it does is largely as another independent nuclear deterrent and one that soaks up enemy warheads in the event of nuclear war that could be directed towards other targets. A disastrous procurement here could cause problems for the Air Force you will see in the future. My suggestion would be either to continue modernizing the Minuteman IIIs or aim to replace them with the cheapest option possible--something like, for instance, a land-based Trident missile [as if the Air Force would ever allow such a thing to be built]. All the ground-based deterrent needs to do is be there, be a credible threat, and soak up enemy fire. That's it.

8. Space Force

The Space Force is now its own service branch, but as it really hasn't emerged yet I'll cover it here. In fact, just recently, the Space Force enlisted its first trainees. This is somewhat less in my area of expertise; but at the moment things look fairly promising. While the Space Force sounds silly it's almost certainly the part of the military you interact with the most in your daily life on account of running the GPS network. They also operate a variety of communications satellites and the system for monitoring ballistic missile launches, among other pieces of hardware. Expect to hear more about these guys in the future, as space becomes a potential battlefield--we've seen the deployment of a space-based anti-satellite weapon by the Russians just recently, and numerous powers now field anti-satellite missiles along with jamming equipment that can blind reconnaissance satellites, so space is becoming much more militarily important. I don't have much more to say about these guys at the moment, though, other than noting that they're already talking about being even "less physical" than the Air Force--translation: Less mandatory exercise--and they're teaching classes about space law, which is neat I guess. The main downside of the Space Force is that it's going to be very small, around 20-30,000 people, which is half what even the Coast Guard fields, and that could lead to problems with maintaining personnel and inefficiencies with redundant missions, procurement, and the like.

9. Conclusion

The USAF has problems; particularly with aging equipment and manpower, but it seems to realize that most of them exist and is moving to address them. Political constraints mean that the USAF is stuck supporting a variety of obsolete platforms and investing its large budget poorly in new ICBMs and poorly managed tankers, and procurement continues to be a struggle for the USAF, though nowhere near as bad as with the US Navy. Drones have the potential to revolutionize warfare and the USAF is working to develop capabilities in that area, albeit maybe not as fast as some other players in the field, and digital design promises more aircraft designed and produced faster--much, much faster. The USAF faces logistical challenges in a peer conflict, but nothing insurmountable--though the work there is likely to be painful and sidelined because it's less interesting than buying shiny new toys. The Space Force seems to be going along well though they could face some problems in the medium term from losing access to the USAF's resources--political, financial, and of personnel--until/unless they develop into a larger, more influential service. On the whole, though, the outlook for the USAF, at least, looks quite bright--a hope spot, along with the Army and Marines, that the serious problems of the Navy will not cripple the entire military capability of the United States.

10. Citations

Uh, I mostly embedded them in the post, and I don't want to go back and hunt for what I used after a month, but here are some good longer-form ones:
RAND, Chinese Attacks on Air Bases in Asia on the ballistic missile threat
Ryan Snyder, The Future of the ICBM Force: Should the Least Valuable Leg of the Triad Be Replaced?

RAND, Creating a Separate Space Force mostly focusing on administrative difficulties and personnel issues

RAND, Drone-Era Warfare Shows the Operatoinal Limits of Air Defense Systems on drones and the conflicts in Libya and Syria [yes, it's all RAND, no Brookings Institute or such this time round]. It also explains why air defense systems are perhaps much more vulnerable than commonly thought, which I didn't really get into here.

Washington Post, Air Force seeks a radical shift in how jets, missiles, and satellites are designed with more detail on the shift to more computerized design the US Air Force wants to make

CSIS, The Air Force Digital Century Series: Beyond the Buzzwords taking apart the "Digital Century Series" push
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2020.10.26 17:15 xyGvot [H] Marvel's Avengers, Forager, Catherine Classic, The Occupation, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Strange Brigade, Generation Zero, Golf With Your Friends, Hello Neighbor, Ancestors Legacy, The Messenger, Overload, others [W] Paypal, Steam Wallet, TF2 Keys, Wishlist

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2020.10.26 17:15 xyGvot [H] Marvel's Avengers, Forager, Catherine Classic, The Occupation, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Strange Brigade, Generation Zero, Golf With Your Friends, Hello Neighbor, Ancestors Legacy, The Messenger, Overload, others [W] Paypal, Steam Wallet, TF2 Keys, Wishlist

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2020.10.26 17:00 LordCongra [Runes & Brews] - Book 1: Trouble Brewing, Chapter 18

Cover Art Personal discord Chat to me on the Reddit Serials discord Runes & Brews Homepage Patreon advanced chapters: 6 First Chapter
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------------------------------------
Theo froze. He’d always hoped that just maybe his adventuring spirit would reveal itself at a critical moment such as this. He’d react to the oncoming monster and prove to the world that, once and for all, he had the potential to be an adventurer.
That, Theo now realized, turned out to be a bold-faced lie. As the snake struck toward him, time seemed to slow. His body refused to respond - no matter how much he pleaded with it.
A sudden force jarred him out of the way from the side. It took his mind what felt like forever to catch up. Pain exploded in his chest followed by a series of sickening snaps inside him. His body rolled across the grassy expanse outside of Romuen, stopping on something distinctly solid.
“Theo!” Pina’s voice called out to him.
“That probably broke some ribs! Don’t let him drink a potion, Pina!” Telsa shouted, her voice tight.
Theo heard a loud slam followed by Adam grunting. He groaned, turning his head as much as he could bear toward the noise. Adam stood between Theo and a massive serpent. The snake stood taller than most buildings he’d seen in Romuen, hissing and attempting to shift around the warrior before it.
Adam brought up his battleaxe, blocking another blindingly fast strike by the snake. A shockwave traveled out, shaking Theo’s body. He groaned, pain lancing through him from even that slight movement.
Trying to take a breath, coughs wracked Theo’s body. They had a concerning wetness to them. Pina fussed over him, trying to drag him further away from the snake. A scream tried to escape his body, but no air carried it. His chest heaved for air, but he couldn’t take a breath.
Pina noticed Theo’s struggles, her eyes widening. “Guys! I think Theo can’t breathe!”
Through the pain, Theo heard several curses, none of which appeared to be able to leave the fight. At that moment, his eyes widened as he realized his life was in the hands of Pina. Is this where I die?
“Theo! Just um, try to breathe? In and out? Wait! I have an idea!” Pina said, fumbling through the pockets of her borrowed vest. She pulled out the wand Theo had supplied her with.
Theo’s eyes widened further, connecting the dots to Pina’s idea of help.
“Okay, Theo. Sit still. I’m not gonna put a lot of mana into it. I’m just gonna blow air into your mouth with the wand,” Pina said, holding up an assuaging hand and kneeling down next to him.
Realizing there weren’t many other options, Theo shut his eyes and nodded his assent. The wand tip passed his lips. Pina murmured something under her breath.
Wind galed into Theo’s lungs, bringing him to heights of pain he’d never realized were possible. With one final look in the eyes of his floral savior, his eyes rolled back in his head and the world went black.
Adam reacted. There was no time for anything else, he simply needed to act. Mana coursed through his body, heightening his speed to beat the snake’s. His shoulder connected with Theo, shoving him out of the way.
Internally wincing, Adam shoved down the guilt building up inside of him as he turned from his boyfriend’s tumbling form. His battleaxe met the strike, his legs straining under the force. He shoved back, the muscles on his arms bulging under his mana.
The world around Adam slowed down. Thanks, Nils, he thought, sending mental appreciation to the Phrenic mage. With the extra time to think, he shifted his grip, calculating how he wanted his counterstrike to land.
Adam never could get comfortable with the difference in the speed of the world and how his body moved through it under Nils’ spell. It felt like dragging his body through molasses. Regardless, he pushed one foot into the ground behind him, channeling all of his weight into this next strike.
The axe connected - just barely. It glanced off of the snake’s scales, only managing to open a thin red line on its body. Despite the enhanced perception from Nils, this snake moved fast. It reared up once again, leaning around him.
Why is this damn thing so focused on Theo? Adam asked himself, shifting his stance to a defensive posture. His arms creaked under the force of the blow, the runes on his skin barely keeping him together.
Adam grunted, his planted foot plowing into the ground. Shit. I’m stuck.
Telsa bought him precious moments, sweeping in with one of her Rending Slashes. The snake recoiled away, blood spraying the both of them. He wrenched his foot out of the ground, frowning as his boot didn’t come with it.
“Good hit, Telsa. What is this thing?” Adam asked, a long-forgotten lesson on monsters tickling at the back of his mind.
“It’s a Garden Snake! Theo’s basically a beacon of mana for it right now with those leaks!” Nils shouted from his position behind the two of them.
Adam rolled to the side, managing to dodge a panicked tail whip from the snake. He scanned its form briefly, noting familiar magical plants growing out of it. A grouping of vindiya roots sank slowly into the snake’s body, the gash Telsa made closing up inch by inch.
“Guys! I think Theo can’t breathe!” Adam heard Pina shout across the field.
He cursed. Theo’s definitely dead if I let this fucker near him. Let’s just hope- Adam’s eyes widened. Oh gods, Theo’s life is in Pina’s hands.
“Nils, gonna need another,” Adam called out, readying himself as the snake stood tall once more.
Alacrity!” the mind mage cried out, mana pulsing from him.
The world slowed once again, a small headache making itself known in Adam’s mind. He watched as another plant - that waxy one with the weird name Theo had told him about earlier - dipped into the snake’s body.
It opened its maw, small sparks of lightning arcing around the inside.
Adam began to move as he watched the brilliant force gather in the serpent’s mouth. It charged far faster than he felt comfortable with for the factor Nils had slowed his perception down by. He shifted low to the ground, dropping his weapon as the violent arcs traveled at him in the blink of an eye.
An explosion erupted from his axe as the lightning arced to it. Adam shook his head, trying to clear the spots from his vision. Telsa yelled something, but his ears rang too loudly to process it.
The smell of lightning reached Adam’s nose, he looked up to see the snake charging up once more. No time, shit. He pulled a slender object out from a belt pouch. Come on, Theo, I know your work is strong enough for this.
Bolt Orb!” The runes on the wand in Adam’s hand lit up, pulling Primordial mana from the crystal set in its handle. A set of three electrical orbs shot out from the tip of the wand, colliding with the streaks of lightning firing from the snake’s mouth.
The resulting clash blinded Adam with its brilliance. He flew backward, skidding across the ground on his back.
Hissing, the snake reared back, writhing from the flash.
Adam blinked, trying to clear his vision. He caught a flash of motion around the indistinct form of the snake and a glint of bent light.
Warped Size! Rending Slash!” Telsa called out, slicing through the snake’s hide.
“Adam!” Nils shouted, heaving the battleaxe toward him.
Catching it more on instinct than any level of ability to see, Adam staggered to his feet. “Regeneration.” Healing mana flowed through him, soothing his body. His vision slowly cleared and his ears went silent as Telsa bought him time.
“It’s still after Theo! Adam, get over here!” Telsa shouted, rolling to the side as the snake’s massive tail slammed down in the spot she occupied moments before.
Titanic Strength! Power Throw!” Runes lit up across Adam’s arms, filling them with strength. He breathed out, lining up his throw as his body moved reflexively. The axe spun through the air, sinking into the hide just below the snake’s head.
It hissed and shook, trying to dislodge the axe. Several plants adorning the snake’s head sunk into its body. Its scales pointed outward, gleaming edges apparent. Wind began to spiral around it as it snapped forward at Telsa, fangs dripping with venom.
Adam appeared at her side, his legs screaming their protest at the exertion. He grabbed the fangs as the world slowed once more around him. The small headache he had before reared its head with a vengeance.
Too late to react, the snake’s body coiled around Adam, the sharpened scales digging into his skin. Blood dripped from his arms as he tightened his grip on the fangs. Alright, fucker, your turn to feel it.
Titanic Strength.” Adam pulled, ripping the fangs out of the snake’s mouth. He winced as some of the venom dripped onto his open wounds. Shit, shit, shit.
Writhing in pain, the snake only tightened around Adam further, its scales piercing deeper into his body. He pushed more and more mana into his Regeneration spell, fighting off the damage as well as the venom.
Searing pain coursed through Adam’s body, nauseating him.
“Adam!” Pina called out from across the field.
He spared a glance at her, noticing a smooth stone object in her hand. One he recognized from this morning. Red runes lit up across its surface.
Vortex Sprint!” Pina shouted, spinning on her heel as winds boosted her speed. She hurled the stone, sending it careening toward the snake. “Pina Throw!”
And a throw it wasn’t. It landed several yards shy of the mark. Fire erupted outward from the stone, burning shrapnel following in its wake.
Several pieces of burning stone seared into Adam’s skin. He cursed Pina, but noticed the snake’s coiling slacken. Looking up, a piece of stone had pierced its eye! Taking advantage of the situation, Adam forced mana into another Titanic Strength, the spell belting out of his lungs.
Something tore inside of him, but he forced the snake’s body apart just enough to leap out of its grasp.
“I don’t know what these do, but Pina Throw!” Several metal spheres flew through the air, landing in front of the snake.
Adam recognized them immediately. Violently rattling, the spheres emitted an ear-splitting whine, paralyzing the snake. He tried to move to capitalize on the opening, but his muscles spasmed, refusing to respond.
Telsa, however, flipped through the air, her daggers gleaming in the sunlight. “Warped Size! Rending Slash!” The world seemed to dip toward her daggers, refining into a single point. Waves of Fundamental mana flowed out from Telsa as her daggers extended beyond a length Adam had ever seen before. A ripping, tearing sound echoed across the field as her weapons slid through the snake’s neck, beheading it.
Telsa landed, her daggers falling apart in her hands.
Adam fell to the ground, his vision tunneling inward.
“Adam!” he heard Telsa scream. The world faded away as the venom ravaged him.
Theo awoke to a surprising lack of pain, but in its place, movement in his chest. Were his ribs moving on their own?
Forcing an eye open, a fulvitre sat at his side. As Theo fully took in his situation, he noticed that the fulvitre’s fingers were thin to the point that he could barely make them out and inside of him.
He tried to move, but a pair of solid, dark, glassy hands held down his shoulders.
“Do not move, young human. Galeen is performing delicate work, you see? Their magic keeps you from pain, but only if you do not move,” the chiming voice of a fulvitre said from behind him.
Theo nodded almost imperceptibly. “W-” he gurgled, finding he couldn’t talk.
“The magic numbing your pain is also preventing your ability to speak, please try to remain still, young one,” the voice tutted from behind him.
Theo squirmed internally, trying his best to keep himself from moving. But whatever this treatment was, it felt so invasive. Fulvitre fingers, thin as could be, moved inside of him.
The fulvitre behind him made a surprised chime. “Where are my manners? I hold you down and do not introduce myself. I am Faastran, young one. I am told your name is Theo. You are lucky to know Pina, her work kept you alive. I have never seen that girl run as fast as she did returning with you to Romuen. As for this treatment, Galeen is moving your ribs back into place piece by piece. I hope you understand why you must remain still.”
Nodding slightly again, Theo tried to calm down. He attempted to think of this as just… enchanting, but instead of runes, it was fulvitre fingers poking around in his body- Okay, it felt horrifying. There was no arguing that, but at least whatever magic Galeen was working kept the pain at bay.
“Healing potion, Faastran?” the other fulvitre asked, speaking for the first time. Their voice sounded closer to a flute than Faastran’s chiming voice.
The glassy hands on Theo’s shoulders left. He could feel the stare Faastran gave him, reminding him to not move.
Theo saw Faastran for the first time as they walked in front of him to Galeen. Their glass body contained not a single speck of clear glass. Obsidian, he realized with no small amount of shock. He admired the fiery reds and oranges that had been melded into the fulvitre’s body, using them as a distraction from the… procedure he was undergoing currently.
Faastran inserted the healing potion onto a small hole in Galeen’s arm. The contents poured in, flowing down their thin fingers.
Feeling himself turn green, Theo wanted to look away, but he had a sort of curiosity about the process at this point.
The shifting inside him mostly stopped, aside from Galeen moving their fingers around. Small pokes inside of him followed by a disturbing click indicated his bones fusing back together.
“I had to repair the membrane inside you first, young Theo, so that you could breathe. This process will be over soon. Recovery after this will take time. I do not recommend the use of potions past this point, as this process is taxing on your body,” the fulvitre said, their head swiveling to him.
Theo couldn’t help but stare. Water motifs swirled across the fulvitre’s head and body in tones of blue and white. He nodded slowly, allowing the healer to continue their work.
The minutes crawled by as Theo watched, his eyes growing heavier and heavier. Finally, Galeen pulled their fingers out of his chest.
“It is done. You must allow your body to heal normally past this point, it is imperative. You may perish from exhaustion otherwise,” Galeen said, putting small drips of healing potion on the entrance holes in Theo’s chest to seal them up.
“Th-ank… yo-ou…” Theo managed to say before his head slumped into the pillow cradling his head.
The world came back to Theo in sharp, painful clarity. His chest hurt. He took a breath, wincing in pain. That wince turned into a coughing fit, which hurt even more.
“Theo? You’re awake!” Pina squealed, stepping over to him. She went in for a hug before stopping herself. “Right. Super fragile right now or whatever. Air hug!” Wrapping her arms in the air around Theo, she smiled at him.
Lips quirking up, Theo gave Pina the best smile he could manage. It wasn’t much. “I um, thank you, Pina. You saved my life.”
Pina waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it. Just doing what friends do. Oh, Galeen wants you to make them something like the wand you gave me. They said it can be considered payment for their services. You’re lucky you know me, they normally charge more, but my dad is friends with them!”
Theo looked around, realizing he was back in his room. “I- yes, I can make them a wand for sure. Actually, I’d been wanting to improve the design. ...I’m getting carried away. How did I get back to my room? I remember… being in some house, and there were fulvitre. The one you mentioned, Galeen, they had their- their fingers inside of me.”
Taking a seat next to Theo on the bed, Pina made what Theo thought was her attempt at a reassuring face. “Oh, yeah. Fulvitre healers can do weird stuff, what with the whole body shape changing thing. I had to have a splinter taken out of my foot by them once. They did the same weird finger thing.”
“Yes, and there was the other fulvitre there too… Faa…” The name escaped Theo, his memory of the event hazy at best.
“Faastran. They’re from Vulbanos,” Pina said, giving Theo the answer to the comment he hadn’t made yet.
“That explains the obsidian body. I’ve never met an obsidian fulvitre before. Oh, and Pina?” Theo asked, internally cursing himself for asking already.
She turned to him, eyes bright. “Yeah?”
He gulped, questioning if he even wanted to ask. “How- how long have I been… asleep?”
“Um… two days or so? I tried to run your shop after the weekend, but I had to work most of those hours, but Nils said he could try. We didn’t know most of the prices of your stuff though so we couldn’t sell much,” Pina said, frowning.
“That’s- that’s very kind of you both to try, Pina. I appreciate it. I certainly hope there’s no legality issues as neither of you are hired by me,” Theo said, a small seed of worry planting itself in his already-painful chest. “Pina?”
“Yeah?”
Theo grunted, trying to push himself up with his elbows. “Could you- could you help me sit up? It… hurts to move.”
Her eyes widened. “Right. Totally. Sorry! Didn’t even think about it. Yeah, let’s get you something to eat too before I tell you about-” She froze, slapping a hand over her mouth.
Theo’s heart skipped a beat, the seed of worry in his chest spreading its roots. “Tell me about what, Pina?”
Her eyes darted around the room. “Um, about the uh, the one thing with the um…”
“Pina, please. What’s this about?” Theo pleaded, pushing himself up on his own with a pained yelp.
Pina met his eyes, worry showing brightly within them. “It’s- it’s about Adam.”
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