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Hi veterinarians. My female cat is quite young (about 4 years old) and has been spayed. Before she was spayed she had two litters. She’s usually very playful and very active.
Recently she’s been avoiding jumping up on surfaces, and when she does jump her back legs often don’t make it. She is also hissing when we try move her off our laps, this is also a new behavior. When I touch her low back she pushes it up against my hand.
I checked her paws and I don’t see any sores or thorns. I’ve applied pressure to her abdomen and her legs and she hasn’t reacted like she’s in pain (just annoyed). Should I take her to the vet? Any idea what’s going on?
Background; my boyfriend has started going into work everyday, so no one is at home with her all day anymore. This is a new thing for her. It’s also gotten weirdly cold where we live recently. Please advise. She is literally my reason to keep living and I am so worried
Next Royal Road u/KieveKRS
providing the Trash certification of quality!
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[Thank you for agreeing to teach them.]
Volta nodded, not entirely sure if it was for the best, but recognizing a request—or in this case, a thinly veiled order—for what it was.
Ever since she had taught Scarlet and the others her field, the occasional rotation of Lilhuns would be assigned to work under her for a time. It made her job easier, especially since the settlement was expanding at a ludicrous rate compared to what she had heard from the new members of the pack.
The Atmo that had joined were quickly treated and cared for, those who did not require so much time for recovery quickly accompanying the existing insects in their tasks. The largest, Mama, frequently assisted in construction and decoration of structures, so they worked with her. Once they had oriented how things progressed and their part in it, they were paired off with a construction group to be assigned a project. It was to the point where there were as many as five buildings nearing completion at once, the majority of them being accommodation for the new members of the pack.
The remaining question was regarding the insect kits. The answer? Well, there were four Atmo slightly smaller than the purple ‘Queen’ that had requested Volta instruct them, the pearlescent shimmer of her scaled carapace dancing in the sunbeams afforded by the skylight the den had been constructed with.
Teaching Violet—as well as the two Atmo that Volta had escorted to this pack—in the ways of sanitation had been an interesting endeavour, all things considered. They held a remarkable dexterity in those long edged appendages, but the lack of something to properly grasp with made finding a way to secure a rag onto the ends difficult. Luckily, Heralt was receptive to assisting her with creating something that would attach to the blades.
It was little more than a mop that secured to the joint and braced around the cutting edge gingerly, the ends of the stick using ‘ironwood’ springs to clamp onto fabric pads that would soak in the cleaning solution and allow them to do the floors and walls. Were it not for how shockingly efficient the task was performed, she would have been useless through the laughter at the sight.
Each Atmo kit held two of the devices on their limbs, allowing them to travel in pairs and simply finish large spaces within the time it would take her to prepare the next batch of cleaners to use. They had only started a short while ago and yet two dens had been finished, Scarlet assisting her in doing whatever furniture or ledges the Atmo were unsuited to completing. The odd pack member going through what Head Sahari called ‘versatility training’ listened to her instructions in an oddly compliant manner, giving the blue-furred female pause at the unusual experience.
All in all; the cleaner was guiding the five insects and three Lilhuns in the ways of cleanliness. Scarlet was primarily keeping an eye on those who interacted with the purple-coloured Atmo, her contributions to the other tasks proficient, despite the split attention. Before, she would have assumed the servant quietly acquiescing orders, but the dark red-furred female was particularly vigilant in matters pertaining to the kit now.
Volta wasn’t sure what happened to the other servants that regularly assisted her on a rotation—save for Kaslin, the female seeming to have been unofficially inducted as Grand…. Toril
’s assistant alongside his mate, Tersa—but Faye, the mild-mannered deep gold-furred female, and Raine, the polite and excitable brown-furred female, had been absent for many suns now.
It was almost lonely, in a way.
“That should be sufficient for this den,” she announced to the gaggle of Atmo kits and Lilhuns, careful to remind them not to bother the few ‘rock-worms’ that Ferra kept separate from the rest outside. There were only four, the largest one adorned in an odd script, but they were apparently a selection of favourites of the female. Regardless, it would not do to irritate a mate of Atrox.
The brown-furred male was responsible for the ghastly armour that the Grand Hunter wore on occasion, and she was not in a hurry to see if the disturbing tendencies of the male extended to how he displayed his displeasure.
“Where is our next destination?” Scarlet asked, her tail brushing up Volta’s spine in an uncomfortable way. It wasn’t that she disliked the touch, but the owner of it worried her. Something about the servant struck her as more than what was presented, and it was obvious that the female thought of it as immensely entertaining. That much was obvious, even without the sly grin.
“We have proceeded much faster than I was expecting,” the blue-furred female admitted, mentally checking over her itinerary while subtly batting away the offending appendage. “I suppose we should attempt the barracks while the pack is engaged, then rest for a time.”
[May I leave to check on the other Atmo?]
Volta paused, unsure why it was being requested rather than merely presented as a fact. Violet was—as far as it mattered—completely beyond the cleaner’s station, if only because she was an adopted kit of the Grand Hunter, as well as a sort of leadership figure for the insects. It was an enigmatic blend of positions where the purple insect could very well order Volta to do things, rather than ask. Though the hierarchy was not nepotistic in nature, it was safer to adhere to the wishes of the den-kit than it was to disobey.
“You may. What of the others?”
[I will leave them with you and Scarlet.]
The mentioned servant frowned. “I am to accompany you.”
Violet chittered her curious laugh. [These young ones are your task. I must attend to my own.]
Volta discreetly jabbed the female with a claw, glaring at her not to question the wishes of her better. The less attention drawn from the Grand Hunter, the better. Just picturing the disturbing mask and piercing gaze was enough to make her blanch.
Either reminded of her position, or merely interested in playful retaliation, Scarlet sighed quietly, bowing slightly to the insect. “As you wish, young mistress. Do call for me if I am required.”
[I will. Thank you, Scarlet, Volta.]
Volta lowered her head, watching the Queen leave before returning her attention to the group.
“We will do the first barracks, then determine if we are of time to do the second. The kits are to await the floors cleared of obstruction by the Lilhuns before cleaning them. We will manage it in sections so as not to disturb any who may be taking a break. In future—assuming you are to operate independently from myself—it would be best if you are used to working in groups.”
The Lilhuns nodded their understanding, the young Atmo hesitantly conferring with each other before approaching Scarlet to have their mops freed of soiled cloth and materials placed upon their carriages.
The Atmo had all been outfitted with a specially made platform that fitted over their wider base, clasping underneath past their six legs. It allowed them to transport much, their carrying capacity much larger than one would suspect from their size. The kits could comfortably haul all of the materials for the sun by themselves, and the adults had been the subject of idle speculation for mounted weapon platforms—assuming the fragmented conversation she had chanced upon was to be believed.
Volta inspected the odd section that the Lilhuns under her tutelage completed while she waited for packing to finish. She was not necessarily pleased with the results, but it was more important for them to understand the procedure to take for various locations at the moment. They had proven that they understood what to do for the dens, so next came teaching them how to approach high-traffic areas.
Once everyone had been prepared and the materials gathered, they left the den and started towards the barracks, glimpsing the Grand Hunter sparring with some of the pack in the open.
Ever since the Atmo were delivered by a trade caravan, the male had taken to training much of the pack personally, Huntress Pan taking over much of his more mundane work. Those who were deemed adequate were then pawed off to Head Tel for some specialized training, though Volta was not privy to what exactly it was meant to accomplish.
Regardless, Head Sahari was in charge of rotating out the pack amongst tasks, only a few specialists being directly assigned to any one occupation. By all rights, Volta herself should be training under the male, but the nature of her work meant that she was typically better off doing her job when such was under way. Given that the Grand Hunter was a rare case of someone fully understanding the importance of her specialty—and how little she wished to interact with the alien—she was thankfully spared.
Disregarding the events going on, she motioned for her group to follow her. There was work to do.
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“Two up!” he called out, wiping the sweat from his brow. The exertion cleared his mind, and the break from endless paperwork was appreciated. With the influx of members and various training being required, he had gotten rather exhausted mentally. Between the Wraiths being gone for two weeks since he told them to do recon around the Atmo traders, regular interaction with various caravans, planning out what they needed to do, and Robert still not calling him since the man had left to handle something, he had been pretty high-strung.
As always, there was more on his mind. Harrow had become more elusive regarding him ever since he had her transcribe the Union documents regarding the Lilhuns, their conversations vapid and brief. Jax didn’t have anything useful to say about it other than that she wanted time to sort her thoughts. Toril, Idee, Mi’low, and Bratik were given copies of the file to go over recently, since they were the closest thing he had to a counsel unfettered by a close relationship.
His own makeshift family took the news in an odd way. There was a lot to unpack.
Jax had become quiet, his muscles tensing. Harrow ended up staying away from her mate for a few days until he had stopped brooding about it. In the end; the guy just told Joseph that he would trust the Grand Hunter’s decisions regarding it, finding himself at a loss otherwise.
Sahari and Nalah were approached about the bonding information, the latter denying any bond to him, as well as Sahari confirming the same towards her blond-furred mate. The only line of reasoning that they could think of to make sense was that Nalah’s circumstances had messed with her in some way. The two seemed rather distressed by the assertion, but calmed somewhat when he mentioned that nothing would change between them regardless. Sahari could tell how conflicted he was about the whole thing, he just wanted to give them something to hang on to.
It was a bigger deal for them than he had initially internalized. In retrospect; something revered as a literal gift from their god being denied really
should have been an obvious point of stress. As begrudging as his acceptance was, he was linked to the whole ‘Great Hunt’ business in their minds, so he was aware of how deeply that belief ran. He didn’t personally subscribe to the religion, but they never really bothered him with anything besides overseeing funeral rites—not that he would have refused anyway.
Pan seemed to mirror his feelings on the matter—a dark feeling of helplessness and sorrow. She had fallen quiet when she heard about the trials on the defectives, that particular section hitting her harder than the others. After an entire day of silence, all she had to say about it was that she loved him, and then spent the night burrowed between him and Tel, unable to sleep. He had a hard time as well, but it extended well past the initial night.
Tel had informed him that his restlessness had made it difficult for her to get any shut-eye, his shifting disturbing her, but it was said in a slightly concerned tone. Her general reaction was fairly subdued compared to the rest otherwise, her lifetime of being at either end of a gun numbing her to the reality of things. It was weird for him, but he was deeply thankful for it on some level.
She kept him sane, her cold response being a candid ‘Wish it, and I will end all who displease you.’
For once, her more violent background gave him something to grip onto. It resonated in him—loose, yet present. A door within him, chained and locked, was brought to mind as he really considered what he wanted for those involved. The traders who abused the Atmo, those who seemed so bent on hurting his friends, the Union ‘GUOS’ who called for the experiments... A thrumming settled in his fists, an itch that couldn’t be sated by just scratching.
A paw flew past his brow, his shifted posture allowing him to slip the claws that had been left exposed in the heat of the spar. His heart hammered, his sweat soaked his clothing, and his focus returned to the fight.
No Union, no traders, no worries. Just the two security members who had doubted Jax’s claims that the smaller Human had somehow bested the male in a fight, and were now bringing out their natural weapons on instinct.
Grabbing the wrist with his right hand and gripping the shoulder with his left, he pulled, using the rotational force to pivot on his left foot and haul the overeager Lilhun to the dirt, the appendage bending behind them sharply. A second fist came from the corner of his eye, the other combatant trying to use the momentary distraction to score a hit.
Using the gripped arm as a balance, Joseph leaned into the spin, firing the sole of his shoe into the head of the opportunistic attacker. The loud slap of his foot connecting with the larger male almost outdid the crumpled form crashing to the ground unconscious. It was only a dull sensation of mercy that stopped him from completing the spin while he maintained his iron grip on the arm of the thrown adversary, saving them a torn and dislocated shoulder.
Joseph breathed heavily, the adrenaline wearing out as Jax checked on the defeated. Minus some stiffness expected in one of them and a sore jaw for the other, they would be fine, albeit embarrassed for such a quick disposal in front of their usual teachers.
The sound of his rubber sole slapping on the ground some distance away killed off whatever motivation he had to continue, his shoes finally giving out.
“I would ask you not to disable my security, Grand Hunter,” Jax said with mock frustration, the black-furred male’s eyes following the two leaving with an expression of exasperation.
“Sorry,” Joseph breathed out, his heart hammering in his chest as his system wound down.
The Head of Security glanced down at him, his expression pensive. “As much as I enjoy my boasting of your prowess to be validated, I do worry that you see more than a spar in them.”
He drew his lips thin as he brushed his sweat-soaked hair back, his arm dropping to his side. He took a few moments to sort the thoughts that returned. “I probably should have called that kick, yeah.”
The larger Lilhun snorted. “They will be fine, it is not their health I am worried about.”
“I’m fine, Jax,” he snapped, averting his eyes when his friend seemed to have made his point. “I…. I’ll be fine. Just some things on my mind right now.”
“Joseph,” the black-furred male started, walking up to place a large paw on his shoulder. “We are here if you wish to talk.”
His breath died in his throat, his eyes closing in defeat. He felt the soreness in his hands surface, hours of constant fighting to soothe the burning in his blood that failed to abate. Bruises made themselves known, dehydration made his joints stiff, and lack of sleep clouded his mind. Jax was right, he was a bit of a mess.
“Grand Hunter,” Mi’low called, his tired glance in her direction revealing the female approaching. “We are ready to speak.”
Joseph placed a hand on Jax’s paw, patting it softly. “Talking will have to wait. Tell Harrow I said hi and that I’d like to hang out again. I miss it.”
The male looked at him apologetically, nodding as he was still unable to offer anything to ease the sting of a friend distancing themselves from the Human. “I will.”
The Human cycled a breath and faced the actress. “The rest?”
Mi’low nodded. “Where will we meet?”
Joseph waved an arm towards the base. “My place. More chairs.”
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Toril was wearing his usual smile, his eyes inspecting everything about the hub from the couch while Tersa stood nearby, her body language telling that she was wary about being in a new place without time to scout it. Bratik was in his wheelchair, Sorren holding his paw as he sat on the opposite side of the chemist. Idee—being the only one to spend time in the outpost regularly—simply thanked Kaslin for the water from her place between the two mated males. Mi’low had claimed a free chair, her legs crossed and back straight as she stayed away from the others on the couch. The Wraith handed Joseph his requested tea since Scarlet was babysitting the insects, then occupied a place out of the way, but close enough to act if things got heated.
He stayed standing rather than occupying his usual place on a table, his second choice of seating being filled up. He could have dragged over the Atmo couch, but he didn’t want to stress his body any more than he had already by lugging it. “So, everyone had plenty of time to read the documents.”
“Indeed,” Mi’low commented dryly, a glare shot in his direction. Idee nodded, though her expression fell as it was brought up. Toril maintained his detached look of amusement, but it didn’t escape Joseph’s notice that Tersa stiffened.
The Grand Hunter took a sip of his refreshment, enjoying the fleeting feeling of warmth from something other than exertion. “And what do we think?”
“We?” Sorren asked, the male not quite used to the Human using their tongue. Joseph’s mastery of the language was still spotty at times, but Kaslin could fill any gaps if needed.
“Yeah,” he replied plainly. “It has more to do with you than me. I just got the message.”
“I find it rather fascinating,” Toril opined cheerily, his energy at odds with the atmosphere of the room. “Such thorough study allows us many insights into facets of our own biology that we may never have known!”
“By slaughtering our kin in the thousand,” Mi’low shot back, a slight snarl pulling her lip.
“As regretful as such is, we can not bring them back,” the chemist noted with a small nod. “We must simply use the information gleaned by our foes without repeating their atrocities.”
“You suggest ignoring their sins?”
“I suggest utilizing what they have learned and incorporating it to our advantage.”
“Or,” Joseph interjected, “we talk about it instead of getting into an argument.”
“Your people are not free of fault, Grand Hunter
,” the crimson-furred female spat. He remained silent, already having spent far too long thinking about how none of it would have happened if Humans weren’t in the picture for them.
“You can not hold him as a factor, Mi’low,” Idee said softly, shifting in her seat to get comfortable and smiling apologetically at Sorren when she bumped him.
“Were it not for them, then we may not have lost our homes!”
“Were it not for him
you would be little more than bones bleached by the sun, or so I hear.”
“We are not here to cast blame,” Bratik disputed quietly, his voice carrying through the room despite the low volume. “The Grand Hunter has saved each of us. Some from demise, others from the shackles of their station, and others from the fate of losing loved ones.”
Toril and Idee shared a glance as the male continued, Tersa paying attention to him for the first time.
“He seeks our counsel. Not our aimless ire to be spewed upon him for that which he himself had no knowledge of, nor involvement in. His kin were as much victims as our own.”
“Quite,” Toril concurred as the two females ceased their bickering reluctantly. “How would you like to address this, Grand Hunter?”
Joseph blinked, expecting the blame, but not Bratik defusing it so quickly. “Well, we have a few things to work off of. Years of experiments coinciding with missing persons after accepting a job, whoever tipped off your military taking info with them about Sol and the ‘blacklist’, whatever bond fuckery they discovered, and the defects.” He shrugged weakly. “Take your pick.”
“There are too many missing across too wide an area to recognize such a comparative few,” Idee stated, the others in the group silently agreeing.
He nodded, nursing his tea with small sips. “Figured that would be a sticking point. Plus, we don’t really know how long it was going on... or when it started... Not even if it was a bulk recruitment or slow trickle. I guess the missing people are something we’ll just have to keep unknown.”
“The bond information was rather enlightening,” Toril mentioned, his eyes rising to the ceiling as he thought about it. “Our peoples are wildly compatible.”
“As servants, perhaps,” came the scathing remark from the High Huntress. “What use is our gift if it is twisted to be mere subservience? To discard ourselves for some alien race?”
Sorren’s ear flicked. “It is hardly ‘twisted’ to protect that which the Hunt Mother has afforded us.”
“Are we to just accept
that our bonds are better suited to that
,” she emphasized with a pointed claw in Joseph’s direction, “rather than our kin?”
“Drop it,” the Grand Hunter ordered tiredly, his reflection in his beverage shaking as he shifted on his feet. “Arguing isn’t going to help anything.”
Mi’low held her disgusted expression. “You ask us to trust that which led to our downfall? We are yet another strike against your kin, no?”
He shook his head, his eyes buried in remains of the shimmering image he held in his hands. “I blame the sick fucks that did all this. If you can’t agree with that, then there’s not much reason to hold this meeting.”
“What is it you seek to accomplish?” Toril asked, amused by the theatrics. The rest seemed surprised by Mi’low’s pointed aggression, but the chemist was more interested in continuing.
“I have people looking to get me out of here,” Joseph informed them, laying his empty cup on the table with a soft clack. “People who will probably extend the offer to you. If they come, I need to know what we’re doing about it. The last thing I need is people acting like Mi’low and opening fire on whoever comes to drag us out of the mud.”
“Why would we?” Sorren asked, taking his mate’s paw as he gave a worried glance to the offended female.
“Because our people were tortured due to our interactions with them,” the chemist noted in a matter-of-fact tone, his pleasant demeanour remaining despite the morbid topic.
“Did our people not initiate contact with another species on less hostile terms?” Idee asked, her head tilted slightly.
“But no one lived to talk about it,” Joseph countered, gesturing with an upturned palm. “Plus, that’s assuming whoever was in charge of that call being the norm, rather than the exception.”
“You believe our people to act otherwise?” Bratik asked, his tone inquisitive rather than judgmental.
Joseph shrugged. “To be fair, I’ve almost been killed by more of your species than the wildlife. Granted, a few of those were just people being assholes, but still.”
“Many would see the opportunity as retribution for the Union,” Mi’low mentioned dryly.
Sorren’s face fell. “Then we should not propagate this knowledge?”
The Human glanced between each of them. “That’s why you’re here. My group knows because I trust them with it. I think we should keep this to ourselves, but if we do—and someone finds out—it would just cause a lot of issues. Alternatively; we tell everyone.”
“And suffer the consequences of that action as well,” Idee concluded dejectedly. Joseph returned a wry smile as Toril raised a paw, speaking when the Grand Hunter raised a brow at him.
“Perhaps we should withhold the information from the lesser station?”
“Like, just the Grand Hunters?” Joseph inquired cautiously. Toril tilted his head.
“Those who would be more diplomatically minded, perhaps.”
“I don’t exactly see some of them as what you would call ‘diplomatic’ and I’m not going on some voyage to visit everyone with the info in tow.”
“We are able to make copies,” Sorren offered. “Perhaps we could exchange the information using traders and gain something from it as well?”
Mi’low shook her head. “That is assuming they do not claim us manipulative nor seek to remove him. Some may very well move to strike us all down for ‘withholding’ the information, regardless of how readily we supply it.”
“Do your people know?” Bratik interjected, gathering the attention of the others. Joseph winced in uncertainty.
“I’m not sure. I’d guess my brother does, but I don’t know how sensitive things are. It could have been announced and there’s an intergalactic war, or it might be kept under wraps until conflict isn’t as likely. At least until it’s less likely to blow up in our faces, anyway.”
“They are of lesser force?”
“No clue,” he admitted. “Not my area. All I do
know is that there are more species allied against us—or at least aren’t inclined to take a bullet—than are.”
“So our options are rather limited,” Idee concluded, receiving a series of agreements.
“We could,” Mi’low said after a few moments of contemplation, “distribute the information anonymously. Humans are not named directly in the document, and we need not divulge its origin.”
“So, what? Just pass people tablets and ask them to forget where they got it?” he probed, not entirely disagreeing with the idea, but skeptical all the same.
“Tersa may make additions to trader inventories without their knowledge,” Toril offered, the mentioned Blade frowning at him, but not protesting. “Or perhaps Trill’s kit, since she is devoted to yourself.”
“Eh. I guess that’s an option,” he conceded, sighing. “So, about the bond; any opinions? Notes?”
“Stay away from me,” Mi’low answered warily, earning a flat scowl.
“I meant something besides that. I’m not too keen on adding to the cluster-fuck I have going on anyway.”
Sorren smiled. “I am excited to meet your people—should I be so blessed. There are many who would never know the joy of the Hunt Mother’s gift otherwise.”
“I would not mind her words, Grand Hunter,” Toril chuckled. “She is a creature of dishonesty—including her own desires.”
The actress glowered at the chemist. “I preferred it when you were nomadic. It was much easier to ignore your presence. Your words were but some distant wind I need not soil my ears with.”
“Perhaps our meeting is best ended here,” Bratik interjected, waving his functional paw. The other arm was coming along, but still too stiff to use for much. “We should propagate the information through unsigned parcels to the Grand Hunters.”
“One last thing,” Joseph said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “The information on Sol; anything ever get done with that?”
“We were capturing habitable planets in a particular direction, though the decision to do such was made by our superiors.”
He nodded. “Makes sense. Same issue we have now. Can’t let everyone know because chaos is a lot easier to manage when it’s directed. Between the religious connotations and the context around it; there’s no saying if it would lead to riots or worship. Rather not bring the problem to our door.”
“Wise,” Mi’low remarked sarcastically, her judgmental side-eye aimed between him and Sorren.
“Alright,” he said with a raised voice, ignoring the red-furred female to the best of his ability. “Drop off letters and lock myself in a room or something. Sounds like a plan.”
“That will not be required,” Sorren corrected with a laugh. “Though the documents confirmed a high percentile of successful bonds, there were many incompatible pairings. It is unlikely that your informant included every variation of failure, but the bond seems to be as selective as usual, just more receptive to those who meet the criteria. I would speculate that the majority of those who would bond to you by now, have. Barring the new additions, of course. I doubt you will need to worry about bonding to half a species by yourself.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” he muttered. “Okay, you’re free to go back to your work. You know who to talk to if something comes up.”
The gathering dispersed, Toril requiring Tersa to drag him by the ear before he got too distracted. Mi’low stayed behind, waiting for everyone else to leave.
“Thoughts?” he asked, glancing over at her. She shook her head as she dropped the antagonistic persona.
“Two attribute you to their religion, Toril is too interested in your species to act against your best interest, and Idee rather enjoys her time here—as well as sympathizes with your position. Tersa’s allegiance is with Toril, so she will follow him, as well as your tentative arrangement as a superior over her.”
“So, we’re good?”
“We are,” she confirmed. He looked at her for a long moment.
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Going to try and kill me again?” he questioned wryly.
The High Huntress snorted. “Unfortunately, my pack has ostensibly become yours, and with it, my fate. They would rather watch me go than follow. It seems your influence extends past our biology.”
Without an opportunity for him to ask what she meant, she headed to the exit, pausing in the doorway when he called out to her.
“Mi’low?” Her ear tipped back towards him. “Thanks. For putting yourself on the block like that. I know how risky that could have been for you.”
She afforded a single nod before letting it close behind her.
“’Past our biology’, huh?” he muttered, eyeing the empty cup on the table.
He considered bothering Tel, since she would likely offer him a distraction for a while.
Sighing at his remaining intact shoe flopping as he stepped, he decided to do exactly that.
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“How are we holding up?”
Tech leaned back in her chair, yawning widely. “Communications have been down for a while, navigation software is pointing everywhere at once, and if it wasn’t for me, everything else would be dark too.”
“All hail Tech Ops,” Comms quipped, struggling to make his system do much more than transmit static on a loop.
Willin rolled his eyes at Tech’s boasting, but she was probably right to do so. They had aligned themselves in the right direction and simply let navigation go, communications discreetly blinking out as they got close without warning. All they had left was the actual piloting and onboard support systems, both of them hanging by a thread until Tech could run diagnostics to see if she could counter them properly. She might be able to eventually, but she didn’t seem confident beyond keeping the crew mobile and alive.
“How’s it look down there?”
Nav had long since given up making sense of their controls, opting to keep watch for whatever they were approaching. Since they had gotten within visual range, they had occupied themselves using whatever scanning equipment Tech managed to keep shielded. They leaned over the readouts, brows raising before furrowing at the information.
“It appears that they have remained fairly close together. I am reading several AEC distress signatures... Why am I able to?”
Tech raised a paw. “Right here. The jamming is consistent with the United Military’s algorithms, though boosted past what we have the equipment to manage. Can’t override it for you or Comms, but it was never meant to counter the low-frequency of a distress pulse, since that would get lost in normal noise anyway. I took the liberty of limiting the scope of collected data to increase the sensitivity.”
“Not much frequency pollution on an untapped planet,” Willin remarked dryly, his screen mirroring what Nav was looking at. Thirty-eight sources, most of them repeating the initial call-signs. Two seemed to have retained some power, though not much, implying a makeshift solution. There would normally be more to glean, but the measures taken to make picking them out at all possible had stifled it.
“Orders?” Nav asked after a moment. Willin considered it, scouring the somewhat distorted visual feed.
“Let’s get closer first.”
He adjusted his uniform as they drew near, Tech frowning as more of her fail-safe measures ironically failed. Quick action saved them from listing aimlessly, but any chance of copying the survivor’s distress call faded. The AEC’s were effectively invisible until Tech had dealt with the issue preemptively, and their beacon wasn’t any stronger.
Detriment of a scout craft, he supposed. Help would have to deal with not knowing where his ship had gone until they were up to their necks in the warp-spike’s field. Hopefully, the EW fleet would manage it better.
“Just outside of atmosphere,” Nav reported, activating the scanning equipment again. Normally, it would be able to tell them everything down to the rough number of wildlife in an area, but all the interference gave them little more than confirmation that life existed
“Well, there goes any advanced recon,” Willin muttered, ignoring Comms silently debating if he should bother Tech to duplicate the feed again. Noticing, she did anyway, the male gesturing their thanks. “Tech, can you get us population density?”
“I’m good, Leader, but not that good.”
“Leader,” Nav called, highlighting a few points on the feed. Whatever it was that they were trying to show him, he didn’t see it. “These areas are likely settlements.”
“Affirmative. It is subtle, but there.”
He nodded, trusting their judgment. “Which is the largest?”
The feed zoomed in, losing most of the clarity—not that there was much to begin with. “Location coincides with an AEC still actively reporting.”
“They set up around it.”
Willin exhaled slowly. “Take us down nearby. I’d say to hide us, but that’s hard to do with open skies.”
“The planet suffers constant rain,” Tech added, her screen already reverting back to a simplistic game while she waited for someone else to need something. “We could descend under the cover of it.”
“Any idea how long?”
Her monitor flickered. “One local sun.”
“Then we spend the time gearing up,” he ordered, waving to have Nav and Comms’ screens defaulted. “You two will make sure our defence armaments ship-board are active and loaded. Tech, queue up whatever armour and equipment we might need for a diplomatic mission.”
She turned in her chair, her head tilting questioningly. “Just us?”
“Just us. We’ll want someone here to keep things warm in case we need to leave quickly. Can you get Comms’ station capable of short-wave?”
She nodded after a moment, her eyes losing focus as she consulted her implant. “We’ll lose the fabricator during, but we should have enough for life-support and in-atmosphere flight. Weapons will have to be swapped out with it too.”
The purple-furred female shrugged. “It’s that or I take down the defences and we lose it all.” She frowned at her screens. “Even this is pushing it.”
“Can you take down the purifier once we’re down there? Switch to external flow?”
“As long as you don’t mind alien air, sure. It won’t give us more to work with, but it should make it less taxing to keep what we have.”
Willin scratched at his ear. “Do it. They lived here this long, doubt we’ll join the Void breathing it too.”
He shifted his attention back to Nav. “Set course to that settlement. Keep us above the clouds until it gets bad enough to obscure us.”
Nav signalled their agreement, the scenery shifting slowly as they picked a cloud to shadow in the meantime. Comms looked at Willin expectantly, forcing him to come up with something for the male to do.
“Comms, I want you to monitor anything this place has coming in or out. Set up surveillance.”
The male raised a brow. “My systems are inoperable, Leader.”
“If you try to do anything big
, yes,” Willin corrected. “Just keep us informed if something goes through. We don’t need to know what
happened, just that it did
“Keeping track of possible communications between settlements?”
Willin bobbed his head to the side. “Whatever we learn, it’s more than we know.”
“Understood. I will try to arrange a passive probe.”
The group set about their tasks as he brought up a still-frame of the settlement Nav spotted. It was blocky, blurry, and the chromatic aberration on the edges hurt to look at, but it was a settlement. A large AEC surrounded by silver constructions, all laid out in a slightly haphazard way. He couldn’t judge it too harshly, however. There was a method to the madness. Narrow pathways hidden between dens, each leading to the AEC like a system of routes for select Lilhuns to reach anywhere they may be needed as quickly as possible.
The AEC itself seemed modified, large solar panels placed where a solid hull would be expected, the semi-transparent material likely acting to illuminate the interior. Many of the buildings around it were larger than those beyond, some appearing to be two or three levels.
From sheer volume of dens, Willin figured this was a contender for the largest settlement. His best estimate placed the number of inhabitants in the range of three hundred or so. If the other settlements were even close, then the initial guess of a thousand survivors was woefully short.
That made things complicated, yet so much simpler.
He awaited the distant storm clouds rolling over the landscape, thankful Tech had prioritized the water-proof gear.
He hated being soaked.
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20, never had a job, didn't do school, don't know how to drive etc.
I'm 20, I've never had a job I've just ran up my mom's credit card 15,000 dollars in debt over the past 1 1/2 years, I don't know how to drive and don't have a car (my mom refuses to teach me/let me drive her car), I was taken out of school halfway through 4th grade and my moms plan was to homeschool me but we didn't, I have a pretty low education. I don't really see why I need a job besides to financially pay my mom back because I don't really have any life ambitions at the moment. I've never had a girlfriend and have had literally no friends at all since I was 11 years old. I have pretty bad Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD, and mild Tourettes which doesn't help me have discipline. How can I quit spending my mom's money, break bad habits and maybe get a job?
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I think the angels had a real shot to keep shohei coming into the year, maybe even were the low key front runner despite what the media said…. But I think shohei’s getting traded. Or has firmly made up his mind to leave. Something. Some kind of significant decision, whether it was made by ownership or shohei, was made in the last two weeks.
Something just seems to have changed this last week. Shohei just doesn’t seem as present as usual, he’s kinda blatantly half assed some sprints to first (I get he’s TWP but that’s just unlike him). His natural competitive demeanor just hasn’t quite been there, and i know he’s slumping a little, but I’ve seen him slump way harder and longer and remain staunchly in phased before.
Who knows? Maybe he was actually told he wasn’t being traded when he thought he was. Could be anything… maybe it’s just a long season, and I’m overthinking it. I just… as an avid shohei guy, and by extension kind of an angels fan, wanted to express this intuition I’ve had the last few days.
Ashlee Figueroa of Lake Worth Florida has told everyone and their mother how bad she just wanted a baby. Her ex bf/ fiance whose an engineer and loved her and treated her great was finally ready to start a family and get married to her after 5.5 years together after a good new job. He just wanted to save up money for a few weeks/month so he'd be in a good position to support her and the future family they were planning like any normal responsible adult. Over the years Ashlee became more and more obsessive and developed a severe obsessive compulsive disorder about having a baby even getting a job at a fertility clinic and saying that she was going to get a donor to get pregnant which seemed like a joke but she became more and more inpatient saying her eggs might run out by age 35 which is extremely uncommon.
The week her ex bf that she "loved more than anything" started his new job she said she was going to go back to her parents house for 2-3 months because she was home sick and needed to help them out but assured her bf that she didn't want to breakup and she'd be moving back in soon.. Ashlee still spoke / facetimed her bf all day everyday saying she loved him more than anything still and still planned on getting married.. After 3 months and a few more months went by she kept making up excuses why she hasn't moved back yet but assured her bf they were still good and she was coming back soon..
Until one day her ex bf/ fiance of 6 years found out she's been pregnant the whole time she was down there!! Within a week and a half she forced a scumbag that stole money from his grandmom then broke her ribs after, beat up his father, and punched his gf a year prior swelling her eye shut and bleeding into getting her pregnant the first time they were together. Her obsession compulsive disorder got so bad she became so inpatient she couldn't wait a month a month and a half tops for her bf to save some money and stooped so low and got pregnant by one of the worst people possible, she probably would of let a homeless man knock her up if she had that opportunity first.. But she had to pick someone desperate enough to knock up a girl on the first date and given his past history on keeping girls around he was a perfect target.
She was so impacted by her disorder that she kept lying to her bf for months bc she did love him but just was fiending a baby even though she cannot financially support it and its completely wrong to put an innocent child in that type of situation. She deleted all her social media because she didn't want the dude and his family and everyone else know that she was currently in a long term serious relationship so they wouldn't say that it was wrong or stop her from having the baby.
When her bf found out she still tried to lie multiple times until the gig was up, she tried to say she was drunk and it was a mistake and hoped something bad happened so she wouldn't have it but didn't get plan B , an abortion, or use protection , and not let someone nut in her. She didn't want to seem like the biggest POS she is that needs serious help and needs to reevaluate her life.
But now that she got her baby fix, she has instant karma bc now shes stuck with a low life she doesn't like but needs to force herself to pretend to like him and most likely get beat up by him sooner or later and be left alone. And she found out her ex bf bought an expensive engagement ring for her and saved up enough for them for a down payment on a house when she could of had her bfs kid a month or 2 later lol.
It is truly a sad situation for everyone involved and goes to show how serious certain mental disorders can be if left untreated and end up ruining your life and losing everything you love. Hopefully she sees someone and gets some help.
But this post is just so no one else can get caught up in the same situation by her and end up getting hurt and having a child with someone who will fake liking you just to get a child. Her ex bf was contacted by 3 different people when they started dating trying to warn him that Ashlee was a major whore, but he believed her and took her side when in reality they were unsung heroes trying to help out.
Women using men these days is getting more and more prevalent and people have to start being more and more careful to not end up in a situation like this and waste years of your life or have child with someone that doesn't care for you. Ashlee Figueroa is pure evil so make sure you stay away.
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