Smeg coffee maker instructions

It's American Press Coffee & Tea Maker Brew Guides & Stories

2016.09.11 20:48 qwidjib0 It's American Press Coffee & Tea Maker Brew Guides & Stories

A home base for sharing brewing tips, recipes and stories about making coffee and tea with our new way to brew, the American Press.

2023.05.30 06:12 Sudden-Tumbleweed-19 Creswick [AU], Le Peche Gourmand, Barista/FOH all rounder

Are you passionate about Coffee, Customer Service and croissants?
We are looking for a passionate hospitality professional to join a comitted team of people who pride themselves on delivering outstanding products to our customers in a fast manner , a very organised & energetic mature person to make coffee, serving customers and general duties at a high standard. Ideally, you will have a minimum 4 years hospitality experience in a similar environment and be passionate about customer service, food & coffee. Barista experience in a fast paced high end establishment is a must. We are looking for someone that is keen to learn but also brings their experience, their coffee and customer service skills. You will get all your evenings and 2 weeks off at Christmas, work with an awesome team, and a new MODBAR coffee machine. Skills and Experience : Demonstrated full time experience as barista within a fast paced, premium establishment (min 2 years); Strong and proven work ethic in similar role; High volume experience being able to work on multiple orders at once; Excellent time management skills and the ability to stay calm under pressure; Good at cash handling and multi tasking in general; Outgoing personality and genuine interest in the day to day operations; Excellent attention to detail & ability to follow instructions; Exceptional presentation and grooming; Able and willing to work weekend, public holiday, opening and closing shift; Flexibility in early start (6am) and weekends required; Full Australian working rights
Apply here
submitted by Sudden-Tumbleweed-19 to baristajobs [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:17 DimRags [F4F] longterm plots

Hello there (general kenobiiii)-
Good morning, afternoon, or evening reader. Im seeking a long term partner for some lesbian romance plots I have. Please dm me with the plot you’d like to play, any ideas you might have, and ect…
What I’d like in a partner -20+ -likes to chat ooc and brainstorm -willing to keep an open dialogue and let me know whenever they need a break (or will not be able to respond for a period of time) -creative and at least semi literate. -The password is Coffee, people with the password in their message will get a response much faster.
1) Riptide This plot takes place in the small costal town of Rozwell, Washington State (not a real town). Muse A has lived there her whole life, she’s never left, not once. She wants to be free but she’s afraid of taking the first step forward, she lives with her dad and spends a lot of time on the beach. Surfing is her only escape from a boring world. Muse B recently moved into town and doesn’t plan on staying for long, but while she’s there she builds a relationship with muse A. While B is the trouble maker, the storm that leaves a mess wherever she goes, Muse A is the storm rod. Will the two run away together?
2) Supernatural NightVeil is what some would call a sleeping city, it has an air of tiredness throughout. There’s something just not.. right there. The supernatural and the waking world intersect in the city and it leads to some odd situations. Most of the humans don’t know about the supernatural, but those who are truly awake are apart of a different society within the city. The sleepwalkers, humans who can knowingly interact with the supernatural. (Open for many ideas and proposals)
3) Hollow (Inspired by Cyberpunk 2077 and edge runners) It’s plot takes place in the future, the year is 2060 and the world is in the beginning age of cyberpunk. This is when legends are born, muse A is seeking that level of greatness. They want to be a legend. While muse B has seen a thing or two, they know stories like muse A usually fizzle out but this time, they feel like something is different. How will things go?
4) the Angel and the Demon A classic Romeo and Juliet, a forbidden attraction as an Angel and Demon fell in love. The Angel was then tossed from heaven after being discovered, her fall left her injured and memories gone. The Demon tried to make things work but they couldn’t approach the Angel due to a curse from heaven.
Years passed and curse faded, the demon could finally approach the now fallen Angel but she doesn’t remember her. Now the demon would have to rebuild their relationship from the beginning.
5) Coffee Shop Muse A owns a coffee shop that muse B frequents, Muse B is a new musician and struggling to find her footing but sometimes plays at the cafe. (Im looking for either a sub and moon relationship or a chill slow burn rp with cute moments).
Im also open to other plots, please dm me if interested.
submitted by DimRags to DiscordRP [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:17 DimRags [F4F] seeking long term partner

Hello there (general kenobiiii)-
Good morning, afternoon, or evening reader. Im seeking a long term partner for some lesbian romance plots I have. Please dm me with the plot you’d like to play, any ideas you might have, and ect…
What I’d like in a partner -20+ -likes to chat ooc and brainstorm -willing to keep an open dialogue and let me know whenever they need a break (or will not be able to respond for a period of time) -creative and at least semi literate. -The password is Coffee, people with the password in their message will get a response much faster.
1) Riptide This plot takes place in the small costal town of Rozwell, Washington State (not a real town). Muse A has lived there her whole life, she’s never left, not once. She wants to be free but she’s afraid of taking the first step forward, she lives with her dad and spends a lot of time on the beach. Surfing is her only escape from a boring world. Muse B recently moved into town and doesn’t plan on staying for long, but while she’s there she builds a relationship with muse A. While B is the trouble maker, the storm that leaves a mess wherever she goes, Muse A is the storm rod. Will the two run away together?
2) Supernatural NightVeil is what some would call a sleeping city, it has an air of tiredness throughout. There’s something just not.. right there. The supernatural and the waking world intersect in the city and it leads to some odd situations. Most of the humans don’t know about the supernatural, but those who are truly awake are apart of a different society within the city. The sleepwalkers, humans who can knowingly interact with the supernatural. (Open for many ideas and proposals)
3) Hollow (Inspired by Cyberpunk 2077 and edge runners) It’s plot takes place in the future, the year is 2060 and the world is in the beginning age of cyberpunk. This is when legends are born, muse A is seeking that level of greatness. They want to be a legend. While muse B has seen a thing or two, they know stories like muse A usually fizzle out but this time, they feel like something is different. How will things go?
4) the Angel and the Demon A classic Romeo and Juliet, a forbidden attraction as an Angel and Demon fell in love. The Angel was then tossed from heaven after being discovered, her fall left her injured and memories gone. The Demon tried to make things work but they couldn’t approach the Angel due to a curse from heaven.
Years passed and curse faded, the demon could finally approach the now fallen Angel but she doesn’t remember her. Now the demon would have to rebuild their relationship from the beginning.
5) Coffee Shop Muse A owns a coffee shop that muse B frequents, Muse B is a new musician and struggling to find her footing but sometimes plays at the cafe. (Im looking for either a sub and moon relationship or a chill slow burn rp with cute moments).
Im also open to other plots, please dm me if interested.
submitted by DimRags to RoleplayPartnerSearch [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:07 measkingstrangers My parents won't let me go on a 3-day theme park trip with my friends (24F)

Things to keep in mind:
  1. Okay so my group of friends is composed of 6 people: 4 women and 2 men. From this group there are two couples who have been dating for 7-8 years, so that leaves 2 of the women (me and my other friend) single. This is relevant information, I promise.
  2. I am 24F, live with my parents. But I'm studying an MBA (that my parents are not paying for), I have a full-time job, and I pay for all of my expenses (except house expenses, BUT I have offered to help and my parents said that it wasn't necessary.
  3. I have never been a trouble maker, never snuck out of my house, or done anything illegal.
  4. Most of the approach for this situation has been with my dad because my mom doesn't even listen to what I have to say which often results in her leaving the room mid conversation.
Ok, onto the story:
So our friend group planned a trip to a theme park that is 3 hours away from where we all live. The plan is to leave this next Friday afternoon, arrive at the city (LA) sleep the night at one of our friends grandparents house, go to the theme park the next day, and return to our city on Sunday. The sleeping arrangement at our friends grandparents house would be girls with girls, and boys with boys. So believe me, there is supervision.
Now, I have very strict and conservative parents. So when we first came up with the plan, I told my parents about it, and they said they would talk about it. I asked for an update to my dad later that week, and he said that my mom didn't like the idea. The next day I asked my mom if I could go, and she said no; when I asked why, she said that she didn't know my friends grandparents, the details of the trip, or really anything. I proceeded to give her all of the details, and she still said no. Later that day, when my dad came home we talked about the situation, and at the end I asked them if this meant I couldn't go, To which my mom said "Yes, do whatever you want" and my dad said "No, yes you can go." I then told my friends we could proceed with the plan, and purchase the tickets ($149 each).
A few days later, my friends and I met at a coffee shop to talk over the details, and when I got home I told my dad about how we were all excited, to which he gave me a confused face and told me that him and my mom had already said I couldn't go. I was confused, and told him that they said yes the last time I asked and that I had already purchased and paid for my ticket. He said he didn't know anymore and he would talk to my mom about it once more.
Yesterday my dad told me he would talk to me about this today (I assumed a negotiation kind-of conversation?)
Fast-forward to today (the trip is happening this Friday) they said I can't go. From what my sister told me, my dad asked one last time my mom "What do I tell her (me)?", and she responded "That she can't go".
They have not told me yet, but I am beyond angry. I've saved every detail with them about the trip, even a friend called my dad to let her know that they've stayed there before, and that it is safe, and that if they even wanted to, my parents could meet my friends grandparents through a phone call. I have shared the address of where I am staying at, and it is still not enough.
I don not know what to do. I know that I am an adult, but to their eyes I am a daughter that lives with her parents, that it is not seeing correctly for me to sleep in other places (their words, not mine). My dad also told me that they've "always done everything in their power to protect me and keep me away from danger; and that it appears to be that the moment I start earning my own money I do everything and go against everything they taught me and done to protect me."
This is not true, this would be my first "trip" without my parents in my entire life. And again I have never been a trouble maker.
Please help me, I do not know how to respectfully convince them, because I know that I can't just leave or else they do the cold shoulder to me for God-knows how many days. :/ Also if I leave without their "green light" I know that I'll just be anxious the whole time knowing that my parents would be ignoring me or not talking to me or angry.
submitted by measkingstrangers to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:32 FriendlyGraysonAllen It should become a more normal thing for MLB teams to have espresso machines/coffee makers in the dugout.

I know it happened during the WBC and became a meme but it should be more normalized, at all levels. People chew seeds during the game so why not sip a latte when you’re in the hole or on the bench. It energizes players and boosts morale, I wish it was the norm at all levels from middle school hall to MLB
submitted by FriendlyGraysonAllen to baseball [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:12 algorthin To the dasher Jordan who delivered Sonic to an apartment in central CT yesterday

(I didn’t know what to flair this I’m sorry.)
You were amazing and really gave the day a brighter note.
I don’t know exactly why the 6 dashers before you unassigned. I don’t know if it was something I did, or if Sonic was being slow. Because I go to that Sonic in person too, and they’re fucking slow. I hadn’t contacted any of the other dashers and I thought $10 tip on a $40 order was okay. I tend to ramble, and did so in the delivery instructions, because this apartment complex is a little confusing if you’re not familiar. So I might have seemed crazy, and I am kind of crazy, but I’m not mean without a reason. I try to follow the policy “Do no harm but take no shit.”
I’ve hit hard times, I am disabled and at the end of the month lately, because food costs have gone up and my EBT has gone down, sometimes I don’t have food or money. This weekend I was catsitting at my friend’s apartment. I had last eaten on Wednesday, and all shr had in the apartment was coffee, 2 different types of diet coke, and sauces. Now Sunday, my blood sugar was low. I could barely walk, and actually passed out and fell down the stairs earlier that day (I’m fine). The reason I came down in advance was because stairs take me a while and I didn’t want to make you wait. My friend paid me yesterday evening for catsitting so I immediately ordered food.
And then I watched for like 45 minutes (might be wrong about the time, I was very hungry) while 6 dashers took my order and eventually unassigned. I don’t know whether you were going to stick with the order regardless or if you took pity on me, but either way I really appreciate you delivering my food and generally being nice. Honestly highlight of the last week. I wish I had the means to tip you more than I did. I hope it wasn’t too much a burden for you.
Sidenote that is only tangentially related, and it’s not relevant to any of you, but I lack real world human interaction and the floodgates can only hold so much. I tried a chili dog for the first time. It was one of the worst things I’ve eaten, and I had to break myself of a habit of eating packing peanuts because as a child I suffered from pica (if anyone else is struggling with compulsively eating packing peanuts: open up a bag of puffy cheetos and let them get stale. they taste and feel the same). Regardless I am glad I had the ability to try something new.
submitted by algorthin to doordash [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:04 heli_elf_CC The worst I ever had (now it’s funny)

Now it’s funny. I hope everyone struggling with their horrible roommates can read this, laugh and know that there’s light at the end of the filthy dish tunnel.
So I lived in a rural-ish western US town, had just left my fiancé and was desperate for anywhere to live. I loved my job and couldn’t get relocated for another 6 months and needed to find a way to make it work. Que L as I’ll call her. L had a room for rent on a beautiful property with one other roommate. L is very pretty and a type 1 con artist. Other roommate, we’ll call her A was real cool and in the same boat as me, needed housing in a town where it’s almost impossible to come by. L rented the house from a millionaire who liked to play cowboy, was only there in the summer sometimes, and had a huge house on the property while our house was a double wide loosely attached to a foundation. She got a good deal because she boarded her horse there and fed his 10 (shit you not) 10 horses/ mules. This often turned into my job but that comes later. L was the main tenant so I paid her for electricity and internet which regularly got shut off. I had to put my debit card on file with the power company just to keep the heat on because the temps often dropped below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. She was a dog traine boarder (and a crap one) so there was always her two dogs, her cat, and sometimes my dog (I split time with him with my ex) and sometimes upwards of 9 other dogs she was charging people to care for (while still getting the power shut of every month). In the year I lived there she got another cat and bought her boyfriend a puppy that lived with us. Literally lived in an animal house. First strike, every bit of grey water plumbing came up through a nasty old jacuzzi in the basement. When the drains clogged the basement flooded. I travel for 2+ weeks at a time for work and came home to an absolutely wretched smell. I went down to the basement and dealt with it with a shopvac, rug doctor and muck boots, contacted the landlord and at least made him pay for rotorooter and her response was “it was just too overwhelming for me to handle”. I leave on another 2 week assignment and once I get back she IS CHARGING HER FRIEND to live in said moldy wet basement with 2 more dogs. I had to fix this problem with the drain multiple times. It gets worse before it gets worse. My coffee maker is part of my morning routine, not abnormal right? Well she filled it with milk. Still gets worse. I picked up my dog for the winter (my job is very seasonal) and last minute got called on one last assignment we didn’t expect, no one else could take him so I begged L to take care of him for a few days (I was gone for 5) and paid her. She tied my dog to tree for 8hours by a pronged shock collar and a bark collar and he escaped with massive cuts on his neck from the prongs. He his not shock collar trained mind you. L asked me to pay the vet bills. I refused after I found out what she did to him. Later that winter I fractured my spine and she asked me “not to cry so loud because her cat is in heat”. She also yelled at my dad when he helped me move to pet her cat. I can’t make this shit up. There was also the endless kitchen and animal filth, plenty of landlord shaming that needed to happen and cat feces galore. She wanted to be on the bachelor (legit came to our town) till she met some poor fool on tinder and played the born again Christian game.
Someone married and had two kids with this chick. I only ever hear from her when she wants money for an MLM or her fraud non profit. I’m now in another beautiful mountain town with a 2 bedroom cabin to myself so I hope all y’all with shit roommates end up on the other side too.
Cheers and hope you all had a rage laugh. She is one of the top 5 worst people I’ve ever met and I was joking about her today after a few beers and decided to let er buck.
submitted by heli_elf_CC to badroommates [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 02:57 ilovecheesebread Coffee is life, and frugality makes it taste even better!

I have been using the same cheap silicone fold up camping pour-over coffee maker for almost 10 years now, ever since my last coffee machine died. I think it was $8. Boiling water, paper filter, grounds, mug = surprisingly excellent coffee.
As a frugal bonus, if you fold the regular cheap filters into a triangle, you don't have to buy the more expensive cone-shaped filters.
submitted by ilovecheesebread to Frugal [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 02:50 Low-Ad-9895 Well, here it is...

I've been struggling with how to handle my alcoholic brother. He spent decades sober, but he was a dry drunk, only attending AA meetings sporadically.
He never addressed his underlying issues. He has what the AA crowd likes to call "terminal uniqueness." He's convinced that he's special, that no one can possibly understand him or his big, brainy thoughts, or how much he suffers just from grappling with existing in this world.
He's a classic case of arrested development. Though he's in his 50's, he acts more like a teenager than an adult.
He is the most stubborn, uncompromising person I've ever met. Any relationship with him has to be on his terms. He will not allow you to have an expectation of him, ever. He commits to nothing and goes for long stretches without returning calls or texts.
He'd treated my wife so badly when I was first married, that I hadn't spoken to him for years, but I tenuously patched up the relationship for the sake of my parents. He began to treat my wife with at least some measure of courtesy, but never apologized for his previous behavior. He never apologizes for anything.
A few years ago, he called me at midnight and said he'd just returned from the ER--liver and kidney problems from drinking hard daily for two years.
After decades, he'd fallen off the wagon. I wasn't surprised, frankly. He never seemed well despite his long sobriety.
Then he dropped the next bombshell. My dad was living in filth and hoarding mail so badly that it was floor to ceiling in the place where he lived alone. My brother lived within walking distance of his place, but hadn't informed me until now.
I'd known my dad's memory was slipping, as he would visit regularly, but he didn't like me visiting his "craphole" so I had no idea what the condition of his place was or that this was another effect of what I now realized was dementia.
Even though my brother had been sober for a few weeks, I talked my dad into signing over the power of attorney to me, then promptly took him to a geriatric doctor who diagnosed him with Alzheimer's. I then convinced him to move into a facility near me dangling my kids, his grandkids, in front of him as bait.
During this process I was undermined by my mother, who lives with my brother and is his chief enabler. She and my brother insisted that my dad didn't need care and argued for him to continue living alone.
I got no help from them in transitioning my father, other than my brother helping clean out his place with me. At every step they second guessed my decisions and insisted that I didn't understand or respect my father's feelings. Apparently, they thought since I was dealing with the reality of the situation pragmatically, it meant I didn't care about my dad or love him.
Neither of them bothered to educate themselves about Alzheimer's. Despite my coaching on how to handle him, they consistently engaged with my dad in ways that undermined me--telling him he was perfectly capable of driving, for example, after I took his car. (He would have killed himself and/or others.)
Then my brother started drinking again. Even though I was the decision maker for my dad, I would call or text him regarding his health or any decisions I'd made. These calls and texts would go unanswered. Weeks for months later he would suddenly learn about one of these changes or decisions I'd made, then call me with demands, questions, and emotional outbursts.
He'd ignore my dad for months, sober up for a few weeks, then go on a spree of visits, texting us pictures and descriptions of their time together expecting a pat on the back. Usually these visits would have the added effect of making my life harder, as he'd say or do things that would set my dad off or contradict something I'd told my dad. (As Alzheimer's progresses, sometimes you need to tell the sufferer white lies about things to avoid never-ending arguments about the things they think they're still capable of doing.)
This last time, my brother went on an 8 month bender, then suddenly and without consulting me, showed up at my dad's facility with my mom to take him to dinner. This, after ignoring ignoring all communication from me for months.
The problem was that I'd left explicit instructions with the staff that no one leaves with my father from the facility but me. This is because his Alzheimer's had progressed to the point where he was very difficult to manage in public.
So I got a call AT WORK from the facility wanting to know what to do with my brother who'd suddenly shown up and was trying to leave with my father. My brother was also blowing up my phone, but not leaving messages
I didn't know if he was sober. I was in the middle of something at work that I couldn't drop. My dad was expecting to leave for dinner and I knew that if I prevented that, all hell would break loose with my dad. Oh, and I'd be blamed as the decision maker.
So I told them to let them go, but only this once and i'd deal with it later.
Thanks a lot, bro.
I'm still not sure it was the right decision. I was rushed into it by circumstances and not thinking straight.
I found out later that my brother was also blowing up my wife's phone as she was meeting with a client, but also not leaving a message or texting to her the nature of what it was he wanted. She texted him asking what was going on and heard nothing back.
Later he called her asking why he wasn't allowed to leave with my dad. My wife told him bluntly that the Alzheimer's had progressed and he'd know that if he ever bothered to return calls or read texts. He had no memory of any of my calls or texts, or so he claimed.
My wife said, yes because you were drunk every day.
And he said to her, proudly as if he deserved praise, "Well, I'm sober now."
Oh, great. What a hero. You stayed sober like an adult for a few weeks. And yet you still managed to create chaos in my life with your thoughtless, selfish behavior. Good job, superstar.
She told him that he needed to call me and get updated on my dad, how to handle him, and everything else he'd missed when he'd been drinking. Then she gave him a list of good times to get ahold of me.
It's been a week. Guess what?
He hasn't bothered.
Guys, I'm DONE.
I refuse to call him. My wife says I should, just to avoid any more situations like the last one, but I absolutely refuse to be the one reaching out yet again.
This has gone on long enough. So what's going to happen is that if he tries to leave with my dad again, I'm going to legally bar him from visiting him ever again.
Which I have the power to do.
And that will be that. Problem solved.
If he isn't man enough and adult enough to call me in order to go about this process properly--if he doesn't love my dad enough to stay updated on his condition and how he's doing, then he doesn't deserve to see him anyway.
I'm sick of him creating problems for me.
The only thing I'm contemplating now is whether or not I'll take his phone call when it happens and bother explaining it to him.
I probably won't. I don't care what he does any longer. I don't care how he feels, whether he's drunk or sober or what happens to him.
submitted by Low-Ad-9895 to AlAnon [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 02:13 JX1640z Windows 7 still running halfway through 2023 on my XPS 15 7590

submitted by JX1640z to windows7 [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 01:35 Embarrassed-Pay-3531 AITA for planning on moving out of my apartment even though my current roommate and I agreed to stay for two years?

I’m coming here because I need some clarity. I’ve been told by some friends that it is wrong of me to leave her in the dust… but I’m really not. We just moved in together 3 months ago and I’m telling her soon I just need help. I can clarify more on a back story with everything but I’ll do a quick rundown on why. My roommate us 19 female and I’m 18 female, we worked hard to get into here, as well as my mom. My mom has her credit on the line. My roommate I’ll call her purple, she has a dog who she refuses to train, and constantly uses the bathroom in the apartment, she won’t take him out regularly. Her dog also has chewed up many of my items along with a teddy bear my little brother gave me. She has shown no remorse for any of those things, even though I have sat her down many times and I’ve tried to talk to her. She doesn’t pick up after herself as well. I’ve asked her many times to help out or even we can switch chores and days to clean. As long as it gets cleaned and she refuses also, she says she can because of her depression. Which she didn’t have until I started going to therapy because of my own personal reasons and issues. She has had parties here even though before we agreed I told her I don’t want parties here, we live on the second floor in an apartment complex, and I’ve explained I have some trauma connected to drinking and really drunk people. She crossed those boundaries many times, and didn’t even clean up the party mess. There was cigarettes all over the apartment, there was one in my coffee maker… She also invades my privacy and steals my clothes and shoes without asking. I’ve gotten back stained and ruined clothes, shoes that are destroyed, etc. she also gets upset when I go to the gym and I eat healthy because she said it triggers her body dysmorphia and it makes her feel bad about herself. She makes fun of me for cooking, or going to bed early etc. I’ve talked to her about all of this and she doesn’t care. She will say I’m sorry but she still does all of it. Also her dog has peed on my cat
submitted by Embarrassed-Pay-3531 to TwoHotTakes [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 00:18 KitTripRunner Weird question but what appliances do you use the most/is in sight and which appliances get stored away?

(To have a body text) I have my coffee maker, air fryer, and (edit crock pot..not Crack pot) out. The only other appliance I have is a juicer which has been tucked away for a while.
submitted by KitTripRunner to cookingforbeginners [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 23:55 SabbyOfSableWine An alien + human adventure with such shenanigans as poison drinking, befriending dangerous wildlife, and fighting a space pirate. Oh, and they have a huge crush on each other.

I've been having so much fun with this little story. Here's part one if you'd like to read it in its entirety! Alien learns what "sleep" is and how humans prefer to do it in a comfy bed with blankets and pillows. And they find it utterly adorable.
To summarize:
Vr'ocria and Human Aldrick were sent on a survey mission together. Things went south, Aldrick made sure they were safe, and then Vr'ocria learned what human sleep is and how vulnerable humans are when they sleep. Vr'ocria's people don't sleep, but enter stasis, a form of rest in which they typically stand, and they are still slightly aware of their surroundings. Vr'ocria finds human sleep utterly adorable, and also decided she would protect Aldrick while he slept. And she also developed a massive crush on him. (Her scales turning purple is her version of blushing)
Vr’ocria ran the engine diagnostic again, and again it came back inconclusive. She slammed her fist on the dusty controls. “Blasted thing.” Of course she got stuck with the rusty, crusty old shuttle pod that no one else wanted. Why did these things always happen to her? She just wanted to do her job!
Not for the first time, she wished she had Human Aldrick for company.
It had been two moon cycles since Vr’ocria had last seen Aldrick. They’d only served on the one away mission together, and once they returned to the ship, they’d been sent their separate ways. They worked in separate departments, after all.
But that didn’t stop her from missing him. She’d only spent a few solar cycles with him, but somehow was already totally enamored by the human–the human who was supposed to be a terrifying, dangerous, nearly indestructible monster.
Vr'ocria had met a handful of humans during her service, and they were all polite enough. But Aldrick was the first human she'd ever spent any extended alone time with. It was on that away mission that Vr’ocria learned what “sleep” was: The human form of rest in which the human becomes completely unconscious, and thus, totally defenseless. Something about learning humans were even able of being defenseless at all, much less in such a complete way, had changed her entire perspective on them. She’d grown up always being told to fear the humans, the wild, indestructible humans.
She had been nervous enough to quake in her scales, but he was nothing but kind to her. And when she saw him sleep for the first time–planets, what a blasted cutie. During their few cycles together, she always stood by him when he slept and she went into stasis. Her people were still slightly aware of their surroundings while in stasis, so she would be able to protect him if there was danger.
She couldn’t help but worry about him ever since they separated. Who was going to keep watch while he slept? What if something happened, what if there was an ambush or a ship malfunction and he couldn’t wake up fast enough? She wanted to be there for him…
Vr’ocria cringed at the memory of when she asked her nestmate, Galek, about human mating rituals.
“You want to mate him? Are you insane?
"No! I mean–well…" Vr'ocria reminded herself to keep her voice down; Aldrick was still sleeping in the next room. "I…Galek, listen–"
"He's a human!" Even through the communicator, she could hear his scales snap. "He's dangerous!"
"He's nice! When the away mission went wrong he made sure we were safe and–" her voice caught when she remembered the way Aldrick strolled fearlessly through a thunderstorm, one warm hand gripping her wrist, unflinching at every thunderclap and lightning strike in the sky that rattled her to her core, as he led them to a cave for shelter.
Galek sighed. "Vr'ocria, let it go. We are not compatible with humans, they do things differently anyway. They don't mate."
Vr'ocria stilled. "They don't?"
"No. Well, kind of? Ugh, why am I even telling you this…"
"Because I'm your favorite nestmate," Vr'ocria grinned.
"Shut up." There was no bite to his words. "Anyway, what I mean is that humans usually court each other first, and then mate. I think they call it 'marriage.' But that's all I know."
She hummed in thought. "This is good to know."
"Vr'ocria, I mean it." Galek was back in protective-nestmate-mode. "Drop it, it's a terrible idea. Humans are…it's just a bad idea, okay?"
"I'm not gonna do anything," she mumbled.
And what if he doesn't even like me anyway?
Her scales faded to a faint red and her shoulders slumped at the thought. Back in the present, she absent-mindedly flicked through the controls on the cracked panel in front of her. Maybe Galek was right, and she should just stay away from Aldrick altogether.
“Agent Vr’ocria, report.”
Vr’ocria jumped at the tinny voice that suddenly filled the cabin. She pressed the comm button. “Commander, this pod is–” she stopped herself from using a few choice words– “in a state of engine malfunction. I can’t even diagnose a problem. I’m not going anywhere in this thing.”
”Stand by.”
Vr’ocria drummed her fingers on the consol.
”Agent Vr’ocria, you’ve been reassigned to shuttle pod Delta. You will join a crewmate there.”
That’s right, Delta was a two-person pod. She groaned inwardly at the prospect of working with someone else in such a cramped space.
Vr’ocria tried not to drag her feet as she approached the Delta pod. The loading door was already open, and she climbed inside. “Hello? I’ve been re–”
She turned towards the cockpit, and her scales flashed to purple in record time. “Aldrick?”
The human was beaming as he maneuvered through the tight space to approach her. “It’s so good to see you again!”
“What are you doing here?” she asked, silently urging her scales to go back to green. “Aren’t you in engineering?”
He shrugged, suddenly looking everywhere except her face. “I uh...I asked to be transferred to the survey department.”
His cheeks turned pink. They seemed to do that a lot. Vr’ocria really needed to ask the ship’s doctor if that was normal for humans or if he was getting sick. “Engineering just wasn’t doing it for me, y’know? Needed a change of pace. I volunteered for that one survey mission and it turns out I liked it, so why not try it full time?" He turned back towards the cockpit. “We should get going! I think this mission is gonna be more fun than the last one. The planet we've been assigned has a more stable atmosphere, so fewer storms."
So she and Aldrick would be working together, alone, again. Vr'ocria swallowed hard before following him to the cockpit. Oh, planets, why did these things always happen to her?

The trip to planet Theta-7 was quiet. Aldrick occasionally tried to engage her in conversation, but Vr'ocria pretended to be engrossed in her file pad. Guilt prodded her spine with every one-word answer and noncommittal grunt, but she was determined to keep her distance. Aldrick eventually fell quiet, and her scales nearly curled in on themselves in shame.
She avoided looking in his direction, but she still heard the sound of his canteen unscrewing and the slosh of liquid as he took a sip. Her nostrils flared at the odd, bitter-sable scent.
When she realized she recognized the smell, her eyes blew wide and she whirled to face him, dropping her pad. "What are you doing?" She nearly shrieked.
Aldrick lowered the canteen from his lips, looking startled. "Uh…drinking my coffee?"
"Coffee?" Another foreign word. "That's remfrylie! It's a deadly poison!" Her blood was rushing through her veins so fast she feared her scales would start to swell.
Aldrick laughed.
Her scales turned yellow and stood on end. "What is this?" She asked indignantly.
"I'm so sorry, Vr'ocria," he rubbed his eyes, still chortling. "I forgot, I should've warned you–humans call remfrylie 'coffee.' It's a beverage, we drink it. The caffeine in it gives us a boost of energy."
She stared at him.
As if making a point, he took another big gulp from the canteen, and smiled at her. "See? Totally fine."
Slowly, her blood slowed and her scales laid back down. But there was still a thrill of fear deep inside her–she'd become so enamored with him that she'd forgotten how dangerous he was. Drinking pure poison? Just for a boost of energy?
She turned away, embarrassed, a little afraid, and a little angry at him for scaring her like that. She bent over to pick up her pad from where it fell at her feet and went back to mindlessly flicking through her files.
Fabric rustled as Aldrick shifted in the seat next to her. "Hey," he said softly, "I really am sorry for scaring you. I didn't mean to do that."
"It's okay." Her voice was clipped and short.
Aldrick was quiet for a moment. "Is everything okay?" He asked slowly. "Have I…I mean, have I done something to offend you? I'm really sorry if–"
Guilt washed over her again. "No, no you haven't done anything." She finally looked over and tried for a weak smile. Now that she was actually looking at him, she could see the way he'd turned his whole body to face her, his fingers fidgeting at the edge of his seat and his warm brown eyes filled with worry.
Oh, that's right, humans had color in their eyes. Her people only had large black pupils, but humans had pupils with–what's the word–an "iris." She'd seen humans with brightly colored irises before, and while she found them beautiful, they also freaked her out. It was just so very strange.
But Aldrick's eyes…
The brown was a little closer to her own black, making them feel more familiar. In the tiny, cramped cabin, she realized that this was the first time she'd ever gotten a chance to really study his eyes up close. The brown seemed to swirl, and she noticed that there were layers of shades and colors floating around his pupils. And when natural light from a sun shining through the window hit them just right–
Aldrick cleared his throat awkwardly and turned to face forwards again. "Looks like we're here."
Vr'ocria looked forward and saw Theta-7's solar system quickly approaching. Oh, right. They had a mission to do.

Theta-7 was warm, just how she liked it. The sand, not so much. She tightened her boot laces twice to keep sand from finding its way inside.
The mission, thankfully, went smoothly. Walk, scan, record. Walk, scan, record. Being out in the field was different from working aboard the ship like she usually did, but she found she enjoyed it. With the agreeable weather, she quite liked the peaceful repetitiveness of the work.
Although, things were still awkward between her and Aldrick. She fought the urge to make excuses to drift away from him–since it was just the two of them, they needed to remain within eyesight of each other in case anything happened. As a result, she had a front row seat to Aldrick’s human antics. He climbed trees like it was nothing, crossed a stream by easily hopping from boulder to boulder, nibbled on plants he claimed were edible but that still made Vr’ocria’s scales ripple with unease, and even insisted on approaching a ferocious, furry creature with his hand outstretched and cooing “Hi kitty! Hi baby! Come here, let me give you scritchies, come on–”
Vr’ocria didn’t know what a “kitty” was, but a baby it definitely wasn’t. “Aldrick, please,” she called weakly.
“But she’s so cute!”
“It’s got claws! And look at its big teeth!”
Aldrick grinned as the creature crept closer. Its head came to Aldrick’s hip from where he knelt, still reaching out with his fingers and making a scratching motion in the air. “Naw, she’s just a little baby, aren’t you sweetie? Come ‘ere!”
Vr’ocria trembled on the spot as the creature was finally within arm’s reach of Aldrick. He began scratching its sandy-colored head, and to her disbelief, the creature closed its big eyes and leaned into his touch. “Oh, yes,” Aldrick positively giggled, “you’re such a sweet little baby, aren’t you?”
Vr’ocria could only stare, stunned, as he continued scratching the creature’s head, then its cheek and chin–extremely close to its massive fangs.
“All kitties like scritchies, huh?” he cooed at the…kitty.
Okay, they were kind of cute.
It, she corrected herself. The ”kitty” was cute. Not him. Definitely not.
She didn’t notice her scales flushing a soft pink as she watched him nearly pull the “kitty” into his lap, beaming and petting it. A gentle smile crossed her lips.
Aldrick glanced over at her and tilted his head. “You’re pink. That’s new, I haven’t seen that color on you before.”
Vr’ocria’s blood froze and her scales immediately flashed to purple. Blast. Shit. Fuck. Great, now she was picking up human curse words.
He blinked at the sudden change in color.
"Oh it’s–” she coughed, “it’s nothing. Just the heat, I think.”
“Are you okay?” He eased away from the creature as he stood, and it darted off into a hole in the rocks. “Do we need to take a break?”
Stop being so NICE, she growled inwardly. “No no,” she squeaked instead. “I’m fine. Let’s keep going.” She buried her head in her scanner and walked briskly towards the next scanning zone.
When night fell, the two of them made their way back to the shuttle pod. They still had scanning to do, but it wasn’t safe to work through the night, so they agreed it was best for them to take rest inside the pod.
Once they were safely inside, Aldrick laid out what he called a “bedroll” on the floor of the cockpit, between the two pilot seats. Still dressed in his uniform, he laid down and shifted until he appeared as comfortable as he could get. Tugging a blanket over himself, he glanced toward Vr’ocria. “Well...good night.”
“Sleep well,” she murmured. She stood in the short aisle in front of him, facing the door, and began to enter stasis. Despite how much she’d come to struggle with her feelings for him, she was still determined to protect him while he slept.
It was in the middle of the night when Vr’ocria snapped back to full awareness.
There it was again.
Shuffle shuffle.
She whirled around and threw herself on top of Aldrick, clapping a hand over his mouth as he jerked awake with a muffled shout.
“Shh!” she hissed. “Something’s out there.”
He stared up at her with wide eyes as she slowly removed her hand. She didn’t move from her position on top of him as she looked up and around the cabin, trying to discern where the sound was coming from.
“The door,” Aldrick whispered, looking over her shoulder.
There was one last thud, then a beeping sound.
Without warning, Aldrick was grabbing her shoulders and flipping them so that he was on top, and before she could even react, there was a core-rattling BOOM.
She couldn’t hear herself scream as a shockwave blew fire and debris over them, and then everything went dark.
Vr’ocria groaned as she came to, her head pounding. She found herself sprawled in the sand, looking up at the night sky. She slowly pushed herself into a sitting position, her limbs heavy. “What…” when her eyes focused, she gasped in horror.
The side of the shuttle pod where the door used to be now had a big hole blasted through it. Debris and supplies were strewn out across the ground, and judging by the drag marks, it looked like someone had dragged her body out and thrown her haphazardly into the sand.
She leapt to her feet, stumbled, fell, and jumped up again. Forcing her legs to steady under her, she stormed into the pod, and came face-to-face with a Norvidian pirate.
“Fucking pirate,” she roared, drawing her fist back and punching him right in the face. He yelped and dropped the thing he was dragging, and with horror, she realized it was Aldrick.
Something deep and primal flooded through her veins, and she grabbed the Norvidian's head. She slammed it against the wall, once, twice, three times, before dropping him to the ground, where he oozed yellow blood.
“Well that was fucking scary.”
Vr’ocria snapped out of her haze.
Aldrick was struggling to climb to his feet, and she darted forward to catch him before his face hit the floor. “Oh planets, oh my–Aldrick, are you alright?”
He rubbed a hand over his face, still looking dazed. “Yeah, I think–I think I’m okay.” He laughed, and it sounded a little hysterical. “Did you kill that guy?”
She looked over at the pirate, and somehow, she felt no remorse. “I hope so,” she growled. Logically, she knew the pirate was probably just tossing the two of them outside so he could raid their supplies. But the sight of him dragging a limp and pale Aldrick was burned into her memory, and her bright yellow scales rippled with rage.
“Jesus, you’re fucking scary when you’re angry.” He laughed again. “It’s kinda hot.” He turned pink and his face twisted in an expression she didn’t recognize. “Uh, pretend I didn’t say that.”
Vr’ocria didn’t know what it meant for something to be “hot,” so she played along and pretended she didn’t hear that. “We need to get you cleaned up,” she said instead. “Can you stand?”
Aldrick started to shift his legs, then went tense and dropped his head to her shoulder with a groan, fingers gripping her arms. It was then that Vr’ocria was able to lean forward enough to see his back, and she gasped.
The back of his shirt was in tatters, stained red with blood. Cuts and burns raced across his skin, and Vr’ocria knew that if she had taken the blast like that, she would be dead.
“Aldrick–” her throat felt thick, “Your back…shit–”
His breathing was ragged against her shoulder. “Hurts like a bitch,” he ground out, “but it won’t kill me. Just need to disinfect and bandage it.”
She laid him down on his stomach as gently as possible and rushed to the cockpit, praying that the first aid kit was undamaged. “Thank the planets,” she breathed as her fingers closed around the handle of an intact box.
She tried to steady her shaking fingers as she gingerly cut his shirt away and began dressing the wounds according to the kit’s instructions for treating humans. She also dressed the few injuries that ran down the back of his legs. Luckily–or unluckily–the damage was concentrated on his back. While she worked, she could see his muscles tense tight enough to crack, his teeth grinding and his hands clenched into fists so tight that his knuckles were white. She knew there had to be painkillers in the first aid kit, but she wanted to get his wounds dressed as fast as possible to prevent him from bleeding anymore. All she could do in the meantime was whisper quiet apologies.
Once she’d gotten him bandaged up, she finally dug through the kit. “Here,” she said as she fumbled with a bottle, “I found some pain killers, they’re supposed to be fast acting. You just let them dissolve in your mouth.”
She could tell he was in too much pain to move, so she held two of the pills up to his lips. He let her feed them to him, and after a few moments, he visibly began to relax. “Oh, that’s good shit,” he slurred into the floor.
“Feel better?” Vr’ocria asked hopefully.
“Yeah.” His voice was still crackly and weak. “Still aches a bit, but I don’t wanna scream about it anymore.”
“Good.” She stood and draped a blanket over him. “Now, stay put and don’t try to move. I need to figure out how to get us out of here.”
The shuttle pod wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. When she investigated the control panel, she found that the blast had knocked out communications, and their personal communicators were wrecked as well. “Great,” she mumbled.
Making her way back outside, she glanced around until she saw the pirate’s tiny craft a distance away. He must’ve landed out there so we wouldn’t hear him, she mused. She was reluctant to leave Aldrick alone, but she jogged the distance and pried the door open. The thing was a rust bucket, stinky and creaky, and she quickly decided she didn’t want to risk loading Aldrick up in that thing.
What to do, what to do…
Then she remembered: There was a survey outpost a few kilometers from here. She could take him there for professional treatment, rest, and to contact their ship.
When she got back to the pod, Aldrick was standing, leaning against the wall.
"How are you feeling?" She asked as she approached.
His eyes seemed clearer now as he met her gaze. "I've been worse," he said with a crooked smile.
Vr'ocria thanked the planets for human durability.
She let out a breath. "There's a survey outpost near here, due east. It's a few hours' walk. Do you think you can make it?"
Rather than answering, he stooped to pick up a blanket from the floor, shook out the dirt and debris, and threw it around his shoulders to cover his naked torso. "Let's go." He hopped easily out of the pod, and Vr'ocria could only shake her head in disbelief as she followed him. Humans truly were unbreakable.
It was still nighttime, but the clouds in the sky had cleared to reveal two big, bright moons that illuminated their way. Vr'ocria kept a close eye on Aldrick as they walked. While at first he seemed totally unaffected by his wounds now that they'd been dressed, she was beginning to notice the tight lines around his eyes, his white knuckles where he fisted the blanket, and the way each step he took was just a little shaky.
After walking in silence for nearly an hour, she finally found her voice. "Thank you," she said quietly, "for saving me back there."
He looked at her with those warm brown eyes and she thought she would melt. "Anytime."
Stupid purple scales.
They were halfway to the outpost when Aldrick collapsed. His knees hit the ground and Vr'ocria darted forward with a yelp to catch him before he went all the way down.
"Aldrick!" She shook him. "Look at me! Hey, hey…"
But all he could do was groan as his head lolled in her hands, slumping forward so that he sagged against her. Vr'ocria tried not to panic, but her scales stood on end anyway. "Aldrick!" This time her voice cracked.
Okay, okay, calm down, he's gonna be fine, he's human, it's gonna be okay… But doubt still twinged in her spine.
She ruffled her scales. Snap out of it.
"Okay. Aldrick," she took his face in her hands, "I need to put you on my back, but you'll have to help me."
He didn't respond.
She slapped him.
"Ow!" His eyes shot open. "Jesus, woman–"
"Look at me. I need to put you on my back, and you have to help me."
He blinked, eyes still cloudy, but finally nodded. It took some maneuvering, but Vr'ocria finally got him situated on her back–"piggy back style," he called it. She held his legs around her waist, and used the blanket to tie him to her. She could feel his warmth and heartbeat from where he was pressed against her back. His breath ghosted across the nape of her neck, sending tingles over her scales.
She tightened her grip around his knees as she walked. My human.
"You're pink again," Aldrick mumbled behind her ear.
Vr'ocria pressed on.

By the time they reached the outpost, her back was aching and her feet were sore, but she didn't care. She waved down the watchmen, and within minutes they were being swarmed by a med team. Aldrick was now fully unconscious and much too pale, and the medics wasted no time loading him up on a stretcher and carrying him to the med bay. When they tried to insist that Vr'ocria go to a separate room for evaluation, she snarled and snapped her yellow scales until they backed off.
She wasn't leaving Aldrick's side for a minute.
By the next morning, the med team had worked their magic and Aldrick was sleeping peacefully. He was curled on his side like he usually did, his face free of lines, lips parted, softly sighing with each breath.
Stupid human and his stupid cute sleeping.
She brushed his hair from his face, gently trailing her fingers across his cheek. Human skin was much softer compared to her scales, and warmer too. Aldrick had once explained that humans are "mammals," creatures that were "warm blooded." Her people were "cold blooded." Maybe that explained why she always wanted to touch him, hold him, feel his warmth…
Aldrick shifted and sighed, and her breath caught as he leaned into her hand. His eyes cracked open and he gazed blearily up at her. "Hi," he croaked.
She smiled. "Hi."
"You're still pink," he observed. "Are you okay? Did you get checked out?"
Blast all the planets. "I'm okay," she assured him. "My people turn pink when…when, um…I-I'll tell you another time," she stuttered. Galek was going to kill her.
Aldrick reached up to take her hand from where it still rested on his cheek. "Thank you for taking care of me."
She squeezed his hand. "Anytime."
This got so much longer than I thought it would 😂 How do we feel about one more part where these two idiots finally admit their feelings for one another?
submitted by SabbyOfSableWine to humansarespaceorcs [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 23:54 Formal_Pea9167 I Watch Paige's Week At Home Blog So You Don't Have To, I'm Serious The Vlog Is Like An Hour Long Don't Do This To Yourself

A day late but we're here, my little cheeto eaters! Remember as always to grab your bingo cards and let's get our little long weekend slumber party going. This whole fucking thing is FORTY MINUTES LONG, you're all lucky that my sibling who was supposed to spend the day chilling at my place has apparently forgotten that plan.

submitted by Formal_Pea9167 to PLSnark [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 23:47 reveal23414 GFCIs tripped/broken, "hot/ground reversed"

I'll preface this question by saying we've already reached out to our electrician, and they'll be here tomorrow morning - I've also turned off the circuit breaker at the panel.
But I thought I would ask, because I have no idea what happened. One circuit connects outlets in our kitchen and living room with one GFCI outlet. The only thing on the circuit that was running was a fan and my husband turned on the coffee maker. Everything stopped, the circuit breaker was fine but the GFCI outlet could not be reset.
I assumed it was that outlet so I replaced it (line/load exactly as it had been before, everything tight). Turn the breaker on, nothing. Won't reset. No little light, no pop. OK, so now I go on the hunt.
TWO other GFCI outlets were tripped and I reset them. No change.
Tested all of the outlets (Klein plug-in tester) on one side of the non-functional GFCI revealed a "hot ground reversed". Testing the outlets on the other side of that GFCI, nothing, dead.
Again, I've already called an electrician and the circuit breaker is off, but is this an open neutral somewhere? Any idea what could've happened?
submitted by reveal23414 to askanelectrician [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 22:53 Shaknado57 Bernat velvet yarn vs Dollar Tree velvet yarn?

Bernat velvet yarn vs Dollar Tree velvet yarn? submitted by Shaknado57 to crochet [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 22:37 Icy_Function_6629 Ruminating on bad experiences with roommates

So, last year I moved into a new apartment with randomly assigned roommates. I am a college student, as were my roommates. Here are some things that have happened that I would appreciate some perspective on.
I would also like to add that I am from a different cultural background with different conflict approaches and that I also live with a brain injury and sometimes my reactions are odd. I don't want to try to get sympathy because of these things, I just want to try to give some background context, and to have some advice on things I am missing in these interactions. I figured that asking a subreddit of other autistic people would be good, because I think that other subs may be caught up on some of the details. I posted this elsewhere and got a ton of really upset messages due to some of the details about period related stuff, so I didn't want to post there again.
I would like to add that I moved out, but I keep replaying and replaying the events in my head, how upset and miserable I was, and how angry I am that she treated me like this in front of other people and nobody stood up for me. It feels like everyone watches me get treated like this and never says anything to me or the other person about it.
This isn't the first time that a roommate has treated me like this. I had a roommate several years ago who berated me verbally for not leaving the door unlocked at night because she didn't want to pay for a replacement apartment key, and she also screamed at me for not telling her I was autistic when I moved in because I acted weird and they all talked about how weird I was and they said they would have been nicer if they knew I was disabled. I had roommates in the past at a different college who's treatment of me when I was a freshman got to point where I had to move dorms in the middle of the semester and contact my school to get a no-contact order against one of them. Basically, something about me really upsets the people I've lived with before, and I don't know what it is or how I can make myself stop doing it.
The first day we move in, my roommate is upset with me because she says that I stole and ate her salad mix. I get flustered, say I did not because I am allergic to carrots (this is true) and I can tell she doesn't believe me until I lift up the other bags and there it is. She also asked us to return a stolen item of clothing, that she later found on her own.
I brought my own coffee maker to share. Early in the morning, I threw away an inch left of old coffee and old grounds to make my own pot. She got very upset with me for doing so and said she would be putting leftover coffee in a pitcher and for other people not to throw it out. I said I didn't understand why I wasn't supposed to clean out old coffee grounds that were left overnight and I didn't realize anyone would have been saving it in the first place because she didn't say she wanted to save it before I threw it out in the morning, and she got really mad at me again.
I got upset that her week old raw chicken was piled on top of my pizza, and told everyone I would toss it because she was out of town. I did throw it out after asking, and I thought it was okay.
She said that the store I bought clothes from was bad for the environment and for people and that fast fashion was bad too, when she saw my package. I got upset because I genuinely didn't know and I asked her what should I do because I already have a package and she told me she was just letting me know. I felt really bad because I didn't realize other people would think I was a bad person when they saw my package.
I was coming out of my room at night with a neutral face expression, she got upset and said "Why are you rolling your eyes? Why are you rolling your eyes at me?" I got very flustered, as I was not rolling my eyes, I just have autistic facial expressions, and I explained this. I don't like outing myself as autistic, but I wasn't sure how to respond.
I was clearing out old food of my own, and accidentally tossed a months old expired jar of her food. Nothing in the fridge was labeled, so there's no way I could have known. She got very upset, said that I always throw other peoples food out and that she had "tried really hard to be kind to me" and that I was "super antisocial and didn't hang out with them" and that I was ruining it, and I got very upset.
I am not proud of this at all, but due to some recent pretty traumatic life events on my own part that I don't want to get into, I lashed out and got overemotional, and upset because I was angry about super expired food in a shared fridge, and angry that she was angry with me because we all agreed to toss expired food on a set day of the week and it was past that day. I also mentioned that I am from a different cultural background so our communication styles are different and my disability means I struggle with communication, which may be the cause of some of our miscommunications and conflict, and that I want to resolve it, and she basically said that I was trying to victimize myself and call her a bigot, and that I do not understand boundaries at all.
I bought a new and unused menstrual cup (and I know that people have different feelings about this). I was boiling it in my own pot, with a lid. (NOT A SHARED POT. MY OWN POT WITH LID ON). No one knew I had a cup before this, as this was the first time I had to sterilize it by boiling in this apartment. While I took a phone call in my room, my roommate lifted the lid, took a photo of my cup in the pot posted this the roommate group chat, with the caption "Why in a public area? This is repulsive and a health violation.", then replaced the lid before I came back. I did not see this text when I went into the kitchen to dump the water. Other people were cooking in there, and I was embarrassed because I realized I would have to dump the water and remove the cup from the pot in front of them because I didn't know my roommates were having people over, so I quickly and discreetly dumped the water and put my cup into a clean (MY OWN BOWL) to take back to my room, and I was very embarrassed having to take a cup out of a pot in front of people in the first place, which is why I tried to do it late at night. I only saw the text when I got back to my room.
I felt horribly embarrassed, because I'm sure she's sent that photo to people other than my roommates. I responded with a text of "I was sterilizing a newly purchased and unused menstrual cup in my own pot with the lid on. Since you found this objectionable enough to lift the lid, take a photo and post it here, I will be buying a steamer to sterilize it." but steamers are expensive and I wish I hadn't needed to get one. I felt violated and extremely upset, and I had to go home for the weekend because I had a panic attack so bad my parents were concerned for my wellbeing.
I found months old rotten chicken in the fridge and asked everyone to throw it out in the group chat. I didn't throw it out because I knew she would get mad at me again. But I knew I pissed her off.
Before I left for break, I was trying to spend as much time out as possible and I always wore headphones in the kitchen, but I lost over ten pounds over two months because I wasn't eating at home or cooking to avoid interacting with her. Before I left for break, she left a jar of food and texted me that it was a Christmas gift. I accepted it and said thank you because my mom said it was the polite thing to do but I feel like she did that to force me to interact with her. I don't celebrate Christmas and I didn't want a gift from her.
After the break, the thermostat broke and was stuck on 80 degrees, and she banged on my door late at night to ask if I was messing with it right as I was about to go to sleep. I said I wasn't and she asked me "Are you sure?" I said I didn't do anything and I wouldn't randomly turn the heat up anyways. It made me upset because she and all my other roommates got together to bang on my door late at night.
Now that I've moved out (in the middle of the year, too, which involved a ton of hassle and extra money) I keep replaying these events in my head over and over. I feel pathetic, miserable and angry. I feel like I am always acting weird and making people upset and uncomfortable, and nobody will ever just tell me why. I have had roommates before and people have ended up hating me within two weeks, and I don't know what I am doing wrong. I don't do anything crazy or mean, and I have talked to others about this. I am not sure what it is that I did.
People just don't like me, especially other women sometimes, which makes me really sad. I want to be better for when I have to live with others in the future. Please tell me what I could do to be better at being a roommate.
submitted by Icy_Function_6629 to aspergirls [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 22:04 xocelotyouth Zojirushi EC-YSC100 10QT Coffee Maker - $9.99

Zojirushi EC-YSC100 10QT Coffee Maker - $9.99
I’m usually an energy drink guy but I guess I’m switching to coffee.
This is my second Zojirushi find of 2023! Gotta catch ‘em all!
submitted by xocelotyouth to ThriftStoreHauls [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 21:46 SwitchBladeDow AITA for complaining about dishes in the sink

We've had issues with dishes in my house for a while and when they are brought up one of my housemates makes weird comments about violence relating to them:
He made the following remarks over dishes when I complained about dishes
So there was a bowl in the sink and we had prior issues with dishes. I sent a text saying: "Can we agree on dishes like someone's not even rinsing come on" and then he said he hopes someone kicks my teeth in and I bite their fingers and said he's been here before violence is the best way to get rid of tensions
The sink was full one time and I took a photo and sent it to our groupchat and said "come on guys". I had a tray or two in there and he pointed that out and later said I won't find housemates as chill as this and was sure another housemate would have beaten me up by now before saying in all seriousness, he's surprised no one's suggested violence.
I once said also can we agree on our dishes schedule and he tagged another housemate in a comment saying a "fight is loving"
One time people left food in the sink and I said "can people not leave food in the sink we have a trash for reason" and he said I mix up recycling sometimes and left powder and crumbs on the stove and what I said was condescending. When I said I'd be better he said he seriously recommends violence with my housemates cuz he's afraid I'll say the wrong thing to the wrong person and when I said his comments make me uncomfortable, his response was "Just a suggestion in case your comments might drive someone over the edge"
He said I need to learn to chill out but aside from the stuff he said above, he's done the following:
Claims we could have used his coffee maker but he doesn't value any of our lives worth more than a bill and if we break it, we'll have problems
And this was his "apology": "I'm sorry if I made you feel like someone was going to fight you. I was just highlighting that your comments provoke."
Even after another housemate talked to him and told him to take seriously the things he says and it doesn't sound like a joke, before we left, he got upset as ketchup was put on his shelf and it spilled and he said not to do it. My brother recently moved in and did not know about the ruling and put ketchup there and he found out and was like " F*ck me with me one more time" and said he was on the edge and just asking for respect. I explained why it happened and he said its understandable but he is still on the edge regardless. Keep in mind he previously recommended violence in case my comments about dishes "drove someone over the edge"
I thought it was creepy and he sounded pretty unhinged as I don't believe anything I said warranted violent remarks about dishes and I feel he's being hypocritical/projecting by telling me to chill when he's the one always suggesting "violence" and sending aggressive texts over petty issues.
submitted by SwitchBladeDow to TwoHotTakes [link] [comments]

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

[I Accidentally Joined The Mafia In South Brooklyn] Chapter 6: On The Organizational Habits of Unrested Spirits and The Taste of Demon's Blood, Part 2.
Previous Part:
My nerve wavered a little.
"I don't really like the taste of blood, B."
"It doesn't taste like blood. Everybody tastes something different. Rossi says it tastes like old wine, Jimmy tastes caramel and leather, and me? To me it… tastes like gunpowder, and the way diesel smells."
I stared at the glass, then quickly tipped it into my mouth, took it down in two quick gulps, slid the mouth guard in place, at the same time sitting back against the sectional again as Becca snatched the glass from me.
It burned when it touched my tongue, and for a moment I tasted rose water and cinnamon, and in the next second, I was gone.
I've had a seizure once in my life, detoxing from heroin. The doctor said it was very rare, I was an unlucky fuck at best, but this? This was worse.
You ever seen a video of a tetanus convulsion? How the back bends, only their head and feet are touching the ground? Well, that's exactly what happened the moment the burning settled in my stomach. My entire body locked down, it felt like my muscles themselves would break my bones.
The pain overtook me and everything went black, but I soon realized I hadn't lost consciousness. No, I could see into the black. I was floating in it, naked. It was rolling like clouds of smoke, or a velvet curtain rippling in the breeze, and inside of the black, things were moving.
They were just as black, slimy, slithering things. Arms and legs and spider fingers and… wings, wings like bats, but no… not just black, iridescent. I saw within them blue, purple, red. They came from the darkness and spread over me like oil. Their touch was cold, but me? The burning spread all over my body. I felt like I was on fire.
I came back to the apartment a moment later, tried my best to tell my body to go with it while my muscles contracted and shook. It ended just as suddenly as it began.
I felt weak, when it was over. My body hurt. I felt like I had been in a car crash. But oddly enough, some parts of me didn't hurt anymore.
My limbs felt like lead as I removed the guard, but I found the strength to reach down and lift the leg of my pants. The old surgery scars on my knee were gone. The pain I had been living with for the last nineteen years was completely and suddenly absent.
My arms shook as I let go of my pants leg. I couldn't find the strength to lower it back to my ankle. I touched my nose as gingerly as I could with my hand jerking. It still hurt just as badly as it had before, but the ring finger on my left hand? It was bending again.
"Did it work?" I asked. Becca removed a few bits of ephemera from a mirrored tray on the coffee table, and raised it before my face.
My skin was no longer swollen and bruised, my nose still bloody but no longer dripping. Beneath my fingers, the bone felt whole again. It wasn't the only thing that had changed. The creases in my forehead, the crow's feet at the corner of my eyes, the smile and frown lines around my mouth, they were all gone. My skin was as smooth as though I was a teenager again.
My eyes were brighter, somehow. I had always gotten quite a lot of compliments on my green eyes, didn't think it was arrogant to recognize what others had told me, but they were different now, somehow paler yet deeper in color all at the same time. There was a new ring of yellow around the pupil that hadn't been there before. I felt with my tongue on the left side of my jaw.
The molar was back, like it had never been gone. It was different, though. Still a flat chewing surface but the edges were sharp, sharp enough that I sliced the tip of my tongue running it across the surface. I tasted blood for a moment before the cut was suddenly whole again.
I flexed my fingers experimentally, found the tremors were easing with every passing second and a flush was spreading across my body, both hot and cold all at once. Strength flooded my muscles, my mind was as clear as a bell, but despite all of that, I still felt a consuming weakness and exhaustion inside.
I'd gotten stuck for two shifts at the grocery store once, then had a call out on the stock crew and had stayed for four hours to help them. I had worked a total of twenty hours that day, and this… felt exactly like that, exhausted and as wired as a methhead on a three day bender all at the same time. Simultaneously bone-tired and hurting but feeling like I was bulletproof.
Becca was watching me with a sad grin.
"Hell of a ride, huh?"
I jerked my head in a nod, found I had to adjust the amount of force I put behind it because I was moving quicker than I had before.
"You know, I can see why Jimmy likes it… and Rocco doesn't."
"Rossi, well, how do I put this? He likes to stay in control, but he isn't a control freak. He barely even drinks… but Jimmy… he's less concerned about controlling himself and more concerned about controlling everyone else."
Becca stood then, removed some alcohol wipes and a tourniquet from the tackle box, turning on the blood warmer. She hooked the first of the bags to the IV line and sat again, opening the wipe but not removing it yet. She tied the tourniquet around her arm, or, tried to. She was struggling with it.
"You need some help with that?"
She looked at me for a moment before she nodded.
"Yeah, actually."
I took the tourniquet from her, moving before her and sitting on the coffee table.
"You know, as many years as I've been doing this, I still suck at it. Can't find a fucking vein for a goddamned hour at a time, blow them out everytime I turn around."
I made a sound of acknowledgment as I tied the tourniquet tight around her arm. I felt with my fingers, but wasn't having much luck. A slap with the back of my hand in the dip of her elbow didn't do much more to distend the veins. The back of her hand was equally lacking in usable veins.
"There's one thing about it, kid, you would have made a terrible junkie, you got shit for veins."
She made a sound of frustration and tried to pull her arm away from me.
"See, I told you."
"Uh-uh, hold on. You can launder money in your sleep, but me? I can find a vein with my eyes closed."
I felt farther up onto her forearm, then tried the back of it. I finally had luck, pressed the vein a few times to get it to stand up farther.
"See, you got a good one right there."
I wiped over it with the alcohol, grabbed the hypodermic and glanced up to her face. She had her eyes squeezed shut.
"On three."
She nodded, and I counted down, slid the needle in, then pressed the snap to leave only the cannula inside the vein, taped it down, then removed the tourniquet.
"All done."
I opened the tubing to allow the blood to start traveling down, and adjusted the flow regulator just a bit.
She stared at me for a long moment.
"You're really good at that. You ever considered going to school? You'd make a hell of a phlebotomist."
I snorted lightly.
"I can see all kind of doctors in my future just itching to hire a felon into their office."
"You could go work with Farid down at the free clinic. He runs the place, you know Muslims love doing charity work. They don't pay amazing, nonprofit and all, but he honestly don't give a shit who works there as long as you know what you're doing."
I hummed quietly. As I watched, the color drained from her face, going from white, straight to gray. She winced, and sat back against the couch stiffly.
"It hurts when it goes in the vein?" I asked the obvious.
She nodded.
"Burns like I shot up acid. Never gets any easier, but at least I don't get an in-game tutorial on a Grand Mal seizure, so… small blessings."
"You want a drink or something, B? A snack?"
She laughed weakly.
"Yeah. Give me a water and some oreos. They're in the cabinet over the stove."
I followed her directions and brought the bottle of water and a saucer of the cookies to her. She pulled one knee up, her bare foot balanced on the edge of the couch cushion and set the saucer on her other thigh.
"Can I ask you something, Tony?"
"Shoot, B."
She stayed silent for a long moment.
"You know, I don't want you to think I'm hitting on you but… would you… hold me?"
I laughed quietly and sat down beside her, looping my arm around her shoulders and tucking her in close to my side. I laid her head against my shoulder, tucked under my jaw, and looped my other arm around the front of her shoulders, smoothing my hand over her hair. She wiggled against me just a bit, getting comfortable.
"No worries at all, B. I mean, I guess you and me are literally famiglia now. And no offense, you're a good looking kid but… other than the fact you're too young for me, and you're my best friend's girl, you're not exactly my type."
She snorted.
"Let me guess, the gentleman prefers blondes and older women."
That gave me a bit of a chuckle.
"I gotta say, you got me pegged again, B."
I smoothed my hand over her hair, and began humming softly and rocking gently.
"No, Non Si Speri," she said, quietly. "That's funny, that's Ma's favorite song."
I laughed. Goddamned patterns…
"Mine, too, Miss Rebecca, mine, too."
She tried her best to relax against me, but I could feel every time she stiffened and winced.
Time to distract her again.
"So, uh, that night, Antoni came in late, and asked you out… start from there."
She adjusted her body against mine again.
"Yeah, uh… he asked me if I was seeing anyone, and I asked him why he wanted to know, and he told me he didn't want to step on anyone's toes… so I told him he should be worried about stepping on my toes, cause he was talking to the Boss of me. And he laughed, and asked me if I could ask the Boss about the girl who worked the register, if she would be interested in having dinner and seeing a movie. It kind of caught me off guard. I had been fantasizing about that exact thing happening but I was scared. I told him if he was just fucking with me I'd have to ban him from the store, permanently. But he said no, he was serious… so I told him that we'd go out that Saturday to see this horror movie that had just come out and he could pick where we ate, cause I'd eat most anything, just not to take me anywhere fancy, cause I only dress up for Mass and his ass wasn't better than God."
"You probably should have kept that bit to yourself, B. Bet you sealed the deal for him right then and there. He'd found his girl and she was already a Catholic, didn't even have to get her to convert."
"So we… went out the next night. I worked the morning shift so I could have the night off, and I had Antoni meet me on the platform so there'd be less chance of somebody seeing. All that day at work, I started to get more and more worried. The motherfucker was literally two feet taller than me, down to the inch, but I figured that put me at a good height to suckerpunch him in his balls if he stepped out of line. I ain't exactly a slouch when it comes to self defense but when I met him that night I took my steel telescoping baton with me, just in case. I didn't have to worry. He never laid a hand on me, not once, till I touched him that way first, even if it was as simple as holding my hand, or putting his arm around me.
"I mean, the man should be up for canonization… he had patience like a fucking Saint. That… that picture, on my phone, that was the first time I ever kissed him. Six weeks I made him wait. Six weeks and him taking me out every Saturday like clock work, but he never said a word, never made a pass, just waited for me."
I could hear tears feathering into her voice again.
"That day, I made him call off work so we could spend the day at Coney Island. Made him spend two hundred damned dollars on the fairway to win me this giant blue bear, and he lugged it around the rest of the day with this stupid grin on his face, carried it home on the fucking train. Six weeks, and me spending almost every night in his bed…"
"So you two slept together before you ever 'slept together'?"
I could feel her nod, more than see it.
"At first, I just wanted to give him a hard time… you know, see just how much patience he really had… but, I felt safe with him, Tony, sleeping beside him was the safest I'd ever felt in my life. I didn't want to give up that feeling. If I had known how it would all end up, I wouldn't have made either of us wait that long… but… that day, right before we left, we went on the Wonder Wheel and… the fucking engine blew. There was this loud ass boom and this big ass cloud of smoke. I thought it was a fucking bomb, to be honest. We were stuck up there at the top for four solid hours while they tried to fix the engine, and when they finally gave up and called the fire department, we had to wait for a ladder truck to get there. So after the first thirty minutes had passed, I asked him if he wanted to make out, and he grinned at me and said… Absolutely."
She sniffed back her tears, cleared her throat and I tucked her tiny body closer against my side.
"You know, he took that picture to send to his brother. He hadn't brought his phone, so he used mine. Said Igor had been riding his ass the whole time about how I was stringing him along for the past six weeks and he was stupid enough to let me. And after that, I got a little handsy, to be honest. It was like the old saying goes, there was some Roman Hands and Russian Fingers that day. I had to put his hands where I wanted them myself, but uh… he didn't need a lot of instruction after that point. The assholes in the booth behind us kept whooping and hollering, they knew exactly what was going on but… I didn't really give a fuck. I just wanted to get a nut and give him one, too, and we had hours to kill.
"We fooled around for a few more days after that, you know, exchanged some, uh, oral instruction, if you will, but… I-I was scared to death. I didn't want to admit I'd never been with a man before, so the night I decided to go all the way, I goaded Ciech into a drinking game. Drank his ass under the table, but… Antoni, that stupid fucker… he told me no. Said I was perfectly welcome to spend another night in his bed, but if I wanted more than that, then I had to come to him sober. I was so embarrassed I cussed him like a dog, in every language I knew and he just… sat there through the whole thing, never even looked up from his book, just… asked me if I was done acting like a spoiled child. So then, I started crying cause I was so angry. And then the stupid fucker told me, 'You shouldn't cry like that, it's embarassing."
I snorted.
"Yeah, he was a bitch about that, wasn't he? Little bit of toxic masculinity to spice things up, eh?"
"So then I was doubly pissed, and I didn't talk to him for three days."
She sighed.
"Most miserable three days of my life. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, it was like… every cell in my body was calling for him. I finally broke down, and begged him not to say no again… and he didn't. And, Jesus Christ, I wanted it every day after that, sometimes twice a day and… he never told me no again. It took a little while to get comfortable for the two of us, but eventually we started to share some of our proclivities with each other.
"Turned out he was a sadomasochist, just like me, so we uh, added some new activities in. We both got a kick out of the fact he could throw me around like a rag doll and fold me up like a pretzel, but, personally, I think he got a bigger kick out of the fact my little ass could actually hurt him if I really wanted to… and sometimes I wanted to. I'd have a bad day at work or school, and come home and take it out on him… and he loved every second of it."
She sighed again.
"But uh, that shit, it got us both in trouble. One night in early November, I had gotten a little rough with him. He had, you know, bruises and scratch marks and bite marks all over him. And the next day when he went to work, the heating system fucked up. It was running on high, no matter how low they put it… Antoni told me he was getting so hot his head was hurting. His Dad was up front on the counter and Toni was back there where none of the customers could see, so he thought he was safe and took his shirt off, but… his Dad came back to ask him something.
"You know, I guess from the outside looking in, it kind of looked like Antoni'd gotten a hold of somebody that didn't wanna be gotten a hold of, and apparently his Dad has very strongly held convictions when it comes to rape. So he uh… jerked Antoni's ass up, pinned him against the wall and asked him what in the hell he had done. And Antoni told me he was so damned scared that all he could think to say was, 'Don't worry, it was consensual.'"
I winced.
"Ohhh… that is…"
"Yeah, not good. So then he got his ass jumped for getting, uh, 'friendly' with somebody but not having brought me there to introduce me to the family… but, apparently he had already been planning on taking me over to Greenpoint, cause a couple of weeks before he had asked me for my measurements. Hell, I figured he wanted to buy me a catsuit to go along with the damned Dominatrix boots he bought me. He used to want me to stand on his chest, step on his hands..."
"The boot worship comment makes a lot more sense now," I muttered.
"I said continue your story." I raised my voice back to speaking.
She sat in silence for another minute. I could practically hear her frowning, but in the end she didn't push it.
"Anyway… I'd told the stupid fucker not to buy me a dress, and what did he do? Bought me a dress to meet his family in. But when I saw it, I didn't even care. It was beautiful, all these colorful, gorgeous embroidered flowers all over the skirt. There was like this flower crown that went with it, with all these ribbons hanging down. The family dinner he was planning to take me to was an informal Polish Independence Day celebration, you know, not the whole neighborhood, just the people they knew. And the dress was traditional Polish clothing. I felt so goddamned out of place wearing that thing, everybody on the train kept staring, but he was wearing funny clothes too, and this stupid little hat, so it wasn't so bad. He made me wear the damned boots with the dress, though."
Laughter burst out of me.
"And you know, his Dad's eyes got kind of big when he first saw me."
"Probably trying to figure out how you'd torn his son's ass up so bad with as tiny as you are."
"But they were nice to me, his parents and his cousins. Everybody was nice to me. And it wasn't long after that, about a month, that he asked me to marry him. I guess he was nervous too, and he got drunk hisself, and then I told him no, cause I'm a spiteful bitch. Said he was perfectly welcome to have me in his bed another night but if he wanted more, he had to come to me sober… and then I asked him where the hell the ring was, and he said he wasn't going to buy a ring if I wasn't going to say yes, and I told him I wasn't going to say yes unless I had a ring. But apparently he had bought a ring, and given it to his mother to keep."
She held her left hand up to show me. It was a 3 carat Princess cut diamond with a ring of smaller diamonds around it.
"It's a brand of lab grown diamonds, Mivoleti." She said quietly.
"Mi vole ti, 'I want you,' in Italian. Odd that."
"Yeah," she answered. "And now I can't even wear it, nobody knew we were together but his family. Come to think of it, I got no idea how I'm gonna tell Pops I'm pregnant, but, I guess at least he can't threaten to kill Antoni for deflowering his daughter, seeing as he's already dead and all."
I shook my head, squeezed her tight and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
"It's gonna be alright, Becca." I had no idea how it was going to be alright, but I had to say something. "Looks like it's time to switch bags."
We finished the transfusion some time after that. I removed the IV but didn't bother with the gauze or tape. The hole in Becca's arm sealed shut almost immediately after I pulled the cannula from the vein.
We slept. I don't remember falling asleep, but when I opened my eyes it was dark outside and the apartment was getting cold again. I tried not to wake Becca, but it was a pointless effort. She watched me bleary-eyed while I filled the heater with Kerosene again and relit it.
"What time is it?" I asked in a sleep-gravelled voice.
She turned her phone on and glanced at the screen.
"It's 8:05. You got about two hours till you go get Ma. Go get something to wear while I wash that suit, and take a quick hot shower so you don't freeze to death."
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2023.05.29 21:30 angfurr [offer] Video and photo editor.

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2023.05.29 21:29 AlienNationSSB #Alien-Nation Chapter 168: Now or Never

Alien-Nation Chapter 168: Now or Never

All Chapters First Chapter of Alien-Nation Previous Chapter
Chapter summary: Elias wanders the grounds inspecting everything he can, has a fatheson moment with Larry then sends Vaughn to go try and spring people from jail.
It had been easy for me to see during the speech I'd given roughly how many had already arrived up the narrow pass, and as I stood from inspecting a firing port in a trench, testing whether the old cast iron cannon would roll back far enough on its rails after firing.
I gave it a pass after measuring against a rod. Certainly it was far from the highest of technologies at our disposal, but certainly it would be either lethal, injurious, or at the very least, extremely loud. The gathered mishmashed array of weaponry pointing outward was impressive enough, but the real piece de resistance was the sheer number of railguns we'd had returned to us, frequently carried by a two man team. I signed off on it for final inspection, noting the plug in place over the end, and went to the railgun positioned further down the trench near the intersection.
This was one I recognized. This shared at least something in common to the cannon, insofar as it was far from the latest model at our disposal. I spotted some of my own extremely crude handiwork, a far more rough set of welds performed along the plate's protective, unsanded metal edges. Mister Singer, if he were ever presented with it, may have recognized the shoddy, unstable hand that welded together some of the protective casing. The service flap told me the model without needing to even open it, the household door frame hinges pulled from Verns' stock of spare parts bin, before we implemented something even so basic as refined latches with catch points.
That had to make this a Mk. II. Sentimentality had no place on the front lines. I sucked in a breath at the sight of another old muzzle-loader being carried into the workshop for upgrades, already laid out on the timber worktable and ready for use and sucked in a breath.
I just hoped the earliest design of managing power flow wouldn't give out from the faster firing. Complex but beautifully arrayed piping had given way to simpler, more streamlined designs as we incorporated a greater number of readily available alien parts. Some of which we were supplied an initial batch of in the bag with the blueprints, and then we were told how to work free those same parts from various broken pieces of technology we'd reclaimed off the Shil'vati, or even the freely given away omni-pads. With every iteration we demonstrated a degree of adaptation to using the parts we had available, and each generation marked a leap forward in our own understanding of Shil'vati technology, courtesy of G-Man and his father's handiwork.
The final barrels of the extremely limited run of the second batch we'd paid handsomely for were marked 'present,' too. They had gone the least far afield, with one already slagging itself during the attack on the data center. I frowned at the spreadsheet, as if my impression of it might cause their fate to improve.
The latest blueprints could maintain a decent rate of fire without burning out its power management system located in the welded together case. Or, rather, the barrel gave out first. For the first time, perhaps as a result of being coupled with the magazines and a relatively rapid-fire exchange meant the neosteel barrels we received had finally become the weak point in the design.
It was only after we'd returned to Camp Death that I'd noticed the difference.
The new batch we'd paid dearly for seemed somewhat altered from the first batch we'd been building all the others out of, made from an alloyed material that shone somewhat dimmer under the sun as George and I worked in the shed elbow-to-elbow, though the contrast was not immediately obvious until one held the two against each other. It was slightly thicker, too, all of which to me indicated a change in supply in some manner, but our supplier had hardly announced themselves to Sam.
This was a troubling puzzle to me. I still couldn't be sure it was the new microbatch of barrels alloys being far from equal to the originals we'd finally finished building out? Or was it the expanded magazines and power couplings' ability to fire faster creating an overall volume of fire that overheated the barrel from overuse? Or was the power management design faulty, generating more heat per shot? Were we misusing them?
I measured the barrel of the Mk. II, just to be sure the shelf life of the barrel hadn't come due. So far, inspections of the original batch of barrels had mercifully indicated they'd all been brought back here were in comparatively great shape, with this one being no exception. That lent me some comfort that these new barrels were just not up to the task of heavy, sustained fire. I couldn't know that for certain, and an unreliable weapon was cause for anxiety.
Indeed, there was almost no wear on this version at all, disproving the worst case scenario that these were only good for a certain number of rounds before they'd be worn down to uselessness. Certainly, they'd eventually give out, but it seemed we were still far off from that point.
"Sir?" Asked the gunner, staring at me.
I stared at him, then down at the spreadsheet. "This thing fires three rounds a minute. Do you think that rate of fire is sufficient?"
I could tell he wasn't sure whether a 'no' would have him replaced with someone professing to be more accurate.
"Get it upgraded." I took the white gel pen and scribbled on it- make ready for an upgrade as soon as the final repaired railgun clears the shed. Assigned to casemate #4, Operator... "Call sign?"
"Brut," he answered.
"Brut...with the Umlaut?" He gave a thumbs up and I added them. Costing nothing but a drop of gel ink for a little personalization if it made for a happy gunner was a good investment. "Use it well. Get it upgraded if there's time, keep an eye on the work shed. Once the repairs stop, you can take this to the front of the line, Brüt."
There was no point dismantling all our old ones and creating a backlog while some still needed repairs. I wrote on the hatch Upgrade from Mk. II to Mk. IV. That would give it a magazine and more than triple its firing rate. Anything more than that, I quietly held my doubts for the feasibility of upgrading in a timely manner. The Mark V's took too much time and effort to build their complex power management systems for not enough gain, stuffed too tightly into the protective case to be completed quickly. The Mark VI's tended to overheat their crude fire control circuitry, the consequence of an overcorrection back to simplicity; they could maintain a high fire rate, but were too delicate. The VII's were the ones with the new barrel. Promising, but those barrel faults...I still worried it might have been the power management system.
We'd started considering adding water tanks to help maintain them, but it brought the weight higher than that of a Mk. I, and successfully swapping a boiling hot tank off a delicate, electronically-loaded railgun in combat seemed like a very questionable use of the time. We'd just have to ask the crews manning the railguns to be a bit judicious in our fire, and hope that the flaw was limited to the new little batch of barrels.
How many rounds, exactly, and exactly how fast was yet to be determined; we hadn't conducted the amount of testing a proper military might carry out, but while we had no shortage to man, we also did not have so many as to test dozens until their point of failure, weighing and comparing all their possible conditions.
All this uncertainty kept bouncing around my head. How many troops did we have here? How many rounds for every type of rifle, including the more exotic variants? How reliant on them were we to deal damage, and was it all stored somewhat safely? On the less direct side of things, how many tons of food did we have stored, and was it distributed well? How many thousands of gallons of water could we draw? How many pounds of soap to wash utensils, cups, wounds, and shower with? How many pounds of food over how many men, to last how many days? If it rained, some of these might be alleviated, and yet might kick off a whole host of other issues. There was no way of knowing, no way of taking a perfect stock. But I could estimate.
We had a lot of people. And a lot of guns. And a lot of defenses, and literally countless tons of high explosives, triggered by various means and methods. And we were mad as hell. While exactly how mad was less concrete a figure, I knew this many men away from home could end poorly.
Ultimately, whether it was the fault of the new barrel or the design had finally reached the limitations of its potential rate of fire without causing other issues, I couldn't say for certain. So I had to do my best.
I gave the railgun a clean bill of health to operate if needed, 'priority upgrade,' and noted the rate of fire for the defensive position at 'three a minute.' This one being one of our oldest models, I left it to the operator with my blessings, and made a mental note to add the next railgun we had to be stationed nearby, just so that we weren't under strength from that angle.
I craned my neck from the trench to behold even more insurgents trickling into the old clearing. The arrivals always came in ones-and-twos, their body language telling me the story of the journey it had taken to get here. They'd had to have abandoned their vehicles to the traffic-snarled roads almost certainly some miles away unless they knew the path George and I would occasionally take;.
Those who brought their own heavy weapons lay them down at their feet before collapsing. Water and food was distributed, though I couldn't speak to the quality, and a trash run would have to be made, tossing the empty tins into ammunition containers.
Of all the newcomers who had yet to be organized into place, I counted two mortars, several more volunteers grouping up to retrieve ammo after taking down descriptions of the vehicles from their exhausted owners and sprinting back out into the night to fetch whatever had been left behind.
The resourcefulness lifted my spirits. No one entertained the notion that these men were taking their leave to flee a certain doom. All present felt some degree of faith, understood who they were, why they were here, and what we were setting out to accomplish. Cells worked to find one another in the darkness, congealing themselves into a more coherent, practiced fighting force by virtue of familiarity with one another. Discipline was sharp and needed little enforcement past an initial reminder. No flashlights switched on inside the premises or campfires were lit despite the encroaching edges of the cold front. Insurgents were guided to whatever defensive positions, pillboxes, trenches, battlements, or bunkers still sat empty, depending somewhat on their expected role after detailing their skills to sentries or those otherwise familiar with the camp carefully explaining sight lines and our overall defensive strategy.
Whispered word overheard from those arrivals seemed to indicate a mixture of panic and outrage was fast spreading through the state's populace, carrying them on frightened wings as they took flight in the night, from here to the southernmost beaches and bays. It seemed word had gotten out successfully, then. That knocked down one more obstacle to our success, or at least set the pieces in place. Soon, all that would remain would be the ugly business of following through, and hoping, no praying that I hadn't massively miscalculated in my hubris.
I took the ramp out of the trench so they could pour some loose gravel into it, helping ensure that if those threatening looking storm clouds opened and if the drains clogged, we still would have some footing, and retired to the command cabin, eyeing how empty it felt with all the finished products being set into defensive arrangements; only the workshop still retained all its rather explosive concoctions.
The manpower situation was such that those familiar in reliably manufacturing complex bombs were spending their time setting up defenses in the fields beyond and settling in our new arrivals.
And then I had the couple hostages, weakened by months of captivity, restrained and kept under guard, but still sitting right on top of the half-done armaments.
I told myself that we had taken precautions- the most reactive sets separated by a thin membranous bag of water to prevent chain reactions from taking root and a few emergency containment systems, but they relied on someone present. I'd need all hands on deck- and what if a direct lance of energy landed from some heavy weapon hit the shed, perhaps to try and make a point? No mere bag of water would make a difference then.
Then again, if they brought that king of weaponry to bear, then the outcome would be certain. The Shil'vati would still lose their hostages, and have tacitly admitted I'd forced their hand, and that they'd declared we were enough of a threat to sacrifice noblewomen just to put a stop to.
I hunched over a smaller map in the command cabin, pinning down the garrisons and jails Verns might be held in. Perhaps I'd been premature in my assessment in lacking a future need of a good map when I'd jumped atop the table for my little motivational speech. I'd gotten caught up in the moment; I hadn't foreseen the need for an offensive element.
I was sorely missing my Lieutenants. Vendetta wasn't here, which was one of the greater anxieties weighing on my shoulders.
The one word I'd whispered in his ear all that time ago to bring him around to believing I did, in fact, have a plan: Victory. He should be here already.
He'd sprinted off across the field in glee back when I told him of this plan's possibility, that "Plan C" might come about due to a few cells going dark and my suspicion that it wasn't moles. The null hypothesis, that there were in fact moles, had put him in direct danger by sending him to double-check.
I cursed my blindness. My eagerness to take a night off, to get him out of the way so he wouldn't clash with the others, so I could be a 'normal boy' for a night and attend a party- one I wouldn't be kicked out of, To find social acceptance.
All part of a 'coming of age,' even after I'd already spilt blood, led a war campaign effort, kissed, earned more money than most would see in a lifetime, and mentally cut ties with my family. By almost any account, I already was a man, yet I'd gotten obsessive in imitating the modern trappings of defining such things. I should have seen the cells reporting members' absences and even going dark as a whole for what it was. I could have called off Town Hall, started assembling even more people here.
Then again, if I had, then perhaps...the shil'vati might not have started grabbing everyone. I hated to think of Verns as 'sacrificial.' They likely didn't have much on him, just a neighbor's report. Then again, we'd had that meeting right after the bar fight at Lucky's, right? How thoroughly had George cleared out his house, if they went back to rummage around and investigate? How well could George cover his tracks? We'd left that ammo crate in the hallway, for starters- clumsy of us, yet we were in a panic. Like children. I tensed as I remembered so vividly the sudden sharp report of the gun, watched Patrick's empty eyes stare up. But not children.
There was nothing I could do for Vendetta. We'd sent the Bat Signal out. Either he'd be here, or he'd miss it.
I weighed the value of sending George away once he got here. The order would certainly annoy him after he'd just arrived, something of an arduous task given how far backed up the traffic had become. I also knew it meant I'd have one fewer lieutenant here, where I desperately needed him. I could hardly ask him to burn down the childhood home, and it would certainly reek of hiding evidence.
"Sir," A sentry stood in the door frame, and I stretched from where my muscles had tensed up, pulling my shoulders back and yawning silently beneath my mask, lumbering toward him.
I didn't realize how tall I'd gotten until I realized he was staring up at me and had taken a half-step backwards- not to make way so I could lead from the door, either, but almost defensively.
"Yes, what is it?" I asked, stopping in place.
"We've received a message for you, sir. Radio is reporting that a 'Hex' has checked in from her position. She and Binary report 'Green as Grass,' sir."
I wasn't used to being called 'sir,' and it caught me off guard. I realized he was standing there, waiting for a response from me of some sort, too.
What should I say for him to send back to Hex? I momentarily remembered the sensation of the kiss, the warm, slightly wet softness, the tenderness, and felt a bit of a blush under my mask. While every instinct screamed at me to not air even a hint of my romances or inner turmoil about a kiss over the unencrypted connection, there was a level of 'not talking about it' that I was unfamiliar with and hadn't planned for. Could my message back be coded into something subtle? Nothing came to mind.
"G-good," I finally stuttered a little awkwardly. "That's very good."
"What does it mean, sir?"
I pushed the distractions out of my head. This was no time to be thinking about girls- and my mind stubbornly disobeyed, wandering right back to Natalie. At first to the hug she'd offered me, when I was scared. Frightened of the mind-wiper device. That tenderness she'd offered- I pushed the memory from my mind, too. This wasn't the time to fantasize, either. I had to live in the world that was before me, here in the present. People were relying on me. I could figure out all that other stuff- girls, hope, my future- sometime later.
"It means the operation can proceed as planned."
If the Twins stopped reporting or got caught with the hostages, then we'd have a lot less leverage stopping Azraea from blowing us all sky high. A couple noblewomen- who I wasn't terribly familiar with and seemed to be somewhat less important, provided they were truthful to me of their station. This unfortunate pair had relied on connections to already-stationed family members to arrive, rather than on their raw political power to muscle their way to Earth's then-closely guarded secret coordinates, and were present only for evidence of said hostages' presence.
"Sir, beg your pardon," I could sense something bubbling under his words, against his better judgment, but some sense of desperation demanded he ask me this anyways. "But what is the operation? I've been manning the airwaves with Radio, helping spread word, but everyone I make contact with seems to want to know."
"I don't see the wisdom in broadcasting the finer details of our plan, I'm sure you understand."
I sensed the inner conflict by the way he froze up. He wanted to object, probably, to swear he wouldn't leak more than the minimum. The problem was, anyone listening for long might take a morsel here, a morsel there, and bring it all together and undo us.
"You have all you're meant to have at this point, frustrating though that must be to try and inform others of the going-ons. Our objective is right before us. When the time comes and the enemy appears, blast them." I didn't want to say there isn't much else to plan. At least, not for them to consider.
"And you, sir?"
"I'll be right here, alongside you," I promised. That seemed to ease some of his pressing curiosity, at least. "We'll be here together, to watch the birth of a miracle." That, or we'd die together. Those words didn't quite have the same catchy ring, though.
I looked over my shoulder back at the map. What more good could be wrought over pondering what jail he might be in, without more details?
"Another matter. Hex said G-Man should arrive in a few minutes."
"Thank you. Anything else to report?"
"No sir, the shortwave beckons." They gave a hand-on-heart and stepped out, leaving the doorframe empty.
I told myself I may as well follow. There was no good to come of disappearing into a tent, secluded for long periods, not when anxiety might run through the gathered troops. I had to make myself seen at least periodically. Besides, it was easier to get a more complete picture from out here than in there.
Radio looked like a one-man-band by the way he was surrounded by boxy electronics of varying sizes, their glows dimmed slightly by thin pieces of fabric taped over the tiny glowing screens, and the trap stretched over his head. Wires snaked their way along the ground, a trooper trying to lay the cable into a thin channel of dirt with a spade to reduce the tripping hazard.
Pierce crouched next to him with a laptop plugged into something wired together, the final outlet of which looked vaguely like an international travel inverter, her fingers flying across the trackpad.
"Radio, how are we?"
"We've made lots of contact, I think. So much traffic on the airwaves it's actually hard to find a clear channel to broadcast on."
"Do they have our encryption keys?" I asked, the question almost automatic.
"No, having one kind of defeats the purpose of being heard and getting the signal out. Besides, encrypting's probably easy for the Shil'vati to crack. Less easy for human intelligence agencies, but impossible for the people who we want to hear us."
I already knew most of this, but humoured him. Little entertained radio quite like his namesake.
"What's our chance of discovery, then? Rough time to them figuring out it's us here, and finding the signal's origin."
"At least with a somewhat uncountable number of HAM signals being thrown across the airwaves, we are a really big needle in a gigantic haystack. Besides, how many times have we actually been where we're broadcasting from?"
That was a point I hadn't considered.
The Shil'vati would likely regard our signal as just a relay point, rather than the source, let alone the destination.
Would they strike it just to silence the orders, once they figured out how many of them were originating from the same point?
I comforted myself by staring upstream of the creek that wandered to the south of Camp Death, following its course with my eyes to where it flowed under the concrete tunnels under the highway, under the train tracks, to where it ultimately ran back to where Radio and I had visited Saint Michael's. Then I turned my head back across the field, toward where the foundation of Mojo and Mister Pasta's had been, where Vaughn had called in the kill team on the Fed's sting operation,
We'd certainly set up plenty of remote broadcast towers before, to entice them into launching strikes on collaborationists. That Saint Michael's was still standing after we'd broadcast all kinds of propaganda from there meant they'd almost certainly learned to be a bit more cautious about lashing out blindly.
In the darkness I saw a familiar figure materialize, and with a bit of relief, I ran up to greet Larry. I wanted to give the old mechanic a hug, but knew that expressions of intimacy while standing near the middle of the camp's defensive perimeter in front of everyone was more than a bit inappropriate, and settled for a nod of acknowledgment.
"I cleaned up the mess at Jules place," he said, going back to referring to his friend by their code name, glancing at Pierce.
I felt a moment of shame. We'd panicked and grabbed everything. Perhaps we were like children after all, leaving our toys out and in the hall. "Thank you."
"Saw Patrick."
"Patrick saw," I said back. "Patrick- called."
Whatever Larry was about to say, that brought him up short. "Oh. Oh." The words seemed to leave him pained. He'd known Patrick, too, and I felt the weight of guilt. It seemed he moved on faster than I could, because he changed the topic quickly.
"What's up?" He gestured at the radio setup.
Pierce seemed to be quite engrossed in her work, trying to connect the laptop to a radio via a USB cable, fumbling with the port in the dark. The laptop's screen was showing a shaky handheld video of a mass arrest- and I thought I could hear my own voice echoing the words I'd spoken just a short while ago.
"Just uploading the speech. I've spliced it up to some footage that one of the newcomers brought. We'll also be exporting raw versions of both- just the audio, the video, make sure people have the record and can decide for themselves."
Sometimes the truth was the best propaganda.
"How are you getting video out? I thought the internet was down."
Radio held a hand up, and then put it down, as if I'd been a teacher asking a question and he'd been chasing extra credit. The next few sentences were practically a foreign language to me, uttering a series of numbers in rapid succession, followed by what sounded like a name. That may've been a model, an edition of a model, a make, a special form of broadcasting- all of it may well have been bounced off the ionosphere for how far it went over my head. I wasn't used to being so completely out of my depth, but everyone seems to have specialized in some skill or another. I'd preferred getting involved in all aspects of the revolution, but at a certain point delegation was a necessity, and I was watching not just the task's needs, but also the capabilities of my lieutenants grow well past my ability to offer useful insight and guidance.
"I...see." I didn't, but I wasn't sure what else to say. I wanted to express curiosity, but I felt like this new capability was something we'd discuss later, if there was a later. "And people can receive high definition video over shortwave? It just takes a long time?"
It seemed to me to be an apparently somewhat technical process to perform over shortwave, and only when finally pressed for details, Radio at last admitted something I did understand: "I am not sure most people know how to collect the signal, or have the right equipment to, but I'm sure someone will, Maybe that person will redistribute the videos."
There. Actionable, useful information.
"Then continue," I said. "At least unless anything more pressing jumps up to do."
"Let's hope it's good for more than the history books," Pierce commented mildly.
"The world has to know, and I am certain the shil'vati have no interest in putting such footage out there. That's reason enough for us, isn't it?" I watched Radio nod and then scurry about the camp, tracing one of the wires toward the antenna array nearest the highway. I turned to Larry, breaking off from the amusing spectacle. "Do you remember my promise?" My question was genuine, but he seemed to waver slightly, now that the possibility of actually delivering on it was here and present. Perhaps the aura of our inner circle's invincibility had been shattered with the loss of his neighbors, and it would be best to set his mind to something productive. "If you want it to come true, see to it that the mortar teams are trained. Get the cannons in position, and make sure we're good for more than just one wave."
Larry snapped a salute, fingers on brow, and I clumsily approximated one in return, though I had never done a salute before in my life. I could sense the slight smile from behind his mask, and with a quick check over his shoulder that no one was watching, he reached out, straightened my palm out slightly, then brought the edge of my palm higher until it was a bit more level. "That's better," he judged, then leaving me alone once I dropped the hand a few seconds later.
George showed up a few minutes earlier than Hex had predicted, out of breath and escorted by a sentry. "Ditched the truck," he wheezed. "The huge bags of claymores and equipment were really heavy. Had to haul it under the interstate." His shoes shone with creekwater; He'd almost certainly taken the path Larry had forbade us from trying, and I couldn't imagine doing it in the pitch black darkness at any speed.
I motioned to the sentry. "Help him get that bag into the workshop." He was the best bomb maker, but he also had helped build this place. I wanted to pick his brain, but I would give him time to rest, first.
"Hey, Radio. Radio!" I heard the shortwave radio he'd set at the top squawk to life with a familiar grumble on the other end, distorted somewhat by the tinny speaker. I scooped it up. Someone with a vocoder- Radio gave those out sparingly.
"'E' here," I answered for him, but didn't want to announce myself. Not right away.
A moment's pause.
"What are your orders?"
"Vendetta?" I wanted to confirm.
"I'm here with over fifty people waiting at Warehouse Base for something to do," I knew the transmission would likely be monitored, but the time for subtlety was over. "You're on speakerphone, by the way."
The line was likely tapped, or at least would be intercepted, its contents determining priority for being passed upward or presented to someone with authority, possibly even Azraea herself.
Whatever orders I gave, they'd have to be in code, or at least sound like something unimportant, low-priority so that we might give him as much opportunity to get the drop on the enemy as he could be afforded.
"Don't bother trying to come here yet," I quickly supplied. "By now, if you're not on your way here, you have your own party to go to." I took a moment to survey the grounds. "We've practically got a full house. See about getting a house party of your own, though you'll have to pull the guests out of their own company. Or something to flank."
"Any idea where to start?"
The map fresh in my mind, I found the answer sprang to me.
"There's a rest stop along Route One. If you've got any party poppers, you can get them to open up to you like a can opener. You know, it's all about introducing yourself well."
I heard him laugh mirthlessly, the sound coming through like a cheese grater run over the asphalt.
"That one's a big bite, maybe more than we can chew without choking. Why don't we start with something smaller?"
I wanted to protest, to direct him to the biggest ones first. Then again, how much did they have on Verns? How likely was he to be somewhere heavily defended?
"What do you have in mind?"
"Well, right across the river from where the naughty girls all get sent. Why don't we start there? Every party needs a few ladies, right?" I could hear a roar of assent from the background.
I wasn't quite sure what he meant by that- was he going to try and attack the Shil'vati base? Surely not those women? He wasn't that insane. Then it clicked- the Women's Correctional Facility in Wilmington, just upstream of the Christina River from where he was broadcasting from at the old Warehouse Base. Easy to get to, certainly, and right near the interstate with pedestrian bridges and neighborhoods to scatter in after the strike made it an excellent candidate. Almost certain to succeed.
The strike wouldn't yield us Verns, though forcing the Shil'vati to admit that they couldn't both take and hold their prisoners at the same time might force them to at least pause rounding up ever more people.
If I gave it my blessing, I would be sacrificing any chance of rescuing Verns for...for what? The tradeoff strained my soul to even consider.
"If you feel that's best, you know your crowd. That said, they got Jules- we want him back." He'd helped build Camp Death. He knew its ins and outs, though my real reasons were somewhat sentimental. "Keep an eye out for Morningstar and a few other cells. I've little doubt they can party with the best of them." They were one of my heaviest hitters, routinely bragging they could go clay pigeon hunting with an unguided RPG, yet I was pretty sure I'd never rallied them to Camp Death- if they were to rally, Warehouse Base was where they'd be.
There was a moment of silence, until Vaughn reported back- "Yeah, they're here. They were going to move up to you once they got everyone together. Should we leave instructions for where to find us, or to find you?"
"Do it- supplies are overall good here. Lots of...uh, balloons, confetti..." I felt like I was stretching the analogy too far, so I gave up trying to equate weaponry to party paraphranelia. " know, the works. Take Morningstar and use 'em as you see best fit. What've you got for your party? Any good party supplies?" We certainly could make a trash run and see if we could also deliver them some RPGs at the same time.
"Got some Bump-n-Grinds, and you know those are always good for an up-close-and-personal encounter."
I laughed. "From what I read about bumping and grinding? The closer, the better." Their accuracy left a fair bit to be desired. Still, it would be a good, even vital carry just in case those dreaded Security Forces Technicals made an appearance, and would probably be 'good enough' against a stationary target like a wall, especially in the hands of a capable squadron like Talonstar.
"What time are you thinking?"
"I'd say as soon as we're all ready. You really overestimated how many people know where Camp Death is. A fair number showed up here, and are still trickling in."
"Enough to throw several parties at once?" I asked, suddenly hopeful.
"Well, I suppose, maybe, but I'd be wary of partygoers without someone in charge to, uh..." the metaphor seemed to be breaking down, but I got what he was going for.
"Yeah, I see."
"Are you thinking if there are too many noise complaints at once, it'll keep the party going longer?"
"That's part of it, but I'm hoping we might find a particular person we're missing, lost him when we were playing unexpected host. Someone of G-Man's, you'd know him as Jules. A divide and conquer might maximize our odds of finding him."
"Plus, maximize the number of partygoers we pick up as we move. I like it. A few small house parties for every big house. Any special orders?"
"None. K.I.S.S. principle applies. Good, bad, I want it all out on the streets. 'KISS' 'em until they can't see straight." Keep It Simple, Stupid.
"You're certain?" I could hear the hesitancy in his voice. "This is going to be the greatest thing we've ever done, and I want to be by your side for it 'til the end. I don't want any last-minute cancellations, and I sure as hell don't wanna miss it. How long should I party?"
We'd be letting absolute chaos loose. Fire. Looting. The worst of humanity, turned loose, with Vaughn potentially at its head if he decided to recruit for some reason. Could I still claim to be the good guy if I turned those kinds of people free to wreak havoc on the state I claimed whose denizens I was protecting?
Blackstone's Ratio holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. It would still hold me no less accountable for whatever followed from this mass prison break, though.
I looked over to the recently arrived George, and hung my head.
So be it.
"Confirmed, Vendetta. I'll next talk to you when you're here in person- call it when you start either getting tired or if the hosts hire a doorman, a bouncer, or something you can't handle. Bring any good partygoers and favors you find, guide them here, O Pied Piper. Over and out." The signal went quiet again, and I turned off our radio, standing and yawning. The hour was late, and it would be my last opportunity for some shuteye.
I pulled aside a few sentries to my first order. I felt it was a strange one, and likely futile: I asked everyone to 'try and get some rest.'
The sentries were going to be exhausted, and I needed them to start working in shifts if we were to maintain our vigil and perimeter. Doubtless, more would be coming, and giving them at least some rest might be a difference-maker. G-Man helped lead the newcomers to the subterranean bunkers and tunnels, trying to make sure everyone had a place to stay the night and resources got split, even if it was throwing tarps and blankets on hard-packed dirt. I eyed the tunnels, knowing which one of them would spit me out near the stream, itself running so low I might as well refer to it as a ravine. Digging that had been cramped, paranoia-inducing, but we'd dug out so much of the hill and filled it with enough weapons to wage a full-scale war. What had begun as almost make-work and a place to store things when we'd started out
I couldn't sleep well on the cot that night, tossing and turning- I even tried resting with the mask off, held in my hands, but the risk to my identity if anyone barged in caused me enough stress. Eventually, I stood and donned it, making my rounds around the camp, trying to calm myself. Instead, I felt eyes following me, and I had to force myself to stand tall. For the thousandth time, I thought of this as my Valley Forge.
The sentry at the door to the command cabin gave me a hand-on-heart, and I returned it.
As I patrolled, I could hear whispered prayers, muttered plans of action, and mercifully, snores. At least some were getting some sleep. I could see orange lights reflecting off the clouds, near where I knew Wilmington lay.
I almost jumped a foot in the air when I felt the tap on my shoulder, only to find G-Man's mask staring into mine. How strange that such a haunting visage was a comfort to me.
"Hey. Can't sleep?"
"I can't," I confessed. "G-Man, I'm sorry what happened with your father. Hell of a birthday." I hadn't even had a chance to give him the present I'd bought him- a couple new filters, and vintage craftsman toolkit, "from before they sold out," Verns had told me. The memory of his voice already felt distant somehow- no. I'll see him again.
"Wasn't your fault. Even if Town Hall wasn't your big idea to get them to retaliate, you know? Then they'd still have done something. But, uh, thanks for saying that. And thanks for trying to get dad out. I'll remember that." George said quietly, then the conversation ended when he turned away and went to the edge of the embankment. Just like that.
I could never quite get a read on him.
I went inside, and tried to force myself to get at least some shut-eye.
Thanks to Terran-Armored-Core and DeltaNu for helping with some decisions and spellcheck.
Thanks to Inmutabilis-Ratio for helping with the site, it was very helpful in importing the text.
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