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I have a vintage bike and couldn't find a replacement to a 12-18 uniglide casette so I changed the chairing from 52-42 to 48-39.
It felt easier on flats but when I took it out to try climbing with it I had to mash standing
all the way at less than 10kph on a steep bit for a around 1.5km
The climb was averaging 7 percent overall with the first half averaging 12 percent, peak was like 17 percent or so.
I then went on to do a few loops on a the less steep side of just a little more than 1km up (same distance down)at average 6.5 percent which while hard was no where near the steeper side
Basically Is such training ok for me and the bike or should I take my cheaper hybrid with a triple 48-38-28 and 14-28 if I want to train for climbs instead
Please do not take offense from any harsh words I use towards my partner; I need somewhere to vent, and I do not take my anger out on her for this vice I've made for myself.
I (m16) started a relationship with my girlfriend (f15) nearly 2 months ago, and I can only see it as an obstruction to my personal life. At first I had no reaction to respond to my crush's feelings towards me, but inevitably I decided to give her a chance. I soon found an obligation within myself to stay with the suicidal girl who has been mistreated in the past by other boys. The first month was great; endless hugs and affection was something I never experienced in my life, and I felt as if I would never want the relationship I was in to end. However, I have made the realization that I do not want to endure the responsibilities that come along with a relationship: I do not want to stare at my phone for countless hours, neither do I want to converse about your favorite kpop groups and five nights at Freddy's characters. I hate when you call me while babysitting due to the ceaseless wails of your annoying nephews. I do not appreciate your inclination to tell your mom of everything we speak of; even though I attempted to communicate to you my discomfort in your breach of privacy, you threw my issue out the window and rationalized your decision due to you being "friends" with your mother. You said you wanted to start reading novels together, but once I found my own profound taste in books you became disgusted with my newfound hobby. I have other hobbies of my own such as meditating, and yoyoing that I am deeply interested in, but anytime I spend as much as 30 minutes doing anything except staring into the abyss of my phone while speaking to you, you become sullen, and resentful towards my interests. I do not see the correlation between wanting a nerdy boyfriend, but not wanting to accept the fact that he wants to spend some portion of his time alone to practice the hobbies that make him so "nerdy". As of right now I have the next 30 years of my life planned out, and I'm not sure that I see our relationship spanning even 5 years.
I've dug myself a hole of which I'm not entitling myself to climb out of at the moment. Our family's both hold connections as of right now, and my snitch of a gym teacher decided to inform my parents of girlfriend without my consent (something I thought of bringing up with my schools office due to it being an unwarranted reach into my personal life). I cannot leave you because of your previously mentioned suicidal nature; I am aware of the numerous rifles and handguns located in your house, and your intention to harm yourself if we ever separate. If you ever become unwell I will not hesitate to step out of the relationship and inform your sister of the potential threat you hold to yourself; there is also the possibility that your family goes through with their plan to move to Texas and I'll never have to see you again. I know I made a large promise to stay with you even at long distance, but that is simply something I said in the heat of the moment, and a dead weight to add to a highschool relationship that is already an encumbrance to me. Otherwise I will continue to maintain a relationship that I do not feel for anymore, and treat you kindly through the remainding two years of my highschool career. I do not think it would be a stretch to breakup with you in the midst of my busy plans for college. I do not think I would have time to care for a relationship with anyone in that time period. I plan on pursuing a career in optometry which is no small task, so I'm willing to make numerous sacrifices to reach my goal. Unlike me, you seem to be slightly behind in maturity for your age; you have no plans of up keeping your grades, or doing any work to prepare yourself for the future, yet still manage to blame your bad grades on your intellect rather than your work ethic. You always find something other than yourself or your actions to blame on your shortcomings; everytime you find something to be upset at, you manage to blame it on something I'm doing, but never blame your own indifference towards instigating a problem within my own personal agenda. I promise I'll find a way to end our relationship as smoothly as possible, and escape America by my mid 30s to pursue a greater quality of life in Thailand.
I apologize for and redundance and grammar issues presented withing my text, and offer thanks towards anyone who has made it this far. I am not communicating my resentment towards my girlfriend, and plan on masking it for the next two years to come; I will not make her suffer for my decision to start a relationship with her.
It is so sad to me. He has no business being anywhere near that poor kid until he gets it together, but seeing him ranting about how much he misses him is incredibly sad. Like, he clearly loves the boy but he can't get it together.
Addiction is a vicious bitch. Isn't it weird how you can adore your children with every fiber of your being but just cannot get the monkey off your back (for some people).
The vast majority of drunks and addicts love their children as much as anyone else. It is just so hard to get out from under addiction's thumb. Denial, minimizing, blaming others, all that make it so hard to get clean despite your love.
It seems like Bam, from his boardwalk bums crack video yesterday, is just a hopeless case. If he has cognition issues alongside the substance problem, it is just sad.
So, me and my girlfriend found a rental listing on Craigslist for a 1400 2 bed apartment near campus. They asked for half security before we could see the property on top of a 100 dollar application fee. Is this normal? Any advice? My girlfriend also tryed to send the 350 through apple pay and it came up as flagged for fraud. She then sent it through Venmo before telling me. So now the landlord has 450 of our money before us even seeing the state of the property in question. I gave him a call and he said the fraud alert was only because of the dollar amount and I've worked out a time to go view the property. I'm kinda worried that once I see the place it might be trashy. Is there an easy way to get my money back if the apartment isn't as advertised?
I'm cis and one of my closest friends of nearly 10 years recently came out as trans. I try to be as supportive as I can, and obviously I don't really have much advice for her since I do not have the same life experiences, but I try to be there to listen as one of her closest friends.
Yesterday I invited her over for dinner, and from our long conversation I was taken back by some of the things she was telling me that sounded like conspiracy theories, and I don't know if I should be concerned about my friend or if I'm out of the loop and naive. I am not on social media and ever since Trump I read the news a lot less. I say this for context that I hear about current events, but I can't say that I really do my due diligence and dive deeply into topics.
What she was telling me was that the current anti-trans movement is basically the successor to the Nazi regime and that they've finally found ultimate power through their anti-trans policies and genocide of trans people. The thinking here was that since there will always be trans people replacing those that have died, they can be the perpetual scapegoat for their ideologies that will keep them in power. Further, the genocide of trans people will soon escalate to include the entire LGBT spectrum and also black people and other people of color.
I didn't really know what to say, and didn't really say anything and just listened. She repeatedly told me that she knows I think what she's telling me is crazy, but that she's dead serious and that I didn't know how bad it was. And to be fair, at least that bit is true. I hear about all the anti-drag and anti-trans legislation and other talking points, but to be fair I'm not as well read as I should be, like I said previously.
So my question is, should I be concerned about these ideas my friend is holding on to, or am I extremely naive and out of touch? I know things are bad out there, but is there truth to what she told me?
I'm thinking of trying to volunteer at an elementary school near me and run a TTRPG game there. I don't know what ages I'll run for (assuming it'll actually happen), but it's safe to assume anywhere between 8 to 12.
I know about No Thank You, Evil and Amazing Tales, but I don't know how they actually play. There's also the setback of the fact that will have to translate the character sheets because English is not the native language of my country, but that's not a huge deal.
If anybody with experience running games specifically made for kids, or running hacks of "grown up kids" games to make them more kid friendly, please share! Also your experience with running these.
Thanks for the help!
Title. I’ve been stuck at a restaurant bar that trained me from scratch and I feel like I’ve hit a wall with what I can learn there. I’ve heard that a hotel near me needs bartenders but I want to make sure I’m prepared before I go in. I can make the common shots and cocktails (the teas, margs, old fashioned) all day no problem but when it comes to drinks that introduce vermouth and different bitters, even stuff like mint, I don’t even know what’s popular or necessary to learn beforehand
Just recently got an DOL-001 (GameCube with digital out port) as a gift. My uncle used to be a gamer and was cleaning out his garage and stumbled upon it. Works great and is fairly clean except for some yellowing on the Grey plastic. I took it all apart and cleaned it out and tested it with my gameboy player and everything works great. I didn't like my normal gamecube cause it's slightly blurry when played on my TV (forget the specifics behind this) so I was excited to get this as a gift. My buddy has a 3rd parry digital cord he let me try out but it was still slightly blurry though not nearly as bad as just the normal gamecube. Anyone have any recommendations for a good digital cord? Am I better off getting an hdmi adapter? I just wanna be able to use my gameboy player and not have it be blurry. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I didn’t know what to do, but it seemed pretty certain the little one was going to get eaten. Sorry if this was the wrong thing to do. I hung around for awhile and saw no magpies at all, no nest, nothing.
The only thing stopping the crows from getting it was me, so I picked it up and explored the area trying to find its parents. I eventually found some magpies, and what looked like a nest.
I placed the little baby on the highest branch I could reach and hung around for awhile. The crows had followed me. The magpies I had seen disappeared.
I then left it there and continued my walk. 30 minutes later I came back and the baby was still there, no magpies or crows present.
I returned home, but was scared for the little thing, so I grabbed a shoe box, filled it with hay, went back, (it was still there perched on the branch) put it in the box and have now brought it home.
For now, I’ve put some pumpkin seeds (that’s all I had) inside with it. I intend on taking it back to near the nest I found tomorrow and hanging around for awhile. Otherwise, I have no idea what to do.
Just spoke with a Guild dealer who let me know that they are going to be releasing a signature model S-200. But, he said it's not an import, this one is being made in the USA. He couldn't remember the name of the artist, but said it should be coming out in the near future. I couldn't find anything about this online with some quick searching. Does anyone have more info? Am I late to the party with this info and it's widely known?
I love writing and hearing about other peoples experiences and I’ve always wanted a pen pal, anywhere near or far woud be great! I’ve travelled to a decent amount of places and have been in the uk for a couple of years now.
I’m into a lot of different things and very leftist - I love plants and biking and cooking! I have a cat and love to hear cute pet stories - I generally also love nature and reading. Ok I can’t think of any other interests I have for now but if you’d like to exchange letters let me know!! <3
Recently I broke my hdmi port for my ps5, and could not find anywhere near campus that fixes consoles other than Ubreakifix. They overcharge for labor since the piece is only 8 bucks and it was 215 total. I was wondering if anyone knows another repair shop that is capable of fixing the hdmi port on a ps5 since it isn’t working again. Or, if someone knows how to do it themselves please let me know asap! I would much rather overpay someone personally, then be scammed by the store for a 15 minute repair.
18 y/o chubby bottom looking to give car head right at this very moment just dm me with yoyr cock size and ethnicity then ill send you my address to come pick me up i live near sams town be discrete/down low
Platform(s): Web Browser, I think I used to play it on Y8 (a now malware infested website)
Genre: Adventure, side scrolling
Estimated year of release: I'm not sure, but it was before 2015
Graphics/art style: Simple digital art, I think it was chibi
Notable characters: dinosaurs/dragons wielding paintbrushes, bones, and other simple staff-like weapons
Notable gameplay mechanics: keyboard and mouse
Other details: I remember that it was a game where the world was being taken over by ink, and your goal was to restore colour and fight the enemies. I think one of the things you would collect to help you on your journey was paintbrushes that enemies would drop, or an item very similar. My strongest memory of one of the levels was a desert level at night. You walked through the ruins of some ancient building, past fallen or slanted pillars and half standing walls, and occasionally encountered an enemy. Another level, the first one, took place in a forest. I always got stuck at one early part of the game, right after the desert level I think, and was never able to make it past that point, since I had no instructions to go from. Most of the map was still covered, and no new places had appeared. It might be that 12yr old me had no understanding of hints/instructions given, or that the game had a bug. This game may be lost to time, since I believe it was a flash game. If so, that is ok, I just want to know the name of it. Some of the information might not be accurate, since I'm looking for a game I played once or twice nearly a decade ago, but most of the information should be correct.
(English is not my 1st language, sorry if I made mistakes) Hello everyone! I'm a 22 year old girl and I want to be a goalie soon. I don't have all the equipment yet, but I'm planning to buy it until the end of the year. I bought the pads, the gloves and the skates already (Bauer GSX). I tried the position once with equipment I borrowed and I really loved it, but I'm not athletic enough yet. There's a place near my home where I can go to some hockey practice for beginners when I'll get all of my equipment but I'm worried about this. I can skate but I can't stop with them, also I'm afraid to fall. I have no chance to take skating lessons until the season starts, but I go to public skates once a week for two hours. But the question is: is there any advice that you can give me? I work out at home, trying to gain some muscle on my legs and arms but I'm afraid that I'm not enough to do this. I just want to be a goalie as a hobby, because I really love goalies and it's my dream to became one, even if I'll be bad. Thanks for the answers 😊
Long story short, my former employer in 2022 did not take nearly enough tax off my pay and shares that were granted to me. As a result I ended up with a tax bill of $24,000 owing when I filed in April. I used my savings to pay off the first 50% of the taxes owing but am still left with a sizable amount owing. I have $5000 in my TFSA that I could pull and apply that against my owed taxes that remain. Other than that I’m sending the CRA $500 per month but am having a hard time coming up with any more due to cost of living increases lately. Any advice would be appreciated.
Part 24: https://www.reddit.com/Viidith22/comments/13taoss/my_roommate_is_slenderman_part_24_revised/
It had been a day or so and I hadn’t gotten a response from Megami. There are spurts where we don’t talk, she tends to be pretty accident-prone with electronics. Sometimes the frequency she’s singing goes haywire and fries it. But it had been a good five months or so since we last spoke. Taking a shot in the dark, I called Rachel.
“What is it, Terry?” She grunted, “I’m a little busy.”
“I need to talk to Megami, but she’s been MIA since the whole ‘Maerod’ situation.” My mind shot back to what Jones had told me, to watch out for “her,” momentarily questioning whether or not Dexter’s team had been dumb enough to keep her alive.
There was a pause, the line was silent. Then, a sigh, “Actually, I’ve had the same problem. I figured she just broke another phone, or was pissed at me for… Well, I’ll keep an ear out and let you know if I hear anything. What do you need her for?” She grunted again.
The line went silent again, then an exasperated sigh, “Good luck, be sure to bring The Doctor with you. You know how you can get.”
A flush of anger pulsed through me, but I took a deep breath, “Sure.”
She shrieked, “Oh shit!” The call ended.
I thought over the list of everyone, wondering what I was gonna do. I had actually intended to have Doc and Megami be the last two after Smudge, no one else would really work. Chad wasn’t right for the type of incognito mission we were doing, Abraham wasn’t available, Rachel and Sepratine just didn’t quite mesh with what we were doing, Megami was supposed to be the last one to fill out the party. I mulled it over, but I still owed David, the huuldefolk, a favor from the Maerod raid. I would’ve called Jacob, but he was in another country doing who knows what.
My phone rang as I stood, leaning against the couch, “Jones, something wrong?”
He chuckled, “Not in the least. You got your group together?”
“We’re one short.”
“No problem, bring everyone by tonight, we need to prepare on our end, and Dexter sent us a bit of backup.” He hung up.
I called up Doc and Smudge, telling them to be at my place and ready by the time dusk rolled around. Heading to the bathroom I downed my meds, trying to shake off a weird feeling that slowly crept up on me. As if something was going to happen when we got there. It was more than just a bad feeling, but a conviction, I knew something would happen, and it made me uncomfortable. One of the pills I took was supposed to ease it, but when it got that bad, it meant my brain had already determined some kind of outcome. It’s not a superpower or anything, more like enhanced intuition. It only happens when my brain has the information to go off of. But there’s a disconnect between my conscious and subconscious, so whenever something like that happens, I just have to wait for it to come to fruition.
Stepping into the office, I looked around, “Where’s the new guy?”
Xavier looked up, baffled at the sight. Then Jones stood, walking over to greet us, the bags under his eyes less defined, “He’s in the back getting himself something to eat. Smudge, nice to see you again, you haven’t aged a day.” Smudge chuckled at that, “You must be The famous Doctor, I want to thank you for coming. I’m sure you’re a busy man.” He outstretched his hand, but Doc just gestured between Jones and me.
“You see, that’s how you should greet me. You really ought to get a notepad out, you might learn a thing or two about how to respect your elders.”
“If I remember correctly, I’m about 2,000 years your senior. When did you start your… questionable medical practices again? 16th, 17th century?”
Doc ignored me, angrily shaking Jones’s hand, “Nice to meet you, lad! Glad to hear somebody thinks highly of me, even if it is a meager thinskin.”
“Me and my dislocated fingers thank you for that.” As he brought his hand back, Jones uncomfortably pushed his fingers back into their sockets one by one. “So, who were you planning on bringing? You said there was going to be another?”
“Right, had my sights set on a Siren, she’s pretty skilled and can be silent when the occasion arises. But I couldn’t get ahold of her.” I paused, “Actually, you’ve got your ear to the ground, you heard anything about someone named Megami? It’s been a few months since we talked, I’m kinda worried.”
Jones was a mannequin, despite trying to seem calm, his eyes flicked to Xavier before shooting back to us. He leaned against his desk, reaching for his coffee mug several times, not looking away from us, before finally grabbing it, and raising it to his mouth.
I stared hard at Xavier, a few moments later, he cracked, “Look it was a life or death sit–”
My legs tightened, I could feel the meds pushing to the side as I grew, stepping over to him in two long strides. He threw out his hearing aid, grasping his one intact ear as he held himself up with his free hand on the desk, “You killed Megami! Tell me why I shouldn’t give you the same treatment!” Something grasped my waist, then each of my legs. They were trying to push me back. When I released a tentacle to shoot Xavier through the head, I felt a prick stab into it. I fell limp, shrinking back down instantaneously.
Much calmer, I looked at my surroundings, Doc stood over me, making sure I was fine, Smudge looked between Xavier and me, wondering how he should react. Then I saw Xavier, Jones standing beside him, and on the other side of the desk, just across from us, stood the blonde buzzcut, and scarred musculature, of a Texan soldier. “Fucking Tucker.” I chuckled with disdain, “Of course.”
“Wish I had my H.O.P.S. but unfortunately it was destroyed along with the U.S.P.M. You’re one terrifying son of a bitch when I’m not in a full suit of armor, I’ll tell you what.” Looking close, I noticed he was wearing one of the older exosuits they used to wear. It was clean, but there were scuffs in the black paint job here and there.
“The U.S.P.M is just a bad fucking omen at this point.”
“Hey, we didn’t kill Jeff, and we didn’t kill Megami. So why don’tcha chill the fuck out.” Tucker crossed his arms, staring at me.
Smudge let out a jittery sigh, “You know, Jane’s death wasn’t necessarily the fault of Jeff.”
I looked at him, “Are you really going to side with the thinskins on this one?”
“Terry, behave yourself. We’re only here for Joseph’s sake. After we’re done you can go wipe out the US government. But we’re here for a reason. Doctor back me up here.”
“I’m neutral in this, I don’t care much for anyone.”
“And yet you’re here to help save Joseph.”
He sighed, “Joseph is okay I suppose. But I’m here because Terry gave me a deal on a pixie a month or so back.”
Smudge and Doc continued their back and forth as I stared at Xavier, he stood upright again, fixing the aid back into his ear, “I don’t blame you, Terry, I’d kill me too. I even did. But at least wait till this is over, yeah? I wanna slip in one last good deed if I can.” He blinked tears back as he put on a ski mask.
“When we’re done, I’ll thank you, but you better hope we never cross paths again.”
“I could say the same to you… I could.”
The air was still for a minute or so, even Doc and Smudge had stopped their bickering. “Well then.” Tucker smacked his hands together, making a metal clink, “Y’all ready to kick some shit in?”
“How long is the drive? I’ll need at least an hour to recover.”
Jones answered, “Hour and a half to two, you’ll be fine. We’ve got guns in the van, all suppressed. I had a mutual acquaintance of ours send us a care package yesterday. Regardless, I say we should all keep our blood inside our bodies.”
Tucker joined in, “Speaking of, I managed to scrounge the materials to make up some of those SIOM rounds. I left them in the van, along with the last resort.” He winked at me.
Jones nodded, “We should be good to go then, you guys oughtta join us in the van, less conspicuous.”
I nodded, “Yeah, that’d make the most sense. I’ll be taking the lead when we get there though. Which reminds me, you never sent me the schematics.”
“Oh, yeah, I’ll send them over. Are you gonna have enough time to put a plan together?”
“Yeah, I already know how we’ll follow into the building. I was thinking Tucker at first, but without his suit, he’s basically just a liability.”
He rolled his eyes, “Yeah, we’ll see about that one.”
As the van slowed, Tucker pulled on his combat gloves. He was decked out in full gear that I hadn’t really noticed till we got in the van. A flexible vest that was essentially a skin-tight long-sleeve shirt, meeting his wrists. His pants were tight and were made of the same fabric as his shirt.
We came to a complete stop as he slung his rifle around, clicking off the safety on his Bizon. Doc clapped his book shut, and Smudge stood.
“Alright, everyone up, we need to get to the gun cases.” Jones had come back through a door-sized hole connecting the back of the van to the front. He’d already pulled his mask over his face, the only color that came from him was his remaining eye and parts of his lips, only revealed by small, cut strips in the fabric.
We stood, sidestepping so he could get to the guns behind the seats. One by one we filed out the back.
Xavier hopped out the back, followed by Jones who stared at Tucker for a moment, “Did you uh… Did you put a new scope on this?” He raised his PS90 which held an ACOG and a suppressor.
“Oh yeah, it’s kinda like a thermal scope. But instead of heat it picks up… well I don’t actually know. But you should be able to see anything invisible or not.” Xavier inspected his own gun, “Sorry guy, I only had enough for Jones and me. You should be fine, but just cause you don’t got a fancy scope don’t mean you can go missing your shots. Them rounds’re expensive as hell.”
“Well, let’s get going, I’ve got the map down, I know how to get there. Second floor of their basement has the data. Unfortunately, we have no idea what security looks like, so we have to be cautious if we intend to stay hidden.”
Tucker spoke, “Just to be clear, you’re upfront, Jones is behind you, then the Doctor, then Xavier with me covering our asses.”
“Smudge is behind Doc, and while I’d like to have Xavier in the back–”
Xavier rolled his eyes, “Well I’d like to have you in back.”
Tucker sighed, “Anyhow, guess it works. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll have a huuldefolk I can put some rounds through. Release some of this tension.” He shot his gaze between Xavier and me.
“Well let’s head out. Smudge, you’ll be able to keep the cameras down right?”
“Based on what you said about their layout I should be able to, but I won’t be able to keep us hidden from the perception of the guards once we’re inside. There are far too many electronics I need to keep down so if we run into anyone inside the building, we need to kill them and hide their bodies to avoid being caught. I can’t keep the entire building down, so I can’t stop them from setting off an alarm if we miss anyone.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem.” Tucker lifted his gun.
“Let’s hope those sights are as powerful as you say.”
Before long, we were on our way. We’d parked some distance out so as to not draw any attention. Taking the lead, the only noise I could hear was the occasional snapping of twigs as we walked through a forested area. Despite having come in contact with the exoskeleton previously, it still surprised me how stealthy Tucker could be wearing it.
Breaching the treeline, I held up my hand. Surrounded by a gravel driveway stood a three-story tall modern office-style building. Men patrolled around the lot, all wearing tactical gear. Focusing on the shadows, I could tell there were hidden guards as well, those ones were wearing light, flexible clothing and minimal if any weapons.
“Smudge,” I whispered, waving him up with two fingers.
“Yes.” As he looked out, he seemed to understand, “This will be a tough one if they aren’t all humans. Seems like there are about 30 guards that may see us. If even one of them is around a five, I won’t be able to blind all of them from our presence. If Rachel were here we’d be able to determine such a thing, unfortunately, we don’t have her spiritual sense.”
“I might be able to help with that,” Tucker whispered from behind us.
“What kind of bullshit caused you to break formation without my asking.”
“As I said, these scopes can sense alternative forms of energy. I have a few frames of reference, I know what civies look like through this thing. Smudge, if you can point out all the hidden ones, I’ll be able to tell you what we’re dealing with.”
Smudge looked at me, then shrugged, “Alright, if you’re certain.”
“We’re good to go then? That was the last one?”
“So it would seem, that scope of yours ought to be reliable.”
“If we don’t get by, you have my full permission to do whatever you want to Xavier.”
Jones butted in, “I believe that’s up for me to decide. I still need him around.”
Smudge whispered at a frequency that’d set dogs off, “Enough bickering, you’re worse than when I have to babysit Chad and Rachel. Everyone get in formation, it’s easiest on me if we go in single file.” Getting back into position, he spoke up, “Sorry Terry, I know you’re leading, but, well you get it.”
I nodded back to him, “Everyone ready? No piss breaks past this point. If you have cold feet, just head back to the van.” I looked back to Xavier, to which he flipped me off, signaling me to start.
I wasn’t worried about the situation until we got about ten feet from the door. One of the two guards standing beside it looked over at us. I signaled everyone to stop, and the guy continued to stare. A few moments later, he shrugged, facing forward again, and we continued on through the door.
There was no one in the immediate vicinity, though there were several cameras pointed toward us, blinking.
Smudge said one word as he took a deep breath, “Break.”
Nodding, I signaled for the three of us up front to take the right wall, and the other three to take the left.
Once Smudge caught his breath, he stood back up, and we all got back into formation, right as a guard turned the corner. I shot a tentacle out, grabbing him by the throat and snapping his neck, all while bringing him closer so we could hide the body.
That was when an alarm went off, “FUCK! Keep the humans hidden, Doc and I can handle ourselves.” My brain froze time, trying to figure out what happened. Eventually, it clicked, heart monitors, a precaution not even Maerod took.
“Leave me out of it Smudge, I can handle myself too. You need all the focus you can get.” Tucker stepped up, aiming down sights.
The door bashed open before I could get my tentacles out. Turning, Tucker already faced the door, dropping people in one to two rounds a piece.
Turning back toward the dead body, I headed on, alarms blaring overhead. Bodies came and went. Despite how badly we’d apparently messed up the plan, I knew where the database was, and I refused to let anyone stand between me and it.
Each step I took was further than the last, “KEEP YOURSELVES SAFE, I’M GOING FURTHER IN!”
“Not without me you’re not!” Metal clattering rang out, “IMBECILE!” Doc caught up to me as I flung several bodies out of the way.
“Watch where you’re throwin’ em!” Tucker yelled out, “We shouldn’t split up!”
I was already at the staircase making my way down when something smacked across my face. Turning to my right, I saw a lanky man with his hands in his pockets. He was slouched as if bored.
“FINE, GO DOWN, I’LL MEET YOU THERE!” Swinging a tentacle at him, he made a popping motion with his mouth, the limb slammed into a wall. Shooting them all at him, he blew air out in a circle, then at me directly, lunging at me as he threw me off balance. He kicked me in the chin, then down on my head, knocking me to a knee. A second later I was thrown into the air, then to the ground.
“Damn man, you look like you could use a hand.” The strange man stood over me, offering me his right.
I took it, spinning him around, snapping his arm, and flinging him against the wall, where lay motionless. I stabbed him in the head, then the heart just to be safe. Scoffing at his arrogance, I headed down the stairway.
When I got down to the second basement floor, there were already several dead bodies strewn about. Everyone was hiding behind metal tables. Tucker injected Doc with something, sitting beside them was a heaving Smudge.
I put my tentacles away, and a sudden burst of gunfire came from the back of the wide-open office room. A few bullets hit me, but I was already too tall, they crumpled on impact.
“THEY GET AHOLD OF YOUR FORMULA!?”
“Fuck that’s loud, yeah, there was a leak a few months back! Doc ain’t doin’ so hot!”
“That’s, The Doctor, to, you.” He spoke each word with individual breaths.
Walking toward the guards, they panicked. With a thud hitting my chest, one of the men screamed, “We need you up here!” Looking down I found a pinless grenade, which I kicked, knocking one of the men unconscious. Bodies tumbled over one another as it exploded, sending shrapnel everywhere. A few pieces stuck in my face, but I headed straight for the room.
“YOU’LL WANT TO GET BACK! SOMEONE IS COMING FROM DOW–” The ground gave out from under me, falling a few floors, I was kicked into a wall in a dark room, aside from the hole. Landing on my feet, I looked around, rubbing my side. I felt something wet, where I’d been hit. Then I saw who it was. A scaly humanoid, each scale tipped with a tinted blue, serrated prong. His shadow fluctuated, then its eyes sprung open, and a black mist shot me. I blocked with my tentacles, but they were cheese to a grater.
“Kenet himself breaking in here? Must think you’re hot shit!”
I grunted, springing off the wall, using a shredded tentacle to slam the scaly man with a table. Sure enough, the mist formed into a shadow-walker, same as Jacob. I slammed my fist into his face before he could react.
“I NEED SOME LIGHT DOWN HERE!”
But the scaled man already rebounded, swinging his pronged fist at my face. I managed to block with my arm, but it was getting stiff.
“DOC, I NEED YOU!”
I heard Tucker to my left, “He’s still recovering, close your eyes!”
Before I could tell him I couldn’t close my face, a clinking sounded, and I saw a small metal canister roll into view. A blinding light took over, banging nine times, each followed by a flash. Then several gunshots.
Accepting the pain to come, I grabbed the scaled man, flinging him into the ceiling, dazing him. The shadow-walker was already dead on the ground, three bullet holes planted in his skull.
“Got any weaknesses on the other one? Never seen anything like him.”
“SKIN TRANSFORMATION, WE MUST WEAR HIM DOWN!”
The prongs tipping his scales had already shrunk considerably. Stumbling to his feet, he glanced down at the motionless skinwalker, “Goddamn.” His scales evaporated, leaving behind a hollow man, standing still, “Ju–”
Tucker put a bullet right between his eyes, “Didn’t have to ask buddy.”
As we turned to head back up the stairs, a thud reverberated from behind us. Turning back, Smudge lay, face first, and uncovered. He wore a full-body outfit ensuring no skin was revealed, but my concern was on whatever had dropped him down. Aside from the alarms, it was eerily silent. They landed on Smudge, hopping off, and kicking him into the wall.
The black suit was almost a fabric, but it was certainly mechanical. Parts at joints stuck out slightly, giving him mobility along with full body protection. At his neck, the material fluctuated, phase shifting at the slightest movement. The entire front of his helmet was a velvet red visor, the changed to a light blue when the light reflected just right. He had several weapons littering his body, including two hook swords, an unknown kind of pistol, a pump action shotgun, and a few others; all of which were as black as his armor.
I had to lean my head and chest down to avoid hitting the ceiling. I couldn’t move anymore, and Tucker looked a little nervous, “DOC! YOU ALIVE!?”
A German accent replied with a chuckle, “He was already dead.”
“Yeah, right.” Tucker said, “What’re you waitin’ for big guy?”
Shooting out my back, I held the odd man at tentacle point, Tucker readied his carbine, and the man retrieved his hook blades.
“Come, let me get this over with.”
Tucker stammered, “B-be careful.” He swapped magazines, “This guy is radiating like a human.” He fired a round, I felt it slide between two tentacles, and as it hit the man in the visor, an explosion errupted. I engaged, picking the man up by the leg, but before I could fling him, pain shot through it, the tip was sliced off. Tucker fired two more rounds, both exploding as they met their target, filling the room with a cloudy haze. I took a deep breath, forcing myself to move, but I felt like a turtle.
Suddenly, my leg ripped up, I held in place, stabilizing with a few tentacles, then smashed where a crack had formed on his visor, but he swung his other blade down, cutting it in half. A rapid succession of explosions slowly knocked the man back, and for the first time, he looked at Tucker, throwing one of the hookblades at him, it was angled for his face, but he snatched it mid air, then lunged at the man. He slammed the blade down on his shoulder, spinning it around and hooking the back of his arm, yanking him in, Tucker punched full force. In an instant, Tucker was against the wall, falling face first into the tile floor, leaving ceramic to crack the area around him.
The man chopped the last of my tentacles down as he approached me. When they were practically useless, he put the remaining blade away, pulling out the pump action shotgun. He shot me in the face six times before throwing the gun to his side. A small stream of black ooze dripped down my chin, and I had a hard time seeing anything in front of me.
“Damn, you’re one tough fucker, I’ll give that much.”
Pulling out his pistol, he proceeded to unload every round into my forehead, despite being ordinary metal, something about them kicked like a mule. When that gun was out, he dropped it, looking to his right, seeing where Tucker had dropped his gun.
“I wonder, how will you hold against explosive rounds? Not well?”
As he picked it up, I felt something prick my back, a familiar sensation made its way toward my heart, like organic WD-4D.
“You’re awfully quiet over there. Lost will to fight?”
“You’re an asshole!”
“Please, stop, I’ll shit myself.” He let out an antagonizing laugh, “You’re strong, but you’ve too much a stiffy going on there.” He let off a round into my face, nearly knocking me down, but I staggered just enough to stay in place.
“Wow, this has some nice kick to it, perhaps I’ll join the military after this.” He shot three more into my face, with each explosion, my skin peeled away just that much more, my brain rattled, but my limbs loosened.
By the fourth round, I regained some mobility, walking toward him. He stepped back, switching the gun to burst fire. I maneuvered around three bursts, only getting hit three times, each one in my torso. Those explosions seemed to boost the Doc’s serum, and I was able to grab the man by the head, crushing his visor with the palm of my hand. “You rely too much on your gadgets and luck. Neither will get you out of this.”
The helmet cracked, and blades shot out, slicing my fingers off. He pulled his remaining hook blade and slid under me. A sharp pain hit the back of my skull, then a cracking reverberated through my head. A metal clattering followed, and when I turned, the man stood there, shocked. He lunged back, throwing several kunai at my face, but I ducked them. With my full range of motion returned, I slung one of the tables at him, flinging him into a wall front-first.
Walking over to where he’d dropped Tucker’s rifle, I snagged it, and walked over to the man. He staggered back to his feet, a broken nose and a shard of ceramic sticking out of his eye. I held the gun to his forehead and fired, his head bursting like a pipe bomb.
I stumbled over to Tucker, dropping his gun beside him, and dropping to one knee. I smacked him in the face a few times, “You still alive?”
He rolled onto his side, “Kinda wish I wasn’t.” His face was covered in small cuts from the ceramic tiles, “Wish I’d had my Odyr suit, couldda kicked his ass. Fuckin hell what a dick.”
I sat beside him, “Hopefully he was their last line of defense, I think your gun gave me a concussion or something.” The room spun, my stomach on a Ferris wheel.
“Wow, the Doctor was right.”
I turned to the stairway, Xavier held Jones’s arm around his neck, helping him stand, “What happened, is Doc really dead?”
Tucker staggered his way to a standing position, “Nah, that stuff I gave him slows heart rate. He was too stupid to check for a full minute. He should still be alive, don’t worry.”
“And you two?”
Jones cleared his throat, “Smudge hid us, but he was worn down.”
Hearing that, I turned back to see Smudge, still laying flat. I stood, stumbling over to him, checking his pulse. It took a bit, but eventually, I felt a weak heartbeat. “DOC, YOU ALIVE UP THERE!?”
“I suppose!” He groaned.
“WE NEED YOU DOWN HERE! SMUDGE IS IN BAD SHAPE!”
A faint hint of a sigh made its way down the hole. I picked Smudge up, and moments later, Doc landed on the ground, a leg giving out from under him.
Some time passed, and we patched ourselves up as best we could before heading back up to the proper floor. Jones was able to walk on his own, but his right leg was in bad shape. I carried Smudge on my back, and despite Tucker’s several broken bones, he was walking just fine, occasionally stumbling from a torn tendon. As far as Doc went, the only sign he showed he was injured was his panting. Fortunately, we never ran into anyone else aside from the odd straggler, and we managed to grab the data we needed.
With the stressors passed, we laughed and joked, trying to bring ourselves back down from the adrenaline high. Exiting the building, I spoke up, “Xavier, I’m not going to forgive you, but I will thank you.”
He looked over at me, “To be fair, it was the Doctor’s idea.”
“That’s why I’m not forgiving you, anyone could’ve done it.”
“Oh, fair enough. Guess you could’ve done it too aye Doc?”
“That’s Doctor.” He let out an exhausted sigh, “In theory, but by the time I got around to it, who knows if Terry would still be alive. For a thin-skin, you did well.”
That’s when a limo pulled up through the gravel headed right for us, stopping just in time to not hit us, “Doc, wake Smudge, have him get you guys out of here. NOW!” I set him on the ground behind me.
“Well, I certainly hope he’s feeling up to it.”
“If not, you guys need to run.”
The back door opened, and a man in a suit stepped out. Pulling off his glasses, he tossed them in the back seat before closing the door and signaling the driver to leave. They couldn’t get away fast enough.
“Terry, son of Charles, I was under the impression you wouldn’t get involved with us. But after the Maerod incident, we decided we should implement additional security measures. Seems we should’ve invested more heavily into that. What was your intent here? If you had just called on Charles and told him about us, I’m certain he could’ve turned the entire building to mist.”
“If you know that, why’d you come to see for yourself, you can’t kill him. Or are you really that arrogant?”
The man laughed, “Because the alarm is still going off. If he had come, there would be no signal sending the alarm. You’re strong sure, but even three assassins managed to do this to you. Hence the difference between you mortals and us gods.”
“Didn’t realize living for 3000 years classified me as mortal.”
“You know, it’s interesting. Even after thousands of years, some still feel the need to attach themselves to this world. It’s as if they’re unaware of the insignificance of this world, this solar system, galaxy, supercluster, hell this universe! If you will live to see it all end, then what’s this part of it matter? They get animals to give themselves more meaning, call them pets. They feed the animal, water them, domesticate them, protect them. But they also prevent them from living in their natural habitat. Pulling the animal from where it belongs to give themselves a sense of purpose, it’s selfish wouldn’t you say?”
“Sure, I guess in a nihilistic sense.”
“So why are you here? To retrieve your pet? As I’ve said, there’s a transmitter in there, I saw what you pulled. Data on where your pet is. Why not just let him live in his terrarium?”
“He’s one of us now.”
“Due to your interference.”
“What are you really doing here!?”
“That’s the question of the day is it not? Quite frankly, I think Maerod was right to kill her. You’re far too attached to this world, though I suppose you are still a mere child. You could be so much more wise, and yet you refuse to allow it, you latch onto what’s been lost when you could focus on what you could have.”
“Sounds to me like you’re not quite past your own insignificance.”
He sneered, “Are you certain that’s your final answer?”
“I guess so.”
“Gods, the apple really does fall right to the roots.” The grass around him shriveled to dust when he charged me. Time stopped as the gleam in his eyes froze me, each fist pummeling me to the dirt, creating a deeper crater with each fist.
Then I was back in place, so was he. I’d never felt it so strong before, but I couldn’t deny the reality, he would kill me. Unlike Maerod, that man had absolute control over his soul, a feat all my attempts couldn’t achieve. All I could do was hold him off until I had an opportunity to slip out of his perception.
The grass around him slowly disintegrated, ready for his lunge, I leaped into the air, grabbing him mid-air with my tentacles and throwing him full force into the building. I sprung myself to the forest, latching onto a branch and engrossing myself in the tree, doing what I could to suck as much energy out. It wasn’t long before I was forced out. The tree crumbled to dust and I lept from it, charging the man with what little extra energy I had. He stood still, tanking four punches to his face. He kicked me back, nothing but a streak of blood running down his nose.
I lunged back searching for another tree. I found one a ways back, flinging myself at it, I fell into it and absorbed the tree’s power. I forced myself and found I could suck it out of other nearby trees. Until I was once again forced out, the trees crumbling in decayed mass, “You’ve gotten a bit stronger, Charles must be so proud.”
“What are you trying to achieve? Is losing your HQ really that important?”
He stepped toward me casually, “The same thing Maerod was trying to achieve, and really all the other gods in this disoriented country. However, no, killing you isn’t punishment for the damages, it’s for the audacity it took for you to do it. Entering my domain and destroying my primary facility? That takes balls, unfortunately, the rest was only a few inches.”
I tried to leap back again to gain a foothold, but all nearby trees crumpled to dust. Seeing no other way, I charged him again, but just as I came face to face, I spun and sidestepped, launching a single tentacle for the back of his heart, but on impact, it turned to dust.
“Unfortunately, the rest of you won’t be so easy to get rid of.” He turned, jumping, and once again, I met his bloodthirsty gaze. My skull cracked on impact, and when my head hit the dirt, a crater was left behind. He stood over me, “I’m gonna be on his shitlist for this one, but really, it’ll be worth it.” He pointed a finger gun at my head, and as the darkness closed in, three gunshots followed by a familiar light filled my senses, and when I could see again, his head was missing, the body still standing up-right, three bullet holes oozing blood at different angles...
I staggered to my feet, adrenaline keeping me awake. I looked around, seeing everyone but Smudge scattered around, “RUN! HE’S GONNA BLOW JUST FUCKING RUN!” I used my tentacles to move, sticking them in the ground and launching myself, then staggering to my feet. I headed in the direction the van was in, and a few seconds later, an intense blue light erupted from behind me, the shockwave hitting immediately after.
Part 26: Coming Soon!
Alright. I've been curious. On an average how many days does it take for you finish a typical 100k-200k word fic? And if a wip is nearing the end, do you start the fic so that by the time you near the end the fic is completed? And are you able to put down a fic or do you thoroughly binge it?
I've been tracking my screen time for the past few weeks and it's scary how the results for fanfiction reading came up with 7-10 hours per day. It makes sense considering once I start a fic, it takes a lot for me to put it down and take a break lmao