2013.12.07 20:22 vjproduction Best for cameras hidden home
2020.11.25 18:48 IamHowardMoxley Best hidden cameras for home
To explain how to survive, I must first explain to you how I survived. It may help you weigh my advice.
I was let go during the start of the Covid crisis. My old company told me they would keep my resume on file. One last lie for the road.
My savings and credit cards were wiped out in a month. My landlord didn't even cash my rent check, one that would have bounced anyway. She was old and lived upstairs and did not want another bringing “the plague” back to her, and was ultimately hysterical about it. She got her way because her brother was the county sheriff. He personally escorted me from my former home, citing “the national medical emergency.” There are procedures and protocols written, I'm sure of it...but where are the destitute supposed to go for justice during a national lockdown?
My first night away from my apartment was spent in my car with my entire life packed inside. I decided to sleep in the back of a Wal-mart near the loading docks, where the overhead lights weren't so intense. A few hours into my sleep, a policeman's flashlight knocked on my window. They told me that parking overnight in the front parking lot was acceptable, but to park in the back was considered trespassing. The store had a standing order to press full charges.
The police allowed me to keep whatever I could carry out from my car after I was charged at the station for illegal camping and trespassing. My car, and the rest of my possessions, are still probably in a police impound yard to this day.
When leaving the station, they told me not to let them catch me “sleeping outside” anymore. God grants His finest kicks when you are already down.
I don't remember how I came to the fountain. I never saw it when I had a job and worked in the city, yet I came straight to it and stared into the jets of water as if I were called to a hidden shrine for the homeless.
I sat until sunrise in peace until I heard her voice. Her god awful, sweet Scott-Irish Boston accent that had been roughened by a thousand gallons of cheap wine.
I looked to my right to see one of the largest women I had ever seen in my life. She wasn't fat- there was no soft excess about her, just her sheer seven-foot height and 400 plus pound frame. Her gnarled boxer's-wrapped hands were so large and grasping like looked they could rip cans of food apart. Her smile was wide and held the complete rainbow array of teeth colors within a full-moon face veiled by mirror cascades of wild red and silver hair. Despite her size, I had not heard her approach.
“Fucking sucks, don't it, Slick?” I looked back towards the fountain to hide the raw emotion on my face. I didn't reply. She tapped my shoulder as gently as she could. It felt like being nudged by a train.
“You look fresh. Didja spend your first night out here yet or what, Slick?” I got up and began to gather my things. I knew from experience that newbies were the fresh meat of any society, and I wasn't about to become some ogress's meal.
“I got to get going...” I said barely audible to myself. She had a rusted wheeze for a laugh.
“Where? Back to work? Back to your home, your computer? You ain't got nowhere to BE anymore, Slick. No bum does. That's why it fucking SUCKS.”
“I have to find a place to spend tonight.” I tried my best to use my ending voice, but it was weak and fragile now.
“Shit, you don't got a clue...do you even know how to survive your first night out here? Are you even aware of what you need to learn to survive?”
“I'll learn as I go” I vowed like a kid, walking away with four garbage bags filled with my life. She let me go with a heaving, phlegmy coughing laugh that said one thing clearly: no you won't.
I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, just as the woman guessed. I didn't know where the missions were, the free bathrooms or showers, where to charge my electronics, the safe places to sleep, how to find the food-giving shelters or how I would ever receive mail. I had no one to call for help. Homelessness means losing everything, friends, family and self respect included.
I wandered the morning and afternoon not far from my old apartment, hoping to find...something until I couldn't walk any more. I hid my bags down behind some rocks while I ducted out of view to relieve myself. When I returned, my bags were gone. They contained all of my electronics, bedding, clothes and toiletries. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and what was in my pockets. I will not even attempt to describe the hallow panic that I felt in my chest. Nor do I wish to revisit that moment.
I tried to stay the night at a bus station to stay warm. A group of three men on something screamed at me when they saw me in the station. They warned me never to come back, or they would kill me. Although they looked unwell and unarmed, I believed them.
I spent the remainder of the night picking through dumpsters behind restaurants and apartment buildings. What I found in there made me vomit twice. I would not sleep that night.
There was a Sharpie with a little bit of life left in it inside one the dumpsters. I used it and a flap of cardboard to write a sign by writing “DESD” in an attempt to spell “destitute: please help” before I realized I could not spell without SpellCheck. I ended up crossing it out the DESD and writing “Anything Helps, God Bless!” on the sign.
This one hurt the most. In my previous life, my employed life, I was a hobbyist writer. I once prided myself on the use of words. Now even my words were gone.
A long line of cars stopped at a red light, a good place to try my sign. I was hoping for even a handful of change as the sun traveled across the sky. Not even a single penny or business card went into my hands.
I slept on some cardboard sheets on a defunct insurance office's front patio. I couldn't decide if this was my first night on the street or not, and the wonder seemed small next to how the concrete under me had a way of sucking out every last bit of the heart's heat, how it almost acted as drum reverberating back your every move, pounding your joints and bones, even through the broken boxes. I lost consciousness for about 45 minutes.
I had a terrible pain and stiffness in my left hip and knee the next day. I needed to limp like hunchback just to move around the city.
I was in the process of wandering when I felt a searing, ripping pain from my backside. The pain struck again, this time on my upper thighs and on my lower back. I fell to the ground and saw two young teens on bikes, one with a cell phone and another with a terrible evil sneering smile and something in his right hand. It took me a second to realize what he had struck me with- it was an undone wire coat hanger with a duct tape handle.
The wire had cut through my clothes and into my flesh and split the skin on my ass, legs and lower back. I couldn't even walk or sit down without ripping back open the fresh wounds back there. I spent my afternoon shivering and clutching an exterior bank wall, too overwhelmed with pain and too sad to even think of a logical plan. I spent that night near the same wall, laying on my back, trying not to re-open my wounds. I prayed to God to for help, and I shut my eyes. I was so tired that not even the yells or the honks or the buses or the whine of the generators could keep me awake. No. The only thing that could wake me was a splash of liquid in my face.
I woke and I saw two people in hoodies standing over me. One held a cell phone camera. The other held a red Jerrycan. They were the ones that had struck me with the wire hanger from before.
At first, I had thought they tossed icewater on me until the noxious chemical odor hit me. Then my eyes burned.
It took me too long to realize what they were doing. One was filming. The other had dropped the gas can and took something out of his pocket. It was a matchbook filled with large wooden kitchen matches. He was nervous and frantic in opening the box, too absorbed in his own sickness to see the monstrous woman move out of the shadows.
The fist the size of a bowling ball trailed by a massive arm wrapped in a dozen different fabrics instantly appeared before me and struck the teen in the center of his face. The sound of the strike was louder than a gunshot.
I will never forget the face of the teenager that was holding the matches. I saw it for a moment before he fell in a flashbulb memory. His face, once angular with a high cheekbones, a long narrow nose and slit blue eyes, was instantly changed by the huge wad of fisted bone and meat. I felt more wonder than horror in that second- I didn't know that a nose could press all the way to the side, or that cheek bones could almost touch, or that a human's face acts very much like silly putty with a destructive enough object. This punch was strong enough to kill a bear; the skinny teen didn't stand a chance.
The massive block of rags and bags then swept an oak log of a leg straight up and struck the leg and ass of the recording teenager with such force that the kid's gangly legs spun of his head before his tailbone landed on the pavement with a deep, wet CRACK.
The kicked could only breath and let out a long, wailing moan. His legs were not moving. The kid that has doused me with gasoline was lying on the ground with a face painted red. He wasn't moving at all, not even his chest.
The monstrous woman turned to me. I immediately recognized her by that wide grin made of a rainbow from all the teeth colors and her ten pounds of red and silver hair.
“Cops'll be around soon. Maybe ones you already met before, so let's go, Slick.” She reached down to me with her massive weathered paw wrapped in unwinding dirty bandages. I could not help but imagining God Herself reaching down and rescuing me as I pulled myself up using just one of her fingers.
The woman I had met at the fountain what seemed like 10 years ago guided me through the urban brush trail and into a hidden pocket under a freeway overpass. There was a lockable door to a well-built room made of plywood and savaged sheet metal. It was her home.
Inside seemed like a hobo's palace to me. There was electricity, fans, heaters, plumbing and a stocked pantry. Every surface was coated in rugs, blankets and tarps suspended by salvaged bungee cords and unwound rope, creating a peaceful yurt ambiance under the thundering concrete and steel. Coleman electric lanterns lit the our scene.
“That's gas on you, slick. They were gonna roast you” the woman said as she produced a thin cigarette from within her hair. “Those fuckers roasted Hilly Eight and Young a few weeks ago.” I said I was sorry, not knowing what else to say.
“You lost your bags too, huh? Didn’t you stash 'em?”
“I did, but...”
“Yeah, yeah. Open that bag next to your foot there. The orange one. Yeah. That was Young's backup bag. His death, your life. It's everything he had, that wasn't burned.” The clothes inside reeked of cold, stale oily fear sweat and desperation. It was one of the worst smells I had ever had to suffer.
“Take ya clothes off...I'll keep this pinner away from you.”
She didn't even blink as she watched me undress. When I was nude, she declared:
“Name's Mamma Marjorie Mary Marmoth. Everyone calls me something like that. Sometimes just 'M'.” She didn't bother to ask for my name. I guessed I already had one: Slick. “You almost got killed tonight. I tried to tell you the rules, for surviving your first night, but you ran away. You're never gonna survive a first night like this. You ready to dig on the rules now?”
No. I wasn't. My backside was still in searing pain and I was delirious with sleeplessness, in no shape to learn. But I said that I was. I had no one to trust but M now.
M took one more long drag from her thin joint before musing:
“There are three rules one must follow if they are to survive their first night on the street, which you have not done yet, not really- do you want to know what they are?” I said I did, but what I thought about was my new too-short pants and the too-big sweatshirt that both stunk of the dead man's fear sweat. I was thankful that at least Young's old sneakers fit and still had tread on the bottoms.
M picked up a sign in the mess behind her. She smirked as handed it to me. It was my sign that I had made, and discarded, a day ago from behind her. I had no idea how she got hold of it. There was my “DESD” crossed out and “Anything Helps, God Bless” generic message.
“Tried to spell 'destitute', huh? That's like something out of an old book. You a reader? You write?”
“Used to. I used to read...and write often. I liked it.”
“You can do that again. You just gotta follow the rules on the back.”
I flipped my sign over. There was a small, neat sentence written in a fountain pen cursive. It read:
RULES 1, 2 and 3: SUBMIT YOUR SELF TO MAMMA MARMOTH AND YOU WILL ALWAYS BE SAFE ON THE STREETS. CROSS MAMMA MARMOTH AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS
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2020.11.25 16:02 Bboytweed Best hidden cameras for home
A lot of posts bang on about FPP over TPP and I'm in that camp if im honest... but it seems that whilst a lot of people agree there are a few who don't understand it and don't get why.. so here's my explanation as best I can fumble into writing...
The fact you can be behind a tree and fully hidden from view makes TPP flawed in ranked. Same with a window, you can be below the window or to the side and see out of it. I get the argument that "its the same for everyone so its fair" and thats a good point but it removes a serious aspect of fun and intensity that 'TPP only' players are missing out on.
Seriously the 1v1 fights in first person where you're behind trees or rocks are so much more fun in 1st person. If you have to duck in to heal you cant even be sure your opponent hasn't moved completely moved or pushed you. It makes you choose the hard choices in a game as to whether the bandage is worth not knowing whats happening. There is a reason nearly all streamers of PUBG play in first person and the FPP game is alive and well on PC and its because it taps into the intensity of some adult version of hide and seek.
In TPP you can be below a very small slope running in the opposite direction and hold RB and spin the camera round and see an opponent who can't see you at all and has no idea you're there... In FPP you can only turn around as far as your head can move. Every bit of information you gather makes you vulnerable and even popping your head out of a window to see if the enemy is rushing your building means that they had a chance to see you too. If you hear them and don't see them, prepare to risk a lot to find out where the noise came from. Vehicles become far more intense too, no more GTA style TPP driving, its far more risky in first person and the car or buggy blocks some of the view.
Seriously play which you prefer but i'd recommend that people who don't play FPP give it a good try. Whack the FOV slider up too (I have mine at 90)
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2020.11.25 13:50 InSearchOfGreenLight Best hidden cameras for home
Sorry I just kinda vanished.
I was getting worried about the abscess situation and managed to get stuck in a bad sleep schedule again :( Also the overthinking was getting to me. So I thought, I hope she’s not running and if she is well it helps nobody if I get worse and the infection spreads.
So I’ve been sleeping and doing other stuff so I don’t get lost in the letter rabbit hole again.
I think of you a lot though. I hope you can feel it. :)
A family friend died. I heard tonight. I’m so sad. I was sending well wishes out for her. Well...I did. Like a month ago. Then she got better and somehow my brain was like well she’ll be okay and I need to focus on my crisis stuff. Then I heard she was back in palliative care. Then I heard she stopped eating :( She was barely awake and not able to recognize people as much. I saw a pic recently. Oh god. She was overweight. In that pic, she looked skeletal. Like her face was 50% thinner and her bones were poking out in the neck and shoulder area. It was really sad. :( It was pretty obvious where this was heading...and yet I kept hoping. I didn’t send out well wishes though. Maybe I should have done that? It worked the first time. :/ Magical thinking -.-
I’m just sad and I feel bad that I didn’t text her or talk to her or visit her before the end. I just remembered that she added me on Facebook a while ago and now her account is done I guess :( She always asked about me, tried to help and shared healthy living tips. She made me an essential oil blend for sleep a while ago. I need to dig it out tonight and put it on and think of her. I should’ve helped somehow. I should’ve visited and sent flowers or something. I kept racking my brain for nice gestures but I couldn’t think of anything useful. I wanted to see her but I was afraid I’d say something stupid or wrong and I just couldn’t think of a compassionate but helpful thing to say. What do you say to someone who’s dying? And they know they are. It’s too late now. Another person I didn’t say goodbye to. When did I talk to her last? I don’t know. It’s been a while.
She fought the cancer for 10 years. 10 more years she got because she didn’t listen to the doctors here that there was nothing to be done and just wait to die. That was 10 years ago. She went to Serbia and they operated and I’m not sure if she went elsewhere. I remember bumping into her right in front of Michaels so long ago now...I can’t remember when. Must have been a couple years after the diagnosis and she did a little twirl and said I’m cancer-free! I was happy for her and for some reason that moment is stamped into my mind. She got into nutrition, and fitness, and supplements and essential oils. She tried pretty much everything I think. Clinical trials in the US, rounds of chemo here, lots and lots of surgeries. She was a force to be reckoned with. A few months ago she went for a surgery in Germany and maybe chemo after that? I’m not sure. That seemed to take a lot out of her and she was recovering basically since. Over the years, they cut so much away. The cancer spread everywhere. It’s a fucking monster. She wanted to live so much. She tried so hard to live. She has kids and a granddaughter she loved so much. Her partner didn’t see her though. Don’t really know but he was too afraid (?) and overwhelmed to come see her. At palliative care. Or call or text. I’m not sure if he contacted her during this whole time. I cannot imagine the regret he will have to live with over this. I’m trying not to judge but I can’t understand not being there for your partner when they’re scared and dying. I don’t think this will ever happen (and the thought of it horrifies me so it better not happen), but if you were dying, I’d be there even if I had a panic attack 24/7. I’d probably be shaking and crying, but I’d hold you for your last breath. This image is making me cry and I need to not think about this, it’s too awful. I better not have jinxed something. :/
It doesn’t make much sense though. You’re younger and healthier than me. Sorry. I’ll stop now. :’(
I don’t know if I ever mentioned this but I was watching a beloved show of mine and the main character’s husband died and the whole 2 episodes I couldn’t dismiss the anguish over the what if it was you. Sorry. I’ll truly stop now.
In other news, (this isn’t really news lol) I had a bad dream last night. Haha, doesn’t that happen every night? Well, recently I’ve been sleeping better. If I had dreams they were not bad. Until last night. I dreamt I was watching a porn shoot or something and the directors (?) were sleazy guys. They said or reacted in some gross way and I got mad. They then blew up and went wounded male ego attack mode. I don’t think I’ve really had such an experience before. Must of picked it up from entertainment or something. Before that this guy was like doing anal to a woman and though it seemed consensual I was disturbed. Certain parts of the dream just had this disturbing quality to them. Like ambiance in a horror movie I guess. And no I haven’t watched any horrors lately. I didn’t even watch Haunting of Bly Manor (which is probably amazing) :( Halloween was such a nightmare (it was the perfectly tailored horror that is 3D and fucks with you) and by the time I was somewhat in the mood for horrors it was way past. :/
Anyway, gotta wrap up I need to go and get to bed soon.
Reggie appears to have gone home tonight and they locked him up lol. I hope. Unless he’s wandering somewhere. But then if he missed last call, he would’ve come here. So I think he’s home. You know he spends more time here than at home??? Most nights lately, he’s here. I don’t feed him and my mom only feeds him in the morning so I don’t know what he’s eating. :/ Apparently an older lady near my moms’ bestie’s place likes to feed cats. I wonder if he goes to her for food lol. I don’t know why he won’t go home. Even when I let him out at like 5 am or whenever, he seems to not be intending to go home. He just sits there or he heads up the block. Never in the direction of home. My dad keeps bringing up the idea of putting a hidden camera on Reggie and seeing how his owners treat him >.< I don’t want to assume but sometimes he’s starving (I think) and he still comes here. And sleeps a lot. Maybe we should stop letting him in :/ I really don’t want to but he needs to eat. He’s grown on me and my mom though. My mom frequently kisses him on the head lol. I wonder if we should ask someone at the cat sanctuary what to do. Hmm.
I need to go. And stop rambling. I still (only been two days) miss you. I still want you. I still love you. Of course. (I’m not being snarky. Really. Not sure what I’m trying to say here. I’ll keep reassuring you though.)
I want to dream of you. But I never know when that will happen. Even if I think of you or fantasize about you right before sleep it doesn’t happen. :/ Why must my dream master torture me like this?
Do you dream of me? It seemed like before you dreamed of me a lot? Naughty dreams mostly it sounded like ;) I remember when you said you had a dream we got married and went on our honeymoon. You said it was the best dream you ever had. I was incredulous. Was it really the best dream? Of your life? Am I really that important lol? I melted though. What a privilege to be a part of your best dream.
What’s my best dream? I don’t recall. I’ve had good dreams. I’ve had good dreams with you. But I can’t really bring to mind...it’s been so long since I had a good dream. Like actual good dream. And since I dream of you so infrequently, the good ones don’t include you :( Sorry. I feel like ever since you told me you don’t love me, dreams of you have faded and if there is a romantic figure in the dream, it’s meant to be you but it’s not you? Like one time I was a guy and there was a woman (meant to be you) but she didn’t look like you. Please don’t be hurt (I can’t control my dreams and they’re so weird) but one time it was supposed to be you but you were the corpse bride. I know >.< I was dumbfounded too. I kissed your neck anyway. You could be a corpse bride and I’d still love and want you lol. I don’t know how that got in my dream. Haven’t thought of that movie in forever. I think its this underlying theme of my dreams. What I want is twisted in some way. Back when I dreamt of relationships or sex with girls like long long ago, before 2012 I think, there was always a frustrating weird element to it. Commonly it was I kiss her and I don’t feel anything? Like she was “there” a second ago but the moment I kiss her, she’s gone. She’s still alive. Warm and all. But no response? Or I can’t feel her lips. Usually, no response.
Anyways, I can quickly recall my worst dream. It was recent. Like a month ago? It’s shameful for me because I did something that I basically hate. Like something that is so evil in my perspective. When I woke up I was plagued by guilt and my ocd got attached. What if you’re capable of such evil? Even though there were two things about it that make it impossible to happen in reality, I still felt guilty. I try not to think of it :( It has nothing to do with you btw. Like it wasn’t betraying someone or leaving or anything like that. I don’t want you to worry about that. I know I’m overthinking this but if I don’t, you will and I don’t want you to lay there wondering if it’s related to you >.<
Ok I really should go. I am quite the rambler. I hope you don’t mind.
Try and get some sleep. Drink some valerian tea. Or whatever calming tea you have. Apparently there’s a yogi tea or something that has a powerful calming effect? I can look in to it if you want.
Good night my love. Sweet blissful dreams.
Or if you can’t sleep and need to occupy your mind, online shopping is pretty good right now lol. Apparently my mom has been online shopping when she can’t sleep lol. As long as she’s not watching late night infomercials and buying crap looooool. Oh wow I forgot about that. Lol You gotta learn somehow haha.
I’ll let you know any great beauty deals I come across. So far, it’s just that the champagne pop eos lip balm smells amazing. I got the set, but caramel brûlée is just vanilla and the snow one is alright. The champagne pop does smell like fruity champagne at first and then more like wine after. It has wine extract so...no champagne extract lol. The egg is really pretty too. Shimmery rose gold kinda.
Alright, adios mi amorrrr.
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2020.11.25 02:31 chevlet I've watched 22 seasons in 23 days, here are my thoughts
Hey all, I'm newly back into Survivor after watching seasons 39 and 40 with my roommate. I originally watched a few of the first seasons when they aired but after watching season 40 and listening to a few episodes of RHAP I had an itch to watch a few seasons so I started with season 33 because I liked Adam in 40. That turned into a bet with my roommate that I couldn't watch all 40 seasons in 60 days. So far I've watched 33, and 1-20, and going to finish 21 in a few hours. I thought since I hit the halfway point I'd share my thoughts throughout the marathon about the game and the players each season. I'm have a unique perspective because I already know 20 of the winners from Winners at War and I have watched some Peridiam videos so I recognize a lot of the big plays so I thought it'd give a spin to my insight. Feel free to ask any clarifying questions and don't worry about spoilers for the following 20 seasons, because by now most of them left were in season 40 or I know from name recognition. Please be careful if you are worried about spoilers from the seasons because I haven't edited any out.
1 Season 1 is chaotic as fuck. Full stop THE CHALLENGES??? THEY’RE NOT CHALLENGES IT’S JUST PEOPLE HANGING OUT THROWING SOME SHIT AROUND Richard is arrogant but not unwarranted and also I love it “Want to know what you’re playing for?” Love that it’s always been around
2 Season 2 was alright, fairly uneventful in my eyes, just barely above 1 in terms of challenges
3 Season 3 would send me into a spiral seeing that watering hole and having to fight off lions. I understand the premise of the show is survival but that’s mental Clarence is my soulmate, him wanting to be a food critic “the man’s man food critic” iconic, greasy food and fluffy pancakes, my literal dream People solely voting for whoever they want and mostly on who’s the weakest link with no strategy is mind blowing to me The previous votes tie breaker is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen and so far Season 3’s strategy is solely about that Seasons 1-4, final immunity winner didn’t win the end Virtually if not literally every aspect of the game has evolved immensely Jury questions used to be like pick a number or Tom’s dumbass question about the hyena licking its butt after eating the mush
4 Season 4 is like night and day, at the beginning it feels like the first season of true survivor with the challenges Boston rob was good but he was out way too quickly, same with Amber in 2 so what were their criteria for all stars? You picked up when they called to ask if you’d come back? Then he left and it went back to normal
5 Season 5, is this the most chaotic cast ever? Holy hell Might be the two least deserving people fighting for a million dollars at the end of 5 The early seasons have no animosity, there are challenges where they have to target the other survivors directly and they just take it in stride
6 The challenges where you snuff out their three torches or knock out three plates with a slingshot suck ass Season 6 E 4’s immunity challenge where whoever gets the most fish in a time wins is such a dumb challenge because the odd are varied between the two areas, present challenges with equal odds are way better Guys vs girls is chaotic and I love it, the off the cuff comments from the guys are great The mini fridge with coke as a reward was wild and loved it They got way too much food and beer at the merge wtf was that? The lead up to tribal broadcasts who is going so clearly it’s jarring compared to modern survivor The confessional camera angles are wild, especially Rob’s in S6E7 The mid season recap episodes also suck ass Love the auctions, bring that back Was Rob the first super fan? Are they legally required to have a homophobe on screen every season? I know it’s a different time but yikes “Who do you have a crush on?” “Matthew guessed himself” probably the funnest part of the series yet This felt like the first real true season Matt giving up his reward to see his mom for the rest of the castaways made me cry for the first time in the series
7 JK this is the first real season (7) of survivor in my eyes Didn’t have a recap episode so solidifies it as the first season The start is a great concept, I’d love to see it come back I’ve seen this season before so I know Rupert is my favorite but even coming back I love him Sandra has redemption in my eyes here, I don’t remember her much from the first view and in 40 she was lame so seeing her here is great Give skinny Ryan a redemption arc in a new season The editing including Jonny saying he has a mill to bet that Sandra’s not the final one after their fight, perfection Looting is a pretty cool dynamic, I have no problem with it I forgot the edge of extinction existed this early, damn they’re thinking ahead The first self eviction and Jeff didn’t even try to hide his distain I mean how do you not love the confessionals at the end of this season? The fact that neither of the boys had any clue and talked down the girls constantly, chef’s kiss Also it’s cemented Sandra as a bad bitch for me; this season was her as the “I’m a bad bitch you can’t kill me” vine
8 Did anyone understand the power of a power couple with Boston Rob and Amber or did they just ignore it? Watching Rob try to play with the big boys was funny Love the dissolving tied into the reward challenge Loving people from the same season back because they have old beef to hash out or bonds that are already there Randomly picking buffs to swap tribes bit them in the butt so I’d be surprised if this isn’t where they started predetermining the swaps like I’m pretty sure we’ve seen in 39 or 40 Boston Rob ran this game, honestly embarrassing by the rest “Shii Ann’s probably trying to make alliances with a bush” new favorite line of the series What are the job requirements for setting up the challenges? CBS, call me. I can do it.
9 100% thought Chris was going home the first tribal of 9 I’m going to be taking note of weirdest jobs, Mechanical bull operator leads so far All these randoms makes me feel like season 1 again I did like the switch up of majority alliance at 7, if it was a march down of majority to the end it would have been utterly boring. Now it was only slightly less boring I truly will not remember season 9 after a week, except the LGBTQ representation was memorable The story challenges suck ass The out of tune gong when they’re failing is my favorite thing in the series
10 Booting off two right away is sadistic and if I was one of the two I’d be on suicide watch so please don’t have it if I’m on Survivor Also if I go I hope Jeff is never as disappointed in me as he is this tribe that’s losing I was hopeful they’d throw this losing tribe an immunity challenge that’s tailored to them but Jeff said absolutely not How sick of strategizing do you get when there are no people to vote off? If Steph doesn’t win after all this I’m going to CBS studio and riot Steph will always be the winner in my mind, fuck everyone else Firemaking challenge with matches is so easy wtf Ian’s final offer feels like the most honorable thing we’ve seen yet in the first 10 seasons HOLY FUCK IS KATIE THE WORST PERSON IN THE FINAL 2??????????????????????????????????????? I literally can’t fathom a world where Tom doesn’t win the million after this absolutely flaming pile of shit
11 Steph redemption arc inbound let’s go Guatemala This tribe swap was a cool way to do it, especially with the surprise to the two that were gone Gary is trying his hardest to hide his NFL experience so I’m excited to see him on a tribe with Danni Jamie’s my least favorite player so far dude just needs to take the L Interesting to see how they handled the hidden immunity idol, no footage of it being found, used it right after he found it. I know he was potential to go home but doesn’t seem like they processed it could be kept for another day I need someone from the season to tell me if they believed Gary denying his NFL playing time after time Danni completely unbothered by her brother both being there and not being able to spend the night with him, a bad bitch FUCK THE CAR, CINDY CURSE EVERYONE ELSE Bitter jury cost Steph the million, damn
12 Exile Island is edge light? Why is there another recap episode? Who asked for this??? Being able to play the idol after the votes is incredibly overpowered how is this a thing? In line for dumbest things to do before a season, not quit smoking earlier than right before you head out Just putting it out into the universe if breakfast is ever a reward in a game of Survivor that I’m playing I’ll literally do anything needed to get it LMAOOOOO but if this was supposed to be the bed and breakfast I’d sue It’s so frustrating seeing them not know how to play an immunity idol to keep their numbers and take out one at the beginning of the merge Also though he didn’t even need to worry about it because he won individual every time? A mess I literally said to my friend “what is he holding this idol for if he’s not keeping the numbers, does he expect to win every individual immunity to the end besides one where he uses his hidden idol?” Then he did it. An actual fire making contest, we love to see it “In a new social experiment” about the four tribes of four based off gender and age…you all had that for one vote???? What kind of planning is that if you’re going to boast about it Seems sloppy to have a final immunity where one person can fall and shift the water towards another person… Branching off of my breakfast comment from earlier, I literally can’t fathom how good the day 39 breakfast would taste Except I’ll stay off the rocks unlike Aras Cirie’s confessionals are always a 10/10
13 I’m surprised I could watch this season with a terrible choice of a theme on CBS’ website Exile Island back already? Must have had difficulties in the writers room Eye roll at Parvati overtly flirting count: 4 Love seeing the iconic things in real life like Billy falling in love I am having difficulty with the themes of the season if they’re going to swap tribes after 2 eliminations, 1 last season Unrelated to the game but I could listen to Yul talk all day long, he’s incredibly smart and I’d love to hear his ideas on everything You dumb fucks think that a simple comment about wanting mashed potatoes means you’re ready to go home????? The idol is so overpowered right now it’s basically just an f you you can’t vote me out don’t try or you’ll just lose a person
14 Expert witness locator is a pretty cool job too Going to see if the winner is from the tribe that wins the decked out shelter because that seems overpowered I give it 1 in 10 odds someone gets bit by a sea snake on exile island and dies I haven’t been talking about the gameplay mechanics much lately because they’re all pretty good now. The idol mechanics of playing after the vote suck but that’s fixed so it’s all good now Somewhat related though having the entire cast make a shelter only half get to use is cheap though Well I was so right about the shelter that production made them give up a person just to keep it The audacity for Dreamz to call out the two weakest players after they gave up immunity is mental I need to talk to someone from Moto to ask what they did with all that fishing gear The twist for this season is either toxic masculinity or one tribe gets a god tier shelter and see how it turns out, I can’t quite tell yet Boo with the spy bunker prototype Stone-cold jury when Yau Man used his idol correctly, at least give him a smile I would pay a million dollars to hear what Jeff was thinking during this final tribal council The least enjoyable cast so far
15 I get it, the twist this season is just throw everyone around the two tribes and see what happens I love the idol out in the open But Todd using the kidnapping to his advantage is a brain blast move wtf Todd straight up running this season and they’re all fighting to bring him So far this season has the most nudity blurred so let’s see if that can be broken down the line
16 I literally can’t tell you how excited I am for this season Fans wanting to get out Mike/Mary because Mike told them how to split the votes is basically them saying “I don’t want you to be smart” So Cirie has to be the first out of the alliance of 5 out because how do you beat 2 couples? I cannot believe she went forward with that, I wonder how the game would have played out if she went with Jonathan and company Kathleen was the inspiration for Island of the Idols? She mentions being out at exile with the favorites was teaching her so much about the game/survival I mean I don’t care for Chet but him getting destroyed in this capture the flag reward was incredibly hard to watch The fact that this fake idol fooled anyone is mental to me Alexis talking about Eliza in the past tense at tribal is one of the spiciest slip ups yet The giant chocolate sheet cake was the best item in any auction so far The chip away at each person’s 3 ropes or plates or whatever challenges are better now that they’re not so sheepish about it Seeing Erik give away his final immunity in real life is wild, I still can’t wrap my head around it Pulling out a final 2 instead of 3 here is cruel and unusual punishment Ozzy professing his love at the end, yikes
17 They’re back in Africa and I’m already triggered by what the water situation can be like I’m 23 minutes in and I’ve already seen so much, a lady wanting to drink water from elephant poop, a nerd falling for a girl, a straight guy being uncomfortable and defending his sexuality with a guy being attracted to him, I am in for a ride Just after I said that medical came in, wow what a first episode and it’s not even 1/3 over Changing criteria for getting fire every season gives me a headache, sometimes they let them die of dehydration other times they give both tribes fire after the first challenge and tribal The dynamic of Sugar getting comfort at exile while her tribe starves and there’s nothing she can do it is my favorite dynamic of the show yet Watching this starving team lose over and over it’s even fun but what can you do? This nonsense with the idol during the swap feast is chaotic and I hate it Is laughing at someone who used a fake idol and got voted off the right thing to do? No. Is it a little better when they’re a aggressive racist? Absolutely These fake idols, botched alliances, actual chaos and I didn’t think it could get more chaotic than the challenges in the first season What did two of these three do to get to the end? There’s a clear winner for me And he won :)
18 The absolute next level spice to start this season off, production had fun with this How does anyone older than 8 years of age not know what a pace is? I love the dynamic with two people going to exile from different tribes and the use of it with Taj and Brendan but they needed to mix it up way quicker to not put suspicion on themselves The clues for exile idols are basically “if you’re like the second person out there you get it, sucks to suck anyone else that comes along” When I watched Winners at War, Tyson’s pretentiousness was unbearable but now that it is for some reason, I can’t put my finger on why though Coach is full of himself too and I dislike him a lot more than Tyson and truly can’t wait to see Sophie beat him Ep 6 39:30 the cut between Stephen and Brendan cuddling and the frogs on top of each other, funniest part of the series yet, beats out the last Episode 7 section on Coach is exactly why I can’t stand him. Someone will do something he doesn’t like and chastise them and he does something someone else doesn’t like and pretends it’s all good I took a shot every time Brendan mentioned he’s an entrepreneur and now I can’t remember my name Stephen gaming the symbols challenge was beautiful, I’d seen it in a video before but knowing him all season now makes it all the better I would pay someone to edit Coach out of this season
19 Marisa is gorgeous and if she’s reading this I hope you reach out It’s incredible how easily swayed these people are by Russell wtf I’ll admit I’ve already seen that Russell found the first idol without a clue from a random YouTube video but it’s still nice to see it in person A challenge without Jeff there, the true twist of the season I didn’t think they were taking the leadership necklace seriously until Jeff stopped at a challenge to ask where it was. I hate it but also love it, I feel dirty because it’s so dorky who thought this was a good addition to Survivor? How do they still have recap episodes 19 seasons in??? Russell is the most entertaining player so far, I said what I said
20 I am unbelievable excited for this season the intro alone was insane I love the idea that Russell is star struck with Parvati and Rob there The heroes win the first reward challenge and get four chickens on their first day what an omen Oh my lord someone Coach actually admires, I can’t believe it’s happening I think Boston Rob’s a prick but it’s obvious after his fall and recovery he truly loves this game so I’ll respect it Also “and a little case of cry babyitis” made me chuckle I truly don’t even care for Parvati much because I have seen how she plays three times now but if I ever played with here there is 0% chance I wouldn’t succumb to her charm and I hate that about myself James’ luxury item being one of the hidden immunity idols he didn’t use in China is incredible Tyson not knowing how to comfort Coach, chef’s kiss Jeff yelling no when people fuck up at challenges has stayed the same since season 1 and I love it every time “Tomorrow we make our apologies, tonight we make our move” I saw it in person, damn The slow dissent of heroes to villains is great, Jeff getting pissed at Colby telling him to start the reward challenge was incredible The Russell vs Rob tribal where Tyson ultimately goes home, wowowwewow Probst gottem with the merge drop your buffs bluff Sandra with the positive Outback Steakhouse confessional mirroring Karishma’s pro Applebee’s confessional in 39, cinema “This is Survivor history” for the JT idol play, true but for a different reason Colby just watching the movie while the other two find the clue is iconic Candice is a mess and I need her to get it together or I’ll freak Well after the failed flip to Heroes, I had no idea how Sandra won but now I see how the pieces are coming together as they vote Candice off and now Danielle Watching it crumble beneath Russell gives me life ISO a woman who is looking to kiss me as long as Laura kisses Rupert I love that this was all redone challenges I didn’t realize Sandra beat Parvati for this win, she’s a bad bitch also Russell’s a moron for thinking he’d ever win this final 3
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2020.11.24 22:57 confusingmud Best hidden cameras for home
I'm sure those capeshit fan popcorn munchers haven't even experienced Mr Scorsese's hidden gem, The Departed.
I mean, it's hard. Every time I want to talk about cinema with people they talk about Spider-Man this, Black Widow that. And I put on a polite smile, you know, I don't want to be "that guy", but deep inside I feel so alienated, so intellectually unfulfilled by the level of kinophilia people around me displays. Every day, constantly, I have to renounce to any aspiration of cultivating my passion for kino and grind through vapid chatting about amusement parks. And I am consumed by fear, fear for the mediocrity worming into my soul, fear of stagnation, fear that the simpletons I have to interact with will slow but steadily drag me down with their incessant stupidity.
Then I finally arrive home, re-watch Goodfellas, marvel (no pun intended) at Scorsese's genius for two hours and a half, once it's ended I sit down for another 30 minutes I let all the meaning, all the brilliance of every shot and line sink in. After 3 hours of pure kino experience I feel in tune with the beauty of the world again, where people only see mundanity my eyes frame the visual information and my brain instinctively processes it in terms like panning or blocking, like I was behind a camera and Mr Scorsese was whispering in my ear, explaining how to get the best shot. Such is the affinity I have for Art, which is universal and objective, but at the same time too intangible and metaphysical for me to put into words (no, it doesn't have anything to do with my lack of formal education).
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2020.11.24 22:19 Throwaway20131092 Best hidden cameras for home
I can’t kill myself, not cause I don’t want to anymore, but because of my grandad. Due to his heart condition any shock or anything to cause an excessive heart rate could cause a heart attack or worse. And I imagine his grandson unexpectedly killing himself would cause that. He was meant to have an inspection today, a camera in his veins and valves going to his heart to inspect the clogged blockage. But they couldn’t do it so it’s been pushed back to the 14th December and who knows of or when an operation to sort out the problem will happen. Then ofc, it’s Christmas and I definitely can’t kill myself over Christmas, my brother is scarred enough from when our dad left two days before Christmas. So by that logic, I’ll probably be here till 2021. No point mincing words.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuckerdy fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Even when I want to kill myself, life finds some unexpected way to keep me here to suffer for fucks sake. You know, it’s just funny now. Like, it’s so unbelievable that like this one condition could kill my grandad, and ofc I don’t want that to happen so being who I am, I just can’t kill myself now till that is sorted out. I mean, I guess I get to see season 4 of div 2. Really enjoyed Schaeffer’s mission at the end of season 3. Might see Lau’s now. And Codename Nightmare. I am pissed tho. Even here and now, choice has been stripped from me. Tho, I guess this proves there is something else at play. Right? All these coincidences I list and experience. Can’t be just chance. Someone, or more aptly, something wants me here. I am going to be like a Donnie Darko character? Given forth dimensional powers to do something and everything surrounding it is a big, massive ?
Ik I said I wasn’t sure if I was going to kill myself, but I just hate that the choice has been stripped from me. And it’s nobody’s fault or anything. Still guess that gives me more time to get ready for the end. I just can’t believe this shit tho. It’s so un-fucking-believable. I hate it. Almost feels like someone is mocking me, like “You don’t have power bitch, I do.” Not even power over my very own life and death. Fucking unbelievable.
Hallucinations are getting worse, seeing things out of place and seeing things that aren’t meant to be there. Like it’s not completely impossible, but very improbable. My head pains are also still happening, maybe due to lack of hydration? Idk. Or maybe due down to the fact I’m losing my fucking sanity and going completely nuts. On my right leg there was evidence of some form of bleeding, small but definitely there. Idk what caused it, possible scratching tho I don’t remember scratching that area and doesn’t seem too likely. Idk what is causing this. Is my body breaking down like my mind? I’m seeing double shadows but only when there is one light source, I am seeing other shadows that are almost pixelated yet they are of leaves and trees (and it’s not the leaves, the pixilation was organised, arranged like a military parade; it was so weird. Maybe I should’ve taken a picture. I do not understand it. Sleeping is still all over the place. Idk if I have mentioned it here but most mornings I wake up at 5 for some unknown reason, unlikely to be a car or something as this happens on weekdays and weekends alike. Idk what causes it, I go back to sleep but I have been checking the time and it is between 5-5:05AM. My memory is going too, sometimes what seem like snippets are just missing, I seem to almost jump a second or two. Things don’t make sense anymore, I have trouble recalling a lot of things. I can’t focus or concentrate much. All I have are my objectives and I can bearly function outside of them. I seem to also be getting more tired often, it’s difficult to stay awake in the evenings. Idk much why of any of all this, all I can do is report it here and hope it means something, either understanding or insight or maybe someone can diagnose something I have, Idk. Additionally note, had a really weird experience on the bus home. Even tho I was in a different town, I swear I was in my town, I also pressed the stop button. Really fucked me up. I swear, I was in my town on the bus but then I wasn’t. It’s strange, it’s a little like the zooming in that’s featured in Limitless only it’s slowly zooming out and coming into focus and it isn’t lots of things being zoomed in further and further. That was definitely the weirdest moment of today.
I also threw a biohazard into the bin. Had a lunch in my bag, two months old. Sausage rolls. Meant to throw it out ages ago but felt guilt over not eating it. Had some time today in college and yeah, it’s how you’d imagine it. Got to clean my bag but fortunately most of my stuff is alright. Tbh, I never noticed. Tho the smell after removing it was fucking atrocious. They actually had to immediately change the bin over once a cleaning member of staff noticed, tho idk if they knew I was responsible.
Spoke a little bit with Sam over messages today. He needs more money. I am convinced he is reading these, especially due down to his dismissals of me. Sam, if you are reading this, I’m not trying to slander you or anything. Really, I’m not. I’m just explaining my experiences and how I feel. And I think it’s pretty fucking evident that I’m a complete nut job at this point so maybe I’m just interpreting things wrong and taking it all the wrong way. My brain isn’t right. Tho, do you just see me as a resource for money? Christmas is coming up, and Ik exactly what will happen. I can’t ask for anything, because I need money to give for Sam for whatever he needs it for. Now ofc, you could say. Don’t do that. But it’s not as simple as that is it? When you get a message asking for money cause he won’t be able to get the bus home for this week, to help out. Sam isn’t great with money, yes niether am I, but over the past few years I’ve actually been saving up for the most part. I’m normally skint because Sam needs it. In fact, I didn’t really celebrate my 18th birthday because I knew any event or presents would use money, money which could be given to me as a present which then I could give to Sam. I am always haunted by turning down the chance to walk over the O2 for this reason, would’ve loved to have done that. You may be thinking this is all Sam’s doing, but it’s not, not all of it. I have this deep instinctual urge to do things like this for him. I think it’s the autism in me. It only sees the objective and often I hate myself before, while and after doing stuff I don’t want to but it forces me to do, like giving Sam money. Yet I do it. And fairly often, unprompted by Sam. It’s just an instinctual response. The worst part is, idk what he does with it. I can guess he gives it to his Norwegian girlfriend in Norway, but I don’t have much proof of any. I struggle to get by, I feel guilty when I spend money on myself and my bank account is always empty. Yet I hear stuff about him, and he sounds like he’s living the high life in some ways. He’s wasted so much money this year. Technically a fair amount of it is my money. He doesn’t care tho. To him now I’m just a resource. He still means everything to me. I would happily die for him. Yet Ik he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me and I caused that. Via my actions. Every little incursion and mistake lead to this outcome. I try to help people but often I just make everything so much worse. What kind of person am I? Killing myself is the best option. I learnt from a young age a permanently neutralised threat is better than one that could come back up. This is probably why I am so extreme often. It’s one or the other, no middle ground. Life or death. And in this case, killing myself permanently stops any future harm to anyone even people I have not met yet. To stop all future harm, one must be removed from the equation. The result is suicide. But there’s also more reason to it.
See there is another side to me, locked away and can only be accessed after listening to hard music. The rage. See, I am fucking angry all the time, but I bury it. It’s hidden way and difficult to access without the proper means. Rage. Ofc, all this buried hatred, anger and rage moulded into another side of me. The side that considers me as a weapon to use against everyone. The side that took on the beast’s philosophy of the broken are stronger because they have suffered. Rage. It has thought of unspeakable things that have never been acted on, my calmer, consequences ruled side takes over and temporarily neutralises Rage. But I am scared if one day he beaks and it does what it likes with impunity. It is the side of me that thinks it is indestructible, it doesn’t think of the consequences only the violent actions. Typically of murder and death of anyone and everyone. Yes, everyone and anyone. It’ll carefully think out it’s plans to realistically carry them out but never if something goes wrong or the ultimate consequences. This is the result of never being or showing anger. It grows and festers deep within. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transferred. This is all that pent up anger and resentment at everything and anything, that is it’s base. I worry if it ever takes hold properly and begins, it’ll never stop. Say if I were to get into a fight and it actives, it would try to kill the opponent, because a permanently neutralised threat is better than one that can come back, plus it thinks it is always in the right and that this other person(s) are getting their just deserved karma. This violent, anarchist side of me is the most removed from the normal me. Yet it’s there, in the shadows. Waiting, wanting. I can never allow it to properly see the light of day. It must be destroyed and so, it’s another reason for suicide. Can’t let it live. Ik you find it hard to believe, but trust me, he’s in me. And he’s a danger to everyone.
My life is turning into that of Joker, Arthur Fleck, everything could taken one way or the other, both are reasonable and could be genuine. What I type is what I experience in the best way I can, but idk how much is real anymore. To me, it is all real. Yet Ik it cannot be. I dread to think what this broken state of mind will be like a month from now. Will I still be able to hide it?
Speaking of which, don’t beat yourself up about not knowing. Keeping this all secret is the only part of me still functioning properly. You already know why I don’t want you to know, but I can keep it secret so well because I am hiding all the time. I am genuine as often as I can be, but when I cannot be due to my reaction being inappropriate or whatever reason, I hide and lie. And cause I’ve been doing it all my life, that’s how I live. Here is the only time I am really real with you, I lie in no capacity. I do leave out some things, but I never say anything that is not true or only partly right. I want you to know that.
I can’t think of anything else to say for now. Might have an early night, idk. Pretty tired tho it’s only quarter past ten. I want and need to do more tho. Also my ears are still ringing from listening to pink noise, won’t be doing that again. Certainly not for an hour straight, Ik, I’m an idiot for not thinking of that. Wasn’t even loud either which I thought would keep me safe. Anyway, gotta go.
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2020.11.24 21:36 coolwali A Review of God of War 2018's Trophies and the Game itself- "Keep your expectations low and you'll still be disappointed"
Hello everyone, I recently platinumed God of War 2018 so I want to give a quick review on the Trophies and a really long one on the game itself.
About the trophies:
The first thing I noticed was that many of the non-story trophies tended to be linked with others. For example, in order to get Fire and Brimstone (Complete all of the Trials of Muspelheim, which is by the way my favourite trophy to get in this game), you're gonna beat a Valkyrie who gets you the item you need to fully upgrade the Blades of Chaos nabbing you Why Fight It? . But in order to even enter Muspelheim you need to get the language ciphers (which gets you Trilingual), and while you're at it you may want to fully upgrade your health and rage beforehand (both their own seperate trophies) and going through all this likely gives you the materials to craft the Traveler and Ancient Armour sets (which are both a trophy each). That's around 5-7 trophies from pursuing one goal to speak. Which is fine. It encourages the player to go for specific stuff and rewarding them along the way.
However, some trophies aren't as straightforward.
Darkness and Fog: (Retrieve all treasure from the Workshop’s center chamber) is exceptionally boring because you have to grind collecting 70,000 Mist Echos in Niflheim (my average was around 3-5000 per run so yeah). Yeah, that's what I wanted in my God of War game, grinding. To make things worse, you also need 3 anchors of fog, a resource that drops from specific chests and is RNG. I've read various forums of people lamenting they spent 11 hours grinding for the Fogs. I got mine in 9 attempts but that's still a terrible approach. Trophies shouldn't be so dependent on RNG. Make it so the player can spend x Mist Echoes to craft an Anchor if their luck isn't good. You can tilt the odds in your favour by opening other chests first and maxing out the Luck stat (which has been useless up until this point) but still, all the grinding in an area that Kratos can just avoid if he jumped like a couple feet on a platform wasn't fun. Also, to tie back to my linked trophies part, doing this also gets you Worthy (Fully upgrade the Leviathan Axe).
-Beneath the Surface (Explore all the Lake of Nine has to offer). This one is a little unclear what it means by explore. Some people got it by removing all the fog. Others did it by going to every location. Others 100%-ed the area. This trophy is said to be buggy and even got a patch early on. Mine popped when I docked on a random island for a sec. I wish this trophy was a bit more clear, maybe "find x docks" or something. It's a similar case for Death Happened Here (Fully explore Veithurgard), some people had to 100% this area to get the trophy. I got mine by just defeating the troll and opening the chest after him. This trophy also got a patch to fix some bugs with it.
Now if those were all the trophies, I'd say platinumming this game was bad in some parts but not overly tedious. But there are over 100 collectibles to find and there's a perfect storm of issues to make this very teduous. Now say what you will about Ubisoft's games but at least their collectibles are easily marked and their maps are easy to read. In GOW's case, despite it being semi-open world, the map is terrible to read to pick out routes and where exactly to go. Even with multiple guides open, I got lost in places like the Mountain and had to frequently backtrack just to find a good reference point to start hunting. And more than that, even getting around is made worse. If you want to go from a point in the mountain to another part of Midguard, you have to run to a fast travel point, select a location, wait for the fast travel point to load the tree circle loading zone, go inside and wait for it to load the actual area you want to go to and then go there. And if you want to go from one realm to another to get a collectible? You have to run to a fast travel point, select the Temple, wait for the fast travel point to load the tree circle loading zone, go inside and wait for it to load the Temple and then go there, go into the main room, scroll a wheel to find the realm you want, wait for the game to load that area, get out into the ream, find the fast travel point in the temple and select a location, wait for the fast travel point to load the tree circle loading zone, go inside and wait for it to load the actual area you want to go to and then go there. Why are there so many steps along the way to waste my time? In every other game, I just open my map, pick a spot, screen fades to black and I'm there in less than 30 seconds. Even in games like Witcher 3 which don't let you fast travel from anywhere and only from specific points, said points are still everywhere and let you go to any other point. There's no value in GOW2018's approach here. Travelling back to places I've already been to is way more boring than any other game because of all the time it wastes. I get the game wants to maintain its single camera take (which is already a flawed idea) the entire time but there's still a way to make this easier. Just say that the warp doors have linked with the Temple and will take you directy there. The game already uses this excuse at one point in its story. And don't load a bunch of intermediate areas along the way. Assassin's Creed figured this out in 2007 by just loading a void which let the game load way faster while still having some amount of visual continuity. GOW wastes your time with loading and then acts like it has no loading.
Some of it could have been made up with dialogue between the characters while you're travelling around. The game already has a lot of conversations with the 3 main characters for when you're riding around on boats in the Lake of Nine, the issue is that that's only when you're on boats in the Lake of Nine. If you're on land or anywhere not on the Lake of Nine, tough luck. Get ready for total silence from our characters only to start talking as soon as they enter a boat. You could argue players may get distracted from when characters talk on land. My response to that is 1- navigating on land is basically go to a thing and press O and Kratos will do the thing automatically for you like climb or jump so there's nothing really to distract. 2- The story frequently has bits where the characters talk on land. And 3- Just do what Prince of Persia figured out in 2008 and have a button you can press to have the characters talk more on land so the player can choose if they want something to listen to while navigating boring environments. All this means that you're better off listening to Neil Gamen's audiobook on Norse Mythology or anything else rather than relying on the game's own telling of the lore to keep some of the boredom away.
Finally, while most collectibles just involve pressing O next to them, Ravens require you to throw your axe, and their hitboxes seem a little bugged because if you don't hit them from the exact spot even when your axe goes through them, it won't count.
So what would I fix for the trophies list? Firstly, take away the Niflheim one. It actively detracts from the game. As for the collectibles, I'd say just have a general game completion score instead. Reach 70% completion or something across the game and get the platinum. This is better because it rewards the player for what they find and makes some stuff that isn't counted for the platinum like Realm Tears count in place of collectibles if the player wants it. It also works better in-universe because why would Kratos travel all the way back to a realm like Alfheim when he has no reason to just to find a toy mask he can now get when there are some good chests near his house? I am of the opinion that you should use trophies to highlight the best parts of a game and/or to encourage players to get more fun out of a game. Like a good stealth game encouraging players to ghost an area by rewarding a trophy for it. But GOW's mechanics are limited in this regard. I feel the game would be a better trophy hunting experience if you removed many of the collectible trophies. Maybe have more for upgrading your character or using specific combos?
My entertainment for this adventure was Jonstone's Pokemon Black Randomizer Nuzelock. It was honestly more fun than the game
Now that the trophies are done, let's talk about the game itself.
God of War 2018 is one of the most disappointing, unfocused and boring games I have ever played. It cribs so many mechanics and systems from other games without understanding why they had them or making any attempt to innovate or improve using them. It dumbs down its gameplay to make it boring to play in service of a story that has issues that I honestly wonder why not just skip making a game and make a movie instead. It's a game more concerned with being The Last of Us than it is being a good game. I'm honestly surprised how this game got such an amazing reception, especially from GOW fans when it's such a mess and so mediocre. Looking at it as its own game, it's quite flawed, looking at it as a God of War game and sequel that franchise, it's downright bizarre.
Keep in mind, I ignored this game when it first came out because its gameplay looked very different from what I want from a GOW game It looked like it was trying to be The Last of Us so bad. And while I like The Last of Us, If I want to play TLOU, I'd just play TLOU. I got GOW as an early birthday gift from my dad who remembered I liked the old GOW games. So this isn't me being hyped and disappointed. This is me going in with low expectations and still even more disappointed and baffled at why this game is the way it is.
Let's start with the positives first.
Graphics and animations were cool. Mimir was great and has a lot of dialogue for so many situations. Some story sequences are cool like the first meeting with Baldur and Kratos opening up to Atreus. Atreus was ok, his naviety and wonder at the world was endearing but many of his vocal barks during combat got annoying. Some Norse Mythology stuff looked cool. The ending was nice if a little lacking in impact because you just teleport to the end instead of climbing the one mountain. It doesn't have microtransactions and was made with a lot of care and polish. Seeing Greek Mythology interact with Norse was cool. Spartan Rage was handled well.
Now onto the issues. I'm going to compare this game to both its predecessors because it's still a sequel and to other games because in order to be the "GOAT", it needs to measure up well against them:
Navigation is extremely rigid and uninteresting. You can't even manually jump so traversal is just press O to have the game play itself for you. Press O near a pre-selected gap and Kratos will automatically jump over it requiring no skill or effort from the player. Press O near a pre-selected cliff and Kratos will climb it, requiring you to only point the stick where you want to go and occasionally press O. That's it. What's the gameplay here? What's the challenge? There is none. You can replace a gap with a bridge and nothing would change. Now, other games have similar systems. Climbing in Uncharted is just as simplistic (and I have many greivences with it), but at least in Uncharted 1- There are some cool set pieces attached to climbing, some of which Nate could die and required some effort from the player 2- Climbing could be used alongside stealth and combat and 3- You never had to backtrack through areas you already completed slowly. In Assassin's Creed, climbing is also mostly automated but being a full open world lets the player choose where to climb and what approach to take. 2 players could take different ways into a fort to stealth kill enemies based on where they climb in. So here, even though climbing is simplistic and automated, it still offers the player agency. GOW2018 doesn't do that. It copies climbing from Uncharted because Uncharted had climbing, not because it wanted to do anything with that climbing. I remember there was a tweet where this person asked "what's your most controversial game opinion" and Cory Barlog himself tweeted "Kratos shouldn't jump" and my question is "why?" Why shouldn't Kratos be able to jump? What gameplay benefit is there to not jumping? What do we gain by not being able to jump? Because I tell you what we lose: We lose cool rooms that combine platforming and combat like those cube rooms in GOW3 or Pandora's challenges in GOW1. We lose cool boss fights like with the Fates where the player can swing to avoid attacks and use that to come in to attack. We lose cool puzzles like lining up Harpies and use L1+O to grapple between them, or lining up fireplaces and gliding across them. We lose interesting hidden rooms off the side the player had to jump to access. All this leaves GOW4 with no way to vary its combat encounters or puzzles since the player's base movement is so limited. Not being able to jump means the player has no jump attacks to really juggle an opponent, no jump to avoid certain attacks to vary encounters. So what was the point of removing jumping? It seems it's because it's there to "look realistic" but that doesn't fit because the game has Kratos jumping like crazy in cutscenes. There are so many places in world that would be so easy to get to if Kratos could jump, but no. Kratos, the world's most powerful and wise Spartan, chooses to go around a knee high fence into more dangerous areas just to reach a chest he could have reached with a jump, which breaks immersion more than any of the "realistic" gameplay and camera ever accomplish. It feels less immersive when Kratos could escape poison gas by just jumping a little. I get that games like TLOU didn't have jumping either but that game was set in the real world and featured real characters (and also TLOU2 added in jumping) and was built around that aspect. GOW2018 doesn't do that. It copies TLOU blindly. Imagine if any other game franchise did this. Imagine if the next Halo game took away jumping and every weapon except for shotguns. Imagine if the next Mario game played itself when you got to a pit. What would be the benefit
The combat also has issues. Firstly, the player has so few interesting moves. The pause combos aren't as reliable as your normal ones, some enemy types can't be juggled and instakilled easily. So most fights consist of using all your runic attacks plus your bread and butter combos. The other moves are either not as effective or awkward to use. There's nothing to incentivize or encourage more creative play using what limited tools there are. XP and loot doesn't depend on your performance and you get the same amount regardless of how you perform. In the old GOW games, you were encouraged to be flashy and cool as getting a high combo gave you more Red Orbs, and adding in flourishes like finishers gave you even more red orbs and even health and magic back. On harder difficulties, it became essential to get more out of the combat system since the upgrades would give you more tools to play around and health and magic were always welcome because of how risky combat was and how resources were sorta limited in fights. You also got tons of great moves and magic and abilities to use in combat like the various L1+Face Button attacks, GOW3 had seamless weapon switching allowing you to go wild with combos and have so many options in one chain that it was both fun to play and rewarding because of all the red orbs you were getting. In GOW2018, getting the same xp and loot means there's nothing stopping you from just spamming Executioner's Cleave, Runic Spam and button mashing your way through fights. The camera being so close in and the game's controls being so based on it hurts as well. Combat is made even less fun because you don't have a clear view of the battlefield. The game has to cheat on the player's behalf to accommodate this by making enemies less aggressive when behind the player, limiting how high enemies can be juggled instead of letting the player be capable in dealing with all threats as they see fit. The controls also suffer. Suppose you're fighting a valkryie while locked on to it and want to run to the right. To do that, you need to break the lock on, look to the right (meaning you can't even see the enemy anymore, start sprinting right, then turn back around to look at the enemy. Every other game just lets you strafe right at a decent speed. Lock-on itself is a crapshoot as it breaks when enemies pull the simplest of dodges and just gives up entirely whenever an enemy jumps or goes underground leaving you to have to fight the camera just as much as you're fighting enemies and there's many cheap deaths from this. Kratos also tends to attack in front of where the camera is pointed which can make fighting multiple enemies frustrating as a guy moving slightly to the side means Kratos now is magnetically pulled to another Drauger you weren't targeting. Hell, there's a lot of these magnetic pulls. Enemies will slide to hit even when they were out of range which makes positioning less useful. Even Enemy fireballs will curve midair to try and hit you which can look quite awkward. The game's "solution" is a threat ring around you that indicates oncoming attacks. Except these tell you nothing about what attacks are actually coming. Is it a yellow attack I can parry so I just need to turn around? Is it a projectile I can reflect back or is it one I can only block? I don't know so all I can do is dodge away, oh, and it has to be the long dodge as the short dodge is pointless given the magnetism of enemy attacks. There is a quick turn around with down but that's disorientating and by the time you've turned around and see what's going on, you've already been hit. The old GOW games a had solution that while seeming archaic, accomplished everything GOW2018 is trying to go for. It was a fixed camera that framed the action nicely so you could see everything clearly and respond clearly. If there was an enemy behind Kratos, you could see them starting an attack and respond instantly. Hell, such a camera even helped the game look more cinematic as often there was cool stuff going on the background that you could both see and admire while also killing enemies. Remember the Colussus in GOW2's opening and how cool it was fighting mooks while seeing it try and get you? GOW 2018 doesn't. The game doesn't even need a fixed camera. Just have a dynamic camera. Look at Batman Arkham Asylum as an example. When Batman is walking or in a conversation, the camera is zoomed in closer than GOW2018's camera. When you're in stealth, the camera zooms out and the FOV is adjusted to give you a wide view. When you're in combat it zooms out even more and is slightly overhead to let you see more clearly. Because Batman Arkham Asylum knows that since it has gameplay that relies on the player seeing stuff, it should let them see stuff. It seems that the only reason GOW2018 has such a camera is because TLOU had such a camera. But TLOU was a 3rd person shooter. Having a close camera helps when aiming. The only time GOW benefits is when you're aiming the axe and every other time it's a huge hinderance.
Also, GOW2018 now takes RPG elements from other games. I am not opposed to such a system if it's used well. It can add depth and allow players to fine tune their playstyle, it can encourage exploration. But GOW2018 handles it poorly. Firstly, until Level 10, your stats are useless. Even if you wear armour with better stats, the game will ignore them and only look at level. So if you're a level below an enemy, even if you have better stats, you will take more damage, not less. The reverse is also true. Wear armour with a higher level than the enemy with worse stats and you will take less damage. And since you get level ups at specific intervals, this makes the system needless and redundant since your progress isn't even controlled by the player's actions. Exploration also suffers, aside from how boring traversal is (and how poorly areas are telegraphed so you can't tell if you can't actually explore a place or you can and just need to look for the very specific path to press O to), many of the gear you pickup is useless. I was getting level 3-5s when I was level 6-8. You can only upgrade a piece of gear like 3-4 times max and materials to upgrade them with are very rare if not limited to a couple per playthrough and are specific to specific gear. The best gear is given to the player from crafting them from Brok and Sindiri rather than found in the wild. All this means that 99% of the time, when you're exploring and solve a puzzle or find a chest or treasure map or whatever, you get a useless enchantment or tailsman that's worse than what you already have with a perk like "reduce freeze" even though you never get frozen in this game. The only worthwhile exploration is for health and rage upgrades, so the system is the same as the old GOWs only with a lot more crap in between. And even if you find gear that suits your playstyle and is a good level, you're only going to eventually abandon it once you find anything with a better level. You can't dismantle gear to get resources, just Hacksilver which is already super plentiful. The game does have a decent skill tree which is all it really needed. The Skill tree works a lot better than the gear system because it makes the player objectively more powerful but in order to use said power the player needs to figure out how to incorporate it into their moveset. The issue is that like I said earlier, most of the moves don't add much and worse, many moves make playing worse. Unlike some games, you can't turn off upgrades if they don't mesh with your playstyle. Unlock the Running Heavy Attack and you have to manually stop if you want to do a normal heavy if you were running. Unlock the dodge attack and dodging- attacking can be less useful as Kratos takes an extra step back to do a new axe throw move even all you wanted was to get in close to attack. Unlock counter-heavy and it's much harder to do a counter+Executioner's Cleave.
Let's compare this to Assassin's Creed Odyessy and see how it handles its RPG system, it's a game who made the full jump to an RPG from a franchise that initially wasn't. In that game, any gear you get can be dismantled to get their perks which you can apply to any other weapon which makes exploring for gear feel more rewarding. If you find a piece of gear you truly like and suits you well, you can pay extra to keep upgrading its level based on common materials rather than a one off rare item. Gear scales to your level so you're more likely to find something useful. Oh, and stats matter more than level. You can be a few levels below an enemy but make a build where you wear gear that boosts your Assassin Stat and use a 3x critical strike to instakill enemies so you can actually make distinct builds. The skills can be unequipped and equipped as needed so you don't have conflict with what you could already do.
The game also tries to present itself in one camera "take", which while impressive, comes with a whole set of issues. Many of the transitions between areas can be stretched out as the game needs to keep rendering in the meantime while other games would have just cut to black and loaded faster. It was also likely a huge development sink for resources as areas and cinematics had to be constructed in far more specific ways. But the kicker is that the game doesn't even maintain visual continuity. Being a semi-open world action game with RPG elements, the player frequently has to open menus which breaks visual continuity thus defeating the point of having 1 take in the first place. Other games that have one take like Portal and Half Life are truly in one-take. No menus to open to ruin the experience. And if we count games like Dead Space as having 1 take, they even have a diegetic menu and HUD which go a step further than what GOW does and even does it well.
GOW2018's puzzles are also lacking. No creative set pieces or set ups here. Just boring "throw the axe to freeze a thing", "throw the axe at x things quickly" and "carry Hel's wind". There are basically 2.5 basic puzzles that this game repeats at nausem with no development or improvement.
So simply traversing this world is boring, the combat is more frustrating than enjoyable, the gear system adds nothing but more tedium..... but all that's for is the story. Surely the story would redeem all this?
The Story and Lore also have issues.
Firstly, The prior GOW games never established that other kinds of Gods and Realms can exist and can operate independently from each other. We also never learn how exactly Kratos ends up on Midgard that's so separate from the Greek Lands that GOW3's devastation doesn't affect it or how he changed from GOW3 Kratos and settled with Faye or how he even got the Blades of Chaos back. When we meet Kratos in GOW 2018, he's already moved on from his Angry GOW3 days offscreen. He's no longer consumed by his anger and need for revenge. Kratos whole character development happened off screen. Imagine the Professor Hulk stick from Avengers Endgame where Bruce goes from unable to summon the Hulk in one movie to having merged with him by the next and we see none of that and it's on the main character. Even the Star Wars Sequel Films at least showed us how Luke became so bitter. All this makes his character less interesting since the important stuff that makes him who he is going forward isn't shown. I'm not invested in Kratos struggle since I have no context for why he is the way he is now. I have no invesment in Atreus even though Kratos does because I haven't met him before. When all these characters talk about how great Faye was and how she's leading them on this quest, I'm left wondering what is it about her that's so great? The story wants to have its cake and eat too. It wants us to treat this story as a new start while also referring to events that happened before it to push its story and wants us invested in it without giving us that context.
Hell, even this depiction of Kratos isn't new. GOW1 showed him show his humanity with the hallucinations of his family, Chains with Caliope, 3 with Pandora. And a lot of these sequences were a lot more impactful because of the contrast of how Kratos normally is making his humanity stand out a lot more. GOW2018 doesn't "add" this aspect to Kratos, it just makes it present 24/7 which ironically ends up making Kratos feel a lot more one-note than when he was out there getting his revenge because his revenge at least had him confront more of his inner demons. What's the difference between Kratos at the beginning of GOW3 and at the end? He sees how his revenge has destroyed so much and tries to make some amount of redemption (and spite Athena) by impaling himself with the Blade of Olympus. At the start of GOW2018, Kratos has already achieved his peace and loves Atreus, he just hasn't opened up yet about his past that has had no relevenace so far to the plot and at the end, he opens up because Atreus is sick from not knowing he's a God. Far less dramatic since his feelings or outlook haven't changed, he just gets more confidence. The story also has some big hiccups like Atreus becoming spiteful comes out of nowhere and goes away just as fast. Even Cory Barlog admited they dropped the ball here. I also find the overall conflict with Freya and Baldur less interesting because it has nothing to do with Kratos or Atreus. Hell, why is Mr. "They do not concern us" suddenly now concerned about Freya's wellbeing? Freya doesn't even want him to help.
The storytelling itself hurts the game as a whole. The story has the game be full of boring walking sections or other distractions that kill the pacing. Whether it's carrying a pig for several minutes, or the entire opening section which takes 10 minutes to even get to a fight, going to the mountain-seeing it's blocked by black mist- backtracking back to the Temple (which takes another 10 minutes) - going to Alfheim and fighting through an Elf Civil War to get a light just to clear said mist....... twice. GOW2018 loves wasting your time with slow, boring padding. And don't take it from me. Even Cory Barlog has admitted they were worried the game would be too short so padded it. Even if the story was good, having all these boring segments dilutes their positives as this short story is stretched to its breaking point. All this just makes me ask, if you're making a game where even the very basic act of movement is up to the whims of the story robbing the player of even the most basic agency, where the combat is frustrating to make a cool "cinematic" camera work regardless of how it affects the gameplay, where the entire story is told through cutscenes you can't even skip...... then why not just make a goddamn movie? With a movie or TV show, you control the pacing so the audience doesn't spend hours backtracking through the same area with controls less complicated than Candy Crush, and instantly sees what happens next. And hey, it won't be at least 20 hours long.
The story being exclusive to cutscenes with the gameplay being so unconnected at best and hamstrung at worse feels like a slap to me whenever someone says "GOW2018 shows games have better stories than movies", clearly they don't when being more movie than game is what makes them on par. The sad thing is that the game is frustratingly close to actually nailing something here. According to Cory Barlog, he wanted this game to be about parenting and how "as a parent, you can't do your kids' exam for them, all you can do is prepare them for it". The story has sections where Kratos teaches Atreus but we don't in gameplay but there are systems built in for it. Atreus notices whenever the player does things like trips, stuns or even just swings their weapons in empty rooms. The game also keeps track of little challenges like trip x enemies and has Atreus note things in his journal. Rather than level Atreus through a menu, have the player experiment in combat and have Atreus learn from that. Do trips and Atreus learns how to do them and you can even have some short fun sequences as Atreus tries to pick up from Kratos, now repeat these for some of the other techniques and things specific to enemies and you get a better sense of teaching Atreus. It doesn't even have to be just combat, if you frequently break crates to look for health, you can have Atreus doing them as well based on you. If frequently button spam, Atreus could be more unprepared in combat and thus encourage the player to play better to not have Atreus pick up bad habits. The sky was the limit and this could have been one of the few ways GOW2018 could have made itself feel unique as a game while also telling its rather same old story. I know this can be done because the game actually does something like this once. During his bratty phase, Atreus refuses to listen to the player's commands and will start fights on his own which has the player feel Kratos' confusion and frustration. More of that instead of that being the only instance and the rest being the same story I've played like 4 times already and seen 10 more times as a Movie (seriously, it seems AAA games and movies Love The Road). Of course, the game would need to be shorter to make it feel better but I feel that's worth it.
In Closing, GOW2018 is a very flawed game, nothing it does is truly unique or special. Normally with these kinds of games, I can see the entertainment someone could have here, but I genuinely do not see what's even good about this game, never mind "game of the decade" worthy. There are countless games that do what GOW2018 tries but better. If you want a slow focused story with a close camera done well; play Hellblade. If you want a story with a fathechild relationship done better; play The Last of Us or the Walking Dead Season 1. If you want an open world RPG that actually is a good RPG with a flair for the mythological; play Assassin's Creed Odyessy. If you want a game with an amazing in-depth combat system worth mastering; play Devil May Cry. If you want to play a game with 1 camera take and actually do it; play Portal or Half Life. Now, you may say I am being unfair. "GOW isn't that type of game anymore", to that I ask: "why make a sequel?" Why not just make a new IP or actual reboot then? And even as a new game, the new GOW suffers compared to all these other games I compared it to. Let's say I wrote this piece on a different game. I recently played Assassin's Creed Syndicate and while that game was flawed, if I were comparing that game to others, I would never use GOW2018 as a positive example of anything, and for all of Syndicate's faults, it at least accomplished its objective of making you feel like a badass Assassin in Victorian London. Even the older GOWs accomplished their goals of making the player feel like the God of War. I can't say the same for GOW2018. Even Assassin's Creed Odyessy made me feel more like Kratos than GOW2018. And based on how restrictive GOW2018 is, I feel more like a child than a parent. Which is fitting because this game doesn't seem to think very highly of its players ("The boss health is below the screen").
So that brings to the why? Why is GOW2018 like this? From looking at all the behind the scenes material I could, here is my guess: Cory Barlog wanted to make a game about Kratos and his son based on his own life experiences. That's admirable, along the way, they weren't confident in old Kratos' appeal and the success of the new Kratos, so they cribed from other games to try and make something that would appeal to everyone. Everyone likes TLOU so copy that, every game is now an RPG so copy some of these and all this diluted the focus of the game. GOW2018 is now pulled in so many different directions with people unsure of what it actually wants along with Cory trying to make his fatheson story with apprehension from Sony Execs. The end result is this. If GOW2018 dialled back on all this fluff and was just an 8 hour game of Kratos and Atreus climbing a mountain with decent combat and no RPG or open world stuff, it might have ended up being more focused and a better game. If the devs were more confident, they could have done what Odyessy did and actually naviagted so many gameplay elements and pulled off an RPG well but that would have required more than what the team imagined. Whatever the case, despite its many, many, many faults GOW2018 is sitting as one of gaming's most cherished despite not deserving it and likely serving as the inspiration for other games going forward. Will GOW Ragnarok be more of the same as a team that's convinced of their own hype sink deeper into their own flaws? Or will it be a chance for the devs to know what they want and actually be able to make it free of interference. Only time will tell. I'll end with saying I don't hate GOW2018 despite all my criticisms. It's clear it was made as an especially artistic work and not some quick soulless cashgrab like Fallout 76. But on the other hand, I had more fun with Fallout 76 because it at least it was a game from beginning to end and not a movie masquerading as one that robbed what little agency I had.
submitted by coolwali to truegaming [link] [comments]
2020.11.24 20:10 OmegianLord Sbook and Seerit (Possibly placeholder names, let me know if I should keep them or any ideas you have)
Sbook (“Spook” and “boo”)
Appearance: A small something covered in a white sheet with eyeholes, looking like a little kid dressed up as a bedsheet ghost.
PokéDex entry(s): Seerits don’t raise their young; Sbook are raised by the spirits of their recent ancestors, which are usually great-grandparents or grandparents. This usually ends up in them behaving in an old-fashioned manner, or the equivalent for the generation they were born in. The reason Sbook cover themselves in white cloths is an effort to look like their caretakers.
Signature ability (Hidden): Spiritual Protectors: The Spirits taking care of and guarding Sbook unfortunately can’t interact with living beings, but they still do their best to discourage any attacks against them. (Rough Skin but for non-contact moves that affect Sbook).
Seerit (“Seer” and “spirit”)
Appearance: Seerit are somewhat lanky humanoids, with lavender and off-white gray skin. (The first on the left) They wear a cowl and mantle made from previous sheets they wore as a Sbook. They also now hold a short staff with a crystal ball on top. The pole of the staff is smooth, featureless, and bone white.
PokéDex entries: “They wear a cowl and mantle made from previous sheets they wore as a Sbook. Eventually, they make a new cowl and mantle, this time out one large, smooth sheet.”
“Their Crystal Ball acts as a camera view into and out of the afterlife, that the living can use to peer in, and the dead can use to peer out. After all, you can see through both sides of a window.”
“The Crystal Ball on top of their staff is detachable, and they take meticulous care to make and maintain their stands. They do this because it takes a lot of concentration to get a clear look into the afterlife, and having to hold it up distracts them.”
“They are much more in tune with the presence of ghosts, and can now see not only the dead of their kind, but all others as well.”
“ The line between living and dead is blurred for them. The only way they know they’ve died of old age is when they wake up one day and find themselves looking through the other side of their Crystal Ball.”
All possible abilities: Spiritual Protectors (Hidden), Levitate, and a second signature ability, Medium.
Medium: All Ghost type moves can hit Normal and Fighting types, and vise versa, while this Pokémon is on the field, with the exception of this Pokémon’s Immunities and Resistances.
Extra bits: When Seerit uses a physical attack, it swings its staff, and spectral spikes appear around the Crystal Ball, like a magic mace. Seerit, upon evolving, have a patchwork cowl and mantle with large, exaggerated stitches holding the cloths together. You can buy an item at a shop called, “Large White Cloth.” You can use it on a Seerit to permanently give them a smooth and complete looking mantle and cowl, with no stitches to speak of!
submitted by OmegianLord to fakemon [link] [comments]
2020.11.24 01:36 Goshiro1 Best hidden cameras for home
I left the S9 ship and changed to a Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. I am a former service technician and am able to repair phones. The S9 is convenient to repair and back in times I repaired S9s every day. My intention was to use my S9 until it is not possible to repair it. Now I gave up because I cant afford a spare part.
I am a broke student now and the screen just broke. It just has a small black dot which normally wouldn't bother me too much, but recently, the screen started to make random touch inputs by itself. Well, even if I could repair it on my own, the price of the screen only is so expensive, that it really doesn't pay off. Price is like 180€ which is over 200 USD. Seriously, fuck this. My new phone was 150€ and is on par with the performance of the S9 (Exynos).
The Redmi Note 8 Pro is a great phone for it's price. There is actually nothing I could really complain about it. Yet, I somehow miss my S9 after one day of switching.
Things I appreciated on the S9 compared to my new phone:
2020.11.23 15:39 ThreeProphets In defense of AC Liberation (Review)
When I finished AC3 remastered, I figured I'd give Liberation a try just to see if I liked it. I was originally only going to replay Desmond's story, but I'd never actually gotten around to trying this one, and it was bundled in, so I might as well check it out. What I found was one of the most interesting, experimental, and underrated gems in the franchise. Liberation did many things the recent games are trying to implement better than them almost a decade earlier. There's a lot to learn from this game, but first we have to avoid writing it off
Movement: Let's start on a high point. The movement in this game really works for me. It's essentially just a cleaned up version of AC3's with a few extra bells and whistles, but it's remarkably stable and controllable. The side effects are still really difficult to cancel into, although I'm finally getting the hang of the timing, and you still occasionally get pulled into a wallrun from fast walk for some reason, but those are just about the only things that aren't fixed. The snap detection has finally settled somewhere between targeting all the shortest possible hops and making the farthest possible jump while attempting to guaruntee your safety. AC3 often had a noticeable stutter while calculating a snap from a ledge with many possible outcomes, which is when it most often did something unpredictable. This is entirely gone. In fact, this game probably runs better on my original Xbox One than any other AC I've tried. The result is very light, fluttery feeling movement that can be quite freeing. I know some people prefer a more weighty feel, but it does at least suit Aveline's lithe figure. But the true star of the show is the manual jump. This was the first in the series that truly felt like it was using the maximum potential of your arc. Similar to Unity, it feels a bit like antigravity sometimes, but I'd prefer that to coming up short when trying to clear a wide street. I thought AC3's city environments were very poorly set up for parkour, whereas the natural ones flowed much better. This game has the opposite problem, which is disappointing because the snap in the trees was some of the most stable I've ever seen. The main problem with the bayou is that half the object types just don't work. You'll be happy swinging through the trees like Tarzan when you hit one of the new object types they added, miss the grab for no reason, plummet to the water, and fail a "do not swim" constraint, ruining your full sync. Even the perfectly normal vertical ledges on Agate's treehouse sometimes caused me to rubber band all over the place. And when the routes do work, they lead in circles or to completely impassable terrain. This worldspace was in desperate need of a few layers of polish. There's also a contextual whip swing that's rarely used, but opens up a few extra paths in the bayou once you unlock it. If used to its full potential, this could have served as sort of a ranged ledge grab and finally found a use for the left bumper, freeing up an extra tool slot, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. There's a lot of water in this game, which you can traverse using a canoe that twitches harder than than an MG Metro 6R4 or a rarely used, but nicely controllable underwater swimming mechanic that you steer with the camera. I believe the latter returned for Black Flag
Combat: In my choreographed Abstergo segment I said "You really have to try to die in this game." Assassin's Creed is notorious for being very easy to actually complete memories (barring BS desyncs on tailing missions), leaving us to find ways to make the games look badass in place of actual difficulty. I actually mused to myself while recording "Imagine this game, but with aggressive enemies." Well I'm glad to tell you, that's what we have here. Enemies will not hesitate to gang up on you, surprise you mid-combo, or hit you with repeated combos if you fail to block. They vary their timing a lot so you have to really watch their movements instead of just knowing exactly when they'll attack every time. They've also cut out that obnoxious behavior of following you onto rooftops, opting to set up musket checkpoints and duck through alleys to catch you when you flee instead, which you will sometimes have to. There aren't a whole lot of enemy types, but there's a particularly challenging heavy axe wielder that starts showing up a lot about halfway through the game. This is probably for the best, since enemy variation with the Kenway combat system pretty much just boils down to pressing the right button for the right enemy type, so that's very restricted in how much depth it can add. The only major problems I have are they there isn't a dedicated dodge button for the axe dude's heavy attacks, and that only bosses can counter the whip block, so it's still kind of a win button that doesn't consume any resources
Stealth: Yeah, I know this is what you all want to hear about, and it's really interesting too. Liberation chose to divide up different features and playstyle among three different outfits: Assassin, slave, and lady. Calling these disguises isn't really accurate, it's almost like playing three entirely different characters. The Assassin is ironically only very useful for combat, so we'll revisit that one. The slave is the only one that can blend in the traditional sense, and the lady replaces all her weapons and movement with an entirely new suite of social actions. This gives you a great deal of choice in how you want to approach missions and puts the "social" back in social stealth. It pretty quickly became clear to me that the slave is made for removal stealth, and the lady is made for ghost, something usually rather alien to this franchise. Realistically, did this mean I used the slave for almost every mission? Yes, yes it did. But I didn't have to. I would often pause during my infiltration and imagine the route I could take with the lady. Bribe through this group, charm this guard out of the way; playing the lady makes you feel like a woman in a historical period where they were treated completely differently, and this is where the game absolutely excels in ludonarrative harmony. She's nearly defenseless, gets grabbed and harassed by ruffians that would otherwise leave you alone, people of your same class say "Bonjour" on the street, guards ask not to be seen alone with you and swoon in groups, it is uniquely immersive. And finally, it fixes the logical loophole caused by blending while wearing a very imposing hood and being covered in weapons. The whole point of wearing robes that look like monks was to be indistinguishable from them, ever since then it's been nothing but iconography. If Altair declared Assassins should live amongst the people, then shouldn't they look like them too? But Liberation understands we don't have to give up the cool hood for the game to be logical, and this where I was hooked. That doesn't mean it executes that concept perfectly, though. Firstly, the mission design only accommodates the choice of approach half the time. The other half are some of the most restrictive, linear missions I've ever seen, with big white orbs that not only tell you where to go, but exactly how to get there. Some demand that you change outfit before beginning them, but some quietly change it for you as soon as you start. Seems like the level designers realized there was a better way to do this partway through development, but forgot to retroactively add it to the missions with the earlier system. But there's not really any reason to ever change you out of the slave outfit since it can accommodate both stealth and combat approaches. There was an infiltration early on that asked me to choose between the lady and the slave, but I never saw anything like that again. Secondly, there are still a number of issues with this system's internal logic. Why can the slave blend amongst aristocrats? Why is the Assassin spotted so damn quickly? This is a foundation that could be built upon dramatically. There's one major stealth playstyle they chose not to distinguish, and that's tool stealth. This could be the strength of the Assassin, since everyone but the lady is almost equally capable in combat anyway. The slave could have to be among the right type of people to blend, requiring proper recon before choosing to use her, giving the lady more proper blending capability with her appropriate caste. The social classes could carry different tools like the money pouch or a stink bomb to manipulate crowd behavior. And finally, the lady should be stripped of her hidden blade. The way it is now, if all else fails, you can always rely on normal line of sight stealth instead of having real consequences for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I started self-imposing this early on, it was very rewarding taking the risk of going in with only a dart gun hidden in an umbrella and my wits. If I absolutely had to take someone down, I'd better be ready to do it with my hands. You could also repurpose this system into something like Unity's gear tree, even allowing a bit of mixing and matching of outfits and playstyles. This is the biggest well of untapped potential in the entire franchise. It's time to acknowledge it
Story: This is where it falls apart a little bit. This was almost a masterful tragedy, but the breakneck pacing really did it in. Cutscenes are rarely longer than 30 seconds, I suppose to accommodate the shorter play sessions of the PSP, but the writers couldn't seem to decide if they wanted to make a bouncy spinoff or a deadly serious main entry. The themes of slavery, distrust, and and shame fit the philosophical concepts of Assassin's Creed very well, when there's enough time to explore them. The goofy smuggler characters really do have great chemistry with Aveline too, but they feel disjointed from the rest of the story. There was one twist early on that was glossed over so quickly in the cutscene, I wouldn't have even caught it if it weren't for the story update in a loading screen! The most interesting part is probably just how malleable Aveline is. After losing her mother to slavery as a young girl, she bounces between very different mentor figures, none of whom interact with each other directly, and all of whom have conflicting worldviews. Even Connor, naive as he is, is contrasted as being more anchored to his beliefs than her. Liberation is intentionally confusing for most of the game to give you the same feeling as Aveline being pulled in four different directions. It almost feels like it starts in the middle of the story, but it gradually explains itself as you learn Aveline's history with all these characters. What the writers really understand is that people don't always tell each other the truth, and even if they do, not the whole truth. So unraveling the conspiracy feels much more personal and realistic than many any other AC games' endless hitlists because the lies come from Aveline's loved ones, not her enemies. The present day, of course, was barely present. I think they were actually onto something by having Erudito reveal the censored story beats. Taken to its logical conclusion, this could have fixed Assassin's Creed's long-running linearity problem. Imagine two versions of a mission that play out differently depending on which one is the real (fake) history or different outcomes depending on what constraints you manage to meet so you can unlock more of the plot by replaying missions. Ultimately, the Erudito arc went out with a whimper because got to meet the characters behind the propoganda, so there was no payoff. They could have been a major third or fourth faction in the present day narrative if they hadn't completely vanished from the story before their potential was seen through. The most painfully rushed scene is when she meets her mother again. After lamenting a bunch of gibberish we don't yet have the context to understand, she refuses to go back New Orleans without hardly so much as a reason, disappears to God knows where, and the next thing you know we're back in the city. What the hell? No apology for abandoning Aveline for her mission? No explanation for why it matters? No telling her how much it hurt to miss her for 20 years? Not even an "I love you?" This was so jarring. And then the next time you see her, she's acting like a totally reasonable person. This relationship needed a lot more fleshing out given how much of the plot is built on its backbone. Agate's downfall was truly heartbreaking. You know when you're mentor is so paranoid that you have to help him keep his grip on reality that things are really going downhill. He left Aveline twisting in the wind when she needed him most, and that's why the ending was so close to a very effective tragedy. And finally, we have to talk about the twist. To do things like this, you need some sort of hints so when you think back to things that doesn't make sense early on, you suddenly have a satisfying explanation. I didn't really experience this. The early plot wasn't so much intriguing as it was convoluted, and Madeleine felt like an answer that was shoehorned in at the last second. It's hard to say why, maybe these elements, like everything else in the story, just wasn't given enough screentime. It was very convincing that Aveline had most her way so much that she'd join Madeleine, especially since Agate's corrupted brotherhood had seemed to do nothing but undermine her loved ones. And of course, it was very satisfying to walk back that false ending with my own hands. If she had killed Madeleine in a cutscene, that would have been hopelessly cheap
Wow, I ended up having a lot more to say on this game than I realized. Thanks for reading my ramblings if you made it all the way down here. I really recommend you go check out Liberation if you haven't already. It's a very unique entry in a series with pretty similar mechanics in almost every game
submitted by ThreeProphets to LeoK [link] [comments]
2020.11.23 05:36 fainting--goat How to Survive Camping - the hitchhikers
I run a private campground. I have a set of rules to keep everyone safe. Today I’m going to tell you about a rule that isn’t my own and seems like such bullshit that it’ll make mine look like common sense. And it also explains a bit about the old sheriff, because I think I need to better understand why he was angry that I saved him from the dapple-gray stallion, so that we can reconcile.
If you’re new here, you should start at the beginning, and if you’re totally lost, this might help.
I need to explain how these inhuman things got here. Not the ones that were born here, but the ones that have been around for a while. These creatures follow the people of their origin. America has a wide variety of creatures because we’ve had a lot of different groups immigrate here over the centuries. There’s the creatures that have always been here, of course, as this is ancient land for them. The creatures that came with the immigrants, however, don’t have a place they belong and that is why they’re drawn to old land.
We get our share of random roving monsters, of course. Those are rare. Is it possible that we’ll get a monster that came over with Somali immigrants, even though we don’t have anyone of that ethnicity living in town? Of course. Is it likely? Not really. They’re attracted to old land but I think the attraction of land that is lived on by the people who share the beliefs that created them is stronger.
The stronger the presence, the stronger the lure. That’s why we’ve seen more than our fair share of Slavic creatures. One of the prominent families in town is originally from Russia and they don’t just know the stories and traditions - they’ve practiced them down the generations. It’s part of their family history and as they’ve settled here, those beliefs have taken root. They don’t live on old land, but they’re a different sort of beacon. They bring these creatures here and then those creatures end up in or around our campground.
There’s so much focus on my campground as the source of all things evil around here that I think we forget that the other families are responsible as well. We overlook the things they do that could influence these inhuman things.
This incident I’m telling you about could easily have gotten the old sheriff killed, were it not for me being a petulant little shit who had just heard about a certain rule regarding hair.
It was an off-hand remark, made to me on a rare occasion that I visited the house of the family from Russia. Their children were all a bit older than me. The youngest daughter was only a few years more, just enough that she could stay aloof, but not so much that she could ignore me entirely. For a little while my parents invented reasons for us to spend time together. I think they were trying to help me make a friend, as this was after the incident with the man with no shadow and I was quite alone by then. Certainly, it was dangerous for me to have friends, but this family was a bit more canny with these inhuman things than the rest of the town.
Their grandmother was the reason. She retained all the stories and traditions from her homeland and strictly enforced them on the rest of the family. And like all of these creatures, there were rules. Oh, were there rules. Couldn’t bathe after nightfall. Leave out food for the domovoy. Lots of customs around holidays and funerals. The one that I took particular notice of was the one about hair.
All the women in this family kept their hair braided.
It seems unfair, doesn’t it? Rules about how women are to wear their hair echo through the eras, cutting across cultures throughout the world. Here, it can’t be cut. There, it can’t be uncovered. Sometimes it is a restriction of modesty and I think this is the reason we’re most familiar with in the modern age. But in another era and another culture, it was a signifier of class status. And for what we are interested in right now, it was a matter of protection.
Unbraided hair invites in evil.
This is what the grandmother told me, as I sat in their kitchen, keenly aware that none of the other children in the family had elected to come see me. Certainly, they’d said hi when I was dropped on the doorstep by my mother, but then quickly found reasons to be elsewhere, leaving me standing awkwardly on the threshold. Their grandmother took pity on me, and so I sat at a small table in their kitchen, licking my fingers that were still covered in the cookie dough we’d just finished shaping into balls.
I asked her why this was. I think I was asking in a general sense, but their grandmother took it a different way. She sighed and straightened from putting the cookies in the oven and said she didn’t know why it fell to the women to keep everyone safe. It just was. Maybe someday it wouldn’t be, but until then, they all must wear their hair in braids, lest some evil thing take notice and draw close. Perhaps it would steal the woman away, the grandmother continued. Or perhaps an evil spirit would possess her. But most likely, considering how well protected the house was, it would instead lash out at everyone around the family. I was familiar with this, wasn’t I? How these creatures on my family’s campground attacked the bystanders who knew nothing of what evil things we harbored.
When the cookies were done she took the first one off the tray and set it on a platter, then put it out on the threshold for the domovoy. Then she let me take a handful before she called the rest of the children to come have some. I watched them as they entered, the daughters in particular. Their hair was all braided. One wore it elaborately. Another wore it simply. And the youngest wore it carelessly, so that the grandmother smacked her gently with a wooden spoon and told her to rebraid it before it fell out.
The youngest… this story is in part about her.
I try to conceal people’s names when I think there’s a reason to. The old sheriff has a moniker because he’s well known outside the campground on account of having run for office numerous times. I’d rather not connect his name to these stories so directly. Now, while this family’s youngest daughter isn’t well known, I think it’d be best to keep her identity hidden. Just in case. She doesn’t have an easy moniker either, so I’m going to use a fake name.
That’s a lot of words for ‘I’m gonna call her Lisa’, I know.
Have you seen someone beaten to death? I think in our fascination with the macabre we glorify the amazingly creative ways that people can die. The allure of the obscene. I won’t name names, but I’m sure you know which movies I’m thinking of. In humanity’s quest for novelty, I think we overlook the simple horror of a bad death.
‘Interesting’ isn’t necessarily a bad death. There’s plenty of interesting ways to die that aren’t that awful. My own death will likely be interesting, after all, and I hope to find a way to make it a good death, as my grandmother did. But a bad death? That is the kind of death that your body and soul rebels against, the one you initially fight because you know it isn’t your time and this isn’t how you wanted to go. Your struggles are futile and slowly, hope falters and vanishes entirely, leaving you alone with the spectre of your demise wrapped cold around you.
That is the death of the spirit. The death of the body comes next.
You suffer as you feel yourself failing little by little and perhaps you yearn for death, just to make it stop, but it ignores your pleas and takes you on its own time. Not yours. Sooner than you wanted, but also far slower than you crave. This final agency is ripped from your hands and given to a cruel, callous world that treats your will with disdain. This is a bad death.
I figured this out as a child when my mother took me to the morgue for the first time. It wasn’t long after that visit to Lisa’s house, when her grandmother made me cookies. Perhaps my mother thought it was time that I was introduced to this part of the family business, or perhaps she didn’t want to take the detour to drop me off at home first. I was disoriented, because I didn’t recognize the streets she took or the building we arrived at. On account of the number of bizarre deaths that occur in our town, there is a morgue attached to the sole funeral home so that we don’t have to send all of the bodies through the hospital. The police can keep everything local. It’s an unassuming building, set a bit away from the funeral home itself and far from the main road. Easy to overlook. Just a drab building made out of cinderblock.
The interior, however, is a different story. It is heavily protected and I don’t mean by mundane standards. Sure, there’s a security system and some cameras (which I think are fake) and that’s it. But every protection you can think of from every culture is painted, engraved, or hung around the entrance. The funeral home did their research. Nothing dead or undead is getting in or out of this building without their knowledge.
You’re probably thinking, ‘oh wow the funeral home owners must have some stories of their own’ and yes, they do, and I suppose now I’ve cursed myself to write them out someday, haven’t I?
At the time, the building felt cavernous. The lack of decoration on the interior, the austere white walls and the harsh lighting made it seem far larger than it really was. As an adult, I realize that the morgue is little more than a glorified shack with an overzealous AC. There’s hardly any space between the metal table in the middle of the room and the row of shelves on one wall, such that no one can squeeze through when one of the trays is slid out. I remember thinking it would be fun to play in here, to sidle underneath the open slab like it was a bridge I was swimming under, until I realized there was a corpse on it.
My mother didn’t call me over to look, but I was curious, and did so on my own. The body was covered by a sheet and it was lumpy. There were pits and dents here and there. A deflated shoulder. A swoop over the knee, like someone had scooped it out with a spoon. My mother lifted a corner of the sheet to look underneath and I glanced around her, peering past her body towards the corpse that lay beneath. It was mottled and for a moment I didn’t think it was human, that perhaps I was staring at some kind of salamander creature with blue-purple skin. Then I realized I was looking at bruises. Every inch of the body was covered in bruises, the colors ranging from crimson red all the way through purple, blue, green, to yellow. The face was a crushed mass resembling oatmeal and those strange hollows I saw - the shoulder, the knee - were where the bone had been pulverized to the point it could no longer hold the muscle and skin in place.
Mother quickly dropped the sheet. She’d seen enough. This was indeed an unnatural thing, she said grimly. Our family would deal with it.
The problem was, my mother said later, over the dinner table, that we didn’t know what unnatural thing we were dealing with. Some of these creatures are unique in how they kill their prey. Vampires leave their victims exsanguinated, there’s beasts that only eat the heart or the liver and such. But for every creature that leaves a calling card at the morgue, there’s a dozen more that all kill in the same way.
Beating someone to death is a very common tactic for these inhuman things.
The thing that distinguishes it from human brutality is that humans tend to stop when they realize the person is dead. Inhuman things leave their victims without an inch of skin untouched, never dealing the fatal blow until the unfortunate person is thoroughly worked over. This was not the first time my family has dealt with the creatures that do this. I’m sorry to say that a lot of the time we never find what did it and it just goes away on its own after leaving a handful of bodies behind. My parents expected this time to not be any different.
Then, a few weeks later, another body showed up. It too had been beaten to death. This time, the old sheriff showed up at the house. He told my parents that there was a pattern to the killings. The local police got a call about someone trespassing and surprise surprise - it was a camper that had wandered off the campground and wound up in someone’s backyard. They gave them directions back to the campground and let them go walking off.
While they couldn’t be identified by their appearance anymore, their clothing matched the body currently in the morgue. The homeowner had watched them leave after the police officer directed them back towards the campground and instead of walking the whole way, a car had driven up rather soon after they’d left and given them a ride. At the time, they’d assumed it was a friend from camp, but the timing seemed off when the old sheriff reviewed the report.
They’d hitchhiked, the old sheriff decided. Just like the first victim, who had been seen trying to catch a ride some hours before their death.
“Are we dealing with a human this time?” mother asked.
Now that I am older, I know the reason she glanced back towards the bedroom. She was thinking of her gun and her knife and wondering if she needed to slit a throat.
“Could be an inhuman thing that updated its tactics,” my father offered.
The old sheriff intended to find out. He was going to go walking along the road until someone offered him a ride. This caused a brief argument among the adults in the room. My mother insisted that she should go. If it were a human, they’d be more inclined to pick up a woman that they thought would be easy prey. I heard the savage vindictiveness in her voice and knew that they’d be the ones beaten to death this time, if they took the bait. The old sheriff finally won the argument when my dad told her to ‘let him do this’ and she reluctantly yielded.
The old sheriff told me what happened, when a car slowed to a stop beside him and the driver offered him a ride. It was after my parents were dead and I was in charge of the campground. I needed to know the full story, he said, now that I was in charge of keeping my campers safe.
The driver was an ordinary looking man, albeit with a rather fabulous bead and shaggy hair that needed a trim. They chatted a little bit as the driver took him down the roads towards his supposed destination (a dead end road with a police officer waiting, just in case it did turn out to be an ordinary human murderer). The old sheriff began to wonder if perhaps he’d found just a kind stranger to offer him a ride and the hitchhiker theory was no good.
Then the driver jerked the wheel sideways. The old sheriff remembers an impact and then nothing after that. He regained consciousness while he was being dragged through the woods by the collar of his shirt. He remembered thinking, as the man threw him to the ground, that it wasn’t a human after all. His theory was correct.
Then the man picked up a stout stick and began to beat him. His bones shattered under the blows. One eye popped, the other was half-blinded by a wash of blood. His mouth was full of blood and broken teeth. He fought back, of course, but his gun had been taken from him while he was unconscious and the creature was so strong. Far stronger than any human should be. He said that his last cognizant thought was that he was glad he hadn’t let my mother go in his place.
Before he succumbed, he reached up a hand - his fingers crooked and blackened - and clutched helplessly at his attacker. His hand closed on something - a flask of some kind, hanging from a cord off his belt - and the cord snapped. It fell on him, the stopper coming free, and the water soaked his torso.
Instantly he felt whole. The pain vanished. He felt strong - stronger than he had any right to be. And he reached up with fingers that were now straight and unblemished by bruises and he seized the stick and wrenched it out of the man’s hand.
He used it to crack the man’s skull open. The stick cleaved through the bone and into the brain, splattering bits of it across the forest floor.
That was the end of it. For a few days, at least. This time, the old sheriff didn’t tell my parents about the body they’d found. Another confirmed hitchhiker. This time someone from the edge of town whose car had recently broken down and they hadn’t gotten it fixed yet and were just bumming rides from anyone that came past. The old sheriff feared that after last time, my mother would once again insist on going and use the fact he almost died against him in the ensuing argument. Instead, he went walking along the road after only telling his officers. He knew how it would work this time.
If there was a pattern, he reasoned, perhaps he could circumvent it before the inhuman thing wrecked the car. Perhaps that was how the cycle could be broken. So along came the car and it slowed and the window opened and the man inside offered him a ride. The old sheriff got in and took a covert look at the driver.
The same man. Except this time, the beard was longer, and it looked like… there was a face formed out of the curling hair. He told the driver where he was going and as the driver replied that yes, of course he could take him there, the beard’s mouth moved as well in time to the answer.
Unsettled, the old sheriff tried to focus on watching the driver’s hands. Trying to anticipate when he’d throw the wheel so that he could grab hold and keep it on the road.
Well, the old sheriff told me, he succeeded in that much. But turns out it’s a lot harder to stop someone from wrecking a car when they really want to, especially when they’re blessed with inhuman strength.
Things happened much as they had before. The man dragged him through the woods for a bit before seizing a stick and beating him with it. This time, the man had a stick in each hand, and the old sheriff thought he wasn’t going to survive long enough to get a chance to snag the flask at his waist. He said he felt his organs rupture, his lungs filled with blood. He was entirely blinded as both his eye sockets were crushed.
Then, a pause. He felt the man grabbing him by the neck. Checking for a pulse. And he flailed with the last of his strength, he felt his ruined hand smack against the flask, and that small blow knocked the stopper free and the water poured out and onto his chest.
This time, after the old sheriff had cracked his skull in two, he dragged the inhuman thing’s body back to my parent’s campground. They burned it. I was there, watching the sparks, because I always did like a good bonfire and it was easy to ignore what was inside or to stand upwind of the smell of burning flesh.
“This isn’t over,” my mother told the old sheriff as they stood watching. “There’s a pattern here. And since you started it, you have to finish it. Survive the third encounter and kill it once more and that’ll be the end of it.”
The old sheriff said he wasn’t sure if he could survive one more time, but he’d try. I thought it strange that his voice sounded more resigned than resolved.
I wonder if at some point, the old sheriff accepted that he would die from some inhuman thing in an attempt to save another. I wonder if that is why he threw himself inside the vanishing house and why he was willing to sacrifice himself to the dapple-gray stallion. Perhaps it isn’t heroism… but he believes it to be his fate, just as I cannot shake the belief that the beast will be the death of me someday.
As it turns out, he never got the chance.
I’m sure you’re wondering at this point how the hell Lisa fits into all of this. Was that little bit at the beginning with the cookies and the weird rule about hair all just a detour down memory lane?
Do you recall how Lisa was scolded by her grandmother for letting her braid come undone? That was not an isolated incident. For a little bit, Lisa had been in the habit of taking her hair out of a braid once she arrived at school. She told her friends it was giving her a headache and it was fine as long as grandma never found out. I was resentful of her defiance. There were no consequences to it. Not like me, who had to leave the windows shut and ignore the little girl crying outside or we’d all die.
I don’t remember quite how old I was, but I do remember that I was an evil little shit at that age. So a preteen, maybe?
That night, I tattled on Lisa over dinner. I don’t think there was any particular reason. I think I was just irritated that my parents were distracted and not paying enough attention to what I was saying about school, so I decided to stir things up by saying something I knew they’d get upset about. And if it wasn’t me they were upset at, so much the better.
“Lisa?” my mother asked. “Are you certain? How long has this been going on?”
I told her. And as a child, I thought that my plan had backfired horribly, for mother left immediately after dinner and made my brother and I take care of all the cleanup ourselves.
She went to Lisa’s grandmother and the next day, Lisa’s hair was in a braid and it stayed in a braid all throughout the school day. She was subdued and quiet and I felt maliciously gleeful that she’d gotten into trouble.
As I said, I was an evil shit back then. But I was also desperately lonely and resentful of an entire school full of children that were afraid to be my friend. I lashed out however I could.
Honestly it’s astonishing I didn’t get sent to the principal more than I did.
The old sheriff walked along the road for almost a week before he finally had to admit that the man with the beard wasn’t coming back. He didn’t want to admit it, but it looked like Lisa had indeed been the cause of its presence. No one wanted to believe that something so simple as a young girl’s hair could be the cause of such evil.
But unbraided hair invites evil, for those that believe such things. And Lisa’s family is prominent around town with numerous houses owned by relatives. It isn’t a coincidence that the killings began around the same time Lisa began unbraiding her hair and that the hitchhikers were all picked up along the property lines of people with blood ties to Lisa’s grandmother.
The last time I remember seeing Lisa was in highschool, shortly before the end of the school year. She was a senior and her friends were asking her what she wanted to do after she graduated.
“I’m leaving,” she declared, and she reached back and tore the hair tie off her braid. “I don’t care where, but I’m leaving and I’m not coming back.”
Going somewhere there weren’t creatures attracted to her blood. Somewhere that these evil things couldn’t find her, regardless of how she wore her hair. I kept walking down the hallway, but I looked back just long enough to see Lisa, now alone at her locker, hastily putting her hair tie back in before her braid fell apart.
She graduated and she did exactly that. I haven’t seen her since. I can only hope that she’s happy and that she can wear her hair however she wants.
I’m a campground manager. The old sheriff told me this story because he fears that this isn’t over. Perhaps someday the bearded man will return and begin to claim victims again, and that he - or someone else - will have to finish the pattern that was started so many years ago. I think he is also a little angry that my parents intervened. That they went to Lisa’s grandmother and then without a beacon inviting it here, this evil thing lost interest and went away to torment some other town.
I wonder if he carries the guilt of not having stopped it. If he carries the guilt of all those that couldn’t be saved.
I’ve only just begun to question if I’m doing enough or if I’m taking the easy way and leaving a trail of bodies in my wake by doing so. I sleep well enough at night right now, but I’m starting to think that someday this won’t always be the case. My conscience is recalibrating and while today it only has a needle with which to prick me, I fear it may someday carry a sword.
I respect the old sheriff, but I’m not sure I want to be like him.
I called him yesterday. We’re going to meet for coffee tomorrow morning. I’m going to apologize first, but then I’m also going to tell him that he has to think about himself as well. His life is not wholly his own to give away as he pleases. The town needs him. I’m assuming his wife needs him.
And… I need him.
Someone said that he seems like a father figure. And I guess he is. It might be time that he knows that.
This might be the hardest conversation I’ll ever have. [x]
Read the full list of rules.
Visit the campground's website.
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2020.11.21 23:51 DarkenedPages I can time travel a week into the past, but now something has gone wrong. [Part 6]
Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - Final
“It’s way too cramped back here,” I complained as the sedan Cassie had stolen careened down the long, empty stretch of highway. “Couldn’t we have put the General in the trunk? She’s too big for a car this size. It’s like trying to share a backseat with Shaq.”
“I offered to let you sit in the front,” Jonah said in a strained voice without looking back at me. He was too busy concentrating to pay too much attention to my predicament.
“No you didn’t,” I snapped.
“He did,” Cassie insisted. I didn’t know if I believed her. I couldn’t remember him making the offer, and I can’t imagine I’d have turned it down if he had.
We’d already been driving for hours without so much as a quick pitstop, and my bladder was starting to ache. “Can we at least pull over for a minute? I really need to use the bathroom,” I stated.
“Can’t you hold it?” Cassie asked, sounding a bit annoyed. “We’re almost to the service station that Jonah saw Emerson would pass, so we might actually catch up to him soon, assuming he doesn’t get off at one of these exits to nowhere.”
“Fine. I’ll try,” I said. “But I’m not making any promises.”
“Guys, please - I could really use some quiet,” Jonah interrupted. “What I’m doing is like trying to grasp water in your hand. It’s difficult enough as it is, without having all these other distractions around me.”
Ever since we’d gotten on the road, Jonah had been trying to scan the immediate future of people at different rest stops along the highway, narrowing down where he had to look based on the signs we passed. Not having a concrete individual to concentrate his abilities on meant a lot more trial and error, not to mention it was rapidly wearing him out. On the bright side, he’d managed to have a little bit of success - earlier on, Jonah had found a gas station employee who would see Cassie’s truck driving past on its way south, and we had nearly reached the location ourselves now. If his vision was correct, we would only be about twenty minutes behind Emerson once we got there.
“Can we really even trust what you see anymore?” I asked, sounding a bit more petulant than I’d intended. “You seem to get these things wrong quite a bit, lately.”
“Max!” Cassie said chastisingly, but Jonah hushed her.
“It’s fine, Cass. It’s not his fault.”
“I know,” she replied.
And besides,” Jonah added, “he’s right. But it’s all we’ve got to go on at the moment.”
As I watched the monotonous repetition of tree after tree go by out the window, I started feeling extremely agitated. “I need to get out of this damn car!” I snarled. “I can’t take it anymore!”
“Max, you need to calm down,” Cassie responded. “This isn’t you. I know it’s difficult, but you need to try to fight the effects. Focus on something soothing, like the last time you were at the beach.”
I realized she was right. It was like a fog had cleared from my head, and I could remember what was happening. The virus was starting to get worse, and it was affecting my thoughts and my memory. It didn’t last very long, but this was now the second time it had happened since we’d been in the car. It seemed to come on when I got upset, so I took a deep breath and tried to visualize the smell of the salt air and the sound of the waves crashing along the shore.
“I’m sorry,” I said apologetically. “I know you guys are doing everything you can to help me. I just hope we can find Emerson before it’s too late.”
“We will. I have faith that you’re gonna be okay,” Jonah stated. He then closed his eyes and resumed searching for clues as to where Emerson was going. A little while later, we passed a sign for a rest stop thirty miles away and Jonah tapped the dashboard to get our attention. “He’s gonna stop. I see your truck parked in the rest stop parking lot. Haven’t spotted him, yet, but he’s gotta be there somewhere.” Jonah slumped down in his seat. He sounded weak. The effort was clearly taking a heavy toll on him.
“Take a break,” Cassie told him. “You’re no good to us like this, and we’re gonna need you soon.”
“Good idea,” he replied, closing his eyes. “Let me know when we get there.”
We arrived at the rest stop shortly after, and to my dismay, the place was surprisingly busy. The parking lot was filled with cars, forcing us to pull into a space near the outskirts, well away from the building itself. Cassie turned off the car and gave Jonah a nudge.
“Any idea where my truck might be?” she asked.
Jonah opened his eyes again and let out a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Um...yeah. It should be parked a few rows back from the side entrance.”
“Okay. You stay here,” she said. “Max and I will go check it out.” Turning towards me, she handed me a pistol. “Sorry, this is the only extra weapon I had on me when Emerson took off with our stuff. Keep it hidden for now. We don’t wanna let people see us running around here with guns if we don’t have to.”
“Got it,” I replied, and stuffed the pistol into my jacket. “How do you wanna do this?”
“Once we spot the truck, I’ll move in towards the driver’s side, in case he’s in there. You go in from the aisle, blocking his escape. I’ll go invisible once we can confirm if he’s there and hit him before he can react.”
We climbed out and moved towards the side entrance of the rest stop building. Sure enough, Cassie’s truck was in plain sight, parked right in the middle of the row. Cassie signaled me to get into position while she did the same. She snuck towards the truck, using the other cars for cover while I approached it from behind. We were barely twenty feet away when I heard Jonah scream out, “Stop!”
I had no time to react before the truck erupted into a ball of fire, the concussive blast knocking me clear off my feet. The vehicles surrounding the explosion had their windows blown out, and a number of alarms started blaring in the aftermath. Jonah rushed over to me and threw himself down next to me, using his hands to smother the bits of flame on my clothing. He then dragged me away from the area as chaos set in all around us. Throngs of people ran for cover, while the sounds of sirens in the distance began to close in.
“He blew up my truck!” Cassie hissed angrily as she came limping towards us. She was a bit banged up, having been thrown into a car from the blast, but another vehicle had shielded her from the worst of the explosion. “When I get my hands on that snake…”
“It was just a distraction,” Jonah said wearily. “Go check our car - I think he’s after the General.”
Cassie set off immediately to see if she could intercept Emerson, but she wasn’t able to move very fast in her current condition. The ringing in my ears was making it hard to hear, and I asked a bit louder than I’d intended, “What the heck happened?”
“I was trying to scan around the immediate future, looking to see if I could pinpoint if Emerson would try to leave with the truck and saw the explosion,” Jonah explained. “I don’t think he wanted to kill us, otherwise he would’ve waited till you were closer before setting it off. He wanted to make sure we were away from our car so he could rescue the General.”
“Jonah!” Cassie called out. “I’ve got him!”
“C’mon, kid. Can you get up?” Jonah inquired. I nodded in the affirmative, and he helped me to my feet.
“Go, I’ll be right behind you,” I said, and he headed off to help Cassie as I followed, grimacing with each step as I felt a sharp pain shoot through my ribs and back. I pined for the halcyon days when it was only the bullet wound in my shoulder that hurt like heck.
When I neared our car, I saw Emerson kneeling with his hands on his head next to the side of the vehicle, and a furious-looking Cassie holding her gun on him. She was shouting, but I couldn’t discern what she was saying. Jonah was motioning with his hands, trying to talk to her, but she didn’t seem to be paying him any mind, and instead gave Emerson a swift kick in the stomach. The ringing in my ears seemed to grow worse, until I realized it was actually the sirens of the fire engines having arrived in the parking lot.
“We should probably get out of here,” I suggested when I reached the others. “The police are gonna be swarming around here any minute, and I’m in enough trouble with them as it is. Being involved in another bombing isn’t gonna help my case with them.”
“Good idea,” Cassie replied. “Let me just put a bullet in this rat’s head and we’ll be on our way.”
“No,” Jonah said firmly. “We’re taking him with us. He’s the only one who knows how to cure Max, remember?”
“Ugh! Right,” Cassie groaned. “I guess nearly being blown to smithereens made me forget about that for a minute.” Glowering at Emerson, she added, “Lucky you.” She put her weapon away and binded his ankles and wrists with zip ties from her pockets, and I briefly wondered just how many of those things she kept on her at any given time.
“There’s no more room in the backseat,” I noted. “He’s gonna have to ride in the trunk.”
“Perfect,” Cassie said with a smirk. Emerson simply looked solemnly down at the ground, resigned to his fate.
We’d somehow managed to avoid running into any authorities on our way out of the rest stop, blending in with the deluge of cars fleeing the parking lot while the fire fighters struggled to get the remains of the explosion under control. The police had set up a roadblock in an attempt to prevent any possible culprits from escaping, but there weren’t enough of them present to cover every exit, and we slipped out unimpeded. Unfortunately, we had only been able to drive for about an hour before traffic came to a dead stop, and remained that way ever since.
“We should’ve gotten off the highway at the last exit,” I muttered from the backseat, trying to stretch out my legs to get some feeling back into them. Jonah had given me something for the pain, but my head was now throbbing and I couldn’t get comfortable.
“It would’ve just taken us in a loop back here,” Cassie responded. “Once we get a bit closer to the contact’s house, we can make our way there using the back roads.” She glanced worriedly over towards Jonah, who was fast asleep. “We could all use proper medical attention, but I guess a backwoods lab is the best we can ask for under the circumstances.”
Jonah had a contact a few hours away who ran an illegal laboratory out of his basement, which we’d hoped we could use to create the cure for the virus I’d been given. The contact, a former physician-scientist who had been employed at a major research institute until he’d been fired for using the facilities to mix together illicit substances, was a man named Fredrick Easton. It seemed shady to me, but Jonah assured us we could trust him, and that he could patch us up as well.
“Something’s wrong,” Cassie said all of a sudden, peering around us on high alert. I noticed it too a moment later - the cars next to us were empty. I looked ahead and behind us, only to see the same thing. I had a sinking feeling what it meant, and it wasn’t anything good.
“Do you think everyone just randomly decided to get out and abandon their cars,” I asked, “or…”
“Tempus,” Cassie finished the thought for me. She shook Jonah awake and exclaimed, “We’ve got a big problem!”
Jonah roused from his stupor and it barely took him five seconds to register what was happening. “Dammit!” he cursed. “How’d they find us?”
“No idea,” Cassie replied, pulling out her gun. “How should we play this?”
Jonah closed his eyes again. “It’s the Bobs. They’re gonna try to hit us from both sides, box us in,” he finally said, sounding out of breath. “We need to…” He trailed off as he slumped forward, passing out completely.
“This is just perfect,” Cassie growled. “He’s out cold, my leg’s busted up, and you’re...well, you’re all I’ve got, I guess.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” I snarked.
“Do you still have that gun I gave you earlier?”
“Yeah. Right here,” I said, taking it out of my jacket.
“Great. We’re gonna have to get out, now. Stay low, try to get some cover behind one of these other cars, and as soon as you see a Bob, blast him,” she ordered.
“I’m not sure I can hit them,” I admitted. “My track record recently hasn’t been the best.”
“Well, you just have to keep them busy and focused on you,” she said. “Ready? Go!”
Cassie opened her door and rolled out, taking off for the side of the road. I lost sight of her as I crawled out from the backseat far less-gracefully, and slithered along the pavement towards a large van several cars ahead of us. I searched beneath the vehicles for any sign of the Bobs, but I didn’t see anything moving. It wasn’t until I heard a gunshot that they gave away their positions.
“It came from the east,” a Bob said, sounding uncomfortably close behind me. I carefully slid myself around, spotting a pair of legs just beyond the back wheel of the van. “They are trying to draw us away from the car. Ignore them.”
As he turned to move towards our car, I popped out from behind the van and opened fire. For once, I actually managed to hit my target on purpose - not that it did much good. After taking five bullets to the back and barely stumbling forward, Bob merely turned to face me with an angry glare.
“Maximilian Darby, you are becoming far more troublesome than you are worth,” he said. “Fortunately for you, the boss wants you to stay in one piece.”
He took a step forward, punching his hand into the hood of the van and shoving it aside, sending it crashing into the car behind it. I backed up, raising my gun to fire again, but I didn’t get the chance. A massive hand wrapped around my arm and yanked me backwards, tearing the weapon from my grip at the same time. It was Other Bob. Fortunately, he was distracted enough by a shot coming from the other side of the highway that slammed him in the shoulder, and I was able to slip out of his grasp, ducking beneath him as I ran in the opposite direction.
“Go,” Bob told Other Bob, “find whoever is shooting at us. End them quickly.”
Other Bob set off towards the edge of the road while Bob advanced on me. I wove in and out of the static cars, hoping to get enough of a buffer between us that I’d have time to think of a way to escape. I’d ducked down behind an SUV to catch my breath when I heard a car door open, followed by a series of rapid boot steps.
“Over here, lughead!” I peered over the SUV to see the General charging full speed at Bob, lowering her shoulder as she tackled him to the ground. Without missing a beat, she delivered half-a-dozen solid punches to his face before he was able to kick her off of him. She got back on her feet and squared up, but when she threw her next blow, Bob caught her fist, crushing it with his palm, and landed a brutal hit to her jaw. He then drew back his leg and swung his foot into her stomach, connecting hard enough to send her reeling back against a nearby vehicle.
Bob strode over to the General and picked her back up. He attempted to slam his fist into her head again, but she managed to duck out of the way, causing him to hit the car behind her, leaving a large dent in its side. I noticed the trunk of the car Bob had pushed the van into hanging open, spotting a crowbar inside. Making sure his attention was still on the General, I raced over and grabbed it. I caught the General’s eye and she nodded, so I chucked the crowbar as hard as I could in her direction. She dove towards it, picking it up and swinging the curved edge into Bob’s leg in one fluid motion. Bob tried to attack her, but she pulled the crowbar towards her while kicking up at his chest, toppling him backwards onto the asphalt.
Several more shots rang out from the side of the highway, followed by the sound of someone sprinting towards us. Bob, still sprawled out in the road, evidently heard it, too, and scurried around one of the nearby cars as a hail of bullets came flying out of nowhere, impacting the vehicle instead of him. He suddenly popped back out and threw a handful of shattered glass at his invisible assailant, causing the shards that got close to the unseen figure disappear, allowing him to pinpoint their location.
Quickly tearing the crowbar out of his leg, Bob flung at the spot the glass disappeared, breaking Cassie’s concentration and forcing her to rematerialize. She put up her hands to protect herself, and Bob used the opportunity to get back up. He immediately went after her, knocking her gun aside and throwing her halfway across the highway. He then accosted the General again, who struggled to block his assault before finally taking a hit from a haymaker to the side of the face. Cassie recovered her pistol and fired at Bob’s head, but he moved at the last moment, so the bullet merely grazed him.
Bob hurled the General at Cassie, sending them both to the ground while I desperately searched for the gun Other Bob had taken from me and tossed aside. Both the General and Cassie had recovered and were engaging Bob at the same time, but he clearly had the advantage. When Cassie tried to shoot him again, he moved quickly towards her and held his hand out in front of him to shield his face, letting it take the impact from the bullet. With his other hand, he smacked the pistol away and stomped his foot down on her bad leg. The General came at him, but he grabbed her by the wrist, twisting her arm behind her, and then rammed his palm down on her elbow, shattering the joint.
I finally located my lost weapon and rushed over to get it. Despite their injuries, the other two were still fighting valiantly, but they wouldn’t last much longer. I was about to shoot at Bob again when I noticed the device attached to the side of his belt. It looked like a pager, but made of metal and more intricately designed, with wires and small lights on it, reminding me of the Time Bomb. I came to the conclusion that it must be the Phase Bubble Generator, and figured if I could knock it out, there might be enough frenetic activity from panicked drivers to cover our escape. Taking a deep breath, I raised the gun, pointing it at Bob’s hip, and pulled the trigger.
There was a familiar rush of heavy air all around me, and I couldn’t help but grin when I saw the surprised look on Bob’s face when he looked down to see what remained of his destroyed Phase Bubble Generator hanging off his belt. A number of shrill screams came from the surrounding vehicles, and several cars were frantically searching for space to pull away from the people who, from their perspective, had suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the highway. Cassie had to roll out of the way of one that jolted forward, crashing into the car in front of it. Bob stared me down with a cold fury in his eyes, but he backed away from the scene, only turning around when he reached the side of the road.
“We should go,” I said, running over to help Cassie to her feet. I helped her limp back to our car, and then went to find the General. She had attempted to follow Bob, but her injuries had caused her to double over in pain. “Come on,” I told her, assisting her as well. Because she was so much taller than me, it was more like she was using my body as a crutch, and it wasn’t easy getting her over to our vehicle.
“I’ll drive,” I said to Cassie, and she simply nodded in agreement before climbing into the backseat, wincing as she maneuvered her bad leg in first. The General followed after her, and I hopped into the driver’s seat. I pulled out into the shoulder, but there were already too many other cars trying to use it to escape the area, so I went farther off the road, into the grass that ran beside it, and took off.
“I didn’t see the other Bob when I chased the first one down,” the General noted. “What happened to him?”
“I was able to sneak up on him and take him out,” Cassie revealed. “I’m guessing his buddy dragged him off when he fled, though.”
“How’d they find us?” I wondered aloud.
“I believe I can shed some light on that matter,” a voice stated over the car’s speakers. It was Desmond’s voice. I stopped short and noticed in the rearview mirror that the trunk popped up when I did. “Don’t you just love satellite radio? I certainly do,” he said gleefully. “Technology these days is amazing. Like smartphones - they all have such high-definition cameras on them now that when people post videos they take online, professional news sources will actually use them. Imagine my surprise when eyewitness videos from some upstate rest stop showed up, and who should I see in the background but my old friends! And the cameras even caught the license plate number of the car they ran off in! You really should’ve stolen a vehicle that didn’t have LoJack - it was far too easy to track you down.”
“It’s just too bad your goons can never seem to do their job properly,” I stated. “How many times now have they failed to catch me?”
“Well, you don’t exactly fight fair, now do you?” Desmond replied. “Honestly - it’s not very sporting of you to keep bringing in new friends with such wonderful powers to help you out. But I suppose I shouldn’t talk, cause I don’t like to fight fair, either. So I didn’t.”
“What’re you talking about?” Cassie asked through clenched teeth, though I wasn’t sure if it was due to anger or pain.
“Once I located your getaway car, I started listening in on your secret conversations. I know, I know - so naughty of me! But I heard all about your little predicament, Maxy-boy. How the big, bad General dosed you with her dime store version of my virus, and how that boy you had in your trunk was the only one with the formula to whip you up a cure. So I took out an insurance policy, just in case you managed to beat the odds and thwart the Bobs once again.”
“Emerson!” I exclaimed. As I jumped out of the car to go confirm if my fears were true, I could hear Desmond’s voice cackling over the speakers behind me. Just as I expected, the trunk was empty. Emerson was gone. I hurried back into the driver’s seat and snarled, “What’d you do with him?”
“The Bobs aren’t the only ‘goons’ I have at my disposal, you know,” Desmond said. “While you all were too busy getting beaten to a pulp, one of my other operatives whisked him away. Far, far away, where you’ll never find him - unless you agree to turn yourself over to me.”
“Why would I do that? Either way, I’m pretty much dead, so I’d rather keep you from getting your hands on my power.”
“Turning yourself over to me is the only way you’ll ever get your cure,” he said tauntingly. “Sure, it’s a risk, but you do like to gamble, don’t you, Max?”
“Don’t trust him,” the General warned me. “If you turn yourself over, you’ll never get out again.”
“Is that Iris?” Desmond asked in wonder. “Surely it is! I’d recognize your voice anywhere!”
“Stuff it, Desmond,” she snapped.
“Just as witty as I remember,” he said with a laugh. “Well, Max, now you have quite the hefty decision to make - listen to me and turn yourself over, or listen to the person who caused the problem in the first place. The choice is yours. If you would like a chance to keep being alive, my people will be waiting for you in the city, on the corner of Twelfth Avenue and White Street. Be there by midnight. That should give you just enough time to make it there from where you’re at, so long as you don’t make any unnecessary stops along the way.”
“Forget about it, Max,” the General stated insistently. “There’s no way this will end well for you.”
“Well, since it’s my life on the line, I’ll be the one who decides whether I go or not,” I responded. “But first, we need a new ride.” I climbed out of the car, stepped out into the middle of the highway, and waved down an oncoming vehicle. When they stopped, I walked over to the driver’s side window, pulled my gun on them and asked, “Do you have LoJack?”
“Uh...no,” the flustered man replied.
“Great. Get out,” I demanded. I motioned Cassie over, and once she managed to get out of the car, she limped towards me.
“What do you think you’re doing,” she whispered in a concerned tone.
“I told you. We need a new car. Can’t have Desmond eavesdropping on our conversations. Here, just make this guy get out while I load Jonah in.”
Cassie held my weapon on the terrified driver as he got out of his vehicle, and I half-carried, half-dragged Jonah from one passenger seat to the other. The General followed suit, and once I was in the driver’s seat, I rapped on the door and shouted, “Come on! Get in!” Cassie complied, and we were back on the highway, speeding towards the city as I prepared to do the one thing I’d been trying to avoid this whole time.
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