Red Hot 20 Slot Machine Online by Apex Gaming Review

Solving the Rogue Company problem - An Essay by ZeroGKills

[Each section has a header so you can just skip to what you’re interested in]
Rogue Company was released with high hopes and a bright future. Some, myself included, saw this release as the next competitive shooter to rival other free to play games. Perhaps we expected too much from the studio that brought us “Smite” and “Tribes: Ascend”. Where we saw well preparedness and thought out design from those games, we found a lack of infrastructure and confidence. Personally, I don’t think they were prepared for an TPS game like Rogue Company. We understand the difference between these games because studies have shown us that shooters aren’t all about strategy: High-end set-ups and reaction time. Games like Smite require strategy and “big brain”. To clarify, I’m not saying that an TPS doesn’t require thought. What I am saying is that shooters can reward raw skill rather than strategy. That’s why TPS games tend to see an influx of cheaters. When it comes to combating these people, it takes a lot from the company. Where their interest lay depends on the revenue being generated. Free to play games make a fraction of their money from “Founder Packs” and the majority from cosmetics. Rogue Company doesn’t have the varied catalog like most free to play shooters; Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Warzone. Since the money being generated from this game isn’t quite as abundant as other titles they’ve dedicated resources too, there’s a disparity between development and balancing. In the following, I will discuss how these problems have affected me personally then give a resolution that works best for Hi-Rez. Going forward, I’m not saying I could produce a better game or that I’m talented but these are my thoughts for a game I genuinely care about.
While browsing Reddit, I noticed a lot of people complaining about cheaters: Players using aim-bots*, ESP**, and other software that breaks the terms of service agreement. Usually I would play with the mindset of “get-gud” but lately I myself have found this to be cumbersome. The first time I actually gave up was during a match against someone using ESP with aim-bot on console. The initial reason I turned off cross-play was to prevent cheaters but it turns out that there’s an abundance across all platforms. What makes this particularly frustrating is a lack of evidence. Certainly, most match-ups where I'm completely are genuine. While there are those few that leave me wondering. Without verifiable proof, I can’t rightfully report someone. That leaves the cheater’s teammates to decide if they’d like to report them or take the win. This puts the burden of proof on you. Looking at it from the point of view of Hi-Rez it really comes down to a simple line of thought “the losing team reported this player but their teammates didn’t so we can't be sure.” That makes sense to me and I can even entertain a certain level of justifiable ignorance. Well then, how do you get proof to report someone? The answer has been around since the early days of Call of Duty multiplayer: Kill Cam. Allowing someone to see the process leading up to the kill gives valuable insight. Why hasn’t Hi-Rez released this already? Lack of responses from their community? No. Genuine negligence? Possibly. The more likely culprit? These cheaters provide a solid chunk of income.
Maybe you’ve noticed the week long updates to their in-game store. Some people, myself included, just wait for that perfect cosmetic to complement our main. That could take weeks, maybe even months, with minor releases that you either purchase or pass. There’s nothing wrong with that but free to play games need whales***. The entirety of a game's income depends on how much someone is willing to spend. Normally popular titles have streamers who purchase cosmetics to add flair but Rogue Company doesn’t rank among the top twenty streams in any given day. How does a studio justify dedicating resources to cosmetics when very few buy out the store? They can’t. Most players find their niche Rogue(s) and don’t bother with unrelated cosmetics. Games like Spellbreak and Warzone don’t need a large catalog because it doesn’t matter what skin you have: you can play with it in every game because they aren’t dedicated to a single character you may or may not be able to use. Every time I log in, I wonder why Hi-Rez didn’t prepare for this. Apex Legends had the same concept of specialized characters and knew that releasing a few skins wouldn’t generate the revenue needed to sustain development. Respawn started out with dozens of interchangeable skins. Granted, these were mostly color swaps with four that actually changed their outfits entirely. Hi-Rez doesn’t need to put too much effort into creating this many variants but they can stop the bleeding by mass releasing dozens of colored variants for each rogue. Cosmetics we can purchase outside of the In-Game store. I wouldn’t even mind having to wait if they openly outlined a plan but it’s clear they’re interests are elsewhere. This is probably why development seems slow and uninventive.
Other games have a little more freedom when it comes to new features like weapons, items, perks, and game modes. The reason Rogue Company doesn’t is because equipment usage depends on the Rogue rather than an open faced store. That’s why the Arms Race was well received. You were able to equip almost any weapon to any rogue: allowing the player to snap-change their load-out for any given scenario. Hi-Rez decided from the start to lock in the possible load-outs for players while still allowing you to pick up an enemy’s weapon. That makes balancing very easy because you’re tweaking the weapon stats based on who’s using them. This means you’ll only get to enjoy the perfect load-out once in a while. The restricted load-out benefits the company because they spend less time adding content for Rogues to focus on other game-modes, maps, and new rogues; Except they aren’t. There have been a few new releases but the content is rather slow coming because attention is split between all facets. Hi-Rez seems to have almost no plan or one that builds a little around everything at one time. Playable content is important and I understand why they’re slow but steady. They need to create a plan focused around the problems affecting gameplay and monetization before they can really ramp up production. No split-focus, no detours, just one thing at a time.
Rogue Company isn’t perfect but I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that was. We’ve seen lots of games released with their fair share of issues. The most notable being No Man’s Sky: a title which started out as a horrible mess but evolved into something astounding. Rogue Company can become a top competitor if given the chance. They need to fix their problems one at a time instead of blanketing every little thing. Work on the problems with cheaters first. Follow that up with a mass release of cosmetics to satisfy the players. Finally, dedicate your staff to new features and content. These are just my opinions and I believe the company doesn’t need my suggestions. Who knows, maybe the slow steady progression will eventually make this game something to be proud of. Only time will tell.
Note to the reader
-Thank you for taking a look at my essay. This is the first time I’ve written one for a game. Hopefully I’ll write a more positive one in the future. I’d love to hear your feedback; What do you think needs to be fixed first; What are your opinions on some of the stuff I talked about; What do you think I should write about next?
*Aim-Bot: a program that focuses the player’s aim. Sometimes it doesn’t require manual input while most require you to at least pull the trigger. These bots also remove the recoil.
**ESP; stands for Extra Sensory Perception. This program allows the user to see where the enemy is. This means they can see you behind walls and, sometimes, see your health.
***Whales; people who spend exorbitant amounts of money. Usually used in casinos as a term for wealthy gamblers. Not to be confused with the derogatory term for an overweight individual.
submitted by ZeroGKills to RogueCompany [link] [comments]

GTA false banned my dad

So my dad's friend and I convinced my dad to get gta because it was cheap, and unlike other shooter games like apex, gta isn't high octane all the time so he can kinda keep up with us, shoot some ai, and not feel bad for slowing us down. I thought I found a game we could play together that was low stress and fun. But last night my dad logged out after helping me move some cargo. a few minutes later he was like "oh I forgot to go to the casino for my free roll today". so he logged back in went to the casino did his roll then when he left the building there were some modders outside who decided to troll him. so they did the usual money drops, doll drops, they killed him a few times and he was just kinda laughing while shooting at them, which did nothing but its fun to try to kill them sometimes. eventually after about 100 transaction error screens the game crashed and when he tried logging in again it said he was now banned for a month and all his stuff will be reset.

to put things in perspective my dad is a 50 year old semi computer illterate 100% disabled navy veteran who, in general, hates all technology because it all breaks after he touches it. and out of this lobby the newb, cripple, who can barely summon a car, and never knows what's going on because he gets tunnel vision and just ignores all the texts and calls got banned not the modders trolling him.
submitted by Bubonickronic07 to gtaonline [link] [comments]

I am

I am a kid -
walking along the side of a strip mall,
by myself, in the early 1970s
in the middle of summer -
I can feel the rays of sun hitting me
and my sweat glistens in the light from that shining star;
My clothes are too big for me
and they flap around my body - as I walk -
I look at the ads in the windows as I bounce by
they are giant things
huge impressive massive mindblowing superloud things
with images of all skin-colors beautiful women with child-birthing hips and enormous tits who
wear lacey underwear that you can just almost see through next to a
cheap picture of a grinning yellow cartoon duck with money falling down around it who
an ad stating IT CAN HAPPEN HERE with dark shadows on the text and a woman who was posed
as if she was crying and a drawing of something that was supposed to represent heroin next to
a poster with those red colors and with those golden arches and with those y’know next to
a Subway
I take my hands out of my pockets (they
had been there the whole time)
to open the door to the drug store, and
I go to the fridge,
and I grab a Coke,
and I go to the counter,
and I buy the Coke,
and the cashier gives me the change
and hands me the Coke
and I put the coins in my pocket,
and I start walking home, drinking
the Coke.
my dad sits in his brown recliner with the broken handle and the fuzz coming out of the side
a can in his hand
mouth agape --
my parents, knowing I wasn’t home,
took this opportunity to spend some alone time together and yell at each other(cue music:
“Surrender” by Cheap Trick sourced from a dirty vinyl record)
When I do get there my Coke is empty and my dad is
asleep on the recliner and my mom is in the bedroom
with the door shut. All is calm.
I go upstairs and shut my door too.

Now, I’m a cockroach -
underneath a countertop in the corner of a hair salon, Sitting idly,
between a bottle of L’Oreal Sulfate Free Scalp Care and Detox Shampoo
and a can of Gillette Foamy Men's Sensitive Shave Foam 11oz
People walk around me,
unawares as to my existence -
cut hair of all colors (like brown and blonde and blue and byzantine and burgundy)
falls near me,
loose change and scissors too (they go tinkshh when they hit the tile
which scares me so I flutter my wings but I stay in Place for the most part)
being curious of the world at large,
I decide to venture out,
to leave my corner
and walk about:
I am stepped on
instantly -
my corpse remained there for three hours
sitting still
before being noticed by a customer - a middle aged woman with a pixie cut -
who called the health department - an investigation
coincidentally lead to an exposing
of a money laundering scheme
by the salons owner
who was put into jail.
his wife left him and took their two kids
and now the empty hair salon has sat
empty, untouched
in the strip mall for three decades, save
for the occasional illegal entrance
of some teenagers looking for a hangout spot
(who leave when they see the cockroaches)

Now I’m a streetlamp -
my yellow light shines in a circle
below, on a heterosexual couple kissing
outside of a beauty parlor(they are beautiful too,yes)
I am grey and my sides are rusting,
stickers of local bands and political happenings
run up and down my sides creating a display
of colors and torn papers.
The square windows around my bulb are dirty.
Her hands are on his hips, he is bending down
to reach her mouth. He runs his hand through
her hair feeling and inspecting every strand
with his nerve endings as they make Contact-
Their shadows are thin and long, the sun had just set
and the sky is more blue than black
the stars are white twinkle dots
(I wonder what it’s like to have arms?)
Later that night they drive home,
and fall asleep soundly while holding each other
in a bed that has red sheets and a big blanket
with gold trimming around the bed frame
and the ceiling fan with pretty designs in the wood was on.
Nine years three days one month and six hours later
she is giving birth to their first child
in the middle of the night;
at the same time -
I am struck by a car
being driven by a drunk driver
who wasn’t killed, or badly injured
but his black car with
red and orange flames
was totalled, he had his license taken away
while I remained
laying on the ground -
nobody came
to pick me up.

Now I’m a T-Rex!
RAWR, I like to stomp around and use my big scary sharp shiny teeth to eat other dinosaurs like edmontosauruses and anatosauruses and triceratopses and I’ve been told it’s even possible that I could eat smaller dinosaurs in a single bite!
I like the way they feel when they crunch in my mouth and how the blood runs out through my teeth and drips down my chin and the way they feel when they slide down my throat all chewed up into my belly and the way they feel when they start being digested.
My scales are scaly
and rough colorful things
I look up to the sky
and see friends fly with wings
Don’t you wish you were a dinosaur, too?
I have a lot of fun here, but After many years
of being an apex predator
I lay down
and die of natural causes
my body is scavenged by scavengers
before sinking into the ground -
millions of years later
my remains are removed as oil
by Americans in the Middle East
I am treated and refined
put into barrels
shipped across the Atlantic
(whatever that is) and placed
into the tanks of a Circle K gas station
Soon I am funneled into a minivan
for $1.19 a gallon
by a soccer mom taking her kids
to their Church’s vacation bible school
her daughter bought a Hershey’s bar there,
her son bought a Coke
and as she eats her snack and he drinks his drink
the mom drives - and I am used
combusted fantastically
in the Engine
I change forms yet again
into car energy, into carbon dioxide [CO2]
and I rise up, into the atmosphere
breaking it apart,
slowly, over time,
as an unintentional but consequential revenge
for the unpermissed use of my body.

Now, I am some object
that exists in the future -
whose purpose
could not
be understood
by someone
from our current time,
for the things
it is used for
in the situations
it is used in
have no relevance
or relation
to the things
we Experience
in our lives
and, therefore,
could not

I am me,
I am Eric Watts.
I sit - in my little room -
playing - my little games -
with - my little self -
with ! my stuffed animal friends - all around me ---
the sun shines through the window,
and gives the room a nice...warm…...feeling……...
and Every day I get up -
and I yell. and I beat; at the door,,,
begging!!to be let out.
submitted by ByTorrNews to poetry_critics [link] [comments]

Spookiness of Magia Record: Yukika's Fear Factory

Previous: The Humanity of Kanagi (Vampire)
Fear is a concept that we're all accustomed to. As humans, we move toward things that move us toward feelings of pleasure and away from those that inflict pain or misery. Some things are ingrained into us, for example, snakes and spiders tend to arouse an automatic response related to anxiety, while it's common for us to avoid extremely high places or paths full of sharp objects.
As was the case of Little Albert, the baby used in the (questionably moral) experiment that demonstrated conditioning an individual to fear something (in this case, fuzzy objects, something that stuck with Albert as he got older), fears can be "taught", either through personal experiences or second-hand. Interestingly enough, the concept of fear and hesitance develops early in our lives, as demonstrated in such experiments as this that observes infants who, at the start of learning to crawl, will not slow their pace when traveling over glass platforms, but begin to slow as they become more experienced with moving around, something that can be explained as a result of "trial and error", as infants fall and tumble.
Easy enough, right? Us avoiding things that certainly will harm us can be justified without much thought required...but what about individuals who chase risk, these so called "daredevils" that would appear almost suicidal from most of our perspectives?
Yukika happens to be one of my favorite characters in Magia Record, both in design and also her character background. As is the case with most characters in this series, Yukika has motivation behind her (reckless) behavior, which makes reading into her more interesting. With that all being said:

Yukika in Wonderland

I'll say it again, but Yukika's aesthetic is really fantastic to me, in that, as some of you might recognize already, it is based off of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. What is amazing is the fact that this isn't a random choice in design, rather, it's based on the reckless/brave choices of the main character, Alice. From the start of the story, Alice spots the famous rabbit and immediately decides to chase it, even going as far as falling through a rabbit hole. This situation would coin the term "falling down the rabbit hole", which describes one moving (usually willfully) into a situation that is difficult, but very tempting.
Another famous scene involves Alice finding a suspicious potion with the label "Drink me" attached to it, to which she responds:
“Well, I'll eat it. If it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!”
Most of us here would, hopefully, not be so open with drinking some random bottle that we found in a random spot, especially with the innocent but foreboding message to "drink it". Alice, however, chose to take a gamble and chug the thing as if it were lemonade. Coincidentally enough, Yukika's nature and effect of her wish bares semblance to that of Alice's adventures, where it is revealed in her respective event that Yukika tends to teleport or be drawn to difficult situations that can only be solved with her own wit (gambit).
Looking at Yukika's appearance, she is modeled off a popular interpretation of casino-workers, which includes fancy suits and, err...bunny ears. Sometimes. This, of course, fits Yukika's theme as a gambler and her inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, but her artist is just really into bunny-girls and takes a lot of pride in Yukika, hence him being so active on his Twitter. Most of the content is SFW, but tread carefully, as he has drawn Yukika more perversely.
Bunny's are a symbol of luck, being popular for their feet, in particular, but are also rather impulsive animals. In addition to this, they are also rather fearful little critters who show fear of heights, closed in spaces, my niece, and even cuddling, despite our desire to want to hug the furry little things. It's common for animals, especially of the small variety, to show fear, however, rabbits are most known to panic and can even die of literal heart attacks if placed under too much pressure.
Hanging from Yukika's neck is her heart-shaped soulgem, which is chained to her choker. The heart is, of course, is pretty vital to us, so Yukika having it out and dangling by a chain is meant to demonstrate how her life is constantly hanging over danger...literally, considering that a magical girl's soulgem is what keeps them up and moving. To demonstrate this, Yukika wields a basic rapier, which, in of itself, isn't remarkable. But here's the thing: rapiers are not at all intended to be brought to real fights. They're just not suited for real combat when you consider the fact they're smaller than other blades/melee weapons and not at all good against an onslaught of opponents. In older times, rapiers would be used for duels, much like how cowboys would famously duel with handcannons, where the first person to land a hit would often be the winner, while the other loser gets a free ticket to the afterlife.
Put into perspective, Yukika would be really outmatched in a straight sword-fight against, say, Momoko, as a major advantage she'd have, speed, is rather moot, as Momoko is strong enough as a magical girl to swing her giant sword around without much trouble. Yukika does, however, have precision, and if by some lucky chance she got a clear stab at Momoko's soulgem, that would be all she wrote. In other words, much like how Yukika's in-game abilities surrounding an emnity effect, are high-risk, high-reward, so is her combat ability.
So just why is Yukika like this?

An Addiction to Thrill

As you probably know already, there are real-life people out there who are similar to Yukika. Some people jump from planes, bridges, mountains, others wrestle with apex predators, and then there are those who are foolish enough to throw money at gacha games for a...a small chance to...err...
...before I get a bit too real here, there are plenty of real live daredevils with different motives. Some like money and fame, but that doesn't explain why non-famous individuals are willing to risk their lives, even when they payoff is not at all equivocal to the risk/danger.
Yukika has a very high-quality upbringing, where she receives a very good education and would easily be considered pampered. With such a lifestlye, one doesn't have to be too concerned with most stresses that afflict commonfolk, paying bills, providing resources for a family, otherwise climbing the ladder toward a better life, considering people like Yukika are already there. This sounds extremely comfortable on paper, and I'm pretty sure we won't see Touka complaining about inheriting a few of her dad's private jets when she gets older. To Yukika, however, a life without any risks is boring and unfulfilling, made even worse by the fact that she isn't even at the top of her own food chain.
So where does a girl like Yukika get her thrills? Apparently through legally and morally questionable game centers that would make EA reevaluate their sales tactics. Although we are designed to avoid potential harm, some activities, especially gambling, feel so damn good. This is something I think a lot of us here can relate to. Think about all the times you've rolled the "free gacha" in Magia Record or any other mobile game and compare it to rolling the premium gacha. Odds are: you probably find doing so a lot less exciting (outside specific examples) as it lacks "grand" rewards, but also a large degree of "risk" since we're using a less limited resource.
Rolling, in general, is meant to make us feel excited, and this goes from audio/visual cues that indicate a "grand prize" HIT to our favorite word: "limited". Same can be said for standard casinos, there are details everywhere that make us want to keep on rolling, and this is perfect for a girl like Yukika, as these sorts of thrills affect just about anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status/wealth. Granted, some of us can afford risk more than others, of course.
This can all be explained by adrenaline, the fight/flight juice that kicks in our bodies when experiencing high levels of stress. This reaction was originally supposed to help us run from dinosaurs by allowing our bodies to achieve superhuman-like levels of strength and endurance, but because we're all clear of most those dangers, adrenaline pops for circumstances that revolve less around getting eaten. Needless to say, this "high" feels rather pleasant, and gambling, in general, already toys with the reward centers in our brain.
There's a bit of a catch to this. As humans, we tend to be impressively resilient, and the more we're exposed to negative stimuli, the faster we build a tolerance to it. This applies to spicy/bitter foods, horror movies/scary things, violence/indecent imagery, and, of course gambling/danger. In terms of defense, this is awesome, but in terms of wanting to be stimulated and often, it's a bit of a killjoy. Also very dangerous for people like Yukika whose response would be to seek even greater danger.
There's a quite a bit more to this, and I only covered gambling, as that's the most recognizable example for us gacha players. If you're interested but want an easy-to-digest source, Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji and Kakegurui toy around with compulsive behavior. Admittedly, though, I'd suggest the latter after the former, despite Kakegurui having one of my favorite, modern anime characters who is also voiced by my favorite Japanese voice actress.
Otherwise, Poker Alice can tell us more about Yukika's behavior:

Poker Alice, The Doppel of Boredom

The Doppel of boredom. Its form is a daredevil. The master of this emotion feels a great and terrible boredom towards her peaceful life, spent sitting atop an easy chair. This Doppel imitates the form of an imaginary monster known as a “Dare-Devil,” and constantly covers its master’s eyes to prevent her from becoming aware of the danger in front of her. The Doppel currently boasts an undefeated record in battle, and is beginning to feel the same dangerous boredom as its master at the fact that no enemy powerful enough to overwhelm it has yet appeared. As a result, it’s been fighting more and more perilous battles by the day… but since her vision is obscured, its master still peacefully allows it to guard her back even as we speak.
As if Karin's doppel didn't have a surprising reference, Poker Alice is a direct reference to an old, western movie that followed the main character, Alice Moffat, played by the lovely Elizabeth Taylor. As you would expect from the trailer, Alice is a gambling gal who, like Yukika, desired to escape her life as comfort for one that was a bit more dangerous and exciting. The movie takes its name from "Poker" Alice Huckert, a real live Englishwoman who worked/managed a casino and brothel ring.
Alice was always fond of poker, but this hobby became more serious after her husband died from a mining accident. Since then, Alice would splurge all of her winnings on luxuries such as clothing. Along with being a famed poker player, Alice was known for seducing men/opponents to get an edge in-game, as well as carrying a gun at all times and being constantly drunk. But it is said that she did not play on Sundays, so as we could see, Alice was a woman with high moral values. Eventually, at the age of 60, Alice's life of craziness would catch up to her, as she would be arrested for prostitution and bootlegging.
Alice, the Doppel, is a strange being with hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades tattoo'd on its body. We know these as parts of the suit we see on playing cards, with hearts symbolizing love (romantic and/or sexual), clubs as desire (for knowledge), diamonds as a passion for obtaining wealth, and spades as a forewarning for danger, most particularly death--otherwise known as the 4 components of human nature.
Alice and Yukika sit atop a rocking chair, something that is normally comforting and practically free of danger, however, such a thing can become dangerous if one were to wildly swing on it. It's form is that of a monster which plays on the term "daredevil", or people who are aggressive risk-takers. Alice represents the idea that humans tend to gradually become more and more resistant to fear as they experience such stimuli.
As such: it is layered in nature, which we can describe by observing Yukika, Alice, and the chair they sit on:
Alice is a very mouthy Doppel, which reminded me of the Album Always Open Mouth by the band "Fear". However, this band is an extremely unlikely reference, given how underground the band is, so I'm about 99% sure that this is just pure coincidence.
After every battle, Alice becomes stronger, but this is more a curse than it is a blessing, for Alice desires a constant stream of challenge and risks. In response, this Doppel seeks out more dangerous foes, unknown to Yukika, who has lost her sense of danger. For all intents and purposes, Alice is very compatible with Yukika, a girl who is at her best (namely during gameplay) when she faces imminent danger.
As a final note, I know I stretched this to be part of my Halloween series, despite it not being very spooky, so, uhh...ooga booga!
Next is the conclusion to my Halloween series, featuring Holy Momoko. After that, I will continue my normal schedule with the Kazumi girls and then move on to Mikage, a character I've actually been working on on/off for a month now.
submitted by Genprey to magiarecord [link] [comments]

[VENDO] PS4 PRO 1TB con 1 año PS plus y más de 100 juegos

la play en sí
Vendo PS4 Pro jet black 1TB IMPECABLE, la entrego con cable HDMI, Cable de energía, Cable de red, joystick original color azul (comprado hace 6 meses) stand logo Playstation impreso en 3D y otro joystick más que está roto y queda para repuesto.
Va con mi cuenta que incluye 12 meses ya pagos de Playstation plus y una violenta lista de juegos la cual voy a detallar al final. Todos los juegos son digitales.
Estoy en Boedo CABA. Puedo hacer publicación de ML y en cuotas pero obviamente aumenta el precio por la comisión.
Precio Rediturro: $51.999.-
Lista de juegos:
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submitted by Das-Mortal to Mercadoreddit [link] [comments]

JoJo's Bizarre OC Tournament #5 - Round 2 Match 10 - Bert and Emilie "Dread" Delacroix vs John "Jack" Aurel

The results are in for Match 8.
Agnes and Arpeggi, in their shrunken states, continued to fight, surrounded by the rising flames of their lilliputian tower, fists flying and Stand blows being taken one after the other.
“You… Callous mother fucker!” Arpeggi cursed, Agnes feeling the singe of a heat blast both from behind and from launched wood. “We’re not aiming for a massacre!”
“You’re not,” Agnes spat out, then, pulling a tab on the table, a massive geyser erupting and launching his so-called ally away, “I don’t give a fuck about this place, and we’re in a Stand battle… And it’s all worthless, greedy scumbags watching! Let the fire spread! Let this place hit the ground so they see what someone with style can do!”
“You heard it here, folks! Agnes talked you all down… C’mon, where’s your passion! Don’t run out and away, c’mon! And here I thought you cared y’had money ridin’ on this…”
Conqueror Worm’s laughs reverberated as Glitch and William found themselves cooled by Ocean Eyes’ nectar, which found itself dissolving quickly but, for the moment, a functional barrier for the injured fighters, watching and listening to what happened.
“Th… They’re fighting each other up there…” William remarked, physically looking as though he was straining to force Ocean Eyes not to hurry up there and tear them a new one. “Glitch, we don’t have time to keep the flames at bay and call up another KST, and if I let Ocean Eyes up there it’ll eviscerate them, and-”
“What’s this? The kid is holdin’ back, afraid of his own Stand! Hey, kid, don’t hate this part of yourself! Ocean Eyes, it ain’t your enemy, that’s a part of you, what makes you special, so don’t be at odds with it! Embrace what it says, because it’s what YOU’RE sayin’!”
William was speechless, there, but his companion was less inactive in that time. Tiger “Glitch” Ricky simply hissed, then, her and her Stand hopping up out of the flames in an effort to brutally, mercilessly pounce upon the self-styled villain and the ally he had come to blows with. If they moved fast, they could bite through that shitty little twink’s neck right now!
Arpeggi grit his teeth, scrambling to find his footing as he witnessed the pouncing cat-stand, finding it hard to breathe among all the burning rubble, fading fast then.
Is… Is this how it ends..? Crushed and mangled as some lowlife’s burnt-up game piece..?
“And it looks like Glitch is about to take it! Shout-outs to Tigran, the only real one here, watchin’ through the fire and the flames!”
“Heh… This is just a bit of a sweat,” Tigran Sins answered, stifling a cough, “I’ll see all seven of these bastards run through games until they’re all-”
Arpeggi didn’t hear what was said next, only hearing his own defiant heartbeat. If he didn’t act fast, Agnes would die… Good riddance, right? But… Ugh, no, even scum like him, they don’t deserve…
He clutched at NEXT LEVEL until his fingers bled, and Glitch and William, both looking at him past their Stands waiting to attack, made curious sounds as yet more crumbled away.
And then, there was white. An overwhelming cascade of baking soda burst from NEXT LEVEL, smothering the flames rapidly as an obscured form zipped up the tower again, grabbing Agnes and hurrying away from the thrown-off Glitch.
“You… Why did you…” Agnes rubbed baking soda out of his eyes, coughing and looking at the form of Arpeggi in this new Stand. “Motherfucker…”
“I have responsibility over even a scumbag like you… You tailed me here, and I’m not gonna let you die and escape responsibility easy.” He turned, then, to William and Glitch, his new form revealed. “Now, actually help me, follow my lead, and I’ll kick your ass later. We need to survive this-”
All four of the fighters, then, felt themselves grow rapidly, their combined weight so close together crushing the table they were on, much as a nearby tabletop wargame that had been setup found itself buckling under the weight of Metra, Oh No, the Black Angel, and their motorcycle.
“Welp,” Worm said with a bemused laugh, holding up the slumped body of Tigran. “Your fire couldn’t hurt him, but smoke inhalation sure could! I guess that means…”
“The winner is FIRE, with a score of 65!”
Category Winner Point Totals Comments
Popularity Graveyard Shift 12-17
Quality Graveyard Shift 19-20 Reasoning
JoJolity BADD GUYS 24-18 Reasoning
Conduct Tie 10-10
With no more reason to fight, it got really awkward and everyone just sort of ran out of Heartache Casino. William Eyelash, recalling his stand and lost in thoughts, was the last to leave, joining the others in leaping single-file out a window into a nearby alley.
There, though everyone else seemed tensely uninvolved, the Black Angel’s motorcycle revved, and she stared down Worm as he safely stowed Tigran inside his Stand-body, leaning on his golden sword.
“There’s still something I need, Jones… I’ll run you down to get it if it means saving the city.”
Worm laughed, gesturing with his sword. “This thing? You’re huntin’ me down for this… Ah! I see! You’re tryin’ to do that.” Callously, he tossed it, so suddenly they fumbled with it in hand. “Here ya go, then! I don’t much want what Jack Aurel’s cookin’ up either!”
The Angel, worn and exhausted, stammered. “I… You just… But…”
“Lookin’ forward to killin’ me, huh? Get in line, kid… Or waste your time right now! See, nobody here is botherin’, they can all read that it’d be a waste when I’m in such good health! City’s countin’ on you, yeah, and you won’t get many opportunities for bein’ called a hero as an adult. Make it count!”
Then, before anyone could say more, he darted through a nearby wall, waving William and the rest off with a, “Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming and be sure it will lead us aright!”

“Asshole.” The Angel turned away, strapping the sword to their back and driving away. “Thank you, all of you. I’ll take this from here… Get yourselves help.”
There was silence as they drove into the sky, scarf billowing before them, and then Agnes started cackling. “You’re all fucking morons… If I didn’t burn that place down, we wouldn’t have gotten away, and some wannabe with no style would be going down as Los Fortuna’s worst villain! Fucking bow and grovel, Jack Aurel’s grave is gonna say ‘spat on by Agnes!’”
Nobody had the energy to dignify that with a response.
An anticlimax is leading into a super-climax, and meanwhile, an ant-loving little boy and an aid worker are racing through their dreamscapes, with a day left to vote there.
What is, as of the 1990s, ‘Capital Island,’ was the epicenter of Los Fortuna’s founding several hundred years ago, in the midst of a bloody Stand User conflict, many militias clashing for superiority, in the 1680s, starting with the death of the era’s own Andrew Tiffany, the missionary William Mandolin, and towards its end, knocking people into their senses through the awakening of exactly what he had tried to warn them of.
A grand T-Rex by the name of Megalomania had survived, dormant, underneath the land through the might of its Stand, coated in a goldlike substance, and awoken in a deep rage by the conflict of the locals. Megalomania was met in battle by a man out of place named Aaron Bruno, ‘Sir Aurel’ to most, and Memory Management, and when slain, crumbled where it stood into a pile of bones, feet firm in the ground.
Los Fortuna’s natural history museum was built around this monster’s remains, and Sir Aurel would turn its golden coat into a ceremonial weapon. The power these symbols were imbued with, even with their old purposes lost, were of great importance to the city’s stability.
Outside Los Fortuna’s Natural History Museum, Early Evening
In the blink of an eye, the attention of everyone within Los Fortuna had been turned to the natural history museum. That made sense, of course - considering the looming dark clouds containing the ghosts of the dead within them, the scuffles of the stand users outside of the building, and the vague knowledge that a ritual with the purpose of destroying fate itself was currently being performed within it, it would be out of the ordinary for people to not be paying it any attention. Even those who weren’t stand users that were up to date with the situation were drawn to it by the unusual level of activity surrounding it, from emergency services and VALKYRIE forces alike.
And then there was Bert. They were invested in the whole situation, of course - keeping up with the latest reality-breaking ancient rituals was the least that a wannabe god like them could do. Their status as an observer did raise a few eyebrows - they’d had to shake off both emergency service workers and VALKYRIE forces, who’d both taken the time to try and encourage Bert to leave the area for their own safety, clearly underestimating Bert’s own prowess.
Within the chaos, one could be excused for not failing to notice the drones Bert had been sending around to overhear and oversee it all. First, they paid attention to the chief of security at VALKYRIE, Ugo McBasie, who seemed to be getting interviewed by someone from the Fortuna Hermod, an ODIN-owned news publication (not their usual guy at scenes like this… Wonder what happened to him). Bert had heard that the man was a violent and irresponsible meathead who’d caused plenty of trouble in the past, but he seemed to be keeping a thin veil of professionalism for now. However, Bert couldn’t help but notice a young man in a blue aviator cap standing a few meters behind the reporter and staring daggers at him, perhaps keeping him in check somehow, occasionally piping in for comment about how it was all they could do to surround the place and wait for an opening if they didn’t want a meat grinder on their hands.
Meanwhile, Los Fortuna’s own city council chairman, Raymond Delwin Shimizu was discussing something of note with someone else, who seemed to have just finished an interview of his own. Bert didn’t recognize him, but the interviewer had called him “Chief Prosecutor Cavallo”, and she seemed as if she knew what she was talking about, so Bert opted to believe her. The interviewer, Jillian Something-or-other, had been running all over the scene, trying to get interviews alongside her oversized cameraman Bert recognized as having been that really huge cop who used to hang around Aurelio a lot of the time not successfully doing his job. Not worth Bert’s time.
Cavallo scratched his head in frustration. “Chairman, please tell me that you’ve made progress of some kind here...”
Ray shook his head. “Not much. That stand user that’s working alongside Jack Aurel, Akiko Mizushima, is making it impossible to get in - anyone we do send in is as good as gone. We haven’t even been able to get Admiral Pineapples out. Judging by your demeanor, I assume that the board hasn’t made much progress either.”
“No, doesn’t seem like it.” Cavallo let out a long sigh. “Every day, it’s just more and more work… Now we’re stuck having to deal with this. If nothing’s done, the board’s thinking it might very well cause a disaster unmatched by… Well, anything but the earthquake from thirty years ago. Something like this, bending the rules of the city, and breaking free from it… Los Fortuna’s probably not going to let that slide easily.” He shook his head. “Where the hell is the mayor through all this? Watching anime at home or something, probably.”
Ray remained silent for a bit, thinking to himself. “Well, we’ve got emergency services ready to act for now, and we’re working on evacuating any susceptible areas, but it only works so much.” Before Cavallo could respond, another reporter came up to Raymond, ready with a batch of questions for him. “Well, Cavallo, our work isn’t done yet, so let’s get to it. Saving as many people as possible here should be our utmost priority.” And with that, the two men parted ways for the time being.
Having listened enough, Bert began thinking to themselves. This was a tricky situation - they clearly couldn’t get in as is, but they certainly wanted to. Learning more about the situation at hand would improve their knowledge of the mechanisms holding Los Fortuna together, and gaining control over the ritual somehow would certainly be a feat befitting of a god such as them.
Bert stood in front of the museum entrance, taking another look at the chaos in front of them and continuing to think about the next step they’d take. So many different possibilities, so little time. They thought, and thought, and then one of their drones’ eyes glanced upon someone familiar - a blue haired, red eyed woman wearing a mask, trying to blend in and clearly resenting it, skulking around the perimeter of the area as though she, too, wished to enter.
Yet despite her efforts, Bert recognized her.
“Emilie ‘Dread’ Delacroix!” They declared it loudly, thoughtlessly so, approaching her with a hand raised. “Are you perhaps looking to find a crevasse through which to enter that place as well? It’s quite fortified, isn’t it?”
“Hm?” She wasn’t bothered by the way Bert drew attention to her, still wearing her same very extra outfit under the also quite extra hooded dark robe she was using to blend in. “Ah, pardon me dearly for having failed to notice you… You are Bert, from that incident where we fought on equal terms, yes?”
“I am that same Bert, Emilie ‘Dread’ Delacroix, yes. Though I doubt I could be much mistaken for others…”
“We are both quite conspicuous individuals, yes,” Dread said, taking the conversation into a nearby alley before VALKYRIE goons on the scene could prove it was her, “but no, I’m not terribly nonplussed about my abilities to infiltrate that place… Simply, I am attempting to assess the probability by which my approach itself, through the barricades erected, might occur. If your intentions happen to be helping me sneak through, then it is simply not necessary on any fronts… I have formulated a plan now.”
Dread, now appearing alone, walked through that alley curiously, looking around her and beginning to see her opportunity of approach - there appeared to be a side door there, at which a certain fish-themed hero was sitting outside, looking, Dread knew from their DMs, at funny images of her wife atop the T-Rex skull in the museum.
Yes, certainly, this would be-
“Whoa, hey, it’s you!”
Damnable. Had she been spotted, or..?
No, no, wait. The one speaking, a man also in this alleyway who smelled of cannabis, holding what looked like a GAP bag, was speaking to someone on the opposite side of it, disembarking from a sportbike and handing it to the rider, who was wearing a very ornate-looking golden sword which Dread had sworn she’d seen somewhere before.
“Thanks,” the Black Angel told this young man, accepting the bag and producing its contents - a Roman helmet and black bird-looking tokusatsu cosplay? “Green couldn’t make it himself, huh?”
“I made it,” the guy said, pointing proudly to himself, before blinking. “Oh, you mean like… Showing up. Yeah, no, there was a thing with a mammoth coming down from the mountains, he’s helping East deal with that. Feel like lighting up before you go in? It’ll take the edge off..!”
The rider removed their helmet, coincidentally perfectly timed for the strawberry-blonde with pale blue eyes to stare him down incredulously. “About a million people live on this island, Weedboy. Now is not the time…” The Angel ducked into the nearby building to change, finishing, “shit, yeah, it looks just like the Flying Men do… uh. you should get out of here now.”
“You kidding?” He asked. “I don’t wanna bow out right before it gets good! That’s, like, saying I think you can’t do it!”
Well, these two appeared distracted, so Dread would continue along her way, walking right past them and towards the blockade, towards where Jo was sitting casually, only to be interrupted by-
“Holy shit, it really is her! Stop right there, Dread!”
Oh boy, here we go. This had been happening more lately, since a somewhat frustrating individual went and opened his big mouth about her dangers on Bifrost. Turned out that the head of VALKYRIE was literally in the server, so now she had a bounty on her head after a modicum of investigation into her after that public statement, and her casual admittance thereof!
Two armored guards were pointing guns at her as she stood there, unfazed.
“Don’t come any closer!” One of them, an older woman, said, turning to her younger partner and quickly telling him, “if she approaches, open fire. She’ll eat you alive if not!”
“This again, are you being serious?” Dread was less than pleased. “I am evil, and a murderer, unrepentantly so, yes, but I do not eat people. This rumor is being so blown out of proportion that I find it quite tiresome.”
“F-fuck off and die!” The younger moved to fire his weapon, only to realize there was a knife through him, catching the gun by the trigger after running from his shoulderblade to his fingertip.
Dread didn’t need the help, but like a true friend, Kimijo Kaneko offered it anyway
“Wh-what the-” The older woman cursed as her partner was cut open and dropped. “Fucking useless moron! HEY, EVERYONE, KANEKO BROKE RANK AND DREAD IS HERE TO! NOW’S OUR CHANCE TO-”
The distraction, then, was all it took for Dread to take her first kill of the day. Of course it was fine. She read the news, she knew how these VALKYRIE people were literally at war with poor people.
“Sh-shit, those people just died! More VALKYRIE corpses, and Jo again..!” The stoner declared in the background, and the Black Angel, now dressed exactly like the birdmen many had seen before, paused in her efforts to run past the opening created by Jo breaking formation.
Nobody could hear it or see her lips move, but she apologized under her breath, clenching her fist, but the disguise had worked. 32 Footsteps, the primary guard which would warp away anyone who tried to enter, apparently had instructions to allow in anybody dressed like this, yet none of the intended recipients of this deliberate loophole made their way in.
“Dread, hello, friend!” Jo exclaimed in high spirits, sheathing her knife, but still speaking quietly as she hurried back into place, “good to see you!”
“Yes, it is most certainly fortuitous for us to encounter one another…” Dread agreed, walking and talking with her as the pair were watched in horror. “By any chance, may I come into this museum? I am absolutely curiously intrigued by what is going on within here…”
A VALKYRIE sniper was taking aim at Dread, then, as she entered, muttering under her breath, “got a shot lined up… I can take her out, and Jo a second later! Two bastards out of the way, at least, and-”
“Wait,” the youth in a blue aviator hat and goggles, speaking as VALKYRIE’s tactician, instructed, “hold your fire.”
“Sir, she just made one of our senior officers fall into rotten pieces! She’s chatting it up with this fish-bitch like it’s nothing!”
“I know, and I’m appalled too, but I think…” The Blue Kid paused, contemplatively. “No, I know it. Dread is here to defeat John Aurel, just like the Black Angel.”
Spinning and pivoting through the air, “Lou” Reed, dressed like a dark, sixth Flying Man, landed atop the skull of the t-rex, which had apparently been adorned in a cute little pirate hat. It made for a fine vantage point, then, to look all over the halls of the Natural History museum, noting one, two, three, four spots, grotesque and morbid statues Remix had apparently erected of ghostly abominations.
She was exhausted, injured from the three-way skirmish she, Metra, and Oh No had been forced to undergo and riding like hell to get here, but she had made it this far, and others had managed to get in too. She couldn’t choke now.
Seven minutes… I’ll just have to destroy those, and be back here in seven minutes. Easy enough… I don’t think I’ve been-
“Green, Orange, and Purple… I don’t believe a ‘Flying Man Black’ was ever mentioned, nor that any of the brothers were into swords.”
Shit. That voice, too… Lou turned around, then, seeing someone standing behind her, a man with long dark hair, brandishing a hammer and looking up at her.
John “Jack” Aurel.
“Even if you are what you appear to be and not in disguise, you should realize that you aren’t welcome here. There’s nothing to be done in this museum worth dying for, and no way to accomplish any more foolish goal if I were to raise attention now. Care to waste some of the time you have left and explain?”
Of course this would happen. Lou removed her faux-beak, helmet, and goggles, staring down at him as her hair billowed in the ceiling fans’ wind. “Jack… I’ve come here to put a stop to this.”
“You’re that kid who’s always running around, huh?” Jack frowned, twirling his hammer. “I hear what you talk about through the grapevine… About how we’re all victims of fate, forced against each other by Gravity. That Stand Users are always going to be molded by this… You understand it too. You understand that people like us prey upon the weak, that it’s in our natures and our place in the world. I want to remove myself from that… Remove these people from that, and atone for what I’ve done.”
“By killing even more people! There’s no way they’ll get everyone away from your blast radius, and you haven’t even given them the chance to!” Lou protested. “It doesn’t have to be this way… Don’t say this is how it has to be! We can save this place, free everyone from gravity, without barreling towards its destruction! I don’t want to kill you, Jack. I want you to stop this crazy, self-indulgent crap and help me do something real!”
“You think everyone deserves this? That Stand Users will simply reform without this? The cycle has started, and it will push to the end even if the wave guiding it fades away completely… Bastards, the lot of us, and I don’t intend to run from what I’ve done. I’ll give you one chance to run away, kid… the worst I can call you is naive.”
Lou drew the golden blade, seeing Jack wince as he clearly recognized its significance, all as her Stand appeared behind her. “We both know I can’t do that, even if I can barely keep my balance up here. And hey, maybe I will die here… Maybe I am fated not to see this through. But then, someone is gonna finish this for me! Your security is already compromised!”
“Fascinating… And you are utterly convinced that, should it work, those he’s slain to commence this ritual to begin with will return outside the city?”
“Remix is full of himself,” Jo said, nodding quietly, “but he and Jack, they researched a lot… Akiko and I, for helping this finish, we can finally go home! Be done with the bad city…”
“She has made this place remarkably impregnable,” Dread agreed, thinking aloud, “anyone who waltzes in waltzes into her backrooms…”
“Unless they have a ‘pass!’” A voice from within Dread’s cloak spoke, and as Jo raised her knife at it in defense, the pure-white, terribly contorted form of Bert tumbled onto the ground, stretching and reshaping into their typical humanlike shape.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry, they are fine, with me!” Dread assured Jo, frankly thankful to have that weight literally off her back. Bert was very light, but even then it was hard to walk carrying someone, let alone not give it away. “We have… Some history, and so I thought I might as well indulge Bert’s request to see this place as well. I apologize for not mentioning earlier, but it was quite dire getting in here past guards attacking us.”
Jo didn’t seem to mind, continuing to lead the pair around, even passing Akiko who was casually, distractedly reading some manga while in a bit of a pirate mood.
They also passed by another scene, slightly more concerning, of an injured old man in a Hawaiian Shirt, close by the frontmost entrance of the place and clutching himself as his fleet of four Stand-starships remaining fired at Remix, who guarded against it with ghost-objects while a Flying Man Red tried to find an opening to strike.
“You’ve been at this for hours, old man, die already! You have no place in the world I mean to birth from your bloodied, pulped remains!”
Pineapples stood, then, leaning against the wall, trying not to show weakness.
“I think that guy is going to lose, at this rate… It’s a shame, too,” Bert, the loudmouth again, remarked. “He might have been a worthwhile pawn in wrestling control away from this operation.”
Dread, Jo, Remix, and Red all gave Bert simultaneous incredulous looks, all in completely unique ways.
Jo drew her knife again, about to transform, only to dodge out of the way of the injured ‘Lou’ Reed, blacked out, helmetless, being knocked away and into the floor, the shock of which made her rise quickly, feeling around. “Where’s the- Shit!” As she sat up, then, feeling around for the saber no longer in her possession, she noticed that she was smack in the middle of something else here.
Hurriedly, she rolled away, standing herself up and looking to the injured Admiral. “You… You’re one of those MFAs, right? How did you-?”
Weakly, he gestured to Remix. “He brought me here in a damned urn! I’ve been fending them off to buy others in the museum time to escape… Everyone in this hall here and Jack, those are the only ones left in the building, minus masses and masses of ghosts. They’re harmless, though… Don’t worry about them attacking unless that guy takes them.”
“I see…” Lou, then, smiled sadly, clutching her bloodied suit. She looked to Bert and Dread, then, moving to get between them and Jack’s incredulous accomplices. “You said you wanted to take him out, right? I overheard…”
“Well, Bert has let yet another cat out of the bag,” Dread admitted, “indeed, I came here with the intent of dethroning Jack Aurel before he had a chance to complete his little ritual. Few others would even be able to get in here.”
“So that’s my role, then…” Lou smiled, then, sighing, ducking out of the way of the Flying Man sending a kick her way, a gauntlet-clad arm emerging from her body, grabbing his ankle hard, and swinging him into the Jo who was shocked to hear Dread say that. “I can’t do anything about Jack… Too fucked up from that ED match…” She grinned, then, mouth bleeding as she stared Remix down. “But this old man and I can at least keep these assholes from interfering!”
Dread, then, watched passively as the five erupted into battle, she and Bert curious about what was to come as, from each hand, the Stand which emerged seemed to fire odd projectiles at their foes. “The ‘I’ll hold them off…’ You’re styling yourself as some sort of exceptional hero, aren’t you?” She seemed amused by that, the irony of their cooperation. “I’m evil, you know… And Bert, at least, is morally ambiguous. But if you’ve settled on putting the city in our hands, have you any advice?”
Over the sounds of laser fire, Lou quickly found time to answer, “yeah, there’s… I brought this golden ‘saber’ with me, and it must’ve fallen somewhere by the T-Rex… In, in a bit over six minutes from now, this ritual of theirs is gonna go through and rip this island open. Before that… They have these ‘failsafe’ statue things, and…” She took a breath, retracting and wincing from a blow her Stand had taken. “Look, I don’t have time to explain it, but you need to smash those up first! They’re there, made up of spirits fused together, to keep these guys safe from the consequences of their own actions… To ensure their safety, and at the same time act as a ‘failsafe’ for the ritual. Gives you the ‘power’ over it, too, in the way that right now Jack himself does… That’s important to stopping it. So you need to smash them first, and then, right as the time passes for the ritual, when the skull of the T-Rex in the center starts to split open and glow and its mouth starts gushing water… Embed the sword into the opening in its forehead, right as it starts to shape. That’s the only way to prevent this at this stage!”
“The forehead particularly, hmm?” Bert asked, pacing curiously and avoiding a cross split attack from Red, who barreled into Lou and was barely blocked. “Why there, per se? Why nowhere else on the thing?”
“Ngh..!” Lou grunted, saved from a follow-up by Pineapples. “I dunno, that’s just where you have to do it!”
“Black Angel… That’s what you’re called, yes?” Dread smiled, turning away. “You will be thanked for this victory… Try to live long enough to witness it firsthand, won’t you?”
“I’d… I’d love to,” Lou answered, smiling sadly, “for five years now, when I first learned there was anything worth a damn in this world, I’ve wanted to protect that… The dark pit of despair that was the first thirteen years of my life, and even so much since, I’d love nothing more than a world where no person is fated beyond impossible odds to suffer that.” She grew serious, then, raising her voice. “Go, now! Leave this to us!”
Bert and Dread approached the T-Rex, impressed at the amazing height and Akiko’s snazzy pirate duds upon the thing, the lab-grown being whistling with impression. “A T-Rex lived ‘til three-hundred years ago… Preserved whole, in this city. It’s astonishing, isn’t it, Emilie ‘Dread’ Delacroix?”
“A curious anomaly,” Dread agreed, examining it from afar, even noticing that alleged sword in the distance. “I wonder why it survived that long, so far after its brethren…”
“It’s because it was a ‘Stand User.’”
Jack approached from the same room in which Dread spotted glints of the golden saber, announcing his presence with that. “That was its ‘fate…’ A savage, cunning animal, ripped from where it belonged. to be a problem to solve and squabble over, to found this city on its literal bones.”
“John ‘Jack’ Aurel… You’d best stand down.” Bert, helpfully, started. “You cannot beat us… Even if we only had seconds to overcome you, I would be too much for you to handle!”
“No, he’s going to fight, I know it.” Dread, meanwhile, prepared Joywave, staring him down with a pointed, grinning lethality. “I suppose introductions are not necessary, with how Bert here loves to say my full name… I am not one to make things curt or brief, John, but consider yourself toppled, usurped, bloodied and dead.”
“The lab accident with a God complex and by far the worst, most grisly of Jo’s friends…” With no real amusement, no happiness in his eyes, Jack chuckled, looking them over. “Of course, right at the end, my final test isn’t some hero… It’s exactly the worst kind of Stand User! The apex predators that I’ve preyed upon, that stand in the way of saving everyone who’s died to reach this point! Of course it would be someone like me to gain entry, wouldn’t it?”
“You speak with such confidence you’ll raise the dead…” Bert was curious. “Even if it costs more lives, such a thing is… That is the realm of gods, John ‘Jack’ Aurel.”
“Not today it’s not,” Jack answered, twirling his hammer in his hand. “Both of you… You’ve been driven here, standing in my way, as agents of ‘fate’ itself. Isn’t that the reason you were ‘lucky’ enough to pass through our defenses… Because you were meant to stand here, and you were meant to watch as every horrible, cruel thing you’ve done amounts to nothing in the face of these circumstances.”
He looks the two intruders over with sympathy for a moment, before steeling himself and clenching his weapon, Stand appearing behind him just as stone-faced. “You may be the puppet of something beyond your control, but you must understand that I can’t let you ruin the plan I’ve bet my life on. I bear you no anger as people, but your role here is something I can’t ignore. I’ll waste our time no longer in arguing ethics, let there be no apologies or restraint until this is settled.”
The other conspirators had been instructed not to intervene if it came to this point, even if it risked the collapse of everything they had worked for. Not if it threatened lives. An enemy to make it this far was deserving of being dealt with reasonably. As the critical moment drew near, Jack readied all the fury that months of waiting had stored within him, and accepted that this may very well be his final true fight.
“Five minutes on the dot now, until ‘that time…’ If what the Black Angel said is true.” Dread looked to Bert. “What do you say we demonstrate incontrovertibly to John exactly how confused he truly is?”
(Image credit to CaptainSpooky27!)
Location: A part of the Los Fortuna’s Natural History Museum. The area here is 75 by 75 meters with each tile being 5 by 5 meters. The ceilings here are 8 meters tall. The yellow tiles are the hallways and the green and purple tiles form the different rooms.
The white tiles have ritual shrines built on those areas. There are 7 shrines total and will be explained in further detail in the additional information.
The players start at the south of the map and Jack starts at the top of the map as represented by their tokens. The walls are represented by thicker borders and the dotted lines are the doorways.
At the top of the map, in the pink tile and yellow symbols, is the Golden Sword. It is currently pinned under 2 meters of rubble.
Each wing of the museum houses an exhibit, in the center is the main attraction a large T-Rex in display as denoted by the large grey circle.
The other exhibits are denoted by the letter on them:
  • G: The geologic exhibit, displaying and teaching about different rock formations and types
  • O: The two Oceanic exhibits, displaying the marine life and seabed of Los Fortuna.
  • C: The climatography exhibit, displaying the different temperature maps and features across Los Fortuna.
  • A: The Agricultural exhibit, displaying the various fruits and crops grown around Los Fortuna.
  • T: The two Taxidermy exhibits, displaying a wide range of animals in roped off and glass displays.
  • E:The Entomology exhibit, displaying photos and models of various bugs.
Goal: For the players, desecrate all the shrines and, when time runs out, have at least one of you, living and conscious, at the T-Rex with the golden sword in hand! For Jack, make sure the players don’t stop your ritual before it goes off!
The match will last exactly five minutes, unless of course players are dead before then. It doesn’t end just because players reach the goal.
Additional Information:
The shrines are 2 meter tall marked wood and metal structures, each having an strange carve effigy sitting in the center of them. In order to properly desecrate a shrine the players can do one of a few things, destroy the shrine outright, deface all the carvings made into the shrine, or destroy the effigy hidden within the shrine.
After destroying or defacing a shrine, the ghosts of the dead will begin harassing the players - three ghosts will move towards the player responsible for destroying the shrine (even in a situation where the stands are responsible: the ghosts will target Bert if a Perfect Hair minion destroys a shrine, and same for if anything affected by Joywave does so). These aren't strong, having flat 222 physicals and being partially see-through, but will increase in numbers as more and more shrines are destroyed. Strong enough hits can phase them out of existence, but they'll respawn ten seconds after at the spot that they previously were. They will go directly towards the players and can phase through any walls or objects that may be in their paths (but not out of any attacks), grabbing onto the players and trying to gang up on them once they're close enough to do so, dealing minor damage.
Team Combatant JoJolity
Red Carpet Rennaisance Emilie "Dread" Delacroix "Wow! It's a hand drawn original color illustration!" You’re a cultured woman, and this museum might very well end up being wiped off of the face of the earth quite soon, so you need to make the most of it while you still can! Make sure to visit and appreciate the various exhibits on display here! (Character Specific)
Suburban Regalia Bert "What a terrible person. If I wrote about someone like you, none of my readers would like it." So this man is playing at god, trying to control life, death, and fate themselves? What foolishness! Clearly, only you can do such things, and you do them best! Over the course of the strategy, prove your superiority to this “Jack Aurel“ and take him down a notch! (Character Specific)
??? Jack Aurel "Where the hell did you go?! Come out, you fucker!" It's now or never. This is the culmination of all of your plans, and failing is absolutely not an option here. During the fight, hold nothing back, and make sure to thoroughly defeat your opponents so that no one and nothing will ever stand in your way again!
(Jack sheet plain text version)
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
submitted by boredCommentator to StardustCrusaders [link] [comments]

Last Minute Sideshop TI10 Battle Pass Dota 2 Guide

Hello Dota 2 community and everyone that bought the Dota 2 The International 10 Battle Pass,

here is my last minute TI10 Battle Pass Sideshop Guide before the TI10 battle pass ends for everyone that still hasn´t spend their sideshop gold or forgot that sideshop exists, because while it´s still there, Valve decided to hide it.

1. How to access the sideshop
2. Guide: How to play the TI10 Battle Pass sideshop
3. Closing thoughts and enjoy Arcana

Sideshop TI10 Battle Pass Dota 2 images:

1. How to access the sideshop
Before you can access the sideshop, you have to go to “Steam“ -> “Dota 2“ -> “Properties” -> “General” -> “Set launch options” -> type in “-console” and thus start Dota 2 with -console in launch options.
Once that is finished, you have to go to the left top corner in Dota 2 and open the settings. Then go to “Hotkeys“ -> “Advanced Hotkeys“ (on the bottom in the middle) -> “Interface“ (right top side) and set a console command for your keyboard.
Finally open the console with your hotkey and type in: dota_show_sideshop
If the console automatically opens when you start Dota 2 you can skip the steps mentioned before.

2. Guide: How to play the TI10 Battle Pass sideshop
The goal is to get 35 blue gems. You can get something between 10-15 blue gems from 3000 sideshop gold.
Now about sideshop, if I had let´s say something between 9000-12000 sideshop gold again I would ALL in on the purple tier 4 Heroes (Necrophos, Dragon Knight, TA, Kunkka, Doom).
You want to have 3 star purple or golden ones. I am making this post, because golden heroes (Techies, Lich, Void, Gyro, Medusa) are extremely difficult to get. I have wasted way too much sideshop gold aiming for that 3 star golden hero that gives me 3 blue gems instead of going for 3 star purple heroes that only give me 1 blue gem, but you see purple heroes way more.
If you go to your TI10 collection you can recycle each Immortal Treasure 1+Immortal Treasure 2+(maybe also Immortal Treasure 3? I haven´t tested it) duplicate for 100 sideshop gold . If you spend 50-100€ on the battle pass and played some games every week in the last months you will end up with a few thousand sideshop gold that way.
If you think about money: One 35 blue gem Arcana, if you are lucky, is a TB/Legion Commander Arcana that costs 30€ on the steam market. So basically if you play your sideshop very smartly you will get an Arcana for free with let´s say 9000-12000 sideshop gold. That means you can spend 100€ for the Battle Pass and get a 30€ item back in return plus everything else that you get for the time you invested into the Battle pass.
Spend your sideshop gold on tier 1 heroes (AM, Axe, Bloodseeker, Drow, Razor) for red gems and three 2 stars tier 4 heroes that will eventually create a valuable purple 3-star hero that gives you 1 blue gem.
The same Tier 2/Tier 3 combined to a 3-star hero give you way more red gems than the tier 1 heroes, but they show up way to randomly. Golden Tier 5 heroes show up very rarely, it´s not worth it you would need 20000-30000 sideshop gold to eventually get a 3-star golden hero that you can use for 3 blue gems (or be very lucky).
Also one thing I noticed, which is very discouraging is that let´s say you have two 2 stars TA and two 2 stars Kunkka and only need one more two star TA/Kunkka to combine them to one 3 star. Whenever you collect one, the sideshop gives you the other one. In the next rounds the other hero will pop up twice or three times and you are like “damn, if only I didn´t collect this one, but the other one”. It happened so often that I don´t think it is coincidence, but the design of sideshop makes you want to feel bad LOL.
Anyway if you get the Arcana you save yourself 30€. Yes you can not sell the item immediately, but in a few months/or a year you can sell it. The restriction on selling dota 2 items is constantly evolving so I don´t know if its 3 months, 6 months or a year right now. Regardless if you get the Arcana you are paying 70€ instead of 100€ for the many months of battle pass experience and basically get a free Arcana if you play your sideshop right.
Note: If you have Dota Plus you will get shards for every Quirt´s / Sithils Reward you claim.
Is it too much that you need to play sideshop very smartly and about 9000 sideshop gold for 35 blue gems? Definetly, but it is what it is.

When Battle Pass was released many people questioned whether it´s worth it to buy it, but if I could do the whole TI10 Battle Pass again you can get 500-700 levels by spending only 100€ easily if you have great time management (aghanims labyrinth refreshes every few days, complete 3 star guild quests daily, do your cavern quests, do the achievements, wagering, rylai spin luck to get battle pass levels, tips, bounties).
You might still say 100€ that´s a lot of money for a battle pass, but it has been a good experience for months throughout a very difficult covid-19 time and let´s say you would do a different hobby, man football shoes cost 100€ and that´s just the shoes without even having trunks or a sport shirt.

3. Closing thoughts and enjoy Arcana
I would not recommend Valve to add Sideshop to 2021 Battle Pass. It is gambling like the slot machines in casinos and addictive.
For the same reason I dislike all neutral items in dota 2. While some are individually OP like Spider Legs, Apex etc. they just drop in the neutral camps at certain times, but you don´t know which one you will get. Same thing happens in sideshop. You know you get tier 1 heroes constantly, but which one? Tier 2-3 sometimes, but also which one? Tier 4 rarely and tier 5 very rarely. You do hundreds, thousands of re-rolls hoping for the hero you need to get your 3 star hero finished and blue gems. But it´s so random and addictive. Dota is for 12+ years old and gambling in casinos is 18+. Same for neutral items in unranked/ranked.
Just a reminder, there was a time in dota 2 without random neutral drops and gambling sideshop in battle pass…
submitted by Amoment to DotA2 [link] [comments]

F2P or not, Loot boxes are still gambling

Drinks at casinos are usually free if you gamble just like having no entrance fee. Same can be said for F2P. You can play for free as long as you gamble. Casinos are open about everything the same way Respawn is trying to be open about this game.
$18 for a gun skin? Really? Why is ApexLegends getting a pass on this. EA is a terrible publisher for their past aggressive/predatory use of micro transactions but Respawn came out ahead and said this is what they wanted not EA.
submitted by NoticesSomething to apexlegends [link] [comments]

The Diamond Casino & Resort: Los Santos - Grand Opening Megathread

GTA Online's brand new Diamond Casino & Resort will be available July 23rd.

News & Information Directly from Rockstar

- GTA Online: The Diamond Casino & Resort (Trailer)

- The Diamond Casino & Resort Grand Opening - July 23rd (Newswire)

[Casino Trailer]
Experience Excellence. The Diamond Casino & Resort opens for your enjoyment in the heart of Los Santos this Tuesday, July 23rd.

Opening Soon

[Casino Image]
The massive construction project on the corner of Vinewood Park Drive and Mirror Park Boulevard is nearing completion, radically changing the skyline of Los Santos forever. When the brand-new Diamond Casino & Resort opens its doors, one and all are welcome inside to play, or just to stay in the most luxurious residence in the entire state. More than just a place to let go of your inhibitions and your sense of the passage of time, The Diamond is the one-stop destination for quality entertainment, high-end living and a range of experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

The Casino

[Roulette Table Image]
If you're looking to dive into the action, the casino floor has a selection of activities to enjoy. Play against the house using Chips in Three Card Poker, Blackjack and Roulette. Slot Machines with a variety of prizes are also at your fingertips, while Inside Track offers a lounge to watch and cheer along with friends as the drama of virtual horse racing unfolds. Spin the Lucky Wheel in the lobby for chips, cash, and clothing or even the new Truffade Thrax supercar that can be found whirling on the podium during opening week. And be sure to check back each week to see what new high-end vehicle can be won. Check Rockstar Support for details and limitations.
Guests looking to push the limits of high-end resort fashion can also choose from the carefully curated rotation of new clothing and accessories in the Casino Store.

The Penthouse

[Penthouse Image]
Sitting atop The Diamond is an oasis of luxury for those shopping for a lavish pied-à-terre or just a feature-laden property in which to entertain friends. The Master Penthouse that sits beside the Roof Terrace with infinity pool and stunning views entitles the owner to VIP Membership status including access to VIP Lounges, High-Limit tables, plus a range of special services via the Penthouse phone including aircraft and limousine services and more. Renovate your residence with several upgradeable floorplans including a private Spa with a round-the-clock personal stylist, a Bar and Party area perfect for hosting raging Member Parties and featuring private retro arcade games, and a Media Room to enjoy games of Don’t Cross the Line and contemporary Vinewood cinema like Meltdown and The Loneliest Robot In Great Britain. As an owner, you can select the Penthouse’s color palette and patterns, and cement a place among the LS nouveau riche with a range of modern art from the Casino Store – from refined portraiture to pop art and daring modern sculpture – that can all be moved and placed around your property.
With a Master Penthouse you’ll also become a member of The Diamond family, and the family business needs your attention. Help property owner Tao Cheng and The Diamond staff protect their investment from the clutches of a corrupt family of Texan petrochemical magnates in a series of all new co-operative missions. Each mission pays out special Awards for first-time completion and hosting the entire story thread will reward you with a highly coveted, brand-new vehicle free of charge. You can also pickup additional work and odd jobs to earn extra cash and chips with a quick phone call to the Diamond’s head of operations, Agatha Baker.

Twitch Prime

[Another Penthouse(?) Image]
As part of the Rockstar Games Social Club x Twitch Prime Benefits program, all GTA Online players who link their Social Club account with Twitch Prime and claim their Twitch Prime benefits by the end of day on July 19th will be able to purchase the Master Penthouse for free in the Diamond Casino & Resort, as well as receive GTA$1.25M and up to 15% extra GTA$ on purchases of Shark Cash Cards.
Visit Twitch Prime and sign up to receive these perks and more coming soon, and visit the Social Club Events page to keep up with all special events, bonuses, and more in GTA Online.

Stay Tuned

[New Supercar Image, presumably the Truffade Thrax]
Visit to see more details on what The Diamond has to offer, including Penthouse comforts, membership perks, and so much more.
We're also extending last week's bonuses through July 24th, so make the most of your time on the Stunt track – or contract as a Bodyguard/Associate on lucrative Business Battles, VIP Work, Sell Missions and more – and we'll see you at the grand opening.

Check out this website. Seriously. It's a real website and it will give you a fantastic "in-character" look at what the update will bring. This website is better designed and more attractive than some real businesses' websites, believe me.


[Imgur Mirror]
Experience Excellence

A Luxury Casino & Resort In The Heart Of Vinewood

You've heard the rumors. You want to believe them, and there's only one way to find out. Abandon your preconceptions. Let go of your inhibitions, your doubts, your sense of proportion, your credit rating. The rumors didn't begin to do it justice. Welcome to The Diamond. Grand Opening July 23.


[Imgur Mirror]

Casino and Resort Membership

The Diamond is everyone’s playground. Invest in a Standard Membership today and you’ll be a lifelong partner in our project to meaningfully raise the standard of living for the one percent.

VIP Membership

At The Diamond, there are members, and there are members. And if you want to be the latter, you’re only a penthouse key away from enjoying the kind of status that only systemic elitism can provide.
Experience Preeminence

Parking Garage

This is not merely a garage. It’s not merely a maximum security, subterranean storage unit. Think of it as an air-conditioned, custom-built, expertly curated museum, where our clients can admire each other’s collections in peace and comfort.
Experience Accidents


Step out of our front door, right into your front seat: our valets are available 24/7, and are trained to never to look in the trunk, never to open the glove compartment, and never to ask questions.
Experience Incontinence

Champagne Service

Our client code of conduct states that if any member is seen ordering a bottle of our finest champagne, spraying half of it over the most exclusive clientele in the state, and downing the rest straight from the bottle, our security teams are obliged to loudly applaud.
Experience Turbulence

Aircraft Concierge

Going up? Let our concierge service take care of all your pre-flight checks, so you can step right into the cockpit with the engine ready for takeoff.
Experience Maintenance

Cleaning Service

We recruit our housekeepers from the most respected crime scene cleanup teams in the state. There is no bodily fluid or potentially infectious material they can’t remove in the time it takes you to find an alibi.
Experience Convenience

Limousine Service

Leaving The Diamond can be a traumatic experience, but we know how to cushion the blow. Our resident guests can order a Diamond Limousine to take them almost anywhere in the state, free of charge.
Experience Irrelevance

Members Party

Why go to the party, when the party can come to you? If you’re one of our resident members, you only need to click your fingers and we’ll provide the drinks, the music, and the dozens of close personal friends.
Experience Flatulence

VIP Lounge

Available exclusively to our resident members, this is the inner sanctum of indulgence, the apex of affluence, the pinnacle of privilege, the high point of high society.
Experience Arrogance

High Limit Tables

Welcome to the grown-up table: resident guests are entitled to play in our high-limit suites.

The Penthouses

[Imgur Mirror]
Experience Residence

The Penthouses

A penthouse at The Diamond is not just a palace. It’s your palace. If you want a private spa, you can have it. Home cinema? Consider it done. Your own personal bar, private arcade cabinets, and office space? Just say the word: Diamond.
Experience Prominence

Master Bedroom

Silk sheets, fresh air bottled on the summit of Mount Chiliad, and round the clock access to the greatest roof terrace in Los Santos.
Experience Adolescence

Spare Bedroom

We all have that one friend. With a spare bedroom, they’ll have somewhere to crash that isn’t your bidet, and with access to their personal wardrobe they won’t have to keep borrowing your clothes.
Experience Fragrance

Spa Room

Your private spa comes with a round-the-clock personal stylist and a hot tub infused with extract of jojoba and a dissociative anesthetic.
Experience Interpretive Dance

Bar & Party Area

Why go to a night club, when a night club can come to you? The most exclusive venue in town is the one where you’re in charge of the guest list.
Experience Incompetence

Arcade Games

Time to dig out the high-waisted jeans and the fluorescent headband: Diamond Casinos have the exclusive rights to classic arcade games Invade and Persuade II and Street Crime: Gang Wars Edition.
Experience Correspondence


Sometimes you need to take care of your affairs, but there’s no reason you should have to leave the lap of luxury to do it. All of our offices come with a gun locker and a hidden safe as standard.

The Casino

[Imgur Mirror]
Experience Affluence

The Casino

Here, your dreams are reality, and your reality is a dream. Here, every whim can be satisfied, every fantasy fulfilled – no impulse control, no windows, no clocks, and no clearly labelled exits. Welcome to the Diamond standard.
Experience Eminence

Table Games

Don't be fooled. Roulette, blackjack, poker - at The Diamond, these aren't games. Every card dealt, every spin of the wheel, every polished quip, every gasp of the crowd, every delusion of grandeur: this is art.
Experience Overconfidence

Slot Machines

Here at The Diamond, we understand the fine art of the slot machine. We recognize the split-second reflexes, the years of research and training, the rock-solid intuition and the towering IQ that make a true master. That’s right. We’ve been waiting for you.
Experience Subservience

Inside Track

Horse racing is the sport of kings, and Inside Track is the only way to experience it – the drama, the majesty, the excitement, the perfectly simulated aroma of freshly cut turf and hot manure - all without leaving the comfort of a bespoke, air-conditioned suite.
Experience Tumescence

Lucky Wheel

Some people say that fortune favors the brave. Here at The Diamond, we’d rather say that destiny favors those with a full membership. Spin the wheel once a day, and you’re guaranteed a massive dose of self-importance every time.

Casino Store

[Imgur Mirror]
Experience Incontinence

Casino Store

Exclusive fashion. Unique designer artwork. There are some things in life that money can’t buy. But don’t fret. Our in-house store offers a rotating selection of tastefully curated items that can be purchased with Chips.



  • The newly renovated casino is located at the racetrack in east Vinewood Hills, by the highway. It is owned by Tao Cheng.
  • Brucie is making a return as a character in this update
  • In the casino you can play a number of games, including:
    • Three Card Poker
    • Blackjack
    • Roulette
    • Slot Machines
    • Retro Arcade Games (?)
  • There is a wheel you can spin once per day in order to earn prizes like RP, GTA$, discounts, clothing, and even high-end vehicles.
  • There is a horse-racing and betting component, although it is unclear if it is only simulated and interacted with via the "Inside Track" room of the casino, or if the horse racing actually takes place in the game world, instanced or not.
  • The casino has a penthouse/residential component to it. Owners of the Master Penthouse can upgrade their residence with a private spa, a bar and party area, and a media room. Residents will also be able to spend chips on art and collectibles at the Casino Store which can be used to decorate the penthouse.
  • As a penthouse resident, you will get access to the business aspect of the casino, requiring you to work with Cheng to prevent a rich Texan family from taking over the casino. In addition to this storyline, you can do side jobs for the casino to earn GTA$ and chips.
  • The casino has a store that accepts chips as payment. You can use the chips to buy collectibles and decorations for your penthouse as well as clothing and accessories.

If you think I should add something to the summary, please let me know in the comments.

Also, if there is any other detailed information I can include elsewhere, I'd love to hear it. Particularly in analyzing the videos and screenshots and identifying new cars, etc.

submitted by OcelotWolf to gtaonline [link] [comments]

RT Rundown June 6, 2020 - June 12, 2020

Last Week
This post lists everything Rooster Teeth has released from June 6, 2020 to June 12, 2020. The organization of this post follows the order of the links on the sidebar on the website. First exclusive content is surrounded in asterisks ( *EXAMPLE*) while content that is currently exclusive but will be available publicly later is followed by an asterisks and the date in which it will be free (EXAMPLE*Free June 20th.) This does not include content that will lose exclusivity on the day this post is made (June 13th.)
RT PODCAST #600 - Gavin is the Voice of Reason?
*RT PODCAST POST SHOW #600 - Seizure Warning*
ALWAYS OPEN #140 - Falling Asleep During 69
*STILL OPEN #140 - Inside, I Was Erect*
ALWAYS OPEN - Just the BOIs - Black Lives Matter
CHUMP #15 - WHO Was Almost Hit by a Train… TWICE?
*CHUMP CHANGE #15 - What Were the Odds*
BLACK BOX DOWN - Two Lightbulbs Cause Two Crashes
RT INBOX - Fish Race 2020
RT LIFE - Creating the ULTIMATE Chicken Nugget!
HARD MODE - Secret Palpatine w/ Achievement Hunter
RTTV SPECIALS - Changes - Community & Coffee
RT STREAMS - No Pain, No Gain -- with Blaine!
RT STREAMS - Gus & Chris Play With Airplanes - Sim Airport in the Red
RT STREAMS - Die Is Cast Ep. 05 - Dancing Blades and Zombie Hallways
RT STREAMS - Screen Time: Goldeneye
RT STREAMS - Dungeons & Animal Crossing
RT STREAMS - We Were Here Together
HARDCORE MINI GOLF - Don’t Talk To Me About Friendship* Free June 17th
F**KFACE - Set Sail For Ass//Billy Ripken F**kfaced Himself
FACE JAM - TGI Fridays Loaded Cheese Fry Burger
AHWU #529 - We Need a Haircut
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES - We Livestream A Catastrophic Failure
AH ANIMATED - Could You Fight 20 Cows With Your Bare Hands?
PLAY PALS - There’s Too Many Endings! - Please, Don’t Touch Anything!
LET’S ROLL - Are We Illegal Space Spies? - Spyfall - (Tabletop Simulator)
ROULETSPLAY - SOLO and a Guy: A Star Wars Story - Battlefront II
ACHIEVEMENT HUNTER - Creating a Comic Book with Greg Miller - Keeping the Lights On
AH STREAMS - How You Can Support Creative POC - F-ing Around With Ify & Fiona
AH STREAMS - Portal 2
AH STREAMS - Astroneer
AH STREAMS - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Woolie and Shofu
AH STREAMS - Jackbag on PC! - GTA V
AH STREAMS - We Take to the Skies! - Gmod TTT
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submitted by NotMarilee to roosterteeth [link] [comments]

Ex Neverwinter Dev Tweets about Loot Boxes.

I worked on Neverwinter, the free-to-play MMO that came out several years ago. Many F2P game systems are lifted directly from the gambling industry, so let me give you an idea of what supporting that means for video games, gamers, and developers.
Loot boxes in games are a familiar topic for a lot of people, but they often discuss the wrong angle. Most gamers comment on how annoying they are, but few people address how harmful they are.
First, to deconstruct what a loot box is for those who don't do F2P games: It's a package you open that has a % chance you'll receive one of a number of cosmetic or gameplay-altering rewards when you open it. You pay for the privilege to open the loot box.
This pay-for-potential-rewards structure is lifted directly from casino gambling — slot machines in particular. In fact, most of the win rates and feedback systems for loot boxes are lifted directly from slot machine design. Here are some aspects that are similar:
Sounds and visuals designed to heighten excitement and anticipation
Low initial investment
High accessibility
Intentionally stingy rewards
Highly broadcast high-end rewards
Let's break these down.
Pay-to-play means you're locked out of content until you drop some money, and that does some weird psychological things I'm not qualified to talk about. Regardless, it sets a barrier to entry, but it's designed to be low enough (penny slots, anyone?) that anyone can play.
Sounds and visuals play a huge part in making loot boxes. They have a specific cadence built into them which increases tension over a short time, and then they flash pretty lights and play exciting sounds. Slot machines perfected it, and now video games crank it to 11.
Low initial investment is incredibly important for gambling because it tricks your brain into thinking you're not spending much money, even if you end up spending dozens or hundreds in the end. This ties in well with the intentionally stingy reward cycle, which I'll get to.
Accessibility in slot machines is walking up and popping a penny in, but accessibility in loot boxes is even more insidious; you spend some time playing the game, you get a free taste, and then you have to pay to play once you get that initial adrenaline rush.
Intentionally stingy rewards keep people coming back, and spending more money over time by constantly teasing the possibility of a greater reward. You see this with slots, and you see it with the possibility of winning a sweet new skin, only to end up with ugly poop.
Highly broadcast high-end rewards are things like the bright flashing lights, loud bells, and other aspects of winning you see from slots. You get the same thing for free in video games because people want to show off their shiny loot, and they even make videos about it.
So. What all these reward systems do is give you a trickle of excitement with the occasional punctuation of winning a little bit, and that system is incredibly addictive for many people. Let me give a couple of examples.
You hear about people with gambling addictions blowing thousands of dollars at a casino. These people get addicted to the risk/reward cycle of gambling; it literally makes happy juices squirt into their brain. The EXACT same happens with loot boxes, and there are metrics.
Those metrics aren't just "this person is spending X." No. When I was on Neverwinter, I heard a conversation about one of our highest spenders who was a single mother of 3-4 kids in Kentucky. The people making the game knew who this individual was and how much she spent monthly
That may not sound super terrible, until you hear that this single mother was spending over a thousand dollars a month on in-game items, people knew her salary range, and could literally stick a pin in a map with her physical address.
It's important for people running these games to have metrics and info like this so they can tailor the experience to you. This is where video game loot boxes are actually more insidious than casino gambling; they don't just take your money, they tailor your personal experience.
Companies who produce games with loot boxes tailor your experience so that the amount they make off you is maximized. For most people this is pennies per month, but for some people they're literally tailoring the game to take advantage of your gambling addiction.
The killer thing is that, without whales — without the people with gambling addictions — these systems fail. If you've ever done any reading on how airline ticket pricing works, it's a similar business model. A small number of high spenders keep the whole thing afloat.
So, to get back to the Unity link: Supporting the gambling industry is lucrative, but also INCREDIBLY unethical. You're supporting a system designed to literally, not figuratively, LITERALLY prey on the addictions of a relatively small number of people.
All those talks at GDC a few years ago about monetization? Preying on addictions. Loot boxes in Overwatch, Apex Legends, Fortnite? Preying on addictions. Monetization and marketing experts? Preying-on-addictions experts.
Interestingly, this is the same system Valve uses to exploit artists who make skins and items for TF2 and DOTA2. A few "lucky" people get their items selected (by a black box selection process) which strings others along to keep creating free content for them.
They pay for none of the labor involved in making skins for DOTA characters, but reap 70% of all profits, which equates to millions of dollars per year. Good times.
Anyway, this is why I'll never work on another F2P game again, and this is why seeing Unity openly talking about how they're supporting the gambling industry makes me never want to touch Unity's tools again.
submitted by arcticfox4 to Neverwinter [link] [comments]

The Big Yoink: A Smol Detective Story, Chapter 13

Standard Disclaimer: I do not take credit for the setting, this story is set in the They Are Smol universe, written by our very own u/tinyprancinghorse.
TPH has a Website, a Patreon, and also a Discord if you need more smol shenanigans.
The first Smol Detective story can be read starting Here.
There will be some spoilers/references of the first SD story in this one, so consider yourself duly warned.
First Chapter
Previous Chapter
Next Chapter
In the previous chapter:
Bgrarh gets some Contraband.
Oscar has a Nice Suit.
Two words: Conga Line.
In this chapter:
Resh'skk does some Acting.
Sssnnathor serves up some Snacks.
The Silken Feather does a Clever Girl.
The shuttle was due to depart in [six hours], which should give Bgrarh-of-Arhraz plenty of time. He checked for the hundredth time that his lab door was securely locked, then pulled out the unassigned terminal he'd managed to snag for this. The latter was just in case anyone tried to check the logs on his own 'official' machine. What he was doing was not strictly forbidden by the Inquisition, but it would be considered impolite and cause for censure.
If he got caught, Bgrarh figured he could spin a story of finding the media 'somewhere' and examining it merely to see if he could determine its origin. They wouldn't believe him, but they'd probably let his possession slide...especially if he let the hypothetical Inquisitor watch over his shoulder.
He took a steadying breath and popped in the first chip, then selected "Doctor No". Within a few scenes he'd gotten the gist of this [James Bond] character in spite of the poor quality and terrible dubbing. The Dorarizin had a similar fictional character, namely one Inquisitor Hrnarah. She traveled the galaxy with a blaster at her hip, ready to mete out justice and bed any comely males she came across.
But Hrnarah was also, well, a she. This [Sean Connery] person was as adorable as any [human], but he was also quite clearly male. And even though [Connery] walked with the standard wobbly, about-to-fall-over gait of a [human], there was a relentlessness to the way he moved that drew the eye.
The movie ended, and Bgrarh chose another at random. This had a different actor playing Bond, one who was less imposing but more debonair. The movie followed much the same formula as the first, which was something that [Bond] also had in common with Inquisitor Hrnarah.
As the movie played on, Bgrarh began to pick up on why [Oscar] suggested [Bond]. Whenever the man entered a room, whether it be a casino, a denpile, or a prison cell, [Bond] acted as if he owned that room.
Bgrarh stood and began walking about, picturing himself as a well-dressed secret agent who'd entered a dance competition as cover for some covert assignment...which honestly wasn't that far from the truth. As he did so, his nervousness about the upcoming performance began to fade and he knew he'd found the right personality to emulate.
Of course, there were certain things that Bgrarh was not going to emulate. He wasn't an expert on [human] mating customs, but he was pretty sure it wasn't proper to kiss [human] women without their consent.
Bgrarh chuckled. If he tried kissing the Captain without permission she'd bite his head off. Although now that he thought about it, the idea of kissing her with permission was very appealing. She was quite a handsome woman, after all. Yes, she was the pack leader and thus couldn't play favorites...but she was also a Dorarizin with needs.
Besides, Bgrarh knew his time of 'season' was approaching. Maybe this what the [humans] called a golden opportunity?
In one corner of the hangar deck, two long and sinewy bodies coiled about each other. Each of them held a long needle-like sword in one hand, with the other clamped to their opponent's weapon-arm. There was much pained grunting as each strained to be the first to stab. Finally one of them managed to wrest her sword-arm free with a triumphant shout.
With that line Hrathra'sstah lunged forward as her prop sword did its job and buried its holographic blade deep into Resh'skk's chest. The ex-soldier clutched at the sword-hilt sticking out of his chest (which kept it from falling off), then groaned and toppled backward. His own weapon fell to the deck with a clatter.
"" he gasped in mock agony. ""
With a wordless scream, Hrathra leaped onto him and pushed with both her hands at the pommel of the fake sword hilt, acting as if she was driving the nonexistent blade deeper into his chest. At that cue Resh'skk bit down on the capsule hidden in his cheek, then let a little emerald-hued stage blood trickle out of the corner of his mouth.
He gave another groan of pain. "" he said in a stage whisper. Then Resh'skk slumped flat on the deck, staring off sightlessly into space.
After a beat, there was the sound of two small pairs of hands slapping together. It was a gesture of appreciation that Jornissians performed as well, and the sound made Resh'skk feel better about this whole nonsense.
"[Bravo!]" called [Maria].
"[Yeah, that was awesome!]" added [Oscar].
Resh'skk stopped playing dead and picked his hood up off of the deck. ""
"" said Hrathra'sstah. She still lay sprawled on top of him in a position that he would have enjoyed in other circumstances.
Hrathra'sstah pressed a finger to his lips. ""
"[And the villain always has to give a big monologue when they die!]" said [Maria]. "[It's a tradition even in [human] drama.]"
"" Resh'skk made as if to get up, but Hrathra didn't budge from her perch on top of him. He felt her tail-tip coil about his own. Ordinarily, Jornissians were a little less fussy about touching tails; it was just a consequence of their body type. But this was a more familiar gesture, one that close friends engaged in.
He glanced over and saw the two humans bumbling off. [Maria] had her hand on [Oscar's] arm as she steered him away from the Jornissians. His [human] friend had clearly picked up on the opportunity and was giving him the private space.
Resh'skk turned his head back to look up into Hrathra's red, gleaming eyes. His old fears returned. How could someone so smart and capable find anything of value in a broken down ex-thug like himself? But he had to try. He'd faced down pirates trying to carve out his intestines, he could face down this.
She raised one corner of her hood. "" But she did pick herself up off of him. Resh'skk rose, coiling his lower half below him in the Jornissian version of parade rest. He clasped his hands before him, while Hrathra'sstah folded her arms.
"" she asked.
Her arms dropped to her sides as she stared at him in shock. ""
Resh'ssk nodded. ""
Her next words struck him to the heart, an icy feeling far crueler than any stab.
Not a trace of his inner pain showed on his face as his clasped hands clenched ever so slightly tighter. ""
Hrathra cut him off with waving hands. "" She slithered back and forth in front of him as her gesticulating grew ever more dramatic. ""
Now it was his turn to interrupt her with a gentle finger to her lips. ""
There was one long moment of mutual staring, then she lunged for him again in an attack that he accepted with literal open arms.
What with their long and muscled bodies, Jornissians are the gold-medal winners of the four Senate species when it comes to dealing out hugs. With these two Jornissians doing their very best to embrace each other, and on top of that doing their very best to kiss each other into oblivion, the resulting tangle was something that would make even Escher throw up his hands.
In the middle of Resh'ssk's bliss, he heard again the sound of a human applauding. He peered to the side and saw [Maria's] grinning face. The [human] stood just out of easy tail-slap range.
After a little bit of complicated tongue-de-tangling, Hrathra'sstah turned her head as well to regard her protege. "<[Maria]?>"
"[Yeah, boss?]"
"[You got it, boss.]" [Maria] gave a wink to Resh'skk before strolling away. At any other time he would have found the little alien's cockiness infuriating, but right now he was too happy to be angry. He clasped Hrathra anew to himself and kissed her snout.
"" he asked.
Hrathra'sstah rubbed her hood against his neck. "" She grinned up at him. ""
The sunlight fell like a velvet hammer onto Oscar as he stepped down from the shuttle. He felt sweat begin to pop out on his forehead, and wondered if his furred crewmates would suffer even more. He supposed that the heat made sense, given that a Jornissian owned this planet.
In front of the shuttle was a wedge-shaped formation of Dorarizin wearing full armor. Oscar had seen the pictures during the one time any Dorarizin set foot on Earth. Princess Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul's honor guard had been almost as armored-up as these guys. But where their armor had been brightly colored and ornate, this armor was sleek and functional.
The armor's visual effect was to turn the already-impressive figure of your average Dorarizin into what looked like a walking tank. The sleek, ovoid, and featureless chrome helmets of the retinue tilted down as one while they regarded Oscar. After a moment, the lead Dorarizin's helmet hinged up to reveal a white-furred face with deep purple eyes. He looked at Oscar for a few seconds, then over at the sphere of Junior which hovered next to the human's shoulder.
Oscar heard the noise behind him as the rest of the crew disembarked from the shuttle. He smiled as he tried his best to keep his heartrate down. Myyreh was at his back, but asking her to take out a werewolf in power armor would be too much even for her.
"Howdy, folks!" Oscar pointed at the lead Dorarizin's armored chest. "Um, are you expecting trouble?"
The lead Dorarizin smiled in response, showing a lot more teeth. "[Not at all. I know it looks like [overkill], but we have certain security protocols that have to be followed for all visitors. I'm Nerlharg-of-Aergh.]"
Oscar settled for a bow in lieu of shaking hands. "Oliver Ward, pleased to meetcha."
"[Likewise.]" Nerlharg looked up at the others. "[I bid you all welcome. Please, follow me. His Excellency was very insistent that he meet your group right away.]"
Oscar slung his bag over his shoulder. The concrete of the landing pad let to a loose gravel pathway lined with tall greenery which was nothing like trees. There was a clear lack of bark, plus the leaves had an odd earth-brown tinge to them. The plants did provide a good amount of shade, however, which gave Oscar some relief from the heat. Further inspection revealed a few tall rod-like structures scattered here and there among the growth; these rods emitted a fine mist of water which drifted over the pathway and provided further cooling.
Nerlharg noticed Oscar's inspection. "[His Excellency's species is better built to withstand heat, but he provides for his subjects.]"
"He sure does," replied Oscar. "I already get enough grief from my non-human comrades about my water usage, so I don't want to be sweating more than I need to."
Nerlharg gave his species' bone-buzzsaw version of a chuckle, but didn't otherwise comment.
The procession crested a rise, and Oscar saw a few buildings ahead. The architecture gave the impression of a high-tech Aztec city, with multiple stepped pyramids situated along either side of the central promenade. A profusion of more greenery overhung each 'step' on the buildings. Oscar wondered if this was proper Jornissian architecture or if Sssnnathor just had a thing for pyramids.
The prominade led forward to the largest pyramid by far, a huge building that rivaled that of any Egyptian tomb. A sloping ramp led up to an entrance that one could sling a starship through. The scale was such that even the giants around him looked small as they passed underneath that over-sized arch.
Oscar wondered about the point of such overkill. Was it to show off Ssssnnathor's wealth and power? The entire planet was proof of that. Perhaps it was more of a subtle warning to any who entered, a way to say 'however big you think you are, you're in the house of someone far more important'.
Whatever the reason for the grand entryway, the pyramid's interior space was even more grand. The walls were clad in white marble with gold trim; they followed the slope of the exterior, with a spiral ramp leading up towards the apex far above. More green vines hung from the edges of the ramp, giving the whole space the air of a slightly less tacky Las Vegas casino. Three large snake-like figures waited in the center of the space in front of a long table piled high with various dishes.
The middle Jornissian could only be Sssnnathor. Oscar half expected him to be clad in some sort of outrageous Ming-The-Merciless getup, but instead he wore a sober-looking 'suit' the hue of sun-bleached bone. The white color contrasted well with his black-and-blue scale pattern.
Sssnnathor's face was split in a wide smile, and he had his arms outstretched in welcome. The guards on either side, however, looked much less friendly, what with their armor. A normal Jornissian 'exo-suit' made them look like a long dakimakura-style pillow. But these guys were all hard edges and armor plating, fitting well with the look of the crew's Dorarizin escort.
Each Jornissian bodyguard cradled a massive rifle casually in one hand; Oscar figured he just might be able to pick one of them up if he used both hands and all his strength.
Sssnnathor's purr-hiss boomed over them all. "[Welcome! You are a pleasant surprise.]" He slithered forward, his silver eyes fixed on Oscar. The tyrant glanced over at Junior as he approached, and stopped at a respectful distance as he lowered himself to look the human in the eye.
"[I apologize for staring, but this is my first time seeing one of your kind,]" said Sssnnathor.
"No problem, Mr. Snape. I'm Oliver Ward." There was no way in hell Oscar was going to get anywhere near the strangled hiss-purr of Sssnnathor's true name. He hoped that the translator matrix was doing its job.
After another moment of fascinated staring, Sssnnathor nodded and rose higher. He gestured towards the table behind him. "[Please, eat and be welcome.]"
After the (fake-name) introductions and hand-shaking, Captain Rgrarshok found herself munching on a bit of grilled glrnada while inside she wondered if this had been the right course of action. Her unease wasn't helped by the fact that Sssnnathor was parked at her right elbow with a calculating smile.
"[It's always nice to have new entertainment, Captain Rgratz,]" said the tyrant. "[But I can't help but wonder why you chose to bless us with your presence. With two [humans] in your company you would have the pick of engagements, yet you come to an out-of-Senate-space backwater like this.]"
Rgrarshok swallowed her mouthful as she prepped the cover story they'd cooked up. "{This is hardly a backwater, but it's true we could name our price. If I'm honest, Excellency, we're not exactly welcome in Senate space at the moment. And it has to do with the [humans].}"
Sssnnathor tilted his hood in curiosity. "[Oh, really?]" He turned to regard the two [humans], who naturally tended to stick together and now conversed in low tones while getting covertly studied by every other person in the pyramid. "[You didn't kidnap them, I hope?]"
Rgrarshok laughed. "{Far from it. Their placement on our crew was done through legal channels...except for the fact that we submitted two applications, under two different names. My XO cooked up the scheme, and I agreed. We thought it would give us a better chance of success.}"
Sssnnathor hissed a laugh of his own. "[I suppose it makes sense from a mathematical viewpoint. After all, the odds of getting a [human] are astronomical enough as it is. Let me guess...both applications were awarded?]"
The Captain gave a weary nod and a sigh. "{The first one was a moment of utter joy for us. [Oliver] was a wonderful addition to our crew, we were so happy...and then we got word of [Masie] coming to join us. I can't tell you how much dancing we had to do so that the auditors never caught the scent that we already had another [human] on board. But we managed it, somehow. Only then to realize we were faced with quite a conundrum.}"
"[Namely, if you performed in Senate space the odds were good that the placement program auditors would find out about your [double-dipping]. Hmm, well I suppose your embarrassment of riches is also our good fortune. Otherwise it might have been centuries before my poor little planet was able to host a [human].]"
Rgrarshok performed a slight bow. "{With your kind permission, we plan to perform many times on your planet. Of course, we'll also provide you with a free private performance if desired.}"
Sssnnathor tapped a finger against his chin. "[Hmm, I don't think a private performance is necessary. I do have a gala planned in three [days] time, one where I will show off my latest acquisition. Would you do me the honor of performing there?]"
"{We'd be happy to.}"
Ngralh-of-Arzgar strolled through the sunlit bazaar. He had his paws clasped behind his back in a casual manner, but his eyes never stopped moving. Ngralh was enough of a student of history to know of the primitive conditions his species had once lived under, that era far back in the mists of time when they'd been bound to one planet.
His surroundings were not that primitive, but this was about as 'squalid' as one could get in a star-spanning civlization. The booths around him were formed of cheap and flimsy plastic, tinted with a hodgepodge of colors that stated louder than words that they'd been formed from castoff pieces. The wares emphasized hand-made tools and clothing, things that were just a little nicer than what one could get while on the dole.
The air was filled with the scent of grilling meat, something else that one couldn't get while on basic income. While the smell made his mouth water a little, he was going to have to give the food-sellers a pass. Dorarizin had pretty hardy metabolisms, but there was no need to risk food poisoning.
Due to the meeting with Sssnnathor, their investigation was now two-fold. First was the hunt for the 'Silken Feather', as they'd planned. But second was an attempt to find out exactly what the tyrant's 'latest acquisition' really was. Had the thief gone ahead and sold the Claw to him?
Either way, his job was to work towards the former goal. To that end, he was looking for someone to press ever-so-gently for information.
"[A pretty scarf for your lady friend, good sir?]" The chirping voice came from a hunched-over Karnakian who presided over a rainbow-colored waterfall of fabric. Ngralh gave her a cordial nod as he stopped strolling to look over her selection. Hmmm, that purple number might look good on Egwreh.
"{How much for this one?}" In the haggling that followed he allowed the seller to get a better deal than usual, figuring that this would put her in a better frame of mind for questioning.
"[Would there be anything else, sir?]" asked the Karnakian after he'd bought two.
"{Is this the only market around? I have some colleagues who might be interested in larger items.}"
"[This is the largest market in the capital, sir.]" She leaned forward as her crest rose. "[You're with the entertainers who just arrived, yes? The ones with the [humans]?]"
"{That's right. I'm surprised word's spread this fast.}"
"[There's always interest when [humans] are involved, good sir.]"
"{I understand. Do you get many off-world visitors? We're trying to determine how much new audience turnover we can expect.}"
"[A few every [month] or so. This planet is very welcoming to all, no matter their past.]"
Ngralh gave an embarrassed click. "{How, er, segregated is it around here? I only ask because some multi-species colonies can be rough; the locals can take it the wrong way if one goes walking through another species' section of town.}"
The seller waved one casual wing-arm. "[Oh, there's no such problems around here but I would be careful, since do have some minor criminals wandering about. The various races tend to cluster together to take advantage of any species-specific infrastructure such as plumbing requirements.]"
He smiled at her and gave a bob of his head to simulate a Karnakian farewell. "[Thanks, you've been very kind.]"
Thanks to a few more generous purchases and pointed questions, Ngralh found the Karnakian portion of town. If the "Silken Feather" was in civilization, chances are it was somewhere around here. It would be far easier for her to keep track of incoming and outgoing ships, plus she'd have a handy population of raptors to get lost in.
For sure she'd be wearing a disguise. Instead of scanning each individual Karnakian that passed, Ngralh set his implant to ping him if it detected anyone matching the body proportions of their quarry.
He spent another hour walking among the Karnakians, trying to look like nothing more than a ship-bound crew member anxious to stretch his legs. His scans of the crowd turned up empty, and after a while he started to wish somebody would try to mug him. At least it would break up the monotony.
Ngralh turned down a narrow and deserted alley with walls formed of the same cheap plastic sheeting used for the market booths. He'd made it halfway down when two feathered forms suddenly blocked the far end. He stopped and glanced over his shoulder...sure enough, two more blocked the way he'd came.
The front and rear pairs of Karnakians began to close in with slow menace towards him.
"[Four against one, furball,]" said one of them. "[Not good odds. Now why don't you just hand over everything in your pockets and we'll call it good, eh?]"
Ngralh shifted his weight so that he was balanced on his toes, then extended his claws. While he might not be death-on-foot like Myyreh, he was still an experienced peace officer. That fact evened the odds more than they realized. Once he'd given these guys a good thrashing, he could lean on them for some more detailed information. His ears swiveled back as he tracked the sounds of the two behind him. They'd probably rush him first, and so he kept his back invitingly open...
A strangled chirp-roar sounded from behind him. He spun himself sideways, careful to keep the front two in his peripheral vision. Both of the Karnakians behind him sprawled twitching on the ground, each wreathed in blue electric sparks. As he took in the sight there was a blur of motion behind to the other two...
They didn't even manage a sound before they too were down and out of any possible fight. Ngralh turned carefully back to face his would-be rescuer, a green-feathered Karnakian with a yellow band around her neck.
The Silken Feather.
She stood just out of easy leaping range. The thief had never laid eyes on Ngralh during her call to the Furious Call of Inquiry, so he figured he'd play ignorant and try to lure her closer. "{You have my thanks, friend. I don't have any money on me, but if you'll follow me back to my ship I'm sure my Captain would be happy to reward you.}"
The thief snorted. "[No games, friend. You know who I am and I know who you are. A mixed-race crew who also happen to have [humans] on board, showing up in a conveniently quick manner after I placed that call? The odds of that are astronomical. I guess you tracked me after all.]"
Ngralh took in a deep, irritated breath and then relaxed. "{All right.}" He glanced again at the sprawled, shuddering bodies around him. "{You still have my thanks.}"
"[Oh, it's my pleasure I assure you. I can't allow any of our brave Senate investigators to get hurt in the line of duty, now can I?]"
The XO chuckled. "{I wasn't in that much danger. So. How easy do you want to make this? I can tell you right now the Captain is not going to allow any sale.]"
"[I would reply that it's not up to her, is it? I think the Matriarchs' opinions would carry greater weight in this case. In any case, just know that I know that you're here and that I'm watching you. I'll be in contact soon to set up the sale. Do you still have that Galnet node of mine?]"
"{Of course. It's evidence.}"
She grinned wide. "[Of course. You police must always play by the rules, eh? I'm rather surprised you don't try to tackle me right here and now.]"
Ngralh tapped the side of his nose. "{It wouldn't do any good. I smell nothing but these four bozos, which tells me I'm talking to a hard-light hologram.}"
The Silken Feather bowed her head. "[Excellent, it's always a pleasure to deal with competent adversaries. I bid you a good day, sir.]"
The green-and-yellow Karnakian vanished, leaving a small metal sphere hovering in the alleyway. The drone fizzed while its internals fried, then fell to the ground with a small thud.
Ngralh blew out a breath that any onlooker would have taken as one of frustration. But then he smiled and touched his ear. "{Egwreh, Myyreh, you're up.}"
The Silken Feather maneuvered down a neighboring alley, looking behind her constantly. It had been a risk to expose herself, but the chance to show these silly police that she was on top of things was too delicious to pass up. The following negotiations would have to be done with great delicacy; she had to conceal the fact that she no longer had the Claw, while keeping in reserve her knowledge of Sssnnathor's covert activities. The latter should act as insurance in the case that she wasn't able to retrieve the Claw.
And she would retrieve that which she'd rightfully stolen. Sssnnathor was not omnipotent, and her audacity would act as a shield. The aged fool would never imagine that she'd be bold enough to try breaking into his main palace. As her mind whirled, she peered around the corner and scanned her surroundings on instinct. She saw nothing, and so she continued on her way.
The Silken Feather trotted along while plotting and was still feeling quite pleased with herself when Myrreh-of-Relgreh's fist came out of thin air and connected solidly with her jaw.
The Silken Feather came to and almost on reflex reached out mentally with her implant to trigger the protective mode of her clothing. All she received was the lurch of an unsuccessful connection, which then made her realize she wasn't wearing her own clothes anymore. All she had was a simple shift made of plain fabric to protect her modesty. Locked tight around her feathered body was a cage of hard-light which allowed her to breathe comfortably...and that was about it for any movement she could perform.
As the Silken Feather blinked and shook her snout, a warbling voice intruded into her aching head.
"[Ah, you're finally awake! Sorry about taking liberties with your person, but you had way too many little goodies hidden in your clothes. We couldn't let you keep them.]"
The voice came from a small figure standing in front of her. Behind that alien was a much bigger form that she recognized as Captain Rgrarshok. The huge Dorarizin stood with folded arms and a steady, unblinking expression that was somehow more fearsome than a snarl.
The Silken Feather focused all four eyes on the small alien in front of her. It was the first time she'd laid eyes on a [human], and for a moment she stared in wonder. As all the reports said, the little-needs-protecting had a soul filled with starlight, almost like a hatchling's but much more complex.
Then her discipline reasserted itself as she took quick stock of her surroundings. She was pinned in the middle of what looked like a hangar deck of some sort. That meant she was in space and surrounded by enemies. Not to mention tied up and completely unarmed. It was a bad situation, but she'd been in worse. The most important thing for now was to appear as if she'd given up.
The Silken Feather smiled ruefully. "|I congratulate you on your plan. It was masterfully done.|"
The [human] shrugged. "[We got lucky. We didn't know if you'd realize that we were the Senate team, but we had [Ngralh] followed just in case you followed him. You didn't just follow, you actually made contact. [Ngralh] sends his regards, by the way, and thanks you again for your help.]"
The thief slumped in her bonds. "|It was my pleasure.|" She stared up at the Captain. "|Shall we make a deal, or are you just going to skip right to the torturing?|"
Rgrarshok grinned. "[Your interrogation will begin now. Go ahead, [Oscar].]"
The computer-generated cage around The Silken Feather shifted, moving her arms apart and exposing more of her keeled chest. She felt a moment of panic as the [human] wobbled towards her. Was he going to pull out a knife and start cutting on her?
The Silken Feather's shift didn't quite cover the front fluff of her chest, and as he reached her [Oscar] pushed aside some of the fabric to expose more feathers. The somewhat intimate act shocked her. She'd heard that [humans] would mate with just about anything, but surely he wouldn't resort to...that against her will?
Without a word, [Oscar] smashed himself face-first into her fluff like a nestling seeking warmth. The sensation created an automatic maternal response in The Silken Feather, causing her feathers to expand out.
"[Where's the Claw?]" asked Rgrarshok.
The thief tried to focus, but it was hard with a soft and warm little sapient doing his best to make a bed out of her chest fluff. "|Eh? Oh, that old thing? Who knows? Maybe I know, maybe I don't. You'll have to...oh...make it worth my while|"
"[Ah, you're expecting to make a deal with us?]"
The Silken Feather tried to focus, but [Oscar] was still squirming around against her chest. Her bound arms twitched...she wanted to hold the little alien in the worst way...
"|Wouldn't you, in my situation?|" she responded. "|After all, the [Claw's] location is the only bargaining chip I have right now. You must be mad if you think I'll give that up without at least an offer of amnesty.|"
{Oscar] let out a little warbling hum and reached out with both tiny hands to get a good grip on her chest fluff.
The act almost made The Silken Feather miss the Captain's next statement. "[And you must be mad if you think we'll let you go without having the Claw safe in our possession.]"
Any further strategy fled right out of her head. What was wrong with her? She was a ghost, a free soul, she was afraid of no one and wanted nothing more than lots of covert bank accounts stuffed full of credits. Now all that she could think of was the need to grasp this little being close to her, to build a nest and keep him safe and warm. The feeling was worse than any pain or injury.
"|I...well, that is...|" She shook herself and glared up at Rgrarshok. "|I have rights under Senate law! This treatment can't be legal!|"
Rgrarshok unsheathed a claw and held it up to her face. She inspected it closely as she spoke. "[What would you have to complain about? True, we have you bound at the moment but that is merely for our protection. Are we mistreating you in any way?]"
"|You know damn well what I mean...erg...can you tell him to stop squirming?|"
"[Tell him yourself.]"
The Silken Feather looked down at the little creature moving against her. "|I know what you're trying to do. It won't work.|"
"[What do you mean?]" asked [Oscar]. "[I'm tired and need a nap.]"
"|I just...please...|"
Rgrarshok chuckled. "[You know, if you wish to claim rights as a Senate citizen you'll need to tell us who you really are. It seems you've done quite an admirable job in throwing us off of your true scent.]"
The Silken Feather gritted her teeth. "|I will never tell you!|"
Rgrarshok waved her hand in a 'there it is' gesture. "[Then I guess you'll have to put up with [human] interaction. [Oscar], give me a call when you wake up and we'll continue.]" She started to lope away, only to be stopped by the Silken Feather's plea.
"|Please, no. I'll propose a deal. You release me and then I'll tell you where the Claw is.|"
"[You tell us where the Claw is and then we'll release you,]" replied the Captain.
The Silken Feather shook her crest. "|No. You can put an implant in me to track me if you like, but I won't tell you a thing until I'm out of your custody.|" She knew she was technically savvy enough to defeat any possible tracking they'd put in her, since they'd certainly try to capture her again after finding out the Claw was now in Sssnnathor's possession. After her release, she could then steal the Claw back from Sssnnathor as she'd planned. True, having the Senate team breathing on her tail would put a bit of a time constraint on things, but she was capable enough to pull it off.
[Oscar] abruptly let go of her floof and wobbled away back towards the Captain. "[She doesn't have the Claw. Not anymore.]"
Rgrarshok stroked a thoughtful claw along her chin. "[Agreed. She gave in far too easily.]"
"|What nonsense is this? Of course I have it! Not on me, obviously, but I have it stashed in a very safe location! One that you'll never discover unless I tell you. Release me and you can go get it yourself.|"
The pair of peace officers stared back at The Silken Feather for a moment.
"[If she'd sold it to [Sssnnathor], she would've been long gone with her money,]" said [Oscar].
"[True,]" replied Rgrarshok. "[So he must have found out somehow that she was here. The fact that she's alive means that he didn't get his claws on her directly. However he found out, the Claw is now in his custody.]" Her purple eyes stared steadily at The Silken Feather. [Isn't that right?]"
"|I'm not saying anything further,|" replied The Silken Feather. "|You may as well go ahead and torture me. Or whatever that was your [human] was doing.|"
[Oscar] gasped in mock horror. "[Me? Torture? No, I wouldn't dream of harming a single feather on your crest. But there are a few [Karnakians] on board whom you've wronged either directly or indirectly. I'm sure they'd be eager to...discuss...their grievances with you at great length.]"
"[Or we could just leave her tied up somewhere on the planet,]" said Rgarshok. "[Perhaps we should drop an anonymous note to [Sssnnathor] telling her where she is? Only in the interest of making sure she doesn't come to harm, of course.]"
"[Of course!]" said [Oscar].
The Silken Feather sagged once more, this time in real defeat. She had but one bit of leverage left to play. "|We can still make a deal for my release,|" she said.
"[With what information?]" asked Rgrarshok. "[If [Sssnnathor] has the Claw I'm sure you have no idea where he's hidden it. That's something we'll have to figure out.]" The Captain sighed. "[I'll bet this party of his is for showing off the Claw.]"
"[I'm not taking that bet,]" said [Oscar].
The thief shook her crest. "|I'm not talking about the Claw's location. I'm talking about [Sssnnathor] himself. He's up to something. Whatever it is involving cloning.|"
Rgrarshok placed a paw over her eyes. "[Of course he is. By the First Pack, I need a vacation.]"
submitted by Frank_Leroux to HFY [link] [comments]


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