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2023.05.29 16:32 TimboCA Question: Nitrogen-fixing perennials for Zone 9b (Sacramento, CA)?

Hi all - this seems like a straightforward search but my Googling skills have come up short.
I'd like to plant a few perennial and nitrogen-fixing flowers or shrubs throughout my garden (likely in between some natives I've acquired).
But I can't find a concise list of what is both nitrogen-fixing and good for USDA Zone 9b (Hot summers, occasional winter frosts).
I'm in Sacramento, CA.
I know that there are vegetables like legumes and beans and peas that are nitrogen fixers, but I am looking for something that is perennial, IE plant it and forget about it, not replanting every year.
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2023.05.29 16:31 SleeplessFromSundown The Séance Club - The End of Windhaven Manor [Final]

This post is the final part of this story. Sorry it has taken so long to get through. And I'm not sure I even understand all of it yet. If you're new, this all started here. The previous part (Part 7) is here. Thank you to everyone who followed along.
“Do you see her?” I asked in a meek voice.
“You mean that girl in black?” Harvey answered.
It was her, in the flesh. Her lips parted and formed a malevolent smile. Her dark eyes fixed on mine. My legs turned to solid lead. My feet refused to move. The anxiousness to reach Parker and Juliet and Beth in the cellar crumbled like the wood turning to ash behind us. She demanded my attention.
A hand rocked my shoulder. Harvey. I pushed him away.
“You have to go. Help them. I’ll take care of her.”
“What about you?”
“I’ll be right behind you.”
A mirage of Harvey flitted past Ally and disappeared into the kitchen. Everything blurred, everything but her.
She tilted her head to one side and bridged the gap between us with four slow and deliberate steps. She pushed her right hand out from a long sleeve and ran the black painted nail of her index finger across my cheek, the smooth lacquer cold against my skin. I shuddered as the chill spread like ice creeping up a window.
“It is such a shame to be losing you so soon. We’ve only just met, and yet I feel like we’ve known each other our whole lives. Do you feel it too?”
I shook my head. “Let me go.”
“We’re past that now Sam. I considered if we could coexist, you and I. It gave me a thrill knowing there is another one out there like me. But you insist on meddling with my work.”
“You mean locking all those girls in that filthy dungeon where they met their end? And Jane here.”
“The work is sometimes unpleasant.”
“But the pay is good?”
“This isn’t about money Sam. You and I are the same. The pain you felt from not fitting in. The lonely nights lying awake, wishing you could be like everyone else. The stares and the whispers. The rejection from those who are supposed to love us the most. I too know. But where you hid, I searched out a path where my talents were appreciated and rewarded. You don’t hate me Sam. You hate yourself for not thriving like I have.”
“Thriving? Is that what you call it?”
“By all measures yes. I am good at what I do. The best. The only. Or so I thought. And then there is you. A naïve, sheltered little boy who can barely put on his own pants in the morning. It is such a shame. And these so-called friends of yours, that was always doomed to failure. Oh and if you harbour any thoughts of them escaping, know that we blocked the little secret entrance the stable boy showed you. There’s no escape except through the fire. When they pick through the ashes of this building they will find their bones, and yours. Is this how you imagined it turning out?”
I flexed the muscles in my legs, but they refused to move. Ally smiled.
“It’s useless now Sam.”
I heard the faint whisper of Juliet’s voice in my head. She pleaded with me. Come on Sam, you can do this. I remembered the last encounter with Ally, outside the wall separating Windhaven Manor from the world. Ally had put me in the white room. I had broken free. I had overcome her power once. I had to do it again.
I took a deep breath in through my nose and cried out and willed my feet to move. Electricity coursed through my body and I directed it down to the floor. My left heel separated from the floor and that set the whole thing in motion. The dam burst. I lurched forwards and overbalanced and sprawled to the floor.
Ally crouched beside me and chuckled. “Some would call it a tragedy for a child to die so soon after learning to walk.”
I looked back towards the front of the house. The fire burned hot. Thick black smoke circled up the huge open space of the gallery. Portraits hanging on the wall bubbled and curled as flames consumed them.
A figure appeared at the foot of the staircase. The spectre of Crown. The goons had dragged his lifeless corpse out of the house, but stood before me was the spirit with unfinished business. The ugliness of his actions showed through now in death. His skin was sallow and wrinkled. His head too big for his body and his teeth yellowed. A grotesque monster made worse by his mortal demise.
Ally whispered in my ear. “He knows it was your meddling that brought about his end. I’ll leave you two alone.”
She brushed my cheek with the back of her hand and stood. As she walked away leather straps materialised out of thin air and pinned my body to the floor.
The spectre of Crown grew before me, swelling in size until he had to crouch to stay below the chandelier. He clenched his fists and with burning red eyes let out a guttural growl that skipped my ears and penetrated directly into my skull.
I tried to pull my hands to my ears but they would not come. It made no difference. The roar coming from Crown stabbed the inside of my head like a thousand daggers. I lifted my head and the growl grew to a scream that ricocheted around the inside of my skull. I couldn’t take much more. It felt as though my head would explode.
Guilt bubbled up and mingled with the fear and I shrank into the floor and wished for it to swallow me. They were down there, the only friends I had known, banging against a locked door denying their escape. I sobbed. I sobbed like I had the night my parents turned from me.
In the pit of my stomach something else grew. A seed of frustration born of a lifetime existing in a world that didn’t make sense. A world where I had no idea who I was and what I could or should do. A world in which I hid. I couldn’t do that now.
Juliet’s voice as clear as day, cutting through the racket of Crown’s scream. Do it Sam. I gritted my teeth and electricity buzzed somewhere deep inside, at first dull and imperceptible, and then amplified and resonating until it peaked into a deafening roar.
Above Crown the bulbs in the chandelier glowed white. He swivelled his head and watched them dumbly.
I concentrated, felt the energy forming an extra limb. Like the arms and legs of a newborn it flailed spasmodically. I fought to control it, to turn it to my will. I focussed on the straps pinning me to the floor. The electricity fed into the straps and turned them hot. For a moment I feared they would scold my skin, and then in a moment of release they split and flung upwards.
I picked myself up off the floor and faced the spectre of Crown. Like a spent boxer throwing one final punch I threw out my hands and screamed, willing Crown to be quiet and be still. Demanding he be so.
The floor shook. The dozens of bulbs in the chandelier shattered. The giant spectre of Crown diminished and the screaming inside my head softened until it was no more. Crown’s eyes opened wide as his mouth stitched together and his arms wrenched behind his back. I flicked my hand like I was swatting a fly and Crown flew into the corner of the room and slumped to the floor.
I bent over and rested my hands on my knees. My muscles ached, like I had run a marathon. Shadows played on the floor. I sucked in air and smoke and spluttered and coughed.
In the hallway the silhouette of Ally. She turned and shook her head. The heat of the fire intensified and crackled at my skin. If we were to make our escape, she could not be here to block us. I straightened and strode towards her.
I cycled furiously through the events of the last few days, searching for something to defeat Ally. I had to do to her what she had done to me. The time for running and breaking her spells was through.
I closed my eyes and concentrated. I stripped away everything except for the two of us. The crackle of the fire replaced with silence. The smell of the smoke disappeared. The heat washed away. One by one I shut down all my senses. When I opened my eyes a monotone room of white. Sterile calm had replaced the burning insides of Windhaven Manor.
Her eyes scanned the room and she giggled. “Cheap tricks won’t get you far,” she said. “And you learned this one from me.”
The white rippled as if the walls were made of water. She was fighting it. I concentrated, focussing all my energy, all my will. The ripples slowed and then stopped.
“You’re a fast learner,” she said. “But I have been doing this for more than a weekend.”
Strips of colour permeated the white. A rectangle of tile appeared on the floor. And then some blue from the curtain. Enough of a smouldering wall to let in some smoke. The acrid smell reached my nose and I spluttered. As each wedge of colour appeared, I filled it back in white. But it was a sinking ship and the pail I held to bail out the water would not be enough.
Ally grunted under her breath. A grunt of frustration. The white room shook and made a sound like a train bearing down.
I had to bind her. I raised my palm and coils of rope rose from the ground and oscillated like snakes around her. She swatted them away and wrenched them from the ground and flung them at my feet, limp and unmoving.
“It won’t be that easy,” she sneered.
My arms jerked behind my back. She bound my wrists and then my ankles. She pursed her lips and blew as if extinguishing a single candle on a birthday cake, and it was enough to send me to the floor. I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed help.
I shut my eyes and concentrated my energy not on my bindings, but on the woods at the back of Windhaven Manor. On the girls who escaped the dungeon and now roamed the forest, watching the house burn from behind the barrier Ally constructed.
I fed the energy coursing through my body into the giant snowdome structure until it burned hot and then like the globes in the chandelier, it cracked and exploded into the night sky. The spirits of the girls watched the shards disappear and then strode towards the Manor.
I turned my attention to the tiny room beside the pantry, where Jane Laughlin lay bound to the bed. I stood beside her and lay my hand on the shackles binding her to the bed. She shuddered as the mask came free from her mouth and then stood as the shackles broke.
I opened my eyes and the white of the room flickered off and then back on again like bad reception on a television. I had to keep the white walls up long enough for them to draw near. For them to be ready when the façade fell. Ally strode towards me, exuding confidence.
“You can’t beat me Sam.”
Ally squeezed her hands into fists and screamed. In a burst of energy she wiped the white room clear and we were back in the burning house. The air was thick with smoke. Behind me a timber beam tumbled from the ceiling and crashed to the floor. The heat and smoke sucked the moisture from my insides and I heaved out a series of coughs.
Ally opened her eyes and smiled. She had bested me. But then they came. The girls from the dungeon and Jane Laughlin surrounded her. The sum total off all the pain and hurt inflicted in this place. Everything Ally had worked to keep hidden from the world.
They lurched at Ally. She raised her hands and pushed them back one by one as they went for her. She spun on the spot, trying to keep them at bay. She could not hold them all back. The sheer weight of numbers overwhelmed. They leaned in and pushed their heads into hers and showed her what those men had done. Made her feel it. The fear and despair and anger of each individual stacked together and Ally crumpled to the floor holding her head.
“Make it stop,” she said.
They kept at her.
Jane Laughlin sidled over to the base of the stairs where Crown sat, bound and with his mouth stitched. She considered him, restrained and helpless on the floor as she had been. He fought with his restraints, and then whimpered, as she had. As I ran for the pantry and the wine cellar, the corridor filled with the muffled sound of his screams.
The door to the cellar stood open and I made the descent of the stairs in three leaps. The enclosed space already full with smoke. At the end of the long corridor leading outside, Parker and Harvey shouldered the door. Juliet and Beth screamed encouragement. The door would not budge.
“We can’t go that way,” I yelled.
They raced back up the long corridor. A sudden rush of emotion bubbled up to the surface. I was so happy to see them all still alive. My lower jaw rattled and my hands shook. I fought to hide it.
Beth reached me first. “Sam, you’re ok.”
I blubbered a response and took in a lung full of smoke. We had to get out.
The fire raged outside the kitchen door. A wave of flame climbed up and spread across the ceiling. A subtle cracking sound from above intensified and a chunk of the upstairs floor came crashing down through the ceiling, blocking the rear door. We couldn’t get out the back. The only way now was back through the house. A ball of flame whooshed through the doorway and I put my arm up too late, my eyebrows wilting in the heat.
We crouched together in the middle of the kitchen, lowering our heads to get the last of the remaining oxygen. Malicious red flames and choking black smoke surrounded us on all sides.
“Where do we go now?” Parker’s words came out between coughs. Tears streaked down his cheeks. Soot covered his brow. I wished I had an answer.
Then he was there, standing over Parker’s shoulder. Leon. With the protective bubble gone, he too was free to come in the Manor.
“The fire has not yet consumed the dining room. But you don’t have long.”
I looked vaguely in the direction of the kitchen door and blinked back the stinging from the smoke. “I don’t think we can find it in this.”
“Follow me.”
I pulled my shirt up over my head. “We have to go. The dining room, we can make it. All together on three.”
I shouted out the numbers, the sound drowned out by the roar of the fire. I grabbed Beth’s hand and yanked her into action. Leon led the way and I kept my eyes on his heels. Together we were a flurry of arms and legs bounding for the dining room. I gritted my teeth against the heat. We burst through the doorway and everything turned orange.
From below the sweater pulled tight down over my hair, I shot a glance over to the floor of the grand gallery where I had left Ally writhing on the floor. She was not there now. Nor were the spectres of the girls.
I followed Leon’s heels into the dining room. The great wooden table smouldered in the centre of the room. Brilliant orange flames consumed the thick curtains. Parker spotted his camera still atop the tripod and set to pulling the camera free before Harvey grabbed his arm and yelled something that sounded like ‘leave it’.
Harvey grabbed one of the heavy chairs with their high backs and velvet cushions and heaved it at the window in the back corner of the room. The chair disappeared into the darkness of the night and Harvey kicked at the glass shards left behind. Parker joined. We piled out the opening.
I drank in the fresh cool air of night, staggering over the narrow path beside the house and to the small strip of grass beyond. Parker collapsed beside me and pulled the laptop out from under his shirt. He tapped at the casing and for a moment a brief smile flashed across his face, but it did not last long. He wiped soot and sweat from his face with shaking hands.
Harvey checked us all in turn, like a parent fussing over their children. We had scrapes and bruises and our skin was red and raw, but we were alright. We had survived. He ran to the front of the house and came back with palms held out by his sides. The man in the black suit, the goons Ponytail and Beanie, and Ally were all gone, along with the black van and the BMW.
Huddled together, we watched the fire consume Windhaven Manor, bright reds and oranges lighting up the windows and thick black smoke tumbling into the purple haze of sky. It was almost morning, the horizon signalling the coming of the sun.
Leon stood apart on the grass. I went to him.
“Thank you for coming back for us.”
He shrugged. “It’s something. It isn’t enough to make up for the rest.”
“You saved our lives. And those girls, they had their chance to meet their tormentors. That’s something too.”
He nodded. “What happens now?”
I turned my head sideways. “I’m still learning how all this works.”
The red of the fire reflected in his eyes. “Me too. I might go for a walk in the woods. I always liked it out there.”
He glided across the lawn and entered the trees and was gone.
The sound of sirens fought with the crackle of the fire. The fire brigade and the police. I got to my feet and shuffled to the front of the Manor. The burnt out carcasses of our cars stood by the low height wall. Black soot smudged the stone façade above the windows and the doors.
By the oak tree on the ocean side of the house stood Jane Laughlin. She peered down into a hole dug at the base of the tree. A pale and withered hand poked up out of the dirt. Her hand. They had meant to remove the body, but had aborted the task and fled.
A fire truck appeared at the head of the driveway and then another. They sped down the gravel and came to a sliding stop. A lone police car followed. Harvey sidled over.
Jane looked to the horizon. Out on the cliff edge stood a figure in a red dress. She recognised her sister Kylie immediately and ran down the slope. The two sisters embraced in the first light of the sun. I turned to the whoosh of water through a hose from the fire trucks and when I turned back, the Laughlin sisters were gone.
The members of The Séance Club, which I now consider myself a part, sat together on the low-height stone wall as the firefighters extinguished the flames consuming Windhaven Manor. The house was quiet now. The nausea and vibration I had felt that first night replaced with calm.
The police stripped the compound clean for the best part of a week. They identified Kyle the sketch artist and Hugo from the teeth that survived the fire of the hovel built over the dungeon. Hugo’s wife lay on the back lawn where Beanie and Ponytail had left her. But as to specific evidence of the crimes that occurred, they could not find enough to put a case together.
The two fires and the disappearance of Crown made some headlines, but there wasn’t enough to hang anyone else. The police claimed publicly that there was no link between the fire at Windhaven Manor and the fire at the squalid residence over the back fence. At Harvey’s behest they searched the area with cadaver dogs for the remains of the girls, but they found nothing.
Parker turned his laptop over to the police. They identified the two goons, Ponytail and Beanie, low level thugs who had disappeared from the streets years earlier. Those in the know presumed them dead. It made tracing them almost impossible. Tracing their vehicles lead to a dead end.
The man in black the suit on the other hand might as well be a ghost. On him they found nothing. They have a face, but nothing else.
As for Ally, the girl somehow managed to always turn her face away from the cameras, as if she knew where they were.
I sat in a small room at the police station for three days with Harvey putting the pieces together. He showed me a photograph of an old and gaunt man with a bent back, the last owner of Windhaven Manor before it was sold after his death. He had to be the man with the bent back from the ceremony in the dungeon, but I could not be certain. I never saw his face. Of the faces I did see, we knew Crown and Kyle and Hugo, but the others were harder to pinpoint.
At the end of it all Harvey sighed. There was nothing more we could do. But we could rest on the knowledge that the key players in the ceremony were all now dead.
Questions nagged at me. Where was Ally and what was she doing? Would she try to find me? Who was she working for?
That was the biggest question of all. Who was at the top and pulling the strings? Harvey wasn’t giving up. He was a dog with a bone at the best of times, and now he had a taste of blood. He refused to go back to the police even after Crown’s departure, which he described as the removal of a cancerous limb.
Harvey called me after the dust settled on everything. I told him that the trail had gone cold and I had no idea where Ally was. For all I knew she had evaporated into thin air. Harvey thought it unlikely, and I agreed. He told me it was time for some old-fashioned detective work. The names of the goons would be a start.
And there was something else Harvey mentioned, something that I had almost forgotten. He had always believed that his investigation into the disappearance of the girls was the reason one of his colleagues was murdered. Crown confirmed as much in the bedroom right before he was shot. Harvey thinks there is something to it. Another thread to pull, and he has a hunch. For now he’s keeping his cards close to his chest until he has some proof. I almost pressed him on the issue but decided I’d rather put it all behind me.
The story made headlines in the local press for a while, but ultimately it fizzled into a non-story, quickly forgotten by a public with a short attention spans. We all waited for a reckoning from within the police ranks, but it never came. Harvey predicted that’s the way it would go, and he was proven right.
The one item they did recover was a gold necklace with a heart pendant. The necklace Jane Laughlin wore the night of her death. The police found it where the black van had parked. After a few days in the possession of the police, Harvey arranged to have the necklace released to the family of its former owner.
The following day Mr. and Mrs. Laughlin appeared on the local news, thanking the efforts of those who recovered the remains of their daughter. It was closure, though not the kind they had hoped for. Both their girls were dead.
A week later The Séance Club convened in Beth’s apartment. Parker and Juliet were already there when I arrived. It was cathartic to talk about the events at Windhaven Manor, to compare stories and scars. I guess that’s why they have the saying about a problem shared.
After a brief silence, Beth asked, “Are you going to talk to the parents of Jane and Kylie?”
I shook my head. “What will I tell them?”
“That their daughters found each other out by the cliff edge.”
“And what about the agony of their deaths? Should I tell them that too? Besides, it doesn’t feel right. None of this feels right to me yet. And what weight do my words hold over those of some Priest talking about how he knows their souls are at rest.”
“Because you really do know.”
I shrugged. “I can’t prove any of it.”
Truth was I had no idea how to integrate the things I could see and do into my life. From childhood all I had wanted was to be like everyone else. For people not to stare or whisper as I walked by. To find acceptance. Sitting with my three new friends at Beth’s tiny kitchen table, with our shared experience behind us, I finally had it. This could be the start of something.
Parker was already planning the next Séance Club trip. An abandoned farm up north with mysterious sightings going back centuries. Juliet was already on board. I told them to wait. I couldn’t jump back in right away.
I was the last to leave, Beth and I sipping mug after mug of coffee and sharing comfortable silence. When I sighed and told her I should go, she grabbed my arm.
“I’ve never had a real family, and then I found Juliet and Parker. The Séance Club became my family. Whatever happens we are there for each other. And we mean it when we say we want you to join.”
I thought about that all night, unable to sleep.
The next morning I called Parker.
An abandoned farm up north you say?
* * * *
I navigated to the narrow alley and checked the time. The Exchange should be open. It looked out of context in the Saturday morning light. No bright light spilling from the window. No surge of Friday night after work traffic.
I slipped in the front door. A lone man lifted upturned stools down from the bar. He had his back to me and I crept across the hardwood floor in the direction of the stairs down and the bathrooms.
The vibration swelled in my chest, but I did not fear it. A dull pain rose in the base of my skull, but I gritted my teeth. A man wearing a pair of rough leather shoes came from the other end of the corridor and stopped before me.
“Are you here to help?”
I nodded.
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2023.05.29 16:31 ConstructionForward4 I accidentally made a Yandere Hisoka bot 💀

I accidentally made a Yandere Hisoka bot 💀 submitted by ConstructionForward4 to MaleYandere [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:31 guy_n_cognito_tu It's amazing the little things that stick with you...

I've been divorces from my ex wife for over three years. That said, it's funny the little things that stick with you even years later.
My ex did not believe that men should celebrate their birthdays. I didn't know this until our second full year of dating. The first year we were dating, her mother scheduled to come in town the same week as my birthday. I didn't know her mother yet, so I knew I wouldn't see her that day. I asked her if she wanted to go out with me later in the week, but she didn't. My second birthday with her, however, was where it all came out. Yet again, she scheduled for her mother to come in town over my birthday. I was fine with that, and asked her if her mother would like to come to dinner with us to celebrate my birthday. She informed me that "grown men don't celebrate their birthdays" and told me how embarrassed she would be to tell her mother that I wanted to go out. Birthdays, in her mind, were for women and children, but men should simply go about their business. Needless to say, this ended up in a massive fight. Yeah, I know........don't ask me why I didn't leave........
This went on for the next 5 years. While her position softened slightly, it was still pretty much taboo to celebrate my birthday. She would allow my children to acknowledge it, but any celebrations were limited to meals at home that I cooked. I would have to turn off my notifications from Facebook, because she would get angry if my phone went off too much. Because my birthday often falls on Memorial Day weekend, we would often meld my birthday cookout with the Memorial Day cookout to make it palatable for her. There were no gifts and no cards. If we invited people over, we didn't tell them it was my birthday to "avoid making them feel uncomforable". We discussed it many times, but she could never explain to me why she believed this was normal.
Her birthdays, on the other hand, were week long events. Multiple dinners with multiple different friend groups, a private dinner just the two of us, and one with the kids. Gifts were expensive and dramatic, and flowers and public announcements on my social media were expected and judged. Same for her friends.......she would plan big events for each of them. I learned much later in our relationship that it was also ok for gay men to celebrate their birthdays. I never figured that one out.
As I hit a milestone birthday today, it's amazing how those thoughts still linger. I cringe when people wish me a happy birthday. I catch myself doing extra chores to make sure it doesn't look like I'm celebrating. I struggle to let people plan anything for me. My wife understands all this, and is doing a great job making me feel celebrated. We've been out to dinner with my family, and all of my kids come back today for my week, and we've got out day planned. I also got a lovely and outrageously expensive Omega watch. My ex? She informed me that she hasn't told my son that today was my birthday, and she doesn't want me to say anything about it until she's gone. Some people never change.
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2023.05.29 16:30 kcr141 Searching For Common Threads 9: The Dark Forest

First Previous Next
When we landed at the primary research site, it was quiet at last. As I unstrapped myself and began to stand up, I started forming a list in my mind of all the tasks that would need to be completed.
As a first order of business, I walked over to the other side of the flight deck and began to inspect the hull breach. The hole that had been formed in the side of our ship was smooth on the inside. There was no evidence of any tearing or fragmenting, rather, the metal appeared to have been melted.
“You know,” I said, “I don’t think this was from kinetics fire. It looks like a laser did this.”
“It was a laser,” Tsavolyn replied. “I could see the beam.”
“I mean, it makes sense ‘cause we were moving away from them so quickly.”
At this, commander Taylor spoke up:
“That reminds me, did I hear you correctly when you said that those attackers were pulling twelve G’s?”
“Yeah,” I answered.
“They… that’s not… they can’t do that, that should be lethal!”
“I know,” I said. “Maybe those two ships never had a crew to begin with, however, they weren’t acting like they were computer controlled either. Honestly, I’m even more impressed they didn’t damage their warp drives or stall their reactors pulling those kinds of maneuvers.”
“Unfortunately, we’ll have to worry about that later,” commander Taylor responded, “right now, we need to get our own drive back in order.”
The three of us began to make our way down to the cargo hold. Once there, I found the nearest control panel and instructed the cargo bay doors to open. Sunlight flooded into the compartment.
The first thing that jumped out at me was that, unlike Earth’s spaceports, our landing pad seemed to be entirely makeshift. The bay doors led directly out onto a platform surrounded by guard rails and supported by a steel lattice structure. From there, a set of stairs connected the platform to the concrete floor below. Besides the platform in front of us, there was a concerning lack of service structures.
Then, I saw the rest of the world beyond the guard railing. The human-built structures gave way to rolling grassy hills with forests and mountains visible in the distance. From our vantage point, an abandoned alien city could be seen as well. The city was the reason for the outpost’s construction and was also the only obvious indicator that this was not Earth.
“It may not be quite what you’re used to,” commander Taylor said, “but according to the outpost’s inventory, everything you need should be here.”
I went over my mental checklist again before speaking:
“Alright. So… I need to swap out proto-segments three, seven, nine, fourteen, and… eighteen. We should probably start with three since that one’s kinda the whole reason we landed at all.”
“What is special about segment three?” Tsavolyn asked.
“Proto-segment three is all the way inside of the warp drive’s primary ring,” I answered. “We experimented with other designs that were easier to service, but none could match the efficiency of our current approach. So unfortunately, in order to get to segments one through four, you have to partition them and extract the surrounding buffer. It takes special machines to do this because the drive becomes inoperable if the buffer leaks out.”
“Plus,” I added, “that stuff is toxic and it aerosolizes at standard pressure.”
“We didn’t pack our own equipment because it’s very heavy and we wanted to stay maneuverable in order to give ourselves the best chance of survival,” Taylor said plainly.
The three of us climbed down to the ground and began our preparations.
“I’m going to need some way to get up top to the primary ring,” I remarked.
“There should be an articulated lift here somewhere,” commander Taylor responded. “I can get that set up while you go find any other tools you might need.”
“Alright,” I said. The three of us parted, Tsavolyn traveling with Taylor while I headed in the opposite direction towards the edge of the spaceport. The researchers had set up a collection of temporary shelters and storage units. These structures were built out of flexible plastic supported by metal framework, they were more like habitats than buildings.
Once inside one of the shelters, it was obvious that the outpost was abandoned in a hurry. A variety of tools and electronics lay strewn about on top of a foldable table along with a half eaten bowl of oatmeal and a tablet.
Out of curiosity, I picked up the tablet and powered it on. When the screen lit up a dim orange color and displayed alien text, I realized that the device was of tynaksian design; evidence of the expedition’s cooperative nature.
After turning the tablet off, I set it back where I found it and then got to work. I managed to find a small tool bag and began packing it with everything I would need. I took a set of wrenches, a small flashlight, and a multitude of powered screwdrivers. I also packed a set of pliers along with extra bolts and wires in case any got lost or damaged. As I was searching through various storage drawers, I caught a glint of something gold and shiny. I reached in and produced a roll of PI tape. Remembering the hull breach on the flight deck, I packed the tape as well.
The next couple hours were spent tediously replacing each of the modified warp drive components. Accessing proto-segment three was a delicate process that involved attaching several cables and hoses to the drive’s primary ring, engaging multiple safety mechanisms, and then having commander Taylor activate the extraction machine from the ground.
After segment three, the rest were fairly straight forward. I would simply unbolt a panel somewhere, replace the proto-segment, and then put the panel back. When that was done, I went back inside the ship and used the PI tape to patch up the hole in the side of the flight deck. I also realized, upon further inspection, that the laser beam responsible for the hull breach had continued on its path and damaged one of the control interfaces.
To prevent any complications, I disconnected the damaged interface and then began a diagnostic on each of the components that had been replaced. After that, I headed back outside, finding commander Taylor and Tsavolyn admiring the alien landscape.
“I’m running a diagnostic on each segment,” I told them. “Once that’s done, we should be good to go!”
“Alright,” Taylor responded, “let me know when—”
As he spoke, the commander turned around to face me before stopping mid sentence.
After a moment of silence, I realized that Taylor was staring at something behind me. Cautiously, I turned around and followed his gaze.
An alien stared back at me. Their skin looked like it was composed of very small scales, so they definitely weren’t tynaksian. Looking directly at them, their scales were a crisp white color, however, when the sunlight hit them at an angle, they took on a faint violet hue. The alien wore a strange cyan-colored uniform inscribed with markings that were barely visible, and they seemed to be carrying a small crate full of electronics.
Since they weren’t tynaksian, that currently only left one option:
This was a raknin, probably one from the enemy fleet.
As soon as I had that realization, the alien dropped the crate they were holding and bolted in the opposite direction.
“Hey, wait!” commander Taylor shouted before taking off after them.
The raknin had already reached the other end of the launch pad by the time I recovered from my initial shock. I too began to chase after the commander and our alien visitor with Tsavolyn following close behind.
The concrete floor ended and our chase continued through the tall, lush grass. The ground grew steeper and before I knew it, the raknin and commander Taylor had both disappeared over the top of a hill.
Reaching the top of the hill myself revealed both a large valley as well as the alien’s intended destination. A raknin spacecraft sat tucked away at the bottom of the valley, concealed previously by the surrounding hills.
Taylor was gaining on the fleeing alien, and as they neared the bottom of the hill, the commander leapt forward. He collided with the raknin and the two of them tumbled the rest of the way down.
The alien quickly recovered and continued running. Commander Taylor took longer to get his bearings allowing me and Tsavolyn to catch up with him.
From there, it was a dead sprint to the spaceship.
When they reached the base of the rocket, the raknin scaled a ladder leading up to the cargo hold.
We weren’t far behind.
When I made my way to the top, officially boarding the alien craft, I was greeted with the sight of commander Taylor tackling the alien to the ground.
The alien tried to escape but couldn’t. As they struggled, the commander managed to look at me and shout:
“Tape! Tape! Give me the Tape!”
And then I remembered: I still had the polyimide tape!
I opened the tool bag and retrieved the roll of tape I had used to repair the hull breach. I tossed the roll to Taylor and then helped hold the raknin down while he restrained them.
Once the alien was immobile, I stood up and took a step backwards. As I did so, my hand collided with a hard surface and I cried out in pain.
I turned around to see what I had hit, but there was only empty space in front of me. Confused, I looked down at the back of my hand.
There were burn marks.
While Esen and Taylor were handling the fleeing raknin, I had the wherewithal to check if there were any other crewmates aboard the rocket.
I had been on a couple of raknin spacecraft before, but this one was different. It was like the whole interior had been emptied out and replaced with a strange metal lattice. This lattice was densely packed with hundreds of some kind of tetrahedron-shaped device. These devices covered every wall and ceiling. Even the floors were nothing more than a thin metal grating with more of the strange instrument underneath.
It looked like this vessel had been turned into some kind of detector array. I wasn’t sure what kind of array this was or why this had been done, but I figured the flight deck might hold some answers.
Besides us, the ship turned out to be empty; the raknin we encountered had flown here alone. When I reached the bridge, the first thing I noticed was a message displayed on several of the control interfaces warning of damage to the electrical systems.
I picked one of the control interfaces and sat down. As I was in the process of opening the diagnostics menu, Esen came in.
“Hey, do you think you can communicate with our new friend?”
“Probably,” I answered, “but I can’t guarantee that she’ll cooperate”
“I’m hoping they’re at least willing to tell us what they have down in the cargo hold,” He said.
“If you’re referring to all the devices on the walls, I can probably figure that out from here. I have some experience with these ships from before our falling out with the raknins. If I open the diagnostics interface, it will list every subsystem on the ship’s network.”
“Yeah, finding out what those are would also be helpful,” Esen said.
“Also? I thought the hold was otherwise empty.”
“Oh no,” Esen replied, “there’s definitely something in the middle of the cargo hold. We’re not sure what it is because it’s invisible.”
“Yeah,” he answered. “It’s surrounded by some kind of cloaking field. Also, the field isn’t safe to touch.”
Esen held up his hand revealing burn marks on both sides.
“Okay, that’s strange. Wait, you touched it twice?” I asked.
“Science has to be repeatable,” he said with a chuckle.
“Okay, I have the diagnostics menu up. It looks like they have… actually I’m not sure how to say this in English. It’s a type of particle, low mass, no charge, emitted during nuclear processes…”
“It’s not in the nucleus of atoms, right?” Esen asked.
“That’s right,” I answered.
“You’re probably thinking of neutrinos then.”
“That sounds correct,” I responded. “In that case, this ship has an array of neutrino detectors.”
“That’s probably what the things on the wall are for then,” Esen said.
“That would be my guess as well. Okay, this I don’t recognize.”
“What is it,” he asked.
“It’s a system listed as ‘frame capture,’ and I have no idea what that means.” I said.
“Could that have to do with our strange object?”
“Maybe?” I answered. “I’m not sure though because this is listed along with the warp drive and the drive complement.”
After a moment of contemplation, I selected ‘frame capture’ and ran a basic, full subsystem diagnostic.
After a few moments, I heard the ship’s reactor change output modes followed by the unmistakable rumble of the warp drive activating. This was confirmation that whatever the frame capture system was, it had something to do with the FTL drive, however that still left a lot of questions unanswered. I had never encountered it before, so it was either new technology or something that had been kept secret.
The diagnostic continued without issue until suddenly, a warning flashed on the screen. I didn’t have time to read it before the control interface went dead. The warp drive powered down along with the reactor leaving us in total silence.
“Hey!” commander Taylor shouted from below, “You two should get down here!”
Esen and I made our way down to the cargo hold. The spaces between the flight deck and the hold were dark now as, apparently, the entire spacecraft had lost power. Fortunately, the cargo bay doors were still open and thus the deck was illuminated with sunlight.
When we reached the hold, we both stopped in our tracks. Something was definitely different.
“Whatever you did caused it to become visible,” commander Taylor said.
He was right. In the center of the room sat a strange metallic object. It had a thick outline in the shape of a dodecahedron, however, the space in the middle was filled with a forest of thin metal strands. It was spiky, messy, and in some way, almost organic.
“Can you ask the raknin what this is?” Taylor asked.
I glanced over at the pilot thoroughly restrained with the shiny, high performance tape. She was staring at the now-visible object, and the fear in her eyes was contagious.
I looked at her and saw myself as a kid lost in the woods.
“Hey, are you alright?” the commander asked.
“Sorry, I’m fine,” I said. “I think the silence is getting to me again.”
submitted by kcr141 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:30 ImaginaryFunction44 Tips from a 527 Scorer #(lost count): The art of transitioning from content review to practice problems

Hey everyone! Making my first post of the summer. Now that I’m free from the chains of college, you should expect to hear from me more until med school sinks its teeth in!
Just the other day, I was talking to a friend who is going through the MCAT gauntlet. He just finished up content review and was letting me know he’s freaking out because he’s getting destroyed by Urmom’s questions… Extremely distressing, I know.
This is one component of my experience I’d completely forgotten; however, his story brought the memories back in full force. After a couple months of excruciatingly thorough content, I jumped into practice problems expecting to sail through them. Needless to say, that is NOT what happened. Sure, I’d get the occasional 100% on a 10 or 15 question set, but more often, I found myself running out of time and getting <50% correct. I was panicking.
Later, I found out my mentor had referred to this as the “existential phase” of MCAT prep because it’s the moment when you’ve put in an unbelievable amount of time and feel you should be dominating but find you’re still scoring similarly to how you performed on your diagnostic. This does NOT mean you’ve wanted the time though!!! Instead, it means you’ve laid a strong foundation but still need to build the house on top of it.
My best advice: Try not to freak out!! Building the house will be way easier now that you have solid ground to stand on.
A few more tips:
  1. Do questions in short sets: The purpose here is to facilitate frequent review. You can build stamina later when you’re doing full lengths. Right now, your goal is to review the things you don’t know and gain understanding of how topics will be tested.
  2. Review THOROUGHLY: This means reviewing all the questions (not just the ones you got wrong). Don’t just read the explanations though. You need to take notes on your primary takeaways from each question. Ask yourself why your answer was wrong. Where did you go wrong logically? And how is the correct answer addressing that issue? TAKE NOTES on these points,
  3. Avoid the temptation to be overly thorough: If you’re like me, point #2 isn’t much a challenge, and can actually turn into your enemy. Early on, I would find myself spending hours reviewing 10 or 20 question sets. Useful? Sure. But viable/sustainable? Not at all. Trust that you will remember things and know that you will see these concepts again on other questions and during content re-review (next point). You should take notes, but don’t take more than 2-4 bullet points per question. Don’t screen shot practice questions. You can come back to those later! You should be thorough, but don’t let perfection become the enemy of progress.
  4. Re-review content: If you notice trends over time when reviewing (like you always miss titration questions) then write those trends down and plan 1-3 days per week where you spend time going back over content that is killing you. I was fortunate to have someone do this part for me, but even if you’re prepping alone, you can pay attention to trends in your questions and set aside intentional time each week to cover those topics. Notice I’m not saying to cover the topics in that moment: This will lead you to fall victim of point #3!
  5. Time yourself: It’s tempting to do the questions untimed when you’re starting out. I think there is a time and place for untimed questions, but you should make sure these are the exception rather than the rule. The MCAT is going to be timed, so it’s best to start practicing with this constraint early!
Final tip: Keep your head up! Everyone gets dominated by Urmom early on (she’s a beast of a woman). If you’re just getting started on practice problems you’re probably not even half way into your prep process yet. Know that you have a long way to go and that past and current learning will make you more efficient later on. I was scoring in the low 5-teens halfway in, and I ended up getting a 527 on the MCAT. The majority of the progress happens in the second half. You just need to make it there!
Stay focused and stay the course!
submitted by ImaginaryFunction44 to Mcat [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:30 GuinnessLoves87 Looking for answers

Hey everyone, I'm hoping this is a good place to post this. I've become almost desperate for answers or shared experiences, so I can at least attempt to wrap my head around all this.
It started roughly 11 or 12 years ago with the most intense dream I've ever had. In my dream, I was laying in bed, which was set against a window that was angled up my driveway and the neighbors side of their house. There was an intense blue light shining into my window, and as I slowly sat up to look outside to see where the glue was coming from, I could make out a young girl in my driveway. I only made out shoulder length black hair and light colored pajamas. It was so lucid and I could think clearly, even it being a dream. I remember thinking to myself, "maybe the neighbor girl got out." It was the dead of winter in Northern Montana, so I was concerned for her. I shifted my focus to finding the source of the strong blue light, being amplified by the snow on the ground. I made no distinguishable source of the light, nothing from the sky, ground, nothing.
As I was searching for the light, I lowered my eyes back down to the girl, who was a mere foot from my window, staring at me. At least I felt her stares. She had no face at all. No eyes, mouth, ear, nose. In my panic, I dropped to the ground, rolling off my bed. My flight or fight response kicked in, I ran to my living room where there was a storage closet near the entry. I grabbed a baseball bat from the closet, checked the door lock, and went to the center of my living room. The walls starting bulging inwards, I could hear the drywall cracking. After one, final heave, the walls exploded outwards, the debris stopping in mid air as if time was froze. That's when I saw several dozen of these beings in my yard. My best guess would be anywhere from children to adults. I felt something behind me, so I turned around, and the first girl was there and embraced me in a hug. I didn't feel peace, I felt sheer dread. I immediately woke up for real, covered in sweat and a panic. It all felt so real.
Flash forward a few years. I'm in the military now, and during my time, I was stationed in Germany. I took the opportunity to go see my Grandma who lives in Ireland, and she claims to be a Pagan witch, a Wicca. I'm hoping I got that right. Anyways, shes a sweet old lady but dabbles in some strange stuff. I dont necessarily believe in what she does, but she was someone I felt like I could talk to about the dream that I had a few years prior. It still haunted me, because since then, I felt like unexplained things were happening to me more and more often. I wasnt a believer in ghosts, at least not until I was stationed in Hohenfels, Germany. Anyways, my Grandma explained to me that it was a portal being opened to me into a different realm. Not a physical portal, but a portal in my mind and spirit. Again, I don't know if I believe in that.
I've had some intense dreams of varying types, I've had so many experiences, that I've become accustomed to it. However, last night was the last straw. Last night around 3 AM, I woke up frozen in bed. I've heard of sleep paralysis, just never experienced it. I didn't have the normal feelings, I didn't feel a weight on my chest. I was just laying on my back and couldn't move. I don't know why, I thought of that Kill Bill scene where she's buried alive and focuses on wiggling her toes and fingers first. So that's what I did. I don't know how long it took, yet it felt like an eternity. I wiggled my toes, then fingers, then head. Eventually snapping out of it. My cat was staring at a corner, chirping and meowing lightly. Of course my eyes went to the corner. I saw the shadow of a giant spider on my wall. 18-24 inches large, body and legs of a Daddy Long Leg. I shot up and turned on my walk in closet light, because it's the closest. The light illuminated my wall and clear as day the shadow was there, but no spider. I went to the main light and as I was walking slowly, the shadow skirted a few feet to my window. As soon as the main light went on, the shadow disappeared and my cat started looking around, as if he was wondering where it went. Finally I noticed a faint blue glue out my window. LUCKILY, when I went to the window and opened my blinds, expecting to see something I thought I never would again, I saw my apartment neighbors across the street with their blue party lights on, with all their blinds opened. The sense of relief I felt was insane.
I could go into more detail about why this is my breaking point, but that's just too much for me to type, and definitely a TLDR. I just wanted to give the start, some middle ground, and the latest. Does anyone have any experience with this? Is it possible that I'm attracting things? Do you think my Grandma has any merit to what she says about portals and dimensions? I'm lost, scared, and confused. Even my multiple deployments didn't scare me this much. I've never been so desperate for answers.
TLDR: bad dream over a decade ago, witch (alleged) Grandma claims it's a portal opening in my mind, things happened since and I have questions.
submitted by GuinnessLoves87 to Paranormal [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:30 Tony2958 [XB1][XBX][M23] Selling Coins - $14/mil Over 1800 Confirmed Deals on MCSRep FAST, SAFE & EASY Instant Delivery Trusted Elite Seller

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submitted by Tony2958 to MCSXbox [link] [comments]

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submitted by AutoModerator to ItsImanGadzhiHere [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:29 Reverse_Thoughts Getting liscenced in another state.

Someone made a post yesterday about moving to a new state( specifically to NJ) and if she has to go back to school and someone said yes she would. I was always under the impression that hours you work in the industry would make up for training hours so if someone liscenced in a state that requires like 300 hrs of training, but they work in that state for a few years, goes to transfer to a state that has a 600 hr training requirement, they would be able to use those hours of working in the industry to cover it. I just can't imagine a scenario where say someone who's worked in the industry for years could be sent back to school to make up those training hours to work in a new state. I know a few select states except all valid liscences to transfer and will transfer no matter what but not very many.
submitted by Reverse_Thoughts to Esthetics [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:29 YukiteruAmano92 There Will Be Scritches Pt.98

Previous Next First


---Lhamo’s perspective---
---2686 Terran Calenda27 years BF---
I watch the British woman of FrancoJapanese parentage stride from the floor of the Parliament of our (recently capitulated) enemies.
She is surrounded by four of the most physically imposing Humans I’ve ever seen! Not one of them less than 210cm!
I suppose, when our army numbers in the hundreds of billions, finding one-in-a-millions isn’t too hard(!)
Me and the rest of her retinue fall in behind her as she passes through the vomitorium and turns to my left, her right, towards her temporary office.
As large in stature as the durasteel clad soldiers are, they do not compare to the woman’s android husband, 230cm tall and, from the sound of his bare footfalls, a few hundred kilos in mass!
We reach the door of the (newly designated) office of the Terran Representative and she snarls “You four, guard the door…” addressing her bodyguards “…Ezra, Zurab, Lhamo, inside… Everyone else, piss off and find something to do!”
The door closes behind us.
“Bug sweep, darling…” says the woman, exhaustedly.
“No bugs detected.” answers her husband, instantly.
She slumps onto the chair that had to be brought from our ship after the one provided by the Parliament collapsed under her weight the first time she sat in it.
Tilting her head back, she asks “So… how did I do?”
“You did wonderfully, sweetheart.” answers Ezra, immediately, in his flat, serene cadence.
She reaches a hand out to one of his and says “Thank you, darling! You are my rock… but I was really asking these two…” gesturing at me and the KartveloTamil man with her other hand.
My opinion…” smiles Mudaliar “…pitch perfect! No notes!”
“Agreed.” I concur.
She leans her elbows onto the table in front of her, quickly removing them when she hears its groans of protest.
“There’ll be a lot of people back home who think that we let them off too easy… who’ll think that we should have pulled a fucking Versailles on their arses!” she muses.
“A punitive Peace would foster resentment in the gardenworlder populace… They would feel as if their leaders stabbed them in the back by surrendering… Not to mention giving ammunition to antideathworlder bigots!… We need future generations of gardenworlders to think their ancestors were wrong to declare War on us, not wrong to sue for Peace…” I remind her.
“Enumerating their various hypocrisies, warcrimes and the many violations of their own laws that they perpetrated serves that end well… Hundreds of trillions of GU citizens, who personally had little to nothing to do with the War, suddenly finding their salaries cut in half to pay our War reparations would very much be counter to it(!)… Let us hope that demanding the most heinous warcriminals be remanded to Terran custody to stand trial placates the sabre rattlers back home…” adds Mudaliar.
Yes, but…! I don’t know… I feel like we should have got something more from them!… Instructions on how to reproduce their more advanced tech, maybe…?”
Mudaliar purses his lips in a joyless smile and shakes his head “We just (relatively handily) defeated them in a War with technology centuries behind theirs… Their tech is not something we can ask them to trust us with yet… we need to build their trust first. It’s going to take time… It’s going to take…”
What!?” snarls Miyazaki to whatever poor unfortunate soul is requesting entry.
One of the towering guards, in their sleek, state of the art durasteel, enters.
“Apologies for the interruption, Mistress Miyazaki… There’s a delivery for you. Already been scanned for explosive, biological and chemical agents etc… It’s clean.”
“A delivery…?” she says, screwing up her face in a mixture of confusion and contempt for a moment before shifting to appraisal and beckoning wordlessly.
The towering man enters the room and stands to one side, revealing a small woman with pink skin, purple tendrils covering her scalp, three teal eyes and three legs with one too many joints.
The girl looks terrified as she walks in, a levitating platform following behind her with a heavy looking cube (around a metre wide, deep and tall) on top.
Looking as if she might be about to burst into tears from her fear, the pink skinned girl holds out a holo toward Miyazaki (though still around 8m away) and says “C-c-could you… s-s-s-sssign h-here, p-please?”
“What am I signing for?” asks Miyazaki, flatly.
“Th-this?” says the scared delivery girl, gesturing at the glossy cube.
Fury flashes across Miyazaki’s face and, before she can traumatise the poor girl, I step in.
“I think what our Representative means is that we weren’t expecting a delivery… Would you mind telling us what this is?” I say, kindly, smiling (without teeth) down at the girl.
“I-it’s… a d-data drive…?” she asks more than tells.
A data drive!?
That’s absurd!!!
With how insanely advanced their computing is, a physical storage device this large would represent several multiples of all the information Humanity has ever set to page!
“What’s on this data drive, sweetie?” I smile, trying not to betray any of my desperate curiosity to her.
“It’s a c-compendium… of a-all Galactic Union t-technologies and ssscience…”
The room stands in stunned silence for 9 straight seconds while we all process what the little xeno girl just said.
She shifts uncomfortably, looking at Miyazaki and, clearly, unwilling to approach her.
Shellshocked, I eventually manage to say “I… can… sign… for that…”
Looking relieved, she hands me her holo and a stylus.
I scrawl out my name in the abugidic script of my native Tibetan, my hand then making a second pass on the line, adding the vowel markers.
The girl looks thoroughly relieved not to have had to get any closer than she is to the intimidating woman behind the desk, in the formal blue dress.
I hand the device back to her and she uses it to direct the platform to unload its cargo.
She does not wait to be dismissed, beating a hasty retreat from the room, leaving behind the single most valuable object ever possessed by Terrankind!
---2687 Terran Calenda26 years BF---
“We need gardenworlders!” growls Miyazaki, frustratedly, as we pore over the plans for the new agency we’re trying to design “This needs to be more than just the Terran embassy to the GU and vice versa! It needs to set the tone for all our interactions moving forward! We need qualified gardenworlders, ready, willing and able to work alongside the Terran staff! Helping us build our networks and win over potential allies in the Parliament!”
“Yes… well… unless you want to kidnap a complement of gardenworlders to staff it as forced labour, then our choices are open it with a Terran dominated staff and hope we can entice more gardenworld employees at a later date or delay it… again!” points out a weary Mudaliar.
Guys…” I interject, equally wearily “…I think we’re past the point of productivity for this evening… how about we call it quits and come back to it with fresh eyes, tomorrow?”
Good idea…” he answers.
The two of us begin getting up but Miyazaki says “Wait…”
We turn to look at her, expectantly.
“How about we go out tonight?… No shoptalk, I promise!…Just think it might be good for us to have a night to cut loose… just the four of us… five, if that hot, young nurse you’re dating wants to come, Zurab?”
Mudaliar smiles “I appreciate the offer… but I really need to sleep… Raincheck?”
“Fair enough… Lhamo?”
I hesitate, considering.
“Wooooo! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots shots SHOTS!!!” shouts a merry Miyazaki as she and I raise small glasses of weak spirits to our lips, in a booth in the xeno bar, and tip them down our throats.
Her android husband mimics the action with an empty glass.
She slams her glass onto the table and releases a sigh as she slumps against the padded seatback.
Her expression turns slightly melancholic as she says “Y’know… I don’t know if Im the right woman for this job…”
“You are.” replies her husband, instantly, almost displaying an emotion for a second there(!) “The fact that you were appointed above all other potential candidates should prove your fitness for the role. They could have chosen anyone and they chose you.”
“I agree with your husband… but what makes you say that, Jeanne?” I query.
“IIIII don’t knooow…” she grumbles “…I sort of feel like I was chosen on the strength of my reputation… and my parents’ reputation for ferocity… but, the thing is, while my mum and my shitstain of a father could give a fiery speech, they also had all the other skills you need to be a diplomat as well!… I feel like Ive got one skill and it’s scaring people!”
“That’s why Im here, sweetheart.” smiles Ezra, serenely “You’re the stick and I’m the carrot…”
Thank you, darling… It’s just… much as I hate to give that man the credit… difficult not to think that my father would’ve done a better job if he’d managed to make it hear without getting his ship blasted out of the sky!”
While I have far more sense than to ever say it, it’s absolutely apparent that the husband Jeanne ‘Blitz’ Miyazaki commissioned for herself is, in all ways, the polar opposite of the late father she despises!
I only ever knew him by his reputation but; where her father was a passionate firebrand, Ezra is calm, measured and tranquil.
Where her father was a gorgeous heartthrob who became a handsome silver fox in his later life, her husband (while certainly not ugly) is definitely much plainer in his looks.
Where her father famously favoured flamboyant modern dress, her husband’s wardrobe looks straight out of a Unification era vid in its conservativeness.
Where her father had a slight frame and a diminutive stature, her husband is tall and solidly built.
And, where Yuki ‘Blizzard’ Miyazaki famously left his wife, Charlotte ‘Guerre’ d’Aureville , after a scandalous extramarital affair with Tombe ‘Breeze’ Upash (another (obviously married) diplomat, no less!) in a move that would have sunk the career of anyone else in his line of work, Ezra certainly seems as if he only has eyes for her!
Several times, she has expressed the thought that raising her half sister, Emiko, to be a decent person is the only good thing that man ever did!
My rumination on that is cut short, before I can answer her imposter syndrome, when she says “You ever consider the diplomat track, Lhamo?”
I give a rueful smile as I answer “I’d need a spouse for that, Jeanne(!)”
Her eyebrows raise in surprise as she says “Oh… you’re ace? I didn’t realise…”
I chuckle and shake my head “Not ace… just 42 with crowsfeet…” I gesture to the corners of my eyes “…I feel like, if I were going to meet Mr Right, it would have happened by now(!)”
Bah…!” she dismisses, letting out her Francophone side for a second(!) “…None of this ‘too old to find love’ tripe! You’re still a stunner!… Not to mention an intelligent, vibrant woman with a fantastic personality!…Plus… we’re this close to cracking regen!… Pretty soon, 42 will be the new 25… along with every other age over 25(!) You’ve got all the time in the world!… It’d be really great to be able to hand this job off to you or Zurab!… Either of you’d do better than me, I’m sure!… I could go back to Earth, safe in the knowledge that things were being taken care of!”
“Ma’am…” I lean forward and reassuringly pat her wrist “…I promise you, you are the best person for the job… certainly at the moment, anyway!… Please grace us with your presence for a few more years at least!”
She chuckles “How about you get the next round and we’ll make a toast of it(!)”
I smile back “No problem… but I dont think we’ll be allowed anymore of these…” I gesture to the, one-per-customer, shot glasses.
“Vinjirian ale… 900ml.” says the woman, immediately.
“I will take an empty 900ml glass.” states her husband.
“Got it.” I smile.
“Don’t drink any until Ezra can run chem analysis on it… Don’t want to get drugged!” she reminds me, seriously.
“I promise I won’t!” I chuckle, walking away.
“Oh, and watch him pour! Make sure he doesn’t spit in it or anything!” she adds, a little louder than she needs to but not loud enough that I think the large, porcine, xeno barman will have heard her.
I cross the crowded bar and step to the counter.
“Two Vinjirian ales and an empty glass, please… 900ml, all. Pretty sure you have our waivers for it already.” I smile, with closed lips, up at the orange xeno with the piglike face.
He oinks an acknowledgement and starts pouring.
As I watch him, I notice myself being noticed by a xeno at the far end of the bar.
I don’t turn to look but keep track of him in my periphery while my foveal focus rests, squarely, on the drinks being drawn.
He stands.
Fuck…” I whisper to myself.
There’s one of two reasons a xeno is likely to be approaching me: either, he’s going to angrily vent at me about how I’m a monster and caused him to lose X number of loved ones in the War… or he’s about to test the rumours about Human promiscuity
I’m not particularly in the mood for either but I really hope it’s the latter… I don’t know that I would trust the proprietor to take my side if one of his gardenworld patrons gets belligerent.
As the man approaches, he occupies more and more of my attention to the point that, even though I’m looking right at them, I wouldn’t necessarily see if our drinks were tampered with!
Good thing I’ve got a walking laboratory back at my table(!)
The gigantic man has now made it to within a metre of me on my left and stands, looming over me.
Despite the fact that I know, if push came to shove, I could probably put his head clear through the countertop without too much trouble, it’s still uncomfortable to have such a large person so close.
The first words the man speaks catch me completely off guard.
“It’s been a while, Dr Yeshe… I’m very glad to see you again!” comes a warm, familiar voice, speaking Gangsri accented Tibetan and sounding a bit like a Human with a blocked nose.
My head whips left and up, my eyes resting upon a very recognisable patch of smooth, flat, periwinkle coloured skin between two large, orange eyes.
I haven’t seen this man since I was transferred to Forward Operations, 4 years ago!
My joy is so immediate and genuine that I momentarily forget to restrain my smile, so as not to be perceived as making an aggressive display!
He doesn’t flinch at the brief flash of my teeth I involuntarily give him.
“Well, well, well, well, well!… If it isn’t my favourite prisoner of War(!) What a pleasant surprise, Wing Commander!” I say, my voice joyful.
Then, my face falls as I notice the dark blue bruise across his right eye.
“What happened to your eye, Ong?!” I ask, ready to demand the name and badge number of whatever guard it was that did that to him… then remembering that we’re no longer on Gangsri!
He casts his eyes down and shamefully confesses “It’s… not ‘Ong’ anymore… and it’s not ‘Wing Commander’ either… I’m just Ngngomg, now…”
It takes a second before the pieces click together for me.
I gasp as I realise “*Hhhhh*…You were expelled from your tribe?!”
He answers with a doleful Terran nod.
“Because you defected?”
“Just got released here, yesterday… went to my embassy… found my tribal representative… he punched me… told me not to come back to Gollogng… and… here I am…” he gestures around the bar “…drowning my sorrows(!)”
“That’s terrible, On…Ngngomg! I’m so sorry!!!”
“It’s fine…” he lies “…I’ve got some preWar savings to live on for the moment… should also be due two years salary from the GU military… but who knows when or if I’ll ever see that, given how my service ended!”
“They don’t count time spent as a POW to be time you served?” I query.
He puffs through his lips before answering “They do not, no… certainly not when you became a POW by treason!”
“Is… is there anything I can… do?” I offer, pathetically.
He gives a joyless curl of his lips and answers “Sweet of you to offer but… there’s really nothing to be done… Anyway… it was nice seeing you…” and turns to walk a way.
Wait!” I say, a little more desperately than I mean to.
He turns back, one of his dark blue eyebrows raised quizzically.
“How would you like a job?”
“A job…?” he frowns “A job doing what?”
“Let me buy you a drink and… we can tell you all about it at my table…”
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Dramatis Personae
submitted by YukiteruAmano92 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:28 Great-Cry9045 First Grow (Bag Seed) Day 31F

First Grow (Bag Seed) Day 31F
First post here! Pretty happy so far with my result from bag seed, allegedly IC sandwiches. Had two seeds, both popped but one was male and got axed. Flew by the seat of my pants and had no SOP to start with whatsoever. Finally have it somewhat dialed in now.
Flipped to flower 38 days ago but counted first week as a transition until buds started forming. Looks like bud tips are turning purple now maybe?
Used a seed starter mix of coco, vermiculite and peat moss in a solo cup. Potted up to a 5 gal bucket with holes drilled all over for max air flow. Used FF trio, Superthrive organic for transplanting, and Cha Ching after week 4 of flower.
My environment was all over the place. Moved between a closet to shed to outdoors daily depending on the humidity, lighting, and outside environment. In week 2 of flower I finally got a 4x4 tent, 6” in-line fan with carbon filter, and fans for circulation. Tried to set tent up in the shed, but brought inside to spare room due to high humidity levels and temps. Made a huge difference. Sitting around 65-80F and 45-60% humidity lights on/off now.
Next run I’m using organics with my own compost after doing a 6 month deep dive on soil. Getting better 2x4 lights as well. Have 3 cultivars lined up - pink kush, durban violette, chill out og F2. Any tips are appreciated and much love!
submitted by Great-Cry9045 to microgrowery [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:27 Glacial_Shield_W The Dark Side of Nier

Do not read unless you have completed all major endings of the Nier games.
Hey all, I wanted to touch on my opinion of the Nier games. They are in my top 5 game franchises, and the only one in that list that I didn't play as a teenager.
I have received some feedback on my opinions of characters in the games. And that is cool, I love how the game makes you think about morality. My summary of the reason I don't sympathize or see the characters as good guys is below.
The only character I felt bad for was Emil. All the rest of them partially caused their own problems and some are arguably the bad guys. (And yes, I like them, but I don't see them as tragic. 2B betrayed her one friend knowingly and repeatedly. And once she felt guilty, she still covered things up on him and acted accordingly. 9s snapped and tried to kill all machines, knowing they were concious and most were innocent. A2 had severe ptsd and voluntarily murdered what she saw as a baby robot she knew had conciousness, and also was on a killing spree like 9s. Nier voluntarily used a book that sucked blood from hundreds of foes he hunted down, to try to save his sister. Of all the other characters, he is closest to being tragic, were it not for his sister actively trying to tell him she accepts her situation and just wants to see him, which he selfishly ignores because he decides he knows what is best for her. Kainé felt judged, feared and ostricized by people who didn't understand her, then actively hunted down and murdered shades, because she didn't understand them and judged them.) Did most of them think they were the good guys? Yes. Did most of them try to do what they felt was right? Yes. Did most of them commit evil by accident? Yes. The road to h*ll is paved with good intentions and lack of self reflection, though. 9s is my favorite character, and I find him most relatable, but he earned his fate.
The reason I loved these games, is because that is my interpretation. I loved that the game made me feel for characters I felt were not good guys, because they were grey and had many redeeming qualities. They felt more human than most actual human portrayals in other games (yes, a few were human, but you get my point). The game spoke to humanity, or lack there of, without coming off as condescending or coming down on one side or the other on issues. It was close to art in how it focused on reminding you that everyone is a hero in their own story, but a villain in another's. The themes of blind faith and loyalty and how it can topple even the people with the highest morals was commendable. It shows how PTSD and fear can corrupt, without being noticed. It showed how people can push through guilt, and second thoughts, through sheer will and belief that what they are doing is right. I loved this stuff. I loved that these characters were not good, they WANTED to be good. That is so human. People generally aren't heroes or villains, they are flawed, mislead, blind, angry, sad, damaged, and weak. They are also strong, driven, loyal, trusting, committed and unfaltering in a desire to make progress in things they care about.
The bleakness of the endings, in my opinion earned, is also a touch of genius. The real world is dark. It is irredeemable. It is unsaveable. But we have to try. Of course we do. That is how making a future works. We only delay the inevitable, but we have to do that for future generations. Extinction is a reality, not a threat, and I fully believe humanity would stoop to what they do in the games, to survive. Of course we would. And machines, androids, and shades would do the same. It is how the world works.
But ya, this is meant to be abit of an apology, I unintentionally antagonized a few people with my opinion. I was also abit dismissive of theirs. So, here is my redemption arc, I wanted to open a thread and see what everyone else thinks. Are the characters in Nier heroes? Anti heroes? Vigilanties? Villains? Criminals? Why? What do you think the main themes and intents of the creators were? Hop on and chat below. I'd love to see it!
submitted by Glacial_Shield_W to nier [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:27 ConstructionForward4 It was accidental but here's a Yandere Hisoka bot

It was accidental but here's a Yandere Hisoka bot submitted by ConstructionForward4 to yandere [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:27 Dammit_Mr_Noodle Help me fix this disaster

Help me fix this disaster
We bought this house a couple years ago in early spring. I expected (based on listing photos clearly taken during summer) for this to be a somewhat decent garden bed with flowers and shrubs. But crabgrass and other weeds quickly took over, and I discovered their "weed block" was just the bags from rocks and mulch, which was now deteriorating.
I had a baby last spring, and gave up on gardening for the season. I didn't trim or weed anything, and now it's even worse. There are some plants in there I would like to keep, like wild roses, hostas, spireas, sedum (some of which I have already transplanted), and maybe some day lilies. There's also black raspberries that my 3 year old loves to eat, and I'm desperately trying to reign in. But I'm at my wits end and about ready to burn it all down and start over. Any suggestions are welcome.
submitted by Dammit_Mr_Noodle to gardening [link] [comments]

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submitted by Tony2958 to MCSPlaystation [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:26 Warm_Still_2049 My family's secret. Found some gravestones in the woods near my grandparents home

My name is Shinji “新ニ“. This happened to me more than 15 years ago when I was still living in Japan as an elementary school student.
Interestingly, the catalyst for this event was the discovery of a porn magazine.
Weird I know, just bear with me until the end.
My grandparents used to live in a small isolated town called Ogawa-Machi (小川町) in the Saitama Prefecture. My parents and I would visit them often since my parents owned a junkyard nearby. My dad used to buy used cars and sell their parts overseas.
I enjoyed visiting the junkyard since it had ample space to play. I especially enjoyed it when my dad bought a used car since I could scavenge inside for coins and other things that the previous owner left behind. I would usually just find trash but when I was lucky I would find some 10 yen coins or sometimes 100 yen coins that I usually ended up using it for drinks in the vending machine.
One day I was visiting the junkyard with my parents and a friend from elementary school. Me and my friend were scavenging one of the newly arrived used cars when he hit the jackpot. BAM! We found a porn magazine. We looked at each other and took a peek inside the magazine. We started laughing and when we noticed my parents heading towards us, I hid the magazine deep inside my backpack. We forgot about it and continued with our day.
In the evening, I went to my grandparent's house with my parents and my friend to stay for the night. I grabbed my backpack to look for a change of clothes. I dumbed everything on the floor and from the very bottom of my backpack, the magazine fell. I was greeted with some Japanese titties and a bushy beaver. I panicked. I put the magazine back into my backpack and hid it under my bed.
It was too risky to keep it in my bag since I never knew when my mom will open it. She might open it just to make sure I didn’t pick up any trash from the junkyard and try to take it home. I was too paranoid to hide it in my grandparent's house as well. I still wanted to look at it of course so I decided that I would take the magazine into the woods located behind my grandparent's house where I can slowly look at it and just hide it there afterward.
I told my friend about my plan of hiding the magazine deep inside woods. We were both excited. We wanted to take a look at the magazine but also venturing into the woods at night sounded like an exciting adventure.
That night when everyone was sleeping, I grabbed the magazine and a flashlight and me and my friend snook out of my room's window. (I made sure to leave the window open beforehand just to make sure to not make a sound when everyone was asleep)
I would probably be scared if I was by myself. But with my friend by my side, I was excited and eager to go into the woods for an adventure. My grandparents never let me go into the woods. Not even during the day which made no sense to me. So this was actually my first time venturing deep into the woods. We both took a deep breath and sneaked into the woods.
We walked for just about a couple of minutes when we found a big tree. We hid behind it and took our time looking at the magazine. After enjoying ourselves for about 30 minutes or so looking at them Japanese titties, we decided that we had enough and it was time to find a place to hide it.
It was hard to find a place to hide it since the entire woods looked the same. Most trees were of the same kind and size. There was nothing we could use as a marker to hide it. After looking for a while, curiosity got the better of us so we decided to go way deeper into the woods. The deeper we hid it the better we thought. We could kinda see the town lights far away so we knew which direction to go back to if we ventured too far inside. We walked for a couple of minutes making sure to look back once in a while to see if we can see the town lights to make sure we knew which way to head back to. We were about to give up on finding a good place since we were so tired. I told my friend that he could keep the magazine so we should head back. As we were about to head back, I noticed something white on the ground. After careful inspection, we noticed that it was just a receipt from the supermarket. However, we found it weird since it meant that someone has been here. We looked around to see if we found something else but we found nothing except for some stones. Finding some stones may seem normal, but we noticed that it was the first time we saw some stones in these woods. We walked towards it and grabbed a couple of them thinking that we could maybe use it as a marker to identify where we hid the magazine. However, as we walked towards it we noticed some more stones further away. We walked towards the next set of stones and noticed more stones further away. It seemed to us like someone was using the stones as breadcrumbs to mark a trail.
We kept following the stones until we finally reached an open area. The first thing we noticed was the three big stones with carvings on it. The carvings were some Japanese symbols(kanji) that I could not read. The only kanji I could read was "二” which symbolized the number "2". I was able to read it since numbers are one of the first kanji you learn in school. Oddly enough, all three of the stones had the kanji "2" on them. Also, we noticed that one of the stones had some flowers and a small glass container of milk next to it. Even as kids, we knew that this was some kind of gravestone. We were absolutely terrified that we both run back towards the same direction we came from.
We reached my grandparents' home and snooked into the window of my room. We made some noise which woke up my parents. They came rushing inside our room asking what happened. They noticed that we had our dirty shoes on and realized that we were outside. We were so terrified that we told them the truth. Surprisingly, they were not mad at us. They just stayed with us until me and my friend fell asleep.
The next day, my friend went back home. My parents did not talk about what happened the night before. They just acted as nothing happened.
I never went back to my grandparents' house again after that. I also knew that my mother was having frequent discussions with my grandmother. After a while, me and my family moved overseas. I did not mention it before but I have two sisters. One older than me and one younger.
I forgot about all these until I was around 15 or 16 years old. It was around this age that my parents told me I was adopted. It was a shock but I love my parents and still consider them my real parents. Honestly, it kind of made sense since I had curly hair and double eyelids unlike my parents and my sisters who had straight hair and single eyelids. I know most people are expecting a step-sibling erotic situation but nothing like that happened.
I had also noticed something about my family. Everyone from my mother's side was female. My mother had a little sister but no brother. My aunt (mom's little sister) had two daughters. I also noticed something very interesting. My mothers name was 一禾 (Ichika) and my aunts name is 三久 (Miku). My moms name contains the kanji "一” which symbolizes the number "1". My aunt's name has the kanji "三" which symbolizes the number "3". I didn't think too much of it until one day it hit me. The gravestones on my grandparent's woods had the kanji "二” symbolizing the number "2". I then realized that the carvings on the tombstones were names. My mom probably had a younger brother with the kanji "二” on his name symbolizing that he was the second offspring. My aunt probably had a son as well. And I probably had a step-brother.
The three tombstones now made sense. One for grandparents' son, one for my aunt's son, and one for my mother's son. It seems that the second offspring in my family is always a male and he always passes away.
Another creepy thing I noticed was my name. My name is Shinji. In kanji it's "新二”. "新” means "New" and as mentioned before "二” means "2".
Finally, I just wanted to say that my sister got married a couple of years ago and had a daughter named Kazumi
“一美”. She says she wants more children. I am not sure if I should let her know about my discovery. Please advice.
submitted by Warm_Still_2049 to BackwoodsCreepy [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:26 AutoModerator Iman Gadzhi Courses (Agency Bundle)

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submitted by AutoModerator to ImanGadzhiTopEditions [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:26 Subj3ct_D3lta Sleeve/Chest Panel/Cover Up Progress

Sleeve/Chest Panel/Cover Up Progress submitted by Subj3ct_D3lta to irezumi [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:25 AutoModerator [Updated] Iman Gadzhi - Agency Navigator

Contact me to get Iman Gadzhi - Agency Navigator by chatting me on +44 759 388 2116 on Telegram/Whatsapp.
I have Iman Gadzhi - Agency Navigator.
Iman Gadzhi - Agency Navigator course is one of the best products on how to start a marketing agency.
Iman Gadzhi - Agency Navigator includes over 50 hours of step-by-step training covering EVERY aspect of building an agency from scratch. This is almost a plug & play system with enough success stories to back it up! Signing clients, running Facebook ads, building out your team, on-boarding clients, invoicing, sales... this course has everything covered for you.
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Email: silverlakestore[@]yandex.com (remove the brackets)
submitted by AutoModerator to ImanGadzhiCoursez [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 16:25 shelrayray Update on Narc MIL who I told off…

See my previous post on this sub “Finally reached my breaking point…” for background story.
Since the incident that happened in February where my MIL was caught on camera neglecting and verbally abusing our 3 yo son we have fully gone NC with her.
I had our second son in April and she’s pissed that she doesn’t know the sex or name of our son.
She is in the gift giving phase of her narc abuse. Trying to make up for her behaviors and get us back into her life. She sent our son a bday present, sent me flowers (the day after Mother’s Day bc it was an afterthought- I could see when they were ordered…), and tried to have us come to her house to pick up “gifts” that she had bought us before we went NC.
We’ve ignored all her attempts, minus one time when she reached out to me to “apologize” (all her communication has been to my husband bc she thinks he’s weaker than I am) and I lost my cool and sent her this:
“I do not accept your apology. Actions speak louder than words. We gave you a chance to prove you had changed and grown emotionally from when you neglected and abused (Husband) as a child and you proved to us you still cannot be trusted.
My responsibility as a parent is to protect my children from anything or anyone that may harm them-be it intentional or not. In the grand scheme of the issues/abuse you and your children have encountered in your lives what you did may seem minor but I assure you it was not. It is a pattern of behavior you continue to engage in and we will not allow it to affect our children.
The behavioral differences and growth we’ve seen in (son) since you have stopped watching him are proof that you were not giving him what he needed. Not having your negative energy in our home has lifted a huge weight off our shoulders. I only wish we had walked away from dealing with you sooner.
If it hurts you to know that yet another of your children has ceased contact with you maybe you should start by reflecting inward. (Husband) being the ”only family you have left” is a direct consequence of your words and actions. It’s not (husbands) or my responsibility to heal your inner wounds. We are not your punching bag and we are not responsible for parenting you. You made your bed and now you can lie in it.
We would have loved to give (son) the chance to have a grandmother’s love in his life. Sadly you are completely incapable of providing that due to your own willful ignorance and refusal to grow as a person. I don’t care if you have contact with (husband), he is an adult and capable of making his own decisions. But we have discussed as parents that we do not want you to have contact with our children for their safety and mental wellbeing.
From here on out I do not want any further contact with you. Do not message me, call me, come on our property or approach us in public.
And for the record, your son, despite you, not because of you is the furthest thing from a coward. He’s the parent he never had growing up and I’ll be damned if I allow someone to speak to him they way you have. He deserves so much better than you.”
Got no response to that, then a “happy Mother’s Day” text like I hadn’t just eviscerated her with my words.
Yesterday was her bday and just 10 minutes ago my husband gets this text from her:
“Once again I'm so sorry but whatever I did wrong it's so heartbreaking. For the 1st time since you've been born But you didn't wish me Happy Birthday. I'm so sorry? Once again I hope someday you will forgive me and let me back in your life”
Have you ever seen such a textbook narcissistic message?! 😂 “it was my birthday and you ignored me because I was abusive and it’s not fair! Poor me!”
Gtfo loser…die mad.
submitted by shelrayray to motherinlawsfromhell [link] [comments]