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Greed is Subtle
The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet. Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured. Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it. During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper. Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss. "Hello?" Ghen answered. "Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details." "Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?" "No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about." Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?" "Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up." Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically. As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?" Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery." Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans? "Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time." A week later. At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting. "Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?" All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts. "Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!" Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing? "Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded." "Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost. "Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount." "So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked. "If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder." "And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists. "Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options." Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket. "What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time. Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately." "And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone. "Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!" "And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money. "Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?" Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working? As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase. And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times. Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way. Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies. And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits? Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more. ... There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept? Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there. "Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?" "Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down. "Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form. "I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little." "Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod. "As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact. "Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so." Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually." "Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?" "Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest." "Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?" "If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated. "So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?" "Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case. "Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted." "Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise. "What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious." "I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?" Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold." "A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted. Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares." Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later. After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always. "I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?" "I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?" "I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch." "You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor. "I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle." "I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk. Several weeks later. Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt. While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route. After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891. And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it. And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back? His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful. By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs. What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real? It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off. As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen. "What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments. "D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car. "You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!" "How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh. "Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!" Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares." Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?" "Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?" "Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin." And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?" Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?" "Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!" "Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it." "Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited." "By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them." "Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go." Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?" Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it." ... It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%. Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way? What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching? He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late. Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well. "I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?" Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say." "Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?" "Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them. They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus. "May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar." Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please." "Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean. Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him. Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high? And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm. And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money. And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible. The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it. Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing. Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal. Three Years Later. Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat. It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply. Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik. Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes. Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery. "Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon." "Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik. "Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good." "What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik." Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month." "I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk." "You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently." "Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know." "Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?" "I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement." Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?" AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
Classified: Compiled Intelligence On the Lost Dolls Reclaimer Faction (OC Reclaimer Faction)
Condensed intelligence overview detailing currently known information on the Reclaimer faction known as ‘Lost Dolls.’ Information contained therein has been compiled by Sky Union Intelligence Officer ‘MB.’ Sources consist largely of Sky Union’s own records, as well as shared intelligence reports on the matter, compiled battle data, and found footage shared by Orbital. MB was also able to covertly interview the pilot ‘Port’ directly, though it’s believed that she understood the general purpose of MB’s questioning, and so her testimony must be accepted with a degree of scrutiny. OVERVIEW Unit Name: Lost Dolls
“Bringing you the bleeding edge of technology from thirty years ago, today. Let’s get started.”
-MB, initial debriefing. Time of Operation: Officially, only four hundred and seventy three days. Compiled intelligence suggests that the group has been active in the Oval Link for far longer, with upward estimates reaching as high as twenty years. At the very least, all members were alive at the time of the Moonfall. Pilots: Five Affiliations: No known Consortium ties. Joint operations alongside other Reclaimer factions are uncommon, though Steel Knights show up most often with Bullet Works and Immortal Innocence tied for a distant second. Preferred Mission Profile: Lost Dolls’ mission profile trends toward humanitarian missions. Primarily defensive or retributive actions against Corrupted A.I. incursions, particularly those concerning civilian populations within the Oval Link. It’s generally accepted that this is one of the primary factors contributing to their work alongside Steel Knights. They are less likely than average to pursue high-risk, high-payout missions such as deep-dives into A.I. territory or the escort of VIPs, such as political or military personnel, out of high risk areas. Conversely, they are more likely to take on high-risk missions with lower pay, such as escorting civilian evacuation caravans in the event of a Corrupted A.I. incursion. This behavior matches with the Dolls’ preference for humanitarian work, as missions fitting these criteria tend to be posted by lower level governmental officials, or even civilians with pooled resources, who have come under sudden attack. Quirks: All five pilots typically show to missions, in violation of the four-per-squad standard. Normally this would be in violation of the Consortium Treaty, but so far Orbital has refused to take action. It is theorized that this is due to the Dolls’ reluctance to hit military targets, and that Orbital may be letting the behavior slide in the interest of protecting civilian lives. The Dolls have no known home base. Port has made reference to a ‘bus’ in interviews that she says they use for field repair and transportation; it’s possible she’s referring to an old rapid deployment Arsenal carrier like the ones that were used before the Consortiums established proper infrastructure in the Oval Link, but it’s hard to say where a group like the Dolls could have found an operational one, much less one capable of fielding five arsenals. It’s almost more likely that they actually have two, puttering somewhere around the Neutral Zone. Even that’s a hard pill to swallow, since the old carriers have been out of production for almost thirty years now. Very little of the Dolls’ equipment is up-to-date. Their plugsuits are all defunct prototype models and in varying states of disrepair; most of their pilots don’t even use the actual connections in the suits themselves, opting instead for permanent ports connecting directly to their nervous systems. I’ve never seen any of them sporting a Blitz, either. At least one, Port, has been observed with what appears to be a traditional slug-throwing sidearm. The Lost Dolls claim to be a family unit of five sisters. The physical differences between them would imply that this is in a purely symbolic manner (excepting Protoca and Hope. Possibly Port if our facial analysis data is reliable), but the effect is the same. Their loyalty to each other is hard to call into question. Every one of their pilots has had their age frozen by Outer Syndrome. It should be noted that all pilots, excepting Earwax, have pilot rankings that do not properly reflect their overall level of competency. The Dolls’ propensity for low-sensitivity missions and unwillingness to work closely to further any Consortium goals aside from preservation of human life has left them low on the leaderboard. In cases where this information is used for planning operations against or alongside the Lost Dolls, assume all pilots are at the level of A rank or higher. PILOTS/MECHS
“I’ll start off with saying that the Dolls have the most ‘ware I’ve ever seen packed into a unit of this size. Two pilots are almost entirely cybernetic. And I do mean entirely.”
-MB Callsign: Tachi Real Name: Tachi Hanamura Age: Unknown. Appears to be in her late teens. Height: 197cm outside of Arsenal, 76cm while embarked, 167cm when utilizing her ‘emergency legs.’ Rank: C Handed: Both Family: Four sisters Outer Ability: Unknown. Though she is remarkably receptive to cybernetic augmentations and displays an unusual level of synchronicity with her Arsenal, hovering at anywhere between 91% and 95% at any time. Piloting Tendences: Aggressive. Highly aggressive. Tachi’s typical M.O. involves charging directly into an enemy formation and smashing the thing to bits before moving onto the next cluster. She often acts as the Dolls’ line breaker and attack dog, flushing high priority targets out of the press or just bowling down the chaff so that the other pilots can focus on more important things.
“The armor is 600mm of over a dozen different laminates and they didn’t include a single thermal dispersion layer for laser fire...”
-Tachi, picking over the husk of a disabled Genbu Physical Description: Where to start? First, brown hair, cropped into a messy bowl cut. Wide build for a girl. Her entire right arm is cybernetic. Her torso ends above her hips, which have been replaced by a massive version of the nerve-interface hubs found on standard plugsuits. Outside of her Arsenal this is plugged into the top of a massive set of ‘spider legs,’ complete with abdomen, which she uses as her normal mode of transport. When embarked on a mission, she’s lifted off her leg hub and simply plugged into a custom seat in her Arsenal, with a secondary connection at the base of her neck; the normal shoulder connections aren’t used. The arm and leg hub don’t match any known manufacturer of prosthetics, and the connection format at her hip is dated by at least a full twenty years. A pair of more modern legs are integrated into her piloting seat and act as part of her ejection system should her Arsenal be put out of commission in the middle of combat. She has a set of rocket thrusters implanted into her back. Actual rocket thrusters; the vents are mostly flush with her shoulder blades, protruding perhaps 5-6cm. Footage loaned from Orbital demonstrates her leaping almost one hundred meters utilizing them while under full load (read: attached to the massive spider leg assembly). Using her Arsenal ejection system, combined with the lighter weight of her backup legs, it’s estimated she could travel as far as three hundred meters on a burst from the thrusters. Arsenal: Arachne Weapon Compliment:
HAW-M05L Silver Raven II
HAW-C16 Ogre Break II
HAW-GR01 Hand Grenade
SAW-L22 Agni Flame
HAW-R02 Grim Reaper II
Arsenal Characteristics: Beat half to death and heavy. Arachne’s one of the two Arsenals in the Dolls’ employ that we have a decent technical read on, mostly because Tachi’s a shameless showboat and likes to show off all the tinkering she’s done on the thing. A decent example of the Dolls’ construction strategy, no two armor components on Arachne are from the same model. The left arm is optimized for melee strikes (both the base model, and the aftermarket modifications that have been made by the pilot) while the right is oriented for handling firearms. The unit is sluggish in the air and has middling mobility on foot for it’s durability; fine enough for Tachi’s preferred method of brawling. Combat footage shows she’s the type of pilot that tries to stay grounded anyway. Tachi’s normal plan of attack is to get in close and personal with the Raven II and Ohabari and shred whatever’s in front of her. The Reaper II is typically reserved for plinking Strais or aerial targets that have gotten spread out. The Agni Flame appears to be used purely as backup. Frankly, the Reaper II and Ogre Break II are squandered here. With a maximum lock range of only two hundred and one meters, Arachne is right on the edge of it’s rangeband with the Reaper and hopelessly short of the Ogre. That hasn’t stopped the pilot from eyeballing slower moving AI from farther out, but the Arsenal really shows the slapdash nature of the pilot.
“She doesn’t stop. Not for anything. While pouring over the combat footage I actually stumbled onto a sequence where she took a Failnaught round right through the cockpit and all it did was make her angry.”
-MB. Callsign: Protoca Real Name: Protoca [no known surname] Age: Unknown. Appears to be in her late teens. Height: 182cm Rank: B Handed: Left Family: Four sisters Outer Ability: Rapid regeneration from injuries, as well as being prone to physical mutation. She can apparently recover from injuries that even most Outers would find lethal; we have combat footage of an ejected Protoca taking a cannon round to the legs, obliterating everything from her hips downward. I met her face-to-face in my interview with Port and she had made a full recovery, complete with a set of genuine flesh and blood legs. You wouldn’t even know it’d happened. Her mutations appear to be a side-effect of her regeneration, and do not directly benefit her while piloting outside of her absurd physical strength and enhanced reflexes. Piloting Tendencies: Measured and deliberate, but outrageously dogged. She keeps a wide engagement profile and usually plays mop-up alongside Port when dealing with traditional corrupted AI forces, otherwise she’s running interference when facing off against Arsenals. She’s particularly skilled at close urban combat and swaps between playing rifleman and melee roles fluidly. She also rarely retreats from engagement, regardless of the tactical situation. On at least one occasion, her Arsenal was reduced down to it’s torso, head, and one leg in an engagement with a hostile Arsenal pilot. Instead of withdrawing, Protoca engaged afterburners and tackled her opponent, which bought enough time for Lost Dolls’ other pilots to reach her position and disable the enemy. Generally speaking, it seems she simply will not withdraw from an engagement unless one of the other pilots is under direct threat or Port herself calls for an immediate withdrawal.
“You don’t take one step further. Not one.”
-Protoca, staring down three fresh Strais after dispatching their forward wing. Physical Description: A real mess. For the basics; brown hair, trimmed into an angled bob cut. She’s wide shouldered, but nowhere near as broad as Tachi. Her torso and leg profiles are slim, arguably emaciated. Musculature is extremely visible, as if she’s constantly tensing her entire body with every movement. It’s possible that’s the case, as her movement patterns have a habit of being twitchy and erratic. As for the aforementioned mutations: her right leg is covered in dark, hard scales. An atrophied wing, like that of a bat, shares a dual joint at the shoulder with her right arm. Numerous scars, some clearly surgical in nature. There’s a kind of plant-like symbiont that wraps around her left arm, up her neck, and ends in her hair, sprouting into a pair of green, bioluminescent flowers; it’s unclear if this is a mutation to her person or if it’s a separate entity. A note about the wing and scales: they’re proofed against small arms. How Protoca’s body is able to produce organic compounds capable of standing up to Femto weaponry is currently a subject of heated debate in R&D’s breakroom. I’m sure more than a few whiteboards have been broken over it, considering how loud they get. Arsenal: One More Weapon Compliment:
OAW-BL74 Cronus Break
HAW-CF22 Chaff Flare
HAW-R26F Guilty Throne
Arsenal Characteristics:One More is the type of Arsenal you could smack upside the head with a Buster Doom and it would ask for seconds. True, it doesn’t have the bulk of a true heavy-weight, but the chassis itself is strong enough to take a hit and keep on coming and the Splendor repair system means the Arsenal has fantastic staying power over the course of an extended engagement. And the Aegis shield in the off-hand gifts the pilot considerable bulk in the context of a contained duel. Like Arachne, One More has a lopsided chassis with a horrendously overengineered sword arm while the other is optimized for handling firearms. Unlike Arachne, One More has access to a far more advanced set of weaponry. Between the Guilty Throne, Aegis, Cronus Break, and Stargazer, Protoca is running a veritable buffet of high performance, low availability equipment. The manufacturers of the Cronus Break and Aegis models aren’t even public knowledge, so it’s an open question where the Dolls could have procured such serious tech with their relatively bare income and (reportedly) spartan operational facilities. Operationally, One More often acts as the anvil to Port and Tachi’s hammer; a hard to remove obstacle for any conventional AI force and a dogged pursuer for most arsenal-based forces.
“The team’s tactical leader and designated marksman. Methodical, cordial, and a complete horror show like all the others.”
-MB Callsign: Port Real Name: Samantha Thampson Age: Unknown. Appears to be in her late teens. Height: 167cm Rank: B Handed: Left Family: Four sisters. Outer Ability: Port’s brain is innately capable of understanding binary code which allows her unparalleled levels of synchronicity with her Arsenal, fluctuating between 99%-100%. It also allows her to eschew the traditional connecting ports in her plug suit (which is good, because they’re all visibly broken) and instead opt for a surgically installed plug that connects directly to her brain stem. Connected this way, her Arsenal effectively becomes an extension of her physical body. This ability also extends to binary converted into other formats other than a direct electrical feed; Port has often been caught having verbal, and apparently quite in-depth, conversations with the AI unit of her Arsenal via the unit’s external audio systems, with bursts of static standing in for the unit's speech. How coherent/intelligent this ‘dialogue’ from the unit is still up in the air, but analysis of the few samples we do have shows definite patterns in the unit’s ‘speech’ and in how it reacts to Port herself. Piloting Tendencies: Port’s preferred method of engagement appears to be skirmishing at distance; she fits the rifleman archetype to a T. Unlike Protoca, Tachi, and Lily, Port has no measures for melee combat installed on her Arsenal aside from its fists, and even the one shotgun she keeps on the rear pylons is a choked down, longer range model. Her usual M.O. when deployed amongst her sisters is to hang back behind Tachi or Protoca and plink. Well, ‘plink.’ The DMR and high performance assault rifle she’s managed to scrounge out of the Neutral Zone could blow through a Rebellion’s kneecap with sustained fire, and her sisters are good at giving her the required openings. While going over the combat footage, I saw her put a round down the barrel of a Slay Dog more than once.
“Oh, we’re just a merry little band of misfits, Sergeant. Looking out for each other, trying to make the world a better place. I’m sure you’ve heard the old song and dance.”
-Port, early in her interview with Intelligence Officer MB. Physical Description: The most immediately striking thing about Port is arguably her albinism; snow white from head to toe except for her eyes, which are pink from lack of pigment. After that might be the fact that she’s a quadruple amputee with a full suite of military grade replacement limbs (or rather, Port claims that they’re military grade). The hardware itself appears very dated, to the point where our intelligence teams have not actually been able to pinpoint a make or model. Aside from being old, they’re clearly several sizes too large for her. Approximating by their overall scale, we estimate they’re intended for an 180cm adult male. The size difference is exaggerated somewhat by the fact that her legs have actually been installed too low, connecting part way down her thighs rather than at the hip. The limbs themselves don’t appear to be anything special; the arms are conventional replacement limbs with a fully articulated wrist, hand, and fingers while the legs are set up for sprinting, the feet having been replaced with a flexible running fin. The legs also boast a pneumatic jumping apparatus on par with modern Outer modifications. Port has also undergone extensive cranial modifications, some of which she claims she’s performed herself. These include a large radio antenna mounted behind her right ear and connected via ribbon cable to the base of her skull, a set of four high definition cameras implanted into the ridges of her cheekbones, a manually operated combat stimulant pump on the bottom left portion of her skull, and two white ‘dog ears’ surgically implanted over her ear canals (breed and origin undetermined; possibly vat grown and purchased off the black market). Moving on from augmentations; Port herself is slightly built. Thin frame, long face, little visible muscle to speak of. Her torso is thin enough that it almost appears emaciated, though there’s some contention on whether this is actually due to nutritional deficit or rather a result of further augmentation or Outer Syndrome. She’s covered in scars and has permanent iris damage in her left eye. Arsenal: B3-206 (though Port often shortens this to ‘Bee’) Weapon Compliment:
SAW-SR53 Beluga Beam
Agni Flame M
HAW-R26F Guilty Throne
HAW-SH35 Hoggish Spriggan
HAW-AM01L Scarlet Star
And a reserve magazine for an expanded ammunition compliment. Arsenal Characteristics: A solid, all around trooper unit. B3-206 excels in the roles of medium range fire support and skirmisher. Between the Beluga Beam and Scarlet Star, B3-206 has excellent firepower at range to harass hostile targets while the Guilty Throne and M model Agni Flame offer solid mid-range options for when the fighting gets in a little closer. Port appears to keep the Spriggan on hand as a sidearm more than anything else, usually only resorting to it once her other weapons have depleted their ammunition stores. As for the Arsenal itself, B3-206 is very much a jack of all trades. Construction focuses on striking a balance between durability, maneuverability, and memory capacity with some minor sacrifices to overall firepower. Of particular note are the Arsenal’s arms, the make of which don’t appear in any of our internal records. Construction closely resembles the make of an old, defunct Zen prototype from over twenty years ago but declassified documents suggest that those never made it past the drawing board before the project was canceled; we’re currently doing some more thorough digging to try and figure out where Port may have picked them up but the current theory is that she found a fabricator on the black market who developed the design independently. As mentioned previously, B3-206 is on recording having apparently complex conversations with Port via audibly broadcast binary noise. We don’t have enough data to synthesize a translation at this time, but the patterns are definite and subtle variations in the machine’s tone do closely mirror subtleties in human speech resulting from shifts in mood. Port herself has been cryptic on the subject but the implications of a sapient AI operating directly under Orbital authority are something the intelligence community is still exploring.
“Arguably the team’s ace pilot, she ties Port and Protoca combined for Arsenal downs. She lags behind in Corrupted AI kills but then, that isn’t her job.”
-MB Callsign: Lily Real Name: Liliana [no known surname] Age: Unknown. Appears to be in her early teens. Height: 160cm Rank: A Handed: Right Family: Four sisters Outer Ability: Instantaneous reaction time. She has a true reaction time of 0.00000000 seconds, meaning she is only limited by the inertia of her own body or Arsenal when maneuvering in combat. This has given rise to some truly hair-raising maneuvering from Lily, as she can change her plan of attack at any point for any reason as long as her Arsenal is capable of putting up with the mechanical stress. Piloting Tendencies: Highly aggressive, arguably moreso than Tachi. Her ability to outthink and out-react even her own teammates mean that Lily is often extending far beyond them before they can even realize it. The good news for her is that the enemy won't realize it either; not until she's put two full magazines from her Silver Raven IIs right into their back, anyway.
“A real firecracker, this one. You wouldn’t guess by how quiet she is off the field.”
-MB Physical Description: Short, slightly built (though not so much as Port), with the physicality one might expect of a professional dancer. Her hair is sandy brown and kept braided. Like Port, Lily is highly augmented. Both her legs have been replaced with prosthetics and, like Port, the make and model are unknown. Visually, they resemble Outer-issue dedicated leaping prosthetics in that they taper sharply down to the feet which appear to be a pair of springloaded fins, not dissimilar to Port’s running fins. Her left arm has also been replaced with an arm of a similar make to Port’s, though it’s not identical. It’s detachable, with the shoulder socket doubling as Lily’s primary connection port while embarked in the Rabbit. Also like Port, she has a pair of animal ears implanted into her head, though in this case they are in addition to her normal ones as opposed to replacing them; they’re a pair of large rabbit ears matching her hair color. Some miscellaneous notes: Lily is completely mute. She communicates primarily through a form of one-handed sign language, heavily favoring her right hand. Per Port, all pilots in the unit are fluent enough to understand the broad strokes of whatever it is Lily is signing but only Tachi has put in the time to learn the language properly. Her and Lily will sometimes utilize it to have private conversations. In the field she gets by with a limited set of synthesized voice commands that Port has uploaded into a soundboard in her cockpit. Lily is also quite near-sighted. A rare condition for an Outer, let alone an Arsenal pilot. She can commonly be found sporting a pair of cokebottle glasses when not in her Arsenal. Arsenal: Red Rabbit Weapon Compliment:
HAW-M05 Silver Raven II x 2
HAW-CS09 Cooling System
Arsenal Characteristics:Red Rabbit is what most experienced Arsenal pilots would describe as ‘selfish.’ Even as part of a cohesive unit, Red Rabbit’s role typically involves acting alone, striking forward ahead of the advancing unit or around the opposition’s flank to pick out high priority targets before the enemy can properly react. Where Arachne’s application is as a blunt instrument, Red Rabbit is a dagger sinking into the enemy’s unguarded flank. Hot shots flock to these sorts of machines because it means they get to wrack up the killmarks, though Lily doesn't seem the type to keep score. About every aspect of Red Rabbit’s handling characteristics have been redlined for the sake of keeping up with its daring pilot. It’s bleeding fast, turns on a dime, and is practically air-weight as far as Arsenals are concerned. This also means it’s exceptionally fragile but, with Lily at the helm, it’s rare for the Rabbit to incur significant battle damage at all. A minor note: Red Rabbit is the only Arsenal in the unit to use an after-market body kit. This has made visually identifying the make and model essentially impossible. Femto expulsion readings and in-depth handling analyses have been carried out by our boys in the Intelligence office but I can only speculate as to their conclusion, as the particular details haven’t been cleared for my viewing. I hear it made some of the higher ups break into a cold sweat, for whatever that’s worth.
“Cute kid. Not really sure what she’s doing hanging out in a Reclaimer unit, shy as she is.”
-MB Callsign: Earwax Real Name: Hope [no known surname] Age: Unknown. Her age was frozen while quite young; appears to be about nine or ten. Height: 121cm Rank: E Handed: Right Family: Four sisters Outer Ability: Currently unknown. Port has hinted that she might have empathic capabilities. Piloting Tendencies: Earwax is the team’s high altitude reconnaissance and communications expert. She spends every moment of flight time high over the battlefield, coordinating the other pilots and keeping a bird’s eye view of the battle. There is no known record of Earwax engaging in combat directly.
“Don’t call me that! Ugh. I asked Port not to make that my nickname . . .”
-Earwax apparently doesn’t like her callsign. Physical Description: The spitting image of Protoca, if Protca were seven years younger and lacking mutations. Going theory in the intelligence circuit is that Earwax and Protoca are twins, with Earwax contracting Outer Syndrome at an earlier date than her sister. Sadly, at this stage all we have is conjecture. Notable visual distinctions between the two, aside from height, mostly come down to personal style. Earwax wears her hair longer and is more likely to wear ornaments such as hair clips or bands. She is also the team’s only member to be commonly found in civilian clothing, with a penchant for ribbons and frilly dresses. All told, Earwax is almost aggressively ‘normal’ in contrast with the rest of her team, wholly lacking her sister’s enhanced musculature as well as any cybernetic augmentation. Arsenal: Eden Weapon Compliment: A single HAW-H05L Trickster and all the sensor equipment you can reasonably jam into the torso chassis. Arsenal Characteristics: Eden is the Dolls’ high altitude recon and overwatch unit. Just about every spare or redundant part has been pulled off the frame in favor of saving weight and increasing the maximum operational ceiling of the unit well beyond standard combat load parameters. As a result, Eden is capable of operating above an AO almost indefinitely, feeding the team’s other pilots a steady stream of intel while high and away from any real danger. Frankly, there isn’t much more to say on the subject. Eden is so pared down that it’s barely more than a trainer unit with a bunch of sensors strapped to the hood. Which is good, because Hope has none of the typical neural implants that normally facilitate handling Arsenal movement, nor any secondary method of connection like most of her sisters. She flies almost purely by instruments. There isn’t even much evidence to suggest she’s ever fired her Trickster, which is meant as a last resort defensive measure in case something gets by the defensive screen formed by the rest of the unit. There have been all of five occasions where her Arsenal was purposefully pursued by enemy contacts and, the three times they got away from Lily, said contacts burned their own engines out while trying to exceed their operational ceiling. Closing Statement: The Lost Dolls represent a valuable asset in the fight against the Corrupted AI in that they are a reliable and high-uptime asset dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable towns and cities across the Oval Link. That said, they show no interest in working closely with any Consortium; at this time it is my estimation that we would only ever look to the Lost Dolls as a stabilizing measure in the event of a crisis, rather than a resource to exploit proactively. If you made it this far, thanks for reading over my post. And thanks to u/Muteki_____ for translating DxM's supplementary materials and ultimately giving me the idea for this writeup. I sure hope the formatting doesn't break.
I spent a day being completely thoughtless and I wanted to share a few life-changing things I realised.
A quick background, I've been meditating for about 7 years now and had a breakthrough recently where I'm perpetually aware of my thoughts and able to completely disassociate myself from them and fully experience the now not just in my meditation practice, but in day-to-day life. I should clarify "thoughtless" because it sounds possibly like a lie or a delusion created by my ego, but there's no better way to explain it. It's like the chatter is still there, the narratives and old beliefs are still there, but I can simply rise above them and be unaffected by them. There is no hyperawareness or any form of mysticism to this state. I would probably describe it more as true awareness, where I am actually in the now, IN my reality rather than looking at it through my thoughts. It is less about understanding something and more about experiencing it. By "thoughtless", I am referring to this state. I also decided to purposely abandon language when I did this, because I feel language is the easiest way we conceptualise our reality. Instead of seeing a chair, I simply label that thing as "a chair" and then my mind is no longer interested in that object because to the mind, it is something it is already familiar with (mistakenly). I wanted to rid myself of the labelling, so I let go of language for the day (in my mind I mean. I had to use language in the external world to communicate). It took me a good half an hour to really settle into the thoughtless state. My mind was constantly trying to tell me that in the absence of thought, I would live like a zombie. But cutting out language from the equation simply turned this thought into palpable anxiety. Once, I settled in, it was a thoroughly pleasant experience. These realisations WERE NOT what I experienced when I was truly aware but are an afterthought that I reflected upon after the day was done: 1. Faith is a prerequisite of being thoughtless/purely aware I used to think of faith as a trait required when doing something risky. The truth is that if you intend to live in the absence of thought, it is a non-negotiable necessity. See, if I am choosing not to think about what I am doing, I need to have faith that whatever I do is right. There is no option to this. If you even have a singular doubt that you need to monitor what you are doing, you will have to succumb to your thoughts. It is binary in that sense. You either have faith or you do not. Faith, not in a religious sense, but in yourself with the knowing that you can do no wrong. Living with this shift is the most freeing experience I have ever had, honestly. And it's not new at all. I know I've been here many times before, especially as a kid. But to do it intentionally and in activities you would deem as mundane, it's really something. 2. You are not your thoughts, yes. But you are also not the absence of your thoughts. I don't know how well I can communicate this, so I'll illustrate it with what happened. After I settled into being thoughtless, I got up from the bed I was lying on and walked around my room. While I was walking, I was aware of the floor, my body, the wind, the view from my window...everything. But, I never "decided" to get up from the bed. I never "decided" to walk around my room. Some would say that this is your subconscious. Some would say that while I blocked out language, it could be non-linguistic thoughts. But, I truly believe that it is a higher self that is completely in control of you. We have conveniently called it a "sub" conscious, implying it is somehow beneath us or our conscious mind (again, with its labelling), but I feel it is above our ability to grasp. In my thoughtless state, I can certainly say I had a clear awareness of I. But the very fact that I say I had an awareness of I, means that the "I" and the "awareness (of I)" are two entities and the "I" remains elusive, if that makes sense. So, no, I'd say that being thoughtless may get you closest to your true self, but it is definitely not being One with your self. I am giving basic examples of getting up and walking, which sound like non-activities. But imagine, I spent an entire day like that. All the things I did that day, I did not "plan" to. I did not "think" of doing. I did not even think while I was doing intricate things like cooking. At the end of the day, I could say that I did x and y and z, but the truth is that x, y and z happened through me. There is something beyond my control that is actually living my life. Which brings me to the scarier realisation... 3. You're really here for just the ride Once I had let go of thoughts and let faith take over, it was abundantly clear that my awareness of my now was simply to fully experience my now, not to control or influence it in any way. I have had full blown conversations with my family. I have played a game of cards, listened to music, watched a film and what not, and yet, I have honestly not chosen to do these things. I have simply experienced them. Even while conversing, the words came out of my mouth as I simply remained aware of the person I was speaking to. You need your thoughts for a lot less than you give them credit for. I don't want you to get caught up in the word, but it's almost like life is scripted. That your higher self is going to do exactly what it wants to and will unquestionably fulfil its destiny. This is probably The Truth - that we have no control. As I am writing this and as I pondered over this today, it freaked me out. When I say 'me' though, I mean my conscious mind. Yesterday, when I was in my aware state, I was fully and genuinely peaceful. Even when something bad happened, I couldn't help but smile because an unfathomable part of me had led me to the point where it had to happen and if I continued in full faith, it would inevitably guide me through it (irrespective of if that's "the right way" or "the wrong" because in faith, everything is right). I say this as if it was entirely a pleasant experience. But I swear, the more I realised how perfectly functional things were without my thoughts needing to intervene, the more nauseous I got at one point. If you've spent your life thinking that your thoughts matter, you're in for quite a wake-up call. And then comes the big and obvious one: 4. You only really have one choice You can either choose to live with the truth that there is no control in life and that whatever you do is right and your primary privilege of existing is to experience the life that is being guided by your Higher Self. (Note: It also made me see that the term 'higher self' seems to imply a self that is somehow better than who you are or enlightened or carries some other connotation of wisdom. I don't know if that's true, but to me, my Higher Self is a self I cannot fathom and a self that I am simply a smaller part of. That does not mean that he is necessarily better or wiser. Is a whole cake more "cake" (or tastier) than a piece of that cake? Not really. The whole cake is just more than the piece.) Or: You can choose to live with the illusion of control (through your conscious thoughts that somehow believe that they are making the decisions) and the cost of this choice, is suffering. You will inevitably suffer because you are thinking you are controlling something that is simply not in your control. I don't mean this in a profound way, but in a very literal sense. It's like if you absolutely believed you had control over time, wouldn't you constantly hate yourself for aging or not being able to travel backwards in time? But the reason the illusion works is that we mistake the realisation of our thoughts for the creation of them. Even if you continue to live the world through your thoughts, your life is still being governed by your higher self. The decisions you think you are making or not making are actually acknowledgments of decisions your higher self has already made. It may be hard to digest, but if you are honest with yourself, you will know this to be true. Either path you choose, you are on your way to the same destination :) I put this post here to firstly just let this out. I've written it in so many words here, but when it hit me, it hit me all at once. So I'm feeling a lot lighter now. The second reason is that I'm certain I'm not here first and there must be a lot of people who have been here and probably made this choice. I want to hear from you and know what path you took and how it's been going. **************** My personal inferences: Honestly, this is where I'm at all day today. The option of living with the truth of no control sounds defeatist and bleak but that is only to the thinking mind that craves control. When I was actually in the state of pure awareness, I did not feel so or think so (such a wonderful irony, because I withdraw from doing so in that state!). In fact, I think it was the most peaceful day I had, despite being horribly uneventful. While the thinking mind, by its nature will obviously want to know it can exert influence. If you are like me, you are thinking that this is ridiculous. Of course you have conscious control, especially when you have to make a choice, for example when you have to choose between Job A and Job B as a profession. Either path you take could lead to two different lives. But can you fathom the amount of happenstances that must have needed to occur (that were entirely not in your control) for Job A and Job B to even exist? Further, can you fathom the amount of specificity of how your life panned out for you to particularly get the option of Job A and Job B? Do you think you really have control still? Maybe that's all coincidence. Maybe you're wondering that still choosing between the two shows control, but you know the actual moment when the decision happens...that impulse or that thought that says go with Job A and you go for it...can you honestly say the thought came from you? Or is the truth that it came to you? I may sound like I am certain of continuing to live in true awareness, but I am not. I am simply coming to the realisation of the choice I mentioned above. Either way, life will not be the same for me anymore. Either way, I am also certain that control is an illusion. My mind is still convincing me that it is better to live in this illusion of control at the price of constant suffering than to abandon it completely. Actually, I am beginning to truly identify why humans developed a thinking mind because perhaps this "pre-written" life may feel stifling to some who become aware of it. I can see why concepts and labelling give us a feeling of control and how science, rationalisation and logic help us predict outcomes which further solidify this illusion. The path of true awareness implies that life will only be revealed to you and I can imagine that putting a lot us in sheer anxiety. Thoughts can help put this to rest by letting you feel that you are creating your future. Or maybe my journey is going to be about merging this pure 'awareness of I' with the 'I', till either the 'I' or simply the 'awareness' remain. This state of One, maybe, can see its prewritten destiny and then it might be even more easier to just go along with the joy of experiencing it, whatever it is. I don't want to label either of the choices as right or wrong. It's just a lifestyle. It would be tough if I'd to choose between peace and control but it is actually a choice between peace and the illusion of control (which also, in some form, gives peace to our chattering mind that can't take the idea of no free will). The catch is that my thinking mind has a distinct voice that can build up a rationale for living with the illusion of control, DESPITE knowing that it is an illusion. Whereas the way of truth, the path that actually offers peace simply cannot defend itself or build a case for itself. To choose that path is to again, go with faith. Perhaps the only real downside of my realisation is that ignorance is no longer an option for me. Even as my mind is making decisions all day today, it isn't quite feeling the same. Almost like figuring the trick of a magician. There's no way of going back to the state of innocence where I believed my chattering mind was somehow shaping or mis-shaping my life. I feel liberated but also know that the time has come to choose my way forward. Any guidance is highly welcome :) ********************* A few things I feel like getting off my chest:
I am not well-read in literature on meditation and spirituality. So what I'm writing here may be glaringly obvious to a lot of you and I don't intend to repackage existing or popular wisdom as insight. It came as a shock to me and that's why I felt an urge to share it.
I hate that I've structured it so much. This thing with pointers and the logical flow to this whole post is annoying. Like a listicle. I wish I could share this with the purity in which I received it but as soon as I switch to my thinking mind, everything must turn into words and logic. So, here we are. While it may be structured consciously, I hope the authenticity of it somehow comes through.
I am sorry to define words like 'truth'. I don't like it when I see it in other posts and I don't like it when I see it in mine. I am nobody to ascertain that this or that is truth or "the truth", really. When I use this word, what I actually mean is 'my truth' and I hope that it somehow rings true to everyone.
Similarly, the usage of you feels wrong. I am not trying to speak on your behalf. I would have gladly used "I", as in 'I only really have one choice...etc.' but that made the whole post sound a lot less involving of others and more as a self-centered, self-indulgent rant.
I was also not thoughtless the entire day. I definitely have no account for what state I was in, when I was asleep and I must have been occupied by my thinking mind for at least a couple of hours while I was awake (in summation). But I can confidently say that I was in that state of pure awareness for at least 80% of the day, for me to really make this post.
Hi, i saw this IQ Option site, and would like to give it a try, but i heard stories about how people cant withdraw or chart magically changes itself when you start trading with real money, that IQ Options is manipulating chart so you lose. i plan to invest only 40 $, no more and no less. should i proceed? if i make some money, i plan to quickly withdraw, so i can feel it is real thing. i heard a lot that this binary trading is risky, but i saw somewhere how to earn ever if you lose once. this is how they described: i deposit 40 $ on account, and i start trading only with 1$, because it supports that low. and if i lose 1 $ , next time, i multiply it with 2.5 so i could cover my first try and this secod try, so i can earn from both. so if i lose 1$ by putting on BUY, i invest 2.5$ and choose SELL, and if i lose again, i invest 6.25$ and choose BUY, and if i lose again i invest 15.62$ and choose SELL, and if i loose again i invest 39.06$ and choose BUY. those who explained this method say, that you will always win on this, it maybe dont have to be first try, but definitely you will not go more than 4 tries, you will always win this way and get money. so basically strategy is to chose opposite from what i choosed and to multiply by 2.5, so i can cover previous, and earn from all those. is IQ Options a scam, do they allow you to withdraw money without any problems, because i read that thay cant withdraw more money than how much you gave deposit if you payed with visa card, you need to use like skrill or similar ebanking in order to get money on visa card. and what other would you reccomend, because i needwithdraw to work every time.
The first droplets of rain smack the plane glass window. I stand on one side, fiddling the small recorder in one hand, and nursing a glass of scotch in the other. On the other side of the window an expansive city sprawls out in every direction, and high above it the storm that has been brewing is finally starting to burst. The rain droplets will soon be a downpour. Storms make me nervous. A thin bolt of lightning rips through the sky, momentarily illuminating the fat, heavy, dark clouds. They were plenty. No stars will show tonight. Another silent streak of light, and I see the normally bustling street below has gone quiet, save for a sparse sprinkle. Yellow cabs scurry about like insects, collecting their payments as they drop off their late night patrons. The faint sound of rolling thunder can be heard, muffled by the thick glass of my office. Eighteen stories up, I see the rain intensifying before those below. Normally, the dampening of the window prevents all outside noise...it's important for the patients to feel safe. Now, long after my office has closed, I find the thunder far more jarring than the constant whirring of the air-conditioning system, always pumping in oxygen that somehow smells fresh and artificial simultaneously. I understand. I take another short sip of my drink and turn away from the upcoming turmoil, returning to my desk. I find my eyes drawn to the framed certificates and degrees hung about my walls, questioning their ultimate meanings. I know that I'm safe in my office, my own personal slice of the world...but again, storms make me nervous. They didn't always, quite the opposite in fact, as a child I was rather fond of the whip-cracks in the sky, the smell of fresh rain. My distaste for them, I can actually pinpoint. Its a direct correlation of one of my patients. The one patient that scared me. Now, I've dealt with some truly sick and disturbed minds in over twenty-five years as a psychologist...but only one has ever truly frightened me. I currently hold a tape recording of our one and only session in my hand. Jack Lowe. The man was a lunatic, no doubt about that. His delusions tearing his mind pushing him further and further from reality as each second ticked away. It was in this very office that I met Jack, and sometimes, on nights like these when I find myself unable to pry his words free from my mind, I can almost see him sitting across from me, cigarette dangling in his hand. On nights like that, like tonight, the only remedy for my obsession is to listen to the recording and drink. I loosen my tie as I place the recorder on my desk and then I sip my scotch. I pull the bottle from the small shelf hidden under my desk and place it next to the small black device, inside of which a tape labeled "Lowe, J. Ses.1" resides. I hesitate for the briefest second before pressing play, leaning back in my chair and shutting my eyes. "Marnie, please send in Mr. Lowe." I hear my own voice coming from the speaker. Its so vivid...the picture in my mind that hearing his name conjures. I hear shuffling before the unmistakable sound of my office door squeaking open. I remember so clearly the man who walked through, and into my life all of those years ago. He was thin, one step above emaciated in fact, baggy clothes that wore the man instead of the other way around. He clearly had Norwegian ancestry, dirty blonde shoulder length hair that was quite messy, his unshaven cheeks gave way to a thicker patch of blonde hair on his chin that I think must have been a goatee of sorts before he had let himself go. Immediately I saw a horrendous case of insomnia, the purple skin around his sunken eyes would have been a give away for even someone wholly untrained in mental illnesses. "Have a seat Mr. Lowe." I hear the smile in my voice. "Just Jack..." A new voice joins the cast, and I feel the hairs on the back of my neck prickle hearing his soft almost whisper once again. I down the remainder of my glass and swiftly refill it. "Hello Jack, I'm Doctor Harkins. Your paperwork here says you're dealing with..." I hear the sounds of papers shuffling, and silently mouth the next word in tandem with my past self. "Hallucinations?" A period of silence follows on the recording, but my clear recollection fills in the gap. Jack, with his eyes locked on the floor nodded slowly, almost imperceptibly. There was such a distraught feeling surrounding the man and I can still feel the uneasiness shoot through my veins like ice. "How long has this been going on, Jack?" I asked, no hint of the smile in my words. "Its...its not a... persistent thing doc, it happened one time...I can't sleep though, I can't eat, I can't..." He trailed off. I remember him placing his hands softly on his face and rubbing the heels of his palms into his eyes. "I'm losing my fucking mind, doc...I need...something." Jack said the words with a shaky, uncertain tone. "What do you think you need, Jack?" I asked. "That’s why I'm here, right? To figure out a way to forget, yeah?" A slight hint of agitation permeated his voice. "Forget...let's go back Jack...you said the hallucinations were an isolated event?" I asked. "My Dad died, yeah, and I know shrinks like to think everything is linked to something with some or another parent thing, but it wasn't that. See, dad and me, we weren't close...not since I was a kid. He always paid more attention to my sister, even back then...she's the one who called me to tell me the news." The words flowed hectically from Jack's mouth and I remember the sheer desperation in his eyes when he looked up at me, they pleaded, begged me to hear him out and not jump to conclusions. "Alright, go on Jack, I'd like to hear about everything." My voice conveyed a sense of calm, attempting to ease Jack, help him relax. "You uh, care if I smoke?" He asked. I recall waving my hand in a "by all means" gesture. The soft sound of metal scraping a flint followed. "So yeah, Dani called me and said Dad died, it's sad, but it happens right? I ask her what happened..." Jack jabbed his now burning cigarette in my direction. "Cancer, of course. What else? So, I ask her about the funeral. Two days, no problem, I'll drive down to Connecticut, spend some time with the family and honor the old mans legacy. I packed up some shit...man I can't believe I'm telling you this, you're gonna think I'm out of my fuckin' mind...hell, I probably am." The soft hiss of his cigarette burning followed his words as he took a long drag. "I'm not here to judge you Jack. I'm here to listen to you and come up with a way to help. I don't think you're crazy." I assured him. The cold, skeptical look he gave me, crossing his hands between his knees, dangling his cigarette...it sticks with me to this day, and I truly believe that I'll carry it to my grave. I pour my third glass. "So I'm packing some things for a few days, and I hit the road first thing in the morning. I called Dani as soon as I left the city, telling her I'd be there tomorrow, yeah? Yeah. She tells me, 'yeah, okay, let me call Ray-' that's her husband, right, so she says 'let me call Ray, see if we can get the guest room set up in time, if not, Mom still has your old room set up back home'. She tells me she's gonna call back in fifteen, all good right?" Jack paused and looked at me inquisitively. He must have been aware of his frantic, almost manic speech pattern. I nodded, again in unison with my past self, exactly as I remember. On cue, jack continued. "So...I do what anyone does, toss the cell in the passenger seat and crank some tunes. I remember, some 90s boy band, but I was alone...no shame. I blasted it. It was nice out too. Green trees, blue sky. I rolled down the windows and remember, doc, I remember the air tasting and smelling so FRESH...in spite of the bad news I was feeling pretty damn great." He had glanced away at this, taking another draw off his cigarette. He felt ashamed. He thought it was wrong to feel good in light of a parents death. "So would you say it was a pleasant drive?" I asked, beginning to pry, attempting to do exactly what his eyes had begged me not to and connect his unhealthy mental state to the death of his father. "At first it wasn't so bad. Yeah, pleasant. But that didn't last. You know, you notice shitty drivers around you. You pay attention when cars behind or in front of you merge, or exit...but you never really pay attention to NOT having anyone else around you. It took me a while to realize that in two hours of driving I hadn't seen a single car besides mine. Now, it was still pretty early, so weird but not that weird. I did notice though that not one damned commercial had played on the radio. Just straight 90s hits..." The burning sound of cigarette paper again, followed quickly by another flick of the lighter. Jack's leg began furiously tapping, and I recall wondering if it was anxiety or substance withdrawals. "Dani hadn't called either." He continued after a moment. "She said 'fifteen' and it had been a couple hours by then. I just figured she got caught up dealing with Dad shit and had forgotten to call me back. Whatever, no biggie, so I pick up the phone, right, and I just punch in her digits...this is where I got fucked up, doc...because after two rings I heard that automated 'number no longer in service' message. I looked at my phone and sure enough it said Dani's name. I was confused, so I tried again, and again I got the 'dododedo'..." He imitated the electronic beeps, and raised his hands into a shrugging pose "...number not in service. You think I'm some kind of nut, yeah?" He finished, dropping his hands to his side. "Not at all, Jack." I lied. "Yeah, right. So anyway, I'm getting a little weirded out at this point, thinking something's wrong and then boom, it hits me. I try a different number. I call my job, back in the city. You guessed it, a robot telling me to fuck off 'cause the number just ain't in service. I call number after number, nothing. I start to think my phone is broken, so I call 911...that shits supposed to work from any phone, service or not...same...fucking...message. As if that wasn't freaky enough, doc, the second I hit the 'end call' button, the radio cuts out. Almost right away it comes back on, and you know what the song was? It was nothing. There was no song, on this channel that was apparently twenty-four seven, all 90s, no commercial gem. No, I heard the fuckin' robot voice, and she was just saying random ass numbers." He said, starting to get a flustered look on his face. "A numbers station?" I asked, enthralled with his tale. As far-fetched as it was, I could tell that he wholeheartedly believed every word was true. "No! Not really!" Jack said abruptly, as he stood from his chair and began to pace around the room. "1...2...1...2...that's it. That's all the robot bitch would say, over and over, 1...2...1...2. Bizarre, right? I...I thought maybe binary, but no, there was no break in the pattern. Not a single double of either digit, just 1...2 repeat." I raised my brows and allowed my eyes to track the man, who was increasingly lost in his thoughts. He continued. "Changing the station didn't help, and the power off button worked as well as the volume, as in they didn't. Useless. Every dial was useless. It was driving me crazy, doc...I knew I had to pull over, I was getting light-headed, and then I saw it. The only building around. I was so relieved to see other cars in the parking lot. Just a few but goddamn it was a good sight to see." He said and chuckled nervously, shaking his head in disbelief. "If only I'd known, right? So I park and get out of my ride, and do one of those fast walks up to the building. This place was like a truck stop mixed with a convenience store, you know the kind. The type a family would stop at on their way to a vacation to get their kids snacks and drinks, yeah. So I think, 'why not grab me a snack and drink'. I was already starting to shake that paranoia and was calling myself silly, pushing the unexplainable from my mind as I opened the glass door. That little jingle bell attached to it startled me, but in a good way. It was the first non-robotic sound I'd heard in a while. Inside, it looked normal, like you'd expect. Rows of candies and chips, florescent lights shining onto white floor tiles, and most importantly there were other people. I was never happier to hear a fuckin' baby cry, man." Jack said, flopping back into his chair and lighting another smoke. I remember now, recalling everything with the recorders aide, the way Jack's face sank. There was silence, and I take the moment to top off my scotch. I know what's coming, and the warmth the alcohol fills my body with is competing with the chill in my bones. "Jack...?" My past self urged. "Yeah. Yeah, right, this is where everything got fucked." He said softly, almost as if asking permission. I nodded, and he proceeded to take the reigns, determined to tell his tale. "When me and Dani were kids, and I'm talking little, like I was maybe eight or nine, and she was probably six... there was an accident. See, you know how when you're little you're carefree and don't think about consequences or shit? So there we were playing outside right, and we come across a knife. Like a kitchen knife. We both knew we weren't supposed to mess with shit like that, especially rusty shit that looked like it had been dropped years ago by like a family moving or something. Anyway, we thought we were badasses. Long story short, I got stabbed in the belly. It was an accident, like I said we were kids. It was pretty bad though, had to get stitches, a tetanus shot, and Dani got a good hard talking to. It left this gnarly scar. It's important, so remember it, yeah? "Anyway, back to the convenience store. I'm noticing more people, let's see, we got crying baby and mamma, overweight trucker, bald dude in a suit, a really cute lady, and a few others. Oh yeah! The tired looking guy manning the cash register, which doubled as one of those bubblegum stands with stacks and stacks of cigarettes behind him. "Things are looking normal, right, and I'm starting to forget about the weird shit in the car. I'm sure I just had some weird cell service and the radio was just glitchy. So I grab a bottle of pop from the back cooler and grab a bag of sunflower seeds, yeah...head to the checkout. "Dude gives me a 'hey, anything else for you?' right, and I say 'yeah lemme get a pack of smokes' and point behind him. He turns around grabs the pack and goes to hand it to me, but freezes just as he starts to extend his arm. From his mouth comes a deep but light 'Wuhhhhhhh' sound." Jack imitated the sound and produced an eerie, unsettling noise that was like a low moan. "I was about to ask the dude what the fuck was wrong with him, but just as I opened my mouth a loud rip of thunder cracked outside. It sounded deafening, like lightning had struck right next to me. The lights went out and the glass front of the store lit up a brilliant, electric blue. I turned my attention to it, and saw streaks of lightning slashing the sky like some huge electric god was swiping it's claws across the clouds. The blue sky was gone, and in it's place was blackness. "I turned back to the guy behind the counter. He wasn't doing that sound anymore thank fuck, but he was still frozen in place, pack of cigarettes in his outstretched hand. I reached out for them. I don't know why I did it, but at the time I wasn't thinking clearly I guess. Anyway, I did, and as soon as my fingers touched the box of cigs...its like...like my perspective shifted or something. My vision kinda adjusted, and I could see that he was...he was a standee. A cardboard cutout. My fingers sat on the flat, glossy surface and I felt the urge, the need to press. So I did, and the flat standee with the image of the cashier on it, it fell backwards, softly dropping into the floor. "I freaked. I gasped, unable to catch my breath. I stumbled backward into what had been a display of snacks, but now was just a rectangular protrusion sticking up from the floor with the images of snacks painted on. I bolted over to the glass window as another impossibly loud crack of thunder clapped in the sky above. Rain was beating the windows, blurring the world outside, but what I could make out was just as insane as what was happening inside. "All of the cars aside from mine were gone, and my blue sedan sat on the edge of what looked like a cliff. I scanned with my eyes squinting, and saw that it was as if the ground had been ripped from the earth. Beyond the jagged, torn earth was blackness. Nothingness. At that point I was sure that a gigantic hand had reached down from somewhere beyond the cosmos and grabbed the convenience store and dragged it into space. "I began to scream, turning to see that all of the other patrons were static, as flat as the cashier had been. More standees, right, and I saw that everything in the store was a farce. The rows of snacks, all fake. The displays, fake. Fuck, doc, even the big round security mirrors in the upper corners of the aisles looked like circles painted grey, not a hint of reflection to them. "Still screaming I looked for the door. Nowhere. The door was fucking gone. I looked back to my car, and the thing...it was dissolving. Being washed away by the rain. That's when I heard a voice, echoing my own thoughts. 'what the fuck is happening!?' she said. I whipped around and saw a girl sitting on her ass, lit up by the blue glow from the constant streaks of light in the sky, I could see that she was terrified." Jack took a moment to wipe the tears that were falling down his stubbled cheeks, and lit another cigarette before speaking again. "She looked about 19 or 20. I didn't recognize her, but she wasn't cardboard and I considered that a win. I stopped screaming and ran to her, offering her my hand. I was saying 'thank god, thank god' so happy to not be alone, you know. She looked relieved too, through her tears and terror she looked happy to see me, too. She took my hand and I helped her to her feet. As soon as she was standing her eyes widened to the point I expected they'd fall out. 'What in the fuck are those...?' she asked me in a panicky whimper. I turned to see the silhouettes standing motionlessly at the window, back-lit by the blue, contrasting their glowing red eyes. They stood shoulder to shoulder, encircling the building. Silently they stood guard as the storm raged around then. With each flash of lightning I caught a glimpse of their nightmarish, metallic surfaces. Skeletons. They were metal skeletons." Jack halfheartedly chuckled at this, clearly it was forced, judging by the way his eyes continued to pour their tears. "Felt a little like John Conner. Not as brave though, as my instinct was to pull the girl along with me to the back of the store, trying to put as much distance between us and those...fucking things...as I could. They made no attempt to chase though. They just watched as we pressed our backs to the facade that used to be coolers. The girl was breathing hard and fast and suddenly she shrieked out 'look!' pointing a finger to an ugly green door nearby. "We had no other options, so we booked it. We got to the door only to see that it was lacking a knob. So it seemed we were fucked, yeah? Not quite. I unleashed a fury of kicks on the bastard, forcing it open with a spray of splinters. We hurried through into a storeroom, I guess is what it was. It had what looked to me like a mop bucket and spray bottles, but I couldn't be sure since they were extremely crude and appeared to be made of papier mâché . The girl had rushed to the back of the room. 'Look!' she pointed to a ladder that was attached to the back wall. "My eyes followed it up to see a hatch. Roof access! Almost instantly, I heard the glass front of the store shatter, the sound of hurricane like winds began to fill the building. 'Hurry!' she shouted over the gale, waving me up. I did go up. I climbed and climbed. First ten feet, then twenty, then thirty. The hatch only inching closer. I refused to look down. I KNEW that I'd been climbing for way too long, much higher than I knew the trip should have been. The hatch continued to move ever so slowly closer, and I was completely aware that the room was getting smaller as I climbed. The walls closed around me until I was surrounded by a cylinder of concrete, no wider than a manhole cover. I could hear the girl following closely, but no words were exchanged. "Finally, after climbing hundreds of feet into the air, I'd reached the hatch door. I was terrified as I grabbed for the handle. I didn't want to lose my grip and fall into whatever hell was below. I pressed it, and opened it despite the resistance. I was able to climb out of the claustrophobic hole and onto the roof. As soon as I was free, I turned to help girl. You're probably expecting me to say something like 'she wasn't there, right?' Oh no, she was there. A fucking cardboard cutout reaching up for me. As soon as I recognized it, she fell from the ladder and softly descended into an orange glow far below. I stood, feeling the wave of anxiety crushing me, and I watched the hatch slam closed. Before I could react, a brilliant white light from above blinded me. I felt myself fading from existence, my atoms separating. I lost myself. "The next thing I remember is the white light dissipating, and my eyesight coming back, blurry at first, but it focused as my hearing returned. I can't quite explain what I heard. It was organic but mechanical at the same time. Clicks and whirring. I blinked a few times, and blinking felt so weird, like my eyes were different. I flicked them around, and when they landed on the two absurdly tall, scale covered insectoids, I was thrown into a panic attack. I tried to move, to get away...but I found that I couldn't. I was restrained, apparently on my back, my limbs and head tightly fixed to whatever I was laying on. My rattling had drawn the attention of the creatures, who looked at me with bulbous eyes. The clicking and buzzing sounds had been coming from them, and I found that thought especially horrifying. They began frantically pressing buttons on a panel seemingly connected to whatever was holding me in place...some kind of operating table or medical bed I assume. "Then, the strangest thing happened, doc...my head cleared and the buzzes and clicks...I began to comprehend them. I was almost able to understand. I was getting words like 'awake' and 'hurry'. Then, the most intense pain of my life ripped through my brain. I screamed, and was terrified to find that the scream wasn't my own. I heard one of the creatures clearly through the pain, and it said 'put it back in. If it crashes again we'll deal with it at that point' and the other replied 'there may be errors' as it pulled a lever. The instant that happened, I felt the sensation of dissolving again, my molecules separated and rearranged...the intense light filled my vision once more. "Next thing I know, I'm hearing a ringing. My vision unblurred and I saw that the sound was coming from my phone, already in my hand. I look around to find that I was free of any restraints, and back in my apartment here in the city. I answered the phone and Dani's voice filled my head, distant and muffled at first, but rapidly becoming sharp and clear. 'Hey bro, just checking in on you, what have you been up to...?' she asked. 'Dani, Dani, I was on my way there, and something happened!' I shout. 'Whoa calm down, what's going on? Why were you coming here? Is everything okay?' she said. She sounded concerned, but a bit standoffish. "I told her I was coming to the funeral. 'Who died?!' she asked. I was quiet for a moment, remembering what the insect creature had said. 'There could be errors'. I lied and told Dani it was an old friend of mine from school, and that I'd call her about it later. "That's about it doc. That's what I've been dealing with. I don't know what to think. Am I some kind of experiment? Am I a criminal among a race of bug-aliens and this world my prison? Is this whole world, no, universe some kind of simulation just for me? Doc, I don't think I'm human, hell I'm not convinced the human race ever even existed. If I die, is it possible that all of this gets blinked out of existence? Is that possible, doc?!" Jack said through a torrent of tears. "Jack, isn't it much more likely that this was a psychotic break? Tell me, do you have a history of drug abuse?" I ask, but just as I do, a voice from the recorder interrupts. "Doctor, your next appointment is here." Marnie says. "We'll pick this up next week, Jack." My past self says, and I hear myself stand from chair. I wince, dreading the last thing Jack ever said to me. I clearly remember him standing, and raising his shirt, revealing a smooth, thin, but unscarred stomach. "Errors. There may be errors." Followed by the sound of my office door opening and closing. A long moment of silence followed, before I heard myself ask Marnie to please cancel my remaining appointments for the day. The recorder clicks and brings me back to the present. The storm continues outside. I find myself contemplating Jack's story for the millionth time. He never came back for his next appointment. Its entirely possible that he had simply lied about the stab wound, but the look on his face, I don't know. Is there a chance that he really did experience these outlandish things? If so, what does that imply? Maybe that's why I decided to share this with the world tonight. I no longer wish to bear this alone. I think chronicling this, while it's definitely a breach of my confidentiality agreement, is the healthiest thing for me. I wish I could purge his story from my mind, but I can't help but be uncomfortable when it storms.
Hi, i saw this IQ Option site, and would like to give it a try, but i heard stories about how people cant withdraw or chart magically changes itself when you start trading with real money, that IQ Options is manipulating chart so you lose. i plan to invest only 40 $, no more and no less. should i proceed? if i make some money, i plan to quickly withdraw, so i can feel it is real thing. i heard a lot that this binary trading is risky, but i saw somewhere how to earn ever if you lose once. this is how they described: i deposit 40 $ on account, and i start trading only with 1$, because it supports that low. and if i lose 1 $ , next time, i multiply it with 2.5 so i could cover my first try and this secod try, so i can earn from both. so if i lose 1$ by putting on BUY, i invest 2.5$ and choose SELL, and if i lose again, i invest 6.25$ and choose BUY, and if i lose again i invest 15.62$ and choose SELL, and if i loose again i invest 39.06$ and choose BUY. those who explained this method say, that you will always win on this, it maybe dont have to be first try, but definitely you will not go more than 4 tries, you will always win this way and get money. so basically strategy is to chose opposite from what i choosed and to multiply by 2.5, so i can cover previous, and earn from all those. is IQ Options a scam, do they allow you to withdraw money without any problems, because i read that thay cant withdraw more money than how much you gave deposit if you payed with visa card, you need to use like skrill or similar ebanking in order to get money on visa card.
https://preview.redd.it/2lc1we5990s41.jpg?width=400&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5417ccb655b01501b4ba0db45e72d5e411cc1baf (Actual, updated) Frequently Asked Questions Unlike a standard FAQ, this (A)FAQ consists of the most commonly asked questions from our community. For much more elaborate FAQ full of questions, some of which no one actually asked, please consult our docs FAQ. For our communications archive, head over here. What is Golem? Golem is a decentralized computation network, a new way of distributing redundant computing power to those who are in need of it, on-demand. It creates a peer-to-peer network where users join on an equal basis to buy and sell computation, splitting up complicated tasks into smaller subtasks in the network. In Golem there’s no central authority and no user is more or less important than another. Who is building Golem? Golem Factory GmbH is responsible for building Golem and all its milestones. Golem Factory GmbH’s website is: https://golem.network Is Golem a Foundation? Golem Factory GmbH is not a Foundation. A GmbH is the Swiss equivalent of an LLC. Golem Factory GmbH has been founded in 2016 and as mentioned above, looks after the build of Golem the project, and its milestones. The Golem Foundation, founded in 2018, is an independent entity, founded by Golem Factory GmbH’s ex CEO and COO, and they work on different projects than Golem Factory (eg. the recently release Wildlands paper). Their website is: https://golem.foundation Golem Foundation and Golem Factory In 2019, Julian and AndrzeJ started the Golem Foundation, aimed to pursue riskier and more exploratory ways to add value to GNT. This is very public. We did press for the endeavor because we wanted to be transparent. See the Coindesk article that was the main pitch, in case you want external sources. See the Wildland AMA and more recently the Wildland Update and Golem Foundation FAQ are great resources for learning more about Golem Foundation. Golem Factory does not work on Wildland and vice versa, Golem Foundation does not work on New Golem / The Next Milestone. Who controls GNT? GNT (Golem Network Token) has been in the free market since the end of 2016. Neither Golem Factory nor the Golem Foundation control the token. Another thing is that we don’t do airdrops. So make sure to stay safe and not succumb to scams. Why should I or a requestor choose Golem? Golem offers freedom of choice and a voice in the community to specify what your requirements are for computation in the network. In the centralized infrastructure of shared computation, if you’re an individual you might not have the voice to specify the tools you need. Golem offers tools focused on your privacy and the flexibility for all providers and requestors to set the price they’re willing to have tasks completed on Golem Network. By cutting out the middle-man and large corporations taking a fee, this allows Golem to be a prosumer market with the potential to simultaneously be cheaper and more profitable for the requestors and providers, respectively. How can one integrate with Golem? If you’re a developer and want to add your code to Golem, the simplest way is to use WebAssembly (WASM). Check out the gWASM section of the documentation to learn more. The good news about WASM is that you can easily compile the code that is written in other languages. So if you have code written in C/C++/RUST, you can compile each to the WebAssembly binary and use it with Golem the same way you’d normally use WebAssembly code. If you don’t want to write anything in those languages or you want to do something more complicated, the Task API allows more versatility and is available on mainnet since the Clay Golem release. Additional resources that would be of interest include Being a Requestor and Acting as a Provider on Golem Network. How is computation verified? There’s no single answer to this question since it can get quite complicated. For the first use-case in Golem, rendering, the requestor renders a small part of the image and compares it with the result they receive from the provider and a machine-learning algorithm gives a verdict. In rendering, there’s a high chance of a small amount of indeterminism and differences in the pixels, which is what makes it complicated. For other use-cases such as WebAssembly, fortunately, it’s much simpler it’s practically easy to make WebAssembly computation deterministic. There’s also a verify function in the Task API to make this process simpler for requestors, to give them the opportunity to write their own method that is suitable for their use case. How is data protected and kept private on Golem Network? For providers, the solution is relatively easy using Sandboxing. You can read about this more in our documentation. The more interesting part of the question is ‘how are we going to protect the data you send as a requestor?’. In the classical scenario where you’re sending you data to the cloud, you’re not getting any protection. It’s essentially a trusted setup between the requestor and providers, an option which is also possible in Golem using Golem Unlimited. How does Golem Unlimited fit in the Golem Network ecosystem? Golem Unlimited allows users to create an internal trusted network of computers with one of them, called the Hub being in charge. The Hub is a requestor and other computers in the company join it as providers. It is meant for data center-like setup (e.g., render farms, or desktops within organization LAN) where network participants trust each other, but it will also support trusted P2P subnetworks (e.g., distributed team machines). App Why is my Golem node not connecting? If you’re having connection issues, see our Issues and Troubleshooting guide in our documentation or reach out to us in our Discord channel. The most common issues for first time setup are related port-forwarding (mentioned in the onboarding process when you setup your node) or Hyper-V. Keep in mind that, if you’re on Windows Home specifically, Hyper-V is not a feature so you have to install docker toolbox instead. What is [email protected]? [email protected] is a scientific modelling project on Golem. The project has been developed in cooperation with the most reputable scientific institutions in the field worldwide. Our relationship with them goes a long way, and our CEO/CTO Piotr Janiuk, was inspired to pursue Golem by such work. Via [email protected], our providers will be able to run help running the computations needed to simulate chemical reactions. What is the Task API? Recently, we introduced the new Task API. The Task API is a python library containing a programming interface and utility functions. Updates created by requestors should be able to answer a short list of RPC calls. You can read more about these calls in our documentation designated to the Task API. What is gWASM? gWASM stands for WebAssembly on Golem. It is intended to be a bridge between applications and extensible infrastructure. It gives your applications or services easy access to external and decentralized computational power. This access happens in an elastic manner, meaning that you rent as much infrastructure as you need and when you need it. What’s the purpose for GNT? With Golem you can exchange computational power, as a commodity or a service for GNT. These are market transactions. The different parties (users) and transactions are part of a small economy with GNT as the value transferred between participants. Within the Golem economy, we are free to define the rules and regulations for it. Our goal, however, is for it to be similar to real-life economies: demand, supply and quality affecting prices should always be included. This economy works in an anonymous and distributed network, which adds a layer of complexity to it. Golem is not a stock market, there is no central point to place bids and offers. Everyone must make their deals on a p2p basis and on their best criteria. Roadmap What does the future and endgame look like for Golem? In order to allow for a future where censorship resistance and privacy is available for everyone, we need to build networks to stimulate such freedoms. What we want to build at Golem is the tool that can connect computers borderless-ly across the world, and without the risk of censorship. Migration What is the ERC20 migration and how will it take place? This refers to us migrating GNT to be a fully ERC20 compliant token. We’ve been working with ETHWorks on finding the best approach for this task. How will GNT’s migration to the ERC20 standard benefit users? Working together with ETHWorks and audit firms, our goal is to make sure that the passage to ERC20 allows the (new)GNT to be able to adapt to various matters: for instance, to be used for layer 2 scaling solutions, or Universal Logins, gassless transactions, among others. Right now, doing gassless transactions with the current GNT is cumbersome, and there are many solutions in the market that would be a great fit if GNT was ERC20. An added (big) benefit for migrating towards ERC20, is to leverage DeFi tools and protocols, especially DEXes. Providing the first (ERC20) GNT liquidity pools for Uniswap and other similar projects is something that’s definitely in our plans for a long time. Why didn’t GNT start out as an ERC20 compliant token? It’s important to keep in mind that relative to the Ethereum space, GNT is quite an old token. When we implemented the GNT contract, the ERC20 standard was in its infancy, and we wanted to limit the exposure to risks stemming from it being at such an early stage. This is why we decided to limit the core GNT implementation to only the necessary ERC20 operations to make it transferable. Migrating GNT to be a fully ERC20 compliant token should open new opportunities to the token users, for example, DeFi (i.e. Decentralized EXchanges and liquidity by Uniswap) and potentially GNT becoming collateral for MCD (Maker’s Multicollateral DAI). Other What measures are in place to mitigate against loss of deposit? We’ve taken very thorough precautions against Golem users losing their deposits. With the recent release of the Concent feature, the Concent deposit a.k.a. GNTDeposit is a smart contract on the Ethereum mainnet which has been properly audited by third-party experts to contain no known vulnerabilities. Similarly to those aforementioned contracts, the balance of GNTDeposit is predominantly still owned by the ethereum address that transferred its tokens into it. The only difference is that the withdraws are time-locked and that there is a privileged entity, the Concent Service, which is able to use those tokens in very specific circumstances, according to the use cases described in the Concent’s documentation and its terms of service. How is GPU integration coming along with MacOS and Windows? There’s difficulty with exposing GPU to Docker containers on Windows and MacOS. GPU support is technically possible on both these operating systems, although we would need to tailor some new computation environments for those operating systems and make sure that the behaviour is consistent between them. While we exclusively rely on Docker it’s not possible to use GPU with Golem on Windows and MacOS. It’s also worth noting that GPU is also not supported in gWASM. Since gWASM uses WASM underneath and that itself currently doesn’t have any notion of multi-threading, which would be required for the computation providers GPU to act as the general processing graphics processing unit (GPGPU). It might be possible to get around that, however, the catch would be that it would kill the determinism which we require in Golem task verification. How much I can earn with configuration XYZ? Golem network is a fully decentralized marketplace therefore we cannot give you any estimates. The amount of tokens that can be earned depends on current demand in the network, the number of other providers, etc. Do you have a bug bounty competition? Yes, we do, you can find the details here: https://blog.golemproject.net/golem-bug-bounty-competition/
Nigel Farage put me on rant mode, so here's a few thoughts..
It seems some people want to change the meanings of words when they don't like the clear definitions of them. Brexit means brexit. Seems pretty clear to m.... well... not really at all, but ho hum. There was a referendum on leaving the EU that took place on 23/6/2016. There were two choices on that ballot. Remain in the EU, and Leave the EU. One of those choices was straightforward enough. It was to continue as we had been for 40 years prior. The other was virtually undefined at that point... but people chose it anyway, trusting the government (or whatever future government) to define it for them and carry it out. 16.1m people voted to remain in the EU, and 17.4m people voted to leave it. Skip forward a couple of years, and the government of the day has done what it's supposed to do, and defined that leave option, and wishes to carry it out. However, people are not happy. 'This definition is wrong', they say, and 'we didn't vote for that'. Except... they did vote for it. They voted specifically for the option that led directly and predictably to this point. So now there's a growing momentum towards a second referendum. What should be on it? Well of course if we're going to straight up re-run the previous referendum, there should be 'Leave the EU', as defined by the government of the day, so May's withdrawal agreement, and there should be 'Remain in the EU, which already has 16.1m voters. These are the two most popular choices from the last referendum on the matter. Would you like to add other choices that haven't yet been voted on? 'Maybe it should just be a binary referendum, don't want to complicate it for the idiot public' (paraphrased Farage, there, but he did say more than two choices would be complicated). Or alternatively, why not just let May shit all over democracy with carrying out the 'will of the people (well.. some of them)' using the mandate 17.4m people willingly handed to her? This isn't rocket science. If the option wasn't ever there in the first place, why are people kidding themselves that they picked it? Why, further, are they so cross with the people who didn't even pick the nearest thing to it? Why is this so bloody hard to pick out for the likes of Farage? He doesn't really strike me as the type to have the intellectual capacity of a photo of a barnacle.
FULL Patch Notes Live transcript from PDXCon, featuring CK2, EU4, HoI4, and Stellaris!
TIDINGS FROM CRUSADER KINGS II, PATCHES 2.8.1 AND 2.8.2
AI realms spanning dozens of holdings with thousands of loyal warriors at their command will no longer put their hands up and agree to give you any tribute you want before any blood is spilled just because you rode up on them with your squad and demanded their lunch money in a gruff tone of voice.
Subsequent emperors of China will no longer take the excuse that you don’t have to travel to their court and prostrate yourselves before them because you, quote, “Already did that for the last guy and I’m pretty sure it still counts.”
No longer possible to behead Jiang for sleeping with your wife and then receive formal condolences from the Emperor of China for the death of your beloved mutual friend.
After six years, the AI now understands how holdings work.
We gave up on trying to teach vassals how the Byzantine administrative system because, let’s face it, even we don’t really have any clue - and decided to turn it off for everyone within an imperial administration except top-level rulers.
AI rulers should no longer revoke duchies, then see how upset it made their vassal and give it back, but then remember why they took it away in the first place and take it away again, but then they just can’t stand those sad puppy dog eyes Humbert is making and… hey, does this ale taste funny to you?
Eunuchs have been banned from Medieval Tinder.
The trade route tooltip will now tell you why your trade posts are making no money, such as if China is being a pain in the ass, everyone in the Tarim Basin has been killed by plague, everyone in the Tarim Basin has been killed by Mongols, or everyone in the Tarim Basin has killed one another.
The Imperial Court of China will no longer list all of the reasons the Emperor was thinking about granting your request, and only focus on the reasons he ultimately decided against it and sent your dumb ass packing back to Samarkand.
When using the border dispute CB, your advisers should no longer assure you of the submission of barons who have not been consulted at all about the change in administration yet.
Added a tooltip to explain why Blacksmith-senpai won’t ever notice you
Added another way to deal with Secret Bears. You know, other than the existing, highly effective way of turning them off forever in the game options menu.
The herald in charge of telling you what will happen if you become a Tributary of China should no longer ramble on so long that you fall asleep.
Targets who surrender to the Shatter Realm CB who own no land whatsoever in the target de jure area can no longer go, “Jokes on you, I’m just going to keep calling myself Emperor of Carpathia anyway!”
Fixed it being possible to end up as your own lover. We’re keeping that feature on the back burner in case we do an Alexander expansion for Imperator Rome.
Fixed the AI investing more money than they had in purchasing weapons, jewelry and armor, as this made them too difficult to tell apart from the player.
Updated the Investigate Artifact Rumors chain, making it possible for anyone to complete it ever.
Counts who successfully sacrifice hundreds of lives and two young, strong sons to become independent from a wicked duke who tortures children can no longer have their vassalage sold immediately back to that duke by the apathetic king they both serve.
Removed the ability for kinslayers who murdered a grandparent or grandchild to sometimes convince everyone they weren’t that close so it’s not such a big deal.
Breaking free of a tributary contract will no longer allow your suzerain to seize one more month’s worth of resources from you as a cleaning fee even though you SPENT LIKE 20 HOURS DUSTING SCRUBBING EVERYTHING SHARON! THAT APARTMENT WAS SPOTLESS!
If you dedicate a book to your rival, they will still be grateful but also suspicious of what kind of devious shit you’re trying to pull, here.
Fixed an event that would essentially lead you to write, “And this is where I would put the dedication to my loyal chancellor - IF I HAD ONE!”
The Chinese Emperor no longer accepts gifts of one-eyed, one-legged, bedridden leppers with smallpox to serve as potential concubines.
Newly-minted noblemen are no longer allowed to abandon their families at the castle of their previous lord when granted a title. Laramie is your son, and that means he’s your problem.
Female Muslim adventurers will no longer accept the excuse, “You can’t invade us! You’re a woman!” from their enemies.
Fixed nations that adopted Chinese Imperialism having their entire government snapped away by the Infinity Gauntlet when converting to EU4, as even Thanos agreed this was a statistical aberration.
Characters will no longer be pissed at you if they were removed from the council because they were hauled off by vikings or something. Even though it was your job to protect them. I bet they wish they had been Duke Baldric’s steward. He wouldn’t have let the castle fall and watched everyone sacrificed to Odin or sold to a slave market in Cordoba because he spent too much money on a fancy crown and couldn’t afford the Danegeld for the ransom. Why couldn’t you be more like Duke Baldric?
Relatives of the Chinese Emperor should no longer travel thousands of miles to Provence just so they can hang around at parties waiting to whip out the old, “Hey, do you even KNOW who my UNCLE is?”
Fixed yet another way you degenerates figured out to get around the no incest rules in the marriage code.
If you’re in the Hermetic order and you brew someone a potion, you will now stick around and act all excited to make them feel obligation to actually drink it and not dump it into the chamberpot.
Fixed a way secret bears could crash the game. Still unable to fix their tendency to crash its historical credibility.
Fixed some quartermasters in desert areas showing up with a bunch of normal horses with blankets stacked up like a hump on their backs and insisting that they were, indeed, the camels you asked for.
Added a way to find the Ark of the Covenant other than that super specific way that was never going to happen unless you read the game files and went for it specifically.
Fixed Medieval Tinder refusing to show you any matches during the first month your account was active.
Increased minimum province supply from 100 to 1000 to better keep in line with EU4’s model of attrition not really mattering much, as having you lose more men to attrition than battle casualties as was often the case in real life was considered too historically accurate.
You will now be forced to break up with your concubines before offering them to someone else as a concubine. This is 1169, not 1969.
Realms that consider you a threat that see your realm split in gavelkind will go, “Oh, I see. He’s an idiot,” and not worry too much about being conquered by you anymore.
Tribal vassals who have converted to a reformed pagan religion will no longer balk at the idea of feudalism, admitting they only adopted the new faith because they thought the robes and chanting seemed cool.
In realms with full gender equality, pretenders with weak claims who want to declare a succession war against a legitimate female liege will be told to go home and polish their shortsword.
Fired Prince Arthas from our AI programming team, so characters should no longer ship troops overseas by boat and then disband the boats and leave the army there forever.
The AI will now consider how OP the Catholic religion is with its bajillion holy orders when determining whether or not it’s a good idea to declare war.
The AI will no longer all abandon the siege of Jerusalem at once, with Godfrey claiming he thought Tancred was supposed to be in charge, Tancred claiming he thought Robert was supposed to be in charge, and Robert claiming he thought the other Robert was supposed to be in charge.
CTRL+click on campaign funds for cardinals and patricians will now send someone out to determine just how many people you need to pay off to win so you don’t have to waste a pfennig more of your wealth than is necessary to subvert the political process.
When hovering over your twin, the tooltip now says "Your Twin" rather than "Your BrotheSister", so you can be sure you’re banging your twin and not just some rando sibling.
“Unmarried Heir” alert no longer shows up if your heir lives in a different realm and is no longer returning your calls.
You will now be warned if you decide to disband a fleet in the middle of the sea that this will negatively impact the people onboard. Your fleetmaster had originally assumed you would be able to deduce this using common sense, but here we are.
Characters sent to China will no longer say they "died" in the tooltip when hovering over their age, because the Emperor assures you they are quite fine. They dictated this letter to you in Chinese that says so, so you have no reason to doubt.
Fixed a case where you might click “Ransom Prisoner”, and their captor would wheel out Jareth, the stableboy from Devon, instead of your only daughter, insisting that this is who you asked for and they’re not willing to negotiate on the price..
Fixed doing pretty much anything in the character finder causing the sorting order to break.
Content characters will no longer be less likely to discover plots, because they’re quite content NOT having a deadly viper in their bed and will take steps to ensure that does not happen.
A court physician who is dying of plague and bedridden will no longer be available to shove bees up the anuses of other characters dying of plague and bedridden in an attempt to cure them
Someone who holds no land in Aragon but claims to be Duke of a bunch of shit in Aragon (in duchies where they also own no land) in addition to King of Aragon will no longer be protected from having the kingdom usurped by someone who does actually own land there.
When participating in a ritual to honor the dead during a visit to China, you should no longer be prompted to honor a character who moved to China. Because those guys are totally still alive. We swear. They went hiking this weekend and probably won’t be back until after you leave but we’ll let them know you said hi.
Fixed an extremely rare situation in which a child could go into a coma, miraculously recover from being incapable and wake up as an adult, and still have their childhood personality traits, even though that sounds like a kickass 80s movie kinda like Big set in the middle ages.
The events that grant the Viking and Sea King traits no longer care about your gender. Only how many monks you can slaughter and how much of their gold you can haul off. It’s very progressive!
If China has gone isolationist, it is no longer possible to stand below the emperor’s window with a boombox held over your head playing that song you both really like until they agree to see you.
We’re still updating and balancing the Aztec religion for the benefit of Terrence in Allentown, PA who still plays with Sunset Invasion turned on.
Added in a historical Pope who was Pope for such a short time that we totally forgot he existed.
It’s no longer possible to expose a scandal to your target’s liege if the liege is four years old, because the Queen Regent is not going to let you explain to him what buggery is.
The Chinese Emperor will no longer blame you for the death of one of his courtiers if they were hauled off by vikings. Even though Duke Baldric would have protected his guest. Maybe the emperor should bestow his grace on a real leader like Duke Baldric instead!
Fixed so setting Mongol and Aztec invasions to “Random” in the game rules actually mean “at a random time, no less than 50 years after the start of the game”, as opposed to “almost always exactly 50 years ON THE DOT from the start of the game”.
Monastic Orders will no longer accept that you came home covered in blood from your “Penance” because you saw a vision of Christ and the blood squirted out of his palms and got all over your tabard and this is a sign of his favor, surely! It definitely had nothing to do with you marching into battle and cutting people’s limbs off while you were meant to be sequestered in prayer.
Fixed the War of the two Eriks leaving the rightful Erik independent if he loses
Prisoners who are not sacrificed in the ancestor worship events will no longer be so grateful that they become your best friend, despite still being imprisoned. I know Paradox is based in Stockholm but that seemed odd.
Incapable councilors will no longer somehow be able to successfully perform their duties, though you probably didn’t even notice this was happening before and applaud their herculean efforts, did you, you self-absorbed diva?
Some Satanic events that would previously declare you openly as a witch will allow you to assert that you are merely an ALLEGED witch, and everyone should calm down until more convincing evidence arises than all the infants who have been impaled on swords identical to the one you are carrying with that very specific style of ornamental crossguard known to be a signature of your personal smith.
TIDINGS FROM EUROPA UNIVERSALIS IV, PATCH 1.25.1
It is now impossible to get harsh treatment cost below 5, because no matter how pathetic the rebels look you still need to at least send one mean-looking constable to throw rocks at them until they go away.
Fixed all religion icons being offset in the ledger, which T.J. thought was being caused by him fucking up his mod and he spent like two hours trying to fix it. Thanks guys.
Nerfed mercenaries again because Army Professionalism apparently wasn’t enough of an incentive to stop you from spamming them.
Fixed Cleves having an actual Angel of Death on their payroll who could turn heretics to ash with a single glance.
Fixed that the game thought Shihr in Arabia was the capital of the Netherlands. Probably because of all the hash.
The AI should no longer refuse to end a war at 99% warscore even after decades because they would rather watch both nations collapse from war exhaustion than not get that sixth province they really wanted.
Fixed that the AI would always procrastinate exploring the Atlantic until they were done binging the most recent season of New Girl and petting their cat for two and a half hours.
TIDINGS FROM HEARTS OF IRON IV, PATCH 1.5.1 and 1.5.2
Fixed a case in which a division in Desperate mode would decide to retreat into the one province where they’d be even more screwed than they already were.
Added a tooltip that explains increased capacity for garrison orders, because none of the dev diaries did and nothing in-game did so we pretty much left everyone super fucking confused for the first week of 1.5.
Danzig for Guarantees now mentions getting Poznan as well. Hitler was trying to sneak that one in under the radar.
Added icons for German carrier CAS tech level 3, with a flavour names for if you somehow make it to 1945 and the Allies haven’t sunk all of your carriers yet.
Added an icon the for Attack Switzerland focu-I mean, uh… the… give Switzerland a hug focus. We would never invade you guys. Promise. Just keep all that gold safe.
Puyi should no longer wax rhapsodic about the virtues of independence from Japan if the Qing empire has already been restored and Tokyo is completely on fire.
Communist Japan can no longer leave 35 voicemails for Stalin asking if he’s changed his mind about volunteers once he’s told them he won’t be sending volunteers.
Just because Hitler is in the process of being overthrown by his own army no longer means other countries can’t stick with Appeasement, just to be safe.
Thanos will no longer snap and make half of Germany’s equipment disappear at the start of the Oppose Hitler civil war.
Communist Chinese focus tree now gets some infantry equipment production bonuses to make them actually playable.
Chinese factions should no longer be able to relocate their industry to secret, underground bases in states they do not control.
If Mussolini restores the Roman Empire, he can no longer decide to hold multiple triumphs for every successful campaign. Take it easy, Benny Boy.
If Mao takes over China politically, he will only have to deal with the fallout of his own poor decisions and not inherit the fallout of the poor decisions made by the preceding regime.
Removed a quantum entanglement scenario in which air wings could be fighting in more than one region at once, even though that Einstein guy was really keen to study it.
Surprise Attack Plan for civil wars should now work, because Corporal Heller has been reminded that you’re not supposed to yell SURPRISE ATTACK! and run toward the enemy before the surprise attack commences.
Japan should no longer be able to send commandos to covertly lay pavement for airbases in Manchuria, in full view of the enemy, if Japan does not control Manchuria.
Adjusted minimum and average death dates for Wilhelm II and von Mackensen so they might, like, get to participate in the war.
Fixed a bug where Stalin could assume direct control of countries with generic leaders like Agent Smith in the Matrix.
AI should no longer assign a bunch of tanks to a defensive order, demonstrating that they don’t really understand what tanks are for.
Fixed a number of issues with Romania in base game without DLCs enabled, if you for some weird reason want to play Romania without the DLC that makes them worth playing.
Poland is now less likely to join the Allies if they’ve given Germany all of the land they wanted and now the Soviets are hungrily eyeing the rest.
Now possible to demand your industrial designers make a StuG that looks like a Tiger II by selecting unit models in the division designer.
Fixed an issue where if the AI didn’t need any equipment right this second, it would lay off thousands of factory workers instead of trying to build up a stockpile of things it had plenty of raw materials to make.
AI Chinese Warlords fighting Japan will no longer sometimes decide they can handle it on their own and don’t need to be a part of this United Front nonsense.
Finland and the Baltic Countries will no longer refuse to trust Germany even once they’ve overthrown the Nazis and explicitly pledged to protect Finland and the Baltic Countries from Soviet aggression.
AI Germany may now decide to build some additional military factories before 1940.
Added a confirmation pop up while assigning every unit in army to a different army's front orders to prevent you from flipping yet another computer desk because you just ruined your complex invasion plan AGAIN
The Soviet scorched earth tactics now has a tooltip letting you know exactly how many innocent peasants lost everything in the name of their own supposed liberation.
Scorched Earth decisions are now hidden if there are no peasant hovels left to destroy.
You can no longer infinitely appropriate land for industry in the same state until it’s basically a small pocket of a Forge World from Warhammer 40K in the middle of the Chinese countryside.
Adjusted Polish and German provinces and states to make historical German WW1 borders possible, so don’t say we never did anything just because some geographical particularists made a fuss about it on the forums.
A Chinese power struggle should no longer end with multiple tags calling themselves China and refusing to recognize the other Chinas, even though this is what happened historically.
France will not immediately become a bloodthirsty killing machine if the Kaiser is restored to power.
Added an option to Chinese provocation event that allows Japan to nope the fuck out if things are looking really dicey.
Winter War peace treaty now appropriately hands over NOT ONE INCH MORE FINNISH SOIL than is absolutely necessary.
Generals with the Reckless trait will still be incautious, but there should be fewer reports of them charging a pillbox with a saber. We already tried that and it was called World War 1.
Changed mobilization impact from positive war support to the point that it has any effect whatsoever (up from none whatsoever).
Reworked the Manchukuo focus tree to make them actually playable (up from completely unplayable)
Manchus can now recruit the bandits instead of trying to fight them because, after all, we all want the same thing and it’s the Japanese to get the fuck out.
Manchukuo can now take a decision to allow them to build a lot of guns very quickly out of rocks and tape. They’re just not going to be especially reliable.
Made some things that used to cost a negligible amount of command power cost an amount that you may actually notice when it’s gone.
Countries with low war support are now more likely to surrender. Apparently that wasn’t a thing before now for some reason.
It should no longer be possible to gain a significant air superiority bonus on the ground using exclusively strategic bombers flying at such an altitude that you have to point them out to the enemy and say, “Aha! See those specks up there? Tremble in fear for they are your doooooom!”
Planes in general should now be less good at scaring the enemy but more good at actually getting kills on ground targets.
High-level radar will now assist all static AA guns in the same state, instead of folding their arms and refusing to speak to each other.
Static AA is really good now by the way.
Canada and Australia will now be somewhat less fucked by the Great Depression than the US is in 1936.
The German War Economy focus now requires that the German people actually want to go to war.
Political Power cost of renewing German Monopoly Money bills have been decreased, and they are now accepted at many locations that used to make fun of them.
Prevented various exploits that allowed naval transfer convoys to pose as a party of old whale fishermen just out for a nice trip around the North Atlantic, nothing to worry about, no Nazis in here, thereby allowing them to escape combat with a much larger fleet.
You will no longer receive naval combat reports about how your boats saw some other boats but no fighting happened.
You will no longer receive port strike notifications when someone at one of your ports thinks they saw an aircraft carrier but it never deployed any aircraft and then went away.
The Dutch can no longer ship the Kaiser off to Borneo to prevent Germany from rescuing him when their mainland holdings are overrun.
Imperial Germany now needs to prove themselves a right and proper asshole before Britain will kick them out of a faction.
Navies on convoy escort will no longer interpret their orders excessively literally and outright refuse to join any battles unless there are convoys to protect.
An already restored Austro-Hungarian Empire led by a Habsburg can no longer decide, “You know what? Fuck our ancient homeland,” and form Greater Hungary.
Panzer leaders are no longer prevented from gaining experience if there is EVEN ONE infantryman in their division.
Reworked the AI pathfinding so it shouldn’t try to use naval transport through the Strait of Gibraltar to get from Hamburg to Genoa when there is a friendly land route available.
Nuking Long Island now gives the same reduction in war support as if you’d hit Manhattan directly, even though most Manhattanites would probably thank you for doing so in real life.
Took some steps to fix the absolute clusterfuck that is the Yalta Conference event.
If an oppose Hitler civil war breaks out, the anti-Nazi side will no longer have to worry about honoring nor dealing with the backlash of their magical fun money.
Fixed an issue where the newspapers reporting on nuclear strikes might not be entirely sure where they happened.
Fixed the Hungarian media’s tendency to pull a Weekend at Bernie’s and try to maintain the illusion that their king is still alive and in good health even if that is not necessarily the case.
Warlords that inherit incompetent officers from the Nationalist military upon taking power no longer have to go, “Fuck, I guess we’re stuck with these bozos forever.”
Added a tooltip to help players struggling with the incomprehensible idea that they can’t get a treaty with the USSR if they’ve already signed the Anti-Soviet Pact.
Multiple peace conferences firing at the same time should no longer break everything forever.
TIDINGS FROM STELLARIS PATCH 2.0.1 and 2.0.2
Fixed an issue in which lesser species set to processing, grid amalgamation, and livestock purge types were simply being dumped into a canyon by lazy drones and thus producing no usable resources.
Hive Minds and Machine Empires will no longer dedicate large sections of their starbases to commerce stalls and merchant shipping berths that go completely unused as they have evolved beyond the concept of trade between individuals.
Auto-generated ships will no longer always choose the most suicidal combat computer available.
War Overview no longer attempts to calculate a winner in battles, because the dark void that seeks to swallow us all is the only true winner in war.
Marauder raiding fleets will no longer feel the need to obliterate everything in their path to steal some minerals from the spooky tree people.
If your leader becomes the Chosen One, you can now opt to become a Divine Empire by decision and regardless of ethics, given that all other government types have basically been proven wrong before your eyes.
Titans no longer feel the need to get into a particle lance-measuring contest with every other ship in the fleet by rushing into the fray where they’re going to get shot to shit with torpedoes and guarantee the battle won’t be a resource trade in your favor.
Having anything for your science ships to do at all in the mid and late game is now locked behind a tradition instead of technology.
It is now possible to use food in trade details, whereas previously even an empire facing mass starvation would tell you your sickening xeno-fruit wasn’t worth a single damn thing to them!
The Plunder wargoal now does something.
It is no longer possible to declare a Stop Colossus war just because an empire knows how to make a Colossus if they haven’t built actually built one yet. The American delegates to the United Nations of Earth Congress are very upset about this.
Added some new events to make neighboring the Marauders not just absolutely suck ass 24/7.
Getting Ring Worlds no longer takes up, like, all of your ascension perk slots to the point that it doesn’t even make sense to get them unless you’re super stoked about ring worlds.
The Erudite trait now makes leaders smart, not just miners and farmers. Having only the leaders be idiots in an otherwise sharp society seemed like something better suited for our historical games.
Wide empires no longer take such a harsh penalty to tradition costs, further reinforcing the fact that in Stellaris, if you want to play tall, you can go choke on a Blorg appendage.
We’ve learned from the rather unfortunate incident at Arcology Gamma that orbital habitats should probably not be entirely defenseless against ground invasions. If anyone is looking for a fixer-upper in close proximity to a lovely gas giant, we’re told the blood should come out of the floors, walls, and ceilings with diligent scrubbing.
Buffed Egalitarian ethic in an probably futile attempt to get any of you sadistic fucks to play a nice empire once in a while.
Militarists are no longer way better at fighting. They just give way fewer fucks about how badly the war is going. War is, after all, its own reward.
Asteroids will now mysteriously vanish from the galaxy 50 years after the game starts because again we don’t want to make things too hard on wide empires. They have so little going for them, you know?
Increased time limits of all Special Projects requiring a ship in orbit because, again, it was unfair to the poor wide empires who might have had to do something excruciating like have more science ships in different parts of their space as a balance against the overwhelming power their expansiveness granted them, in a way modeling the increased difficulty of governing that large an area of space.
The citizens back home will now care a little less that you’re sending their friends and loved ones to die in the depths of space if you assure them it’s for a good cause like freeing some aliens who didn’t ask for your help from a regime your government specifically doesn’t agree with.
Marauders who just took a bunch of an empire’s best stuff will now insist they allow time for that empire to make more cool stuff before they go take it all again.
If the Wraith leviathan wakes up and sees no one around, it will go back to bed for another bazillion years.
Unrest and unhappiness no longer reduces food production, because most pops realize that eating is still pretty important no matter how much the government sucks.
Happy slaves will now gain authoritarian attraction instead of egalitarian, because at this point there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to make this game more fucked up that we won’t take.
It’s no longer possible to hide all the treasure beneath the golden citadel in the golden city of your solid gold capital world and convince the raiding Marauders that this bag of trinkets is the only wealth you have to give.
Increased Jump Drive cooldown from Situational to Probably Just Not Viable At This Point
Slowed down Forced Migration to give you more incentive to simply kill everyone if you want them gone quickly.
Precursor home systems are now much more likely to spawn somewhere that you will be able to reach without conquering half the galaxy to complete one quest.
Reduced tech cost per system from 2% to 1% because, again, we wouldn’t want to make playing wide any kind of trade-off.
You will no longer be restricted from declaring war to stop the bloodthirsty purifiers just because they don’t directly threaten you yet, forcing you to sit by and watch as they devour every empire around you while the council just shrugs.
To Boldly Go tradition now makes your science ships more likely to hit the GTFO button sooner rather than giving them a better chance of surviving long enough to hit it.
We couldn’t nerf Planetary Survey Corps to the point that it wasn’t amazing, and alas, it was too amazing for this galaxy. So we killed it.
Purifiers may now take the Nihilistic Acquisition perk, allowing them to consolidate xenos into a smaller area for more efficient genocide.
Executive Vigor no longer breaks the entire game.
The AI will now make a slightly greater effort to get its shit together when being attacked by the Great Khan.
AI will no longer Jump Drive out at the first sign of a Prethoryn ship and leave you to get devoured by a fleet that would have been easily defeatable if they had just stayed with you, thereby dooming the entire damn galaxy.
The Deep State of your empire has determined it is probably not worth building an entire Black Site just to spy on some miners operating an asteroid drill in an otherwise uninhabited system.
Forbade multiple auto-exploring science ships from doubling up to explore a single system because we’re pretty sure the captains were just using it as an excuse to meet up and bang.
Science ship captains no longer have plot armor when their ship is destroyed.
Determined Exterminators no longer have a mysterious interest in gardening.
Hive Mind governors can no longer rule with an iron fist over drones that are already part of the same, single will as them.
Fixed pretty much every other empire in the galaxy being Slaving Despots
Starbase designers will no longer build elaborate trading hubs in a system with a primitive empire and wonder why they aren’t flying their biplanes up to shop there.
Fixed an issue where Militarists, upon defeating the Prethoryn, would find their celebrations felt empty as they had already vanquished the greatest foe they would ever have the pleasure of meeting in battle, thus leaving the rest of their empire’s existence to stretch out into eternity as merely a denouement to the epic saga that has now transpired and passed irrecoverably into the annals of a glorious past. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
Synthetically-ascended empires who have discovered the Ghost Signal will no longer assume it’s probably nothing and continue copying the unpatched code into all new units.
Fixed Curators giving wrong advice about the Wraith, then having to explain how very, very sorry they were about the loss of your entire fleet later.
Fixed a bug where the people building the ion cannon would sometimes forget to put in… the cannon part.
Awakened Empires no longer have the privilege of pointing out that a border is just, like, an imaginary line, man!
Fixed armies refusing to land on planets that had been taken over by ents, mutants, or other non-sapients because they felt they were, quote, “Not gettin’ paid enough for this shit.”
Fixed no one checking the blueprints for the ringworld until an entire system’s resources had been exhausted only to discover someone was off by like one ten thousandth of a percent somewhere and now the two ends of the loop don’t meet up. And it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s just going to stay that way now. Great job, idiots.
Added back in Will to Power as a unity ambition. Space Hitler is no longer boycotting the game.
You may now test fire planet crackers on uninhabited ring world segments, which is definitely a better use for them than trying to understand the history, technology, and downfall of a rich, hyper-advanced alien civilization.
Reduced firing speed and charge time on the Colossus to the point that you probably don’t have a prayer of stopping it.
Trickster admirals will now focus on fleeing in fear at the right moment, not necessarily fleeing quickly.
Nerfed xenomorph armies because let’s face it, their entire hive got schooled by a freight worker with a flamethrower and a glorified walking forklift.
Master Builders now makes orbital habitats not a huge waste of time and resources.
Fixed AI using jump drive in some cases where it shouldn't do so due to Jump Drive being really bad at all times.
A civilization that figures out how to build their own gateways will no longer be too confused to figure out how to use them until they’ve glanced at one left behind by someone else.
Fixed Google StarMaps sending ships several systems away for upgrades because it assumed “Nearest Starbase” didn’t include the one they were already at.
Fixed an issue where the unbidden could spawn in a system with a fortress world and be completely baffled about why their hyperdrives were nonfunctional, thus giving up on conquering the galaxy until they can reach tech support back in their home dimension.
Marauders no longer care if you’re poor. They’re going to take whatever shit’s not nailed down regardless.
The Unbidden and Prethoryns should no longer sometimes decide to designate a world just as somewhere chill to hang out rather than their usual MO of wiping out all higher forms of life everywhere.
AND NOW, SOME NEVER BEFORE RELEASED PATCH NOTES FROM DISTANT STARS AND THE 2.1 “NIVEN” PATCH!
Purchased the rights to several more seasons of Star Trek, increasing the total anomaly count by almost half.
Added three new leviathans to befriend. Go ahead. Poke it. I’m sure it won’t mind.
Added the L-Cluster, a mysterious area of space beyond the rim of the galaxy where I’m sure nothing bad happens ever.
Added binary star systems for those who don’t mind living in an unstable orbit that could send your entire civilization hurtling into the side of an unimaginably large nuclear furnace at any time.
Anomalies can no longer fail, because that added too much drama and excitement to the exploration phase. Instead, higher level anomalies will now simply take longer for lower-level scientists to research, replacing the tension of possibly losing your science officer with compelling Wait A Long Time While Nothing Happens gameplay.
Added Experimental Subsace Navigation which allows science ships to try and make it through Voyager again even though they know it’s never going to live up to TNG and DS9.
The Situation Log will now list anomalies so you don’t have to panic and drop everything when you find one because you know you won’t remember to come back to it ever if you don’t investigate it right when you find it.
It is no longer possible to take a species off of chemical bliss cold turkey and make all of their horrible withdrawal symptoms go away by offering them pamphlets about officer training school.
Enlightened primitives should no longer go, “Oh, you know what? You’re not the first spacefarers we’ve met. There was also that one time when we encountered- [proceeds to list every single empire in the entire galaxy.]”
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