(GMA) Widow of Resorts World guest hid in food freezer to escape attacker | The widow of one of the guests killed in the Resorts World Manila incident recalled on Sunday that she had to climb the casino's ceiling and hide inside a food freezer to stay alive.
Half submerged Titanic model in the Hollywood Casino in Tunica, MS. With a bonus shark coming from the ceiling. Looking into the water scared the crap out of me as a kid, and I still get uneasy just looking at the pics.
Woman Accusing Las Vegas Police Officer Of Excessive Force
This is an automatic summary, original reduced by 70%.
"I feel as if the way he reacted was unnecessary. I feel he escalated the situation," Mason told a news conference outside the office of her lawyer, Brent Bryson. The lawsuit concedes that Mason punched the officer, Shawn Izzo, while she was being handcuffed, and notes that Mason is African-American and Izzo is white. Mason is suing Las Vegas police and an officer she says smashed her face into a glass topped table during her arrest during a scuffle last August at a Strip resort nightclub. Records show that Mason was one of two people arrested on felony battery on a police officer charges in the incident. Bryson said the CD clips were derived from casino ceiling surveillance camera video obtained by police and turned over to him by prosecutors while he defended Mason in a felony battery on an officer complaint. Records show Mason paid $285. Mason appeared emotional as she faced reporters Thursday flanked by Bryson, her parents, Fred and Francina Mason of Teaneck, New Jersey, and an aunt from Los Angeles, television personality Rolonda Watts.
Respect Red Jacket Lupin the 3rd! (Lupin the 3rd Part 2)
"That just means the game isn't over yet! The goddess of victory will smile upon me, Lupin III!"
Required listening for this thread Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin. He is the world's most wanted gentleman thief. Lupin is acknowledged by virtually every law agency on earth as the world's number one thief. Often in his adventures, he and his colleagues, Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII, will take it upon themselves to foil other criminals engaged in more violent crimes. While first glance may imply Lupin as fun-loving, flighty, perhaps even "goofy", his surface façade overcoats a brilliant imagination and a thorough knowledge of a hundred varying sciences. Forever extemporizing and reevaluating, Lupin has been responsible for heists no right-minded individual would believe possible. While arrested and jailed on numerous occasions, typically by his nemesis Inspector Zenigata, he has always managed to escape. He has a fondness for fancy gadgets from time to time plus hands-on experience in many skills a thief would find useful. His infatuation with Fujiko Mine is perhaps his most significant weakness, as it lands him in undesirable situations most of the time.
Simple Lore comparison of both the NCR's and Legion's currency
NCR 5 dollar bill is only worth 2 caps Legion silver Denarius is worth 4 caps That's 2 more of the base value of what the NCR 5 dollar bill can afford. Now lets check the highest. NCR 100 dollar bill is only worth 40 caps. Legion gold Aureus is worth 100 caps. That's 60 more of the base value of what the NCR 100 dollar bill can afford. Unlike Legion currency however, the NCR has a third denomination of a 20 dollar bill which is worth 8 caps. Still, the ceilings of both of their highest currencies available to the markets edges in favor of the Legion over the NCR dollar with the Aureus having a higher purchasing power in regards to commercial activity. sources; [By 2281, the NCR dollar is valued at about 40% of a water-backed cap and only 10% of a silver Legion Denarius.](https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/NCR_dollars) [Legion currency](https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/Legion_Denarius) [NCR currency](https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/NCR_dollars) Dialogue points from merchant or merchant adjunct entities to substantiate probable currency values decided by the Wasteland market; >Dale Barton: "Hell, I don't even need to travel with guards most of the time in Legion territory. All the bandits are dead or run off." >Dale Barton: "Between having to hire protection and getting slapped with taxes, it's more profitable to stick to Arizona and New Mexico." >Rose Sharon of Cassidy: "Some caravans deal with the Legion now because the security. If towns could get the same protection? A lot more tempting than you'd think. Bunch of people would be willing to side with the Legion to not have to worry about Fiends and Boomers and Powder Ganger attacks." >The Courier: "You don't get paid in Caps?" >Chomp Lewis: "Nope. The NCR's been trying to switch over to using paper money, like in the Pre-War days. Trouble is that the exchange rates ain't exactly fair.For example, a hundred bucks in NCR money is valued at roughly half that in caps around here. Seems like a rotten deal for us, but work is work." >The Courier: "What can you tell me about New Vegas?" >Chomp Lewis: "I've been there once, and I don't recommend it. It's just a way to burn through amonth's pay in five minutes*. I've seen a lot of folks come through here thinking they'll have the easy life once they get there. It never happens."* From one of the developers: >J.E Sawyer: "And this is discussed in-game: BoS raided NCR's gold reserves until NCR could no longer generate gold coinage nor back their paper money. They abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, which is why its value is inflated over both caps and (especially) Legion coinage. (...) People in eastern NCR and the Mojave Wasteland lost faith in the NCR government's a) ability to back the listed value of paper money and b) stability overall. If you're living in Bakersfield, staring at a piece of paper that says "redeemable for value in gold" and you have no faith in the government's ability or willingness to do that -- or if you see that the government has changed the currency to say that it is not able to be exchanged for a backed good -- you may very well listen to the strong consortium of local merchants offering to exchange that paper note for currency backed by water." The Tops Vegas Casino exchange rates for in-house playing Chips; Note: With a double check, all the Casino cashiers in Vegas have the same exchange dialogue, barring the type of greeting they give depending on the chosen locale. That means the exchange rates for all Vegas Casinos are standardized and consistent. NCR 2 chips for 5$ NCR 8 chips for 20$ NCR 40 chips for 40$ NCR Legion 4 chips for 1 Legion Denarius 20 chips for 5 Legion Denarii 40 chips for 10 Legion Denarii 80 chips for 20 Legion Denarii 100 chips for 1 Legion Aureus or 25 Legion Denarii Source: Geck dialogue files, vDialogueCasinoCashier; Topics EDIT: To even nip this in the butt further, some comments here say that Precious Commodities don't have intrinsic value. If that is the case in regards to the NCR being discussed here, why by the time of FO2 was the lowest denominator of their currency, 1$ dollar, was in Gold Coins? $1 NCR - The Fallout Wiki (fandom.com) The NCR never or had any contingencies to shore-up their currency to a fiat one at all if the most basic unit of their internal monetary exchange was Gold Coins. If that were the case they would've had pure paper money to begin with without these Coins being in circulation in Fallout 2; with all Gold being in their reserve purely being for backing only, but this isn't the case as we observe. With the absence of their most basic unit of exchange being gone and the 5$ paper note being demoted to the new basic unit of their currency, that's a huge amount of unaccounted inflation off the bat; inflation they could've never prepared for since they valued Gold enough as a natural unit of exchange at such a base level to be circulated. They didn't expect the BoS to hit them that hard or anyone to do so with their perceived control of their core territory; nevermind the facts that its very unstable and unlucrative to deal in with raiders they can't hunt down with lack of dedicated manpower and poll taxes. Precious vs Fiat currencies have staunch differences that can't be reconciled in the context of the Fallout universe and a general post-apocalypse. Precious Commodities are backed by simple human consensus of its natural properties being of worth and desirable for a monetary unit of exchange. These can be traded and exchanged easily with a readily agreed upon value along with Caps because they are accepted by almost every post-war Tribal group, Wasteland settlement, independent Traders, and most other polities across America. Its supply is also naturally in nature, not manufactured artificially with Fiat money note printing. (In the Fallout series, we see some form of international travel is still somewhat possible with characters such as Alistar Tenpenny and in Fallout 4 with multiple characters from other continents. Take Gold from the US and bring it to the British Isles, it will still have ready value no matter what. Take simple Fiat bank notes of a faction in the US to say, the Fallout version of West Africa. It would absolutely have no value because the issuer of that tender back in North America literally has no economic influence to back its money in this region miles away; there is no Demand or recognition for it. Conversely with Gold taken from North America and traveling to Fallout West Africa, it has tradeable value no matter what because Gold is a natural unit of exchange from its recognized natural value by humans.) Fiat currency is only as strong as a nation-state can legitimize and maintain it. The only Fiat currency at the time of New Vegas taking place is NCR currency, which is doing badly from the aforementioned factors of the top of this post. The NCR IS a nation of some sort, but it isn't in the league of pre-war society statehoodship. It doesn't have the financial instruments or development of robust monetary institutions to handle Fiat when they've have been on a Gold economy all this time and the value of the NCR dollar has plummeted due to lack of Demand with its sudden absence. The only reason why the NCR dollar had high worthiness was due to the inherent value of Gold they had on reserve in a post-apocalyptic society that has an extremely high assessment of value it. With the Gold-backed era of the NCR (supported in FO2 with Gold Coins directly in circulation and being exchanged), Caps were practically worthless in the NCR territory as comments here note. Now with Gold out of the equation as we can observe with direct evidence, the highest focal point of NCR currency isn't even worth 40% of Cap currency by the end of the NCR-BoS war. Double Edit: The whole reason why the resource wars in the Fallout universe happened because the main natural mineral resource, Oil, was almost all depleted entirely- in an international society where almost all the pre-war Nations were Oil based economies. Without Oil we see in numerous cases in Fallout in the post-war landscape with products with exorbitant prices due to rampart inflation with money that had no value. [This](https://www.reddit.com/Fallout/comments/3x9cqj/how_inflated_was_the_prewar_economy_some_of_the/cy348gl?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3) comment here from 4 years ago from the main Fallout subreddit goes into the context of the universe. In the very intro of the first Fallout game, we see on the TV in the ruined building that is still running- a common non-luxury car is worth 200,000 dollars. Regular Gas in pre-war Fallout America was 1450.99$ Premium Gas was 8500.99$ To note, America was only one of the nations still with a minutiae of Oil left, but here are the prices. Source: [Gas Prices](latest (293×291) (nocookie.net)) The Mechanical Pony toy seen in Fallout 3 costs 16,000$.
This chapter was a labour of love, heists are hard. Big thanks to u/eruwenn for helping tidy up this bag of snakes. First / Prev / Next
“Ranjaz K’Lua, you thieving scumbag!” the Kah’Ree in the purple suit exclaimed loudly as he spotted them across the busy room. “As I live and skral, I never thought you would have the Jolos show your face here again!” Two J’Rami in suits detached themselves from the lobby wall, walking towards the Kittran and his friends. “Alfor, my old friend!” Ranjaz smiled broadly. “No need for the welcoming party, I’ve got your credits” —he gestured to Cygna— “and a sweetener, for all the trouble I caused last time.” Alfor paused, lecherous eyes assessing the Fae’Dan. “You know I have a thing for purple.” He chuckled at his own joke and waved the guards back to their posts. “How about we have a drink, and discuss your forgiveness.” He pointed to Thor and Eruwenn. “Brought your own security, or are these Gal. Fed. goons? Everyone knows about your probation.” The Kittran gave a broad grin. “I got a Tulseria-damned pardon, a new ship and a very lucrative opportunity.” The Kah’Ree smiled. “How’d a thieving cat like you get a pardon?” He gave Ranjaz an appraising look up and down. “Oh? Now, let me guess, you need something from me and my brother?” Ranjaz fired his finger guns. “You were always the smart one Alfor, that’s why you run the casino floor.” The Kittran stepped in close. “The item, do you still have it?” Alfor tilted his head back and away from Ranjaz. “Your little guarantee?” He looked back down at Ranjaz. “We have it somewhere safe. Had some unusual people come by after you got caught. Asked a lot of questions. Made a lot of threats.” His face contorted in anger. “We got audited thanks to you.” The Kittran smiled. “If only they knew you better, they could have simply paid you for the information.” “We give nothing for free.” The Kah’Ree gave a sinister smile. “House rule.” Ranjaz walked forward to put his his arm on Alfor’s back. “Let’s go see your brother. Have a few drinks, maybe gamble a little, and discuss our future riches.”
Ripley stood in the shadows of the staff shuttle bay, watching as the numerous employees of assorted races came and went. Loud laughter caught her attention, and a very strangely dressed Niham broke away from a small group and walked towards her. Ripley tried to maintain her low profile as the scantily clad female strutted towards her in long black boots with pointed heels that clacked loudly with every step. Deliberately avoiding eye contact the Awakened tried to will herself into the wall but it was too late and a voice called out to her. “Hey Darling! You must be the one I’m looking for.” Ripley shook her head. The Kittran had said the contact was an Ashi pirate captain, a master gambler and expert in procuring the unusual. “I don’t-” “Listen cutie,” she interrupted, “you’re the one lurking in dark corners drawing attention to yourself. I’ve got your security card. You tell that fluffy little stud he owes me. And more than a bottle of Fae’Dan wine and a good time, if you know what I mean.” She held up the card between her fingers, just a little out of Ripley’s reach. The Awakened considered the phrase ‘fluffy little stud’ and decided that, despite her hopes, this was probably her contact. “You’re Captain Whiplash?” The Ashi laughed genuinely, the jiggling of tightly squeezed breasts bursting at shiny black restraints making Ripley nervous. “Oh, Darling! Only my little pets call me that! You may call me Sho’Na.” Ripley was momentarily confused. “So, you aren’t a pirate captain?” “I’m anything they pay me to be.” She smiled at the silver-haired woman's naivety. “You really are new to this.” Ripley, caught off guard, simply nodded, then replied, “I’m a quick learner.” “Good for you, Darling.” Sho’Na handed over the card. “Just make sure you get paid up front, and don’t use your real name with clients. Ruins the mystique.” Ripley was unsure of what was being said. Turning the card over in her hands she saw that the holo-image on the front was of a male Arkellian. “This isn’t me?” “Honey, I was given half a cycle to get you a level three security card. Just be glad it’s a biped.” Sho’Na looked Ripley up and down. “Our mutual acquaintance told me you were some sort of master of disguise who could even trick Selva Blaster.” Ripley paused, then smiled. Her appearance had become such an integral part of her identity she had forgotten that it was entirely optional. “It won’t be a problem.” She looked at the card again. “Unless the owner comes looking for it.” Sho’Na gave another bosom-trembling laugh that threatened to spill out at any moment. “Oh, don’t worry, he’s tied up at the moment.” The Awakened considered the risk. “Hmmm, but for how long?” The few strips of shiny black material that comprised Sho’Na’s revealing outfit strained under her amusement. “Don’t you worry, Darling. He paid for the whole night.”
Eruwenn had reassessed her opinion of Ranjaz many times since meeting him. The criminal. The loyal friend. The lazy trouble-maker. All were true, but now she was seeing something new. He sat opposite Toran, the brother of Alfor, in a game of dalcho she wished she could have taken part in, but was equally glad she did not. At first she had thought the Kittran was outmatched, a few reckless mistakes costing him dearly as the Kah’Ree deftly selected his tiles. Toran was clearly a seasoned gambler, using a blend of the Remee Le’Bow Gambit and the Kowals’Kee Analysis she hadn’t seen before. It seemed to be dismantling Ranjaz’s tiles before he could even prepare his cards. A few fortunate dice rolls and he had taken a strong lead from the outset. The Kittran appeared desperate, playing any tile available to try and slow the defeat. It had all been a ruse, she saw it; Ranjaz had saved his best tiles and carefully thrown hands to manipulate the cards. In just a few rounds he would be able to dominate the board and raise the stakes, recouping his losses and changing the course of the game entirely. She had encountered few players who could manipulate the game so deftly, using memory and layers of strategy to corner their opponent. It was magnificent. Eruwenn couldn’t tear her eyes from the board as she stood beside Thor. The Awakened had shown no interest in the game, studiously watching the opposite door as Toran’s staff came in and out. When a waiter entered and began preparing drinks at the small private bar in the executive gambling room, Thor coughed. It was a strange thing for an Awakened to do, and Eruwenn finally looked up from the table. “Are you ok?” Thor nodded. By the time he had looked towards her, she had returned her attention completely to the game. “You don’t seem concerned about your friend?” he asked. The Anatidae watched as Ranjaz used a blind double feint, and the sheer audacity of such a move made her swallow hard. She didn’t look back to Thor, but mumbled a response. “I’m very confident in her abilities.” The waiter was methodically placing drinks by each of the players, but when they stood behind Ranjaz the Kittran surged to his feet, shouting, “Hey! No cheating Toran! Getting your waiter to look over my shoulder? That’s a dirty move I’d expect from your brother!” Thor had reacted faster than Eruwenn, pinning the arms of the Arkellian waiter in a vice-like bear hug. Toran slowly stood. He was big, heavily muscled, and the veins on his neck bulged as his anger rose. “Don’t accuse me in my own place.” He cracked his knuckles and glowered down at Ranjaz. “I run a straight game.” Fearlessly the Kittran walked right up to the Kah’Ree and stared up into his face from waist height. “Don’t try and intimidate me, you son of a Vogel.” Ranjaz puffed out his chest and began pushing the burly casino owner. “Nobody cheats me!” The blow caught Ranjaz across the cheek and sent him sprawling across the room. Eruwenn winced at the impact, but maintained her composure. Toran laughed. “Watch your tongue or I’ll add it to my collection.” He walked round the table and kicked Ranjaz in the stomach, glaring at Thor and Eruwenn, daring them to act. “Know your place trash. You’re at this table because you put credits up front. You are a dishonest thief, begging for scraps, and cosying up to me any my brother to get your little trinket back.” He returned to his seat. “Why would I need to cheat against the likes of you?” Ranjaz stood, brushing himself off. “Fine, fine.” He waved a hand and Thor dropped the Arkellian. Ranjaz tapped him on the chest. “My mistake.” He sat down and picked up his cards once more. “You’re right Toran, you run a clean game. I’m just a sore loser.” He shuffled the order of the tiles that were still face down on the table. “To show my sincerity, how about we double the buy for the rest of the game?” Toran snorted. “Double?” He looked at the Kittran, scrutinising his opponent. The game was already over; he had control of the board and his tiles occupied the three prime positions. Was the thief trying to buy his favour, he wondered? How much was the trinket he wanted truly worth? He decided it was worth testing. “Triple, and I’ll forget you dared touch me.” The Kittran swallowed hard, his ears flat to his head. Toran momentarily worried he’d pushed for too much but a decision seemed to be reached. “Fine. Triple.” The look of defeat was delicious to the Kah’Ree.
Cygna had done her part and lured Alfor to a private room away from his security. She had danced, skipped and side-stepped his groping hands so far, maintaining a playfulness that ensured he complied. This sort of thing was not new to her; she had spent time undercover in the past. Fortunately, there had been little call for it since she had joined forces with Eruwenn. Alfor’s eyes scanned her body once more. “The Kittran has very good taste.” He licked his lips, a small amount of drool escaping and running down his chin. He wiped it on his sleeve. “Now, I brought you somewhere quiet. How about you show me how sweet you can be?” The Fae’Dan smiled coyly and continued her dancing just out of reach, glancing to the doorway where Alfor’s two guards stood watching her. “With an audience?” She raised her eyebrows expectantly. With a sly grin he waved the guards out of the room. “Now come here and let me satisfy you like only a Kah’Ree can.” His eyes wandered over her body once more. Cygna smiled, her own eyes moving from the Kah’Ree’s hands to his shoulders, then up towards his neck. An interesting fact about the Kah’Ree was the thick blood vessels on the side of their neck. They often bulged when a Kah’Ree was angry or excited, like Alfor’s were as he leered at her. She danced closer. Another interesting fact was that their brains were not as efficient as those of other species, hence the requirement for additional blood flow; more oxygen per limited thought. He leaned forward, his eyes locked to her swaying hips. Cygna turned slowly, and his head tilted to appreciate her assets. The third, lesser known, fact about the Kah’Ree was that an interruption to the blood flow while they were in this excited state caused them to lose consciousness rapidly as their brain burned through the available oxygen. “My eyes are up here.” She smiled as he looked up at her with his head still tilted. He sneered. “Who ca-” The Fae’Dan struck the side of his neck with the edge of her hand, targeting the throbbing blood vessel with a powerful blow. The interruption to his brain's oxygen supply worked perfectly and he fell face forward onto the ground at her feet. She let out a sigh of relief and looked down at his unconscious body. “Thank you, that was particularly satisfying.” She walked over to the door and peeked out, finding the guards standing either side. “He said to order us some drinks.” One of the guards nodded and immediately put his hand to his lapel communicator. Back inside the room, Cygna used her foot to roll Alfor to his back and began searching his pockets. She came up empty. Her eyes caught a glimmer from his collar and she found a heavy gold chain, at the end of which was his security key. She removed it just as a knock came at the door. A deep voice from the other side called out. “Your drinks, boss.” The Fae’Dan quickly messed up her hair. Using the back of her hand she smeared her lipstick sideways, and then pulled the strap of her dress down off her shoulder. She opened the door and, to her surprise, was faced with an Arkellian waiter. The bodyguards noted her dishevelled appearance and shared a smirk, and she said, “Oh, I wasn’t expec-” The waiter pushed the trolley into the room. “Don’t keep the boss waiting, lady.” Before Cygna could reply they were inside and the door closed. “Relax, it’s me.” Ripley’s voice sounded bizarre coming from the male Arkellian form, and Cygna’s eyes went wide in shock. Her sharp mind quickly adjusted to this new information. Of course the Awakened could change their physical appearance; she had just never seen it. They all seemed quite attached to their chosen human forms. “Neat trick.” She held out Alfor’s key. “Did you get the other one?” Ripley nodded. “The Kittran played his part well. I didn’t see him take it, and didn’t feel it when he placed it in my pocket. Now that was a neat trick.” The Fae’Dan smiled. “I think I’ll pass on that dalcho game.” The Arkellian Ripley smiled. “Probably wise.” Turning, she slipped the key into her pocket and headed back out of the door.
Ripley entered the elevator to the owner's private offices on the top floor. Thanks to the distractions downstairs, the two large desks in the centre of the room were empty. She walked straight past them to the large leokas painting on the wall and swung it forward. Behind it was a Fae’Dan safe; she took out the two keys and a small homemade device the Kittran had given her. Attaching the device to the bio-lock and standing before the safe, she elongated her arms to reach both key positions at once. There was more than one reason she was the one chosen for this task. The device beeped twice and small lights above each lock lit up. She simultaneously turned both keys, and there was a satisfying clunk. She raised an eyebrow. The device had worked. The heavy safe door swung open and she began her search. Ranjaz had been very specific: while there was one item she had to get, she was to grab as much as possible to obscure their true target. Quickly grabbing as much as she could she retrieved the keys and ran back across the room towards the elevator.
Cygna hauled Alfor back onto the seat, putting him in a more natural position and messing up his hair. She looked away as she began unbuttoning his clothes, pulling his trousers around his ankles and opening his shirt up to bare his chest. From a secret pocket inside her dress she pulled out a lace thong, setting it on his head like a bandana. She also had a small box which she opened, inside of which was a replica mouth with lipstick that matched her own. Cygna carefully applied kiss marks all over his exposed skin before popping the fake lips back into the secret pocket. She took the Fae’Dan wine and partially filled two glasses, making sure to take a long drink from one and leave more lipstick marks. The rest of the wine was poured into the ice bucket. She heard the sound of voices outside the door. The guards were arguing with someone, refusing them entry, but when the name Toran was mentioned it was Ripley who entered, still in uniform but now looking much like her usual self. She smirked at the Kah’Ree in his derobed state. “I can see you had fun.” The Fae’Dan chuckled. “That’s the idea.” She looked at the Awakened in her true form. “You look… better.” Ripley cocked her head. “It would be strange if the waiter came back to deliver a message.” She tossed the necklace key to Cygna, who replaced it on Alfor’s neck. Reclining on the sofa and picking up her glass, Cygna took another long drink. “Get the other one back to Ranjaz quickly. This one won’t be napping much longer.” The Awakened gave an almost Ranjaz-like grin. “You could always hit him again.” Before the Fae’Dan could reply she had ducked back out of the door. She caught the eye of one of the bodyguards and gave a head tilt back towards the room. “The boss is really enjoying himself!” As the suited pair chuckled, the larger of the two got a message in his ear piece. “Hey, silver hair.” He grunted. “Boss has an important guest. Meet them in the foyer and bring them to the dalcho room.” Ripley was relieved – she needed a reason to get into that room. “On my way.”
Toran was seething as he watched as the Kittran flipped his final tile. Why would he have waited so long to play the Wings of Tulseria tile? His stomach sank, and he couldn’t hold back his anger any longer. “Damn you!” Ranjaz gave a full-fanged grin. “Looks like my luck turned at just the right moment.” “Luck!” Toran’s tile snapped between his fingers. Why had he let the damned cat goad him into constantly increasing their bet? The cycle had started with him owing the brothers a million credits plus interest, and now the infuritating Kittran had won nearly forty times that. “Nobody is that lucky.” “Woah!” Ranjaz held up his hands. “I would never cheat, well... certainly not a second time. After you caught me, I’d be a fool to try.” “Hmm.” Toran looked at the two behind the Kittran. The big one would be a problem, but the Anatidae looked to be nothing special. “How about I give you back your little trinket and we call it even?” “My trinket?” Ranjaz shook his head. “I had to convince you it was worth the million I owed. Why would you think I’d trade it for thirty eight million credits? I’ll pay what I owe, take my trinket and my winnings and leave.” Toran folded his arms and looked across the dalcho board at Ranjaz. “And why would I let you do that?” The atmosphere in the room changed as the two security guards changed their stance. “Transfer the credits back to the house.” Ranjaz dropped the grin, replacing it with a defiant glare. “What happened to you running a straight game?” “The game was straight. You won, didn’t you?” He leaned forward, his eyes cold and hard. “You’re just in no position to collect.” The Kittran was about to argue when the door behind Toran opened. He looked up as Ripley entered, and his eyes widened in shock. She wasn’t alone. “Toran, you bastard! You sold me out!” “For ten million credits.” Toran stared hard at Ranjaz. “Care to make a better offer?” Eruwenn’s eyes blazed with anger as the grey-suited Niham pulled up a seat and sat down beside Toran. “Now, now, you lied to me about having the item before. Don’t double cross me.” Sentinel Krast placed his hands together on the table, interlacing his fingers. “I’m not somebody who forgives easily.” He looked directly at Eruwenn. “Isn’t that right, former Councillor? A little far from your new Ambassador position, aren’t you?” Ripley stood back against the wall. She had no idea who the newcomer was, but this most definitely was not the plan. The golden green Anatidae walked forward to stand behind Ranjaz. “Oh, I had a little vacation time saved up, and decided to spend it with my good friend here.” She placed a hand on the Kittrans shoulder. “And what brings a Sentinel here?” Krast’s lips curled in what might approximate a smile. “I’m also acquainted with Mr K’Lua. In fact, we go back a very long way.” He turned to look directly at Ranjaz. “Now, return what is mine.” Toran looked from Ranjaz to Krast. “Yours? You don’t look like the tiara wearing type.” The Sentinel didn’t turn his head. “Ah, so you hid the data chip inside some shiny bauble. As inventive as ever, Mr K’Lua.” The Niham finally acknowledged Toran by looking at him. “Bring. It. Here.” The Kah’Ree sucked air through his teeth. “Well, seems like we have something mighty important, and two very interested parties.” He stood and walked to his two security officers, who drew their weapons in unison. “Now then, I believe you” —he nodded to Krast— “offered ten million. How about it Ranjaz, old friend? What’s your counter offer?” The Kittran had been sitting, silently seething at his double cross being double crossed. He looked at Krast. “Were you the one?” Toran was surprised at being ignored, but before he could reply Krast answered, “The one?” Ranjaz’s eyes narrowed, his ears alert, his tail swishing aggressively. “The one who took my friend!” he snarled as he felt Eruwenn’s hand holding him back gently. Krast’s eyes glittered as he saw the impotent rage in his opponent’s eyes. “Ah, the poor deceased human?” He smiled his mannequin-esque smile. “And if I was?” Toran snatched a pistol from one of his men and fired a blast at the ceiling. “Your quarrel can wait. Let’s settle our business first and you can kill each other after I’m paid.” He paused, then added, “but, not in my casino. Body disposal costs extra.” Eruwenn’s hand gripped Ranjaz’s shoulder harder, and he braced himself. In one smooth move she both threw him backwards and to the right, and kicked the dalcho table up and forward into Krast's face. The Sentinel fell backwards as a blast from Toran struck the table, but Eruwenn was already on the move, sidestepping left and ducking forward into a cartwheel. Toran's gun had been following Ranjaz, but as her leg swept down it knocked the weapon from his grip. Once she stabilized, her fist, already primed with momentum from the cartwheel, struck Toran below the ribs and knocked the wind from him. The guard, whose gun the Kah'Ree had been holding, lunged forward to grab Eruwenn but she simply deflected his hand, pairing his forward momentum with her rising elbow to swiftly render him unconscious. The second guard had just begun to raise his weapon when a huge fist struck him in his chest, sending him careening backwards into the wall. Thor loomed over him, shaking his head as he retrieved the energy pistol. “Too slow.” Ripley helped Ranjaz to his feet as Krast pushed the table off his chest. Toran was coughing and struggling to breathe as Ranjaz pressed the retrieved energy pistol to his forehead. “Double cross me?” He dragged the Kah’Ree forward. “I want to see the item, then I’ll pay what I owe.” The two of them awkwardly made their way back towards Krast, so Ranjaz could point the gun in his face. “Then we can talk about your body disposal fee.” Krast stood, and his phony smile was gone. “You can’t kill me. The Sentinels will tear this place apart, hunt you down and kill you. You think I came alone? My ship is in orbit and waiting for my orders!” Ranjaz grabbed him by the jacket, pulling him down to his level, and struck him in the face with the butt of the pistol. Thor cooly kept his stolen pistol pointed at Toran and the one conscious guard. By the third blow Krast’s face was bloody, his nose broken and he began to struggle against Ranjaz’s assault. A muted boom caused everyone present to stop in their tracks. Alarms began to sound and Toran swore loudly. He pulled out his communicator, ignoring Thor’s pistol. “What the hell was that!” He held the device close as he listened. “My office?” He patted his pocket. Finding his key in place, he looked to Ranjaz and then Krast. “Seal the casino! And where is my brother?” Ripley suddenly understood why the Kittran had told her to leave his device on the safe door. After a brief further moment of shock, which she kept from showing on her face, she realized that she had been carrying an explosive without being told. If they survived, Ranjaz was going to need to explain himself. Thoroughly. Eruwenn, Thor and Ranjaz had backed away to the opposite side of the room, standing by the door. Krast stood alone, holding his profusely bleeding nose. The opposite door soon opened to reveal scrambling casino security, with Toran and his guard standing nearby. The unconscious guard was carried out without comment, and the Kah’Ree turned to Ripley. “Why are you still here?” She nodded and slipped out of the door, leaving one less concern for the remaining three. “Alright, which one of your skrolg-licking bastards broke into my private safe?” Krast spat blood onto the floor, pointing at Ranjaz. “He’s the thief. You and I had a deal.” The Kittran smirked. “I’m a better thief than blowing up a Tulseria-damned safe. If I wanted to steal it, I would have done just that. I would not have announced my arrival and sat down to a game of dalcho.” Toran looked between the two of them. “He’s got a point.” One of his men handed him a pistol, and he continued to talk a little distractedly into his communicator. “Well, check everywhere!” Ranjaz stirred the pot. “He’s the bastard who double crossed me, why would he honour your deal?” Eruwenn nodded. “A government agent can’t be seen working with criminals.” Krast's face contorted in rage. “Don’t be a damned fool, Toran!” He pointed at Ranjaz. “This is clearly some convoluted distraction.” Toran shook his head. “They had the upper hand. You were the one getting your face ruined.”
Cygna watched nervously as Alfor began to stir. Things were taking a lot longer than expected. Finally, her signal came; it was not as subtle as she had been led to believe. As soon as the explosion went off the two bodyguards quickly came into the room, glancing from Alfor’s sleeping body to her. She staggered forward, wine bottle in hand. “We need more drinkshh!” The guard ignored her as he saw the condition of his boss. “Not again,” he groaned. “Toran will kill us for letting him get like this.” The second guard stepped out into the corridor. “I’m not dressing him! Last time he tried to kiss me!” Cygna paused, not having expected it to go this way. The first bodyguard walked out as well. “He pissed on my new shoes the time before that. I’m not moving him.” Their communicators went off and their faces became more serious. Bodyguard two spoke first. “Damn it. Toran wants him.” The first turned to look at the increasingly bewildered Cygna. “You!” He smiled. “You got him undressed. You can dress him.” Cygna spotted Ripley running down the corridor towards them, causing her confusion to grow further. The Awakened shouted one word. “Sentinels!” The Fae’Dan’s mind raced. The plan was clearly blown, and they had to get out. Fast. As the guards were now facing Ripley, she took the opportunity to kick one in the back of the knee. He fell forward, and as the second turned he was met with the upward swing of a wine bottle. The first guard discovered first-hand the shocking truth of how hard the knee of an Awakened could be, and both were unconscious by the time they hit the ground. Cygna smiled at Ripley. "Thanks." The Awakened gave a swift nod of acknowledgement. “A Sentinel turned up, so Ranjaz set off the diversion he promised. The other brother is busy trying to figure out whether it’s us or the Sentinels robbing him.” Cygna took on board the new information quickly, knowing she needed to help the others. “I have an idea. Lie over there and look dead.” She ran back into the room, where Alfor was groaning and starting to move. She slipped the chain from his neck and dropped it into the ice bucket, where it sank out of sight below the dark Fae’Dan wine. She began to slowly shake him. “Huh,” he grumbled, and slowly opened his eyes. “Wha.. what happened?” Cygna clung to him tightly. “Oh thank goodness! I thought they killed you!” “Killed?” Alfor’s head was pounding, his memory blurry. “Who-” He caught sight of his downed guards in the open doorway. “What the hell happened?” He began pulling at his clothes, and swiftly checked that his trousers were dry. “While we were.. You know…” He nodded; he was buttoning up his clothes. He didn’t remember, but he knew. “Some scary men burst into the room and shot you! I was so scared.” She hugged him tight, pressing herself against him. He put his arm around her. “What men? Be brave, and tell me what happened.” She looked up at him, trying to make her eyes as big as possible, adding a lip tremble to really sell it. “I don’t know! They wore grey suits. And one of them took your necklace!” “My necklace.” He clutched at his chest where it should have been. “Damn Sentinels! I told Toran we couldn't trust them!” He stepped into the corridor, where Ripley lay on the ground with a terrible energy weapon burn on the side of her face. He pulled out his communicator. “Toran.” He instantly got hold of his brother. “I didn’t answer because I was knocked out. Damn Sentinels took my key, killed some of our guys.” He looked around. “Nobody important, just some waiter.” He finally pulled the underwear from his head. “I’ll go to the security room and look at the video.” He ended the call and turned back to Cygna. “You stay here.” She smiled. “Sorry, we can’t let you check the security footage.” “Wha-” Ripley struck him from behind and he crumpled to the ground, her fake burn melting from her face. The Awakened looked around, rechecking that all was clear. “I think that’s all we can do; we should get out of here. Come with me, my shuttle is in the staff bay.”
Toran closed his communicator and motioned to a guard. “Search him.” Eruwenn wished she had some way to capture the look on Krast’s face when the remote detonator was pulled from his pocket. She'd have to hug the light-fingered Kittran later. The Sentinel grit his teeth. “That’s not mine.” “Sure, sure,” Toran agreed, while simultaneously shaking his head at the Sentinel. “Looks like you really didn’t come alone.” Krast was furious, yelling, “I’m telling you-” He broke off when Ranjaz shot him in the leg, falling to the floor. The Kah’Ree pointed his pistol at the Kittran. “Can’t let you kill a Sentinel in my casino, even if they did just rob me.” Ranjaz was surprised the Kah’Ree had believed them so easily. “What about us?” Toran sighed, lowering his weapon. “Take your winnings and get out. If you stole the thing once, I’m sure you can steal it again.” Eruwenn and Thor both made to leave. Ranjaz paused, knowing he might not get another chance. “And him?” The Kah’Ree looked at the Sentinel holding his wounded leg. “We’ll send him back to his ship. As much as I hate it, the Sentinels are untouchable.” Ranjaz raised his pistol. “He took my friend.” “And we’ll get him back,” Eruwenn said softly. “Then we’ll all deal with him, and the rest of the Sentinels.” Krast sneered and spat blood once more. “Your human is dead.” Ranjaz fired. Krast screamed and grabbed his other leg. “You bastard!” Toran and his men raised their weapons as the Kah’Ree yelled, “Get the hell out of here!” Ranjaz turned and followed the others out of the door, but just as it was about to close he poked his head back in. “Oh, one last thing.” Toran could be seen looking up just as the Kittran fired again, but he ducked out of sight before the true outcome of his shot could be seen. The shrieks of agony, however, followed the trio down the corridor as they broke into a run. Eruwenn spared a glance down at Ranjaz during their retreat. “What did you do?” The full-fanged grin had never been larger. “Made sure we’ll see him again.” On the floor of the dalcho room Krast was screaming in agony. He turned over to stare at the closed door. “I’ll kill you! I will hunt you down and kill every last one of you!” Toran spoke into his communicator. “Tell the Sentinel ship to come get their man. And, bring a doctor. A really good doctor.” He nudged one of his guards and finally let out a chuckle. After all, the Sentinels had just robbed him. “You double-crossing scum always get what you deserve.” The J’Rami guard raised an eyebrow. “Not sure anyone deserves getting shot in the balls.”
TLDR; Coca Cola is still 10% below its pre-covid high. It should go even higher. For the 8 of you still reading, I present to you a somewhat neglected stock hurt by Covid that hasn't fully recovered, but also one whose February high of $60 is not a ceiling. Yes, Coca Cola has had a decent run from it's $36 March lows and is even up 12% since October, trading about $54/share as of Friday before pulling back a bit this morning. It's not done yet. Let me provide a few reasons why. To understand where we're going, let's look at where we've been. Here's a 5 year chart. 5 year performance of KO: courtesy of CNBC The stock has been of a bit of a snoozer until it began to awake from its slumber about 2018, which accelerated through 2019 and then Wall Street really started to like it in 2020. It had upward momentum, upset by Covid. This momentum will return, very soon. Catalyst: In Person Dining Why will momentum return? Most importantly, vaccines will return restaurants back to normal operations by summer 2021. The restaurant industry has been in total carnage. Independent restaurants are closing permanently every day, with large chains taking market share. BUT - those that are still operating are living off of Off-Premise consumption. IF people get drinks to go, they get one. No refills. This has depressed an entire major sector of Coke's sales. As restaurants return to normal, they'll have more customers, and existing customers will be consuming more cokes per sale than they are now. That's a double re-open win. Catalyst: Cutting overhead like a mo-fo There's more to this story. Coke has used Covid as an opportunity to cut costs and streamline operations. They've cut employees and overhead expense - more than 1/3 of their North American employees. They've cut a lot of niche product that had overhead burden and marketing/distribution expense but had little revenue, much less profit, like Tab. They're going to come out of this a leaner, more focused company. They may still have an old and sleepy brand image, but they're also a cash printing machine, and they're going to be printing even more tendies to share with us. Catalyst: Falling Dollar But wait! There's more! Coca Cola generates roughly one third of its revenue from North America. That leaves the balance subject to currency fluctuations. With the dollar tanking, those foreign profits are going to be worth even more. Not Priced In Looking at the CNBC.com earnings helps demonstrate that the street has not priced in the recovery, much less the benefits from restructuring and currency. The company itself has not been providing guidance as they have no more visibility than we do how the almost random shutdown/reopen orders will happen. They did, however, warn that Q3 would be hampered by currency exchange rates when the dollar was strengthening, the opposite of what is happening now and projected to continue for a bit. How did Q3 end up when the currency was facing headwinds? They beat the street consensus by 18.8%, and were just one cent per share less than a year ago - when unemployment was at a record low and everything was "normal". Coke's Earnings Trend - CNBC Based on the same CNBC data, the street is projecting that one year from now, after restaurants are fully operational, after the company has completed a worldwide restructuring that will eliminate 1/3 of its North American employees, and after the benefit of a presumed lower dollar, the company will just be earning 3 cents more in Q3 and Q4 2021 than it did in 2019, pre-covid. Again, this would say that reopening their fountain sales division to normal levels is only worth 4 cents per share from this past quarter when much of the country remains shut down. That seems low. Too low. Benchmark: Starbucks What's the upside here? I'm using Starbucks as the benchmark. They're both beverage companies, though Starbucks is clearly more of a direct restaurant play, and more of a pure play on China's reopening - which is far ahead of the US's and the rest of the world's economy. Starbucks One Year Performance - CNBC Starbucks hit a high of about 93 in January, as Covid was already gripping China. It then fell and rebounded to about $90 in February before beginning the March market swoon. On the way back up it kept bouncing into that $90 level (frustrating the hell out of me holding $90 calls) before finally breaking through on the way to all time highs, now at $102, almost 10% above the January highs. Looking at a similar pattern (though KO held on longer before a much quicker descent) I would expect KO to test $60 soon, and probably bounce off a time or two before breaking through. Again, based on prior momentum I would expect once it clears $60 it should easily run up another 10%. The market will quickly recognize when they reopen they're going to have more operating leverage than when the shutdown began, and they're going to start seeing currency gains as soon as this quarter. Benchmark: Pepsi Pepsi is probably viewed as Coke's more direct competitor. Coke had been outperforming them over the last 3 years until the Covid dip. Pepsi, more diversified because of its snack businesses, was the better stay at home play. Coke has a decent catch up trade remaining. 3 year performance Coke vs Pepsi: Barchart.com Strategy: Sugar water doesn't get stock analysts excited any more than WSB casino patrons. For that reason, I would not be looking at any FD's. This one needs some longer dated options. I want to get past the next earnings on 1/28 for evidence of the currency lift to begin to show, but the country will likely still be in winter Covid shutdown mode so I'm not sure we'll get guidance then based on restaurant openings. I'm also feeling like mid-January/February could be a bit rough after a lights-out November and a presumed Santa Claus rally at month's end. Keep some powder dry to buy this on dips. I am. I'm thinking there's a three-prong approach here. For the first taste, February 55 calls. Relatively low risk (only slightly OTM), gets us a few weeks past the next earnings date when we should at least see a currency boost, but also captures any run up as the market starts to figure out there's still reopening meat left here to take off the bone. I'm going to put the heart of the play into June 60 calls. The country should be mostly vaccinated, restaurants should be back to near normal. Hopefully this will be telegraphed by the April earnings call. If this gets priced in sooner...Vega is your friend. For a stretch, going to throw the balance of the play into leaps for Jan 2022 65's. I'm starting this position with $5K. Because I expect a decent dip sometime Jan/Feb, will hopefully have some dry powder on the sideline to increase these positions if I've been too early on this move. But as we've seen with many of the reopening plays, when the market decides it's time, I don't want to be late....or any later than I already am. Positions: Purchased this morning at open: Act fast and you can get in cheaper than me!
Chae’Sol stood at the centre of a large command deck, meticulously peeling the protective film from his new captain’s chair. The sensation of the slow but steady yielding of the film, the sweeping line following the contours of the seat in flowing curves; it was incredibly satisfying. Finally, with one last gentle pull, the last of his chair was uncovered and he stood back to admire his throne. Aside from the freshness of the seating itself, there were shiny new holo displays, touch sensors, and comms relays that were within easy reach of his seated fingertips. This ship would be the jewel in any fleet, a prototype Dreadnought made by the infamous Bardul of Shi’an. The Gowe Military faction had run into financial problems, and it had been left unpaid and unclaimed. What sorcery Kadir had used to find it, and purchase it, he did not know. His comms unit beeped and Danyd’s voice came through. “Chae’S-” -He grumbled incoherently- “Captain, we’re ready to get underway.” The Niham turned and sat back on his pristine chair, swinging his long legs over the armrest. “That was quick, Chief Engineer Ef’Yto” Danyd grunted at the use of his title. “Aye, these Awakened are efficient bastards.” The Satryn looked around at the enormous engineering bay. The entirety of the Porkchop Express could comfortably sit inside, and two of them could likely squeeze in. “Plus, this thing has never been used; feels weird not having anything to work on. It’s state of the art, and I’m having to read the manuals on half the new systems.” Chae’Sol laughed, looking around at the Awakened as they were preparing their workstations. “Yeah, this command deck is a little intimidating. Even the Niham Armada didn’t have ships like this. There are fifteen weapons stations here, what in Tulseria’s name were the Gowe planning to do with this thing?” “No idea.” The chief engineer walked to the large seat in front of his new work terminal, and hopped up onto it. The protective covering squeaked. “This thing has more firepower than half their fleet, it must have been something big. We’re lucky Kadir found out about the graveyard of unclaimed ships from one of his contacts.” The newly-minted captain swung his legs down and sat up, straightening his black uniform and white collar. “That’s another thing: how does he have so many contacts? I was in the Tulseria-damned military, and I had no idea they would sell us fighters and weapons.” “I know the feeling.” Danyd watched a junior engineer – Lily, an Awakened who wore a headband in her silver hair that sported long Kittran ears on it – begin running diagnostics on the Hoban Field Generator. “I'm aware he got the automated weapons for the system port from my people, somehow. As for how he accomplishes all he does, I think his time working with that fancy Anatidae councillor opened more than a couple of doors for him.” Chae’Sol stood, running his fingers through his perfect hair. “Doors, windows, rear entrances and damned secret portals, all leading to a dark realm of shady deals and supplies. We have an Imperium Capital Ship for Tulseria’s sake! Nobody knows where he got it, or where he’s now hidden it.” He looked at his holo display, noting the specks springing blinking into existence as the other ships of Federation origin came to life. “Let’s just be glad he’s on our side.” The chief engineer tugged at the green collar to his uniform. “Our side used to be a damn sight smaller.” Lily had finished her diagnostic tests and sent the results to his console. Her report included an adjustment that would create a potential three percent increase in crystal efficiency, and a small drawing of a smiling leokit with a crim-bar. He groaned, then reported back with, “We’re ready to go when you are.” The Niham strode confidently across the command deck, stopping to stand in front of the huge vid screen at the front of the room. All around him were his crew, made up mostly from the Ashi, Awakened, and Kasurians. “Let’s get this show started.”
Jaym sat with a bowl of Tony the leokas cereal in front of her. It wasn't just a catchy advertising slogan - it really was great. She and Elizabeth had worked together so much in the engineering section of the Porkchop Express that they had become close, often spending their free time together. Indeed, Elizabeth currently sat opposite her, carefully rebuilding a power coupling and occasionally tapping at her datapad. Shortly after the results of her most recent tap played out, Elizabeth paused her work on the power coupling. Without speaking, she held up her datapad so that Jaym could see. On the screen was Tony and his mate Jolie, and Skeena’s voice could be heard excitedly talking about collecting urine samples from the female. Jaym screwed up her face at first until Skeena announced the pregnancy test was positive. Tony was going to be a father! She couldn't contain her joy and screamed loudly, grabbing the screen and running all the way to the bridge to show the others. Ranjaz was stretched out across the captain’s chair as Jaym burst in, and didn’t open his eyes until she began shaking his leg. Even then he didn’t pay much attention. “I told you not to let Elizabeth play with any more systems till after the mission.” She blushed slightly, as their last improvement had inverted their water treatment system and blown six power couplings. "It's not that!" she said, holding up the datapad and starting the video. "Look!" At the first syllable of Skeena's voice, Ranjaz sat bolt upright. The video held his full attention, and when Tony's impending fatherhood was announced the Kittran's whoops of delight could be heard all through the Porkchop Express. He reached underneath his seat and retrieved a small, fluffy bed, then picked up Aiov. Ranjaz led his unusual dance partner in a quick spin of joy before replaying the GalacTube video for her. “You’re going to be an Aunty!” Eruwenn leaned back in the large seat that had once been Embar’s. “I didn’t think they were related?” The Kittran nodded. “Aiov is Tony’s sister. Aaron adopted them both, and that’s how human families work. They just keep adding members, like a Dular adding shells to its burrow. Family is family.” Cygna pressed a few buttons on her Navigator terminal, moving the video to the main screen as well as starting it over. “I still can’t believe you keep one of these under your seat. I mean, it’s a leokas!” Ranjaz held Aiov up and they briefly rubbed noses. “Just a little one!” The Anatidae laughed. “I can see living with the human has had quite a profound effect on you.” With one of his trademark grins he held Aiov out towards Eruwenn. “Wanna nose rub?” "Ah," the councillor said, shrinking back from the offer, "despite her size she is still a predator, and I am not quite ready for such a close encounter.” From the pilot seat Ripley stood, taking Aiov from Ranjaz. “She is not a toy.” She briefly snuggled the tiny leokit to her chest, then passed her to Jaym. “Take her for food and exercise; she must grow up strong.” Jaym also cuddled the wriggling Aiov close, and not just because the little leokit was adorable. Aiov had tripled in size, and was becoming a bit of a handful. “Thor was preparing her food; I’ll take her down to him.” Once the junior engineer had left, and Ripley returned to the pilot seat, Ranjaz began tapping on the console in front of him. “Looks like we’ll be free to take the shuttle down to the surface with the next group.” Cygna drummed her fingers on the arms of her chair. “I didn’t realise it would be so busy.” Ranjaz shrugged. “There was a quake on the fourth planet, so mining colonies are shut down while the nerds poke around. Along with that, we got three big freighters waiting for resupply. That’s a lot of bored folks looking to kill time.” Ripley grunted, prompting a chuckle from the Kittran. “You don’t approve of their choice of leisure activity?” After their few cycles together Eruwenn was already learning a lot about her shipmates. Ripley, for instance, wasn’t one for talking. She decided to interject before the Captain irritated her too much, as they would need her focus soon enough. “Gambling and pleasure palaces are not to everyone's taste, of course, but these sorts of things are covered under local governance.” Without skipping a beat Ranjaz replied, “I know that’s the official line, but you sure as shit have tax codes for all of it. If you want to look down on folks, don’t pretend you aren’t profiting from it.” Cygna, ever defensive of her mentor, jumped in. “That’s a bold statement for someone who never paid a credit in tax until it was automatically deducted from his Galactic Federation pay.” Ranjaz laughed, then continued, keeping his voice care-free. “Taxed on what? I never owned anything.” Eruwenn could see the trap her junior was walking into but decided to let this be a learning experience. The Kittran was wily, and the Anatidae found him entertaining. Cygna, as she had predicted, scoffed at his claims. “I’ve read your file. When you were arrested you had a ship, five shuttles and thousands in valuable goods confiscated.” “Exactly!” His eyes lit up as he cornered her. “It was confiscated because it was stolen, so I didn’t own it. Imagine a world where you can keep stolen goods if you pay tax on them. Even I think that’s crazy.” The Fae’Dan paused, and the anger evaporated from her voice as she realized what he had said, replaced by a slightly impressed tone of surprise. “Well, maybe, but… Really? You stole all of it?” Ranjaz shrugged. “Or won it. I’m pretty good at Dalcho.” Cygna perked up. “I play Dalcho myself, we shou-” “No,” Eruwenn interrupted. Some lessons were too expensive. “Do not play Dalcho with someone who can get free priority entry permits to a casino.” The former operative shook her head. “I’m a great player, you’ve seen me in the council chambers. I took that Ley’Rulian trader for five hundred credits.” The Anatidae smiled kindly. “And he had five shuttles when he was arrested.” Cygna slowly turned from Eruwenn to Ranjaz, noticing his grin and the sparkle in his eye. It was most definitely the smile of a predator. He gave a little chuckle. “Don’t worry, it’s been a long time since I played. No gambling on Galactic Federation ships, you know.” He laughed again. “Oh wait, you read my file.” The Fae’Dan nodded. “Perhaps we should focus on the mission.” She gave a slight bow to Eruwenn before returning her attention to her console. Ranjaz looked at Eruwenn and stuck out his tongue. “Don’t ruin my fun!” The Ambassador smiled. “I don’t play Dalcho, but there is a human game called chess I quite enjoy. Perhaps we could play sometime?” The Kittran gave a nod. Keeping his voice neutral, he replied. “I don’t know that one, but there’s another human game we could try. Poker?” "We have permission to dock at the holding ring and send down a shuttle," Ripley abruptly called out. "Let’s get this whatever it is and make the rendez-vous.” Both of Ranjaz’s fangs showed as he grinned. “If we’re going to pull a job on Chisola Prime, first you’re going to need to look the part!”
Aaron walked down the corridor of the Hive ship, the strange spiderlike creature trailing behind him as he followed one of the corpse vines as it receded deeper into the ship. He turned and watched the creature, which shrank back from him and crouched low to the ground. “I’m sorry I kicked you. You simply startled me; you don’t have to hide.” The lighting never changed in the endless corridors of the ship, and only the most uninteresting of doors deigned open for him. At this point, he had lost track of time completely. Through perseverance he’d made several important discoveries. The bulbous shapes in the flower vase room were seats; he was fairly certain of that after finding another room with bodies sitting in them. The vines that came for them were the ones he was now following, and by now he must have seen hundreds of dead Hive. The second discovery was that the Hive came in a variety of shapes and sizes. There were two main ones, as far as he could tell, and the first were the four legged kind that had so kindly thrown him in the rejuvenating jelly bean. The second was bipedal, and looked a hell of a lot meaner. While the ones he deemed workers looked somewhat like ants to him, in shades of reds and browns, the second type looked much more commanding. Their carapace had thicker layers of armour in green, gold and red, and was spiked at the shoulders and joints. Even their legs had spines and to top the look off their heads were much more angular. Whether they were soldiers, commanders, or something else, he didn’t know. Through observation of the corpses he had discovered the most confusing feature yet: a strange section in the centre of their abdomen that was filled with what seemed to be a grey fluid. Ahead of him, not skittering away like the rest, was an aphid that no longer emitted a pale green glow. Something whooshed overhead towards the slow and sluggish aphid, and Aaron instinctively threw himself to the ground before he realized what it was. "That's how you get kicked!” He stood up, brushing himself off. “Fuck, that scares the ever-loving shit out of me every fucking time.” The huge creature looked up at him and whined as it munched on the sick aphid. He was probably imagining the apology in its eyes, but Aaron still shook his head. “I know, I know. It’s your job. They clean the floors, you keep their population healthy. Just stop leaping over me like that, fuck. I’m going to have a heart attack.” It whined and backed away from his angry words, and he tried to keep his voice to calmer tones. “Don’t be like that. I’ve told you enough times.” When he looked down the corridor again, the retreating corpse vines had disappeared around a corner. Aaron began to jog after them, and after he'd put some distance in he heard the pattering footsteps of his terrifying shadow. He tried to pay it no mind. Once the vines were back in sight he slowed and followed behind them, singing his direction song quietly to himself. “Left, right, straight. Left, left, right. Straight, straight, left, left. Right, right, straight, right, right.” The ship was massive and, other than some areas smelling funkier than others, there was no variation in lighting, decoration or layout. The song was his map back to the rejuvenation pod, which was his only safe source of hydration. His companion padded along behind him, a friendly nightmare to accompany him on his seemingly endless journey. “We really need to give you a name.” He wished he had his phone with him so he could channel all his nervous energy into making a video. “The audience demands a name. Plus, I won’t be able to sell merch without one.” He turned and looked at the creature. “I’ll probably have to create space-halloween first, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find that you’re cute to some species.” Aaron returned to following the corpse vine, waving a hand high as he spoke, gesticulating to the heavens. “The name is what matters: a good name makes all the difference.” He began seriously pondering the naming matter. “Aragog, Shelob; you know, lean into your size for a characterization. But then again, that's not really going to make people like you.” He looked back over his shoulder as the unnamed beast trotted happily behind him. He assumed happy, at least. It now tended to make an odd gurgling noise after eating, and it roamed closer to him than before. “You know, I never got to name Sassie – she’s my dog. I told you about her yesterday, or the day before.” He really was losing track of the days he’d been here. “I got her from a rescue. She was skinny, and so damn angry, with scars on her legs and under her fur. I had to have special visits before I could keep her. Prove I was worthy.” Talking helped take his mind from the gnawing emptiness in his stomach. Hydration and nutrients osmotically obtained from some weird pod were nowhere near as satisfying as a burger and a cold beer. “Her first visit, she had a rubber ball. It was her only possession, and she loved it.” There was a touch of pride in his voice. “Took me an hour before she gave it up to play. The lady from the rescue centre said I was the first.” He choked up, blinking back tears. “Anyway, couple more visits and she got to stay. Crazy dog was such a handful. She once tried to climb a tree to chase a squirrel. Got her legs over the first branch and just dangled, kicking her back legs.” He began chuckling to himself. “She once tried to jump through a car window; some guy was parked at the lights as we walked past.” He was just chatting now, lost in his memories as he walked. “You know the type, loud radio, windows rolled down on a sunny day, annoying the shit out of everyone in the town. He tossed some litter out of his window and she just launched herself at him. Scared the life out of me at the time - funny as fuck now, of course.” He laughed again. “Then there were the swans. Man, were they not ready. She loved to swim – I told you that before – swimming and splashing was her favourite release. Well, that and chasing rabbits which is, kinda, how I ended up here. Anyway, she would just swim up and down, right past the ducks and stuff, somehow never interested in them. Then one summer these swans came along...” He paused, realising his new friend didn’t know what a duck or a swan was, or even summer, probably. Before attempting to explain, he realised they also didn’t understand english, so it really didn’t matter. “Anyway, swans being belligerent bastards, I called her out of the water straight away. Those mean white fuckers chased her all the way to shore.” He turned around, now grinning broadly. “But, once her feet hit the ground in the shallow water and she was able to stand, did those sons of bitches turn and swim away as fast as they could.” He paused, trying to remember his original point. He really was very hungry. “Oh yeah, so trying to stop her fighting everything that moved meant I didn’t have time to teach her a new name. Figured it would be confusing to her. Sassie she was, and so Sassie she stayed.” There was a tightening in his chest as he thought of her missing him. “Took a lot of years and a lot of time for her to get where she is now. I know Alexa will take care of her, but still, it’s my job, and I need to get back to doing it. She won’t understand…” He choked up completely, taking a moment to compose himself before clearing his throat and returning his monologue to its original course. “Anyway, names. Names matter.” “Maybe you’re a girl monster. Charlotte?” He shook his head. That name just didn’t seem fitting. “We could call you Peter Parker? Although, you’re more of a man-sized spider than a spiderman... Parker Peter? Then again, big, scary spiders say one thing to me. Australia. You like to jump, we could call you Roo? Or, how about Ozzy? Or Bruce? Hmm, that’s a sharks name though… can you swim?” His train of thought derailed suddenly as he saw an open door ahead of them through which the vines were receding. The pair of them continued walking behind the vine until it disappeared into the doorway and Aaron ran forward, pulling something from his pocket. He’d been saving the foil wrapping from the ration bricks, folding them together to form a wedge. He jammed his makeshift door stop under the bottom corner of the door as it began to slide shut. It ground to a halt. “Boom! Told you it would work.” He stood and finally looked into the vastness beyond. Through the doors was, somehow, a rolling meadow, complete with trees, giant mushrooms and plants he had no name for. Vines were also everywhere, receding further across the great wilderness. “What the hell? I thought I was on a spaceship? Am I underground?” Staring intently at the sky, he stepped onto the deep moss beyond the door. He looked at the wall around the interior and saw it was rock, and more plant life clung to every crack and crevice. As he walked slowly forward his eyes followed the vine as it headed for a large, colourful, monolith. He approached and saw that its shape was similar to the vase flowers. He watched as the corpse vines deposited their cargo on top of the monolith. Not on, he corrected himself;they were dropping inside. He looked back to the door, nervous that it might close and lock him in. A large black shadow lurked just beyond the door, and he was torn. Should he explore this 'outside' world, or retreat to the place where he at least had the rejuvenation pods? He looked up at the sky, basking in the warm and invigorating embrace of the sunlight. He blinked at the brightness, being cautious to not look at the sun directly, and something else suddenly caught his eye. It was, incredibly, a door. A door that floated in the sky. The thing about human eyes is that they might be easily fooled, but a shift in perspective can easily change what you see to something entirely different. Aaron was looking up at a ceiling, like the one in the Atrium back on the Azrimad, but a hundred times more convincing. Once back inside the doorway he watched the spiderling he was beginning to think of it as a friend dancing back and forth a short distance away. It seemed… happy. “Ok buddy, I’m back.” Aaron’s stomach made a loud gurgling sound and he rubbed it, trying to squeeze the hunger away. Fingers found muscle easier than usual, and he knew he was definitely losing weight. “We should head back. I need sleep.” He thought for a moment and made a final decision, bending down to pull the foil wedge clear. “I doubt there’s a communicator or command deck in there. Let’s go home, Ozzy.” The trip back was uneventful, Aaron sang his direction song as they navigated the labyrinth. A few more aphids were snacked on by his leggy companion, but his own legs were heavy by the time he was almost back to the jelly beans. Despite being exhausted he had made two stops to create another pair of flower vases for the aphids, as well as scattering a ration brick as he passed by. The aphids waited, as they always did, till he and Ozzy were far enough away before enjoying his bounty. Still, the human derived satisfaction from their presence. Exhausted and weary, Aaron was glad to finally make it back to the room he was reluctantly calling his temporary home. As the door to the rejuvenation pod slid open he was met, forcefully, by the barrel of an energy rifle. Unfortunately for Aaron, due to a considerable height difference, the barrel had struck him squarely in the groin, and he instantly fell to his knees. He came face to face with his attacker with tears in his eyes, clutching his tenderness and coughing. From the other being came incomprehensible yelling, as well as a lot of gun waving. Also, there was coughing. Aaron, eventually mustering enough self-presence to do something other than deal with the after effects of the gun-to-groin encounter, wiped the moisture from his eyes and tried to butt in to the one-sided conversation. "Relax! I'm the one who just got snookered in the fucking balls, here! Why in the world are you so mad?"” The gun was pressed to his forehead by the tiny attacker, who shouted something unintelligible with their black eyes focused on him. They paused to cough, then stepped back, glaring at Aaron until they seemed to feel comfortable enough with the situation to take one hand off of their weapon and pull out a datapad. They held it up, and Aaron frowned at the familiar but still unintelligible colours that swirled on the screen. Then a small vent at the bottom of the device squirted out a puff of sickly sweet scent. Aaron pulled back from the odour. "What the fuck was that?" With some distance between them, the human finally got a good look at his opponent. They were barely waist-height, furry, with a long nose and dark banding across their brown fur. The banding was heaviest across their eyes and although that’s where the similarities ended, it was enough for the human’s brain to forge a connection. “Listen, Rocket, there’s a virus on this ship. You need to get in the jelly bean. Trust me.” The rifle was thrust at him shakily in one hand, the tablet again was raised and a swirl of colours and shapes greeted him. “I don’t speak fucking winamp plugin!” On the wall behind his captor Aaron spotted a dull orange aphid, struggling to climb the wall. He smiled as he slowly leaned to one side. “Have you met Ozzy?” The huge arachnid leapt over them both, causing the newcomer to blindfire at the wall. Aaron seized his chance and snatched away the weapon. He grabbed the newcomer by the front of their armoured uniform and slammed them to the ground. They cried out in pain and began their incomprehensible yelling once more. The accompanying coughing fit was bad, and Aaron dragged them to their feet. Realising that his solitude had caused him to revert to English, he switched back to galactic standard to offer a warning about the disease. “You’re going to die!” A shocked look crossed their face as the human effortlessly lifted them and slam dunked them into a blue jelly bean. Ozzy gurgled happily through his aphid crunching. Aaron snatched up the energy rifle, but found it was difficult to hold due to its small size. He leaned over the jelly bean, noting the occupant drifting off to sleep. Hunger and tiredness were forgotten as adrenaline flooded his system. There was no way the newcomer was alone. He left the pod room to begin searching, and Ozzy seemed to pick up on his intention and followed behind, keeping close to the human. “Good boy!” He had no idea what prompted it, likely some automated response, and it was as though he watched his movements from outside of his body as he reached back and gently scratched the arachnid's head. He was rewarded with happy gurgles, or at least that's what he hoped the noises were. “You did good back there.” He made his way along the corridor towards the same airlock he had once chosen as his final exit. His recent suspicion proved correct as he heard a strange sound up ahead, as if someone was running a wet finger around the rim of a glass. He carefully leaned around the curve and saw another figure, dressed in the same uniform as the first. No fur on this one, although they were equally small in size, and they somehow looked like they were made of glass which couldn’t decide on a colour. This time he remembered to use galactic standard. “Keep your hands where we can see you. We’ve got you surrounded!” The figure was clearly startled, as the ambient resonating noise began varying wildly in pitch at the same moment as their colour shifted to a solid blue. Aaron cursed. He didn’t have a translator, having instead opted for learning standard and winging everything else. The whole federation knew standard, so he hadn’t truly considered getting the implant. “Something is wrong with our translators,” he continued to bluff. “Do you speak galactic standard?” A datapad was hastily pulled from a pocket, and as buttons were pressed the resonating sound became more rhythmic. From the datapad sprung noises. No, it was a voice! “Why do you speak Procyon? Where is Commander Bertolannixostraphes? Aaron began relaxing at the situation he found himself in, but inside he was brimming with joy. Finally, he could talk with someone! “There is a virus on this ship, and many are dead. If your commander is the raccoon-looking guy, I got them into a healing pod. They’re going to be fine.” Under his breath he added, “probably.” The resonating began and shortly afterwards the voice translated, “Who are you? Why did you not answer our communications.” Opting for honesty in the hopes of leniency, Aaron stepped into view. “I’m a passenger. I don’t have access to the ship's systems.” The newcomer was looking at the tiny gun, so the human tossed it forward. “I didn’t know if you were friendly. I can take you to your friend, and you should probably get treatment as well.” The now-orange alien walked forward, their movement accompanied by the strange sound of ceramic plates rubbing together. “That won’t be a problem, we Tricinic do not catch meat diseases. I am Tsy'lo, take me to the commander.” They turned to look behind them. “Where are the others?” Aaron pointed to Ozzy. “It’s just us two.” Colours swirled and the small glass person thrummed. The datapad spoke, “You are the last human, the Ambassador. Correct?” Turning and gesturing to be followed, he began to lead the way to the rejuvenation room. “I am the first human, Ambassador Aaron Cooper, professional bounty hunter. Just call me Aaron. Are you the rescue party? Is Alexa here? Did she bring Sassie?” It took a moment for the translation to come back. “I don’t know those names. We are the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad and we responded to distress calls and found this ship. Adrift.” They had walked a little way when Tsy'lo stopped and regarded Ozzy, who was still faithfully following behind. “Why does the achalo follow you?” “Ozzy?” Aaron shrugged. “I think he was lonely. So, were you sent into Hive space to find me, or are you on some top secret mission? You aren’t with the Sentinels, are you?” “Lonely? But it is an achalo.” Tsy'lo was confused and their colour visibly swirled. “Why would a rescue mission be secret? And, we weren’t sent, we were already here.” Now it was the human who was confused. “Like spies behind enemy lines? Is that why you are in Hive space?” The Tricinic hummed at a higher frequency. “It is our space. We are the Hive!”
Admiral Pelar of the third fleet stood in the centre of the training mat. On the floor around her were four tough looking Ashi, while a fifth was now squaring off against her. She blocked the jab and the surprise knee strike that followed, turning effortlessly to bring her elbow to her opponents ribs. With another deft turn she was behind him and kicking his knees forward. He tried to roll clear but she had anticipated the move and, as he rose, her spinning boot struck the side of his head. “Nice try gentlemen.” She walked away and caught a towel thrown by the drill instructor. “That last one has potential,” she said, and the drill instructor nodded. “Next time, I expect at least one of them to land a hit. If not, I’ll have you in the ring instead, to make sure you still have what it takes.” She saw the fear in his eyes. “I accept nothing but the best from the Third Fleet.” The medics ran onto the mat as she dabbed at her forehead, and she spotted Jar’Bek sitting on a bench nearby. She walked over to him and he stood, straightening what was no doubt an extremely expensive suit. “From one disappointment to another.” The lawyer smiled. “Imagine only seeing your son when he is paid to be in your presence,” he countered. She smirked. “Your tongue is still your most deadly weapon.” He nodded. “Ah, but it must make you proud to see me make use of the things you taught me.” Her face twitched. “I taught you to be a true Ashi, a soldier. I taught you to respect-” Jar’Bek held up his hand. “I’m here on my client’s business, not yours. And, as I am paid a considerable sum per gal, let us not waste their money on matters that are concluded.” He enjoyed the irritation on her face. “I am here to finalise the amnesty treaties, and conclude your membership as citizens of Earth.” The Admiral held up her hands, looking down at her combat training clothing. “I must shower and change first. Please, wait for me in my private office.” She smiled politely. “No.” His smile seemed to hover as if it was a mask that could slip at any time. “You may have disowned me, but I still remember your tricks. You knew the time of our meeting; you had me brought here so you could intimidate me with this display of aggression. Then you ask me to wait in your office amongst your memorabilia and trophies.” He watched the anger behind her eyes. “You really think these tired old tricks will work on me?” She sneered. “At least you remember something.” “Oh, I had the scars removed, but I kept the lessons.” He walked away. “My client's time is valuable and I have scheduled a meeting with the other fleet Admiral’s for later this cycle. Since we have no time for your games, let us go to the briefing room. My team is already set up. If you wish to shower, know that it is more of your negotiating time you are wasting, and I do so hate waste.” He collected his briefcase and walked out of the room. Captain Loring hurried after Jar’Bek, catching him as he entered the elevator. “You sure you want to antagonise the Admiral like that?” He leaned back against the wall of the elevator and relaxed, letting out a small sigh. “A little negotiating trick a Kittran taught me. Anyway, she is no longer my Admiral.” Elora’Tan leaned back on the opposite wall. “She is your mother, Jar.” “Ha.” Jar’Bek laughed. “She disowned me. This is the first contact we’ve had in I forget how many celes. Her first thought is to try and intimidate me with that display. She likes to beat on cadets, she likes to cause pain, and she wanted me to watch.” Loring gave a weak smile. “It forges strong soldiers. We can’t afford weakness.” The elevator stopped and Jar’Bek took a step closer to Elora’Tan. “You think it was weakness that made me leave?” He didn’t let her answer, turning and exiting into the hallway. His voice now resonated with authority as he growled, “In case you people have forgotten, the Ashi will operate under the same rules as the rest of the colony. My mother is not the law... I am the law.”
There have numerous times in which I am amazed by what you, Dear Reader, finds funny about my normal life. My brain is a chaotic mess of constantly firing neurons, but I vividly recollect each story I have posted. I don't exactly put a great deal of time or effort into my stories. I simply let my fingers do the work. I find that I am more passionate about my military-related stories. There is a sentimental value that I hold very dear. By no means am I saying the other stories are not precious, but I am surprised when I read, "This is my favorite Sloppy story." Especially when I view the story as a "normal" day in the life of Sloppy. I recently wrote "Sloppy: Learning to be Sloppy Circa 1998." There was an inquiry about the gumball machine in the comments. There were also a considerable amount of Direct Messages (DMs) demanding additional information related to the gumball machine. Again, I was very surprised because I viewed that story as nothing more than simple miscreant mischief. I suppose it was more of a "coming-of-age-story." I didn't understand the significance when I was younger. I didn't know these were the very first steps of my Fuckery career. The scavenger hunts were everything but typical. They were truly epic events that were held on a weekly basis. The hunt lists were never the same, and the winning team was responsible for making the new list. We, of course, had our staple items such as: Garden Gnomes, Big Wheels, Wheel Chairs, and Road Kill. There was approximately twenty items that continually made the weekly list. Each item had an associated point value. Then there were the coupe de grace items. These items would typically change form week-to-week, were extremely difficult to acquire, but had an immense point value that almost certainly guaranteed victory. The gumball machine was one of them. The Big Mama Giant Gumball Machine was one of the coupe de grace items. It was a mammoth prize that stood at six feet and seven inches tall (2 meters) and weighed 130 pounds (60 kg) empty. Midnight acquisitions was in order, and this particular Big Mama was definitely big, and anything but empty. I don't know gross weight of a fully stocked Big Mama, but I can tell you exactly how many Super Highly Intelligent Teenage Scoundrels (SHITS) it took to secure it. Six! It took every ounce of strength six SHITS had to load this monstrous prize. Dear Reader, I know. I know what it's like to be let down, and I am about to let you down. "Borrowing" the Big Mama was actually quite easy. There is no real story regarding the acquisition. We simply backed a pickup truck to main entrance of Walmart, and loaded it up. We wobble-rolled the base of the machine out the main door, rested it on the bollards, and gently tipped it into the back of a truck. Then we drove off into the night with our spoils. Not a single soul questioned us, or looked twice. We were SHITS Dear Reader, not fucking idiots. We had purchased cheap blue collared shirts, and khaki shorts from Walmart the day prior. The SHITS felt it was appropriate to give a little coinage to Walmart considering Walmart was about to be down exactly one gumball machine. It was also important of look uniformed. I know the suspense is killing you Dear Reader. Yes! We were the victors that particular week. People don't bother you if you a convincing in your duties. We were mentally there to remove a gumball machine, and our actions were clearly congruent. There was one minor problem though. How in the fuck do you return a gumball machine of that size without getting caught? Simply, you don't. It was one of the very few things we had acquired that was not returned. Sunday Before Work (0430) Sloppy Dad: Sloppy. SLOPPY! OP: (Groggy) Yeah? Sloppy Dad: WAKE UP. Get dressed, and then met me in the garage. Sloppy puts shorts on and walks to garage. Sloppy Dad: (Pointing) What the fuck, is THAT? OP Brain: The old man is losing it! OP: Looks like a gumball machine. Sloppy Dad: (Not Happy) Well no fucking shit. I can see that. How did it get here? OP: We put it here! Sloppy Dad: (More Irritated) We? OP: Yeah. The SHITS NAMES. Sloppy Dad: Do you want to explain HOW you got it? OP: I can but... Sloppy Dad: I don't even want to know. You're grounded. OP: (Sad Voice) Okay. I will take it somewhere else. Sloppy Dad: No. No you wont. I am trying to quit smoking. I can use the gum. There is still a Big Mama Giant Gumball Machine in my parents garage. It was out of gumballs around year five, and my father said it was the best piggy bank he has ever owned. I don't know what he did with the $1,500 in quarters though. I am happy the old man finally figured out how to refill it without breaking it too. We failed to ask Walmart for the keys when we acquired it, but I assume that would have been the demise of our endeavor. "Wow. Sloppy, you finally did it. You finally wrote a story that absolutely bored me to death." I hear you dear reader, and I apologize. How about I rub some wasabi paste on your wrinkle-grommet and spice it up? I think we need to talk about Captain Jack. "Who the fuck is Captain Jack?" Dear Reader, I will explain. Captain Jack was the unattainable coupe de grace item. It was Mission Impossible and my team was on a three week skid, and we needed a "W" in the win column. There was an old steamboat in the harbor of town, and Captain Jack was at the helm. My team of SHITS had hit brick wall-after-brick wall that night. The hunt clock was dwindling down, and we needed to throw an Hail Marry. It was our only chance, and we decided to attain the unattainable! We parked in the large parking lot. One SHITS remained on lookout, and three SHITS started our Mission Impossible. Captain Jack was at the top, and getting to the top was one continuous circle walkway with exits at each deck of the ship. Captain Jack was on the third deck, and we had finally arrived with our bag of tools. Keep in mind, we were not sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or MI6, and our bag of tools lacked sophistication. We had a hacksaw, two screw drivers, and a baseball bat. It certainly lacked sophistication, but these tools had faithfully served us in the past. We admired Captain Jack for a couple seconds before we started to work. He had one hand on the helm, and one hand extended skywards semi-grasping a chain that dangled from the ceiling. Captain Jack had a grin on his face and he was begging for a ride in something a bit faster than a steamship. I immediately began to saw his left leg, and it was tedious. Captain Jack was wooden, and the hacksaw blade was not made for wood. It was like trying to cut a ribeye steak with a dildo. Jamie: Dude. We need to hurry up. We only have an two hours left, and this is taking forever. OP: I am going as fast as I can. Jamie: Can we unscrew the legs? OP: No. They're fucking bolted in. Jeremy: Dude, we really need to hurry. Twenty Minutes Later OP: Got it. Jamie: Yes. (Talking to Jeremy) We're good to go man. OP: NO. We still have one leg. Jamie: Fuck that! CRACK-CRACK-CRACK Jamie lacked patience. The "CRACK" was thunderous. Jamie pulled out the multi-tool, and started to hit home runs with a fucking baseball bat. The hits were deafening loud, but surprisingly didn't draw any attention to our quest. Dear Reader, have you ever failed to fully think something out? Ever develop a plan, and fail to calculate a couple factors? Captain Jack was about was one swing away from tumbling, and we had a catastrophic miscalculation. Jeremy: (Looking at Sweaty Jamie) Dude. One more swing and we got this fucker. Swing CRACK Captain Jack falling in slow motion! HOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNKKKKKKKK! The ship was built in the 1930s. How many of you actually expected the horn to work? We certainly didn't. The ship bellowed a thunderous HONK, and our covert mission immediately transitioned into overt chaos. I believe this is a perfect time to explain that this ship is immediately adjacent to a casino, and there is always a law enforcement presence. The gig was up, and we were more fucked than Chasey Lain. Jeremy 2 (Lookout): (Hysterically Laughing) What the fuck was that? Jeremy: The fucking horn. Jamie hit his legs, and he feel into the fucking horn. We still good? Jeremy 2: (More Laughing) Good? (More Laughing) NO. You are not good. The cops are coming now. Jeremy: (Looking at Sloppy and Jamie) We are fucked. The cops are coming. OP Brain: FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. The cops were about to board the steamboat. The odd stairwell played to our benefit though. There was no immediate access to our location. We could visual see the bouncing flashlights making their way to our demise. It was a fucking gut punch. I knew my father would not handle this well, and I was absolutely petrified with the images I envisioned. Having a belt surgically removed from my ass cheeks was not an option. It was a perfect "What Would Sloppy Do" moment, and I knew I would get an irrationally rational response in a timely fashion. Jamie: (Eyes Welling Up) We're fucked. Cops: (Screaming from Second Level) YOU BOYS STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE AT. OP: Fuck This. Give me Captain Jack Jamie: For what? OP: Just fucking give him too me. Splash! Captain Jack had just perform the best fucking belly-flop a wooden mannequin was capable of performing. It now looked like a dead body was floating in the harbor. The body didn't sink to the bottom, but I lacked the skills of Dexter. Then again, floating could be a good thing!?! Jamie: What the fuck did you do that for? OP: I am fucking jumping. They don't have jurisdiction across the river. JEREMY. JEREMY! Jeremy: (Puzzled) What? OP: Tell Jeremy to pick us up at LOCATION. Jeremy: How the fuck are we going... I assume he was going to finish with "get there" but I was too busy falling three stories into the river. It was time for them to either shit, or get off the pot. The cops were nearly approaching the entrance to the third floor. Jeremy and Jamie were already brothers and had bunk beds, but I doubted they had to desire to share bunks in jail. SPLASH-SPLASH They had decided to shit. The cops were puzzled. "Where do you think you're going?" was echoed from the third floor. OP: Grab Captain Jack and doggy paddle. Captain Jack was a perfect flotation device. We looked like three beavers with critically underdeveloped beaver brains just kicking our way outside of the harbor. It took no more than five minutes to evade the cops outside the harbor, and the fast moving current got us to our destination in approximately twenty minutes. Jeremy 2: (Baffled. FUCKING BAFFLED) HOLY SHIT. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. HOW IN THE FUCK? OP: We jumped. Now get down here and help us with this fucker. We were sopping wet and wreaked of river, and minus a right foot, we had all of Captain Jack. Our ride to the drop-off location was glorious, and the defeated look on the faces of our opponent SHITS was gratifying. It was an epic evening, and an epic prize. Sloppy Dad: Sloppy. SLOPPY. OP: (Groggy) Yeah? Sloppy Dad: GARAGE. NOW In Garage Sloppy Dad: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? OP: Captain Jack. Just something we borrowed last night! Sloppy Dad: You better un-fucking-borrow it. TONIGHT. OP: You don't want to keep it? Sloppy Dad: If you plan on leaving the house this summer, this will be returned tonight. There is wood glue in the cabinet. We will be discussing this after you get off work, and you and the SHITS will un-fuck this TONIGHT. My apologies for the lack of flair in the story. It's Monday, and it really feels like a Monday. We did return Captain Black. "It takes a village." I was just as scared of the other fathers as the SHITS were scared of mine. They knew his background, and Sloppy Dad was already a certified Fuck-Fuck master. There are just some animals you don't poke with a fucking stick, and Sloppy Dad is one of those animals. Captain Jack was returned, and we were all collectively punished. Our Travel Baseball team was good, and there were sizable crowds at each games. Has your dad ever showed up to your baseball game in a beautiful floral summer dress to cheer you and your friends on? My dad did, and so did the fathers of the other SHITS. Embarrassment was our punishment, and it fucking worked. Sorry! I don't have pictures, and I don't think I would share them if I did. It would still be embarrassing for me, and I don't have time for that. I am just trying to hunt myself a laugh today. I think I will post another story today if I have time. I reminded myself of something during this story. It was a "Stand by Me" moment when we stumbled upon a dead humanoid, and the sheer Fuckery. I happen to think it is a pretty funny tale, but I will let you decide. Cheers.
@WIRED: A $4,300 jackpot. A $2,800 win. Another $4,150 after that. All the while, the casino's director of surveillance was peering down through a camera hidden in a ceiling dome https://t.co/Sz4AVwa8jX
A few years ago, I worked as a road supervisor for a security firm. Once per night, I had to go inside of a derelict building downtown which used to be the old Pittsburgh Post Gazette building, and do rounds. I would spend about 45 minutes walking up and down dark halls and corridors and hit small circular stickers with a "deggy stick", which registers to the computer of the main office indicating that I, in fact, was doing my rounds. There are four floors and a basement full of old machinery, pipes running along the walls and ceilings, and the permeating smell of dampness, dust, and mildew. It's been abandoned since 2010, and mostly gutted. The building was comprised of wide opened concrete floors the size of basketball courts and smaller office floors with cubicles and carpeting. Plaster coming off the walls. Due to the darkness, there were a lot of holes and traps to step into. The stairs were old and wooden. Each day I'd make my way through the different floors, and I'd notice things like doors opened which were closed and lights on in rooms which were off the day before. I brushed this off as maintenance crews coming in and doing electrical work during daylight hours. Much of the building was the archetype of what you'd call "creepy", but on one floor, I sensed something real, and, truly evil - the third floor. Almost every night I would notice shadows and movement out of my peripherals in certain rooms, and, when I'd turn, they'd be gone. There was a "red room", illuminated only by an overhead exit sign. A few times closets would be opened, and I'd swear I would see a woman in a white dress standing in them, just leering at me out of the corner of my eye, but, again, when I'd look, she evaporated. The building was built in 1920, so it has seen it's share of generations. There were no elevators. I had to walk the full five flights to do my rounds, however when I'd reach the third floor, my heart would begin to inexplicably race. At first, it was tame. I should have just left it alone... Upon entering the third floor, you'd immediately be confronted with a lit up hallway with which you immediately turned right, and then down, around to the left, down a tight hallway, and around another corner, all the way to the dark endy. The entry side of the floor had overhead lights, dim as they were. The far side of floor 3 was pitch dark. I'd get feelings as soon as I'd set foot on that floor. Vibrations or humming sounds of electricity would instantly cease, and the entire floor would fall eerily silent. The halls looked like they belonged in an abandoned hospital. Shiny, white linoleum floors and off - white colored walls, shimmering only by outside streetlights. I'd feel my senses heightening as soon as I began walking down the long hallway to the dark end of the floor. Like my ears were turned up full blast while my surroundings were muted, as if the cosmos had turned down it's proverbial radio, just to listen to my footsteps. And that feeling of being "watched"? I never believed in such superstitions, until now. I'd feel it everywhere, but, mainly behind me...at all times. I wouldn't even turn around. I didn't want to know, however, oddly, images would pop into my head of a deformed woman in, again, a white dress, following and tracing my every move. It wasn't something I even felt like I was expending mental energy to "think" about. It was like that image was inserted into my brain by something that wanted me thinking it. I hated it. Once I reached the very end and I pulled out my phone light to see is when that sensation became absolutely nuclear. I'd walk down the corridor into pitch blackness, and have to round a corner to the left, and after a few steps, the walls opened up to my left to cubicle walls and chairs. Walk past that, and you find yourself passing across another hall, with a men's and women's bathroom next to each other, missing their doors. Equally unsettling, especially since the mirrors were smeared with...something. I'd run to the room I needed to hit, run out, and dash down the hallway past those dreaded bathrooms, which is where I'd REALLY begin to feel an unwaivering, mounting feeling of intense dread. However, after all, I was security, and often, if I'd see a shadow, I'd shine my light into either of those bathrooms. Nothing there. Eventually I stopped walking past the bathrooms and instead would cut through the cubicles, since I'd heard what I swear were whispers and voices. The basement of the building looked like something out of 'Silent Hill' or 'F.E.A.R.', and yet, walking through it was a pleasure compared to floor three. As the weeks went on, those feelings I was getting were only intensifying. I'd pass through the pitch dark cubicle area and feel the hairs stand on the back of my neck. I'd get static shocks all over my body, poking and prodding my every pore. The squeaking of my shoes against the floor would produce a decibel that sounded louder than if someone in a marching band smashed cymbals next to my face. Always, in that one spot, crossing the cubicles, or passing those horrible bathrooms, would I begin to feel a "tickle" on my neck. I'd swatted at it several times, thinking a spider fell on me, but it occurred like clockwork. Something was there with me. This wasn't normal. One night, I had to make a stop at the new Post Gazette building located in the casino district of the city, and have to evaluate a guard named Clifford. He was a nice, quiet guy. Usually I was in and out of there, but this night, I stayed and chatted. More specifically, I brought up that building. He mentioned that he was a guard there when it was still in operation. I remember one conversation verbatim. It went like this - "you know, Cliff, maybe I'm just sensitive, but, I swear I get really unsettling feelings when I'm on -". "The third floor", he interjected. He explained, in his own words, "once I was on that floor doing rounds. It was all women who worked on it. They were afraid of the bathrooms, and they'd all leave together, always before dark. One night, I shone my flashlight down by the bathrooms, and, I'm not kidding, and I've never believed in the supernatural, but, when I shone my light on that part of the hallway, I saw the tall shadow of a hunched - over figure standing there. It was tall and lanky, and as soon as my light hit it, it's back to me, it looked over it's shoulder, directly at me, and started walking in my direction. I ran out of there. From them on, I only went on that floor during daylight hours". After this conversation, I began to literally run as fast as Usain Bolt down those halls, hit my points, and run out. Soon, as days passed, I'd notice the floor getting colder, despite it being room temperature when I entered that floor. It would just drop dramatically out of nowhere. Finally, I stopped, and yelled out, in the pitch darkness, "whoever is in here, make yourself known NOW, or else, LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!!!". Silence. The next few days were a little different. I still felt "off", and I still continued to sprint the halls, but it didn't seem quite as bad. Or maybe I was just overconfident that I "scared it off". I was very wrong... This was the final night I'd ever go onto that floor ever again. After what I'm about to tell you, I emphatically refused to go near that floor ever again to my boss. I was doing my normal rounds. I wasn't running, but walking, the halls. I assumed maybe it was just all in my mind. I went all the way to that back room, and came out to pass through the pitch dark cubicle area when I just...felt something. It was imperceptible, but it was there...right behind me. I stopped and listened. A groaning noise - "errrrrrr", very subdued, but undoubtedly there. I stopped dead in the center of the room, and finally, worked up the courage to turn around. What I saw has instilled in me the belief that the realm of the spirit is real... ...I turned, and looked into the darkness. Standing about ten feet away, was a woman, with wild, matted hair, bone thin, face contoured and big nose like a bird, dressed in white. She got down on all fours, and I swear it, started running towards me like a dog. I turned and sprinted as fast as I could across the floor and into the lit area, before stopping, and putting my arms up, bracing to be attacked by a crazed homeless woman. But, nobody was there. However, in the center of the lit area was a pillar, and on that pillar was a breaker box, and the metal covering was fucking flapping back and forth, banging and smacking off of the plaster, swinging. Something had smacked it HARD. "HELLO????!!!!!", I cried out several times. Nothing. Nobody. And after that, I was done. I ran back outside to the SUV and just sat there, looking up at that floor from the parking lot, catching my breath, and re-evaluating my sanity. Eventually I drove off. Off to the new Post Gazette building, to talk to Cliff. When I told him what had happened, he didn't tell me the sensible reply, that it was "all in my head". No, instead he hit me with the knockout blow. He said... ..."I'm not surprised. In 2007, a woman, an office worker, leaped from the window at that end of the floor to her death on the parking lot below. Her husband and son both died in a car accident weeks before. And she looked just like the woman you described". Good riddance, old Post Gazette building. Time to terrorize a new guard. The End.
LED Casino Lighting. LEDs are a perfect match for casino lighting due to unmatched RGB color changing ability and flexibility, bright, bold light output, and long, low maintenance lifespans. We've worked with the biggest names on the Las Vegas strip to come up with the biggest and brightest solutions at the best price. Some of our projects have ... MERKUR Casino ist heute mit seinen über modernen Spielstätten Marktführer in Deutschland und darüber hinaus in acht weiteren europäischen Ländern. Categories grand casino online Roland SchГ¶n. Posted on 13.09.2019 13.09.2019 by Grotaxe. Nicks Oma hat Geburtstag und das Geschenk, eine Vase, steht schГ¶n Roland erzГ¤hlt seinen Freunden begeistert von dem Western, den er gesehen hat ... Casino Design & Psychology - Learn the secrets casinos don't want you to know! Find out how the design of a casino makes you play for longer. Slot T Grid Ceiling, vq casino phoenix, switch blackjack, real deal games phantom. WinningRoom * T&C. 32. Golden Goddess-Over 2100 Casino Games; Fast Payouts; Live Casino Games-Wager. €100. 200%-Free Spins. Over 200 Casino Games; Live Casino Games; Mobile Ready-Play Now. Read our full review. Free Spins. 100% . Gamble Responsibly BeGambleAware.org. Percentage. Registration No Deposit Bonus ... Ceiling at the Parisian casino in Macau. Photo about illuminated, ceiling, entertain, entertainment, hotel, gambling, leisure, full, classic, china, ancient, european ... casino ceiling light. Sort By: Relevancy. 1/6. Ceiling Light 4000LM Germicidal Lamp Ceiling Air Cleaning Led Panel Light. US $169.00-$199.00 / Piece. 1 Piece (Min Order) 11 YRS Shenzhen Sunpzone Lighting Electronic Co., Ltd. 96.6%. 5.0 (8) "Good supplier" "Great supplier" Contact Supplier. Ad. Ceiling Light 603*1212mm Square Flat Led Panel Ceiling Lighting 2x4ft 48W Warehouse Lighting Slim ... Ceiling in Casino in Las Vegas in Nevada USA. Editorial Stock Photo. Download preview. Las Vegas (English: The Meadows) was named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or meadows (vegas ... CASINO CHANDELIER – CEILING LIGHT - Designer Suspended lights from MASSIFCENTRAL all information high-resolution images CADs catalogues.. ceiling lights. grand cru chandeliers; grand cru canopy; grand cru colonades; casino chandelier; grand cru solitaire; grand cru solitaire sc; petit cru solitaire; grand piston; petit piston ; allumette. wall lighting. grand papillon; petit papillon; grand papillon duo; grand opera; petit pilote; petit machatau 20. table lights. grand cÈpe. floor light. stÈle. accessories. db 032 ceiling ... Atlantic City Casinos: Glass Ceiling Has Cracked 0. ... hiring of Jacqueline Grace last month as Tropicana’s senior vice president and general manager of the Atlantic City casino was — in a way — historic because it wasn’t historic in that city anymore. Instead, Grace became the fourth woman to run one of the city’s nine casinos, a ratio far exceeding the national average in terms of ...