Heat vs Thunder NBA betting picks and predictions: Miami's

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the War Thunder Economy

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the War Thunder Economy
(not really) (rant incoming)
Hello there, let me introduce myself first. You can skip that part, whatever. Basically, I'm good at Air SB.
I'm a fan of aviasim games for more than 10 years, I play War Thunder from the very beginning (from Wings of Prey lol), participated in LAN and on-line tournaments and won some prizes, like the GTX970 I still use today. I consider myself above average, and some years ago (like, in 2015) I was one of the best russian sim players. I was a flight model tester (like alpha tester, but to test FM). Even now its a rare event to meet a player who clearly outclasses me, though there are many good players, of course. To make myself clear, this little bit of bragging was not entirely to stroke my ego, but to show you that my opinion about current state of thing is weighed and worth reading.
So the first point a wanted to make:
Economy in AirSim horribly, unfairly broken.
Bear with me for a moment. I know what grind is real, I almost have M1A2 now and that was not a good gaming experience by all means, but I'm not a good tanker, I often die like an idiot. M1A1 with stock HEAT almost broken me. Now, I have to grind SL on tanks just to afford to buy new plane. I have to remind you, that I can do like 20 kills to 0 deaths in EC without much pain (excluding some accidents and lucky shots). I'll list all of my results from yesterday. Yep, I have premium:
  1. 67k SL, 45k RP
  2. 75k SL, 39k RP
  3. 48k SL, 48k RP
  4. 12k SL, 12k RP
I was flying casually, not tearing my ass apart, slowly unlocking Mig-21MF on tier 5 germans. But you can see the problem, right? I need 390k to unlock Mig-21, and I will do it with relative ease, but to earn 1.3mil SL to unlock it and put it in slot I will have to grind really hard.
Now, if it is hard for me, how hard it is for average player? I bet it is FUCKING HORRIBLE. I dont even want to begin to imagine how it must feel, to understand that even with premium account, flying premium vehicles, you can't even hope to unlock anything above tier 5 without mindboggling amount of grind. And dont even get me started on spading top tier planes to get A2A rockets, thats a joke.
Another problem is that the rate at which I earn SL and RP feels to be even lower in SB than in AB. That was not always the case; I remember well when I was able to make like 500k SL in one session (before EC), and even in EC, but now it is almost impossible, even when flying whole EC session with premium and premium vehicles you hardly will gain more than 300-400k SL. I am talking about fighters, not bombers, mind you. I can earn like 100k SL in Tank AB for like 5-10 minutes, but I earn even less for full hour or more in SB.
My friends often complain that even with premium they can't even break even on tier 5-6, and they are not bad players by all means. That seems completely unfair, especially when I, a bad tanker, can earn kinda okay at tier 6 tanks in AB.
That was one of the good EC's I did a week ago, 0 deaths, 18 kills. 200k SL? Really?
Why am I writing this? Well, I actually quite like the game in itself. It was good enough, its getting gradually better, and I still hope for the best. And I want people to play my favourite game mode, to enjoy it, to playerbase (I just mistyped it as a "payerbase" and lol'd) to grow. It pains me to see that my favourite playmode is slowly dying (for a long time now). Whats the point of learning hardcore gamemode if you'll just suck horrible and never will be able to unlock anything? I hope we can get some attention of the dev team, maybe we'll see some changes in the future.
I wanted to continue, but I'll leave balance and gameplay for another time.
submitted by Fedduk to Warthunder [link] [comments]

PSSST...HEY...THE NBA IS BACK!

PSSST...HEY...THE NBA IS BACK!

PSSST...HEY...THE NBA IS BACK!

NBA IS BACK
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2019/2020 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP - ODDS TO WIN

Wager cut off: 2020 31st July 6:00 PM
LOS ANGELES LAKERS +185 - (MAC's #3 PICK , The Lakers will most likely be a huge disappointment this year, too much ego in the locker room, not enough energy to tip the scale towards the competitive collaboration needed too get a chip, but you have to play the odds, and the Lakers at +185 still has some value)
MILWAUKEE BUCKS +275
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS +300
BOSTON CELTICS +1200
TORONTO RAPTORS +1400
HOUSTON ROCKETS +1500 - (MAC's #1 Pick, the most underrated team this year, with the squad being led by head coach Mike D’Antoni, all you have to do is watch James Harden & Westbrook make YouTube highlight videos out of teams this year, especially the Lakers)
DENVER NUGGETS +2400
PHILADEPHIA 76ERS +2400
MIAMI HEAT +3300
DALLAS MAVERICKS +3000
UTAH JAZZ +4000
BROOKLYN NETS +5000
INDIANA PACERS +8000
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS +8000
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER +9000
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS +15000
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES +17500
ORLANDO MAGIC +17500
SAN ANTONIO SPURS +17500
PHOENIX SUNS +20000 - (MAC's #2 - The MAC will be attentively watching the lines coming out for the Suns this year, the money moving on this from key betting syndicates is a bit suspicious. Look for double digit covers from the Suns, long dog wins, and back door bucket shots to blow the cover in the last 2 minutes of their games)
SACRAMENTO KINGS +25000
WASHINGTON WIZARDS +30000
MAC's is anticipating a horrible season for teams like the Nuggets and the Magic so bad that the NBA might even disband the teams and consolidate the NBA if the money starts showing that it's the thing to do, but MAC is making elevator assumptions. The NBA season odds are a start, the NFL and MLB and NHL are all going to be relying on the outcome and handling of these games.
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submitted by TheMACSPicks to SportsReport [link] [comments]

Top Posts and Comments of the Day

Top of the Day for 17/07/2020

For frequently asked questions, please click here. Times shown on this page are in UTC, and dates are displayed as Day/Month/Year.
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Most Upvoted Posts of the Day

First Place
Stupidity at its best
posted by Ruatb on /memes
Click here to view the post. ● 143,721 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 08:00:27 UTC
Second Place
Today the South Korean government delivered all this for our 14 days of quarantine
posted by snap2 on /pics
Click here to view the post. ● 143,516 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 10:59:22 UTC
Third Place
Yes you're seeing right, that's the oval office being used for a product placement
posted by WillOfTheLand on /pics
Click here to view the post. ● 137,931 Upvotes ● Posted: 15/07/2020 at 23:03:25 UTC
Fourth Place
My thumbs hurt
posted by msartell on /memes
Click here to view the post. ● 116,630 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 02:38:33 UTC
Fifth Place
TIL that everyone in Singapore above the age of 21 is automatically registered as an organ donor. Opting out from this Act will result in you being put at the very bottom of the organ priority list, should you need an organ transplantation.
posted by _crash182 on /todayilearned
Click here to view the post. ● 116,185 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 10:48:54 UTC

Most Downvoted Posts of the Day

This section is currently being worked on.

Most Upvoted Comments of the Day

IMPORTANT NOTE: This section may be not be accurate as it is under development. Currently this only gets the most upvoted top-level comments from the most upvoted posts today.
First Place
What the fuck is going on with Goya? I’m severely out of the loop here ` Edit- Thank you`
posted by annoyinglyskeptical on /pics
Click here to view the post. ● 19,448 Upvotes ● Posted: 15/07/2020 at 23:28:21 UTC
Second Place
In the US, if you are a living kidney donor (i.e. you freely donate a kidney while still alive), you are automatically reserved a spot at the top of the transplant list. ` The average wait time for a kidney transplant is 1600 days, it's about 150 days for a living donor.`
posted by Gemmabeta on /todayilearned
Click here to view the post. ● 16,498 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 11:45:18 UTC
Third Place
I hope this is the only picture history books use
posted by brenbot15 on /pics
Click here to view the post. ● 15,683 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 00:48:45 UTC
Fourth Place
I thought this was illegal?
posted by afraid-of-the-dark on /pics
Click here to view the post. ● 11,764 Upvotes ● Posted: 15/07/2020 at 23:25:31 UTC
Fifth Place
Countries get way more organ donors when they make it opt-out rather than opt-in. It turns out the majority of people don't care enough either way to change their status.
posted by Ask_Who_Owes_Me_Gold on /todayilearned
Click here to view the post. ● 7,879 Upvotes ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 11:18:25 UTC

Most Downvoted Comments of the Day

This section is currently being worked on.

Most Gilded Posts of the Day

IMPORTANT NOTE: This section may be not be accurate as it is under development.
First Place
[OC] Trending Google Searches by State Between 2018 and 2020
posted by V1Analytics on /dataisbeautiful
Click here to view the post. ● 94,610 Upvotes ● 3 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 1 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 13:27:25 UTC
Second Place
I fell down my entire flight of stairs last night.
posted by mrslugo on /GoForGold
Click here to view the post. ● 449 Upvotes ● 3 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 1 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 05/07/2020 at 15:57:17 UTC
Third Place
Free. The. Nipples.
posted by LatinaAshleigh on /collegesluts
Click here to view the post. ● 70 Upvotes ● 3 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 1 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 17:49:43 UTC
Fourth Place
FF14 Mounts: A Complete Guide To ALL Final Fantasy Mounts In 2020
posted by akalopi on /ffxiv
Click here to view the post. ● 2,064 Upvotes ● 3 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 1 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 14/07/2020 at 23:53:49 UTC
Fifth Place
Karens Gone Wild: COVID-19 Edition! I've been wanting to make this for a while, it made me feel nostalgic.
posted by thebestfitz on /PublicFreakout
Click here to view the post. ● 8,483 Upvotes ● 2 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 0 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 16:50:07 UTC

Most Gilded Comments of the Day

IMPORTANT NOTE: This section may be not be accurate as it is under development.
First Place
🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝 Yess !!! I was looking for this exact comment ` Edit: don't upvote my comment upvote theirs 😳` Edit 2: what are you people doing!!!!! Youre upvoting the wrong thing!!!!🤯 Edit 3: thank you for the awards ill pay them forward TO THE COMMENT ABOVE ME!!!!! You know the one that actually deserves them `Final edit:` `Posted by revolutionary-cake14` It's a reference to a Doctor Who episode (it's called the empty child of you want to watch it, it basically stands alone from the rest of the series). The episode is famous for having a terrifying gas mask creature thing and for having traumatised a generation of British kids.
posted by bustedsupradreamer on /nextfuckinglevel
Click here to view the post. ● 5,309 Upvotes ● 3 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 1 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 12:37:52 UTC
Second Place
Who’s got two thumbs and didn’t know there was an episode coming out today? This guyyyy. Strap in, because (spoiler alert) this episode got me STEAMED and I’m not going to trim this down. This is IllithidActivity, and if you want to pick my brain I’m going to give you a piece of my mind. `Immediate first thought, Travis is now using his infantilizing baby voice to talk not to his family, but to *us* about the MaxFunDrive. There is no faster way for me to feel less invested than being patronized. I don’t think he even realizes how…irritating that voice is. It’s not his natural voice.` Oh boy, the bonus episode is flashback history building. Way to put that momentum of “you have six months to kill the Demon Prince” to good use. `So far I appreciate that Travis is letting Clint set the scene and narrate Argo’s feelings, even if he’s just telling Clint to say how Argo feels with zero nuance. ` …Okay, I am preparing to be extremely angry. So I get that this is non-canon, this is a fun and wacky dream, but this is literally manifesting everything that we’ve been complaining about for months. This is going to be Travis narrating his idealized version of the PCs, the cool badasses he imagines them as being down the line either at the finale or after the finale of his special story. He’s skipping ahead to how they’d look at level 20, the same as Avenging Angel Althea or Blood Hawk Barb. He’s even giving them *his own* epithets. And he’s using the non-canon episode to do it because he can’t be bothered to either weave a narrative or actually play the game long enough for that to happen naturally in-game. This cheapens the whole thing because this badassery wasn’t earned, and now whatever they end up with won’t feel quite right either because they’ve had this glimpse. `Travis *really* needs to work on showing, not telling. Don’t state that Chaos’ pirate regalia is intimidating, describe it fully (come on, he’s reading a script he wrote, it’s not like he has to come up with it off the dome) and let that description come across as intimidating. To have to say that it is…suggests a lack of creativity. He knows what he wants it to be, but not what it would have to be in order to be that.` …Is Travis *stating* the nuance of Argo’s backstory? The secret of the Commodore, the things that we in the audience were curiously speculating about, waiting to see manifested and materialized? The interesting secret of Argo, how he was so charming and friendly but had a difficult past? [My reaction](https://media.giphy.com/media/12lV980pEpWM9i/giphy.gif). “I heard you, I paid attention.” “To who? Because I didn’t say this to anybody.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Clint is a little annoyed at Travis for breaking that open and stealing his thunder with his own backstory. The only conclusion I can draw is this: Clint made a better character than Travis was able to run a game for. This has come up time and time again, the fact that Travis has been handwaving Argo’s exploits offscreen because in Travis’ mind the actions aren’t important. But here we see that Clint had a backstory and a motivation that Travis *could not match.* He couldn’t work it into the story. This was the Travis show and there was no room for a high seas adventure. He couldn’t wait for Argo’s (title drop) Graduation for the drama to unfold. He had to throw Argo as kindling onto the fire because he burned himself out. I cannot accept this. `Travis isn’t making any goddamn sense with this weird narrative. “You have to kill the guys on that ship because they killed people who had kids. Also you need to cut loose and not be so serious. Also you have influence on Fitzroy. Do what must be done.” Like if “Chaos” is a stand-in for “I don’t know what’s going on” then well-played, Travis.` “Do I recognize any of them?” “No.” Phew, that was close, this was almost interesting. `“Just give the order. Except don’t bother because I’m going to say that you do something else instead.” How. How can *anyone* defend Travis right now? How can anyone say that Graduation is well-designed? How can anyone say this isn’t The Travis Show? At this point his family isn’t even along for the ride!` I’m half tempted to quit listening right now. I don’t want to hear Justin’s secrets. I don’t want to hear Griffin’s secrets. Three of the four participants in this game are good roleplayers and storytellers. I don’t want that ruined by the last of the four. `Justin’s subtle sass is acidic enough to melt the scenery and I am living for it. “He’s glad to be done with that part of his life, he’s already forgetting their names. He feels like twice as many people he did. He didn’t even realize that piece of himself was missing.” That sounds a whole lot like Justin’s saying “This isn’t my character.”` Yep, there we are. There’s the secret of the Firbolg’s exile. I’m glad *this* is how we’re learning about it. I wonder if Justin was listening to Clint’s section of the story and worrying about his own backstory being butchered. It’s like a narrative Saw trap, he was latched in on a conveyor belt moving near a buzzing sawblade and only when he sees the innocent ahead of him agonizingly ground into bloody paste that he realized no one was going to save him either. `You know what I just realized this is? This is like an inversion of the Temporal Chalice visions from Balance, except that Travis is telling everyone exactly what to think about their situations as opposed to showing them the world they already knew.` Man, Justin is so good. I zoned out for Travis rambling about whatever Chaos was encouraging the Firbolg to do, and Justin just slams that shit down. Even if Travis’ bounceback was “no you’re wrong” (NICE IMPROV, TRAV) Justin stands resolute behind his character. `Travis talking about the Firbolg race being weak and destined for extinction really brings to mind the criticisms I saw about the Centaur plot having uncomfortable colonialist overtones. “The savage natives will go hungry if Fitzroy, the Glorious King of the Civilized World, does not step in and save them.” There are some really gross White Man’s Burden implications there, very much like imperialists saying that Native Americans were stuck in primitive ways until the technologically advanced Europeans uplifted them. I’m really not cool with this vibe recurring within Graduation, and that Travis seems completely oblivious to how harmful the concept is.` Man, Travis really won’t let this scene end without an unequivocal “yes” from Justin. I don’t know why he cares, it’s not like Justin’s decisions will change what Travis narrates the Firbolg doing. `And yep, there it is. Travis is choosing what the Firbolg says. How *dare* he. Honestly, how *DARE* he? He completely ripped control of the character out of Justin’s hands, and is deciding to rewrite the core characterization of the character on his own. On a meta-level, Travis is the true villain of Graduation. Not Gray, not Chaos, but Travis himself is the one who threatens to rip free will from the world of Nua.` DO NOT EVEN START WITH THE KIND AND BENEVOLENT RIGHT NOW, TRAVIS. `Griffin can make me smile during even this (and I use this word very deliberately) travesty. That’s a comedian and a performer right there.` Ugh, the Rainer letter made me cringe. If it wasn’t bad enough that Travis was very obviously pushing that ship through the game, now he’s fanficcing the ship in the future? Not to mention indulging in what I expected this was all for: now HIS fun and special NPCs get their badass epithets. `Wow, Travis really couldn’t resist that “no” to Griffin’s improv. “This is a dream and you are an amazing magician.” “I fly over there.” “That fails.” I mean…goddamn, if that doesn’t just tell you everything, huh?` Looking forward to the part where Griffin says that he doesn’t want to have the prisoner executed and Travis says that he says it anyway. Or does the job himself, why not? `“Oh this is the GOOD ending?” Fucking same, Griffin, fucking same.` “Chaos, it does seem a little uncharacteristic of YOU to be in support of unity and cohesion.” “I don’t see why. There can be chaos in unity.” Okay, good to know that Travis literally doesn’t have a plan and doesn’t really care that words mean things. `“No one tells the Stormbringer what to do.” Except Travis, I bet. Like no, yeah, I get it, I get that that’s the point of what Chaos is doing. It doesn’t make it interesting or fun. It’s just like Higglemas, he didn’t pull the wool over their eyes and fool them, they were forced to do what he said and then got got by the “twist.” That’s not anything.` Aw man didn’t see that coming. Oh wait, I did, that’s why I wrote this critique *before Travis even made Fitzroy kill the guy* and didn’t have to change it when the episode caught up to me. `I feel like I’ve said my piece during my critiques here. I’m just going to end with this: There is no excusing this behavior from Travis. I don’t care if you want to say that “well this is Chaos being manipulative and puppeteering the characters,” no, this is TRAVIS being manipulative and puppeteering the characters, and the players. There is no “story” that justifies ruining the game, for your players or for your audience. If the story demands that the game be bad, the story is bad and you are a bad storyteller. A chef who’s making a statement about ingredient quality versus skill by burning truffles and caviar into charcoal is still making a disgusting meal. I mean even if this was an audio play, a novel written by Travis, it *still* wouldn’t be interesting or compelling because this is a very shallow story. But that he robbed his family of their time in the spotlight so he could have it for himself, I just can’t excuse it. The past few months of Graduation have made me dislike Travis as a performer and a creative, but this is the episode that made me dislike him as a person.` EDIT: Thank you so much for the gold! Made this TAZ worth it.
posted by IllithidActivity on /TheAdventureZone
Click here to view the post. ● 32 Upvotes ● 2 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 0 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 20:58:07 UTC
Third Place
I hugged my best friend. We don't do that handshake-hug-over-one-shoulder-and-pat-on-the-back bullshit, we fucking embrace. Some people think that's \"gay\" but we don't care. We enjoy each other. `The other day we went white water rafting and at one point we laid on our backs and floated down a calm part of the river while holding hands. I can't argue with that one, it's a little gay. Still don't care. Had a good day.` Edit: I like how me and my best friends bromance is now my most up voted comment. Thanks for all the awards and stuff! I can't respond to everyone but... `1. Yes, we are totally gay otters. I'm ok with this label. ` 2. To the people who think that \"we enjoy each other\" is the \"gayest\" part of this whole post, what world do you live in where you don't enjoy your friends? Or, better yet, what world do you live in where you feel like your masculinity would be comprised by merely mentioning you enjoy being around another guy? ` 3. To every person who wishes they could be more open like this with their best friend(s), you totally can be! As long as you don't care if someone might think you're in a relationship. And you shouldn't care, because your best friend is dope (I'm sure). You're lucky to have each other.`
posted by HeyHoLetsGo615 on /AskReddit
Click here to view the post. ● 12,539 Upvotes ● 2 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 0 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 13:49:12 UTC
Fourth Place
We have several nuclear powered spacecraft. The most common kind us RTG (radio-isotope thermoelectric generators). A piece of enriched material (usually plutonium) is left to naturally decay. That material is naturally hot. That heat is then harvested usually with thermoelectric generators (relying on the Seebeck effect, like thermocouples and Peltier coolers) and dumped into external radiators. `This has been used for decades, principally on missions to the outer reaches of the solar systems like Voyager, Pioneer 11 and 12, Cassini, New Horizon and even the latest batch of Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance (set to take off in less than a month). They were even used during the Apollo missions to power some of the experiments they left on the Moon. [Here you can see Alan Bean on Apollo 12 unloading it from the LEM.](https://cdn10.picryl.com/photo/1969/11/19/as12-46-6789-apollo-12-apollo-12-mission-image-alan-bean-unloads-alsep-rtg-6d7118-1600.jpg). The advantage of those is that they are relatively simple. They have no moving parts and nothing really that can break down. However they don't generate that much power compared to how much they weight, especially compared to solar panels. So if you can get away without using those it's often better.` The second type of nuclear power in space is to have a real reactor, like the ones you find in nuclear power plants of submarines. Those needs to go critical and require control systems, and much more complex engineering. However they can (in theory) generate much more power for a given quantity of material. The US experimented with those first in 1965 with the SNAP-10A spacecraft but never flew any other reactors after that. The Soviet were a lot more prolific with nuclear reactors in space. They launched 35 RORSAT spacecraft. Those were low flying radar satellites which tracked US naval movements. The nuclear reactors were used for powering the high power radar system. One of the most notable story associated with that was the [Kosmos-954 incident](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosmos_954) where one of those reactors reentered above Canada and sprayed radioactive debris everywhere. `The USSR also developed an even more powerful TOPAZ reactors in the 80's which were coupled with electric plasma thrusters for propulsion needs.` The issue with real reactors (as opposed to RTG) is that they require a lot of complex auxiliary systems (control, cooling, energy generation). So small ones are hard to make and they really only become interesting in larger systems which are expensive and not needed often. `Since then there has been several other proposal and research projects for nuclear reactors in space. ~~JUICE~~ [JIMO](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Icy_Moons_Orbiter) was a proposal for a massive mission to Jupiter where a reactor would be providing power to ion thrusters. This got canceled after going pretty far into development.` Lately NASA has developed the Kilopower reactor which is a small reactor aimed at providing power for things like lunar and martian bases primarily but can be adapted for use on board spacecraft (IIRC). ` Of course this is only for nuclear reactors used to produce electricity. There is also a whole other branch of technology where the heat for the reactor is directly used for propulsion. I can expend a bit on it but this is a bottomless pit of concepts, more or less crazy ideas, tested systems and plain science fiction concepts. A really good ressource for that kind of topic is https://beyondnerva.com/ which goes over historical designs and tradeoff in great depth.`
posted by electric_ionland on /askscience
Click here to view the post. ● 1 Upvotes ● 2 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 0 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 17:10:58 UTC
Fifth Place
I ship it `[EDIT]` Thanks for my first ever awards!!
posted by weirdbutquiet on /AnimalCrossing
Click here to view the post. ● 2,866 Upvotes ● 2 reward(s). ● 1 silver reward(s), 1 gold reward(s) and 0 platinum reward(s) ● Posted: 16/07/2020 at 14:39:37 UTC
submitted by TopOfTheBot to TopOfThe [link] [comments]

Full First Round Mock Draft

Thanks for clicking!
This mock will be done assuming the draft order remains stagnant relative to the current standings. In this draft, more than ever, I anticipate there will be unprecedented amounts of picks down under the basis of need. This is due to the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty near the top of the big board. Team fit might triumph consensus BPA quite a few times.
After each pick announcement, I entailed a little lineup projection for each team, basically, what the roster would look like after the rookie addition. While this is a projection for the 2020-2021 season, I used the 2019-2020 roster for simplicity. This will be denoted as Projected Squad (PS). I also have denoted the core members of each team, the foundation players, as members of the CORE list.
Don't be mistaken, the CORE list doesn't mean the best players, it is just the players I feel have purpose/demand for a team and that they have to prioritize/address.
Also, don’t get offended with the Probably Best Case (PBC), though they might seem inaccurate or ill-fitting. At the end of the day, it’s a mock, and though I’m proud of it. It is subject to errors and inaccuracies.
Let me provide you with my stance on this year’s class, in my opinion, this is not a “weak draft class” I feel it runs very deep, much deeper than last year’s, but the only issue is it’s hard to point out any definitive ‘best players’, though people surely do try… So, players that you have last first on your big board could go lottery, players in the lottery on your mock could go late first, this draft was conducted, considering need, instead of talent since that will be very hard to evaluate given COVID-19. Without further ado, as I hope I haven’t bored out potential readers, let’s begin...
(1) Golden State Warriors
Selection: James Wiseman (center)
If the Warriors don't trade their pick, this is who I think they'll select. An immediate impact big guy with terrific size. Yes, I know there are rumors that suggest they aren’t interested, BUT I almost am certain that they will look to trade this pick. I get the rumors, but those could be Red Herrings for all we know. I remain with my stance. If they don’t trade the pick, I still see them getting Wiseman, he’d fit them nicely.
PBC: Better Drummond
CORE: Curry, Klay, Dray, Wiggins, Wiseman, Paschall, Looney, and Poole
PS: Warriors:
Curry/Randle
Klay/Poole
Wiggins/Paschall
Green/Chriss
Wiseman/Looney
----
(2) Cleveland Cavaliers
Selection: Anthony Edwards (wing)
I originally had Deni here, but after criticism and some research, I decided to reevaluate my stance. I had Deni originally, anticipating it would garner some confusion, but really I think it could be a brilliant move. Advidja might be the most well-rounded player in the draft and plays with good passing skills and IQ. Cleveland was 24th in assists and last in turnovers… Deni would fit nicely, he’s what the Cavs need right now. They don’t need another streaky scorer or guard, a forward would do just nicely.
On that note, I don’t see the Cavs taking the risk, overseas players are very difficult to project and sometimes “the next Luka Doncic” could be the next Jan Vesley. The Cavs take the easy way out, drafting who many see as the consensus number 1 pick. The Cavs PS next season will be one very interesting as it has no established distributors, so finding one in FA should become a priority. However, if improvement is made in either Garland or Sexton, the Cavs could be building an explosive future backcourt. Keep your eye on the Cavs after this one, because you never know what to expect.
PBC: Bigger Victor Oladipo
CORE: Garland, Sexton, Porter, Edwards, Nance, and Drummond
PS: Cavs:
Garland/Delly
Sexton/Porter
Edwards/Osman
Love/Nance
Drummond/Thompson
----
(3) Minnesota Timberwolves
Selection: Onyeka Okongwu (forward/big)
I originally mocked Lamelo here, then thought… nah, doesn’t make sense, then I mocked Deni... And still, it felt a bit wrong.
Minnesota has gotten their stars and they have the offense to back them up, however, they greatly lack in the defensive department.
This is where team fit triumphs consensus BPA most notably. Lamelo would make the team one of the worst defensively in the league, and Deni wouldn’t help too much either. Minnesota rates 28th in points allowed per game. Onyeka makes complete sense to me, Minnesota get a high potential player that they can partner with KAT in the frontcourt, and help fortify their terrible defense. Yes, with the existing question marks around Culver, they might consider adding another wing, but this pick should be used on Onyeka. WIth Naz Reid as a capable young backup, the Wolves could finally be dawning into a new era of two-way play.
PBC: Bam Adebayo
CORE: KAT, Dlo, Onyeka, Okogie, Beasley, and Culver
PS: Wolves:
DLo/Okogie
Beasley/Evans
CulveLayman
Onyeka/Juan
KAT/Reid
----
(4) Atlanta Hawks
Selection: Deni Avidja (wing)
Trae Young is a future superstar, he is the prototypical guard, a great player to build around (unless you value defense). However, when Trae is off the floooff the ball, the Hawks offense stagnates. Collins is the only other established scorer they have as Reddish and Huerter are a year or two away from reaching that status. The Hawks need another playmakeshot creator, and while they’d prefer Edwards, they go with Deni. A solid pick-up for the Hawks as they continue adding to their young core. I can see them making the playoffs in a year or two.
PBC: I have one I haven’t seen before… Draymond Green. Think about it, though surely not as quick or athletic, Deni brings guard-like skills to the forward spot, provides steady shooting, plays with a high bbiq, and has good instincts on both sides of the ball, all staples of Dray’s game. He could be the Dray to Trae’s Curry.
CORE: Trae, Collins, Reddish, Deni, Capela, and Huerter
PS: ATL:
Trae/Teague
Reddish/Huerter
Deni/Hunter
Collins/Skal
Capela/Dewayne
----
(5) Detroit Pistons
Selection: Lamelo Ball (guard)
The Pistons have young talent in Sekou, Kennard, and Wood, and are led by two injury-prone players with Rose and Griffin. They get lucky at 5, nabbing a guy, though despised by many, some see as the highest ceiling player. A 6’7’’ athletic point guard with sweet handles and amazing passing. I see them going after their franchise point guard at 5, and pairing him with Kennard in the backcourt. Lamelo would give them a new element as he has outstanding potential. Lamelo’s passing, Kennard’s shooting, Sekou’s athleticism/potential, and their promising franchise center, Christian Wood, could equate to relevancy a few years down the line. However, be wary. While he impressed overseas, his numbers were dangerously inefficient. So Lamelo, much like a majority of the other picks, is still far from a sure thing.
PBC: 6’7’’ Jason Williams
CORE: Wood, Lamelo, Kennard, Sekou, Griffin, Rose, Gallo, and Svi
PS: Detroit:
Lamelo/Rose
Galloway/Svi
Kennard/Snell
Griffin/Sekou
Wood/Henson
----
(6) New York Knicks
Selection: Killian Hayes (guard)
The Knicks are in a really weird place. On one hand, they need talent and potential (Cole Anthony has that) but on the other, they also need consistency and unselfishness (not as much). A Cole and RJ backcourt would be very hot and cold at times and ball movement would be nonexistent. That’s why the Cole to NYK rumors need to stop. It makes no sense, a core of Cole, RJ, Randle, Knox, and Robinson would be wildly inconsistent.
That's why I see them taking Hayes as the next guard off the board. He is a good passer, young, has a high ceiling and is much more established. Also, him and RJ are both are lefthanded so they could be lefty-friends!
On a more serious note, some, including myself, view Killian as the darkhorse of the draft.
PBC: DLo
CORE: RJ, Robinson, Frank, and Randle
PS: Knicks:
Killian/Frank
RJ/Bullock
Harkless/Ellington
Randle/Portis
Robinson/Taj
----
(7) Chicago Bulls
Selection: Tyrese Haliburton (guard)
The Bulls are a bit bummed that Hayes is off the board, and take the next best true point guard in the draft. I see them eventually trading away Lavine and allowing White to be the 2, but even if they both remain, Haliburton’s consistency, relative size, and floor spacing/management is hard to turn down.
The Bulls invest in a Tyrese X White backcourt with this pick, before trading Lavine away from more young talent. The rebuild could take some time, especially since it seems like Lauri and Carter both took steps back.
PBC: Prime (projected prime) SGA
CORE: Lavine, White, Lauri, Carter, and Tyrese
PS: Bulls:
Coby/Haliburton
Lavine/Valentine
Otto/Sato
Lauri/Thad
Wendell/Gafford
----
(8) Charlotte Hornets
Selection: Tyrese Maxey (guard)
I see Maxey going 8, but he’s one of my favorite candidates for ROTY, especially as three-guard lineups are showing more and more success (The Thunder). Rozier is not the longterm point guard, Graham is. Maxey gives the Hornets a good shot creator and a great defender to pair him with. If they reach full potential, Maxey and Graham could be one of the most electric and fun to watch backcourts in the league, combine that with ROTY honorable mention, PJ Washington, a good backup backourt (Rozier + Monk), and solid play from Bridges, and you have hope in Charlotte... Something no one expected this soon in the Post-Kemba era.
PBC: Two-Way Zach Lavine
CORE: Graham, Washington, Maxey, Bridges, Rozier, and Monk
PS: Hornets:
Graham/Rozier
Maxey/Monk
Bridges/Martin
Washington/Mcdaniels
ZelleWilly
----
(9) Washington Wizards
Selection: Saddiq Bey (wing)
Saddiq might be a bit unheard of by many, but he, in my opinion, is the best realistic option for the Wiz. He shot a ridiculous 45% from deep on the vaunted college three-point line, has terrific length, defensive versatility, has the discipline endowed to all those under Jay Wright, and good athleticism. He’d fill in and contribute from day 1.
I actually think the Wizards are in a good position for the coming years. Yes, they struggled this season, mainly on the defensive end, but I think a solid offseason and solid development from the youth can help offset these issues. To be clear, I’m not talking about making drastic moves such as trading for Gobert (a move I adamantly oppose), but merely smart decisions in the draft and in free agency. Prioritize defense this offseason, and with plenty of money coming off the books this season, they could be propelled back into the playoff mix as soon as next season.
PBC: Robert Convington
CORE: Beal, Rui, Bertans, Wall, Brown, Bey, Robinson, and Ish
PS: Wiz:
Wall/Ish
Beal/Robinson
Bey/Brown
Rui/Bertans
Bryant/Wagner
----
(10) Phoenix Suns
Selection: Obi Toppin (forward/big)
The Suns have no reason not to try to swing for the fences with POTY, Obi Toppin. He has unreal athleticism, size, and is a scorer on all three levels of the court. Yeah, he’s on the older side, and pretty bad at defense, but I don’t see the Suns, even as a below-average defensive team, turning him down. They’ll have to address defense in free agency, and Toppin would have to play the 4 spot in order to fit with Ayton.
That team would be a blast to watch. Imagine, Rubio and Booker in the backcourt, Oubae as the versatile “do-it-all” wing, and then Toppin and Ayton as the explosive frontcourt!!
PBC: Prime Blake Griffin - defense
CORE: Booker, Ayton, Oubre, Toppin, Rubio, and Bridges
PS: Suns:
Rubio/Jevon
BookeCam
Oubre/Bridges
Toppin/Saric
Ayton/Baynes
----
(11) San Antonio Spurs
Selection: Devin Vassell (wing)
A great 3&D player that will make an immediate impact and pair nicely with their young core as they overtake Demar and Aldridge. This is a very ‘Spurs’ pick, they get good two-way play from a mature, consistent player.
Murray and Lonnie are the primary building blocks for the Spurs long overdue rebuild. Vassell would make their job easier and possesses promising potential as well.
PBC: More Consistent Josh Richardson
CORE: Murray, Walker, White, Demar, Vassell, Johnson, Gay, and Lamar
PS: Spurs:
Murray/White
WalkeForbes
DemaDevin
Lyles/Gay
Aldridge/Jakob
----
(12) Sacramento Kings
Selection: Isaac Okoro
This was the hardest pick to project by far. The Kings roster on paper looks solid, they seem to have great guard depth, an upper-tier SF, a good, young rotation of PF/C. Yeah, yeah, I know Bagley has had his fair share of injuries and trading Dewayne surely didn't help, but I think it must be coaching, because they greatly disappointed this year.
I have them picking another forward. One of the best defenders in the draft, you can never have too many scrappy, defensive wings. This is a pretty generic pick, to be honest, but it seemed like the most logical.
PBC: Smaller Jonathan Isaac
CORE: Fox, Hield, Bagley, Bogdan, Okoro, Bjelica, Barnes, and Holmes
PS: Kings:
Fox/Cory
Bogdan/Hield
Barnes/Okoro
Bjelica/Giles
Bagley/Holmes
----
(13) New Orleans Pelicans
Selection: Aaron Neismith (guard)
This is another tough one, they are built well. But I see them drafting a SG/SF, Neismith would be perfect for them, giving them another marksman to rotate off the bench, and possibly the eventual starter over Jrue. This team could be contending in a few seasons.
PBC: Buddy Hield
CORE: Zion, Ingram, Lonzo, Jrue, Hayes, Favors, Aaron, Hart, NAW, etc!
PS: Pels:
Lonzo/NAW
Jrue/Neismith
Ingram/Hart
Zion/Kenrich
Favors/Hayes
----
(14) Portland Trailblazers
Selection: Patrick Williams (forward)
A young, long, wing that can shoot, the Blazers continue to garner fire power to surround Dame and co. with. Especially considering the lack of depth and injury woes they experienced, this pick is a safe bet to make. I think that the Blazers are underrated as finals contenders for next season. Really, the Celtics and maybe the Bucks are the only real contenders that will be even more powerful next season. The Lakers (age), Clippers (losing Harrell/depth), and the Rockets (age) are both likely to take steps back, meanwhile the Blazers, who’ll get better upon the return from injury of basically the entire team could be poised to strike in the weakened WC.
PBC: Prime Trevor Ariza
CORE: Dame, CJ, Nurkic, Collins, Simons, Williams, Hood, Melo, and Little
PS: Blazers:
Dame/Simons
CJ/Trent
Hood/Williams
Collins/Melo
Nurk/Hassan
----(no more PBC here on)
(15) Orlando Magic
Selection: Cole Anthony (guard)
Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz have good potential as a backcourt, Magic take BPA. Isaac is arguably the most versatile defender in the east outside of Bam, and Bamba has potential as well. The Magic built around Cole, Fultz, Isaac, and Bamba could become a defensive powerhouse in the coming years.
CORE: Isaac, Fultz, Gordon, Anthony, Vuc, Fournier, and Bamba
PS: Magic:
Markelle/DJ
FournieCole
Ennis/Ross
Isaac/Gordon
Vuc/Bamba
----
(16) Minnesota Timberwolves
Selection: Tyler Bey (SF/PF)
The second Bey is off the board, probably a little high for most taste, but perfectly fitting into the Wolves’ hole at SF, given the lackluster season from Culver. Remember, I’m prioritizing defense with the Wolves and after selecting Onyeka and adding a great defender at 4, they opt to take another forward, this time Pac-12 DPOY, Tyler Bey, who can pretty much switch onto anyone on the court, adding another element to the rising Wolves squad as a potential 3&D.
Tyler, though just a meh 3pt shooter in college, has a promising FT%, a good indicator of improvement in that department. The Wolves, after stocking their cupboard with offense this season, make a concentrated effort to stock up on defense, and nd now have Onyeka and Bey, two long and quick forwards to show for it.
CORE: KAT, Dlo, Onyeka, Okogie, Beasley, Bey, and Culver
PS: PS: Wolves:
DLo/Okogie
Beasley/Culver
Layman/Bey
Onyeka/Juan
KAT/Reid
----
(17) Boston Celtics
Selection: Jalen Smith (forward/big)
Myles Turner lite. A good shot blocker and good floor-spacer, Smith is an ideal fit in the versatile Celtics lineup. Look for the Celtics to stock up on defensive bigs this offseason. Smith is the best fit still on the board.
CORE: Tatum, Brown, Kemba, Hayward, Smart, Theis, Smith, and obligatory Tacko Fall
PS: Celtics:
Kemba/Brad
Brown/Smart
Tatum/Grant
Hayward/Smith
Theis/Kanter
----
(18) Dallas Mavericks
Selection: RJ Hampton (guard/wing)
A swing for the fences by the Mavs here... A chance to find Luka a worthy backcourt companion. RJ slid far after his underwhelming overseas campaign but the potential remains. No reason for the Mavs not to go for it.
CORE: Luka, Kristaps, Brunson, Hampton, Kleber, Powell, and Winslow
PS: Mavs:
Luka/Wright
Hampton/Seth
Brunson/Winslow
Kristaps/Finney-Smith
Powell/Stein
----
(19) Milwualkee Bucks
Selection: Kira Lewis (guard)
A gem falls to the Bucks as they get Bledsoe’s successor and an upgrade over an aging Hill. Kira, the youngest Sophmore in Division 1, is younger than Cole, arguably better (is, imo), likely will contribute day 1, and has the potential to become an upper tier PG. The rich get richer with this pick.Kira’s combo of shiftiness, speed, and poise is unmatched.
CORE: Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe, Lopez, Matthews, Donte, Lewis, and Pat
PS: Bucks:
Bledsoe/Kira
Matthews/Donte
Middleton/Pat
Giannis/Marvin
Lopez/Lopez
---- (From this point, picks will be brief)
(20) Brooklyn Nets
Selection: Prescious Achiuwa
Defensive forward for a below average defensive team.
----
(21) Denver Nuggets
Selection: Josh Green
Promising prospect proves to be provided a pick, despite poor play.
----
(22) Philadelphia 76ers
Selection: Jahmi’us Ramsey
Underatted defensive prospect
----
(23) Miami Heat
Selection: Aleksej Pokuševski
Potential baby. Also Greek, so Giannis bait.
----
(24) Utah Jazz
Selection: Tyrell Terry
A steal for a potential future starter.
----
(25) OKC Thunder
Selection: Jaden McDaniels
Basically just what I said about Josh Green.
(26) Boston Celtics
Selection: Vernon Carey
Though traditional to a fault, Vernon is an ideal target for the Celts.
(27) New York Knicks
Selection: Immanuel Quickley
Building a young backcourt tandem with Killian and Frank, RJ is moved to SF, where he should be.
(28) Toronto Raptors
Selection: Paul Reed
Arguably Achiuwa minus clout
(29) LA Lakers
Selection: Devon Dotson
A better version of Tre Jones, who I originally had here.
(30) Boston Celtics
Selection: Jordan Nwora
After two bigs, Celtics get wing depth.
----
Thanks for reading, feedback is welcome.
submitted by cheemsandbeans to NBA_Draft [link] [comments]

Part 6: You, a villain, heart set on taking over the world, kidnapped the hero’s sidekick. You find out that you are treating them much better than the hero was and decide to take them under your wing.

Five Years ago.
Uptown, Golden City.
Glory's Headquarters.
Honor sat at the edge of his bed fiddling with the medallion pinned to his chest.
It was true that only newly initiated heroes wore their badges. More senior heroes, like Glory, would chuckle at their eagerness. After a month or so the novelty wore off and they'd stash it away safe somewhere. It had only been two weeks since Honor had gotten his, but he didn't think that would ever happen to him.
On the medallion a stag's head gazed up at two criss-crossing gavels, all encircled by a long handled axe. This was the emblem of the International Assembly, symbolizing the privileges that members of the assembly were granted in their designated area.
Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
Honor grinned. It was a-lot of power to give to somebody.
He must be someone important.
I used to be the kid that no one cared about, he thought, Too old to be adopted, too young to be kicked out. The leftover. Now look at me.
I must be.... important.
His pager buzzed at his side, startling him, and causing him to leap out of bed all at once.
"YES, SIR," he called. "Danger? Time to go? Where are we heading?" He was already trying to slip his boots on, hopping around on one foot.
"Settle down, Honor," Glory said, "It's nothing like that. Just come see me in my study as soon you can."
Honor blushed. "Yes, Sir."

~
Honor tore out of the black hole before him and found himself several feet above the ground. He had a bird's eye view of Glory the game of wack-a-mole he was playing with Nemesis.
Nemesis had procured a wicked looking black-bladed knife from somewhere and was popping in and out of holes encircling Glory, waiting for an opening. Nemesis feinted as though about to strike before ducking back into his black hole and appearing again behind Glory, but the Hero had anticipated that, and Nemesis emerged from his portal to find Glory's open hand about to close around his neck.
NO! Honor felt heat building in his eyes, and a moment later a blast of light exploded towards Glory.
Glory's reaction, even with it being impossible for him to have seen where the blast had been shot from, was flawless. His right fist erupted in light and turned to catch the blast just as it landed.
Honor's feet hit the ground as Glory launched his own blast back at him. Honor rolled, narrowly avoiding a direct hit.
He hadn't expected to land a shot on Glory, but it had bought enough time for Nemesis to slip back into his black hole, and that was enough.
Honor closed on Glory, and Glory, from over-confidence or disregard, allowed him to get right into his guard. The two exchanged blows for several seconds, each block booming like thunder, each miss roaring like a summer storm.
Nemesis dropped from above Glory's head and flashed his blade at the hero's eye.
Glory grunted, turned his face, and was struck by Honor's fist.
BOOM
Glory put his shoulder down and shoved Honor backwards, and Honor slid a sold ten feet, debris flying at his feet, before coming to a stop.
Nemesis appeared a few feet to the right of Honor. "What the hell took you so long," he asked, tossing his black blade back and forth between his hands.
"Don't talk, just fight," Honor answered.
Nemesis gave him a look of rye disapproval. "Where's the fun in that?"
"Heroes are, by your own definition Master Nemesis, no fun," Lori chimed in.
Nemesis shrugged, "That's true. Hey Honor, tell your boss he's boring, will you?"
Honor's eyes flashed to Glory, his expression one of equal fear, guilt, and shame.
Glory laughed. "Always such a clown, Nemesis. I have to love it. Most villains are so dour before I put them in their graves."
Nemesis clapped his hands together. "Clown? Nah, I'm just having a good time. Lori, let's get three shots of Tequila."
"Is that the best idea right now, Sir?"
"Oh, none for me of course," Nemesis said, "Two for Glory, and one for his sidekick." He coughed, then corrected himself, "Former sidekick. Those two need to get on my level."
"Good one," Glory said, "And who IS this "Lori", Nemesis. An accomplice?"
Nemesis frowned.
Glory smiled, feeling like a lion that has chased a gazelle into a corner, "What's this? Not so funny now. Where are you hiding, Lori?"
"Up your butt, Captain Douchewad." Lori said.
Nemesis burst into laughter of his own. "Sorry, that's how I programmed her to refer to you, on the off chance you ever met. I'd actually forgotten-"
Glory grimaced. "I don't get you, Nemesis," he spat, "What do you want with Golden City? You've stolen money, sure, but that's never seemed to be your primary target. If anything, the timing of your various robberies seem to indicate that you only steal when you need to fund your next doomed project."
Nemesis opened his mouth.
"Don't tell him, Sir," Lori cut in.
Nemesis closed his mouth, tapped his foot, and was quiet for a few seconds.
Honor eyed him. Oh they're good. It's all a bit of theatrics isn't it? All to get him talking.
"What do I want," Nemesis repeated. "Well, Glory. In Golden City - from Golden City - I don't really want anything. No... I came here for you."
This seemed to amuse Glory, as Honor knew it would. Oddly, however, he detected no lie in Nemesis' words. Was the man that good of an actor? Or was it true? What DO you want, Nemesis?
"For me," Glory said, "Well now it all makes sense. Three years ago when some punk kid turned up in my city and had the balls to challenge me publicly, I said he was probably some fanboy come to meet his childhood idol. I said that, didn't I Honor?"
"You sure did," Honor said.
Glory turned to him, a look of disgust on his face. "Were you with him, even then?"
The words stung Honor in a way he wouldn't have thought possible coming from, well, someone he was actively engaged in a death-match with. His mouth curved slightly in rage. "Is that what you think? That it was all a lie? Maybe it WAS a lie, for YOU. But not for me, Glory. Never for me."
Honor felt his body trembling. It took all he had not to rush at Glory then and there. He didn't even noticed Nemesis come up to his side until he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Okay," Nemesis said, "Take a breather buddy. You can come back when you chill out. You're stealing my thunder."
"WHAT," Honor screamed, incredulous.
Nemesis scrunched his mouth up to the side. "Yeah, bye." He pushed, and Honor fell into an unseen hole to his side.

~

"Now... back to me," Nemesis said.
Glory frowned, "Can't handle sharing the spotlight, huh?"
Nemesis smiled. "Neither can you."
Glory's eyes narrowed. "What are you-"
"No I'm not a fanboy, Glory, sorry," Nemesis cut in. I'm walking a narrow line, he thought, insult him too much, poke the bear too many times, and he'll charge. So what then?
"Actually, Sir, if you truly feel you must divulge your secrets. Calling you a fan is relatively accurate," Lori said.
Stroke his ego? Fine, Lori, Nemesis thought. "Well I wasn't a fan growing up, which is what he meant."
"Still-"
"ENOUGH," Glory barked, taking a half step forward. "I don't ca-"
"I chose Golden City as my target because of you, Glory. Because I recognized your strength. I needed to cut my teeth, if you will. Hone my skills," Nemesis said quickly.
Glory paused, "Hone your skills," He mused, "For what?"
Nemesis grinned. "Revenge."
~
Honor landed in wide, empty room, the black hole he'd fallen out of winking out above him.
"DAMMIT NEMESIS," Honor shouted, making for the door. "You arrogant prick-"
"Wait," Lori said. "Just wait."
Honor looked up. "Lori?"
"That's me!"
Honor shook his head. "I'm not waiting. I have to-"
"Actually, no. You don't. You've served your purpose. Now leave the rest to Master Nemesis."
"What?! No way!" Suddenly, a new black hole opened infront of him. He walked towards it.
"DO NOT GO IN THERE OR YOU WILL DIE," Lori shouted.
Honor froze.
A trick?
But she sounded serious. "What's going on?"
The hole infront of him began to open and close, gyrating slightly, and then began to move about the room freely.
"What the-"
Another black hole opened and began to behave in a similar fashion. Then another. And another. And-
"LORI," Honor demanded, "WHAT THE HELL IS-"
~

"Revenge," Glory said, "So that's it, huh. Did I put down a parent long ago? Perhaps a friend? A brother?"
Nemesis waved his hands. "No no. Don't worry. Like I said, I chose you for your power." His face grew deathly serious, a shadow passing over his eyes. "If it were you I wanted.... you'd already be dead."
"Ahh," Glory said, "So it was a colleague of mine. They did something to you and you want to pay them back... but you're scared. So you come to me. And all of your false facing, all the bravado, it's all just a facade for the fear hidden deep inside. But that wasn't very smart of you, Nemesis. Think about the one, or ones, that you lost. Would they have been happy to see me kill you before you even got the chance to confront your real target? Would that have put their souls at ease?"
"Wrong again," Nemesis said, a fist sized black hole opening to his side. "And now you're starting to piss me off." He pulled an identical black bladed knife out of the hole blade first, then flipped it so the handle fell in his palm.
Glory raised an eyebrow. "So it's back on?"
"You bet."
"I'll end this quick."
"You can try,"
Glory charged.
BING!

~

The room around Honor was a gyroscope of spinning blackholes, whizzing back and forth, up the walls, over the floor, past the ceiling.
"LORI," Honor shouted.
"Okay Honor, ready?"
"READY FOR WHAT?"
"On the count of three, a new black hole will open directly infront of you. As soon as it pops into existence, JUMP!"
"Jump? What do you mean, Jump?"
"One." "LORI!"
"TWO"
Ah fuck. Oh fucking fuck,.
"THREE!"
Honor leapt.

~

Nemesis made as if to meet Glory head on, then halted. "On second thought," He said, "I don't think I'll be dying today."
A black hole opened at his feet, and he leapt inside. He came out of the exit portal just in time to see Honor jumping into the hole below him. Good lad.
~

Honor found himself crashing through trees branches. He roared - rage, confusion, and a sheer determination to live mingling in his cry. He reached out trying futilely to grab hold of a branch, but limbs and bark splintered beneath him. The ground rushed toward him.
CRASH
A flash of pain washed over Honor, followed by a nauseating vibration all over, as if his body were a gong.
But.... I'm alive, he realized. I'M ALIVE! He began to laugh. "Thanks Glory! Might be the last time I ever say that, huh? THANKS FOR THE INVINCIBILITY YOU PIECE OF-"
Suddenly he heard a scream above him and he looked up to find Nemesis falling toward him.
I could let him fall, Honor thought, But where's the fun in that?
He held out his arms, braced himself, and snatched Nemesis out of the air.
"YOU CAUGHT ME," Nemesis shouted.
"Told you," Lori said, her voice muffled from somewhere beneath Nemesis' coat.
Honor set Nemesis on his feet. "What the hell is going on, Nemesis?"
Nemesis raised a hand to his head woozily. "I had to make sure Glory couldn't.... atleast not with great difficul-," His eyes rolled to the back of his head and he fell unconscious where he stood.
"NEMESIS!"
"Don't worry, Honor," Lori said, "Master Nemesis has just tired himself out. He used up all of his reserves on those fake portals, but he had to make sure Glory wouldn't be able to follow right after us."
Honor looked up. "I don't think it would've mattered, the black hole isn't up there anymore, I don't think."
Lori sighed, "Well, that's a shame. Still, he had to be sure."
How does a computer sigh, Honor thought, Why would a-
And suddenly the absurdity of his situation bore down on him. What am I doing here? What have I done? He gripped his head between both of his hands and collapsed to his knees next to Nemesis.
Honor felt his chest aflame with emotion, and he recognized that there were tears in his eyes. "Oh god. What am I doing? What now? What the hell do I do now?"
Music began to play softly from beneath Nemesis' coat. "I'm not here, this isn't happening, I'm not here, this isn't happening!"
Honor sniffled. "Lori?"
"This is a song called, How to Disappear Completely," Lori said, "You ever heard of it?"
Honor was quiet a while.
"Honor?"
"No....I haven't."
The woods were a quiet place in general. A bird called from somewhere in the distance. The wind rustled the branches gently up above.
And the music played.
"Honor?"
"Yeah?"
"Welcome to the team. Now pick Master Nemesis up. The emergency lair is only a few miles from here. You’ll have to carry him.”
submitted by CharlestonMeade-Levy to CharlestonChews [link] [comments]

If you hear thunder in a snowstorm, run.

I’d never heard of a thundersnow until I was in college. When you live in the midwest weather can be chaotic, but this particular storm came up quickly, even for us. On Thursday morning there was a normal snowstorm coming, by Friday morning, they were preparing to shut down the city. Businesses began announced early closings. Even the mall was closed by 3pm. The college I attended even ended classes at noon. A group of friends and I decided to take advantage of the early release by going to a restaurant by the mall for lunch. We were only inside for an hour or so, but by the time we got out, there was easily an additional six inches of snow on the ground.
On the way home, every time we stopped, my friends would have to get out and push the car until it started going again, including pushing to get the car going so I could manage to drive off after dropping them off.
I decided to gamble and stop at the gas station closest to our apartment on the way home. If we were getting snowed in I was going to pick up a pack of cigarettes and some basic supplies. I managed to park under the canopy by the gas pumps where a patch of bare concrete would provide enough traction to get going again.
The gas station is a larger chain gas station in the heart of a college business district. Basically it’s bars, clubs, pizza places, head shops, and at least one hipster coffee shop. Locals referred to the whole thing as “The Hill.” My point is, we were at this gas station at least once a day, often two or three times. The same was true for the hundreds of students who lived within blocks of the area.
I wasn’t the only one stopping in for supplies. It was filled with people, most of whom had stories similar to mine. I was standing in line holding some frozen pizzas, soda, and chips when I heard the clerk talking to the other customers about the coming storm. The forecast had escalated significantly.
Behind the counter a small tv was playing. The weatherman came on, standing in front of a map of the midwest that was basically a giant purple blob that covered our entire state.
“Jesus Christ,” I said. The clerk reached over and turned up the volume. A hush fell over the people near the counter as everyone listened.
“ . . . Highway Patrol has issued a statement. Do not leave your homes. Do not travel.”
The interstates and highways had been shut down. Rescuers in snowmobiles were shuttling people trapped in their cars to the nearest rest areas. Plows had been called in for the night.
“Please, everyone,” he said. “Stay home. If you don’t, you will be on your own.”
The silence hung heavy and felt . . . ominous, I guess, would be the right word.
“Well! I guess I better go!” said the person at the front of the line, breaking the tension and prompting a few laughs from the growing number of people in line.
“Well I’m not going anywhere,” said the clerk. “I have to work all night anyway. Besides, my apartment is right next door.” She gestured toward the window, but instead of the blue apartment buildings we should have been able to see, the window was nothing but solid white.
Just then the doors opened and two of my roommates ducked in.
“You guys have the same idea as me?” I said, gesturing at my pizzas and snacks.
“No,” A.J. said, “Blazer’s stuck in the bookstore parking lot.”
“I thought the blazer had four-wheel drive.” I said.
“It does,” chimed in A.J.’s girlfriend Jenna. She’d shared his room for months, and for the most part, she was pretty cool.
“Damn that sucks, let’s get our stuff and I’ll drive us home,” I said.
Even though I’d been in the gas station less than ten minutes, the small patch of concrete I had carefully parked my back tires on was filled in with two inches of snow. The tracks from where I drove in were almost completely filled in with snow. I was glad we didn’t have to go far.
By car, it was two blocks. Most of the time we walked, and from the back door to the gas station it was more like a half a block.
Going slow and occasionally getting out to push, we managed to not only get home, but get the car in the driveway, as well. My third and final roommate, Trevor, got home just after we did, pulling his tiny car in right behind mine. Making our way into the house, the snow was so deep had to walk in each other’s footsteps and try not to fall over along the way. By the time we got inside, we were laughing and happy to be home.
In the foyer that we shared with the apartment upstairs, we paused to stomp the snow off our shoes and brush it off our clothes and coats.
“Holy shit it’s crazy out there!” A.J. said, stepping carefully out of his wet shoes onto the dry carpet in the living room.
“It’s pretty when you look at it from in here,” Jenna said, peering out the window at the houses across the street. It was definitely one of the prettier types of snow. The kind with big fat sticky flakes. Still, the uneasy feeling lurked in the back of my mind. We weren’t strangers to winter or severe weather, but this was unnerving. The weatherman wasn’t even trying to guess how much snow we’d get anymore. He just kept saying it was impossible to predict how much snow we would actually get. Local news was an endless stream of businesses that had closed early and warnings not to travel. At the hospitals, staff were staying over because the replacement staff couldn’t get through.
What else was there to do? We did what every college student does when there are four people in the same room. We played cards.
It was close to 4:3O in the afternoon when there was a knock on our door. One of the guys upstairs poked his head in. We didn’t know the guys upstairs real well, but of the four, he was by far my favorite. His name was Metal, which I had been pretty pleased to find out was his actual last name. He was a bit of a power stoner, but was generally cool to be around. But to be fair, he was also a little bit crazy.
“Guys! Anyone want to go to the gas station with me?” He asked, in a wide-eyed excited tone.
“Not possible,” A.J. said, not looking up as he carefully arranged the cards in his hand. “Roads are all fucked.”
“I’m not driving, dude. I’m walking.” Metal said, as if he had thought of the most innovative weather problem solution of all time. “Anyone wanna come with?”
“What are you getting?” I asked.
“Smokes, certainly. Toilet paper definitely. Beer probably. Pizza possibly.”
I shrugged, “I’m in.”
I got up and rummaged through my room for my warm coat and gloves. When I came back out of my bedroom, my roommates were holding out cash in my directions.
“Hey, would you bring me a pack of smokes?” A.J. said first.
“And me!” Jenna added.
“Yeahhhh, me too,” said Trevor
“No way. You can come with us and buy your own,” I said in a joking voice but he right well knew I was also serious.
“I’ll send enough money for two and you can have the other one,” he offered. The others agreed.
“Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis,” Metal sang, doing a strange little dance in the kitchen by the back door.
“Good enough,” I said, taking their money. Of course, at this time smokes only cost $1.87 a pack. So the “payment” wasn’t as big as it would be today. We frequently made deals like this, especially when the weather was bad.
Now before you chastise me for going out, you need to remember a few things.
First, it was only about 7pm, so it wasn’t overly late.
Second, if we walked through our backyard, the gas station was only about a half a block away.
Finally, we walked this route not only to go get smokes and snacks, but also to get to classes. I’d personally walked this route in every possible state of mind and influence. This was twice as true as Metal because he’d lived upstairs for twice as long I had and had definitely done twice as many drugs.
It was because of all this, that I didn’t worry too much about making the trip. It’s also why none of my roommates worried too much for us. Honestly, I thought it would be kind of novel. I’d never seen a storm like this, and I was kind of looking forward to checking it out. Nothing about going to the gas station felt unsafe, to any of us.
Just as we were getting ready to go, an odd yet familiar sound rumbled through the house. My brain couldn’t quite register what it was right away, because it was so out of place.
“Was that . . . thunder?” Jenna asked.
“I think so. I heard it too,” A.J. confirmed.
“That’s crazy,” I said. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I do remember looking over at the window where Jenna had been marking the rising snow by scratching lines in the frost on the window. They were low on the house, so the fact that we saw snow at window level wasn’t alarming, but I was a little surprised to see that the snow was now about an inch above the line she’d drawn not five minutes earlier.
When you’re 20 and in college, well, you’re damn near immortal, or at least you think you are, so we finished getting ready and made for the back door.
“If we’re not back in 30 minutes send the sled dog,” Metal said laughing, referring to our landlord’s dog Charlie, who was a notoriously aggressive ankle-biting chihuahua.
The back steps were a mound of snow so we just sort of trudged our way blindly through it until we were on the ground level. The snow wasn’t actually too bad. It was up to just above our knees which required us to lift each leg up out of the snow to take each step forward, but it was doable. We paused when we got to the alley at the end of our back yard. The snow had gotten noticeably thicker. I looked up at the security light up over our heads. The light was visible through the snow but I couldn’t make out the details of the fixture at all. Across the alley from us was the chain link fence that bordered one of the houses we walked between. It would be helpful to hold onto as we walked through the snow. Only about a foot and a half of it stuck up out of the drift, but we were able to keep moving.
The whole time we walked, Metal chatted away, generously peppering stories and observations with top shelf profanity as we made our way through the deep snow, with the help of the chain link fence.
We were losing visibility, but we could still see individual street lights lining The Hill, like glowing orbs in the night.
Suddenly the snow around us filled with a barrage of flashing light followed by the unmistakable sound of a thunderclap. The glow of the streetlight faded away as we were suddenly hit with the weight of a massive amount of snow from out of nowhere.
“Fucking wind!” Metal shouted at the sky as we shook the snow off of our shoulders and hats. It had blown off of something nearby and directly down on top of us. Or at least that’s what we thought happened. At that point, why would we have thought it was anything else?
One big step at a time, we followed the chain link fence until we made it to the front yard of the house. From here, all we had to do was cross a small street, walk around the bank, and the gas station would be right across the street.
I didn’t say anything to Metal, but I was starting to get a little nervous. He didn’t seem to notice as he yammered away about all the things he always yammered about. Music. Drugs. Pulp Fiction. Music and drugs. Drugs and music. Drugs and music, and Pulp Fiction. All we could do was keep moving and get back as soon as we can. I was kind of regretting the trip, but we were already half way there, it would be stupid to turn back at this point.
From here I could just make out the overhead glow of the streetlights again just on the other side of the bank.
The snow on the street was as deep as the snow by the chain link fence, but here there would be nothing to hold onto. We’d just have to walk in the direction of the bank. I could tell Metal was starting to feel uneasy too, when he got quiet and walking closer to me. I didn’t mind. It was getting harder and harder to see and that was unnerving enough. The thought of being out here alone, was more than a little unpleasant.
We began to make our way across the small road. Halfway across the lightning flashed again, followed by a crack of thunder that ushered in another “blanket” of snow that fell heavily on our heads and shoulders. There was nothing we could do but stand there until it eased off. It took longer for the snow to lighten this time. When the streetlights came back into view, it seemed like they were softer and farther away.
We didn’t hesitate, just continued moving toward the bank, straining to make out its shape in front of us somewhere. Even though it was dark outside, the snow seemed to have its own sort of light. It swirled around with the snowflakes and dazzled your eyes. Almost hypnotic. But if it was actually as light as it seemed, we’d have been able to see more than we could.
Just as I was pretty sure we were almost at the bank the wind began to howl. I’d heard the expression before, but I’d never truly understood how real it could be. It was a terrifying scream that seemed right next to me, making me shudder not from the cold, but from a deep, penetrating fear.
“What the fuck!” Metal shouted and started pushing harder toward the bank. I had to struggle to keep up with him, but I knew he couldn’t go far.
The bank didn’t have a parking lot. It was a small building with just enough room for one car to drive around to the drive-thru. It served mostly college students who were almost always on foot.
Metal was getting farther ahead of me and I could barely make out his black parka.
“Metal!” I shouted, but the words seemed muffled by the snow and swept away by the wind. I kept moving in the direction he had gone, even though I couldn’t see his coat anymore. He wanted to get to the bank and I didn’t blame him. I knew feel a whole lot better when I was touching that wall, too.
Another flash of lightning and another shriek. This time it sounded like it was right in front of me. I cried out in fear. The thunderclap hit, and the snow that followed knocked me off my feet. I came up sputtering, trying to clear the snow from my mouth and nose.
“Metal!” I shouted again and this time I thought I heard him reply from up ahead of me. I kept moving in the direction of the bank, and after a dozen or so trudging steps, I was blindsided by an arm that darted out of the swirling white wasteland, grabbed my shoulder, and yanked me hard in their direction.
It was Metal. He was standing with his back against the wall of the bank. If he hadn’t grabbed me, I’d have probably kept walking. Who knows what would have happened if I’d have missed the bank.
It wasn’t easy navigating around it. On this back side where we were, the snow had blown up against the wall, so it was deeper and harder to walk through, but neither of us wanted to leave the reassurance of the wall, even though the snow was harder to get through.
I tried to shout to Metal that we needed to head for the foyer with the ATM machine, but I don’t know if he heard me. The snow was quiet but also took the words out of your mouth as soon as you said them. It was just like talking underwater. Muffled, and dull.
Metal’d had the same idea as me though. On the other side of the bank, there was a 24 hour ATM that was located inside a small glass foyer that was always unlocked. We could stop there and get out of the snow for awhile. By this point, we were fighting for forward momentum. It had been a bad idea to try to walk to the gas station, and I regretted it with every step.
God it was great when my gloved fingers found the front corner of the bank building. I was way beyond wanting to be home or at the gas station. All I wanted was to be inside and not in this storm. I’d have climbed in a doghouse if we’d come across one.
The door to the foyer was covered in snow. Metal and I had to spend five minutes kicking the snow out of the way before we could get the door to open enough for us to squeeze through, but inside felt like a paradise. I didn’t realize how all of that snow around my face had made me feel like I was suffocating. I ripped my scarf off and opened my coat so I could “breath” again.
I was so preoccupied with that, it took me a minute to notice Metal was frozen in place, staring into the corner of the little foyer.
“What is it?” I asked, my eyes following his gaze.
“I thought I saw something,” he said, in a puzzled voice.
The snow in the corner swirled in and out. But for a second I did see something. I think I did. Something like a face, but gray skin, gray eyes. You mean snow colored? It was not a stretch to see things in the swirling snow, especially after straining to see in the storm.
Metal shrugged and began foraging inside his coat, pulled out a pack of smokes and a lighter. He pulled out a cigarette and then offered me the pack. I took one.“We probably shouldn’t smoke in here,” I said.
“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures,” he replied lighting his cigarette and sitting down in the middle of the room. He was quieter and more serious than I had ever seen him. When he finally made eye contact, I could see that he wasn’t just serious, he was scared.
I’m sure he saw the same look on my face, too.
The bank foyer wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t nearly as cold as it was outside. I took off my gloves so I could smoke less awkwardly. We smoked that first cigarette in silence. As soon as I stubbed out the first one, I fished out my pack and offered one to Metal, which he took.
He lit it carefully and then said in a quiet voice, “What are we gonna do, man?”
I shrugged. “We could keep going,” I said. “We could go back or we could stay here. That about sums up our choices.”
“If we keep going, we’re staying at the gas station until tomorrow,” he said, lights flickering overhead.
It wasn’t ideal, but I had to agree with him. I couldn’t imagine making the whole trip back after getting to the gas station.
“Either way, I think we need to stay together,” I posited.
He nodded slowly. “Maybe we should stay here.”
I couldn’t deny it was tempting. It felt good to be out of the storm. But though it was warmer in here, it wasn’t fully heated. “We feel warmer now,” I said. “But is it actually warm enough to stay here? And if we wait too long, will we even be able to get anywhere else?” I asked.
Overhead the light flickered again, ominously.
Metal considered this. “If we head back home, we could probably make it to the chain link fence but after that, I’m not sure. The backyard was uphill. We may not be able to get to the back door. If we can’t, we’ll have to go around.”
“So we are stuck deciding if we should try to camp down here or keep going to the gas station where at least we would have food and bathrooms . . . and cigarettes,” I concluded.
In the end it was the flickering light, threatening a power outage, that made our decision for us. Without power, the foyer would become cold dangerously quickly. As we bundled back up, a gap in the snow revealed a bright glow in the direction of the gas station before the storm rushed back in again and it disappeared in the swirling chaos.
It bolstered both our moods. I was glad we were leaving the foyer. The longer we sat, the more the swirls against the glass seemed to resemble faces, staring with dead eyes of white swirling snow. Dead eyes that looked at me. Dead eyes that saw me.
I don’t know if Metal’s eyes were playing the same tricks on him. I thought about asking, but he suddenly stood up, pulled his last smoke out of the pack. He lit it with a flair, zipped up his coat, and saluted, cigarette hanging from of the corner of his mouth, just below one squinted eye.
“Soldier!” He shouted. “We will go out in that snow! We will walk across this street! We will acquire snacks! Those are our order’s maggot, get your ass out there!” He threw his scarf over one shoulder with a flourish and kicked open the door.
The jovial moment ended as the snow hit us like we’d never left it. Metal grabbed me before I could start walking and I realized he was standing with his back to the bank window to orient himself so we walked in the right direction. It was smart, because the gas station was catty corner from where we were standing.
The road we had to cross had two lanes with parking on both. From the bank to the door of the station wasn’t more than 60 feet.
Even though it was dark outside, the swirling blizzard creates the illusion of visibility, but that’s all that it is, an illusion. The reality was that we could not see more than a couple of feet in any direction. We knew there was a car parked in front of the bank, but beyond that, it would be the last physical landmark until we made it to the pumps of the gas station.
We moved carefully forward to the parked car, edging our way around it to the right. Something in the snow banged against my leg causing me to jump back and fall on my ass in the snow. When I got back up I reached out to find a parking meter buried in the snow next to the car. That was going to hurt later, and probably leave a pretty nasty bruise, too.
I thought at first Metal hadn’t noticed that I fell. I shouted his name and felt the panic start to rise up, when his outstretched hand appeared in front of me. We clasped hands and started moving forward again. I felt no shame in holding a guy’s hand at this point. I just didn’t want to be alone.
It’s hard for your senses to cope in that sort of environment. Sound is muffled, directions become elusive, you can see but you are also blind. But even though everything is hidden to you, you can’t stop trying to see and to hear just in case, for one brief moment, you can get your bearings.
I’ll be honest. I was starting to get pretty freaked out. The panic I felt was threatening to boil over. Being in the storm felt like being underwater, slow and foreign. Pretty, but deadly.
I ran into something again, this time with my right leg. “What the fuck,” I said, reaching down to see what I had hit this time, but after fishing around for whatever it might be, I came up empty.
“You okay?” Metal said, shouting with his head close to mine. Even a few inches away he sounded muffled and distant.
“Yeah!” I shouted back and we continued trudging forward.
There was no point pretending we weren’t pretty thoroughly run down at this point. I mean, we were both young, but we were also smokers. We were much more likely to be found playing guitar on top of the student union, than in an intramural football game. At this point, the snow was closing in on waist deep and it was almost impossible to step over it anymore. I worked to make a simple rhythm of it. Pick up your leg, like you’re marching. Pull it up and slide it back down in the snow. Then bring your other leg up to meet it. I would lead with my right foot for awhile then alternate to my left.
We walked and walked and time stretched out behind us.
Any sense I had of our position and pace was long gone. How long had we been walking? We left the house around seven, but neither of us were wearing watches. The more I thought about it, the harder it was to figure out. I decided it had probably been a half hour or so when you factor in the two cigarettes they had at the bank. How long would it take to get to the gas station?
I concentrated on my footsteps. How many steps would it have taken me on a regular day to get from the bank to the gas station? I tried to pace it off in my head as I forced my legs to push through the snow. It was maybe six steps from the bank to the car, eight steps around the car to where I got whacked by the parking meter. Probably about fifteen steps if we went directly across the street. So cross-ways across the intersection would be, say thirty, maybe even thirty-five paces. From the curb to the gas pumps would add another fifteen or so.
If I counted two snow steps for every good weather regular step, that would put me at about 130 snow steps to get to the pumps. But you see, I honestly thought my snow steps were larger than regular steps based on how I had to put my foot down, but I was trying to be as conservative as possible.
Was Metal doing the same? I hoped so, because at this point, any energy I had left after walking was being used to keep me from losing my shit.
I counted in my head as we went. “One . . . and . . . two . . . and . . . three . . . and . . .”
When I got to 150, I knew something was very, very wrong. I was about to try to ask Metal what he thought when lightning flashed all around us, revealing swirls of blues and whites in thick patches like clouds, but with no visible boundary between the falling snow and the snow on the ground. Thunder cracked loud overhead and seemed to echo around us. Like the thunder before, the snow that followed landed on us like a blanket. It was up to our waist now.
We fought to shake it off our arms and shoulders, but we could both feel it. The storm was gaining on us. I moved in front of Metal and took the front for awhile. He had been forging the path for long enough. He had to be exhausted. I leaned in and shouted in his ear, “We should have been there by now!”
I got a quick glimpse of his eyes, a few inches from mine. He only gave a small nod. There was nothing we could do but keep walking.
“157 . . . and . . . 158 . . . and . . .”
Just then I tripped over something and fell forward, face-first into the snow. I panicked and flailed. The snow was packed in my mouth and ears. It was hard to breath and for a second I couldn’t get away from it. It was like being underwater without any buoyancy.
Metal’s hand had been ripped out of mine when I got knocked over. I finally found my feet and felt around with my arms until I bumped into him and we clutched each other in the darkness.
Before I could take another step I ran into something else and suddenly realized, I wasn’t running into something. Something was running into me.
This time it was Metal’s turn to fall on his ass, and my turn to help him up. But as I was pulling him onto his feet, the snow rippled around us and without warning, Metal’s hand was torn out of mine and he disappeared back down into the snow. I felt wildly for his hand and managed to get ahold of it it, but Metal hadn’t fallen. Something was pulling him. I could hear his thin terrified screams being swallowed by the wind and snow.
“Don’t let go!” He cried. I pulled my right glove off with my teeth and got my bare hand up under his sleeve, wrapped around his bare skin for traction. His warm skin felt hot and prickly against my cold fingers and but I held on as hard as I could. Even when I knew that it had to hurt him like hell where I was pulling.
Whatever had his legs yanked harder. The storm thickened. I could hear Metal screaming but I couldn’t see his face. Whatever had him pulled over and over, until I felt like my arm was going to get ripped out of its socket. Lightning blew up the sky around us. For a moment, I could see Metal in front of me, his face pale with exertion and pain, his eyes wild with fear. I wish that was all I had seen, but the flashes of lightning showed so much more.
Around us, in the layers of the light bursts, huge pale eel-like creatures swirled through the falling snow like water, the snow swirling like eddies in their wake. I could tell that Metal had seen them too. Then I felt it again, the movement under the snow, bumping hard against my leg. Jesus Christ there was something alive out here with us.
The next time the lightning flashed, I watched as white tendrils of snow slithered up from the snow behind Metal and wrapped themselves around his arms and then around his neck. The force of it made his eyes bulge and his skin began to turn purple.
I shouldn’t have been able to see any of it. Or at least not as much as I saw. I know it sounds crazy but it felt like the lightning kept flashing to make sure I saw the thing taking Metal. To make sure I saw him die.
Because there’s no way he could have lived. I wanted to believe he could, but deep down, from that moment I knew.
The thunder cracked and the storm went black and Metal’s hands were violently ripped from mine in a white hot sheet of pain that tore through my shoulder as my grip on his arm was broken. All I saw after that was a flash of black as Metal disappeared into the ocean of snow.
I clutched my now useless arm against my chest and tried to look around. Tried to see anything in the darkness. The snow was deeper now. In a little while it wouldn’t matter what was out there, I wouldn’t be able to keep going.
My good hand was numb and my feet felt like blocks of stone I had to drag along underneath me. My eyes were tired from squinting and trying to make out anything in the darkness.
For awhile, every time I contemplated giving up, the things in the snow would nudge me, toying with me, like a cat with a mouse.
But a person can only keep moving for so long in those conditions. no matter how determined they are. I just kept pushing forward in the direction I thought the gas station was. By that point I had stopped counting steps. I could only concentrate on one step at a time now. If I could just keep going, I still had a chance, right?
A wild shrieking suddenly whipped in the wind around me just as something struck me hard in the face, nearly knocking me off my feet. A hot wetness trickled down my cheek and onto my coat. Suddenly brilliant white light flashed and flooded the world around me, followed by a turbulent slithering around my legs and waist under the snow. But this time, the lightning revealed something else. The gas station. Metal and I had gotten off course and I had nearly missed it. I lunged in the direction of it had been in great flailing strides, that felt like running underwater, a slow-motion escape more frustrating than any nightmare.
But I had seen the gas station. I knew I could make it.
Instead, I was knocked violently forward, face first in the snow. Before I could get my knees under me, an ice cold tendril wound around the wrist of my bad arm and yanked it back, brutally, causing pain to cut through my consciousness like a white hot blade. The adrenaline gave me just enough energy to take a few more steps. Blood was pouring down my face, and I was dragging my now useless arm behind me in the snow.
The thunder boomed right above me and I knew the snow was coming and that would be the end. I knew deep down, I could not shrug off another dumping of the heavy snow. Not that I didn’t try, but as it hit me, I fell forward, limply.
The things swirled around me in the snow, rubbing against my legs, then disappearing, only to be replaced by another one. Then a sharp pain bit through the haze I was in. Something had sliced the back of my leg.
The jolt of surprise and the new pain helped me to get to my feet again, even as I could feel more of them swimming through my legs and around my waist. The lightning flashed one last time, and there, in front of me, were hands and arms that reached out to me, pulling me out of the snow.
Behind me, I felt the tendrils wrapping around my legs and ankles, the sharp slicing of the skin on my thighs and calves. I screamed in pain from the cuts and being torn in two.
I kicked at the things swirling around my feet and suddenly, my foot made purchase with something hard and resistant. Very much like packed snow. But I felt it give, and then the thing holding my feet loosened its grip just enough to allow the hands and arms to tear me free of it. Human hands and arms that were real and warm and alive. It was there, on the concrete just outside the door of the gas station that I closed my eyes and everything went quietly, mercifully dark.
It was around 3am when I woke up and found myself lying on the floor behind the counter of the gas station my head resting on a package of toilet paper.
I tried to sit up and was instantly blinded by white hot pain like I had never felt before. I cried out and was quickly surrounded by the clerk and two other girls. All three had extremely concerned looks on their faces.
“Are you ok?” The clerk said nervously.
“Of course he’s not okay,” said the girl on the left.
“He’s inside and he’s alive. That’s ok enough.” The girl on the right said grimly. She screwed the cap off a bottle of Captain Morgan and handed it to me. “Take these,” she said holding up two pill and then putting them in my mouth. I was too surprised to really resist. “Drink,” she said, pushing the bottle of rum toward my face.
I washed down the mystery pills with the rum and while it burned going down, it was warm and everything warm was good. “My friend. He was with me. Have you seen him? Did he make it here?” I asked.
The two girls shook their heads. “You’re the first one, since we got here. Our car got stuck. It wasn’t bad then. But we were going to try to get it unstuck, only we didn’t get to the car.” The girls looked at one another and were quiet.
“There are things in the snow,” I said. No use pretending it wasn’t true. Tears rolled down one of the girls cheeks.
“I need to call my roommates,” I said.
“Phones are out,” the clerk replied, frowning, then she shrugged.
The four of us sat behind the counter for the rest of the night. The girls names were Sarah and Braden. The clerk was Jill. I told them some of what happened, but not all.
It turned out the pills Braden gave me were serious pain killers she took for “monster cramps.” The slices on my legs were wide but not dangerously deep. I was able to move around once the pain ebbed a bit.
“What time did I get here?” I asked, at some point, trying to pin down the sequence of events.
Jill brought over three hot chocolates from what my roommate called the crappuccino machine. Braden topped all three off with rum. “7:15,” she said.
“That can’t be right,” I said. “We didn’t even leave until seven. And we stopped at the bank for at least ten minutes, probably more.”
“No, that’s right,” Sarah said, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. “When we got you inside, I looked at the clock so I would know how long you were out. I know it was 7:15ish because I remember thinking my sorority sisters would all be in the tv room watching Friends.”
“It can’t be right,” I said quietly and the girls didn’t contradict me. For the rest of the night, we stayed behind the counter on the floor.
It was better not have the windows to look out of. Better not to be where you can be seen if something was looking in. Sarah and Braden eventually fell asleep. Jill and I smoked and endured the flashes of lighting and thunder in the snow. I tried not to think of what was out there, but I never succeeded.
I guess we all must have fallen asleep eventually. When I opened my eyes the light from outside was bright and clear. The snow had drifted halfway up the window, but above the snowline I could see the bars and pizza places half buried in a fine powdery snow that was perfectly smooth and flat and glittered like diamonds.
We still couldn’t go anywhere, but we did eventually get phone service back. When we did, I called my roommates to tell them I was ok and to ask if Metal was there, but he hadn’t returned to the house. I even made them look upstairs.
Over the next few days, there would be a lot of questions, and a lot of heartache. I tried to tell people what happened, but I couldn’t get anyone to take me seriously. They nodded and gave me a pitying look. To them it was just my traumatized mind making up a story to cope with the horrific event I had lived through. And who knows, maybe I am.
But there’s one thing that makes me think I do remember things the way they actually happened. They eventually found Metal. Found his body, anyway. The day after the storm, the owner of the bar across the street went to drop his deposit at the bank. The dropbox is in the foyer by the ATM. As he turned to go, he noticed, down in the corner window, by the floor, he could see a pale face, with white that stared off into nowhere. It was Metal. He was found lying next to the window with his face pressed up against the glass, completely frozen.
The authorities declared it was death by exposure, but I’m betting they found a lot more in that autopsy than anyone was ever told. Once the storm had cleared, four people had gotten “lost” in the storm and suffered the same fate as Metal. I wonder how many of them suffered the same fate.
I’ve never really been one hundred percent ok, since then. Physically I’ve recovered as much as I am going to. My right arm is moderately functional but I’m a leftie now.
I transferred to University of Arizona for my junior and senior year. After graduation, I did outreach work at the equator. I don’t go where it snows any more and I’m ok with that. But a few weeks ago I happened to run across a headline about thundersnow predictions in the midwest this winter. I know midwesterners are brave and sometimes reckless, but this is not a normal kind of storm. As one midwesterner to another,
If you hear thunder in a snowstorm, run.
submitted by Brian-Petty to nosleep [link] [comments]

The Miami Heats over/under will be easy money: Why the Heat are more underrated and misunderstood than you think.

# Intro


The Miami Heat line, according to oddsshark and most other websites sits at [43.5](https://www.oddsshark.com/nba/nba-season-win-totals-betting-odds), and based on my own observation from frequently browsing nba most people would consider us to range from 40-42 wins. Some even questioning if we are a playoff team. I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t mean to sound hostile or condescending, but this take is laughable and shows how many people haven’t paid any attention to anything other than our record from last year. I don’t expect anyone outside of Heat fans that have watched us the past few seasons to really understand anything at all about this team, because this is not your typical fringe playoff team. So I hope this post will clear the air, and bring the light on some of the misconceptions about the potential of this team. This won’t be super analytical, but it will be long.

# The Heats 2018-2019 season is not an accurate reflection of what the team really is


People look at the 39-43 record from last year’s campaign and try to apply that to next season. The truth is that that record was influenced by a lot factors that have either gone away or mended themselves. In fact 39 wins is pretty amazing all things considered.

  1. Goran Dragic only played 36 games last year, all of those either injured or recovering. Having Dragic healthy, which he is now, would have probably led to 2 or 3 more wins.

  1. One of the worst takes regarding our team that I have seen mentioned somewhat frequently is that we got worse because Wade left. Wade deserves everything in the world and I’m not saying I’m mad because of last season, but Wade lost us so many games. If any game was close going into the 4th quarter we let Wade play hero ball (deservedly so) and shot us out of most games. Wade was not a positive on the court in most games, and him retiring is our 2nd biggest example of addition by subtraction.

  1. Our biggest example of addition by subtraction is dropping Hassan Whiteside. Not much to be said about him here, because his problems are well documented nba. One thing I do want to clear up though is that he did not quit after getting his contract. In fact he had his best season the year after getting his contract, along with massively improving his defense. It wasn’t about the money, it’s just his fragile ego, attitude, and archaic style of play became a bigger and bigger problem.

  1. The Heat finished [dead last](https://www.teamrankings.com/nba/stat/free-throw-pct) in free throw percentage last year, mainly due to a career low from Whiteside who dropped from a 70% ft shooter to a 44% ft shooter last season. This cost us a lot of games obviously, but with our roster changes we have shot [extremely better](https://basketball.realgm.com/nba/preseason/team/Miami-Heat/15/stats/2020/Totals/All/points/All/desc/1/Preseason) although it is a small sample size.

# Some surprising facts that separate the Heat from other Eastern Conference teams in their range.


Miami had the [12th](https://www.basketballreference.com/leagues/NBA_2019_standings.html) best road record in the league. Better than the Pacers or Nets. In fact they tied with the Philadelphia 76s and the Denver Nuggets. Furthering the point, there was only a 1 game difference from the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Portland Trailblazers. And only a 2 game difference from the LA Clippers, Houston Rockets, and OKC. Only Toronto, Golden State and Bucks had a bigger difference. At the same time we also had the 24th worst home record, up there among some of the worst teams in the NBA. My theory is that we let Wade play more at home for the fans, therefore losing us way more home games. Let’s compare that to other Eastern Conference teams that finished in the same range as the Heat. The Nets and Pacers finished 19-22, the Magic 17-24, the Pistons 15-26, and the Hornets at 14-27. What’s even crazier is that the Heat had the best road record among teams that won 40-49 games, with the only exception the Clippers and Thunder. Pretty good for a 39 win team. The point here is that our road record is more indicative of how good the Miami Heat are, because Wade wasn’t that much of an issue.

This is the craziest stat in my opinion. The Miami Heat also had the 12th best record against the West. That not might sound that amazing until you realize that is also counting Western team’s record against other Western teams. The Miami Heat had the 4th best record in the East Conference when playing against the West, trailing only the Raptors, Bucks, and Sixers. The Miami Heat record against the west at 16-14 blows out any other team that finished within our range. The only teams that were close were the Pacers at 15-15, and the Celtics and Pistons tied at 14-16. The Magic finished 12-18, the Nets finished 13-17 and the Hornets finished 10-20. Again this points to Wade’s negative impact on away games, and our excellent coaching staff.

# We have only seen this team be somewhat healthy twice

In 2016-2017 we went 25-6, with a 13 game winning streak after a putrid 11-30 start. And in 2017-2018 we won 44 games, although we suffered injuries near the end of the season. I don’t know where to find the stat, but the Heat were among the top of the league in games missed due to injury last season.



# Our strong bench just got stronger

I don't know where to find our bench stats, but our bench was extremely valuable last year, usually killing other teams second units. This was without Dion and Dragic. This season our starting lineup will most likely be Winslow/Herro or Dion/ButleBam/ Meyers. That means we have a bench unit consisting of Dragic/Dion or Herro/James Johnson/Derrick Jones JKelly Olynyk(at least until he fully heals). In terms of second units that is elite offensively as well as above average defensively, our main strengths last year was depth and we got deeper.




# Development of Youth


Another really underrated and misunderstood player is Winslow, who took a massive leap and was our best player last season after Dragic opted for knee surgery. I won’t go over him because that in of its self could be a whole post. Bam is also set for a big leap, with Whiteside out of the way he can finally play unimpeded. Tyler Herro looks like the 2nd best player out of the draft when looking at Summer League and the Preseason, but I’m not going to overreact. At the very least he will be a good spot up shooter and floor spacer for the team. Another player who has emerged as a great role player is Derrick Jones Jr, mostly known for his dunks but also plays great defense and is very skilled offensive rebounder due to his athleticism. He is only 21, and while no one expects him to be star he is shaping up to be a top tier role-player that can energize the team with a highlight play.

# The Final and Most Important Point.


In addition to all the other points I made we added fucking Jimmy Butler, a top 12-15 player to an already elite top 6 defense but terrible offensive team. Our biggest problem was scoring, and we dropped Whiteside and Wade and added Jimmy and Herro, with Dragic and Dion coming back. We didn’t even lose anything since he was basically traded straight up for Josh Richardson. Saying we are barely a playoff team or only marginally better than last season is incredibly wrong. Again I don’t want to sound like a homer that shits on other teams (which is unavoidable with this ending rant) but thinking the Pistons or Magic are better, despite only winning a few more games than us last season, despite not making any significant roster changes is just ignorant.

TL;DR


The Heat are way better than you think. We have a elite road record and a elite record against the west. Outside of Orlando no other team that finished in our range doesn't have the kind of developing young core that we have. We added Jimmy Butler on top of all that
submitted by JewRepublican69 to nba [link] [comments]

The Heartless Ranger Chapter 12

Cover || First
Previously
O-O-O
1950, 22 November 2252, The Cockpit, Gold Horizon Headquarters
“Go on Vasquez. You can’t tell me that you faced all four of them in a hundred ton mech and now you’re scared of meeting them face to face.” The snow leopard tapped him in the middle of his chest, pushing him around the corner.
“I forced them to bail out Lieutenant. Won’t they take that personally?”
She sighed. “I’m telling you, they won’t care, and when we’re off duty, I’m Ana.”
Matt wrung his hands. “Are you sure they’re not going to have a problem?”
Ana rolled her eyes. “I’ll bet you 20 credits they don’t care. If they do give you shit for it, I’ll tear into them.” Not even waiting for him to respond, she finished, “Now get moving.” Matt shrugged and walked around the corner to the entrance of the bar. He shuffled through his pockets, looking for his ID to give to the bouncer.
The bouncer held up his hand and chuckled. “I don’t need to see ID tonight, I know who you two are. Come in.” Matt felt the snow leopard’s hand press into his back, pushing him through the door. Standing around the cozy room were the other pilots. Matt recognized Blake and Corbin of Gold 7, and nervously looked around the room.
Corbin raised a glass to the entering pilots. “Oh finally. You’ve arrived. Welcome Gold 4!” The snow leopard behind him groaned. Matt backed away from the approaching SightLine pilots, finding himself against the front wall of the bar.
A lynx with mottled brown fur stuck her hand out for Matt to shake and introduced herself. “Name’s Jasmine Mathis, I’m the Ranger for Red 3. You’re Matt Vasquez, right?”
“I–” Matt remembered the match; he hadn’t shot them down. “Yes. I’m Matt Vasquez, Gunner for Gold 4.”
“I’ve met your Ranger over there,” the lynx gestured at Lieutenant Cisneros, “before.” The snow leopard silently nodded. “Let me introduce you to my coworkers, Matt.” Matt struggled as the lynx grabbed his hand and pulled him across the room to the bar. “This is my Gunner, Mitch Anderson.”
The russet furred wolf lazily waved a hand and muttered, “Yo.” After taking a sip of his drink, he swiveled around and added, “You put up a damn good fight for how green you are.”
“I...yeah. Thanks.” Everything about this felt off. Not even 12 hours ago, they had been shooting at each other and now it was just a social event.
“Ah there’s the human.” A shorter collie with tan and white fur pushed her way past the snow leopard and lynx behind Matt. “I didn’t melt your mech too badly did I?”
Ana responded, “That was Gold 7, we hardly took any damage from your laser.”
The collie grinned widely. “Shame about that, I would’ve liked to win.”
Blake interjected, “Even if you lost, you still did a number on Lucky Lucy. Her arm had to get cut apart to move, and you fried the guns.”
The collie giggled and said, “Niiice.” She added in a louder playful voice, “Man, speaking of doing a number on things, my back really hurts from having to eject.”
Matt winced. “Oh I’m sorry...what’s your name?”
“Lucia.”
Matt felt his face flush, “I’m really sorry about that Lucia, it’s just that you didn’t surrender so I had to fire agai—”
Lucia laughed and put a hand up to stop Matt. “Don’t sweat it. All part of the fun of being a mech pilot.” She glanced past Matt and repeated, “Man, my back really aches, Jasmine!”
“Okay, okay, taking the hint.” Jasmine walked past Matt and began rubbing the collie’s back.
Lucia’s back arched as she closed her eyes. “Oooh...that’s the good shit.”
Matt stepped to the side, giving the pair a bit more space. “The pay-per-view is at 2000 hours, right?”
Blake nodded and said, “That’s when it goes live, kid.”
Lucia broke free of the lynx’s back rubs and asked, “Hey, where’s my little brother? I want to introduce you to the guy who shot us down, David.” Matt cringed as another collie shook his hand. “This is my identical twin David.”
Matt’s eyebrows scrunched together as he tried to resolve the confusion. “Wha...you don’t look identical, at all.” He looked between the collies, comparing them. Their fur was about the same, they had the same eye color and were about the same height, but that’s where the similarities ended.
David rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Ignore her, we used to be identical, now we’re just twins.”
Lucia playfully slugged her brother in the shoulder and asked, “Why did you have to spoil it Dave? Their confused looks are the best.”
“I don’t thrive on chaos like you do.”
Matt looked between the jovial siblings and asked, “So to be clear, there’s no issue even though I made you two eject?”
The female collie waved her hand. “Pshaw, of course not. Worse that might happen is we decide to repay the favor next time we cross weapons.”
“Y-Yeah well you’ll have to make sure we don’t kick your ass again.”
The collie smiled warmly and said, “There’s the spirit! Really though, it’s all just part of the fun.” Matt nodded in relief and watched the pair walk away.
Ana whispered in his ear, “Told you so. You owe me 20 credits, Vasquez.”
Matt sighed and asked, “I’ll buy your drinks and we call it even?”
“Deal.” The snow leopard smirked.
Blake stood up and looked around the bar. “Does everyone have their poison of choice?” He slapped his forehead with his palm. “Matt you don’t know the rules, do you?”
“Of course I know the pilot’s code, what kind of question is that?”
Blake laughed loudly. “No kid, the drinking game.” He grabbed a remote off the bar, turning on a large screen behind it. “For all the dumb bullshit corporate puts in the match that wasn’t there, you take a drink.”
“A small drink!” Corbin gestured with a hand to emphasize. “We don’t want to give Matt alcohol poisoning.”
“So here’s the rules: camera shake where it doesn’t make sense is a sip, bullshit sound effects are a sip, and something that you wouldn’t ever do or say means you finish your glass.”
Corbin thought for a moment and said, “You’re forgetting some stuff, Blake.”
“That stuff doesn’t pop up normally, Corbin.” Blake cleared his throat and announced, “Everyone get your drinks, the match is available in 2 minutes.” Matt quickly ordered the same Lunar ale from the bartender from his last visit while Ana ordered a cocktail. Matt bumped his credit chip to the register and then sat down, Ana on his left and Lucia on the right.
“Right so after yinz get absolutely shitfaced, we can talk tactics. Does that sound good for everyone else?” The group of pilots laughed with the husky as he sat down and navigated to the site where the match would be broadcast. A ticking countdown appeared onscreen with less than a minute left. The two corporate logos appeared onscreen as the countdown reached zero.
A booming announcer began to speak, “Gold Horizon versus Sightline Precision Technologies! The issue? Rising neodymium prices. The solution? Mech combat!”
Matt recoiled and “By the light, has it always been this cheesy?”
Ana rolled her eyes and said, “Yes, and shut up. You’re missing the best part.”
“Representing Gold Horizon in the mechanized mayhem you are about to see, ROMEO-4-1 and ROMEO-7-7!” Wireframe models of the mechs appeared on screen, rotating about their long axes. “ROMEO-4-1 is a new mech piloted by an experienced Ranger and a novice Gunner. Meet Ana Cisneros,” an image of the snow leopard appeared onscreen, “and the newest Gunner, Matthew Vasquez!” Matt’s image appeared, a shot he had posed for this time. “Their mech has a modified Gold Horizon standard loadout.” Weapons appeared on the wireframe of the mech as the announcer listed them, “One Boreas CGM-120 coilgun, two Boreas CGS-60 coaxial coilguns, and double the standard loadout of SightLine SLM-9s for a total of 24! Oh and you don’t want to forget their model V shield, or at least they don’t!” The announcer laughed before moving on. “ROMEO-7-7 or as her pilots call her, Lucky Lucy, is an old mech, with one foot in the junkyard. She’s been overhauled seven times and has a unique loadout befitting her experience! In addition to the integrated coilguns and the model V shield, she carries twin custom CGS-120s and a full load of 24 SLM-33s from Boreas and SlightLine respectively!”
Blake scoffed at the announcer in mock anger, “One foot in the junkyard?! Fuck you!”
Corbin snickered and remarked, “Maybe later.”
Ana growled and asked “Can you two keep it in your pants for once?”
David retorted, “Shut up, you’re missing our intros.”
“—and TYBALT-5-4! TYBALT-3-3 is piloted by Jasmine Mathis and Mitch Anderson! The mech is armed with an SLL-600 Phased Battle Laser and twin SLL-600s Phased Laser Emitters in its forearms! In addition, it carries 18 SLM-33x missiles in twin shoulder mounted pods! What’s different about the SLM-33x? They won’t tell us! Flying in next is TYBALT-5-4, piloted by twins David and Lucia Barrera! They have a mixed load of SLM-33x and SLM-9x missiles in addition to their forearm laser emitters! Opting for a more precise and deadly primary weapon, their mech wields an SLL-600P Pulsed Battle Laser they call the Rapier! What it lacks in continuous fire, it makes up for in raw poooower!”
Lucia snickered and remarked, “Cause we stab things with it, you see.”
“Let’s get this fight started!” The visual feed switched to two views from cameras inside the debris field, pointing at the two pairs of mechs floating in space.
“Gold 4, this is Gold 7, all systems go.” The husky’s voice had been recreated perfectly for the match.
The camera focused on a realistic recreation of Ana as she responded, “Roger that, all systems go for Gold 4 as well.”
“Red 5 standing by for match start.”
“Red 3 standing by.”
The announcer returned to shout, “Begin!” The feed switched to the SightLine mechs as they accelerated forward with bright blue exhaust clouds.
Lucia’s face appeared in the bottom corner as she ordered, “Red 3, split off and lead them to these coordinates if you can.”
“Roger that, splitting off.” The view shook as the red and silver mech roared past the camera.
Lucia snickered and said, “Sip.” Matt took a sip from his ale as the mech darted between debris.
Jasmine’s face appeared in the lower corner as he asked, “Mitch, do you see anything yet?”
“Negative.” Suddenly, the camera perspective flew through the debris field, settling inside the cockpit of Gold 4.
Matt heard himself report with substantially more confidence than he recalled having in the moment, “Contact, 25 klicks! I don’t think they saw me.” The feed was visual only with a highlighted blur around the mech. Matt shook his head, they’d zoomed it in a lot compared to the real thing so they could even see the damn thing.
Blake’s suited head appeared in the corner of the screen as he responded, “There in 45 seconds, form up on my 9 o’clock when able.” A moment later, the two mechs were together, Gold 4’s shield moving jerkily, almost fighting the motion of the mech’s body. Matt cringed at the external view. It had felt just fine inside the cockpit, but now put in contrast with Gold 7’s fluid motions...it looked clumsy.
A cartoony warning sounded as the recording of Matt called out “Missile inbound!” In moments, the missile exploded, torn to shreds by glowing rounds from the mech’s forearms. “Hah! Take that, missile.” The real Matt groaned and finished his stein as he rolled his eyes. Clearly they had never listened to what he said in the cockpit, or more likely didn’t care.
The announcer added, “Despite being of the primate persuasion, Matthew has no trouble intercepting this missile!” Matt groaned again. This announcer was much more obnoxious than he remembered.
The view cut to Red 3, dancing between debris as warning beeps sounded. “I can’t shake them, Mitch!”
“Popping flares.”
“For those who didn’t know, burning flares produce so much light it can break target lock from the pursuing mech, just like what’s just happened!” The announcer paused to barely take a breath and continued, “ROMEO-7-7 and ROMEO-4-1 are tag teaming the red menace,” Jasmine groaned, “with ROMEO-7-7 painting the enemy with a targeting laser as ROMEO-4-1 launches a salvo of missiles at TYBALT-3-3!” The small view of Matt extended an arm out with pointed fingers as the missiles launched, trailing thick white smoke. Matt rolled his eyes and finished his second stein of ale. He would never take his hand that far from the controls.
“Pop those missiles, Mitch!”
“Lasering!” The red wolf sighed and finished his glass with a dark stare at the screen as missiles exploded. “33 away!” The missile streaked across space and bust into a cloud of glittering spheres that the white and gold mech intercepted with its shield.
“And ROMEO-4-1 goes full throttle to close the gap as the fastballs slam into their shield, but TYBALT-3-3 flips around and starts blasting!” The mechs jetted at each other as the camera shook again. Glowing rounds spat out of the mech’s coilguns as they rocketed towards each other.
Matt took a sip and spat it out as his onscreen counterpart shouted, “Consider yourself disarmed!” The entire group of pilots roared with laughter as the now one armed TYBALT arced away from its path.
Ana jabbed him in the arm and said, “Vasquez, unless you intend to make a habit of utter bullshit like that line, drink up.” Matt raised the glass of dark ale to his lips again and drank the bitter liquid. As he sat down the stein he heard the announcer again.
“And that is the first knockout of this match! Let’s see that in replay!” The two Gold Horizon mechs blew missiles out of the void before the video slowed to a crawl. Repeated blasts shot out of Gold 7’s guns as the camera tracked a single bullet across the gap. It tore through the thinly armored bicep of Red 3 as the arm broke into pieces. “Excellent shot from Corbin Morel as we have come to expect over his nearly seven years of piloting!”
“Why thank you.” Matt looked down the bar in time to watch the grey lynx raise from a mock bow.
Ominous music began to play as the Gold Horizon mechs formed back up. “What has TYBALT-5-4 been doing while Gold Horizon and TYBALT-3-3? Well as a staple of their tactics, the twins have been laying an ambush and herding the enemy into it!” A 3D graphic displayed the stationary missiles around a clearing in the debris.
Matt raised an eyebrow and asked, “All four of you planned that out?” Lucia grinned and nodded at the human. “Well done.” Matt whistled as he watched Gold 7 twist and dance elegantly through the ambush. He swore the purple and gold mech was actually using the recoil from the coilguns in combination with the stark white cones of vernier fire to spin the mech. Regardless, it was using the arms to shift the mass of the mech and pivot gracefully. Gold 4 on the other hand was moving quickly but jerkily. Matt’s heart swelled with pride as he remembered what was coming. He couldn’t hear what the announcer said, nor did he care as the onscreen mech moved with the fluidity of experienced pilots.
He was rudely removed as the onscreen Ana shrieked and yelled, “We’ve been hit!”
The geniune article rolled her eyes and uttered, “For fuck’s sake, I’m not a kitten.” She gulped down the cocktail and sat the glass back on the table with a huff. “Vasquez made more of a squeal than I did.”
Matt’s face flushed “I did not!”
“—and ROMEO-4-1 got pounded, even though they intercepted the last missile with their shield! ROMEO-7-7 is faring a little better, only having been clipped by the detonation of a damaged missile! ROMEO-4-1 is down an engine and leaking fuel, while ROMEO-7-7 has lost one of their two main guns!”
Blake chuckled and remarked, “Had we been a little shittier I think yinz would have won right there.” He took a long swig of his drink and added, “Also, for those who weren’t counting, six sips for camera shakes, twelve for missile effects.”
Matt took a swig of his ale and continued drinking as he heard a ridiculous spacey sound effect. “In a flash ROMEO-7-7 is down both of its main weapons and has an arm frozen in position!”
“Gold 4 get cover now! Scatter!” The white mech moved slowly, its single functional engine struggling to push it out of harm’s way. The verniers fired repeatedly as the mech flipped over and landed with a heavy thud on a hulk of metal.
“As the pinned Gold Horizon mechs formulate a plan, let’s take a moment to hear from our advertisers.” The screen fell silent as Blake muted the broadcast.
Matt asked, “Blake, how long have you and Corbin been flying together?”
“About seven years. Why do you ask, kid?”
“Well your mech moves so fluidly. You saw how Gold 4 moved right before the missile hit, right? Your mech moves like a person all the time.”
Ana responded before Blake could, “Like I told you Va–Matt, it comes with hundreds of cockpit hours with each other. I doubt their mech moved that smoothly when they were first assigned.”
Blake chuckled and nudged Corbin. “Yep, spend hundreds of hours of cockpit time together and you’ll work better together.”
The shorter lynx laughed raucously and added, “Knowing what your copilot is going to do gets a lot easier when you’ve spent that much time connected.” Ana huffed and turned up her nose at the wisecracking pilots.
Jasmine smirked. “Yeah, like they said. Experience makes you move smoother together.”
Matt finished laughing and tried to change the subject. “Have the pay-per-views always been this...fake and cheesy?” A chorus of voices answered him.
“Oh absolutely.”
“Since the beginning.”
“They might be toning down the cheese.”
Matt chuckled and replied, “Fair enough. I guess I just didn’t know what this was supposed to look like.”
Ana swiveled the stool and barely nudged Matt’s shoulder with her own. Matt turned to her as she began to explain, “So you noticed the exhaust plumes were brighter and bluer, right? Damn near everything in these matches is modified from the raw sensor feeds. From the egregious like camera shake, laser sound effects, and their stupid fucking bullshit voice lines, to simple things like adding digital tracers to the bullets and extra smoke to missile trails, all of this is fake in some way.”
“So I became a Gunner fueled by dreams made of lies?”
“If you want to put it that way. I believe the corporate line is ‘enhanced reality’ when it comes to shit like this.” Matt stifled a laugh at her serious tone. Her perpetually stoic expression began to warp before she too was shaking her head and laughing.
Lucia tapped Matt on the shoulder and said, “It’s not really malicious. Mech fights with fully realistic external views are...boring. Sure your heart is pumping when the mech is flying and fighting, but normal people expect space to behave like air. They’re dead wrong but this cheesy overhyped crap sells.”
Blake chuckled and said, “Oh shit.” He fumbled with the remote and unmuted the broadcast.
“–return to the cockpit of TYBALT-5-4 as they approach the Gold Horizon mechs.” The view was the SightLine’s heads up display with each collie twin in the corner of the screen.
David remarked as the mech rolled, “We’ll need to use the Rapier a lot.”
Lucia immediately responded, “That’s going to burn through heat capacity very quickly. I know we have a lot left, but we might have to go open cycle.”
David looked from side to side, checking data readouts. “Alright. They’re both in the same place according to the missile data. It would be stupid for them to split up now. Let’s do it.”
Matt heard Lucia complain, “Like hell we had that much time to talk,” before being quieted by her brother.
“Heeeeeere weee go! Flip!” Debris streaked by as the mech flipped around. Missiles highlighted in the HUD as they juked from side to side. Matt was captivated as the targeting reticle danced across the screen. The small diamond pulsed as each missile popped. An alarm pulsed as the outline of a flame appeared in the view. “We’re about to overheat, go to open cycle sis!”
“On it!” A loud hiss that was nearly deafening sounded through the cockpit. Skyrocketing heat gauges fall before the continued laser pulses began driving them higher. The thunder of verniers fired as the mech dodged to the side, deftly avoiding a barrage of bullets. The laser fired again and again, the mech continuing to heat up with every pulse. The cloud of boiling coolant being released from the vents could only do so much. The targeting reticle split in two as the Gunner desperately tried to destroy the enormous barrage of missiles barreling towards them.
Flak tore through the mech with the sound of rending metal. One of the pilots yipped in shock as the mech began to spin. Alarms sounded in the cockpit as David yelled, “I’m not giving up!” Missiles launched, but they were shredded before they left their pod. Matt heard the canine growl at the impotent weapons and the click of firing studs. More alarms sounded as the laser began to melt down.
“We’re finished David!”
“Not y—” The sensor feed went dark as metal screamed in agony. Alarms sounded, alert windows covering the screen.
“Bail bail bail!” The cockpit shuddered as the armor plates jettisoned. The two pilots groaned in pain as the solid rocket motors threw the pod away from the ruined mech.
The announcer quietly added, “And the twins are forced to eject after a valiant effort to win the match,” as the feed exited, then looked behind the escape pod. “ROMEO-4-1 quickly leaps into action to catch the ejected pilots.” Matt gasped as he watched his own actions. Glowing exhaust billowed behind the mech as it swiped at the camera. The mech reaching forward was a striking image, bright white armor marred with dark scars. The camera shook as the mech grabbed the pod from the void. “And ROMEO-4-1 catches the escape pod. Nothing better shows the care that these pilots have for each other. When someone is really in trouble, they drop everything to help. With that, let’s hear from some more sponsors.”
Matt let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and quietly muttered, “Wow.”
“What did you say, Vasquez?”
“Nothing. Just didn’t realize what we looked like when rescuing them.”
Lucia stood up, wobbling a bit on her feet and said, “Thank you for that save, by the way Matt.”
“Oh...you’re still sure there’s no hard feelings for that?”
She smirked and slapped him on the back. “It’s fiiine dude.”
Ana tapped him on the chest with a single claw and asked, “Vasquez, did you drink at all during that last encounter? There were some pretty bullshit sound effects.”
“I was...engaged. They managed to make that part thrilling.” Matt took several swigs of the dark Lunar ale, which the snow leopard acknowledged with a huff and a nod. Matt stood up and walked behind the collies. “David, how do you control two reticles at once?”
“Fucking carefully man. It’s hard, but y’all made me resort to it.” Seeing Matt’s face fall, the collie smirked, “Nah I’m just messing with you. TYBALT is built for stuff like that, your mech can’t do that like that.” David smacked his lips and tried to rephrase the sentence. “Nevermind.”
“Interesting. Two sticks and each one can be slaved to a gun?”
“Something like that.”
Blake staggered to his feet and proclaimed, “Okay, let’sss talk tacticsss. What kind of ass laysss a huge missile ambush like that?”
David grinned and said, “The kind of ass whose mech can’t take a hit from your guns.”
The husky murmured, “Ahh...fair enough.” Blake began to talk with Corbin quietly.
Jasmine sauntered to Matt and asked, “So newbie...how’d you like the match?”
Matt scratched his chin and said, “It was...interesting. You put up a good fight.”
The lynx nodded. “Likewise, newbie. I’m glad the attack on your headquarters didn’t cause you to leave piloting.”
Matt winced at the reminder, “Oh...I don’t want to talk about that.”
“Ah alright. No worries. You liking your dream job other than that?”
Matt chuckled. “Yeah, it’s pretty great. It’s not quite the dream that I had as a kid, but it’s close.”
“Welcome to the club of mech pilots, then.” The lynx shook Matt’s hand and sauntered off to Lucia’s stool. Matt took another sip of the drink and walked into an entirely different kind of fray.
O-O-O
0730, 23 November 2252, Matt’s Quarters, Gold Horizon Headquarters
Matt blinked slowly as his alarm clock blared in his ears. His head was pounding, and his mouth felt dry. His memory was fuzzy. He’d had a good time last night, but the details were missing. He’d thrown darts, played pool, shit talked with other pilots...stumbled home, regretting his alcohol consumption. He rose to his feet, groggily waving from side to side as he turned on the lights. His clothes from last night were strewn over the floor. His eyes watered as he blinked at the uncomfortable light. He grabbed the glass of water on his nightstand and gulped it down.
Today was a workout day, Matt realized as he ambled to the bathroom. He rubbed his eyes as he freshened up, the water splashing his face. He groaned as he stretched–might as well head down to the gym now. He quickly put on workout clothes, grabbed a protein bar and walked into the hallway. The elevator to the high gravity gym was a short walk anti-spinward. He ate his breakfast as he walked through the empty hallway.
As he stepped into the elevator, Matt put on his glasses and queued up a playlist of workout music. Upbeat music began to play in his ears as the doors slid shut. His stomach leapt up as the elevator fell away from the spin axis. His body weighed more, the increased spin gravity dragging him down. He walked to the treadmill and activated the machine.
The rhythmic impact of his feet against the rubber surface was in time with the beat as he adjusted the speed of the moving surface. Minutes passed as he continued to run on the treadmill. A chime from the elevator drew his attention to the front of the room. His teeth gritted as he saw who it was. Tight white top, tight black pants, light grey, spotted fur. The last time they had been in this room together, he had been slammed up against the wall and stabbed by her claws.
He barely heard her greeting over his music, “Morning, Vasquez.” The snow leopard walked to the other side of the room and began to work out on another solo machine. More minutes passed as Matt wiped sweat from his brow. The music filled his mind, the pulse of the drum and bass driving him forward.
Matt yelped as something touched his shoulder. His rhythm was broken and the treadmill launched him off the back. He landed in a crouch, wincing as his hands and knees slid along the foam mat covering the floor. Matt stood back up, brushing off his hands on his shorts and asked, “What was that for?”
Ana raised an eyebrow and remarked, “You didn’t respond the first two times that I asked. Figured I’d try tapping you on the shoulder.” She smirked. “I wasn’t expecting you to react quite that way, though.”
Matt sighed. “I didn’t hear you walking over here. What did you ask?”
She stretched her arms across her chest and asked, “Can you spot my bench press?”
Matt stretched his neck and replied, “Oh, yeah...sure.”
“Follow me.” She strided across the gym and began loading the bar with weights. She lifted the bar and let it drop back down, nodding and muttering, “Perfect.” She laid down on the bench, resting her tail off to one side. Matt walked to the head of the bench and grabbed the bar. Ana gripped the bar as Matt helped her lift it off the rack. Matt let go, letting the snow leopard take the weight.
Ana’s muscled arms and shoulders shook slightly as she brought the bar down to her chest. She exhaled as she pushed the bar back up, Matt’s hands floating just off the metal surface. Matt could see the ripple of muscle as she dropped the bar down, even through her dense fur. Her sharp exhaled breath rippled the hem of Matt’s shirt as the bar came up again. It was only now that Matt realized just how fit his co-pilot was. Muscles strained as she continued pumping the weights up and down.
As Matt helped rack the bar again, he heard another chime from the elevator. Ana sat up and began drinking water from her bottle, brushing stray strands of dark brown hair away from her face.
“Oh fantastic, you’re both here and you’re not arguing!”
Matt waved as he heard the snow leopard growl. He cheerfully responded, “Morning, Sam.”
As Sam walked across the room the snow leopard asked, “What do you want?”
“Well I could use some more hands in the hangar tomorrow. You both took basic repair classes at the Academy, right?” Matt nodded, seeing Ana confirm as well. “Good.”
Matt asked, “What time?”
“Call it 0900. Many hands make light work.” She chuckled. “Speaking of which, I’ll be having fun jamming into the guts of the damn thing. The engines are practically the heart of these units and I have to tear one of them out.”
Ana sighed and replied, “Alright. All the tools are in the hangar?”
Sam smirked and said, “Of course. What kind of mechanic do you take me for?”
Matt grinned and said, “A good one?”
Sam put a hand to her mouth and gasped. “Flattery will get you nowhere, Gunner.”
Ana growled softly. “Tomorrow morning 0900? Coveralls?” Sam nodded as she turned around and began to walk out of the gym.
“See you two then!”
O-O-O
Next
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A Collection of Lore - Guardian Games: Bounties, Medals, and NPC Texts in One Place

A New City Tradition

When the Guardian Games began, the API was updated and there's quite a lot for this event. So, I copied all of the quotes from Ishtar and wrote up the NPC texts from in-game so those who didn't get a chance to read it or don't know how to find it: this is a long one. Anyway, good luck in the Games this year everyone!

Guardian Games Medals

Adept Defender
"Rely on your fireteam. They are your strength." —Commander Zavala
Aim True
"With hard work, you will rise to the top. And the glory will follow." —Lord Shaxx
Battery Powered
"I don't fully understand your holiday… But I won't turn down your help." —Ada-1
Clear the Field
"Make your class proud, Guardian. Show no mercy." —Lord Shaxx
Clear the Way
"You wanna win the Games? Your pal Drifter can help you out. I've got… connections." —The Drifter
Forge Ahead
"Protect our forges. Our wares will make it worth your while." —Ada-1
Forged By Light
"The Black Armory creates champions. Perhaps we will count you among them." —Ada-1
Having Fun Yet?
"Big target, big paycheck. But you know that." —The Drifter
Hostiles on the Field
"Don't care who wins. Just looking to get paid." —The Drifter
Legendary Defenders
"This is about more than medals. This is about our duty to the people of the City." —Commander Zavala
Lost and Found
"Leave no corner of our system unguarded." —Commander Zavala
Make the Rounds
"We need Guardians in the field. Combining patrols with a little lighthearted competition is a win-win." —Ana Bray
On Your Own
"Sometimes we fight alone. Do not let it daunt you. You are a force of the Light." —Lord Shaxx
Public Service
"Make your class proud, and show our enemies that we never let up, even as we celebrate." —Commander Zavala
Skilled Defender
"Revel in the strengths of your class. Show our enemies what it means to be a Guardian." —Commander Zavala

Guardian Games Bounties: All Classes

Arc Grenade Games
"In the Dark Age, sometimes the only thing between you and death was a little spark. But that's all you need." —Lady Efrideet
Arc Melee Games
"Light flows through you. If you focus, you can feel it: lightning running through your arms to your fingertips, crackling across your palms." —Tyra Karn
Arc Super Games
"I like Arc Guardians. They make such a beautiful light show." —Eva Levante
Badge of Honor
"Sometimes it takes time for a new holiday to… catch on. Perhaps if you helped spread the word?" —Eva Levante
Finders Keepers
"This sounds a lot more like a Hunter's job…" —Guardian Games Participant #22451
For Ikora!
"The mind is faster than the blade and stronger than the fist." —Osiris
For the Colonel!
"Bok bok ba-gok… bok. Bok!" —The Colonel
Go for the Gold
"The spirit of competition is strong among Guardians. We should embrace it." —Commander Zavala
Keeping Watch
"A Hunter belongs out there, in the field. We need big open spaces." —Kauko Swiftriver
Knowledge Is Power
"This mission is not for Titans." —Asher Mir
Medal Collector
"There are more important things than winning. But we can still revel in our victories." —Commander Zavala
Neutralize Hostiles
"The Iron Lords' patrols must have been a sight to see back in the day. We need to recapture that kind of respect from our enemies." —Sloane
On the Beat
"I've always liked patrols. They give you time to think." —Ana Bray
On the Shoulders of Titans
"I cheer for all competitors equally, Guardian. Some more equally than others." —Commander Zavala
Preparation is Half the Battle
"Be ready for anything." —Ikora Rey
Quick Hands
"Getting that close takes some fancy footwork." —Ana Bray
Solar Grenade Games
"Burn it all away and see what remains." —Liu Feng
Solar Melee Games
"If you listen closely, the fire sings." —Lady Skorri
Solar Super Games
"Burn them down, and don't hold back. Our enemies never do." —Ana Bray
Void Grenade Games
"Incredible that we can capture the Void in a vessel as small and simple as a grenade." —Master Rahool
Void Melee Games
"Must you understand the Void to wield it? That understanding is within you already, even if you can't articulate it." —Ikora Rey
Void Super Games
"Don't hold back. These are more than just games. This is how we prepare for what's to come." —Commander Zavala

Guardian Games Bounties: Hunters

All Mine / Flammable Materials / Seek and Destroy
"A Solar grenade is like a tiny sun right in your hand. That's just so… cool." —Ana Bray
Caught in the Vortex (Hunter) / Spike the Ball
"One good throw and they're staring right into the Void. No lookin' away from that." —Tevis Larsen
Chain Reaction
"Once the Void has you, it never lets go." —Quantis Rhee
In a Fog
"They'll get lost in the smoke. But not you. You are the smoke." —Quantis Rhee
In Flux / Skip It
"All that lightning, bundled up in a tiny grenade… It's downright inspiring." —Marcus Ren
It's All in the Wrist
"Keep your wrist loose. Don't think too hard. You only have a second to get it right." —Ana Bray
Lightning Fast
"Can't outrun lightning." —Lady Efrideet
On Target
"Gun, knife, fork… what's the difference? Hit it right and they all fall down." —Cayde-6
Out of Nowhere
"Move unseen. Strike quickly." —Quantis Rhee
Six Shots, Six Kills
"Never waste a shot. Make every one count." —Ana Bray
Tied Up with a Bow
"What a sound. You hear that in the Crucible, and you better run." —Ana Bray

Guardian Games Bounties: Titans

Battering Ram
"Move or get run over." —Sloane
Bring Down the Hammer
"Look hard enough and our system appears full of nails." —Lord Saladin
Bulwark Brawler
"Fire. Void. Doesn't matter. I like what I can throw. Toe-to-toe is risky. I have a reputation to uphold." —Thalor
Caution: Flammable
"Some Titan orders predate the City, born of a darker time, when Light was an untamed weapon." —History of the Sunbreakers
Channel Fusionball
"Stick and move. Give it a second… and… BOOM. Makes me smile every time." —Vell Tarlowe
Draw the Line
"All these youngsters running around thinking they own the place. Someone has to show them the line." —Tibon
Fist of Defiance
"I have done many things alone. I hear it did not end well. I've come to see our greatest strengths shine through when we fight together." —Saint-14
Flash Before Your Eyes
"Little flash, a little thunder. A fight needs a healthy amount of spectacle, ya know?" —Lady Jolder
Havoc and Frenzy
"The storm cannot be reasoned with. Its fury cannot be turned aside." —Rezyl Azzir, Dredgen Yor
In the Line of Fire
"Craft your bones in the heat of the forge and they will never falter under fire." —Lord Saladin
Lights Out
"Did you see that? He came crashing down through the sky and POP, no more Light. Boy left quite the scene for his Ghost to clean up." —Sloane
Mag Lock
"It's always best if personal gifts are hand-delivered." —Saint-14
On Assignment
"Get out there, Titan. I'll be damned if I have to listen to Ikora lord a victory over us… let alone half the Hunters in the system." —Commander Zavala
Walking on the Sun
"A lot of thugs out there try and step on us. They can try, and they'll get burned." —Khepri
Zap!
"I call it the Zhang Fei. It hits almost as hard as I do." —Wei Ning
Zero Pulse
"Titans personify the most important quality for victory: perseverance. You cannot lose if you never surrender." —Lord Shaxx

Guardian Games Bounties: Warlocks

Bolts from the Blue / Shock the System / Throbbing Pain
"Do you feel it coursing through you?" —Wen Jie
Caught in the Vortex (Warlock) / Deadly Fireworks / Seek Out New Death
"The Void does not play favorites; it comes for you all." —Ikora Rey
Die by the Sword
"Our Light breaks the night." —Ikora Rey
Hard Landing
"Strike before they know you're there." —Ikora Rey
Hot Fusion / Sick Burn / Sunny D(eath)
"That burned, didn't it?" —Lyssa, the Lighthearted
Lethal Buddy
"I have more pressing matters." —Wen Jie
Morning Has Broken
"I don't believe in angels. I believe in us." —Ikora Rey
Purple People Eater
"The Void is never satisified." —Toland, the Shattered
Ride the Storm
"Don't worry. I can come to you." —Wen Jie
Spontaneous Combustion
"Our Light is uncontainable." —Ikora Rey
Void Feast
"The insatiable Void growls in anticipation." —Toland, the Shattered
Working on a Chain Gang
"From one to another, and then another." —Wen Jie

The Guardian Games: NPC Texts

Eva Levante: The Guardian Games @ 0:51
Eva Levante has transformed the tower once again. She invites you to take part in a new City Tradition: the Guardian Games.
Commander Zavala: A New Tradition @ 1:06
"Welcome, Guardian," Zavala says as you approach. "My friend Eva Levante was kind enough to remind me that, even in times of crisis, people need levity and Light."
"And so I've proposed a new holiday: the Guardian Games. This is an opportunity for Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters to compete and demonstrate their unique strengths."
"He hands you a piece of gear. "Wear this proudly. It will help contribute to your class's score." He smiles. "And good luck, Guardian."
Eva Levante: Guardian Games Registration @ 1:21
"Isn't the Guardian Games podium lovely?" Eva asks. "Many people in the Tower came together to create it. That is where we will track the progress of your class across the event. The class banners will rise and fall depending on your place in the competition."
She smiles. "Even the Drifter took part. He was kind enough to donate his deposit technology. It only took little convincing." She hands you a medal. "Bring this to him, and he will register your new class item. Then you can deposit this medal and begin the Games."
Commander Zavala (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 1:39
[Titan Specific Text] "Enjoy the Games, Guardian. This is a chance for the people to see our passion for what we do." He lowers his voice. "And a chance for Titans to prove our mettle. Don't tell Ikora I said it, but the Warlocks are the ones to watch out for." He glances off toward the Bazaar. "Give them a fight they won't forget. Titans deserve a little more time in the spotlight."
Ikora Rey (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 1:55
"Eva has transformed the Tower once more - this time with Zavala's help." Ikora says with a smile. "He seems to be enjoying himself."
"A little lighthearted competition is just what we need right now. And the people of the Last City will enjoy the spectacle of it." She nods. "Have fun. Make your class proud."
[Warlock Specific Text] "A little lighthearted competition is just what we need right now. And the people of the Last City will enjoy the spectacle of it." She nods. "You'll be a good example for the other Warlocks. We can't let the Titans get too cocky. So don't hold back."
Suraya Hawthorne (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 2:23
"The people of the Last City are excited about the Guardian Games." Hawthorne says as you walk up. "We don't usually get to see you Guardians in action."
"The way you all came together during the Red War... the way you risked your lives even when you couldn't be sure you'd come back." She nods. "It means a lot. And I know you're still protecting the City every day. So..." She smiles at you. "Let's celebrate."
Ada-1 (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 2:36
"I saw that Eva Levante has set up her stall," Ada says. "For some event called the 'Guardian Games.' It's hard to believe that Guardians have time for games."
Her voice softens a bit. "But Eva is a kind woman. If she endorses this holiday, then I believe it must bring some good to the City." She eyes you. "Good luck with your Games, Guardian."
Lord Shaxx (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 2:49
"The Guardian Games," Lord Shaxx booms as you walk up to him. "It was Zavala's idea, I believe. One of his better ones."
He studies you, unreadable as always behind his helmet. "We protect humanity not only because we were chosen to do it, but also because we know it is right," he says. "The Guardian Games will be a celebration of that duty. It almost doesn't matter who actually wins."
[Titan Specific Text] He lowers his voice. "Almost," he says. "Titans have a reputation to uphold. The Hunters will try to steal this from us if we don't stay on our toes." He leans back and crosses his arms again. "Wily as they are."
Master Rahool (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 3:16
"The Guardian Games," Rahool muses. "I've never known Zavala to be so... enthusiastic about a holiday." He glances up at the sky toward the Almighty's looming silhouette. "Especially at a time like this."
He meets your gaze again. "But, then, if we put our lives on hold during every crisis, we would never live, would we?"
Banshee-44 (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 3:28
"Seen the trophy yet?" Banshee asks as you approach his counter. "Zavala asked me to make it for the Games."
He shrugs. "I don't care much who wins. "But I like seeing the Tower all dressed up and everyone talkin' about something other than doomsday. It's nice." He nods. "Anyway. Happy, uh..." He pauses, clearly struggling to remember. "Happy... Revelry, Guardian."
Amanda Holliday (Optional): The Guardian Games @ 3:41
Amanda brushes her hands off on her pants as she turns to greet you. "The Tower looks pretty neat, huh?" she asks. "I helped with some of the set-up. and I was happy to oblige."
"I can't wait to see who wins." She puts her hands on her hips. "Sometimes Shaxx lets me hang around and watch Crucible matches. You seem like one to watch out for. Good luck."
The Drifter (Optional) The Guardian Games @ 3:55
(Hunter Specific Text) "Looks like you're ready for the Games," Drifter says, flipping a coin that disappears into his palm. "Well, you know my bet's on you Hunters. Quick. Sly. Real nasty with a knife." He grins. "My kinda people, yeah?"
The coin reappears in his hand, and he dances it over his knuckles. "I know you won't let old Drifter down. I've got big money riding on it."
The Drifter: Sign Me Up @ 4:02
"Guardian Games, huh?" The Drifter sizes you up and accepts your class gear from you. He passes a small device over it and lets out a satisfied grunt when a light on the back of the device turns green.
"You're all set," he says. "I usually go in for competition with higher stakes, but there's something about that Eva lady. I just can't say no to her."
He winks at you. "Of course, this is good advertising. Sometimes I think you forget about me down here." He gestures to you. "Now go bank that medal at the podium. Good practice for Gambit."
Eva Levante: Let The Games Begin @ 4:39
"You're ready to start the Games, Guardian." Eva says. "I will have medal challenges for you every day. These challenges will allow you to support your class in the Games. Every medal you deposit at the Guardian Games podium will improve your class's daily ranking."
She smiles. "Good luck, Guardian. Make your class proud. And have fun."
Eva Levante: On Your Laurels @ 4:45
"I've set up a little challenge for you Guardians," Eva says. "The rewards are three handsome Ghost Shells to allow you and your Ghost to remember the Games all year long. Play hard each week and you can earn all three."
She smiles. "It will be a lovely way to celebrate Guardians of every shape and size."
Eva Levante (Optional): Master Class @ 5:00
[Completing Weekly Milestone] "Well done, dear," Eva says with a warm smile. "You are a perfect example of the Guardian Games spirit. And you've made your class proud." She gives you a gift to thank you for all your work. "Keep enjoying the Games."
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They are a game and a half behind New Orleans for third place and a match-up with the Lakers. Heat vs Thunder Prediction. It’s hard to predict the winner of this game without knowing whether Wade will in the lineup or not. If he isn’t, I’ll go with the Thunder in a tight, 2-3 point win. If Wade is in, I’m going with the Heat by 5+. NBA All-Star Game: Team LeBron vs Team Giannis Betting Preview New rule changes make the 2020 NBA All-Star Game a tricky one for bettors. Here's what you need to know and our expert pick. For what it’s worth, the Thunder are better in their betting situation compared to the Heat in this matchup—the Thunder are 3-1 against the spread as 1-2.5 point favorite and the Heat are 2-1 when getting 1-2.5 points. Also, the Thunder are 7-3 ATS versus opponents above .500 and the Heat are just 6-6 against foes above .500. Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat take their 28-12 record to OKlahoma City to face off against the Thunder in NBA action on Friday night. Both teams went through an offseason facelift, with Miami The Thunder opened as -135 favorites, meaning oddsmakers thought the Heat were slightly better. Bettors feel differently. The public has been wagering on the Thunder, so the line has adjusted to

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