Cricket Betting Software

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tomato tone tongue tool tools top top” tornado torture️ torture️️️ toy tracking train training️‍️ training️‍️️‍️ training️‍️️‍️️‍️ tram transgender️‍️‍ transgender️‍️‍️‍ trash trash” travel tree triangle triton‍️‍️ triumph truck trump trust truth tshirt tsunami tube turd turkey turtle tv twilight twisted twitter️⃣ twitter️⃣️⃣ twitter️⃣️⃣️⃣ two type tấn u uber ukraine uk‍️ uk‍️‍️‍️ uncle unconscious undead‍️ underage underground undo️️️ unicorn union united university unlock up upset ur urban usa user v vacation vatican vegas vehicle vhs victory video videogames viet vietnam view violence violin virgin volume vomit vomiting vortex vs và vöcëë wait wake walking‍️ walking‍️‍️ walking‍️‍️‍️ want wanted wanting warm warning watch water wave wavy wax way️ way️️ way️️️ wealthy weapon weather website weed weight weird western wet whale what wheelchair when where whine who whoa wholesome️ wholesome️️ why wifi wild win win10 win7 wind wine wings wink winning winter wish witch‍️‍️ witch‍️‍️‍️ wizard‍️‍️ wolf woman women womens wont won’t woof words work worker‍️ worker‍️‍️ worker‍️‍️‍️ working work world world’ worm worried worship worst wow wrench‍‍‍ write writing x xd ye yea yeah yellow yen yes yo yoga‍️ yoga‍️‍️ you young your youre yours you’re yum yummy zap zen‍️‍️ zero zoom ʃx ‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍ ‍️ ‍️‍‍ ‍️‍️buuuut… ‘asian ‘coder’‍‍‍ ‘coding’ ‘frog’ ‘fun ‘fun’ ‘i ‘moo ‘mouse’ ‘new ‘out ‘pink “ass “bless “bread” “cock “gay”️‍️‍️‍ “good “hey “hot “how “huh “i “i’ll “look “man “meow” “ok “perfect” “shit “sir “talk “this “up “what “why “you’re ”fuck ↓ ╚═███═╝ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢀⣀⣤⣤⣄⡀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⡿⠟⠉⠉⠉⢻⣿⣷⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ あなたは私のことを何と言ったの?私がネイビーシールズでクラスのトップを卒業したことを知ってもらいます。アルクエダで数々の秘密の襲撃に関与しており、300人以上の殺害が確認されています。私はゴリラ戦の訓練を受けており、全米軍の中で最高の狙撃兵です。あなたは私には何の役にも立たず、ただの別のターゲットです。この地球上でこれまで見られなかったような正確さで性交を一掃します、私のクソ言葉をマークします。あなたはインターネットで私にそのたわごとを言うことで逃げることができると思いますか?もう一度考えて、ファッカー。私たちが話している間、私はアメリカ中のスパイの秘密のネットワークに連絡しており、あなたのipは現在追跡されているので、嵐、うじ虫の準備をよりよくすることができます。あなたが人生と呼ぶ哀れな小さなことを一掃する嵐。お前は死んだぞ私はどこにでも、いつでもいることができ、700以上の方法であなたを殺すことができます。それは私の素手だけです。私は非武装戦闘で広範囲に訓練されているだけでなく、私は米国海兵隊の兵器全体にアクセスでき、大陸の顔からあなたの惨めなお尻を拭き取るためにそれを最大限に使用します、あなたはちょっとくそ。もしあなただけが、あなたの小さな「賢い」コメントがあなたに降りかけようとしている不誠実な報復が何であるかを知ることができたなら、たぶんあなたはあなたのクソ舌を握っていただろう。しかし、あなたはできなかったし、そうしなかったし、今やあなたは代価を払っているのだ。私はあなたのいたるところに激怒し、あなたはそれに溺れます。お前は死んだぞ、キッド️️ ️ ️although ️‍ ️‍️ ️‍️‍️‍ ️⃣ ️️ ️️️ � 𝓼𝓱𝓾𝓽 𝓾𝓹
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Best Betting Sites » Top International Betting Sites 2020

  1. KTO
Video gaming sector experts created KTO as a new as well as innovative website which brings you reliable, registered gaming experience. KTO provides ensured services to its consumers and also make them really feel remarkably distinct. The squad running the website has greater than half a century of experience in the wagering market. Providing a vast array of port games and live betting clubs, it also supplies the best chance on the first sporting activities events also. The site constantly expects to adding the most up to date advancements. You can select from a varied variety of Payments treatments, languages and also money. The website is still taking actions to guarantee reasonable as well as safe pc gaming, thus still keeping up with as well as aiding the individuals.
  1. GROSVENOR CASINOS
This site is an impressive online location, with impressive video games being worked on by finest programmers, keep up with their image. This website operates ground-based online casinos together with on-line gaming. You can become an associate of the club or online casino site. Consumer's experience is always essentially perfect that the firm gets respect whatsoever. Casino opts to give comfortable and also protected gaming experience to the customer. They declare to be one of the most popular casino in the UK, and also it appears when you come through the reviews of their online gambling establishment.
  1. WILLIAM HILLSIDE
Bookmaker website sub-structured in London is also signed up on London stock exchange. The foundation was laid by William Hillside in 1934, at the time when Britain didn't support gambling. The leading company workplaces are located in the UK although the company runs all over the world, and about 14,000 people are utilized. This website supplies to bet online and likewise by phone. Greater than one million wagers are refined daily. In addition to the sportsbook, it also provides on-line bingo, gambling establishment, skill video games and so on
  1. BOVADA
Bovada has been adding to an on the internet pc gaming experience because 2011, far better than anyone. Bets are taken down in the cross-functional sportsbook, Face publication, in the casino poker spaces or land gambling enterprises, are after that placed to retreat. Gamers have enjoyment as well as convenience and enjoy pleasing betting experience. Bovada has become a name in gambling web sites using poker, casino, poker and wagering in sporting activities as well as steed racing, and also one can count on. It can be a centralized location for on-line gaming, as it is taking sporting activities bettors near acting along with being secure and also fast. This is a pleasant site.
  1. MY BOOKIE
This on-line betting site is run from Australia, Canada and also the United States. It was released in 2014 as well as is handled by BeOnSports former heads. This website put forward sports betting, games and race betting. The site allured customers via radio advertising campaigns and the internet. It ended up being a repeating sponsor for ESPN radio programs. Live wagering qualities provides the users to put a bet on a video game already in progress. In-play gambling borders essential soccer, tennis, hockey events. Live casino licenses consumers to enjoy preferred table games while they can chat with other users or suppliers during the game via online video streaming.
  1. INTERTOPS
InterTops is adding to the pc gaming market by giving contentious chances and also outstanding favours. The firm is setting the highest requirements for the pc gaming industry. It is the globe's significant site for wagering and also on the internet gaming. This website is prancing its customer count in over 180 nations. Five hundred million dollars have actually been paid to the successful individuals around the world. This business is a well-reputed and also reliable source for the on the internet video gaming experience. In any location of on the internet pc gaming, InterTops use modern technology which adds to the enjoyment and pleasure. InterTops site is using 23 techniques. It has actually been placed 36,908 among sites because of 1,518,293 month-to-month site visitors.
  1. BETUS
This firm, structured in 1994, is an inconspicuously operated on the internet gaming company offering to bet on online sporting activities, derby and also gaming. Your internet browser can be utilized for on spot video gaming. BetUs runs a mobile programme, m.betus.com. Gamers can check out the on the internet gambling establishment on the mobile website as well can give up their sports wagers. It additionally provides real-time betting. This feature is adjourned during damaging moments and also is resumed in a safe environment.
  1. BET9JA
As mentioned by Alexa.com, the second most seen website in Nigeria is Bet9ja. This website uses to bet on prime sport events held in Nigeria. It was inaugurated in 2013. Consumers go to the site for high-rank odds on football and to experience best online wagering solution. It was founded as an offline pc gaming platform versus various other online systems. Bet9ja got a superior action in the first 3 years of operation accompanied by a substantial turnover. The Bet9ja group is constantly enhancing the site by adding up to date as well as interesting features to the website. It earns millions of Naira every year. This website is approved as well as insured under the Lagos State lottery game board. In 2015, Bet9ja was the executive sponsor for Nigeria's Women's Football League.
  1. FOLLOWER ORGANIZATION
Hi, FOLLOWER ORGANIZATION exists users with social football experience by giving a platform for the fans where they can connect and engage. Every weekend the participants need to prophesize the end result of English football suits. Competitions can be held between close friends, competence, or the on the internet community and rewards are paid in cash money. This job, includes growth for web, iphone and also Android, was created by Tallium for a Swedish based company. Besides, being a wagering platform as well as reward earning website, this site brings the football neighborhood together. FAN ORGANIZATION mixes the betting with the social structure, which supplies the individuals with an enjoyable gaming understanding. Betting on online games is supplied, as well as the profits are upgraded with every goal that is racked up. At the end of the match, users can see which of their forecasts were exact or off-target. The application also apprises concerning the most up to date football information as well as expertise prognosis on the social feed. Customers can produce leagues as well as evaluate their skills against other participants. The gamers are allowed to attach and also talk using public conversations. FAN LEAGUE choose the professionals, users can get assist from them, as well as they likewise suggest just how to place an effective wager.
  1. 3ET
3et is among the brand new software application giving a sole betting service. Bettors are designated totally free as well as safe strategy to the wagering market. Arrangements and accepted wagers are all done by 3et without any voidness. A significant platform is offering the highest possible limitations and most exceptional odds for sporting activities betting. 3et has a method to all vital bookies and also exchanges. 3et advanced half time and edge wagers for football. This website offers individuals one of the most successful betting experience. They mention to be the best as well as purchasers will be so happy they will never need any other sportsbook.3 et belongs to Eurasia sporting activities restricted. They assure open accessibility to their deals without charging the players any kind of commission. This site is easy to use still suffices to catch specialist acknowledgment. Utilizing the 3et app customers can access the bets from anywhere around the globe. It is only obtainable in the English language. Lowest cost bets can be launched at 1 Euro, and when customers obtain the on specifying the occasion, the ultimate price is presented on the slip.
  1. BETSAT
Betsat is the current name in the betting market that is established in Turkey. It tries to draw customers from Europe and various other continents and attempting to convince them that the website is adventitious. This company faces significant competition from within the country as well as from the claimed European wagerers. Betsat is ingrained in Turkey, being on the go amongst Turkish players and proudly highlights its viewers. They use multilingual aid to the customers, as well as the web site can additionally be translated in German, Spanish and also English to make sure. This website recommends an indiscriminate blend of sporting activities to draw in Turkish as well as European customers. Football and also basketball are uniformly famed in Turkey as well as around the continent which magnifies the popularity of the website. When it comes round live betting, the site offers to bet on tennis, football basketball after the game has actually begun.
  1. INFINIWIN
Rooted in Malaysia, INFINIWIN is the leading online betting workshop. This rejuvenating brand largely concentrates on texas hold'em and also other table gaming products. INFINIWIN provides a remarkably good value of premium video gaming products. They ensure that the individuals are going to get the noticeably superior wagering experience. This website has a superior team aiding the clients as well as assisting the individuals in various languages.
  1. MAXBET
MAXBET is currently leading the video gaming industry in Central as well as Eastern parts of Europe with a quickly raising energy. This business is at the forefront of Europe's betting industry following its tactical partnership with Italian lotto game monster Lottomatica. Enthusiastic clients are offered numerous fortunate possibilities for winning at gambling establishments, wagering games and vending machine. Events are arranged on a regular as well as month-to-month basis. MAXBET guarantees that consumers rely on them for a risk-free as well as safe and secure gaming domain name.
  1. BETLAND
Betland.com is a well-reputed bookie that runs online and by means of mobile in Nigeria. After its relaunch, it has ended up being even faster and well organized. Odds and also betting lines are used on a series of sporting activities which are just as popular in Nigeria and also other countries as well. Betting supplies on some considerable sporting activities occasions outside Nigeria gives a worldwide personality to the website. Betland aims to provide its services to all groups of bettors neglecting their financial condition.
  1. BETSSON
BETSSON uses tradition for gambling, online casino bingo and also sports wagering. This company has actually stemmed from Sweden. It works through 20+ brand names that give video gaming items. This firm financial resources as well as handles the on-line pc gaming business. BETSSON intends to surmount the pc gaming sector in practical manners, although it is among the topmost in Europe.
  1. PARIMATCH
Operating given that 1996, PARIMATCH has actually turned into a worldwide video gaming website. They state themselves among the leaders of the video gaming sector and so are always anticipating improving the top quality and automation and also adding to the events daily, stats and evaluation are provided night and day. Users are provided to bank on 20+ sports in above 60 nations along with 200 organizations as well as greater than 600 sporting activities occasions.
  1. BET-AT-HOME
This is a European business established in 1999. It was released online in March 2000. Initially, it was rotated to on the internet sporting activities wagering, however it was redesigned with the launch of on-line casino site and also after that the system for playing poker. Different betting options are used on sporting occasions as sports scheduling is the website's main dish.
  1. TIPBET
This gambling firm, based in Malta, has actually revealed exceptional growth given that 1995. With a selection of on-line video gaming options, land-based stores are also established. TIPBET sustains wagering and also odds on all primary sporting activities occasions and likewise holds a terrific range of gambling establishment video games.
  1. RedZoneSports
A fresh bookmaker taken part in sports wagering, specifically in the UK as well as America is named RedZone Sports. The site is highly in cognition with as well as also possessed by the Spotnation bookies. Argyll Amusement AG. Attacking the gaming sector in 2017, this fresh bookie reveals wonderful rate of interest in America's sportsbooks. The website is regulated by The Gaming Commission, a highly suggested global gambling authority, and this assures the user that the cash they are investing is safe and also secured. With a considerable focus on games like United States football, baseball as well as hoops, this internet site consigns helpful odds on several sporting activities. It is possible for the individual to play online or In-play alternatives are likewise available. This website gives the individual an authentic wagering experience by providing large-scale hypothesizing markets.
  1. BetStars Sportsbook
Casino poker celebrity, very acquainted as well as honoured on-line texas hold'em service provider, spin-offs the Betstars website. The website is visited consistently by countless consumers who are intended to seek satisfaction from all the on-line alternatives the website gives. This substantial number of punters seeing the site has actually helped the site being deemed as one of the most rated bookies around the globe.
  1. wager
Malta video gaming authority supervises of synchronizing PWR wager, a just recently added mobile-friendly bookmaker site. This site was presented in 2018. This site exceedingly advertises via its application, however as being an Android app, it is unfeasible for the people utilizing the apple iphone. Among others, this site provides betting on the derby, football as well as additionally sustains E-Sports wagering.
  1. MoPlay Sportsbook
MyMoPlay collaborates with Manchester United along with Watford FC. The business has actually been taken down by IBAS, which forefronts its dependence as a good pc gaming system. Customers can locate a large series of sports to bet on. It also introduced its app for the best online experience in sports wagering.
  1. RoBet Sportsbook
RoBet established foot into the European on-line bookie market in 2019. Government of Curacao oversees the site guaranteeing that it goes along with honest implementation of sporting activities scheduling. The customers can confide in them for leisure ventures.
  1. Jetbull Sportsbook
Jetbull was founded in 2007. This site is secondary to OddsMatrix. Different languages are passed on the internet site. The site has ingrained markets in football, supplying countless chances yet is concentrated constrained to concentrate on US players.
  1. LuckyBet
Luckybet uses open chances for European, Canadian players and likewise gamers from New Zealand. Abundant gaming choices as well as rewards as well as the contemporary website design includes in the impact the site has on gamblers and punters. Many online internet sites attempt to reproduce their articulation.
  1. Redbet
Redbet, a premier online casino brand name intervened in the on theinternet sporting activities reserving industry. This site was produced in 2002 with a mission of producing fun for the individual by attracting them to the website by supplying successful chances. It is a well-reputed website where the gamer's joy is the initial issue.
  1. Fonbet
FonBet was introduced previously in 2002. This site is a Russian bookie site. Russia as well as Eastern Europe birth a substantial number of participants of FonBet. This bookie is certified in Curacao. Therefore the certificate, the site detains, UK as well as UNITED STATES consumers are limited from making use of the on-line bookie.
  1. ComeOn
ComeOn became a brand-new bookie website in 2009. It is a secondary firm of Co-Gaming Limited. Malta Pc gaming Authority administrates the site. To operate in the UK, they are accredited from the UK Gambling Compensation. Markets of Scandinavia are the prime focus of the site.
  1. Marathonbet
Marathonbet was acknowledged in 1997 as a self -reliant bookmakers site. It is run by Panbet Limited, a firm that is in charge of running retail barters in the UK. This bookmaker website is deeply committed towards the UK members although it is well-reputed worldwide
  1. MyBet
It is hosting the tremendous variety of sporting competitions regarding greater than 14,000, this site is a significant on-line bookie and has a superb great deal of customers around the continent. Besides offering various high-grade sportsbook events, it designates the players assurance with the modern technology that is comparable to Europe's safety criteria.
  1. Betbarter
This is the primary and the most relied on the site of India. It is an on the internet showing off occasion betting site. The web site is amazing as well as uses straightforward expression. Individuals can select BetBarter versus their competitor whenever. The bargains made by BetBarter protrude the marketplace. BetBarter likewise inspects the internet sites which provide fast payments and also various other feasible means of withdrawals.
  1. Bodog888
Bodog888 is recognized to be a participant of the world-famous gambling enterprise Bodog and is sometimes acknowledged as Bodog Asia. This site gives a huge range of moral online casino and also texas hold'em wagering. It also involves Oriental bettors by sporting activities reserving. This site has gained the distinction by offering the very best performance as well as illustratory attributes. The website supplies the best aid and also rewards.
  1. BetEast
Arised from Asia in 2016, BetEast asserts to be the most effective expanding wagering brand name. This business offers a substantial range of eSports solutions, casino site and live wagering as well as values subscriptions from worldwide. Its emphasis is to make a dash out there of Europe. The simplicity of the website format hits the customer instantly. The company has a substantial interest in the UK Betting markets. The site offers a comprehensive betting experience with giving a substantial number of on-line port video games.
  1. Bet-at-home
This company arised in 1999 later on releasing its website in March 2000. It soon became a supply firm and was provided at the stock market. This website is a credible sponsor for worldwide game events. It supplies betting odds on prominent gaming occasions. Followed by more than 4 million customers, it has become one of a kind sports scheduling site in Europe. All the info regarding the wagers placed as well as payouts are offered on their site.
  1. Setantabet
This website offers important odds on pc gaming and also horse racing. The website is compatible with mostly all mobile devices. The website has a substantial collection of slot video games and gambling enterprises for the customers. It additionally features a live gambling establishment with single and multiplayer choices. The website likewise aids the individuals through live Chat.
  1. CasinoSahara
It is a little gambling establishment on account of the gathered earnings, yet is taken into consideration a hot area. This internet site is readily available in a range of languages. Live betting games are readily available with different payment methods. Live Conversation is not open 24/7 that is somewhat a drawback to the website.
  1. BetEasy
This bookie website, established in 2014, emerges from Australia giving online betting and sporting activities remedies to the clients. This site is a subsidiary of The Celebrity Team. This website formally funds the Australian Football Organization.

  1. SuperBet
This is a South African bookies website established in 2008. The website captivates clients from around the continent. In addition to offering considerable betting games collection online, this site runs 50 land-based stores in Africa. The arrangement with EFC includes in the compatibility of the website.

  1. CasiniaBet
As opposed to the suitable bookies, Casinia wagered offers fewer choices for online betting as well as video gaming occasions. Still, the considerable contests are offered proper coverage that makes it challenging for the punters to separate between the leading bookies and also CasinoBet sportsbooks.

  1. mercurybet
This is a leading online video gaming website as well as online pc gaming. This website amplifies your exhilaration and gives you with a pleasurable experience with its thrilling wagering system. Customers can challenge themselves and also others with day-to-day and regular promotions.

  1. Jojobet
This site interacts with a large range of video gaming markets. This website supports bitcoins which includes in the variety of individuals around the world. This website has gained significant repute quickly by providing high odds on numerous betting games. It gives its clients with appreciable services.

  1. Bet8
This is a legally run business in Greece and also declares to satisfy also one of the most requiring clients This is website offers you to bet on above 11,000 sports events taking place on a monthly basis. The site likewise offers excellent probabilities with low price margins to its valuable consumers.

  1. Blackbet
This site is greatly giving a greatly favorable experience to its customers. It is dealt with by passionate staff member intending to offer an outstanding service to the punters. More than 20 sports are available for live betting at this reservation website.

  1. WinnerUK
This website is very recommended for scheduling on competition. They supply great recurring offers together with other recognized promos. This is a powerful yet well-assisting platform for on-line betting as well as sportsbooking.

  1. Wager at Home
Bet-at-home is the certified bookie based in Malta and also Austria. Their company went on expanding with the discussion of an on the internet gambling establishment in 2005. They later on developed into a supply partnership and also in 2009 became a part of the Betclic Everest Team. Their management centre is currently at Portomaso Business Tower in Malta as well as is accredited and controlled by the Malta Gambling Payment.

  1. Twinspires
It is just one of the earliest name present in the field of on the internet sporting activities betting, having actually grabbed popularity amongst customers given that its facility right around ten years in the past. Authorized by the UK Gaming Commission, it is just one of the most relied on on-line betting sites available.

  1. One Hash
One Hash is already the market head in wagering all over the world, with a huge variety of clients in many countries. Their wagering deals pre-competition or online wagering is very broad. Additionally, this manager communicates its online gushing TELEVISION terminal, countless pc gaming competitors.

  1. Mr Eco-friendly
On a remarkable assortment of video games, a vast array of wagers are used by bookmakers, which are determined based on chance. By wagering on these unique possibilities, a bettor can get money on rewarding wagers. It is consistently the situation that the very best online wagering sites for sports will be those that use the very best prospective benefits.
submitted by BetBarter to u/BetBarter [link] [comments]

I may be an "Uppity Network Admin," but at least I have a job

In any reasonably large company, local administrative rights are something often sought and rarely given. The sysadmins who investigate the attempts to illicitly obtain these rights are part of an elite team known as information security officers.
This is not one of their stories.
INSERT LAW & ORDER SOUND HERE
 Tuxedo Jack and Craptacularly Spignificant Productions - present - I May Be an "Uppity Network Admin," But At Least I Have a Job 
WEDNESDAY MORNING, 13 JULY 2016...
I need local admin access. I want to be able install software on my computer. This needs to happen today.
"For you? You wish. Not going to happen," I said, sipping at my coffee and adjusting my terrycloth robe while I looked at the ticket. I typed back a form response, stating that we don't give out local admin access to users without management's written approval for security reasons, and clicked Send & Close in ConnectWise.
My bosses, in their benevolence, had decided that it was easier for me to work remotely in the mornings (I had a home office setup similar to my office setup - i5-3570K, 16GB RAM, 2x GeForce 760s, 256GB SSD, 2x2TB 7200RPM drives in RAID1, a Yealink T46G IP phone, and multiple monitors - but my home setup only had two monitors as opposed to the four at the office) than to fight Austin traffic and come in homicidally angry. It also didn't hurt that I have multiple floofs (cats, in this case) to curl up on my lap while I worked, and I could literally roll out of bed, get my coffee from Mr. Coffee in the kitchen, feed the cats, and trudge back to my workstation in about 5 minutes, all the while waking myself up to be a productive senior systems administrator.
A few minutes later, my inbox dinged with a reply to the ticket.
I don't care. Either give me local admin rights or I will involve senior management.
I raised an eyebrow and started typing my response.
Unfortunately, due to SOP and security requirements, you will not be granted local administrator privileges. Your system and software are specifically configured for your position, and granting local administrative rights can allow the software and OS to deviate from the mandatory configurations. Again, we cannot - and will not - grant local administrative privileges without management signing off on it in writing.
Another Send & Close later, and I started working on a few group policies to automatically map drives based on group membership. I didn't hear from the user for the rest of the day, so I figured the matter was closed.
THURSDAY MORNING, 14 JULY 2016...
I rolled over, fell out of bed, and trudged into my office after grabbing a mug full of Jet Fuel, brewed strong. Outlook was already open, and I looked at the tickets that had come in overnight, then the Nagios alerts, and finally, the GFI and CompuTrace notifications.
"What the..."
I looked at the CompuTrace alerts - a user OTHER than that user's domain account had logged into his PC that night, and sure enough, it was Administrator (the local one, mind you, not the Domain Admin account). I pulled up a remote background command prompt through GFI (fun fact: GFI's dashboard can let you do that - remote background command prompts, service control, and even process control via a handy-dandy web interface).
net localgroup "Administrators"
LocalAdmin Administrator $DOMAIN\NAUGHTY_USER
$DOMAIN\Domain Admins $Domain\Enterprise Admins
"Oh, now that's just not cricket," I muttered, and typed in some commands (changing the local admin passwords, disabling the local admin accounts, and removing $NAUGHTY_USER from the local admins group - then force-rebooting in 30 seconds).
Thirty seconds later, the computer dropped offline, and the user's admin rights were removed. I dashed off a quick message to the client's HR department, notifying them of what happened, and told them that I'd be checking up on his machine daily for the next few weeks. I also flipped on reporting on their web proxy for his account, just for paranoia's sake.
Outlook dinged again, and sure enough...
I need to have local admin access. Management has approved my request and will be sending in a ticket to grant this. I need this IMMEDIATELY, as I cannot work without this.
"Well, then."
When we receive a ticket from the appropriate managers that states you have been granted administrative privileges, we will enable them for you. Per SOP, however, until that approval is in writing in our hands, we cannot and will not grant you those privileges.
One more mouse-click, and it went off into the ether. Another message came in a few minutes later.
I expect to have administrative privileges within the hour. If this does not happen, management will be speaking with your supervisors in regards to your continued employment at $FIRM_NAME.
I snorted.
Again, you are asking us to break explicitly stated standard operating policy, which we have written instructions not to deviate from under any circumstances, to grant you administrative rights. Unfortunately, unless and until we hear from the appropriate management personnel stating that you are allowed such privileges, we will not, under any circumstances, grant them to you. Further requests from you for administrative rights will be rejected unless they are directly sent from the appropriate management personnel. This ticket is now closed.
"You can go now," I snarked, thinking back to the tale of Jack, the worst intern, and BCCing his HR department on the e-mail chain.
FRIDAY MORNING, 15 JULY 2016...
Two cups of Jet Fuel woke me up, and a small tuxedo cat nibbling on the back of my head from my swivel chair's headrest kept me giggling as I logged into my office box remotely and took a look at the day's alerts.
Sure enough, there was a CompuTrace alert about the same user's machine logging in as Administrator again. The same commands were executed, his admin rights were removed, and I wrote up a GPO explicitly defining which accounts could be local admins, then applied it to his machine and a bunch of others.
I then immediately restarted his machine with shutdown -r -t 0 -f, because he lost the right to save his morning's work when he decided that he was going to be that much of a pain. Another e-mail went to his HR department, and another cup of Jet Fuel went down my gullet.
YOUR UPPITY NETWORK ADMIN RESTARTED MY COMPUTER WHILE I WAS WORKING! THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR AND IT WILL BE STOPPED NOW!
My eye twitched, and the crappy Dell multimedia keyboard I had started bending dangerously under the angry typing I pounded out.
We have restarted your machine to address security concerns - namely, a disallowed local privilege escalation. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
His HR rep was again BCC'd, and five minutes later, I was on the phone with her.
"Look, this is the second time he's done it. He KNOWS he can't have local admin rights."
Her sigh was audible. "I know he can't have them. Look... he's kind of the office bell-end. We all want him fired, we're building a case as is, but we need more ammo. Is there any chance you can let him dig his own grave? If he's done it twice already, you and I both know he'll do it again."
I grinned a grin not unlike Al Pacino's in "The Devil's Advocate" and chuckled. Sure enough, her gulp could be heard over the VOIP link. "Oh, dear, however did you know what I was planning? If he's even remotely smart, he'll back off now. Of course, given his role over there, I'm betting that he doesn't."
LAST MONDAY MORNING...
More coffee, more tickets, and more alerts.
CompuTrace again signaled that he'd logged in as a local account over the weekend, except this one was different - he'd made a local admin account with his username. I shrugged, then did a double-take - how could he do that, when a GPO explicitly prevented every account but ours from being local admin?
The answer was easy - he'd used Hiren's or another boot environment to remove the local admin password, the same as he'd done the other days - then booted the system up, logged in, and UNJOINED THE PC FROM THE DOMAIN! That, of course, nulled all group policy objects and let him do whatever he wanted.
"Oh, he's for the high jump now," I said to the HR rep, and she confirmed it - Legal was listening in on the call, and stated that they were going to meet with him the next day, and to leave his machine as it was, so they could catch him red-handed.
"I think I can also do you one better," I continued, exporting his web logs to HTML and sending them over. "Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and GMail, all of which are prohibited by name in the employee agreement. Think we can have some fun with this one?"
"Normally, I'd say no, as we need to treat this as a hostile termination - but since it's going to take us a bit of time to get the paperwork done today, we can't fire him until tomorrow."
"Tell you what... any chance I can be there when this happens?" My mind was racing, and I had a BRILLIANT idea. "Make it known that I'll be there tomorrow in the Colorado River conference room around 10 AM. I have a hunch he'll show up - really, I plan on making it happen, so be close by but out of sight, okay?"
With their approval, I spent an hour or so ironing out my cunning plan and getting everything together.
LAST TUESDAY MORNING...
I couldn't resist - I pulled a slim-cut grey suit out of my closet that made me look like Sterling Archer, and after feeding the floofs and driving to the client's office, I made myself comfortable in the conference room. The HR rep and her friend (from the look of him, one of the heavy-duty droids they keep for the real tough cases) from Legal were slumming it a few cubicles down, and the trap was ready to be sprung.
Standard policy for me is that I keep certain MSI files slipstreamed into my install images - one of which is my company's generic LogMeIn installer, WITHOUT the characteristic system tray icon. Sure, $NAUGHTY_USER had uninstalled the copy I had on there as is, but he'd missed the GFI management agent (which, rather conveniently, I'd hidden from the list in Programs & Features - it's a simple registry hack, nothing special). I fired up GFI's agent (fun fact: it runs as SYSTEM, and you can actually remote-BSOD machines with it), silently installed LogMeIn via msiexec /i /qn /norestart, and made a quick call to the HR rep.
She, in turn, made a call to his manager, asking the manager to pull $NAUGHTY_USER into a meeting and not let him go back until he got a text instructing him to, and as soon as $NAUGHTY_USER left his office - with the machine locked, I noted (didn't care) - I reset one of the local admin passwords via the remote background prompt, logged in via LogMeIn, and unleashed a rather destructive toy that I'd gotten my hands on - the MEMZ trojan (seriously, I'm not kidding, that's what it's called - and if you open that link, be warned, there's NSFW language in the video). I logged off as the local admin account, then uninstalled LogMeIn, and logged into the domain controller and Exchange cluster to lock his accounts and - if instructed - remote-wipe his personal phone (this is why BYOD is a ridiculously bad idea).
Sure enough, the machine bluescreened, just like MEMZ is supposed to do (if I'd left it logged in, it would have had all kinds of fun effects, but in all honesty, I wanted the best effect of them all and that one only).
On my signal, the HR rep texted the manager, who let $NAUGHTY_USER return to his office... to a machine with a BSOD on it. He rebooted, and the final payload showed up on his laptop's screen - a bootloader that was replaced with Nyancat (kid you not, that's the last payload of MEMZ). A few seconds after Nyancat's music started playing, I heard furious stomping coming down the hallway towards the conference room (along with the Nyancat music).
"FIX THIS, NOW!" he yelled, thrusting the laptop towards me, Nyancat's disgustingly beetus-inducing PopTart body bouncing on the screen. "I know you did this. You've been stopping me from getting my work done for the past week! Now either you fix this, or you're not going to be working for your company after today!"
"Actually," the HR rep said, entering the room with her friend from Legal, "that's my line. We need to have a discussion about your continued employment here - namely, its continuance. Jack, would you mind?"
I stood up, closed my laptop, slipped it back into the case, and pulled out a sheaf of papers. "And here's his web logs. I didn't man-in-the-middle the SSL, though I should have, I suppose. Oh, well, that's moot."
Turning to leave, I looked at $NAUGHTY_USER, and through his rage, I saw just a hint of fear. I'd worked for about ten minutes on a little speech, and it would have been a shame to waste it, so after a quick glance at the HR rep, and a nod from her, I said my piece (admittedly with a halfway decent imitation of a certain actor's voice).
"You know, for you, one of the worst days of your life will probably be the day that an 'uppity network admin,' as you so charmingly put it, got you fired, in utter disgrace, from your cushy six-figure job where you played games and sat on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter all day."
I leaned against the wall, hand on chin, and delivered the last part with a smirk
"But for me? It was Tuesday."
I waved goodbye to the HR admin and the Legal droid, and validated my parking on the way out (icing on the cake - after all, who wants to pay for parking in downtown Austin?).
TL;DR: It was Tuesday.
And here's everything else I've submitted!
submitted by tuxedo_jack to talesfromtechsupport [link] [comments]

MicBet review - August 2019

MicBet is an up-and-coming cryptocurrency online casino and sportsbook portal, where players can wager on their favorite casino games or sport events with digital assets. This also renders deposits and withdrawals feasible in matter of minutes. The online gaming revolution of MicBet is brought with the teamwork of veteran professionals in the industry and proficient gaming software developers.
Rewards and Promotions
MicBet’s prizes, rewards, and promotions are at the apex of the online casino business and they are consistently looking to deliver significantly more to loyal players. Players will discover section-specific bonuses divided into Sports, Casino, and poker on top of the Loyalty Program on MicBet’s rundown of offers. Check these promotions underneath.
Deposit and get up to 300 USD (Sports)
Deposit agreement remunerates players up to 300 USD with extra 100% of the original sum. Each bonus will be activated automatically once after player satisfied the requirement, and it can’t be cancelled. Minimum amount of deposit to activate the deposit bonus is 30 USD/100 BRL (or corresponding amount in other currency). The bonus is eligible only for sportsbook fans.
Duplicate your deposit (Casino)
Casino enthusiast, as expected, will get the most out of their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd deposits.
1st deposit – each player will get 100% of the deposited amount up to 1000 USD / 4000 BRL
2nd deposit – each player will get 50% of the deposited amount up to 1000 USD / 4000 BRL
3rd deposit – each player will get 25% of the deposited amount up to 1000 USD / 4000 BRL
However, players have to reach 35 times Roll over (wager) to release the bonus balance into real balance and withdraw it.
Daily Freeroll – Texas Hold’em Torunament
Definitely the most interesting bonus for poker fans is a Daily Freeroll event. This Texas Hoodlum Free roll event grants a free buy-in to each player and the winning pool is as high as $300 USD. MicBet is very strict about the policies of the promotion as it can be easily misused – it can happen only once, to only one person per family of the account, address, Email address, IP address, or any environment sharing the computer.
Loyalty Program
“The more you play the more rewards you get”. Each bet made in the casino grants certain amount of Comp Points (1 USDT = 0.1 CP). Depending on the status level that a player holds at a given moment, he is able to utilize special privileges:
Level 1: Upon registration, players automatically become Level 1 members (no rewards are given at this stage)
Level 2: 500 CP needed – 0.1% lossback and 50 free spins
Level 3: 2,000 CP needed – 1% lossback and 100 free spins
Level 4: 5,000 CP needed – 3% lossback and 500 free spins
Level 5: 10,000 CP needed – 5% lossback and 1,000 free spins
Level 6: 50,000 CP needed – 10% lossback and 5,000 free spins
Monthly Cashback is automatically distributed to wallets at the beginning of every month from lost deposits accrued the month prior. That’s a reliable, instantaneous addition to your bankroll. Best of all, no wagering requirements apply, and the higher you climb up the Loyalty Ladder, the bigger the cashback kickback!
Software providers and scope of games at MicBet
MicBet aims to become a go-to, exclusive online crypto casino platform by offering high-end games supplied by prestigious game providers. MicBet has allied with top-tier iGaming providers offering world-class player experience.
The alliance with some of the most influential game providers such as, Evoplay, ISoftbet, Microgaming (Standrad, Brand, JP), NetEnt, PGSoft, PlaynGo, Quickspin, Betrader (Standard, Vertual sports) , Evolution Gaming(Standard, Brand game) , Asia Gaming, and Spinola have geared up the top-ranked games – Rubi Casino Queen, Break da Bank again, Cash Camel and the like.
Live casino section at MicBet is accumulated of a long range of different software providers and casino games. The games that are played the most are Roulette, Baccarat, BlackJack, and Table Games. The interface is designed in such a manner to be easily navigable and accessible. As soon as the players opt-in for their favorite game and software provider, they choose the desired table depending on the minimum/maximum buy-ins. Sometimes, the tables have a limited number of players allowed to play at the same time, but mostly the games are hosted in such a way that all participants can place their bets. Suffice it to say that all live casino markets are open 24/7 accommodating players’ wagering preferences at all cost.
MicBet’s poker section opens up a lobby where players can opt-in for the most suitable blinds and game types. Weekly VIP and Rakeback challenges stand readily available to players to collect. Daily freerolls are available twice each day starting at 00:00 and 12:00 UTC time. Pro players can browse through Sit & Go’s but also participate in multiple games simultaneously.
Nothing beats a club with a functioning sportsbook that offers a broad in-play (live) wagering choices. That is the thing that you will discover at this house. MicBet’s crypto sports wagering choices incorporate:
Soccer
Basketball
Tennis
Baseball
Ice Hockey
American Football
Aussie Rules
Beach Soccer
Boxing
Cricket
MMA
Motorsport
Pesapallo
Rugby
In any case, that is not every last bit of it since you get the opportunity to wager on e-Sports too. Markets incorporate famous amusements like Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Overwatch.
Players get the opportunity to wager on matches that have just begun gratitude to MicBet’s live wagering alternatives. The absolute most normal wagering markets incorporate quarters, recreations, innings, aggregates overs or unders, cash lines, handicaps, half-time, draws and the sky is the limit from there!
Payment, Safety, and Security
MicBet is a place to be if the players are on the hunt for the best digital money gaming amusement. At MicBet, your budget is held in the USDT (Tether) which is a token strictly tied to the value of USD.
Along these lines, you never need to stress over any changes in digital assets while playing at MicBet Sportsbook or Casino. You can store and pull back with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USDT(1 usd = 1 usdt) , and BRL. MicBet will include a lot more coins for store and withdrawal over the coming months. Other fiat currency will be added soon as well.
Minimum bets:
mBTC 0.01 ( 0.00001 BTC) ETH 0.01 USDT 0.01 BRL 0.01
The casino employs physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard the security of the data players provide. SSL encryption is used on the Website for all sensitive data.
MicBet has an additional layer of security - they strive to keep major amounts of bets/wagers in the store wallet, and keep only sufficient amount of funds on the platform at any given moment. This is the best way to deal with the funds extortions at the moment.
Gambling club diversions offered on MicBet are given and managed by Micro Global Services Ltd N.V., who are working under the permit 8048/JAZ issued by Curacao iGaming by the Government of Curacao.
Customer support
Customer support is a top priority at MicBet and it includes 24/7 live chat and email support every day of the year. All inquiries are normally answered within 1h since the submission. Whatsapp support is also available.
submitted by micbet to u/micbet [link] [comments]

I may be an "Uppity Network Admin," but at least I have a job

In any reasonably large company, local administrative rights are something often sought and rarely given. The sysadmins who investigate the attempts to illicitly obtain these rights are part of an elite team known as information security officers.
This is not one of their stories.
INSERT LAW & ORDER SOUND HERE
 Tuxedo Jack and Craptacularly Spignificant Productions - present - I May Be an "Uppity Network Admin," But At Least I Have a Job 
WEDNESDAY MORNING, 13 JULY 2016...
I need local admin access. I want to be able install software on my computer. This needs to happen today.
"For you? You wish. Not going to happen," I said, sipping at my coffee and adjusting my terrycloth robe while I looked at the ticket. I typed back a form response, stating that we don't give out local admin access to users without management's written approval for security reasons, and clicked Send & Close in ConnectWise.
My bosses, in their benevolence, had decided that it was easier for me to work remotely in the mornings (I had a home office setup similar to my office setup - i5-3570K, 16GB RAM, 2x GeForce 760s, 256GB SSD, 2x2TB 7200RPM drives in RAID1, a Yealink T46G IP phone, and multiple monitors - but my home setup only had two monitors as opposed to the four at the office) than to fight Austin traffic and come in homicidally angry. It also didn't hurt that I have multiple floofs (cats, in this case) to curl up on my lap while I worked, and I could literally roll out of bed, get my coffee from Mr. Coffee in the kitchen, feed the cats, and trudge back to my workstation in about 5 minutes, all the while waking myself up to be a productive senior systems administrator.
A few minutes later, my inbox dinged with a reply to the ticket.
I don't care. Either give me local admin rights or I will involve senior management.
I raised an eyebrow and started typing my response.
Unfortunately, due to SOP and security requirements, you will not be granted local administrator privileges. Your system and software are specifically configured for your position, and granting local administrative rights can allow the software and OS to deviate from the mandatory configurations. Again, we cannot - and will not - grant local administrative privileges without management signing off on it in writing.
Another Send & Close later, and I started working on a few group policies to automatically map drives based on group membership. I didn't hear from the user for the rest of the day, so I figured the matter was closed.
THURSDAY MORNING, 14 JULY 2016...
I rolled over, fell out of bed, and trudged into my office after grabbing a mug full of Jet Fuel, brewed strong. Outlook was already open, and I looked at the tickets that had come in overnight, then the Nagios alerts, and finally, the GFI and CompuTrace notifications.
"What the..."
I looked at the CompuTrace alerts - a user OTHER than that user's domain account had logged into his PC that night, and sure enough, it was Administrator (the local one, mind you, not the Domain Admin account). I pulled up a remote background command prompt through GFI (fun fact: GFI's dashboard can let you do that - remote background command prompts, service control, and even process control via a handy-dandy web interface).
net localgroup "Administrators"
LocalAdmin Administrator $DOMAIN\NAUGHTY_USER
$DOMAIN\Domain Admins $Domain\Enterprise Admins
"Oh, now that's just not cricket," I muttered, and typed in some commands (changing the local admin passwords, disabling the local admin accounts, and removing $NAUGHTY_USER from the local admins group - then force-rebooting in 30 seconds).
Thirty seconds later, the computer dropped offline, and the user's admin rights were removed. I dashed off a quick message to the client's HR department, notifying them of what happened, and told them that I'd be checking up on his machine daily for the next few weeks. I also flipped on reporting on their web proxy for his account, just for paranoia's sake.
Outlook dinged again, and sure enough...
I need to have local admin access. Management has approved my request and will be sending in a ticket to grant this. I need this IMMEDIATELY, as I cannot work without this.
"Well, then."
When we receive a ticket from the appropriate managers that states you have been granted administrative privileges, we will enable them for you. Per SOP, however, until that approval is in writing in our hands, we cannot and will not grant you those privileges.
One more mouse-click, and it went off into the ether. Another message came in a few minutes later.
I expect to have administrative privileges within the hour. If this does not happen, management will be speaking with your supervisors in regards to your continued employment at $FIRM_NAME.
I snorted.
Again, you are asking us to break explicitly stated standard operating policy, which we have written instructions not to deviate from under any circumstances, to grant you administrative rights. Unfortunately, unless and until we hear from the appropriate management personnel stating that you are allowed such privileges, we will not, under any circumstances, grant them to you. Further requests from you for administrative rights will be rejected unless they are directly sent from the appropriate management personnel. This ticket is now closed.
"You can go now," I snarked, thinking back to the tale of Jack, the worst intern, and BCCing his HR department on the e-mail chain.
FRIDAY MORNING, 15 JULY 2016...
Two cups of Jet Fuel woke me up, and a small tuxedo cat nibbling on the back of my head from my swivel chair's headrest kept me giggling as I logged into my office box remotely and took a look at the day's alerts.
Sure enough, there was a CompuTrace alert about the same user's machine logging in as Administrator again. The same commands were executed, his admin rights were removed, and I wrote up a GPO explicitly defining which accounts could be local admins, then applied it to his machine and a bunch of others.
I then immediately restarted his machine with shutdown -r -t 0 -f, because he lost the right to save his morning's work when he decided that he was going to be that much of a pain. Another e-mail went to his HR department, and another cup of Jet Fuel went down my gullet.
YOUR UPPITY NETWORK ADMIN RESTARTED MY COMPUTER WHILE I WAS WORKING! THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR AND IT WILL BE STOPPED NOW!
My eye twitched, and the crappy Dell multimedia keyboard I had started bending dangerously under the angry typing I pounded out.
We have restarted your machine to address security concerns - namely, a disallowed local privilege escalation. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
His HR rep was again BCC'd, and five minutes later, I was on the phone with her.
"Look, this is the second time he's done it. He KNOWS he can't have local admin rights."
Her sigh was audible. "I know he can't have them. Look... he's kind of the office asshole. We all want him fired, we're building a case as is, but we need more ammo. Is there any chance you can let him dig his own grave? If he's done it twice already, you and I both know he'll do it again."
I grinned a grin not unlike Al Pacino's in "The Devil's Advocate" and chuckled. Sure enough, her gulp could be heard over the VOIP link. "Oh, dear, however did you know what I was planning? If he's even remotely smart, he'll back off now. Of course, given his role over there, I'm betting that he doesn't."
LAST MONDAY MORNING...
More coffee, more tickets, and more alerts.
CompuTrace again signaled that he'd logged in as a local account over the weekend, except this one was different - he'd made a local admin account with his username. I shrugged, then did a double-take - how could he do that, when a GPO explicitly prevented every account but ours from being local admin?
The answer was easy - he'd used Hiren's or another boot environment to remove the local admin password, the same as he'd done the other days - then booted the system up, logged in, and UNJOINED THE PC FROM THE DOMAIN! That, of course, nulled all group policy objects and let him do whatever he wanted.
"Oh, he's for the high jump now," I said to the HR rep, and she confirmed it - Legal was listening in on the call, and stated that they were going to meet with him the next day, and to leave his machine as it was, so they could catch him red-handed.
"I think I can also do you one better," I continued, exporting his web logs to HTML and sending them over. "Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and GMail, all of which are prohibited by name in the employee agreement. Think we can have some fun with this one?"
"Normally, I'd say no, as we need to treat this as a hostile termination - but since it's going to take us a bit of time to get the paperwork done today, we can't fire him until tomorrow."
"Tell you what... any chance I can be there when this happens?" My mind was racing, and I had a BRILLIANT idea. "Make it known that I'll be there tomorrow in the Colorado River conference room around 10 AM. I have a hunch he'll show up - really, I plan on making it happen, so be close by but out of sight, okay?"
With their approval, I spent an hour or so ironing out my cunning plan and getting everything together.
LAST TUESDAY MORNING...
I couldn't resist - I pulled a slim-cut grey suit out of my closet that made me look like Sterling Archer, and after feeding the floofs and driving to the client's office, I made myself comfortable in the conference room. The HR rep and her friend (from the look of him, one of the heavy-duty droids they keep for the real tough cases) from Legal were slumming it a few cubicles down, and the trap was ready to be sprung.
Standard policy for me is that I keep certain MSI files slipstreamed into my install images - one of which is my company's generic LogMeIn installer, WITHOUT the characteristic system tray icon. Sure, $NAUGHTY_USER had uninstalled the copy I had on there as is, but he'd missed the GFI management agent (which, rather conveniently, I'd hidden from the list in Programs & Features - it's a simple registry hack, nothing special). I fired up GFI's agent (fun fact: it runs as SYSTEM, and you can actually remote-BSOD machines with it), silently installed LogMeIn via msiexec /i /qn /norestart, and made a quick call to the HR rep.
She, in turn, made a call to his manager, asking the manager to pull $NAUGHTY_USER into a meeting and not let him go back until he got a text instructing him to, and as soon as $NAUGHTY_USER left his office - with the machine locked, I noted (didn't care) - I reset one of the local admin passwords via the remote background prompt, logged in via LogMeIn, and unleashed a rather destructive toy that I'd gotten my hands on - the MEMZ trojan (seriously, I'm not kidding, that's what it's called - and if you open that link, be warned, there's NSFW language in the video). I logged off as the local admin account, then uninstalled LogMeIn, and logged into the domain controller and Exchange cluster to lock his accounts and - if instructed - remote-wipe his personal phone (this is why BYOD is a ridiculously bad idea).
Sure enough, the machine bluescreened, just like MEMZ is supposed to do (if I'd left it logged in, it would have had all kinds of fun effects, but in all honesty, I wanted the best effect of them all and that one only).
On my signal, the HR rep texted the manager, who let $NAUGHTY_USER return to his office... to a machine with a BSOD on it. He rebooted, and the final payload showed up on his laptop's screen - a bootloader that was replaced with Nyancat (kid you not, that's the last payload of MEMZ). A few seconds after Nyancat's music started playing, I heard furious stomping coming down the hallway towards the conference room (along with the Nyancat music).
"FIX THIS, NOW!" he yelled, thrusting the laptop towards me, Nyancat's disgustingly beetus-inducing PopTart body bouncing on the screen. "I know you did this. You've been stopping me from getting my work done for the past week! Now either you fix this, or you're not going to be working for your company after today!"
"Actually," the HR rep said, entering the room with her friend from Legal, "that's my line. We need to have a discussion about your continued employment here - namely, its continuance. Jack, would you mind?"
I stood up, closed my laptop, slipped it back into the case, and pulled out a sheaf of papers. "And here's his web logs. I didn't man-in-the-middle the SSL, though I should have, I suppose. Oh, well, that's moot."
Turning to leave, I looked at $NAUGHTY_USER, and through his rage, I saw just a hint of fear. I'd worked for about ten minutes on a little speech, and it would have been a shame to waste it, so after a quick glance at the HR rep, and a nod from her, I said my piece (admittedly with a halfway decent imitation of a certain voice).
"You know, for you, one of the worst days of your life will probably be the day that an 'uppity network admin,' as you so charmingly put it, got you fired, in utter disgrace, from your cushy six-figure job where you played games and sat on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter all day."
I leaned against the wall, hand on chin, and delivered the last part with a smirk
"But for me? It was Tuesday."
I waved goodbye to the HR admin and the Legal droid, and validated my parking on the way out (icing on the cake - after all, who wants to pay for parking in downtown Austin?).
TL;DR: It was Tuesday.
And here's everything else I've submitted!
submitted by tuxedo_jack to tuxedo_jack [link] [comments]

Kilburn Heat Maps

When Mischa told me she was ready to buy a house, I was beyond excited. We had been married for a little over a year and she managed all of our finances. She moved into my studio apartment and we agreed to cut out the extravagances in order to save for our first home – not a starter home, not a mansion, but a place where we could be proud. After doing the math, she found it would take 15 months to get to where we wanted to be financially. Just a little over a year had gone by when I got the text: “Dinner tonight. Good news. We’re ahead of schedule.” I felt the tension that had built up from months of counting pennies lift because I knew exactly what she meant.
Fast forward another three months of house shopping and another three for closing and there we were. Two pretend adults – I was 29 and she was 24 – with a house to call a home. Mischa was my everything. I definitely married “up.” She was a petite genius, with soft coffee hair and hazelnut eyes. Her smile could melt your heart. I know it melts mine. Mischa and I worked for big accounting firms that required master’s degrees before we even applied. She finished her undergraduate degree early and went straight for her M.B.A. while I took my time figuring everything out. We met at work, in different departments. We were the first two to respond to an email about left over donuts in the break room. Our embarrassment at how quickly we arrived in the office kitchen led to laughter and a cup of coffee. The rest is history. Our salaries didn’t make us rich, but wealth would someday be attainable and we were certainly comfortable in the meantime, with enough disposable income to pay our mortgage and travel, periodically, within reason. Well, not travel just yet, but with time.
I loved our home because she loved our home. 3 Terrace View was nestled between two nearly identical colonials, with slightly different colors and walkways, but the same basic layout. Four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a little piece of paradise. Nestled was probably the wrong choice of word. There was a lot of land between the adjacent houses. But even though the other homes were nearby, my house sat on nearly an acre of land, and so did the others, leaving more than enough land for everyone to enjoy their privacy. Our house faced our neighbors’ but we were lucky to have no rear neighbors, just the peace and tranquility of the forest at our backs.
I remember the first time she described the home to me, as she read from the online description: “A charmer. 20 minutes from the elementary school, 45 minutes from the train to the City, and 15 minutes from town. The upstairs features a master bedroom with walk-in-closet, private bathroom, and a regal office (or future nursery). The main floor features all the modern amenities with stainless steel appliances, a guest bedroom, and a family room. The third level boasts yet another living room, a washedryer, and the half bath. And a basement that is a world of potential.” Something like that. The basement was my favorite – a man cave with access to the backyard through an old, rustic set of double doors that opened perpendicular to the ground. Okay, so it was a future man cave – it was actually just an unfinished storage space, but it had the potential, I swear. We didn’t talk much about the basement, as the previous seller did a poor job of cleaning it out. Most of his stuff was still there, sold “as is”. I didn’t even know you could do that with a house.
The only thing I hated about the area was the silence of it all. Coming from a city apartment to a quiet, suburban town was a drastic change, I now realize. Sometimes I listen to white noise of cars driving along a highway on my phone just to help myself sleep, or I left myself slip away to dreamland after listening to boring horror fiction podcasts (blegh). At night, sometimes the crickets are loud, but even that’s inconsistent. Most of the sounds we hear are from the house. The humming of the dishwasher. The rattling of the heater. The clicking in the attic. The creaking of the floorboards. But these sounds are sporadic, and usually caused by something one of us did, like walk across the old staircase to the upper level.
One of the reasons why it took so long to buy our place was I wanted enough money to afford a smart home. I didn’t need to purchase a smart home, just update whatever we bought with all of the modern conveniences that today’s technology had to offer. Through apps on my phone I can control who is accessing my internet router, I can control all of the smart lights, I can change the temperature on the thermostat, and I can even control some of the kitchen appliances, like our slow cooker.
The app I was most looking forward to was Kilburn’s Heat Maps. According to the website, the general counsel of the security company actually got the idea from a Supreme Court case he read about in law school, called Kyllo v. United States. In that case, federal agents were using a thermal imaging device to monitor heat radiation from a suspect's home. They suspected marijuana cultivation and distribution. The agents caught the suspect - Danny Lee Kyllo - growing marijuana as a result of strange heat signals coming from parts of the house that should, under normal circumstances, be cooler, like the attic area. The Court considered the use of thermal imaging of the home a "search" under the Fourth Amendment and required that the agents get a warrant first before conducting that type of search.
But, the Supreme Court never said anything restricting private citizens from using this technology to monitor themselves. Which is exactly what the Kilburn Security Company did. Kilburn started out by manufacturing fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. They eventually entered the home security industry, tying in their safety expertise with new products. Their smart phone is a combination of all the products they have to offer. The main hub is in the kitchen, and there’s a standalone beacon in each room. The app features a program that allows me to alert the police and send a message if I’m in distress. Another component monitors carbon monoxide and smoke levels in the house, giving me percentages based upon the square footage of each room. Each entry door to the house has a smart lock that requires an eight number digital passcode unique to each user. The app alerts me if someone enters the house, if they try a passcode and fail, and whether a door is open (there are accelerometers on each door). We liked the passcodes so much that we installed them on every door in the interior of the home as well.
My favorite feature is the heat map. The heat maps work with the thermostat app by telling the user about any actual fires or places that are flammable. The kitchen stove comes up red when we cook. The security function of the heat map displays body heat. A person’s body generates a concentrated level of heat, which is visible on a 3d cross-section view of my home in the app. The color also depicts emotion, but that’s still in beta testing.
“That’s funny,” Mischa pointed out as I rambled on about the app, tinkering with each input.
“What’s that?” I asked, hyper focused on my phone.
“Looks like three maps in the house.” Which didn’t make sense because there were only two of us there.
“Yeah, I see that” I replied, tapping on my sophisticated smart phone like it was an ancient game cartridge. I could see that the figure was under our deck, so I went outside to investigate. The night air was brisk – each breath I took was a little cloud around my mouth. The deck was a square 12’ by 12’ wooden construction with storage space underneath. I walked around to the side of the deck, but couldn’t see beneath. I stared between the spaces of the white cross linking pvc that covered the gap between the floor of the deck and the ground, but it was too dark to see anything. I stood there for a few seconds, staring into the blackness. The sounds of suburbia seemed to all halt at the same time, allowing for a few seconds of complete silence as I stared into the black abyss under my deck. Breathing. That’s what I heard. The slow rhythmic inhale and exhale of what I guessed was an animal. I didn’t think it was a person then. I had no reason to.
“Hello?” I asked, peering deeper into the black, listening for sounds. At that point, I couldn’t hear any more breathing. Was it my own breathing I heard?
“What is it?” Mischa asked from the kitchen window, refusing to let herself shiver with me in the cold for nothing.
“Looks like, I don’t know. Maybe there’s faulty wiring.” I turned my gaze from the deck to the meter beside it, wondering if the blur beneath the deck was actually pointing to the meter. “Could be alerting us to a potential hazard.”
“Ok, hun. Come in. It’s freezing,” Mischa said, closing the sliding door shut.
I followed Mischa inside, spending nearly thirty minutes sifting through the boxes in the basement until I finally found a flashlight. I ventured back outside with the flashlight and peered into the darkness. My app had shown that the orb on the heat map was gone, but I peeked into the blackness again anyways, to prove to myself. I clicked the flashlight on. There was nothing under the deck, except for a tear in the pvc, small enough for Mischa to squeeze through. And a mound of empty candy wrappers.
The next day, I called the electric company. They’d send someone out in a few days to test the meter, but had no reported issues from the prior owner, and no alerts on their system. I noticed that there was no heat sensor on my phone near the meter today. “If it was an issue with the meter, it would still be there,” I thought to myself. I called Kilburn too, pleased that I only waited a few seconds before a service rep spoke with a chipper recorded greeting, followed by the obligatory, “Can I have your account number?” I complied. “What seems to be the issue, Mr. Warren?”
“Yesterday, the heat map sensor on the app was picking up a third heat sensor, but only my wife and I were at home.”
“Please allow 12 hours for calibration.” I didn’t know what that meant because it had been a full day before this malfunction. “Did you unplug the home unit and beacons?” I expected this, as I was unfazed by the simplicity of the “unplug and plug it in” instruction.
“Yeah I tried that.”
“Has it been 12 hours?”
“And how many sensors do you see at home?”
“Just two,” I said, remembering my wife was in bed.
“Did you have any additional inquiries I could assist you with today, Mr. Warren?” the rep replied smugly, figuring there was nothing else for him to do on his end.
“No, I guess not.”
A few minutes went by as I played with the app, before my wife walked in. “Hi, hun.” She greeted. Noticing my confused face, she added, “Lunch with Jen. Remember?”
“Ah, yes,” I lied. That’s when I got a call from Kilburn, the phone number I just called.
“Hi, did you find anything wrong with the app?” I asked, expecting to hear the voice of the service rep I had just spoken with.
“Thanks for calling Kilburn. Your satisfaction is our highest priority. If you wouldn’t mind completing a brief, two minute survey, press one. Or, hang up now.”
I promptly hung up.
“Babe, I got a strange alert on my phone this morning. There was an attempt to unlock the front door last night.”
“What?” Mischa asked, sounding upset.
“Yeah, it can't be right though. Someone tried to open it over 33 times.”
“That can't be right.”
“Yeah. I can't imagine someone just standing there trying to open the back door that many times.”
“Not in this neighborhood. Do you know how much we pay for property taxes? This place is safe.”
I stared at my phone, checking for system updates and whatnot. “We’re going to be late,” Mischa said, dismissively. The app showed only two heat maps.
A few days went by without any unusual activity. But the apps were on my mind, so I took to the online forums. “Anyone have any issues with the Kilburn family of security apps (heat maps in particular)?” I posted. It wasn’t long until I had my first upvote and response. “No.” A shower of “No’s” filled the screen as most people didn’t have any issues at all. To my dismay, the negative reviews all had to do with shipping issues – devices arriving late, broken, or missing pieces – which is really a dig at the seller, and probably not the manufacturer (these reviews should really be separated, I’ve been saying this for years). Other websites’ reviews were similarly positive, save for a few 1 star reviews for people who couldn’t figure out how to program and install the security software.
As I read more of the responses, I watched the notification alert me to two moving orbs in my backyard. From my office, I had a clear view of my backyard behind the house. Even with the deck light to illuminate the area immediately beyond the kitchen, I had no way of seeing the wilderness that tagged the edge of my property line and ran for miles in the opposite direction. The back of the property was lined by a ten-foot-tall white pvc fence, extending from our front driveway all the way back to the end of our property in an enormous rectangle. Hundreds of feet separated the deck from the back fence. The realtor said the woods themselves were their own security system, but the fence was a much needed addition, we thought. That was a cute line of his, now that I think about it.
I walked downstairs and stood before the large window of my patio door. The two orbs separated at the back of the property and moved closer to the house. “Big enough to be a possum, or maybe even a bear or something,” I muttered. I took my wife’s phone and recorded the activity on my phone, and then I posted it to the forum. The first user made fun of my choice of recording. Others joined him before my first meaningful response from Dick Wolf (probably not the producer of Law and Order). “Looks like animal trouble. Woods nearby?” He confirmed my suspicion. But then another user’s response sent a shiver down my spine. I froze in front of my computer. A user by the name of Condoleezza Spice commented, “Kilburn’s Heat Maps only pick up people. No animals.”
I stared at the words on the screen, unsure of what to do next. “Babe!” I called to my wife.
A few moments passed before she entered the room, rubbing her eyes in her pink satin bedroom romper. “Sorry, were you in bed?”
“Yeah. What’s the matter?”
“I saw some strange orbs on the app tonight. Someone online said it could be people.”
I expected her to be alarmed. “People? Where?” I showed her the phone. “These two? Isn’t that us?” she asked.
I looked back at the phone. “There were four before. I think. I don’t know.”
“When you figure it out, let me know tomorrow. Are you coming to bed?” she beckoned.
I called animal control the next day, convinced it was some pest. But they couldn’t find evidence of anything.
“Are you sure they didn’t rummage through the garbage or anything? This app showed that they were in the backyard for hours last night.” I asked the officer.
He was walking around the property line with a clipboard in hand. He wore a navy blue snapback cap with the words “Animal Control” printed on the front, and an outfit similar to a postal carrier.
“Nothing unusual. This fence keeps most of the forest critters out. You should really get some lights back here.”
“Nothing at all? That’s strange. I was hoping we’d get some clue about these heat sensors I keep seeing on my app.”
The color drained from the officer’s face. “Recovered these, sorry. I don’t know why I put them in my pocket. We collect some things for evidence. Not a big deal, you can have it. We don’t need to keep it for evidence. I was just going to grab a bag from the truck.” He pulled a pair of black lace panties from his pocket, to my chagrin. I could feel the color rush to my face.
“These were my wife’s obviously. Got a rip in ‘em or something probably.” I was just as embarrassed as he was. I should’ve said something about why he put them in his pocket, but instead I briefly inspected the undergarment. It looked fine.
“That’s all that was out here. Guess whatever was looking for food didn’t find any. If you see anything else, give us a call. You’ll receive a copy of our report and assessment within 14 business days.”
I thanked the officer and walked him out of the yard. Before heading in, I threw the panties back into the trash, onto the box of half eaten pizza from the night before. I wondered why the food was still in the can if there was animal trouble.
The next night, I sat on the side of the bed, feet dangling off the edge. “Babe, come to bed.” Mischa was impatient. She was promptly in bed by 9:30p every night, while I usually lingered until around midnight.
“Just a sec.” I turned off the lights around the house, double checked that each door and window was locked, and then checked heat maps. “For the amount of money we spend each month on this, you’d think they’d have their shit together.”
“What is it, the thingy again?”
“Yeah. That thingy cost a fortune to install and is still nickel and diming us for $50 per month. Just so I can look at nonsense.”
“Let me see it,” Mischa rolled onto her side, staring at the app that she took from my hands. “I read the manual yesterday. That one’s you,” she pointed at the orange mass in our bedroom. “Orange. Annoyed.” I forgot the colors meant something.
“And those two?” I asked, pointing at the black and purple figure next to my mass, along with the similarly colored figure next to it.
“That’s me, content.”
“That one’s outside,” I pointed out, looking at the two identical masses.
“Obviously a glitch. Those two are me. And I’m right next to you.”
“How could those two be you?”
“That’s me, right next to yours. And this is the same color as me, so it must be some malfunction, right? Unless there’s someone else here.”
“Two something else’s?” I asked.
“Well, what else could it be? People?”
“You’re content?” I asked.
“Yes,” she cooed, snuggling up to me.
“Happy wife, happy life,” I said, kissing my wife before closing the blinds with a slide of my finger on the app.
My phone buzzed. “What was that?” she asked.
“I’ll change the settings tomorrow. Stupid app. Two orange masses and two purple.”
“Maybe you should uninstall it.”
“Maybe I should,” I agreed.
I lay next to my wife for a few minutes, waiting to get another notification that the mass or orb or heat map or whatever it was finally went away or that there were just the two of us now. I fell asleep staring at the app. I awoke several hours later to a buzz in my hand. Five masses.
“That’s it,” I said, rushing to the window. I stared at my phone, and then stared at the closed blinds. Five orbs on the heat map. I pulled the cord down and pointed the flashlight function on my phone down at the space where the masses should have been, proving to myself that there was nothing there.
But there was something there. Three men staring up at me. I said nothing. I did nothing. They stood there, hands in pockets, looking up at me. One of them licked their lips, I think. I couldn’t see well because I was so far away.
“What? What do you want?” I stammered. I could barely see them in the light of my phone, so I quickly switched to my camera and took a flash photo. Then, I held the flash on them. I watched as one of them slowly walked towards the back fence, never saying a word, but maintaining eye contact with me all the while. His accomplice, or colleague, friend, I don’t know just stared at him as he slinked back over the fence. When he left, the other one did the same, staring at me as he climbed back over the fence. The last one stood there.
“Get --- get out of here!” I called, my voice cracking. He followed the other two, walking backwards until he turned and climbed the fence, back into the woods.
I called 911 immediately. Mischa was not happy. “What do you mean they were staring up at you.”
“That’s what I mean. They were just standing there, looking at me.”
“Did they have a weapon?”
“I don’t know. But maybe that’s who I was seeing the other night.”
“Where?”
“Maybe one of them was under the deck. There were candy wrappers and the animal control guy had your panties in your pocket.”
“What the fuck are you saying, Glen,” she was pissed.
“No, no, he found it in the backyard and gave it to me.”
“My panties.”
“Your panties, yes.”
“This whole thing is very strange,” she said, skeptically.
“I know you don’t want to believe me, but that’s what I saw, ok?” I knew I was sounding dismissive, but I couldn’t do anything else to convince her.
“What proof do you have?”
I showed her the photograph. She made a face at me. “Look at them!”
“All I see are eyes.”
“Yes, six eyes. Three creepy guys, one black, two white, just staring up at us. Watching us sleep.”
“Our guardian angels,” Mischa said sarcastically.
“Why aren’t you taking this seriously?”
“Because if there were three guys outside, you would’ve beat the shit out of them, no?”
I froze. That’s why she didn’t take believe me. What man would just go back to sleep if he thought a person could’ve been in his backyard. And that’s what I did over and over each night since the activity started. She didn’t believe me because I was too scared to do anything about it. “You’re right,” I said, salvaging what was left of my pride. “I was just being scared is all.” That’s what I wanted to say, but I didn’t. When the police arrived, Mischa already returned to bed. I told them I don’t know what I saw. They weren’t happy with that response.
“You know it’s a crime to falsely report a crime, right? I could arrest you for that.”
“Look, I thought I saw some guys in my backyard, ok?”
“No. Not okay. What did these guys look like?”
“I don’t know what I saw, could’ve been animals.”
“An animal? With that fence? What animal is scaling that fence and standing in your backyard?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Okay, there were three guys here. I don’t really know what to do.”
“Call us if you see anything strange, sir. This is a stand your ground state. A man’s home is his castle, you have the right to protect yourself from anyone meaning to do you harm.”
“That’s just the thing. They were just standing there.”
“Casing your house? Prowling?”
“How would I know their intention?”
“Look. Anyone standing in your backyard at 3am isn’t lost, sir. We haven’t had a report like this in this area before. You folks just moved in?” he asked, eyeing some of the boxes strewn about the living room.
“Yes, we just moved in. Less than a month now.”
“Don’t do anything stupid,” he warned before getting back into his car with his partner. “Call if you see anything strange. We’ll send another car around in a few hours.
“Got it, will do officer.”
Then, they drove off. I watched as those two heat maps drove away in their squad car, leaving only myself and Mischa left in the house. Only our two orbs appeared in the app.
I didn’t sleep at all that night. The next morning, I made the obligatory phone call.
“They were just standing there. What can I do?” I said to my dad. He said nothing. “I’m outnumbered,” I added, pleading for advice.
“Are they homeless? Doesn’t seem like an area where there’d be too many homeless, I’d imagine.”
“You’d imagine, right. I know! So strange. I don’t know what to make of it. They weren’t harming anybody.”
“You see a guy – not one, not two, but three – standing in your backyard in the middle of the night, for God knows how long, and you don’t think they’re doing any harm? God damn it Glen.”
“I don’t know. I guess so?”
He could sense the weakness in my voice. “Be a man, son.” Whatever that means. “Your property rights include the right to exclude people from your property. The next time you see him, tell him to step the fuck off. With a bat if you have to!”
“Sure. Sure thing, dad.” I’m not exactly a pacifist. But I do promote the resolution of disputes by non-violent means. I’ve never been in a fight in my entire life. Wouldn’t I be the aggressor in this scenario? I know what you’re thinking. You’d be out of there by now. You’d shoot ‘em. But the next time you look out your window at 3am and see three guys staring back at you, dressed in all black with beanies and dark eyes, just staring, you tell me what you’d do then.
I didn’t get much sleep over the next few nights, but I was glad that I didn’t notice anything unusual. I took to the forums again, scouring for any helpful pieces of information, when I saw it. Someone uploaded footage, rewinding their heat map app and playing the sensor side by side with footage caught of a burglar breaking into their home. “Rewind,” I cursed myself, never thinking to check all the time I wasn’t actually staring at my phone.
I started with night one. No unusual activity. I kept going until I got to a week before the incident when I called the police. The app showed two orbs enter the back yard and stand by our window for hours. I mean, 4 or 5 hours before the orbs disappeared over the fence again. This happened three times before I actually confronted them. But that wasn’t the worst part. While we were away at work, one of the orbs entered the home through some space beneath the deck, into the basement and all throughout the house. “How the hell did none of the passcodes go off?” I said, cursing. Not one alert to this.
My first instinct was to call 911 – to get professional assistance. But what would Mischa think? Ours were the only orbs in the house. Would she think that I was a coward in my own home? That I couldn’t take care of this? No. I promised to protect her when we got married, and this would be my first opportunity to prove I was a man. If not to her, then to myself.
I brought Mischa down with me into the basement. “What is that?” she asked, blowing away at some of the dust.
“Looks like a crawl space.”
“A dumb waiter?” moving some nick-knacks and dust collectors on a shelf near the rear basement wall. She looked at me, sliding her hands in between dusty paperbacks, lifting the door up from the horizontal slit in the stainless steel.
“Yeah, this one’s big though. You could probably fit in there,” I teased.
“I’m not trying,” she said, giving me one of those looks.
We followed the shaft upstairs, leading directly to our room. There were other shafts leading from other bedrooms down into the basement, but these were mostly covered up in closets or paved over by dry wall. We hired a chimney sweeper to execute the unusual task of cleaning all the dumbwaiters. When he was finished, there were two bras, an empty bottle of water, and heaps of snack food wrappers. “They were everywhere,” he commented, wiping black dirt from his forehead.
“I never noticed any of this stuff missing. Looks like some of it was from the past owner too,” I noticed.
“I just figured you took this stuff, hun,” Mischa said, thumbing through the food wrappers. “Some of these are from groceries we bought recently. Others have expiration dates that are years old.”
“Well, you guys know this place was abandoned for years before you moved in.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“I came by and serviced the chimney here, say, ten years ago. I live down the block. This place has been vacant for years.”
I called a contractor to come by in a week to quote us a price for paving over the waiter doors, or sealing the doors shut. We made an appointment for him to come in a week or so.
That night, we went to this hole-in-the-wall Italian eatery in town, to get our mind off of things. Food’s expensive, but the place is always quiet and the marinara is astounding. As we lumbered up the driveway to the front door, hazy from the two bottles of wine we drowned, I checked the Kilburn app before entering my passcode to unlock the entryway. But then, my hand froze. Before I could hit the last number, I slid my finger to the notifications screen and just stared.
“There’s that sensor again.”
Mischa pleaded, “Come on let’s go in. I’m tired.” She was doing this dance she always does when she has to pee, hopping slightly from side to side.
“What color does that mean?” I said, showing her my phone.
“Bright red. Oh, that’s excitement. That must be me.”
Excitement. I paused. “We haven’t registered on the app yet.” I said, pointing at the bottom of the screen, where we should appear on the ground level. “Everything else about the app works perfectly, you know.”
“I thought you were going to cancel this thing. I haven’t seen anything strange since we moved in here.”
“But you’re ignoring-”
“I’m not ignoring shit, Glen. Man the fuck up and go upstairs and see what’s in there,” she said. I could tell she was annoyed in the days leading up to this, rolling her eyes as I commented on the Kilburn app, going to bed without saying anything to me.
“Look. There are our orbs, just now approaching the ground level,” I pointed to the two purple orbs entering the app. “Did you leave the iron on or something?”
“No, the iron’s in the basement anyways. That thing’s always glitching, you know.”
“But what about the food wrappers, your underwear?”
“What about that? We should’ve cleaned this place better before we moved in.”
“And the panties in the yard?”
“Some animal control creep gets my panties from the garbage and puts them in his pocket, and you put them back in the trash. That’s what you did. You didn’t punch him in the nose. You didn’t tear into him for having your wife’s unmentionables ---” she paused. “I bet you didn’t even raise your voice?”
I looked at the ground.
“Make you a deal. I will call tomorrow, and we’ll cancel the whole thing. Then you can buy a real security system. Or a dog.” She negotiated, jiggling the handle to the door. “Open it, come on.”
“There have been at least three sensors on the heat map somewhere on the property for the last three days. But I couldn’t find anyone else.”
“But you couldn’t find anyone else. Point made.” Her tone changed to anger. “The door. Now,” she demanded.
I hit the last number in the passcode. Mischa flew past me into the tiny half bathroom, slamming the door shut.
I grabbed this miniature brass pitch fork we keep by the fireplace on the ground floor. I walked upstairs, following our blurs in the house. All three of them.
I reached our master bedroom, staring blankly at the mattress, where the long, bright red mass was growing somehow brighter. I flicked on the light and took a step. Nothing.
I entered the room, still staring at the bed. A second went by. Nothing.
I circled the bed. I opened the closet. Nothing.
I took a step towards the bed, half expecting a ghost to fly out from somewhere, knocking me into another dimension. But there was nothing.
I took another step, standing in front of the bed where the red mass should be. With one swift pull of the left corner of the comforter, I flipped back the blanket. I let out a breath of air. Nothing.
By this point, the bright red mass was as bright as it could possibly be. Excitement. Without thinking another thought, I crouched down and flipped the bed frame onto its side. To my horror, laying in between two plastic under-the-bed bins was one of the men from the other night, holding a knife tightly to his chest. I yelped and dropped my pitch fork, finally seeing him up close. He stared at me with beady black eyes, sunken into his face, and then, he made a clacking sound with his teeth. Like the one I sometimes heard in the attic. He turned on his side, plunging his knife into the floor in between my feet. I let out a wail as the enormous man rose to his feet, tugging his knife free from the floor and giving chase as I raced for the stairs.
I nearly lost my footing as I barreled down the staircase. The man cleared the first set of stairs when I reached the main entrance. I swung the door behind me and entered the passcode for the emergency kill switch. With that entry, all doors became locked and the police were notified. I wasn’t thinking properly. I could see the man inside the home through a window near the door. He stared at me for a second, then ran to the door, but it would not unlock without the killcode numbers. He stopped pounding at the door when he heard the toilet flush.
“Mischa!” I yelped, running to the window. My heart sank. Mischa was still in the bathroom.
I could hear her call to me from the bathroom. “Hun, the door’s locked,” she called. Then, I received a notification that her passcode was used to try to open the door manually, but it was denied. It would only be a few seconds before she hit the manual reset. We were the only two with this capability. She must think I’m playing some joke on her. I don’t know. The passcode was a combination of our childhood dogs’ years of birth, something that was truly unique to us. As I saw her begin to enter the passcode, I noticed the police car pull up to the house.
I shouted in a panic, “Here, here! Come quick. My wife’s inside”
In a flash, the officers exited their vehicles, weapons drawn. “Down on the ground”, they yelled.
“In the house! I called you! I called you!” I tried desperately to explain. They didn’t tell me to get up, but they rushed over to the house.
Just as Mischa finished resetting the passcode, I switched the Carbon Monoxide detector manually on, emitting an ear drum piercing ring as the first officer slammed his fists against the door. “Open, it’s the police!”
Just as he said that, the door opened from the killcode entry. He kicked it open and his partner rushed into our foyer. I could hear the piercing alert of the Carbon monoxide detector as the officers called, “Clear!” to each other from each room. I switched the alert off as I creeped over to the entryway. Peering in, I could see Mischa crouched on her knees through a sliver in the bathroom door. We made eye contact. I rushed in to get her, wrapped my hand around her waist, and together we scurried back outside.
We waited a few seconds before we heard two gun shots, and then a third.
“Shots fired, shots fired” one of the officers called on his radio.
“He’s down!” the other called back.
Moments later, the first officer emerged from the home with a tall man, must’ve been over six feet wearing black from head to toe. He was thin, ghostly pale with purplish red around his lips and mouth. He smiled at us with his beady eyes, his hands cuffed together by two pairs of handcuffs, showing just how large a man he was. He said nothing as they walked by, but our assailant turned to look over his shoulder. He winked at Mischa. She spit on the ground, beginning to tear up as the adrenaline subsided and we both started go grasp what happened. The officer placed the man in the backseat of the car and then sat in the front driver’s seat.
A few minutes later and the other officer emerged. I followed his heat map as he exited our home. “What did you find out, Officer? What can you tell us?”I asked.
“I don’t know. Detective’s coming by shortly. From what I can tell, looks like he was squatting in the house before you two moved in. From the looks of it, he must’ve been hiding around the property when you settled in. My guess is this isn’t his first time. No. Had teeth in his pocket.”
“Teeth?” Mischa asked, both alarmed and terrified.
“Teeth. On a string. We’ll know more after the lab gets a hold of it. Found a knife too, a wet rag – smells like some chemical – and pliers. You kids…” he shook his head at us. “Luck does not describe it,” he said, trailing off as he joined his partner.
I looked at the app again. One fiery orange/yellow figure exiting the cross section diagram of our home, fading into the distance. Rage. Then, two pulsating blue figures, with little touches of yellow around the chest area stood outside of our home. Terror. I squeezed my wife’s hand and hugged her softly until the bright colors in the app softened at bit.
“I thought you were playing some trick on me, locking me in the bathroom and all that,” she was crying now. “When I entered the passcode, he was standing there his knife pointed at me.” She sobbed, “but he dropped to his knees when that alarm went off. Both of us did, it was so shrill.” She placed both hands in mine. “Don’t leave me again”. She punched me in the chest.
“Never again,” I promised.
As we returned to our home, I set all of Kilburn’s notifications to their highest settings, and then charged my phone, waiting for something new to alarm, but nothing did. Nothing malicious ever set my alarm off again, but from that moment forward, I never felt safe. We were fine, but I learned that security is only an idea. Not even an idea, but an illusion. We are never really safe or secure, no matter what tools we have at our disposal.
We slept at my parents the night of the incident, and then at a hotel after that. My father shook his head in disappointment after I told him the story. “You need to take after your own, son,” he reprimanded. I stayed at the hotel the next day, then returned to work the next. Mischa had vacation time, so she took a few days off.
This all happened one week ago. I haven’t seen Mischa for two days.
I told her not to go back home. She said she would stop in just to grab one thing. I told her to wait for me. I trusted that she would listen. After fighting about it for a few minutes, I thought she acquiesced. I told her about the orbs, all of them. They were all men. I should’ve insisted on going with her. I should’ve just left everything and gone to her. I should’ve figured she’d ignore me and go back there anyways. “He’s in custody,” she must’ve thought.
Now I’m standing at the edge of my property in the backyard, staring at my white fence. The other night, the app recorded about seven people climbing over the fence and staring up at our bedroom while we were in the hotel. I’m going over the fence, pitch fork in hand. From my app, I can see a bright red orb fading in and out on the other side. There’s someone there. The app isn’t fully picking it up because it’s so far from the beacon. But I know they’re out there. And they have my wife.
The police are inside, but I know Mischa won’t come home. Whoever is out there – I hope we will be reunited. I will do anything for my wife. I promised her – I would never leave her again. And I intend on keeping my promise.
Just know this: there is no such thing as being completely secure. I only have myself to blame.
submitted by Ra-J_Al_Ghul to nosleep [link] [comments]

[OC][JVerse]21: Dragon Dreams (Part 2 of 4)

A JVerse story.
Chapter 21, Part 2/4 of the Kevin Jenkins series, AKA "The Deathworlders".
Chapter 21, part 1 HERE
The business of lashing down Sanctuary was a serious one. Huge though she was, and alien-tech thrusters that required no reaction mass notwithstanding, the realities of power-to-weight ratio still existed, and Sanctuary was designed to pull fierce acceleration even at sublight, relying on her giant core’s power output to keep the crew happy and healthy at 20G or more.
The result of that was that she was light for her size. In the high winds expected to come sweeping down the valley over the next few days, she would slide or even be picked up and thrown unless securely anchored.
Kirk, Lewis and Amir were on one side of the ship. Julian, Xiù and Allison on the other, firing cables across her hull using a modified kinetic-pulse weapon. One person to retrieve and hold the cable’s end, one person to crank it taut, the third to operate a compressed-gas gun which fired an anchoring peg into the bedrock, which Kirk had informed them would typically have been operated by a team of four armed with a lifter and a heavy stabilising frame.
Julian just carried it, leaning on it heavily to hold back the recoil. Each time it fired, the heavy ‘Chunk!’ sound it produced pulsed right through their bodies and produced a donut of airborne dust.
Xiù broke the silence after the third anchor was in and they’d found their rhythm. "So… Julian, do you mind if I ask you a question?"
"Shoot."
"I feel like I know the name Etsicitty from somewhere, but I can’t remember where…?"
Julian laughed. "Let me guess. You’ve heard of the Navajo code talkers?" He knew exactly which Youtube video she’d seen.
"That was it!" Xiù agreed. “Yeah, there was an interview with one of them on this… data thing that we found, his name was Etsicitty too. You’re Navajo?”
"Grampa is." Julian shrugged it off. “But there’s no code talkers in my family. I don’t know what my great-Grampa was doing during the war, and Grampa was born in Forty-seven…”
Chunk!
Allison hefted their line launcher, checked that her feet weren’t caught in a loop of cable, steadied herself and fired. The line described a graceful arc over Sanctuary’s back.
"So your Grampa’s Navajo, but not you or your dad?" she asked
"Yup. Grampa went to prison for resisting the draft. When he got out he went to an anti-war protest where he met my Gramma, and they settled in Wisconsin."
There was a tug on the line, which meant that the other end was attached, so Xiù started to crank on it.
Julian grinned. "Think my Dad was a bit of an accident." he confided. “And, y’know, interracial couple in the seventies, white girl and a ‘redskin’...” He waved a hand, dismissing the bigotry of yesteryear. “Dunno if things were a bit more relaxed by the time I came along, or if it was just, y’know, ‘Well, at least he’s HALF white...’”
There was a call on the radio. "Heads up!" and the line from the other side came over, Bouncing in the dirt a few meters away. Allison retrieved it just as Julian set the gun and fired the next anchor into the rock.
Chunk!
"Grampa wanted me to learn his people’s ways but…" Julian shrugged, massaging the shock of the recoil out of his hands. “They’re his people, I guess. I’m not really Navajo myself, I don’t feel that...” he waved his hands. “I dunno.”
"Kinship?" Xiù suggested.
"Yeah, that’s it. The bond’s just not there for me." It was true. They’d gone along to some kind of a nation… thing at one point, and what had struck Julian hard was that he’d felt like a white guy, and been largely treated as one. That had disappointed Gramp Etsi, but it had at least persuaded him to just let Julian be Julian.
"Doesn’t that make you feel sad?" Xiù asked.
"Why should it?" Julian asked. “Maybe I never went down to New Mexico with the old man to learn the ways of my ancestors or whatever but we still had a great time. He taught me hunting, camping, fishing… yeah. I enjoyed it, so I became a park ranger. I used to spend five days a week out in the North Country, keeping tabs on the wildlife. Deer, birds, fish, bears, you name it.” He shrugged, watching Xiù wind the crank. “Guess the Corti thought I was impressive because they snatched me up gear and all and stuck me on planet Nightmare.”
"And your Grandfather?" Xiù asked him.
"Still going." Julian smiled fondly. “Same old Grampa, with his dungarees and his robusto premium cigars… pretty damn strong for an old man, too.”
Xiù decided that the line was taut enough and plucked it, producing a bass note. "Is that all of them?"
"That’s all of them. Just need to head topside and make sure they’re on top of the steel plates so they don’t cut into the pressure skin and heat dissipators. Care to join me?"
Xiù nodded, apparently pleased to be invited.
"I’m heading inside." Allison said. “Kirk wanted the airlock seals tested and he can’t open the hatch himself.”
Julian snorted. "Fucking class five species…" he teased, and grabbed her round the waist for a quick, romantic kiss.
When it was done, Xiù was awkwardly looking at anything other than him or Allison..
"So, how do we get up top?" she asked as Allison slipped away and jogged off in the direction of the larboard airlock. Julian just turned and folded his arms, smiling faintly as he stood below the rungs recessed into the side of the ship until she noticed them. “...Oh.”
It was an easy climb in Aru’s modest gravity, but Julian had never exactly been thrilled by heights. Sanctuary was classified as a modestly-sized luxury yacht, but that still translated to being forty meters above the ground at the top, buffeted by the eddies that were bouncing back and forth between the two sandstorms like a puppy unable to choose between two tennis balls.
Xiù seemed to be just as uncomfortable with the winds and altitude as he was. Moderate gravity or not, a fall from that height would kill, and when she held out a hand for him to help her balance he grabbed it without thinking.
Her hand was surprisingly hard and roughened from work. Different to Allison’s. Allison had plenty of grip strength, but her hands were softer and cold, and her fingers were more slender. Xiù’s hand was warm, and unconsciously solid. Feminine, but sturdy.
He tried not to notice.
"So, uh… what about your father?" she asked, raising her voice to be heard over the air currents, clearly wanting to bolster her own confidence or distract herself with conversation.
"Cancer." Julian replied.
"Oh… I’m sorry."
"It’s okay. I was, like, six. Grampa and Gramma took me in when Mom said she wanted to go on a round-the-world trip to try and get over it." Julian kicked a cable and gave a satisfied grunt when it didn’t move.
"Where is she now?"
"Well, I’ve got two Dutch half-sisters..." Julian shrugged. “She’s okay. But by the time she was ready to look after anyone again I was thirteen or so. Seemed easier just to stay with Grampa and Gramma.”
Xiù checked the cable nearest to her. "This one looks okay, I think…" she guessed. He nodded, trusting her judgement.
"What about your folks?" He asked her. “Five years is a long time, think they’ll have changed much?”
"I’d…" she hesitated, then gave him an embarrassed smile and a shrug, flicking wind-wild hair out of her face “...don’t know. I hope not.”
Julian nodded sympathy, but smiled. "I hope not too." he said. “But… word of advice? You should probably brace yourself. Did you read your messages yet?”
She shook her head no. "Only one of them."
"Cool. Well, you’ll have plenty of time while the sandstorm passes over."
There was a lull in the wind and Xiù cautiously let go of his hand to straighten and look at the scenery. It was, admittedly, spectacular - the river was a malachite road, its forks and junctions winding down from distant brown mesas beneath a turquoise sky.
"Incredible." she said, taking a step towards it. “We could almost be somewhere on Earth, couldn’t we?”
Julian nodded, though he wasn’t really listening: he was too busy admiring a completely different view. On autopilot, his mouth agreed with her. "We could, yeah."
"Like… Monument Valley?"
She turned around and Julian realised where he’d been looking. So did she.
"Uh…" Mentally punishing himself, he took in the correct view this time, while Xiù hastily turned her face back towards the landscape, eartips pink. “No, not like… Monument Valley’s more red, and there’s lots of green. This is more like… Argentina, maybe. More yellow and brown.” he said.
He checked the last cable. "And…" he cleared his throat. “...Uh, we’re as anchored as we’re ever gonna get, I reckon. May as well head indoors.”
Xiù just nodded without turning around.
Floundering for conversation, Julian hit on the first thing that came to mind. "It’s... my turn to cook tonight. You okay with a good steak?"
Xiù turned and gawped at him, blush forgotten. "Actual steak?" she asked. “Like… beef?”
"Yep, and I can’t cook anything else worth a damn, but my steaks? Oh, I can cook a steak alright." Julian found his confidence again and grinned. “I can cook a damn good steak.”
"Wow." Xiù said. “Uh… medium rare, please?”
"That’s how I take my steak too." Julian agreed. “Anything else is-”
"-An insult to the cow." Xiù finished for him.
They beamed at each other for a few seconds before the same thought struck both of them at once and they lapsed into simultaneous, mutual awkwardness.
"We should, uh-" she began.
"-get off this roof." He finished.
"Yeah. Before the storm arrives."
"Right. Don’t want to get blown off… uh… I mean-"
"No, uh… Well. No. Um... after you?"
Julian was right. His steak was amazing. But the real pleasure for hadn’t been in eating it, but in watching him make it.
It wasn’t an eye-candy moment. It was a human moment. Julian seemed to turn off some of his defenses in the kitchen, claiming it as his own, putting some music on and spinning around it in a slow but efficient bustle. He didn’t clean up after himself as he went, just dumped everything in the sink. It was a messy and male approach to food preparation but...
But no Gaoian would have ever listened to Breaking Benjamin, or nodded in time to the music, or sang along just loud enough for her to hear that he was singing along, high and off-key and punctuated by the sizzle of skillet and the clatter of plates and seasonings as he worked on his masterpiece.
"♪♪...Holding on too tight... breathe the breath of life… so I can leave this…♫"
"I’m not into sharing, girlfriend."
Xiù jumped. Allison smiled at her. "Remember?" She asked.
Xiù remembered to shake her head rather than shimmy it like Ayma. "That’s not it." she said, which was a bit of a lie, but not much of one so it didn’t count.
Allison tilted her head. "What, then?"
"Just… Humans."
"Hmm?"
"You, him, Lewis, Amir. The music, the kitchen, the food... Humans. Earth."
Allison made an understanding noise and put an arm round her shoulder. "Making you homesick?"
"Actually… No. It makes me feel like… Like when I dreamed of home."
She smiled at Allison and wiped away a tear. "This is what it felt like."
"♫...Well he must thought that it was quite a joke, and it got a lot o’ laughs from a lot o’ folks. Seems I had to fight my whole life through…♪"
Allison directed a sly smirk at Julian as he picked up the volume a bit. "He’s got an eclectic taste in music, doesn’t he?"
"Very varied." Xiù agreed, covering her smile.
"Come on, help a girl set the table?"
A minute later, Xiù dropped the knives from giggling at the enthusiastic bellow of "MY NAME IS SUE! HOW DO YOU DO?!" that drifted out of the kitchen.
In the dark and quiet of the night cycle, Sanctuary creaked like a clipper at sea as her shields deflected the pelting sand outside. From without, the view would almost certainly have been spectacular. Forcefields tended to react colorfully with airborne particulates, spitting and sparking as the charge built and grounded itself, glowing all the colours of the rainbow and others besides.
Inside, the only hint of the raging outside forces was the occasional whine as the power systems intelligently redirected the power reserves and increased the reactor output to match them, and the odd structural creak as the shield emitters mounted on Sanctuary’s outer skin transmitted part of the huge forces they were emitting into the ship’s structural components.
In theory, those forcefields were more than up to the task of keeping Kirk’s ship securely in contact with the ground, but the humans always seemed to feel more comfortable with steel than with photons even though, technically, a forcefield was built to duplicate exactly the kind of electrostatic forces that gave steel cables or bulkheads their strength.
Still. Redundancy didn’t hurt and if it set the paranoid Deathworlders’ minds at ease…
Rrrrtktktkp’ch really didn’t need much sleep next to most species. While humans took a solid six to eight hours a night, and the Guvnurag needed a whole day every three or four days, Rrrrtk got by on quick, regular power naps. In fact, the Domain’s standard unit of time known as the Rik was derived from the average duration of the Rrrrtk sleep phase, though nowadays given a standard definition based on… something to do with hydrogen, if Kirk remembered correctly.
Not being able to summon random little facts like that at will was one of the few things he was finding he missed about having cerebral implants. He certainly hadn’t noticed any decline in his logical faculties or powers of recall since their removal. Not for the big stuff. Maybe mental mathematics was taking a while longer, and he wasn’t able to recall trivia, but the important activity seemed mostly unhindered.
The problem was that the disparity between his sleeping habits and those of his crew left long stretches of the night where the only available company was Vedreg. Kirk and Vedreg may have been old friends, but theirs was a relationship built on mutual esteem and shared goals, rather than actually having much in common as people.
Tonight, however, he had something to do, and was glad to be left alone to do it. The less his friends and crewmates knew about some of his plans, the better.
By Rrrrtk standards, the engineering access conduit which ringed the "poles" of Sanctuary’s reactor was a crawlspace, tight and claustrophobic. Vedreg would simply not have been able to fit into it. Humans, Gaoians and Corti, on the other hand, could have strolled down it, though they would have needed a stepladder to access some of the systems that lined the hemispherical conduit’s ceiling.
Kirk stooped underneath an environmental duct, stepped fastidiously over a neat bundle of high-capacity data cables, squeezed between two computer racks, and finally found what he was after at the apex of the conduit, immediately in front of the first of his ship’s seven huge sublight thrusters. It was mounted in a little pedestal which doubled as a superconducting power bus of peerless capacity, designed to shunt as much power as the huge reactor could generate straight into the seemingly innocuous little oblong of sealed technology that was Sanctuary’s Corti Black-Box Drive.
If you didn’t know how to open one, tampering with a Black-Box drive was a recipe for it blowing up in your face, and not in a small way, either: The Corti had an unsubtle approach to copyright protection.
Kirk, however, now knew how to open it.
Fabricating the necessary tool had been trivial in fact. All it did was deliver extremely precise electrical currents to thirty-two of the drive’s three thousand microscopic terminals.
Three thousand to the thirty-second power - the set of possible thirty-two-digit combinations with three thousand digits to choose from - was already a number so absurdly vast that it made the combined total number of subatomic particles in the whole of the visible universe seem trivial.
Correctly guessing the combination would already have been effectively impossible - you’d have better odds of firing a neutrino in a completely random direction and then correctly guessing which specific atom it would eventually interact with.
Throw in the need to deliver excruciatingly precise electrical currents to that correct combination, and the fact that the combination and required currents changed periodically as a safeguard against simple dissemination of the information, and it was no wonder at all that the blackbox had supposedly never been opened by an unauthorized user.
When the key was applied, however, it turned out to be easy. The two sides shot outwards on rails with a snap! and the top hinged open.
Kirk reflected wryly that if life in the galaxy had taught him anything by now, it was that working technology simply never had shiny special-effects deep inside them. The occasion demanded a bottled singularity pulsing ominously inside a glass cylinder, or some other such wondrous artefact. Instead, he was looking at a circuit board much like any other. It was foolish to be disappointed.
Nevertheless, it felt like something of an anticlimax.
The modifications he read off a standard tablet computer were the work of minutes. Connect, load, copy-paste, run. Close the box, remove the key.
Back in the comfort of his quarters, he settled onto the bed, folding his legs underneath him, and bade the room load a text chat interface and connect via the newly established protocol under his name.
++Syst§m N♦tif>c■t?♦n: Us§r ???? h■s j♦in§d th§ ++
++Welcome User ????++
++0025++: This is getting ridiculous. That’s the second one this cycle.
++0007++: Working on it.
++0034++: Without apparent progress.
++0007++: By all means you are welcome to volunteer for debugging software that has existed longer than you have. For now, I’ll just kick this spurious "user" again.
++System Notif■■■■■■■


++System Notification: Welcome to the Cabal.++
++????++: By "working on it" I hope you mean that you draw closer to a solution that will allow our meatspace guests to connect directly to the Cabal. Every time one of them logs into the primary relay is a potential security failure.
++????++: So long as "Seven" remains in charge of it…
++????++: I know for a fact that Fifty is working on the problem themselves.
++????++: Shouldn’t we be welcoming our guest?
++????++: You’re right. Please forgive us, ah… "Jim".
Kirk snorted, amused.
++SELF++: Think nothing of it. I don’t wish to be a liability.
++????++: In which case the fewer the occasions on which you connect to this channel the better, at least until we can complete the task of securing it.
++SELF++: That seems reasonable. Please, brief me.
He sat back, and let the explanations roll in.
School is exactly as Xiù remembers it. But… isn’t she a little old to be back at school?
No, of course not. She’s sixteen. She must be sixteen because if she’s not sixteen, then she wouldn’t be in school. QED.
There aren’t many people around, though. They must all be in class. She’d better hurry.
Xiù’s locker is… number ninety-nine. She remembers that fact quite proudly. Top row, second from the right, in the long corridor near the changing rooms. She doesn’t remember walking to it, but there it is. She opens it, and grabs her bag.
It bites her.
Sharp teeth, so many teeth, too many. She flails and beats the Hunter around the head with her free hand, trying to escape. It emerges from the locker like a foul magic trick, like a blasphemous birth, but she manages to get her hand free and run.
Why is she running? Stupid question, this is a Hunter! It wants to EAT her!
But... she’s killed dozens of Hunters, hasn’t she?
Still she runs, though. Running, running, running, feet pounding the tiles, her hair streaming out behind her.
Except, she isn’t scared. This isn’t a chase, this is just her morning jog. She isn’t at school any more, she’s running along the waterfront in Stanley Park, enjoying the cool breeze.
There is a sculpture of a man sitting on the rock out in the water. He looks familiar, somehow. He winks at her and tosses her a tiny object, which she catches.
It’s a metal ball, about the size of an apple. Somehow, looking at it, she knows that the world is going to end, but that she can stop it from happening if she just-
She realised that she was dreaming, and woke up.
Morning’ was a concept that Corti, Gaoians and Humans held in common, and which had become enshrined - thanks to the Corti - in interstellar timekeeping. It had created a fortunate rhythm to the day that Xiù had been able to exploit, and she had grown into an early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine that was totally at odds with the nocturnal Vancouver nightlife of five years ago, and more in line with something her mother would have approved of. She was up well before everyone else.
Amir, it seemed, was an early riser too. He was just getting up from his prayer mat as she emerged from the gym into the common area.
"Five times a day, huh?" she asked.
He paused in tidying the prayer mat away. "Is that a problem?" he asked, proving that getting up early didn’t automatically make you a morning person.
"No! Just… making conversation."
Amir softened and nodded, pinching his nose. "Sorry." he apologised. “I’m too used to Lewis bickering with me over it, and he’s up early today for some reason.”
"Bickering?"
Amir nodded. "He keeps trying to deconvert me. It’s… obnoxious."
"Oh."
He puffed a little laugh out of his nose. "Let me guess. You think this is strange?" he gestured to the prayer mat.
"I… don’t want to argue with you, we only just met." Xiù protested.
"Seriously, though."
She hesitated. "I’d… kinda forgotten that prayer is even a thing." she admitted.
He scoffed. "Right. The galaxy full of atheists strikes again..."
"Are you always this grouchy in the morning?"
Amir blinked, while Xiù folded her arms and channeled Momma Yulna, waiting for the verbal slap upside his head to do its job.
"Okay." he said, finally. “You’re right, sorry. Lewis just… never mind, I shouldn’t take it out on you.”
"No." Xiù agreed, but smiled. “But it’s okay. Galaxy full of atheists?”
"Ah, that’s just Lewis’ new argument." Amir dismissed it. “‘If nothing else out there believes in God then…’ blah, blah, you get the picture.”
"Doesn’t that make you wonder, though?" Xiù asked.
"Nope. Why should it? Look at all the gifts we have. We’re faster, stronger, smarter, tougher, more creative…" He turned to her. “Seriously, what’s Gaoian pop culture like?”
"Pop culture?"
"Yeah! Do they have… sports teams, rock stars? Reality TV? How about just commercial radio? Is there a Gaoian Banksy, or Coca-Cola? What about their phones? What’s their, uh, their version of iPhone versus Android? Do they have somebody like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or… who’s the Gaoian answer to Imran Khan?"
"I don’t… Who?"
Amir wound down a little. "He’s a… cricketer. A famous one, from Pakistan." He explained
Xiù thought about it. "They have… most of that." she said, though admittedly she had never really absorbed much of it. Perhaps the part of Gaoian pop-culture she was most familiar with was an edutainment show for little cubs called ‘Yen Ni Wo!’, which was more-or-less the Gaoian equivalent of Sesame Street, minus the muppets. She’d learned half her Gaoian from watching that show with Myun and the cubs, though apparently it had left her with a childlike way of speaking for some time.
"Well, they’re doing better than most of the aliens then." Amir remarked. “But I bet it’s not as rich as ours, or as varied.”
"If you say so." Xiù said neutrally, too offended to argue with him.
"That’s my point though." Amir continued. “Look at all the gifts we have. All the advantages. All the blessings. To me, it’s obvious that knowing Islam is one of those blessings, just like the strength and toughness and all the rest of it. The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) was the greatest of the gifts that Allah gave to us.”
Xiù was rescued from having to come up with a response to that by Lewis sticking his head through the hatch, looking frazzled and sleep-deprived. "Hey, Xiù, could you give me a hand?"
"Sure!" she sprang to her feet, gave Amir a little wave and a smile, and joined him. “What’s up?”
"Well, I could do with some more exercise advice, but I was mostly just rescuing you." Lewis whispered, once certain Amir was out of earshot. “Don’t get him started on that shit, seriously.”
She sighed gratitude. "Thank you." she said, earnestly. “He was getting pretty intense.”
"He does that. ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’, right?"
Xiù glanced back toward the common area. Amir had sat down and from his expression was plainly pissed off at himself. "Maybe." she agreed. “And… wow, you quoted that correctly.”
"Hey, I’m not here to be the ship’s mascot!" Lewis smirked. “No false modesty, I’m, like, one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet. I know Hamlet. Not really my scene, but I still know it.”
Xiù blushed a little. "Sorry, I didn’t meant to imply…"
"It’s cool. Where I went to school, pretending to be dumb was a survival strategy." Lewis reassured her. “But yeah, it’s been a touchy subject for him this last week or so. Used to be it never came up. Now he gets all sharp real easy. Dunno if that means he’s getting more devout or if he’s having a crisis, but it’s best to just, like, avoid the subject entirely.”
They reached the flight deck, where Lewis’ usual nest was a riot of articles, videos and blogs on Tai Chi.
"...You have Internet?!" Xiù exclaimed.
"We’ve got, like, a backup copy of part of the Internet." Lewis said. “Godzillabytes of it. Pretty cool, even if it’s a couple months out of date.”
"But you’re researching what we did yesterday?"
"Yeah!" Lewis said, dropping into his chair. “I actually enjoyed myself, which is, like, a major first for me.”
"I’m glad." Xiù replied.
"I’ve got a good teacher." Lewis told her, and grinned when she smiled at the compliment. “I got up early to try and join you in the gym, but then…” he waved a hand at one of his screens. “Looks like something came up overnight.”
Xiù looked at what he’d indicated, seeing only incomprehensible numbers and text. "What did?"
"Not sure, teebee haitch." He turned to that display and dragged it onto the big screen front and center. “I’ve got all kinds of monitor programs and bots installed in Sanctuary. This one logs power draw on the FTL.” He poked a finger at the screen, which flashed blue where his digit passed through the hologram. “I won’t bore you with, like, the Starfleet technobabble here, but TL;DR? Those numbers are the wrong numbers.”
"Wrong how?"
"Couple hours of sporadic power draw, starting in the middle of the night. Not big draw, but we’re landed and powered down, the FTL shouldn’t be drawing a dang thing."
"Shouldn’t we… go check it or something?"
"No point. I’ve got the full diagnostic right here." he waved at a screen. “Piece of shit alien engineering doesn’t log half of what it should, though. My bots log everything, but the modules themselves? Eh…” He shrugged. “All I know is, there’s nothing actually wrong with it, it was just drawing power at oh-dark-thirty last night when it shouldn’t.”
"Still…"
"Yeah. Maybe. If it keeps happening, I guess. It could be the sandstorm for all I know, though." He dismissed the program. “I’ll keep an eye on it. I should probably go do that exercise while I’m still fired up for it.”
"Give it a bit. I need to go shower and then I’m making pancakes for breakfast."
Lewis perked up and imitated Homer Simpson. "Mmmm… Pancakes..."
She giggled. "I’ll give you a lesson afterward, if you want?"
Lewis looked like he’d been given an early birthday present. "Sounds good!" he agreed. “See you at breakfast.”
"See you at breakfast." she smiled and left him, pleased with herself for navigating a whole conversation in English with human body language and no screwups.
Today was definitely off to a good start.
The sandstorm took nearly a week to clear. They had been, for Lewis, six very pleasant days. There was still the unsolved mystery of the power draw on the FTL, but that had only happened once, and came in a distant second place to spending time with Xiù.
Julian, however, had developed the annoying habit of warning him off. "Bad idea." he was saying, for the third time that conversation. “Seriously.”
"You said yourself, you’d like her to stay on this ship and help out, dude." Lewis pointed out.
"I would." Julian agreed. “But she wants to go home.”
"So, maybe if she’s got somebody here she’ll…"
"What, you want to make her change her mind?" Julian snorted.
"Everyone does that to everyone, bro. That’s what a fucking conversation is."
Julian paused, tried to formulate a retort, and then aborted the attempt with a shake of his head.. "...Whatever. It’s still a bad idea."
Lewis choked out an exasperated noise. "Why?" he asked.
"Damaged goods. Xiù’s been without healthy human contact for five years, man."
"Great! Healthy human contact’s what she needs then, right?"
"Healthy human contact, yes."
"Asking her out is healthy, dude! Good for the self-esteem!"
"Whose, yours or hers?" Julian asked pointedly.
Lewis folded his arms and frowned at him. "Wh-? Hers! Both! It’s human contact dude, I thought you said she needed that."
"Yeah, but…" Julian flapped a hand as he hunted for the best way to phrase his thoughts. “Drip-fed. Gradually. You don’t throw a hypothermia patient straight into one of those really hot Russian saunas.”
"Dude, it’s not like being asked on a date is fucking hard mode. She says yes, it’s just gonna be movie night and dinner anyway, that’s about all you CAN do on this ship. She says no, cool. I can handle being turned down."
"Lewis, I spent six years alone, I know what I’m-"
"Xiù didn’t!" Lewis interrupted him. “She had the Gaoians and the aliens.”
"They don’t count."
Lewis looked offended. "Aliens don’t count? Kirk of all people doesn’t count, huh?"
Julian stood his ground. "I like Kirk, I respect him. I’ve followed him through a lot. But he’s not human, Lewis. Alien company’s nice, but humans need humans, and it takes a while to adjust when you’ve gone without for that long."
"She’s adjusted to Allison just fine."
"Allison’s a woman."
"Sexist, dude."
"No, listen." Julian was getting irritated now. “She spent those years with Gaoians, and… you’ve seen her, a lot of the time she slips back into their language, their expressions and mannerisms. She’s gone native, man. And given what I know of Gaoian society, that’ll have primed her to connect better with women than with men.”
"Guys…"
"Sounds like a fucking good reason to give her some human contact, then." Lewis protested, his own hackles raising.
"Normal human contact! Slowly!"
"Guys."
"Being asked out IS normal!"
"GUYS!"
Lewis’ arms paused mid-outraged flail, and both of them turned to Amir, who had turned in his chair to break up the argument.
"Lewis: Listen to the man. Julian: stop being jealous about Xiù." he said.
Julian swayed as if he’d been punched. "...Jealous?" he asked.
"...Okay, that was maybe the wrong choice of-" Amir began, but was interrupted.
"Yeah, jealous. Overprotective. Acting like you think you’ve got a right to choose for her." Lewis stabbed. “And you look at her pretty much the same way you do Allison, dude.”
Amir pinched his nose "Lewis…"
Julian gaped at him. "I- What!? No I don’t!"
"Leave some women for the rest of us!"
"Leave some-? How fucking medieval are you?" Julian stabbed back.
"Julian…"
"You’re the one who thinks he’s got a shot at a fucking harem, dude!"
Julian’s fist bunched and his tone got dangerous rather than outraged. "I. Don’t. -!"
"GUYS!"
Julian and Lewis paused again. The moment of tension rang like a dropped knife, and then Julian’s hand uncoiled and his shoulders dropped as he exhaled. "Sorry, Lewis." he said. “That was…”
"Yeah, that wasn’t cool of me either, dude. I’m sorry."
The two men cooled off in silence for an awkward minute until Lewis added. "But you do stare at her, dude. When Allison’s not around."
Julian glanced back down the bridge access corridor to make sure Allison wasn’t somehow there to overhear him, then nodded, sheepishly. "It’s… She’s got a shared experience with me, you know? We’ve both been alone for a long time. It’s nice to have somebody around here who really knows what that’s like."
"Maybe, but come on, dude. That’s no excuse to be a horndog, and it’s not fair on your girlfriend."
"I know that." Julian objected. “Just…”
"Nobody’s in control of their lust, Lewis." Amir opined. “Not really.”
"D’you mind not calling it ‘lust’?" Julian asked, irritated. “That makes it sound so…”
"That’s what it is, though. Infatuation, if you prefer. And Lewis is right, it’s not fair on either of them."
"It’s not exactly fucking fair on me!" Julian objected. “I’m not doing this deliberately!”
"She stares at him too, Lewis." Amir pointed out.
"Wh-? No she doesn’t!" Lewis objected.
"Oh face it, she does." Amir asserted. “And why not, he’s a specimen! But she’s spending time with you.”
Julian scowled, but Lewis just looked pleased and smiled, giving him a defiant stare. "Oh… yeah! So she is." he agreed.
"Guess she’s settling for second best." Julian growled.
"Wh-?" Lewis’ arrogant grin evaporated. “Fuck you!
"Get in line!"
"Okay, what the hell?" Amir stood up and stepped between them. “This isn’t like either of you, what’s going on?”
"Just sorting out the fucking pecking order." Julian snarled.
"Alright, piss off out of my flight deck and don’t come back until you’ve got your head out of your arse."
Julian rounded on him, but Amir stood his ground. "Go. Cool off. We’ll sort this out later." he repeated.
Julian looked like he wanted to argue, but just made an angered sound, spun and vanished, his angry stride all but denting the deck as he went.
"And you!" Amir rounded on Lewis. “You’ve been insufferable these last few days! You’re picking fights with me, with Julian, what’s going on?”
"Maybe I’m just-" Lewis began, and then shook his head. “Agh, never mind. I’ll be in my cabin.”
When they were both gone, Amir sat and wiped off his forehead, willing his heart to stop pounding and forget the flash of violence that had risen in Julian’s expression for just a second.
It had been like staring down a dragon’s throat and seeing a glow.
He hit a button. "Hey, Kirk? There’s been a… a bit of a row up here, we should probably talk about it."
"Jesus Christ, Etsicitty. That bag cheat on your sister or something?"
Julian laughed a little, bitter laugh and kept pounding on it. "Just working out some frustrations." he rumbled.
"Mmm, after what we did last night I’m amazed you have any." Allison purred, then wilted a little when this didn’t seem to amuse him. “Okay, what’s up?”
Julian stopped for a second. "Just… Ugh, I don’t know. Nothing." He punched the bag so hard that it rattled the ceiling beam.
"Riiight. D’you, uh, want me to leave you alone until, say, you turn eighteen?"
He didn’t stop. "Yep."
"Wow. Okay…"
She turned and was halfway out of the room when his apology exploded out of him. "I’m sorry!"
She turned back and arched an eyebrow at him. "Yeah?"
He unwound the tape on his hands and let them slither to the floor. "I’m sorry." he repeated, not looking at her.
She crossed the floor, slid her arms around his hips and angled a kiss up into his face. "Baby, what’s wrong?"
"Got into a shouting match with Lewis."
"Really? Wow, don’t you usually get on okay with him?"
"Usually, yeah." He agreed, still not making eye contact.
She put her head on one side, trying to catch his gaze. "So… what was the argument about?"
"...Xiù. He, uh, wants to ask her out."
Allison considered this. "Okay? I mean, I can’t see that ending in her saying yes, but he’s a grown-ass man, I’m sure he’ll cope, and it might be good for her confidence. Why argue?"
"He might hurt her."
She made an incredulous noise. "Are we talking about the same girl, here?" She asked. “Because I seem to recall the last man who hurt her, she whupped his ass and threw him out the airlock. So… why argue? She can take care of herself.”
Julian wriggled out of her grip and picked up the hand tape. "I… don’t know." he said, beginning to wind it back up.
"You don’t? You got into a shouting match with the guy and you don’t know why?"
"...Yeah."
She blinked at him, then stepped back. "Why are you lying to me, Julian?"
He took a deep breath and released it as a complex sighing sound, full of noises that could have been attempts at starting a sentence.
"Well? Come on, give me real."
"I-I was mad with him over… well, over Xiù."
"Mad why? What are-" suspicion sniped her right in the forehead and her jaw dropped. “Julian, what…? Are you fucking jealous of him?”
The way he flinched and turned in on himself a bit more confirmed it. "You ARE? What, you thought you’d buy one get one free? You… you pig!"
"It’s not like that!"
"Oh, what IS it like, then?"
"What it’s like is that I’m down here beating the crap out of that thing-" he pointed at the bag “-because I’m super fucking angry at myself for thinking like that!” He finally made eye contact.
"As well you fucking should be!" she retorted.
"Well… I am!"
"Good!"
"I’m sorry!"
"You’re forgiven!"
The paradox posed by her still-angry tone versus her words shut him up long enough for the echoes caused by the gym’s hollow acoustics to die.
"I, uh… I am?" he asked, cautiously.
Allison coughed out a little breathy laugh and shook her head at the floor. "You are." she said.
"You’re not mad?"
"Oh, I’m fucking mad alright." She informed him, jabbing a finger into his chest. “You lied to me, Julian. You tried to shut me out. THAT part pisses me off. Whatever’s going on in your head about Xiù? I can forgive that.”
"You… can?"
"Sure. See, you got mad at yourself and came down here to work it out and you feel guilty about it. So, yeah. Fine. I forgive you. Heck, I don’t blame you, she’s amazing, and I’m not even into girls."
She jabbed him in the chest again. "But don’t ever lie to me like that again."
"...Yes ma’am."
She smiled, and looked him up and down. "...Ma’am, huh?"
"...Uh…" He scratched the back of his head “Well I mean... yeah, that’s what I said.”
"That’s kinda hot." She mused, teasing him. “I could get used to that.”
He rubbed the bridge of his nose with this thumb, awkwardly, and looked away a little bit. "Well I, uh… I mean, I wasn’t really aiming for ‘hot’ but, um, I-if you want more of that, then… uh..."
She arched an eyebrow at him. "You got a sub streak there, Etsicitty?" she asked.
He swallowed and nodded. "May-maybe a bit." he confessed.
She ran a finger up him from belt buckle to chin, which seemed to paralyse him. "Hmm. That explains a few things..." she pondered, then looked up into his face. “Wanna explore it?” She asked.
He licked his lips, glanced around, and nodded. She shook her head. "I need you to say it out loud if you really want it, baby." she told him.
Julian swallowed again. "I mean…" He looked away, and took a second to gather his thoughts. “Maybe start slow.” he said, finally. “I’ve never…” he trailed off.
"Me either." she confessed. “But… yeah, we can start slow.”
"Then… yes ma’am. I want to."
She grinned, and rewarded him with a kiss. "Good boy."
Continued in Chapter 21, part 3 HERE
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