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General Election Polling Discussion Thread (June 2020)

Introduction

Welcome to the /politics polling discussion thread for the general election. As the election nears, polling of both the national presidential popular vote and important swing states is ramping up, and with both parties effectively deciding on nominees, pollsters can get in the field to start assessing the state of the presidential race.
Please use this thread to discuss polling and the general state of the presidential or congressional election. Below, you'll find some of the most recent polls, but this is by no means exhaustive, as well as some links to prognosticators sharing election models.
As always though, polls don't vote, people do. Regardless of whether your candidate is doing well or poorly, democracy only works when people vote, and there are always at least a couple polling misses every cycle, some of which are pretty high profile. If you haven't yet done so, please take some time to register to vote or check your registration status.

Polls

Below is a collection of recent polling of the US Presidential election. This is likely incomplete and also omits the generic congressional ballot as well as Senate/House/Gubernatorial numbers that may accompany these polls. Please use the discussion space below to discuss any additional polls not covered. Additionally, not all polls are created equal. If this is your first time looking at polls, the FiveThirtyEight pollster ratings page is a helpful tool to assess historic partisan lean in certain pollsters, as well as their past performance.
Pollster Date Released Race Trump Biden
Yougov 6/26 National 39 47
Marist/NPPBS 6/26 National 44 52
HarrisX 6/26 National 39 43
KFF 6/26 National 38 51
Climate Nexus 6/26 National 41 48
Fox News 6/25 Texas 44 45
Fox News 6/25 N. Carolina 45 47
Fox News 6/25 Georgia 45 47
Fox News 6/25 Florida 40 49
CNBC/Hart/POS 6/25 National 38 47
Hodas (R) 6/25 Michigan 38 56
Hodas (R) 6/25 Wisconsin 39 55
Hodas (R) 6/25 Pennsylvania 42 54
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Wisconsin 36 45
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 N. Carolina 40 46
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Arizona 39 43
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Michigan 36 47
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Pennsylvania 39 49
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Florida 41 45
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 N. Carolina 40 49
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Florida 41 47
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Michigan 36 47
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Pennsylvania 40 50
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Arizona 41 48
Data for Progress 6/24 National 44 50
PPP (D) 6/24 N. Carolina 46 48
Ipsos 6/24 National 37 47
Quinnipiac U. 6/24 Ohio 45 46
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/24 National 36 50
Morning Consult 6/24 National 39 47
Marquette LS 6/24 Wisconsin 42 51
PPP (D) 6/23 National 43 52
PPP (D) 6/23 Texas 48 46
Trafalgar (R) 6/22 Michigan 45 46
Echelon 6/22 National 42 50
Gravis 6/20 Minnesota 42 58
SurveyMonkey 6/20 National 43 53
Gravis/OANN 6/20 N. Carolina 46 43
Saint Anselm College 6/18 New Hampshire 42 49
Fox News 6/18 National 38 50
0ptimus 6/18 National 44 50
Civiqs (D) 6/18 Kentucky 57 37
Quinnipiac U. 6/18 National 41 49
UCLA/Democracy Fund 6/18 National 39 50
Change Research 6/17 Arizona 44 45
Change Research 6/17 N. Carolina 45 47
Change Research 6/17 Michigan 45 47
Change Research 6/17 Wisconsin 44 48
Change Research 6/17 Pennsylvania 46 49
Change Research 6/17 Florida 43 50
Change Research 6/17 National 41 51
Civiqs (D) 6/16 Arizona 45 49
PPP (D) 6/16 Georgia 46 48
PPP (D) 6/16 New Mexico 39 53
TIPP/Am. Greatness (R) 6/16 Michigan 38 51
TIPP/Am. Greatness (R) 6/16 Florida 40 51
NORC/AEI 6/16 National 32 40
EPIC-MRA 6/16 Michigan 39 55
Scott Rasmussen 6/15 National 36 48
Abacus Data 6/15 National 41 51
SelzeDMR 6/15 Iowa 44 43
Hendrix College 6/14 Arkansas 47 45
Remington Research (R) 6/13 Missouri 51 43
Meeting Street Insights 6/12 National 38 49

Election Predictions

Prognosticators

Prognosticators are folks who make projected electoral maps, often on the strength of educated guesses as well as inside information in some cases from campaigns sharing internals with the teams involved. Below are a few of these prognosticators and their assessment of the state of the race:

Polling Models

Polling models are similar to prognosticators (and often the model authors will act like pundits as well), but tend to be about making "educated guesses" on the state of the election. Generally, the models are structured to take in data such as polls and electoral fundamentals, and make a guess based on research on prior elections as to the state of the race in each state. Below are a few of the more prominent models that are online or expected to be online soon:

Prediction Markets

Prediction markets are betting markets where people put money on the line to estimate the likelihood of one party winning a seat or state. Most of these markets will also tend to move depending on polling and other socioeconomic factors in the same way that prognosticators and models will work. Predictit and Election Betting Odds are prominent in this space, although RealClearPolitics has an aggregate of other betting sites as well.
submitted by Isentrope to politics [link] [comments]

Script for "History of the entire world I guess" by Bill wurtz

hi, you're on a rock floating in space. pretty cool, huh? some of it's water. fuck it. actually, most of it's water. i can't even get from here to there without buying a boat. it's sad. i'm sad. i miss you. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? a long time ago... actually, never. and also now. nothing is nowhere. when? never. makes sense, right? like i said, it didn't happen. nothing was never anywhere. that's why it's been everywhere. it's been so "everywhere," you don't need a "where." you don't even need a "when." that's how "every" it gets. forget this. i wanna be something. go somewhere. do something. i want things to change. i want to invent time and space. and i know it's possible because everything is here, and it probably already happened. i just don't know when to start. and that's exactly where it started. big bang— pause woah. i paused it. i think there's a universe now. what's it made of? quarks and stuff. ah, that's a thing! in a place! don't like it? try a new place, at a different Time™. try to stick together, because the world is gonna get bigger and emptier. but it's not empty yet! it's still very full, and about a kjghpillion degrees. about no seconds later great news! the quarks are now happily married in groups of three, called a "proton" and a "neutron." and there's something else flying around that wants to join in, but can't cause it's too HOT. ten minutes later great news! the protons and neutrons are now happily married to each other! some of them even doubled up. about 380,000 years later great news! the electrons have now joined in. congratulations! the world is now... a bunch of gas in space. but it's getting closer together... ten million years later and it's getting closer together... 500 million years later and it's getting closer togeth—star is born it's a star new shit just got made! some stars burn out and die. bigger stars burn out and die with passion! and make some brand new way crazier shit. space dust! which allows for newer and more interesting stars to be made, and then die and explode into even crazier space dust! so now, stars have cool stuff around them, like rocks, ice, and funny clouds, which can make some very interesting things. like this ball of flaming rocks, for example. meteor hits earth holy shit, we just got hit by another ball of flaming rocks. and it kind of... made a mess. which is now the moon weather update: it's raining rocks from outer space. weather update: those rocks might've had water inside of them and now there's hot steam in the sky. weather update: cooler temperatures today and the floor is no longer lava. weather update... it's raining. severe flooding alert, the entire world is now an ocean. volcano alert. that's land! there'slifeintheocean what? something's alive in the ocean oh, cool. like a plant, or an animal? no! a microscopic speck. it lives in the bottom of the ocean and eats chemical soup, which is being served hot and fresh, made from gnarly space ingredients left over from when it was raining rocks or whatever. microscopic speck asexually reproduces oh yeah, and it can do that. reproduces three more times it has secret instructions written inside itself telling it how to build another one of itself. so that's pretty nifty, i would say. tired of living at the bottom of the ocean? now you can eat sunlight! using a revolutionary technique, you can convert sunlight into food. taste the sun! side effect, now there's oxygen everywhere and the sky is blue. then the earth might've been a snowball for a while. maybe even a couple of times. it's a sponge... it's a plant... it's a worm, and some other types of weird strange water bugs and strange fish. it's the Cambrian explosion: "wow, that's animals and stuff" but we're still in the ocean. hey, can we go on land? NO why? the sun is a deadly laser oh okay. not anymore, there's a blanket now the animals can go on land. come on, animals, let's go on land! "nope, can't walk yet." "and there's no food yet, so i don't care." 100 million years later okay, will you learn to walk if there's plants up here? "maybe," said some bugs. and fish. fish gasps for air five million years later okay, so i can go on land, but i have to go back in the water to have babies! idea: learn to use an egg. "i was already doing that" use a stronger egg. put water in it. have a baby, on land, in an egg. water is in the egg. baby, in the egg, in the water, in the egg. works for me. bye bye ocean 50 million years later and now everything's huge. including bugs. wanna see a map of the land? sure. Permian extinction oh, fuck, now everything's dead. just kidding, here are the survivors. keep your eye on this one, because it's about to become 75 million years later the dinosaurs. here's another map of the land. yeah, it broke apart. don't worry about it, it does that all the time. here comes a meteor. meteor strikes and the dinosaurs are gone it's mammal time, here come the mammals. look at those breasts. now they're gonna dominate the world, but one of them just learned how to grab stuff. and walk. no, like, walk like that. and grab stuff at the same time. and bang rocks together to make pointed rocks. "ouch" and set things on fire. "yeouch" and make crazy sounds with their voice: "gneurshk" which can mean different things. that's a human person! and now they're everywhere. almost. ice age! what? you can walk over here? cool. not anymore well i guess we're stuck here now. let's review: there's people on the planet. and they're chasing their food. fuck it. time to plant some grass. look at this. i get to control the food now. now everyone will want to be my friend and live near me. let's all build houses, except mine is bigger because i own the food. this is great! i wonder if anyone else is doing this. tired of using rocks for everything? use metal. it's underground. better farming was just invented in a sweet dank valley right in between these two rivers, and the animals are helping. guess what happens next? more food. and more people, who came to buy the food. now you need people to help make the food and keep track of the sales. and now you need houses for people to live in and people to make the houses and now there's more people and they invent things which makes things better and more people come and there's more farming and more people to make more things for more people and now there's business, money, writing, laws, power, Society coming soon to a dank river valley near you. meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, the horse is probably being tamed. why is all my metal so lame and lumpy? tired of using lame, sad metal? introducing: bronze. made from special ingredient tin from the far lands of Tin Land. i dunno, my dealer won't tell me where he gets it. also, guess what? egypt meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, they figured out how to put wheels on a horse. now we're getting somewhere. also, china and did i mention indus river valley civilization society count: 5 ... norte chico the middle east is getting more complicated. maybe because it's in the middle of the east. knock knock, er, clop clop. it's the... people with the horses? and they made an empire. and then everyone else copied their horses. greeks! ah look, it must be the greeks! er, a beta version of the greeks. let's check in with the indus river valley civilization: they're gone. guess who's not gone? china. new arrivals from india... maybe it's those horse people i was talking about... or their cousins or something... and they wrote some hymns and mantras and stuff... you could make a religion out of this. there's the bronze age collapse. now the phoenicians can get down to business also, can we switch to a metal that's a little easier to find? thanks. look who came back to israel, it's the twelve tribes of israel. and they believe in God just one though, and he's got like a ten-step program. here's some huge heads. must be the olmecs. the phoenicians make some colonies. the greeks copy their idea and make some colonies. the phoenicians made a colony so big it makes colonies. here comes the assyrian empire. never mind, it's the babyloni— media—it's the Persian Empire: "wow, that's big" enlightenment ah, the buddha was just enlightened. who's the buddha? this guy, who sat under a tree for so long that he figured out how to ignore the fact that we're all dying. you could make a religion out of this. oops, china just broke. but while it was breaking, confucius was figuring out how to have good morals. enlightenment ah, the greeks just had the idea of thinking about stuff. and right over here, alexander just had the idea of conquering the entire persian empire. it's a great idea. he was... great. and now he's dead. hopefully, the rest of the gang will be able to share the empire evenly between them. knock knock, it's chandragupta. he says "get the hell out of here. will you get the hell out of here if i give you 500 elephants? okay, thanks, bye" time to conquer all of india er most of india but what about this part? that's the tamil kings. no one conquers the tamil kings. who are the tamil kings? merchants, probably. and they've got spices! who would like to buy the spices? "me!" said the arabians, swiftly buying it and selling it to the rest of the world. hey, china put itself back together again, with good morals as their main philosophy. actually, they have three main philosophies: confucianism: have good morals taoism: go with the flow legalism: fuck you, obey the law out here, the horse nomads run wild and free, and they would like to ransack your city. nomads ransack china let's check the greekification levels of the greekified kingdoms: greekification overload. bye, said the parthians. bye, said the jews. hi, said the parthians, taking over the entire place. heyyyyy, said the romans, eating the entire mediterranean for breakfast. "thanks for invading our homeland," said the jews, who were starting to get tired of people invading their homeland. "hi, everything's great," said some guy who seems to be getting very popular and is then arrested and killed for being too popular, which actually makes him more popular. you could make a religion out of this. want silk? now you can buy it from china. they just made a brand new road to the world. conquers vietnam or you can get there on water "sick! new trade routes!" said india, accidentally spreading their religion to the entire southeast. hmm, that's a good place for an epic trading kingdom. there goes buddhism, travelling up the silk road. i wonder if it'll reach china before it collapses again. remember the persian empire? yep, said the persians, making a new one. axum is getting so powerful, they would like to build a long stick. has anyone populated madagascar yet? let's do it together. china is whole again... ...then it broke again still can't cross the sahara desert? try camels. "hell yeah! now we've got business," said the ghana empire, selling lots of gold. and slaves. "hi, i'm a member of the roman empire, and i was wondering is loving jesus legal yet?" "no" "actually, okay sure," said constantine, moving the capital way over here to be closer to his main rival. don't worry about rome, it won't fall. it's the golden age of india there's the gupta empire, not chandragupta, just gupta. first name chandra. the first. guess who's in rome? barbarians. what's a barbarian? "non-romans," said the romans, being invaded by non-romans. r.i.p. roman empire. actually just half of it, the other half is just fine, but it's not in rome anymore, so let's give it a new name. the mayans have figured out the stars oh, and here's a huge city, population: everyone. the göktürks have taken over the entire eurasian steppe. great job, göktürks. how's india? broken. how's china? back together. how's those trading kingdoms? bigger, and there's more of them. korea has three kingdoms. japan has a kingdom, it's the sunrise kingdom. intermission deep in the arabian desert, on the top of a mountain, the real god whispers in muhammad's ear. so, he goes down to the cube where everyone worships gods and he tells them their gods are all fake. and everyone got so mad at him that he had to leave town and go to a different town. you could make a religion out of this, and maybe conquer the world as well. the roman empire is long gone, but somehow the pope is still the pope. plus, there's new kingdoms all over europe. i wonder if there's room for moors. here's all the wisdom. in a house. it's the baghdad house of wisdom! just in time for the islamic golden age! "let's bring stuff to the coast and sell it, and become the swahili on the swahili coast," said the swahili on the swahili coast. remember this tiny space you have to go through to get from here to there? someone owns that now. wanna get enlightened in the middle of nowhere? the franks have the biggest kingdom in europe, and the pope is so proud that he invites the king over for christmas. "surprise! you're the new roman emporer!" said the pope, pretending to still be part of the roman empire. then the franks broke their kingdom into what will later be called france and not-france. the northerners, er, just "norse" if you don't have much time, are exploring. they go north, from the north to the northern north. and they find some land— two types of land!— and they name them accordingly. prankd they also invade some other places and get called many names, such as "vikings." there's the rus! the kievan rus! are they vikings? "i don't think so," said the kievan rus. okay, fair enough. the pope is ready to make some more emperors of the roman empire. the holy roman empire! it's actually germany, but don't worry about it. new kingdoms—CRISTIANIZE ALL THE KINGDOMS!! which brand would you like? "mine's better" "mine's better" "mine's better" "time to conquer england," said william. it's a bird! it's a plane! it's the seljuk turks! "aah!" said the byzantine empire, who's getting so small and almost doesn't exist anymore. "we need help!" they need help! so they call the pope. "hey pope, can you help us get rid of the seljuks? maybe take back the holy land on the way? come on, i know you want to take back the holy land." "yes, i do actually want to do that. let's do a crusade." crusade! they did many crusades. some of which almost didn't fail. but at least the italians got some sweet trade deals. goodbye mayans. hello toltecs! goodbye toltecs. hello mississippi! look at those mounds. there's the pueblo. i always wondered how to build a town in a cliff. guess who's here? khmer. where? here! and pagan is there. vietnam unconquered itself, korea just became itself, and japan is so addicted to art that the military might have to take over the government. china just invented bombs, and typing. and the mongols just invaded most of the universe. nice going, genghis! i bet that will last a long time. some of the islamic turks were unaffected by the mongol invasions because they were busy invading india. is it tonga time? i think it's tonga time. i just figured out where the swahili gets all of their gold. look at this chad! it means "lake." there's an empire there! right in the middle of africa! the king of mali is so rich, he's going on tour to let everyone know. "wow, that guy's rich," everyone said. the christians are doing a great job reconquering iberia, which will soon be called spain and not-spain. please remain christian. we will check in later to see if you're still christian when you least expect. whoops, half of europe just died. ming! china's back, yay! hey, khmer. time to share. new kingdoms, here and there. oh, look who controls all of the islands. it's the mahajapit. majahapit. mapajahit. mahapajit. mapajahit. ma-ja-pa-hit? oh, italy's real rich. time for them to care a lot about art and the ancient classics. it's kinda like a rebirth. here's a printer. let's make books! so you think you can conquer the byzantine empire? yep, said the ottoman turks. nice job, ottoman turks. oops, you missed a spot. don't forget to ban europe from the indian spice trade. "what? that's bullshit," said portugal, spiceless. "well i guess we'll have to find another way to india" "wait!" said christopher columbus, probably smoking crack. "if the world is round, let's go this way to india." "nah, don't worry, we already got this," said portugal. so chris goes to spain. "hey spain, wanna hire me to find india by going around back of the world?" "no" "please?" "no" "please?" "wtf" "no" "please?" "...okay" so he sails into the ocean, and discovers... more ocean. and then discovers the indies, and japan! let's draw a line to decide who gets which half of the world. the aztec and the inca empires are off to a great start. i wonder if they know that europe just discovered their continent. the hapsburgs are marrying into so many royal families, they might have to start marrying each other. move over, lithuania, here comes moscow. ivan wants to make russia great again. move over, timurids, maybe go invade india or something. persia just made persia persian again. let's make it the other kind of islam. the one where we thought the first guy should've been the other guy. hey, christians! do you sin? now you can buy your way out of hell! "that's bullshit. this whole thing is bullshit. that's a scam. fuck the church. here's 95 reasons why," said martin luther, in his new book which might have accidentally started the protestant reformation. "you know what would be magnificent?" said suleiman wearing an onion hat. "what if the ottoman empire was... really big?" which it is now. "what if russia was big?" said ivan, trying not to be terrible. portugal had a dream that they controlled the entire indian ocean, including the spice trade. and then that dream was real. and spain realized that this is not india, but they pillaged it anyway. "damn," said england and france. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." then the dutch revolt, and all the hipsters moved to amsterdam. "damn," said amsterdam. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." question one: can you get to india from north america? no, but at least there's beaver. question two: steal the spice trade. that's not a question, but the dutch did it anyway. and sugar... guess where all of the sugar is made? in brazil! stolen! in the caribbean! and it's so goddamn profitable, you might forget to not do slavery. the next thing on russia's to-do list is to get bigger. britain and france are having a friendly discussion about who should control the entire world. more specifically, ohio. then it escalates into a seven-year discussion, giving prussia a chance to show austria who's boss. but what about britain and france, did they figure out who's boss? yes they did! it's britain. guess who's broke? also britain! so they start taxing the hell out of america. "fuck you!" says america, declaring their independence and fighting for it, and france helps them win. now france is broke, and britain will have to send their prisoners to a different continent. wait, if france is broke, why do the king and queen still wear such fancy dresses? "let's overthrow the palace and cut all their heads off!" said robespierre, cutting everybody's heads off until someone eventually got mad and cut his head off. you could make a rel— no, don't. haiti is starting to like the idea of a revolution, especially the slaves, who free themselves by killing their masters. "why didn't we think of this before?" wait, who's in charge of france now? "me," said napoleon, trying to take over europe. luckily, they banished him to an island. but he came back! luckily, they banished him to another island. there goes latin america, becoming independent in the latin american wars of independence. britain just figured out how to turn steam into power, so now they can make many different types of machines and factories with machines in them so they can make a lot of products real fast. then they invent some trains. and conquer india and maybe put some trains there. "hey, china!" said britain. "buy stuff from us!" "nah, dude, we already got everything," says china. so britain tried to get them addicted to opium, which worked, actually. but then china made it illegal and dumped it all into the sea. so britain threw a hissy fit and made them open up five cities and give them an island. britain and russia are playing a game where they try to stop the other person from conquering afghanistan. also, the sultan of oman lives in zanzibar now: "that's just where he lives." india just had a revolution, and they would like to govern themselves now. "nope," said britain, governing them even harder than before. incoming telegram: HI I JUST SENT YOU A MESSAGE THRU A WIRE technology is about to go crazy! the united states finally figured out whether slavery is good or bad. it's bad, they decided, and then they continued manifesting their destiny, which is to kill the rest of the natives and take their land and maybe kick out the mexicans too. "i know! let's rape africa!" said europe, scrambling to see who could rape it the fastest. they never got ethiopia... britain and france are still hungry. they never got thailand... the united states ran out of destiny to manifest, so they're looking for more: hawaii! cuba! wait, spain controls cuba. well, blame something on them and go to war! what should we blame on spain? u.s.s. maine sinks "let's blame the maine on spain." so they blame the maine on spain. now we're in business. to celebrate, they kick panama out of panama and make a canal, connecting the two oceans. britain just found oil in the middle east. it makes cars go... china is so tired of being bossed around that they delete their old government and make a new, stronger government, which is accidentally weaker and is controlled by a guy from the previous government. europe hasn't had a war since the last war, so they start world war one. look at those guns! it's gonna be a great war, so great we won't need a second one. after it's over, they blame germany. russia went on strike, and the workers overthrew the government. now, everyone's paycheck is the same. communism in the soviet union... the arabs revolt and britain helps. now the ottoman empire is gone, so we can give the jewish people a place to live. hopefully the arabs won't mind. "let's cut the cake!" said sykes and picot, carving up the remains of the not-so-ottoman-anymore-empire. except turkey! turkey makes a brand new turkey! and then the saudis conquer arabia. it just seemed like the right thing to do. phone rings hello? yes, it's the 1920's calling. let's get to a car and drive to a party and listen to jazz on the radio and go to the movies. the economy is great and it will probably be great forever. just kidding. germany's back, featuring hitler, the angry mustache model, and he's mad at the jews for existing. japan is finally conquering the east, and they're so excited, they rape nanking way too hard. they should probably just deny it. hitler's out of control, so the international community tackles him and tries to explain to him why killing all of the jews is a bad idea. but he kills himself because they could explain it to him. that's world war two! bonus round! pacific showdown united states vs. japan FIGHT!! united states drops two extinction balls on japan FINISH HIM! let's unite all the nations and have some world peace! seems legit. "hi, im gandhi, and if britain doesn't get the hell out of india, i'm going to starve myself in public." britain leaves "wow, that worked?" bonus! now there's pakistan. actually two pakistans, one of them can be bangladesh later. the jews and the arabs finally figured out which one of them should live in the holy land. "me!" they both said at the same time. let's divide up the lands so we're both happy. SIKE! they both get angrier! look out, china! there's a new china in china. what's on the menu? communism! no thanks, said the other china, escaping to an island. i wonder which one is the real china...? there's the korean war. korea versus korea! nobody wins, then its on pause forever. let's meet the sponsors. oh, it's the two global superpowers. they're having a friendly debate over which economic system is good and which one is an evil virus of satan. and they both have atom bombs. FIGHT!! wait, no, that would be the end of the world. let's just keep it cool and spy on each other instead. and make sure we have enough atom bombs. "i'll race you to space." united states plants a flag on the moon now let's make more countries fight themselves. europe is tired of pillaging other continents, and the continents they were pillaging are tired of being pillaged. so here's a new map with new countries. now you can't tell who they're being pillaged by. the united states finally decided whether racism is good or bad. they decided it's bad, and the world agrees. south africa might need another minute to think about it. let's check the world population! woah. okay. technology is better too, that might keep happening. the soviet union decides to relax a little, and accidentally falls apart. europe makes a union, so now they can all use the same money. except britain, because they don't feel like it. let's check the mail... surprise! it's on the computer! whoops, someone just attacked america. i bet they'll remember that. phone call! surprise! it's in your pocket! wanna learn everything? surprise! it's on the computer! now your phone's a computer, which is in your pocket! whoops, the economy just crashed. don't worry, the big banks won't fail, because they're not supposed to. surprise!... flying robots. with bombs. wanna print a brain? some people have no friends. some people have no food. the globe is warming, and the ocean is full of plastic! "let's save the planet!" said everybody, not knowing how. "let's invent a thing inventor," said the thing inventor inventor after being invented by a thing inventor. that's pretty cool. by the way, where the hell are we? thanks for watching history i hope i mentioned everything
submitted by Temnelc to copypasta [link] [comments]

History of the entire world I guess

hi, you're on a rock floating in space. pretty cool, huh? some of it's water. fuck it. actually, most of it's water. i can't even get from here to there without buying a boat. it's sad. i'm sad. i miss you. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? a long time ago... actually, never. and also now. nothing is nowhere. when? never. makes sense, right? like i said, it didn't happen. nothing was never anywhere. that's why it's been everywhere. it's been so "everywhere," you don't need a "where." you don't even need a "when." that's how "every" it gets. forget this. i wanna be something. go somewhere. do something. i want things to change. i want to invent time and space. and i know it's possible because everything is here, and it probably already happened. i just don't know when to start. and that's exactly where it started. big bang— pause woah. i paused it. i think there's a universe now. what's it made of? quarks and stuff. ah, that's a thing! in a place! don't like it? try a new place, at a different Time™. try to stick together, because the world is gonna get bigger and emptier. but it's not empty yet! it's still very full, and about a kjghpillion degrees. about no seconds later great news! the quarks are now happily married in groups of three, called a "proton" and a "neutron." and there's something else flying around that wants to join in, but can't cause it's too HOT. ten minutes later great news! the protons and neutrons are now happily married to each other! some of them even doubled up. about 380,000 years later great news! the electrons have now joined in. congratulations! the world is now... a bunch of gas in space. but it's getting closer together... ten million years later and it's getting closer together... 500 million years later and it's getting closer togeth—star is born it's a star new shit just got made! some stars burn out and die. bigger stars burn out and die with passion! and make some brand new way crazier shit. space dust! which allows for newer and more interesting stars to be made, and then die and explode into even crazier space dust! so now, stars have cool stuff around them, like rocks, ice, and funny clouds, which can make some very interesting things. like this ball of flaming rocks, for example. meteor hits earth holy shit, we just got hit by another ball of flaming rocks. and it kind of... made a mess. which is now the moon weather update: it's raining rocks from outer space. weather update: those rocks might've had water inside of them and now there's hot steam in the sky. weather update: cooler temperatures today and the floor is no longer lava. weather update... it's raining. severe flooding alert, the entire world is now an ocean. volcano alert. that's land! there'slifeintheocean what? something's alive in the ocean oh, cool. like a plant, or an animal? no! a microscopic speck. it lives in the bottom of the ocean and eats chemical soup, which is being served hot and fresh, made from gnarly space ingredients left over from when it was raining rocks or whatever. microscopic speck asexually reproduces oh yeah, and it can do that. reproduces three more times it has secret instructions written inside itself telling it how to build another one of itself. so that's pretty nifty, i would say. tired of living at the bottom of the ocean? now you can eat sunlight! using a revolutionary technique, you can convert sunlight into food. taste the sun! side effect, now there's oxygen everywhere and the sky is blue. then the earth might've been a snowball for a while. maybe even a couple of times. it's a sponge... it's a plant... it's a worm, and some other types of weird strange water bugs and strange fish. it's the Cambrian explosion: "wow, that's animals and stuff" but we're still in the ocean. hey, can we go on land? NO why? the sun is a deadly laser oh okay. not anymore, there's a blanket now the animals can go on land. come on, animals, let's go on land! "nope, can't walk yet." "and there's no food yet, so i don't care." 100 million years later okay, will you learn to walk if there's plants up here? "maybe," said some bugs. and fish. fish gasps for air five million years later okay, so i can go on land, but i have to go back in the water to have babies! idea: learn to use an egg. "i was already doing that" use a stronger egg. put water in it. have a baby, on land, in an egg. water is in the egg. baby, in the egg, in the water, in the egg. works for me. bye bye ocean 50 million years later and now everything's huge. including bugs. wanna see a map of the land? sure. Permian extinction oh, fuck, now everything's dead. just kidding, here are the survivors. keep your eye on this one, because it's about to become 75 million years later the dinosaurs. here's another map of the land. yeah, it broke apart. don't worry about it, it does that all the time. here comes a meteor. meteor strikes and the dinosaurs are gone it's mammal time, here come the mammals. look at those breasts. now they're gonna dominate the world, but one of them just learned how to grab stuff. and walk. no, like, walk like that. and grab stuff at the same time. and bang rocks together to make pointed rocks. "ouch" and set things on fire. "yeouch" and make crazy sounds with their voice: "gneurshk" which can mean different things. that's a human person! and now they're everywhere. almost. ice age! what? you can walk over here? cool. not anymore well i guess we're stuck here now. let's review: there's people on the planet. and they're chasing their food. fuck it. time to plant some grass. look at this. i get to control the food now. now everyone will want to be my friend and live near me. let's all build houses, except mine is bigger because i own the food. this is great! i wonder if anyone else is doing this. tired of using rocks for everything? use metal. it's underground. better farming was just invented in a sweet dank valley right in between these two rivers, and the animals are helping. guess what happens next? more food. and more people, who came to buy the food. now you need people to help make the food and keep track of the sales. and now you need houses for people to live in and people to make the houses and now there's more people and they invent things which makes things better and more people come and there's more farming and more people to make more things for more people and now there's business, money, writing, laws, power, Society coming soon to a dank river valley near you. meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, the horse is probably being tamed. why is all my metal so lame and lumpy? tired of using lame, sad metal? introducing: bronze. made from special ingredient tin from the far lands of Tin Land. i dunno, my dealer won't tell me where he gets it. also, guess what? egypt meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, they figured out how to put wheels on a horse. now we're getting somewhere. also, china and did i mention indus river valley civilization society count: 5 ... norte chico the middle east is getting more complicated. maybe because it's in the middle of the east. knock knock, er, clop clop. it's the... people with the horses? and they made an empire. and then everyone else copied their horses. greeks! ah look, it must be the greeks! er, a beta version of the greeks. let's check in with the indus river valley civilization: they're gone. guess who's not gone? china. new arrivals from india... maybe it's those horse people i was talking about... or their cousins or something... and they wrote some hymns and mantras and stuff... you could make a religion out of this. there's the bronze age collapse. now the phoenicians can get down to business also, can we switch to a metal that's a little easier to find? thanks. look who came back to israel, it's the twelve tribes of israel. and they believe in God just one though, and he's got like a ten-step program. here's some huge heads. must be the olmecs. the phoenicians make some colonies. the greeks copy their idea and make some colonies. the phoenicians made a colony so big it makes colonies. here comes the assyrian empire. never mind, it's the babyloni— media—it's the Persian Empire: "wow, that's big" enlightenment ah, the buddha was just enlightened. who's the buddha? this guy, who sat under a tree for so long that he figured out how to ignore the fact that we're all dying. you could make a religion out of this. oops, china just broke. but while it was breaking, confucius was figuring out how to have good morals. enlightenment ah, the greeks just had the idea of thinking about stuff. and right over here, alexander just had the idea of conquering the entire persian empire. it's a great idea. he was... great. and now he's dead. hopefully, the rest of the gang will be able to share the empire evenly between them. knock knock, it's chandragupta. he says "get the hell out of here. will you get the hell out of here if i give you 500 elephants? okay, thanks, bye" time to conquer all of india er most of india but what about this part? that's the tamil kings. no one conquers the tamil kings. who are the tamil kings? merchants, probably. and they've got spices! who would like to buy the spices? "me!" said the arabians, swiftly buying it and selling it to the rest of the world. hey, china put itself back together again, with good morals as their main philosophy. actually, they have three main philosophies: confucianism: have good morals taoism: go with the flow legalism: fuck you, obey the law out here, the horse nomads run wild and free, and they would like to ransack your city. nomads ransack china let's check the greekification levels of the greekified kingdoms: greekification overload. bye, said the parthians. bye, said the jews. hi, said the parthians, taking over the entire place. heyyyyy, said the romans, eating the entire mediterranean for breakfast. "thanks for invading our homeland," said the jews, who were starting to get tired of people invading their homeland. "hi, everything's great," said some guy who seems to be getting very popular and is then arrested and killed for being too popular, which actually makes him more popular. you could make a religion out of this. want silk? now you can buy it from china. they just made a brand new road to the world. conquers vietnam or you can get there on water "sick! new trade routes!" said india, accidentally spreading their religion to the entire southeast. hmm, that's a good place for an epic trading kingdom. there goes buddhism, travelling up the silk road. i wonder if it'll reach china before it collapses again. remember the persian empire? yep, said the persians, making a new one. axum is getting so powerful, they would like to build a long stick. has anyone populated madagascar yet? let's do it together. china is whole again... ...then it broke again still can't cross the sahara desert? try camels. "hell yeah! now we've got business," said the ghana empire, selling lots of gold. and slaves. "hi, i'm a member of the roman empire, and i was wondering is loving jesus legal yet?" "no" "actually, okay sure," said constantine, moving the capital way over here to be closer to his main rival. don't worry about rome, it won't fall. it's the golden age of india there's the gupta empire, not chandragupta, just gupta. first name chandra. the first. guess who's in rome? barbarians. what's a barbarian? "non-romans," said the romans, being invaded by non-romans. r.i.p. roman empire. actually just half of it, the other half is just fine, but it's not in rome anymore, so let's give it a new name. the mayans have figured out the stars oh, and here's a huge city, population: everyone. the göktürks have taken over the entire eurasian steppe. great job, göktürks. how's india? broken. how's china? back together. how's those trading kingdoms? bigger, and there's more of them. korea has three kingdoms. japan has a kingdom, it's the sunrise kingdom. intermission deep in the arabian desert, on the top of a mountain, the real god whispers in muhammad's ear. so, he goes down to the cube where everyone worships gods and he tells them their gods are all fake. and everyone got so mad at him that he had to leave town and go to a different town. you could make a religion out of this, and maybe conquer the world as well. the roman empire is long gone, but somehow the pope is still the pope. plus, there's new kingdoms all over europe. i wonder if there's room for moors. here's all the wisdom. in a house. it's the baghdad house of wisdom! just in time for the islamic golden age! "let's bring stuff to the coast and sell it, and become the swahili on the swahili coast," said the swahili on the swahili coast. remember this tiny space you have to go through to get from here to there? someone owns that now. wanna get enlightened in the middle of nowhere? the franks have the biggest kingdom in europe, and the pope is so proud that he invites the king over for christmas. "surprise! you're the new roman emporer!" said the pope, pretending to still be part of the roman empire. then the franks broke their kingdom into what will later be called france and not-france. the northerners, er, just "norse" if you don't have much time, are exploring. they go north, from the north to the northern north. and they find some land— two types of land!— and they name them accordingly. prankd they also invade some other places and get called many names, such as "vikings." there's the rus! the kievan rus! are they vikings? "i don't think so," said the kievan rus. okay, fair enough. the pope is ready to make some more emperors of the roman empire. the holy roman empire! it's actually germany, but don't worry about it. new kingdoms—CRISTIANIZE ALL THE KINGDOMS!! which brand would you like? "mine's better" "mine's better" "mine's better" "time to conquer england," said william. it's a bird! it's a plane! it's the seljuk turks! "aah!" said the byzantine empire, who's getting so small and almost doesn't exist anymore. "we need help!" they need help! so they call the pope. "hey pope, can you help us get rid of the seljuks? maybe take back the holy land on the way? come on, i know you want to take back the holy land." "yes, i do actually want to do that. let's do a crusade." crusade! they did many crusades. some of which almost didn't fail. but at least the italians got some sweet trade deals. goodbye mayans. hello toltecs! goodbye toltecs. hello mississippi! look at those mounds. there's the pueblo. i always wondered how to build a town in a cliff. guess who's here? khmer. where? here! and pagan is there. vietnam unconquered itself, korea just became itself, and japan is so addicted to art that the military might have to take over the government. china just invented bombs, and typing. and the mongols just invaded most of the universe. nice going, genghis! i bet that will last a long time. some of the islamic turks were unaffected by the mongol invasions because they were busy invading india. is it tonga time? i think it's tonga time. i just figured out where the swahili gets all of their gold. look at this chad! it means "lake." there's an empire there! right in the middle of africa! the king of mali is so rich, he's going on tour to let everyone know. "wow, that guy's rich," everyone said. the christians are doing a great job reconquering iberia, which will soon be called spain and not-spain. please remain christian. we will check in later to see if you're still christian when you least expect. whoops, half of europe just died. ming! china's back, yay! hey, khmer. time to share. new kingdoms, here and there. oh, look who controls all of the islands. it's the mahajapit. majahapit. mapajahit. mahapajit. mapajahit. ma-ja-pa-hit? oh, italy's real rich. time for them to care a lot about art and the ancient classics. it's kinda like a rebirth. here's a printer. let's make books! so you think you can conquer the byzantine empire? yep, said the ottoman turks. nice job, ottoman turks. oops, you missed a spot. don't forget to ban europe from the indian spice trade. "what? that's bullshit," said portugal, spiceless. "well i guess we'll have to find another way to india" "wait!" said christopher columbus, probably smoking crack. "if the world is round, let's go this way to india." "nah, don't worry, we already got this," said portugal. so chris goes to spain. "hey spain, wanna hire me to find india by going around back of the world?" "no" "please?" "no" "please?" "wtf" "no" "please?" "...okay" so he sails into the ocean, and discovers... more ocean. and then discovers the indies, and japan! let's draw a line to decide who gets which half of the world. the aztec and the inca empires are off to a great start. i wonder if they know that europe just discovered their continent. the hapsburgs are marrying into so many royal families, they might have to start marrying each other. move over, lithuania, here comes moscow. ivan wants to make russia great again. move over, timurids, maybe go invade india or something. persia just made persia persian again. let's make it the other kind of islam. the one where we thought the first guy should've been the other guy. hey, christians! do you sin? now you can buy your way out of hell! "that's bullshit. this whole thing is bullshit. that's a scam. fuck the church. here's 95 reasons why," said martin luther, in his new book which might have accidentally started the protestant reformation. "you know what would be magnificent?" said suleiman wearing an onion hat. "what if the ottoman empire was... really big?" which it is now. "what if russia was big?" said ivan, trying not to be terrible. portugal had a dream that they controlled the entire indian ocean, including the spice trade. and then that dream was real. and spain realized that this is not india, but they pillaged it anyway. "damn," said england and france. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." then the dutch revolt, and all the hipsters moved to amsterdam. "damn," said amsterdam. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." question one: can you get to india from north america? no, but at least there's beaver. question two: steal the spice trade. that's not a question, but the dutch did it anyway. and sugar... guess where all of the sugar is made? in brazil! stolen! in the caribbean! and it's so goddamn profitable, you might forget to not do slavery. the next thing on russia's to-do list is to get bigger. britain and france are having a friendly discussion about who should control the entire world. more specifically, ohio. then it escalates into a seven-year discussion, giving prussia a chance to show austria who's boss. but what about britain and france, did they figure out who's boss? yes they did! it's britain. guess who's broke? also britain! so they start taxing the hell out of america. "fuck you!" says america, declaring their independence and fighting for it, and france helps them win. now france is broke, and britain will have to send their prisoners to a different continent. wait, if france is broke, why do the king and queen still wear such fancy dresses? "let's overthrow the palace and cut all their heads off!" said robespierre, cutting everybody's heads off until someone eventually got mad and cut his head off. you could make a rel— no, don't. haiti is starting to like the idea of a revolution, especially the slaves, who free themselves by killing their masters. "why didn't we think of this before?" wait, who's in charge of france now? "me," said napoleon, trying to take over europe. luckily, they banished him to an island. but he came back! luckily, they banished him to another island. there goes latin america, becoming independent in the latin american wars of independence. britain just figured out how to turn steam into power, so now they can make many different types of machines and factories with machines in them so they can make a lot of products real fast. then they invent some trains. and conquer india and maybe put some trains there. "hey, china!" said britain. "buy stuff from us!" "nah, dude, we already got everything," says china. so britain tried to get them addicted to opium, which worked, actually. but then china made it illegal and dumped it all into the sea. so britain threw a hissy fit and made them open up five cities and give them an island. britain and russia are playing a game where they try to stop the other person from conquering afghanistan. also, the sultan of oman lives in zanzibar now: "that's just where he lives." india just had a revolution, and they would like to govern themselves now. "nope," said britain, governing them even harder than before. incoming telegram: HI I JUST SENT YOU A MESSAGE THRU A WIRE technology is about to go crazy! the united states finally figured out whether slavery is good or bad. it's bad, they decided, and then they continued manifesting their destiny, which is to kill the rest of the natives and take their land and maybe kick out the mexicans too. "i know! let's rape africa!" said europe, scrambling to see who could rape it the fastest. they never got ethiopia... britain and france are still hungry. they never got thailand... the united states ran out of destiny to manifest, so they're looking for more: hawaii! cuba! wait, spain controls cuba. well, blame something on them and go to war! what should we blame on spain? u.s.s. maine sinks "let's blame the maine on spain." so they blame the maine on spain. now we're in business. to celebrate, they kick panama out of panama and make a canal, connecting the two oceans. britain just found oil in the middle east. it makes cars go... china is so tired of being bossed around that they delete their old government and make a new, stronger government, which is accidentally weaker and is controlled by a guy from the previous government. europe hasn't had a war since the last war, so they start world war one. look at those guns! it's gonna be a great war, so great we won't need a second one. after it's over, they blame germany. russia went on strike, and the workers overthrew the government. now, everyone's paycheck is the same. communism in the soviet union... the arabs revolt and britain helps. now the ottoman empire is gone, so we can give the jewish people a place to live. hopefully the arabs won't mind. "let's cut the cake!" said sykes and picot, carving up the remains of the not-so-ottoman-anymore-empire. except turkey! turkey makes a brand new turkey! and then the saudis conquer arabia. it just seemed like the right thing to do. phone rings hello? yes, it's the 1920's calling. let's get to a car and drive to a party and listen to jazz on the radio and go to the movies. the economy is great and it will probably be great forever. just kidding. germany's back, featuring hitler, the angry mustache model, and he's mad at the jews for existing. japan is finally conquering the east, and they're so excited, they rape nanking way too hard. they should probably just deny it. hitler's out of control, so the international community tackles him and tries to explain to him why killing all of the jews is a bad idea. but he kills himself because they could explain it to him. that's world war two! bonus round! pacific showdown united states vs. japan FIGHT!! united states drops two extinction balls on japan FINISH HIM! let's unite all the nations and have some world peace! seems legit. "hi, im gandhi, and if britain doesn't get the hell out of india, i'm going to starve myself in public." britain leaves "wow, that worked?" bonus! now there's pakistan. actually two pakistans, one of them can be bangladesh later. the jews and the arabs finally figured out which one of them should live in the holy land. "me!" they both said at the same time. let's divide up the lands so we're both happy. SIKE! they both get angrier! look out, china! there's a new china in china. what's on the menu? communism! no thanks, said the other china, escaping to an island. i wonder which one is the real china...? there's the korean war. korea versus korea! nobody wins, then its on pause forever. let's meet the sponsors. oh, it's the two global superpowers. they're having a friendly debate over which economic system is good and which one is an evil virus of satan. and they both have atom bombs. FIGHT!! wait, no, that would be the end of the world. let's just keep it cool and spy on each other instead. and make sure we have enough atom bombs. "i'll race you to space." united states plants a flag on the moon now let's make more countries fight themselves. europe is tired of pillaging other continents, and the continents they were pillaging are tired of being pillaged. so here's a new map with new countries. now you can't tell who they're being pillaged by. the united states finally decided whether racism is good or bad. they decided it's bad, and the world agrees. south africa might need another minute to think about it. let's check the world population! woah. okay. technology is better too, that might keep happening. the soviet union decides to relax a little, and accidentally falls apart. europe makes a union, so now they can all use the same money. except britain, because they don't feel like it. let's check the mail... surprise! it's on the computer! whoops, someone just attacked america. i bet they'll remember that. phone call! surprise! it's in your pocket! wanna learn everything? surprise! it's on the computer! now your phone's a computer, which is in your pocket! whoops, the economy just crashed. don't worry, the big banks won't fail, because they're not supposed to. surprise!... flying robots. with bombs. wanna print a brain? some people have no friends. some people have no food. the globe is warming, and the ocean is full of plastic! "let's save the planet!" said everybody, not knowing how. "let's invent a thing inventor," said the thing inventor inventor after being invented by a thing inventor. that's pretty cool. by the way, where the hell are we? thanks for watching history i hope i mentioned everything
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'Short-term cash grab': Pro punter warns NRL over gambling taxes

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Meet The Freak 10

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Discord
Valentine
The pain in my shoulder kept rousing me from sleep, and damn did I ever need the rest. I'd get an hour or so of sleep, and then something would happen to tweak my shoulder. I'd roll over, or move reflexively to brush away an itch, and I'd be brought reluctantly to wakefulness.
It's not that I was uncomfortable. In fact, this 'hotel' as Wallace called it, might be one of the most luxurious buildings I'd ever set foot in. The furniture down in the restaurant, for example. The quality there, in just one of the pieces, was astounding. It was difficult to get fabric to take dye consistently, to achieve a uniform colour. As such, it was often the upholstery that was of particular prestige, making quality pieces often the centre of a noble's living room. Not only was every piece of furniture in that restaurant of such quality, everything matched. It was as if some sort of perfect automaton had fabricated each piece. And that was to say nothing of the carpentry and metalwork involved, which were similarly astounding.
Then there were the sheets I'd wrapped myself in. It wasn't quite the same as silk, silk had a more sultry quality, and this felt somehow more wholesome. It was more like a warm hug than a- well, than any of the sorts of things I usually got up to when tangled in silk sheets. And with Wallace sleeping nearby, his long steady breaths providing a comforting rhythm, and his scent lingering on the air, I found that I felt safer than I had in a very long while. Not safe, there was a reason I still kept a pistol nearby, there remained a long way to go for true safety, but I was safer.
I only wished I could enjoy it, to bask in the warmth from the pile of blankets, and luxuriate in the feeling that I didn't have an immediate looming threat breathing down my neck. The problem was, my gods damned shoulder would not stop hurting. I tried to find a position that wouldn't aggravate my injury, but despite my best efforts, still couldn't stay asleep for more than an hour at a time.
Finally, angry, bored, and still very tired, I kicked off the blankets in a fit of pique. Of course, that only hurt my shoulder more, and I grit my teeth to keep from waking Wallace with a pained gasp.
I frowned, the steady rhythm was gone.
I snatched a sheet and held it to my chest. With some difficulty, I sat up and peered over the edge of the bed. Wallace had left. Which meant he'd woken up. Which meant he'd noticed me sleeping on the floor next to him.
I sighed. I had been hoping to be gone before he woke, though I wasn't sure what I was trying to hide. That I trusted him? He probably figured that out about when I was huddled naked in the bath.
I wish he'd woken me, we could share breakfast, and I'd follow his explorations, but damn I was tired.
I slithered into the bed, still warm from his presence. I curled up in the middle of the bed where the warmth was the greatest and settled in among the blankets and piled pillows. By some magic, the mattress shaped itself to fit my body, and I quickly found a position that didn't set my shoulder aflame. The heat made me drowsy, and in renewed comfort, saw little reason to fight it.
I had little idea of the time that had passed when I finally woke once more. I only knew that the hollow and tired feeling had abated, and the sun still had not yet risen.
I considered laying there for a while longer. Perhaps I'd doze off again, but thought better of it. I was curious about what Wallace had been doing, had he returned to the room, only to leave me to sleep in peace? Perhaps, but it was a large building. Likely he wasn't finished exploring.
I pushed myself up, found my torch and pistol, and wrapped myself in one of the sheets. So covered, I slipped back across to my room and dressed in the sleeveless shirt and legless trousers I'd worn to dinner. I'd worn the ensemble to dinner out of exhaustion, after all, getting into the flight suit was a bit of a bother at the best of times, and I didn't feel like attempting it with one arm. I'd expected Wallace to make some remark, maybe blush a little. I'd even had a biting retort ready for the occasion, but he didn't protest my lascivious dinner wear. It seemed not to register to him.
I found I quite liked Wallace, which was quite the novel experience. I'd always seen company as something to be avoided unless I'd paid for their time. How strange it was then, that I hoped Wallace would stay once I'd finished teaching him what magic I knew.
With him possibly anywhere in the massive building, I intended to track him by scent. Sleeping several hours in his bed had made that tricky, however, and I had difficulty separating the scents present in the environment from those clinging to me. I could get an idea of where he'd been, but was unable to tell how long ago it was. As it seemed he'd spend the hours I was asleep searching the entire building, I found myself doing the same. I struggled to find a single room that did not have at least a trace of his scent within.
It made me regret leaving my necklace behind, but it wouldn't be safe with my shoulder still healing. That said, I'd only checked the first floor, and I could already feel myself growing faint as I gazed at the door to the stairs.
I am going to make that man carry me back down here.
Just pushing open the heavy metal door- the humans take security seriously it seems -made me feel dizzy. I put my hands on my knees and took a few deep breaths to steady myself before continuing.
I woke to the taste of blood in my mouth, a brutal headache, and the reek of fear. I shifted a little and blinked my eyes open, and I heard a sigh of relief.
"Oh thank god, please, just don't move."
I came to realize that Wallace was holding me in his arms, a little too tightly, as he was making it difficult to move my head.
"Wallace," I grumbled drowsily, "Let me go."
"Valentine, just- please, for fuck's sake."
I met his gaze, and my anger softened as I saw the concern in his eyes. He looked like he'd just seen me die.
"Okay, okay," I soothed.
Wallace calmed a little as the sickly scent of fear was gradually replaced by the musky scent of my pheromones. With so much skin uncovered, the effects should have taken hold much more quickly than they did, but at the very least it didn't appear as if his heart were about to stop.
Wallace took a deep breath, "In first aid- for humans -the number one thing, the most important thing unless someone is gushing blood, are head and neck injuries. "
I placed my palm gently against his chest, "It's okay," I finally understood what had him so shaken, "Fey are different, we're not so vulnerable to getting bumped on the head."
"You're-" he began, but I put a finger to his lips before he could interrupt.
"I know a thing or two about treating injuries, Wallace," I insisted, "I learned all sorts of things about head injuries, but us fey are not like anyone else. If we were, every noble house would have a pile of dead servants who fainted trying to carry the lady's tea up the stairs."
Wallace gently took my hand away from his lips. He held gently onto my hand, our hands clasped loosely across my chest.
"I thought you were dead," he said flatly, "I pushed open the door, and here you were on the landing, limp as a corpse and white as a sheet."
"This isn't the first time I've fainted trying to climb the stairs," I sighed, "I just need a little air."
I gave a little yelp as Wallace gathered me up and rose to his feet, and quickly threw an arm around his neck to steady myself. I squirmed around until I was in a more or less sitting position. The motion made my head throb, and I rested my head against Wallace's chest while I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain.
I'd made it almost to the roof, following Wallace's scent, but that was damning with faint praise. It had been easy to figure out where he'd gone off to once I was in the stairwell, as his scent was present throughout, but the climb had been brutal. To any other fey, my ascent through the building would seem supernal. But to the humans who'd constructed the building, doubtless to Wallace as well, I must have seemed pitiful.
Wallace elbowed the bar across the door, which shifted slightly, and he ducked out onto the roof. I shivered as the cold air brushed across my exposed skin, and tried to press closer to Wallace. It got awfully chilly during The Long Night, and I was a little underdressed.
The roof was altogether more pleasant than that of the 'gas station', as Wallace had called it. There were several cushioned benches scattered about, some small trees here and there, and a few flower beds set against the low wall that ringed the rooftop. Someone, indeed, likely several someones, had gone to some effort to make the space as pleasant as possible.
"What happened to your jewellery?" Wallace asked, his voice low, though I could feel the bassy reverberations in his chest.
"It's not safe to use while I'm healing," I shivered, "So I'm useless until my shoulder is mended."
"You're plenty useful," Wallace insisted, "You teach me magic, and I'll carry you around wherever you want to go," he promised.
He carried me over to one of the benches and took a seat. He let go of me, but I didn't take the opportunity to slide off his lap. Instead, I snatched a nearby blanket and pressed it into his hands. He took it, an amused expression on his face, and helped me settle it around myself. With it trapping the heat, it felt like I was sitting with my cheek resting against a furnace. Between his natural scent and the all-encompassing warmth, I felt myself growing drowsy once again.
I pulled the blankets tight around myself and peered up at him, "Maybe I'll ride you around like a horse," I giggled, "Did Temerity get to ride you around too?"
He immediately turned red, his lips set in a thin line as he tried not to break out into a guilty smile.
"Oh, she did, she did!" I hooted, "Were you face up or face down? The girls at The Blushing Maiden have given it to me both ways, so I can see the appeal in either case," Wallace turned, if it were even possible, a yet darker shade of red, "Now that I think about it, Temerity does seem the sort to take the initiative. Face down then."
Wallace's guilty smile turned to a grimace, but there was grudging mirth in his eyes and the twist of his lips.
I prodded him in the ribs, "You're not even the tiniest bit angry," I asked incredulously, though it was more of a statement.
I pressed my nose against his chest and inhaled deeply, "I can't smell a whiff of anger. If I were a servant, anyone else would be having me flogged right about now to correct my mark against their honour. Or as a noblewoman, they'd be looking for a father, brother, or husband to duel."
He sighed, a wry, grudging smile on his face, "Humans used to be like that," he admitted.
I frowned in thought, "Now that I think about it, I don't believe Simon has ever challenged anyone to a duel. And gods know people have tried to goad him into it."
"Why, to try to get rid of him?" Wallace guessed, "Seems like a losing proposition if it's fey versus human, even if he doesn't go all Super Saiyan on them."
"Super Saiyan?" I inquired.
Wallace covered his face with his hand, "The body magic thing he does."
"Oh, well, you're right. Magic isn't allowed, though that can be hard to enforce. But it's the privilege of the challenged party to opt for a champion to take their place. Usually a sprite, or now that there are other races in the city, a goblin or elf. But it matters little," I explained, "Simon seems genuinely ambivalent to even the most grievous insult made against him. At first, it led to him losing a great deal of respect within the city, but once it was clear he didn't care about that either, I think he was able to turn it into a strength. That said, it's not as if he doesn't get even with those that oppose him. Typically when a nobleman of the city goes after Simon, he'll find that a wife or daughter will have mysteriously fallen for the human interloper," I thumped Wallace on the chest, "Simon's playroom isn't quite as well soundproofed as Temerity's though, I understand that most of the manor, along with anyone out on the street, can hear when Simon is taking the initiative with a new paramour," I put a hand to my chin, as if in thought, "Now that I think about it, that must be some serious soundproofing in Temerity's place, I mean, you must be awfully lou-"
Wallace, very gently, but very firmly, put his hand over my mouth.
"Shhh."
I shrank inwards a little and nodded.
At first, I'd been needling him just to see what it would take to get him to strike me. Humans were still an enigma to me, and I found that people were generally easier to deal with if I knew where the limits were, but now I realized that the greater risk would be making the big mushy goliath feel hurt.
He took his hand away, and I pulled myself up to plant a kiss on his cheek, before sinking back down to nestle against his chest.
"You're an okay bodyguard Wally."
"Thanks, Vally," he replied wryly, "Have you got your daily allotment of teasing me in? Can we get to adult stuff?"
I rolled my eyes, "Val will be fine, and what is it?"
"Well," he began, pulling down the blanket a bit so I could see out into the night, "I picked this bench for a reason, are you able to make out that light in the distance?"
"No, can you-"
Wallace covered both the torches, and I waited as my eyes adjusted to the darkness.
"Maybe?" I said finally, "I might just be seeing what I want to see though. I take it you're more confident?"
He nodded, "It's a campfire. It's way the hell out there, but it's a fire."
"Probably surveyors from Caniforma," I guessed.
"Are they going to be a problem?"
"Perhaps," I admitted, "They might eventually find a route here, but surveyors tend to guard their discoveries jealously. Unless you know who to ask, it's not easy to even learn where to buy such information, and that's to speak nothing of the price. No, they're not likely to pose a threat. That said, if someone is truly determined to come after me, they likely could reach us."
"You mean someone might pull the same stunt we did," Wallace realized.
I pulled the blanket back up over my head and relaxed against the big man.
"Yes. And while we had to spend a day getting through the pass, the proximity of the mountains offers possibilities to the determined."
"You mean someone might try to make their own little rest stop by climbing up far enough? Would that even work with horses?"
"Doubtful," I replied, "But if it came to it, they could abandon the horses to the tide, and sleep out the night partway up some convenient cliff."
"Hmmm..." he rumbled quietly, "Just trying to think through the timeline here. So the horsemen, horsewomen, horsepeople?"
"They were riders, not centaurs," I huffed.
"Whichever, point is, they left late. After all, we left late, and they left even later after that. So we'll assume whoever comes after us has time to prepare, and are down the ramp from the city at first light."
"Not a simple task," I interjected, "There are special carriages that carry horses down, and even if they've planned to have those ready, the descent is yet slower than it was for us."
"Okay, fair," Wallace agreed, "But it does mean that, compared to the riders we ran into, they'll be further along at any given point in time."
"Fair," I agreed.
"Which pushes their point of no return forwards, I don't know, six hours?" he guessed, "That might be a bit generous, but we should prepare for a best-case attempt from them."
"They also won't have spent several hours searching an alien neighbourhood for us," I added.
Wallace nodded, "Which means they get even further. Now include the fact they've got a safe return that's a lot closer... yeah, I bet they could make it. Fuck they'd be tired though."
"I wouldn't worry about it for now, Wally," I assured him, "I have a hard time conceiving of a more defensible position than what we have now. We'll have time to ready ourselves. Besides, they know not what they face at the end of their journey. I don't expect to see them in the next Long Night, perhaps the one after next at the earliest," I peered up at him from beneath the blankets, "Plenty of time for you to learn some magic."
Wallace beamed and seemed to tremble at the mere word, and it gave me a little thrill to see him smile like that.
I thumped my hand against his chest again, "Carry me inside, feed me some breakfast, and we can get started."
Wallace pursed his lips, "What was that you said, something about protecting you but not taking care of you?"
I narrowed my eyes, "You're not taking care of me, you're pampering me.
"As you wish, your highness," Wallace replied wryly.
Still bundled up in the blanket, Wallace brought me back inside through a different staircase. Rather than functional metal railings and hard stone steps, this staircase was thickly carpeted, and the hardwood railings were stained a rich dark brown.
Wallace shouldered his way through the door at the bottom of the stairs, and I somehow found myself in a room that was even more luxurious than what I'd seen below.
Now that wasn't to say that every surface was engraved, gilded, and studded with gemstones as it might be in a royal's palace. The humans who'd built this structure seemed to have a preference for understatement, and instead of displaying wealth with precious metals and rare stones, it was with quality materials. Again, I was astounded by the uniformity with which the carpets and furniture upholstery were dyed. The elves could do work that was nearly this good, but it wouldn't be uniform over such a large area, and the reagents they used to fix the dyes had an unfortunate scent.
It looked to me that the top floor of the entire east wing was dedicated to this single set of chambers. Well, perhaps not 'chambers', as the designers seemed not to have believed in walls. Where they were needed, they were either glass, as the exterior walls were, or did not rise to reach the ceiling, and served simply to break up the sightlines and provide a little privacy.
Oddly enough, the kitchen seemed to be displayed proudly, rather than being out of sight, hidden back in some servant's area. I wasn't happy to see the harpsichord, in what would be the sitting room, had it been a separate room. There was also another of those black glass slabs that humans always arranged their furniture to face. There had even been several in the restaurant below, arranged so that no matter where one sat, a slab could be seen. This one was the largest I'd yet seen and was nearly as wide as I was tall.
The deference shown to the objects suggested some religious significance, and it occurred to me that there had been something similar in the house we'd looted before leaving the human neighbourhood. The materials hadn't been quite the same, and the glass slab at the front had bulged outwards rather than being perfectly flat, but there as well, the furniture had been arranged to face it.
"This is the penthouse," Wallace explained, "I wanted to wait until you were up to ask your thoughts, but I think we should start moving our stuff up here. The stairs are a problem-"
"It'll be fine once my shoulder is mended," I assured him.
Wallace shrugged, and set me down on one of the wide upholstered and high-backed benches in the sitting room, "There's also some conference rooms through there," he went on, nodding towards the central spine of the building, "so there's space for us to work if we need it."
I stretched out on my back while Wallace went over to the kitchen to root through the cabinets.
"Is that what's atop the other wing?" I yawned.
"No, the conference rooms are near the elevators, probably for fancy people to have fancy people meetings," he called back, "The other wing is a presidential suite, so I guess this is an American hotel."
"American?"
"Uh, it's another country from Earth," he explained, "But the language is the same, and I'm familiar enough with the units they use to measure things that it's not a problem," I heard the cabinets shut. A moment later, Wallace was peering over the side of the couch, "I'm gonna go out on the balcony and cook, you stay out of trouble till I get back."
"I'll try, no promises."
With both of us properly fed, I had Wallace join me in the sitting room and drew him down next to me on what he called a 'couch'.
While he'd been busy cooking, I'd poked around the penthouse, looking for something to use for our first magic lesson. I'd found what I'd needed in the bathroom- a bathroom that was larger than some commoner's homes -a box of hairpins.
I took out just one of the pins and handed it over to him. It seemed comically small in his enormous hand, and he held it between forefinger and the odd not-quite-thumb, not-quite-finger that was his extra digit.
"I can do magic with just this?"
"Yes and no. The first thing to understand-" I began.
Wallace beamed, and threw his arms up in the air, "First law of magic!"
I sighed, but couldn't help but share his smile, "You're just a child on the inside, aren't you."
"We're all children on the inside," Wallace replied, "and we're all just pretending otherwise."
My smile turned to a smirk, as I considered what I might do if I wasn't trying to keep up appearances as a noblewoman. And the truth was, it wasn't as if I put much effort into such appearances.
"Are you going to let me teach you magic," I prodded, "or are you going to keep sharing your philosophy?"
"Alright, alright, what's the first law of magic?"
"From a single object, you can only get one type of mana," I recited, "There are exceptions, but for the time being, one object, one type of mana."
Wallace frowned and stared intently at the hairpin, "That doesn't exactly make sense."
"What about it troubles you?"
"The exceptions. Physical laws don't tend to have them."
"Wally, which one of us is teaching and which one is learning right now?"
"I know, I know, but I also spent two decades in one type of school or the other," he insisted, "Newton's laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, Euclid's postulates, they mostly don't have exceptions."
"Mostly?" I repeated, "So then they do have exceptions, why is it so strange then-"
"That's just it," he exclaimed, "Thermodynamics, that's sacrosanct. Pretty sure even magic doesn't violate that no matter how hard you try. But Euclid's postulates and Newton's laws of motion, those are different. Euclid had five postulates. The first four are simple. I mean simple enough that they're a single sentence that a kid could understand. I mean, the first one is that you can draw a straight line between any two points, really simple stuff. But Euclid was trying to explain the very fundamentals of geometry. His problem, and hell, mathematicians worked on it for hundreds of years after him, was his fifth postulate. He was trying to describe the fundamentals behind parallel and non-parallel lines, and it was kind of clumsy. He couldn't quite get the phrasing to be as neat and tidy as the other five postulates. And not just him, like I said, plenty of genuine geniuses worked on the same problem, and couldn't figure it out. See, the truth was, there was a deeper understanding that wasn't known," he paused, I think he'd noticed that my eyes were starting to glaze over, "Um, remind me to tell you about non-euclidean geometry some time. The point is, the way he was trying to describe how parallel lines worked, didn't always apply. But he couldn't even conceive of how it didn't apply. It was as if he was blind to it."
"And you think the same is true for magic?" I said slowly, as I digested his speech.
"Yeah, and you know what," Wallace said confidently, "This is exactly the sort of thing Simon would recognize as well."
I felt a sudden tightness in my chest, not fear, but excitement. Wallace had already been able to provide some hints, but now it felt as if I were finally starting to draw the curtain aside.
"This Newton, what was his mistake?"
"Well the thing to remember about Newton, is that he was a genuine genius. I mean, he couldn't figure out the equations necessary to track the motions of planets, so he invented a new type of mathematics. He was one of the first guys to lay out a set of laws that could begin to describe the way the physical world worked. It's more complicated than that, and others added to his theory to build Classical Mechanics, but there's a reason that Classical Mechanics is sometimes referred to as Newtonian Physics. The trouble was, there were areas where his theories broke down. But like Euclid, it broke down in ways he couldn't conceive of. It worked for apples falling from trees, and planets orbiting stars, but not, for example, black holes, nuclear weapons, and spaceships trying to travel faster than light."
"I feel as if I say this frequently in your company," I told him tiredly, "but pardon me?"
"Newton's theories worked at the scales that most people can conceive of. From the very smallest bit of dust, all the way up to the most very massive stars. As for velocity, it covered the stationary, all the way up to objects travelling more than a hundred thousand times faster than a speeding bullet."
"What else is there?"
"Exactly!" he exclaimed, "It took another two hundred years for a guy named Einstein to come along and invent General and Special Relativity, which explained how things smaller than motes of dust, larger than the largest stars, and nearly as fast as light worked."
"I still don't think I understand quite what you're saying, but I take it, that it is enough to know that there was more to know than Euclid and Newton could fathom."
"Exactly," Wallace agreed, "So, what are these exceptions to the 'one object, one mana type' rule?"
"Gemstones, air, and liquids. Raw gemstones can be cut in such a way as to provide two of the available mana types at once. Garnets, for example, provide four mana types, Metal, Body, Strengthen, and Protect. When it is faceted, the jeweller selects any two of those, and from then on, those are the only two mana types that the garnet may provide. Indeed, the caster must use both types, for any spell that includes the garnet. As for air and liquids, neither can be said to be a single object. With liquids, typically one must use the entire container unless it's something like a spellcaster dipping their hand in a lake or river. That's typically only something experts can do though. Most spellcasters will simply scoop some up in their hand or the like. Air presents the same difficulty, experts can simply use it directly out of the space around them, but most Air magic users will carry glass bottles of various sizes."
"So say I wanted to use this bobby pin," Wallace suggested, "I'd need to use the whole thing, and only for one of its available mana types?" I nodded, and then Wallace bent the pin until it broke into two halves, "And now this is two objects, so I could use what was a single bobby pin, for both mana types in a spell?"
"Yes, that was the puzzle I'd intended you to solve," I admitted, "I sense you're unhappy with this answer?"
"I am," he agreed, "I don't know how the 'one object one mana type' rule is wrong, but it's wrong. What if I had two pins, or let's say I just use both these halves. These are metal, so they've got Metal mana? Okay, so could I use both halves for Metal mana, and then some third object for the other mana type I need?"
"Yes," I said slowly, "I suppose that's the second rule. Controlled magic always takes two types of mana, attempt it with a single type, and only the gods know what will happen."
"Alright, well I'm gonna think on rule one. It feels kind of like a 'blind men and the elephant' situation."
This time I just threw up my hands.
Wallace grinned sheepishly, "Sorry, have you ever seen an elephant?"
"Yes," I replied, more than a little exasperated.
"Coles notes-" he began, and I gave him a dangerous look, "Sorry, simple version is, one blind guy puts a hand on the leg and thinks an elephant is like a tree. Another feels the trunk and says it's like a big snake, so on and so on."
"You're clearly very intelligent, very learned. It's a shame you hide it behind a veneer of utter madness."
"We can argue about who's crazier later," he chuckled, "So we've got the first rule, 'one object, one mana type', and its exceptions, and the second rule, 'one or more verbs, and one or more nouns, or bad things happen'."
"Then there's the final rule, and it applies to the case you suggested, using both halves of the pin for Metal mana. Steel is a Greater source of Metal mana. It doesn't matter how much steel you have, it will only ever be a Greater source. The quantity of steel instead determines how long the Greater source persists."
"Is there a number for greater?" he asked, "What's the scale?"
"I've yet to hear anyone use numbers to try to describe the difference between various mana sources, or at least, try and succeed in coming up with anything that makes sense. No, the scale is Minimal, Lesser, Moderate, Greater, and Significant."
"Hold on. Actual metal is only the second-best source of Metal mana? How does that make sense?" Wallace demanded.
I shrugged, "Only gemstones are a Significant mana source, metals are typically Greater, not just of Metal mana itself, but of whatever other mana types that metal provides as well. Copper provides Greater Fire, for example."
"Hmm, seems kinda weird that it's the most powerful sources of mana that are best known," Wallace mused, "I would have thought it'd be the other way around."
"There are commonly known rumours about colours and herbs both supplying either lesser or minimal mana of a great many different types, but I've yet to hear any specifics."
"How are new types discovered then? Even if most people get the info second-hand, someone would have had to be the first."
"It's tricky," I warned, "And I don't even know if the method I know of is the safest way to do it, but typically one takes a material with a known mana type, and the material they want to understand and attempt to cast a spell. Either the caster can guess at what mana might be present in the unknown material, in which case things proceed as with any normal spell."
"And if they get it wrong?" Wallace grimaced.
"If they get it wrong," I continued, "Or simply try to cast a spell without trying to guess what mana types might be present, then nearly anything can happen. The proto-spell uses the selected mana from the known material and a random mana type from the unknown material, and chaos generally ensues."
"I'm guessing it's generally a good idea to use small quantities then?" Wallace offered.
I nodded, "Anything to limit the potential damage. Transformation magic and Body magic are the worst. Fire magic, to be sure, may cause severe burns if the caster is unlucky, but Healing magic can correct something as simple as an injury. But a body, malformed by magic, is nigh-impossible to correct."
I took his hand in both of mine. It was soft but strong, and large enough that my thumbs didn't quite meet in the middle.
"Promise me you'll listen, and promise me that you won't go experimenting on your own," I urged him, "This is dangerous, and there's only so much I can do. If I were any good with healing magic, I would have fixed my shoulder already. I understand your excitement, but before we continue, I need your word that you'll listen when I warn you something's dangerous."
"Alright, I promise," he assured me, "If I come up with anything crazy, I'll talk to you first."
"Thank you, the other thing I should warn you about is that this isn't going to be easy. I don't want you to feel discouraged if it doesn't work right away."
I didn't want to sabotage him by telling him just how hard it was to cast a spell for the first time, but I also didn't want him giving up. I'd seen both extremes in my time. Some would give up after trying and failing for weeks, while still others would hear such tales and internalize the assumption that they'd never be able to do it. I was by no means a magic tutor, but those I was familiar with had spoken of striking a balance. It was essential to warn would-be spellcasters of the difficulty, without making it seem insurmountable. Magic was a science of the mind after all, and if someone got the wrong idea in their head, it often made their magical journey a great deal longer, if it started at all.
"Everything is hard until you figure it out," he replied, "I'll be patient."
"First," I began, speaking softly, "Close your eyes, once you get more familiar with magic you won't need to, but for now it can help to focus the mind."
He did as I asked, and I let go of his hand to pick up the box of bobby pins.
"The spell you're going to cast will give you an invisible hand, that can pick up only metal. Steel contains Earth, Fire, Metal, Movement, and Protection mana. You're going to use the Metal mana from one half of the pin, and the Movement mana from the other to create this hand," I shook the box so he could hear the pins rattle, "Then you're going to use that hand to pick up some of these pins."
Wallace nodded, an oddly tranquil expression on his face.
"Now. Magic requires you to hold two different understandings of the world in your mind. First, there's the world as it is now, where you're holding two halves of a broken pin in one hand. Second, there's the world as you will it to be, where the halves of the pin are gone, and you have an intangible hand, capable of only manipulating metal. Now I understand that might not make much sense," I admitted, still speaking softly, "But think of it as there being two worlds. There's the mental world as it exists within your mind, and there's the physical world, as it appears to everyone else. Take your time," I said soothingly, "Don't rush yourself, the important thing is to-"
There was a metallic rattling, and then the pins were floating above the small box, as if cupped in an invisible hand.
I leapt to my feet, astounded at what I saw, "Wally, that's amazing!" I exclaimed.
Wallace was not so enthused. He had his eyes open now, but there was an unexpected sadness in them.
"Seems I'm uniquely suited to this," he muttered dourly.
"What's the matter?"
"Nothing, just the universe reminding me that I'm a freak."
"Who cares?" I demanded, "What you just did takes most people weeks or months, you're a freak? Wallace, I would cut off my arm to be a freak like you. You're an enormous slab of muscle with indestructible bones, a supernatural talent for magic, and this is just a guess, but someone your size is also probably hung like a horse."
He immediately turned red and brought a hand to his face, but I went on unabated, "Who cares, if I had a body like yours, I would revel in it. The strength, the power, I would need to run from nothing. And what you said about your body making muscle no matter how lazy you are? Gods, I would eat as much as I wanted, drink whatever I liked, and bed whoever I fancied," I shook my head slowly, "But you don't conduct yourself like that. I would have searched out some shapely elf noblewoman, one that was easier to handle than Temerity, to act as patron and paramour while I ate and drank and fucked the days away," I spread my arms, and gazed down at my scrawny frame, "But instead you're here with me, because I need you, and because you have a good heart."
"Well," he said slowly, "Thanks, I guess," he said with a bland shrug.
I growled and prodded him in the side. I wanted it to hurt, but I think my shoulder ended up worse off than his ribs. At the same time, I bore down on my pheromone glands, forcing out as much of the rage pheromone as I could muster.
"You don't think I know you get angry sometimes? Really really angry?" I demanded, "When we lost that pack, gods, I didn't think the scent of anger could be that thick. And then in the tunnel when you were trying to get through that metal cover, the smell was so strong I thought I was going to faint."
I wiped my brow with the back of my hand. It wasn't sweat. Instead, I was giving off so much of the pheromones that it was beading on my skin, and making my clothes and hair damp.
"But you didn't lash out at me, or anyone else. Who cares if you get angry? It happens, what matters is what you do with it. You're a good person, with a good heart," I informed him, "But time to time you need someone to slap you upside the head and get you on the right track, that's all."
He chuckled at that. There was enough rage pheromone in the air now that he should have long since bashed my head in, but instead, he was laughing.
He raised his hands, "Alright, alright, you've made your point. Now could you please tone it down? If I have to put up with this for much longer, I'm gonna burst a blood vessel."
I switched to the opposite pheromone, and couldn't get much out before my glands ran dry, but it was enough to neutralize the rage pheromone in the air.
I put my hands on my knees and took a deep breath, I don't think I'd ever pushed myself that hard, and I was surprised to find it left me so exhausted. My legs felt like jelly as I stumbled back over to join Wallace on the couch.
"If you're done feeling sorry for yourself," I huffed, "I can finish explaining magic," I offered.
"Go ahead, what's left?" he asked wryly.
Continued in comment
submitted by ThisHasNotGoneWell to HFY [link] [comments]

35 Whimsical and Fantastical Taverns and Inns For Your Table

35 Whimsical and Fun Taverns, Bars and Inns For Your Table

EDIT: An excellent official-looking edit has been created by the talented u/natesroomrule. You can find their copy here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_xtqOtSbnULTjo81l0aYhQj7NdmWWi2p/view
A few years ago, I drafted a d100-based table for a variety of interesting and fantasy-themed taverns for my group. While that session ended up falling apart, I completely forgot about the table I created until recently.
Behold! Below, find a variety of silly, interesting high fantasy tavern ideas you can use to populate your worlds to make everything feel a little more fantastic and flavourful.
Note that some taverns assume a particular location or setting, but feel free to re-roll or adjust as need be.
Dropbox Link (.docx format): https://www.dropbox.com/s/ena4hwp0o82qzws/Fantasy%20Inns%20and%20Taverns%20Table%20by%20Tr1lobyte.docx?dl=0

The Table

# Name Description
1-3 The Dancing Imp Once a bar of ill repute, where shady deals and even devil worship took place. The legend goes that once a cunning bard called a devil, tricking him by destroying his sigil and cursing the imp to dance until it perished from exhaustion. Nowadays, it goes that demons have never since been found into the bar due to this old superstition. While the truth of this tale is often in dispute, the bar runs a marathon dancing contest on the first Saturday of every month with the winner taking a "devil's share" of alcohol in winnings.
4-6 The Drunken Unicorn Legends tell that, a long time ago, a unicorn made itself an unwitting patron of this bar. Drinking from a leaky cask of wine set out at the establishment's back door, it had that night crashed through a wall, caused an atrocious ruckus, and ran off after scaring all the patrons. Families whose ancestors were in the bar at the time of the event consider it a badge of fortune, and continue to drink there loyally to this day.
7-9 The Giant’s Foot A dirty bar full of lowlifes and criminals, commonly used for dealings between races such as orcs, goblins and yes, giants. While it's a hive of scum and villainy, where crimes between patrons are met with an uninterested shrug, those who mess with anything within the bar such as stealing glasses are swiftly met with a guard who nails them by the feet upside-down to the wall to rot, until their ankles break off and only their crucified feet remain.
10-12 The Dragon’s Head The giant skeletal head of a dragon hangs over the bar, a trophy of its retired dwarf owner from his years as an accomplished adventurer. The head is enchanted to breathe mists of pipe smoke when given an offering of alcohol.
13-15 The Living Ivy The building, it high roof taller than it is wide a relic of the building's former status as a church, casts a beautiful spotlight across the empty floor. Long thick vines, once a Shambling Mound, crawl up the walls, growing back so fast they're almost impossible to remove. During spring, pilgrims come from far away to witness the vines release magical glowing spores, which it is believed (falsely) are able to cure all manner of ills and ailments.
16-18 The Hungry Beaver Located at the bottom of a valley in a flood-prone region, the bar is set up on long, thick stilts to keep it from getting wet during heavy rains. A set of stairs, often responsible for the broken bones and chipped teeth of drunks leaving in the early dark hours of the morning, lead up to its doors. The tavern has a special local brew, called "Beaver Honey", which is made using this water and the sap from a nearby species of tree to give it a sweet flavour.
19-21 the Backwards Inn A tavern inherited by no-nonsense elvish managers who doggedly insist that the inn is sensibly called "Traveller's Rest". Locals have a tradition of reversing the lettering on all the signs advertising its presence overnight, always insistently crediting it to an ancient curse bestowed on the inn by an angry wizard long ago, or to an ancient tribe of mischievous pixies who consider it one of their greatest cultural customs.
22-24 The Twin Golems At the entrance to the tavern two huge clay golems stand, lifeless, their longswords crossed above the door frame. When commanded, such as during a raid or crime, the bartender can tell them a secret command word which activates their defensive procedure, blocking anyone from entering or leaving the building with force if necessary. The golems have been repurposed here, having been once automated labourers in a mine, but have no personality and are comatose until commanded.
25-27 The Laughing Gnome A small tavern with ceilings and objects designed for those of halfling or gnomish size, but they take all visitors. Their prized gnomish ale is famous, and the manager and owner, a portly gnome named Ferrowin Gladis, never tires of large human men attempting to squeeze their way through its tiny doors for a drink. There's also a variety of budget rooms for the shorter adventurer underneath the building, which for their price offer an unparalleled quality.
28-30 The Filthy Priest Once located near a church, this dive is notorious for its association with illegal trades being right next to the city’s skid rows. However, any Detect Good and Evil inside the bar only detects good. Its previous location next to a church and the scandals that it had involved with its residents resulted in the name change and move to the new building in the slums about a decade ago, a small statuette of a god providing the blessing on the building that had been stolen from that very religious establishment.
31-33 The Portly Frog A large, open room with a circular fountain and one particular statue of a giant, fat frog at the centre. Rumours say that the frog was a magically cursed prince petrified by a Medusa, though it is impossible to determine its validity. A small quartet of bards can usually be found in the corner, singing beautiful songs and busking for money. Those who cause trouble in the bar quickly find that this band of high-level Bards are also the security of the establishment.
34-36 The Rotten Pumpkin Located in the city where the annual "World's Largest Pumpkin" takes place, the winning pumpkin every year is traditionally placed at the front of the building until it rots, after which children often rip chunks off and have food fights outside. While this festival only occurs once per year, the pumpkin-based beverages and meals are available all year round.
37-39 The Paladin’s Oath A classy establishment for paladins of all sorts, all Evil cowers when entering its premises. Those of any Good or Lawful faith are often given free rooms provided they are questing for the betterment of the world, and small shrines can be found to most major gods surrounding the building in small stone huts. The owner, a human man and woman who were once paladins themselves, are willing to offer any assistance they can in the battle against the forces of evil. No cheap alcohol can be found here, and drunkenness is greatly discouraged.
40-42 The Rabbit’s Foot Once the host of an underground gaming den, the tavern now repurposes the betting rooms for lodging. On the ground floor, several dice, board and card games are always to be found, and locals (who are veterans to gambling and are often charlatans) love to play their games with travellers. The local favourite, Gladiator Dice, is even played by local nobles who frequent the rooms and are usually surrounded by guests hoping to cash in on their reckless spending.
43-45 The Shaking Shack Also known as "The Drunk Tavern", every few minutes the building shakes very briefly as if in a small-magnitude earthquake. Most locals and the bartenders are used to it, barely noticing the shakes, but new travellers frequently find it frustrating and distracting. Legends go it was once cursed by a warlock who, after being insulted by a legion of drunks, cursed the building itself to 'hiccup' as if drunk itself. For this reason, once per night, it is customary to pour a beer out onto the floorboards to sate "the hair-of-the-dog in the building itself".
46-48 The Garden of Maidens Named after the legendary children's tale of the 12 Missing Maidens (which is said to have happened nearby), the tavern is less jovial than one usually comes to expect. Drinking any alcohol in the bar invokes a somber depression in the drinker, which the owner credits to the haunting spirits of the dead maidens spoiling the drink. While it famously triggers sadness in almost all who drink there, it has a strangely addicting quality. Even stranger still, the only people this curse does not seem to affect is young human women.
49-51 The Mourning Widow This seaside tavern is populated by sailors, who sing loud out-of-tune sea shanties into the early hours of the morning. Its exclusive brew, the Widow's Tears, are said to be made from the tears of ladies whose husbands have died at sea. For these reasons, anyone who dealing with the death of a loved one can expect free drinks on the house.
52-54 The Enchanted Mug Contrary to its title, the mugs at The Enchanted Mug are not enchanted. In fact, gnomish engineers have developed a complex hand-cranked machine where a patron can observe the automatic creation of "The Perfect Brew". It tastes foul, but most people pay just to watch the Rube Goldberg-like giant wall-mounted device create their drink behind a pane of reinforced glass. Nowadays, it frequently experiences malfunctions, and often expels ale even worse than normal.
55-57 The Whispering Web A bar infamous for hosting criminals and fugitives from authorities, often home to Drow and other evil creatures. Theories go that secrets travel faster than feet there, which may or may not be true: Mirrors hanging on the walls around the bar are used to anonymously conduct business with one another, with each dealer the only person able to see the other. For this reason the tavern in prized for its discretion and has been rumoured as the host to a number of highly influential underground business deals.
58-60 The Shivering Pelican A classier establishment, the bar serves infamously cold ales. Among them is their prized "Frozen Swill", cooled with magical jets to far below zero, which is nearly impossible to drink. Themed as a Winter Wonderland all throughout the year, a series of hot springs located out in the back are very popular among the richer folk who can afford to use them. The bartender rumours that nobles use the springs as meeting places for concubines and illicit lovers, which is supported by several other gossiping members of staff.
61-63 The Golden Harp This tavern contains a magical harp, brought in at no small expense, which plays beautiful music as patrons drink and dine. Believed to be imbued with the magical talents of an angel themselves, its melodies have an almost hypnotic quality to them, which has been known to invoke intense emotion among a minority of the weak-willed. Frequent attempts to steal the priceless artefact mean that the harp is placed behind several magical wards that prohibit anyone from approaching. Each flagon and mug has an ornate harp carved into its side, and these are commonly stolen as ‘souvenirs’ for patron’s homes as a testament to its owner's musical tastes.
64-66 The Broken Cavalry Popular among war veterans, it borders a huge stable and a large field where horse races are frequently run for sport and recreation. The first stop in a long pub crawl, tradition dictates that a budding drinker not leave the back of their horse throughout the entire ordeal, which becomes increasingly more difficult as the rider becomes more drunk.
67-69 The Starving Yeti Set inside a cave in the side of a tall mountain peak, it is often used as a safehouse during the occasional avalanche or orc raid due to its naturally fortified structure. Only the opening of the mouth is used for the business, but the rest of the uncharted cave behind it travels deep into the mountain: However, only the bravest dare to scout out the area due to its huge labyrinthian size and dangerous monsters. Rumours of ancient dwarven treasures from a time long-forgotten are familiar to all locals, including the recipe for a highly-prized ancient Dwarf wine.
70-72 The Dragon’s Roost Pigeons have long taken their place in the rafters of the tall building in which The Dragon's Roost is located, often pooping into the drinks of those below (which is considered a very lucky omen). Many sustained attempts to remove the infestation in the past has proved fruitless, and has slowly developed into a superstition that the pigeons are the reincarnated souls of regular bargoers.
73-75 The Prickly Crocodile Located on the middle of a dry and unforgiving desert, most drinks are synthesized from a common cactus to create a series of bitter yet strong alcoholic beverages known as The Prickles. As the plant is highly toxic, only the bar's owners, and old and influential Dragonborn family, are familiar with the secrets to extracting the appropriate liquid without retaining its deadly poisons.
76-78 The Gaudy Cannon Located on the roof of the squat, well-constructed stone tavern, a faux-golden cannon fires a blank shot of gunpowder every time somebody completes the venue's infamous Drowned Liver Challenge, which involves copious quantities of local wine. The proprietor and barkeep, an eyepatch-wearing halfling pirate by the name of Two-Bones (since retired), takes great joy in this ceremony (the cannon her proudest trophy from her travels) and often participates in the challenge herself.
79-81 The Wild Sorcerer Though not gifted with Sorcerous magic herself, bar owner Meredith Garalin inherited the venue from her mother after it spontaneously appeared from nowhere during one of her episodes of wild magic. Business is slow due to its out-of-the-way location, though local rumours that suggest the tavern is cursed to one day magically return to whatever plane it was summoned from (and with all its patrons inside).
82-84 The Ghost Hog Impossible to trace, the faint squealing of some faraway pig can sometimes be heard from inside of the tavern during the day. Notoriously grimy and filthy the east side of the tavern, dubbed 'The Swill', is an open, muddy space which is commonly the ground for drunken barehanded wrestling matches both for sporting and settling disputes. Solid lumps can frequently be found in their unappetizing pints of ale.
85-87 The Glowing Scales The only remaining building in a village now entirely in ruins, it acts as an important resting place for those travelling between two major cities which keeps business booming. Due to its highly vulnerable nature, the barkeep offers free room and board, as well as a night of free drinks, to anyone who assists in fighting away the goblin hordes that attack at sunset several times a week.
88-90 The Masquerade Floor A classy establishment built in a refurbished noble's manor after it was invaded and taken over by a neighbouring kingdom, its blindingly white tiled floors give it a strikingly futuristic aesthetic. The drinks are distinctly expensive, but come in an eclectic rainbow of colours. All its staff, mostly elves, wear white face masks that conceal their identities.
91-93 The Empty Pail A large, popular tavern in which large drink orders are made in 'pails', metal buckets filled with ale that can be shared between patrons or quaffed by larger, more ambitious humanoids. A lot of food, like small sections of dried apple or strips of preserved bacon, are served floating or submerged in the alcohol which gives them a bitter flavour.
94-96 The Clever Merchant A bustling hub of trade and mirth, the business offers not only rooms and drink but also a variety of trade stock such as grains, ore, and lumber. The owner, a bald Dragonborn merchant, makes a decent profit over the impulse purchases of drunks with coin to spare, as well as off a variety of house-run gambling games such as the popular card game Merchant.
97-99 The Thunderous Wagon Located on the outskirts of a city next to a large stable for late-night travellers, they offer cheap rooms for those willing to put up with loud distractions to their slumber during the night. Popular wisdom dictates that banging your mugs of ales against the table before drinking will bless those staying overnight with good rest.
100 The Bloodthirsty Fish A popular location among hobbyist fishermen, the walls are lined with the trophies of various huge catches. A patron can be offered a free drink if they can prove themselves a record holder of the largest for a particular type. Their brew is atypically salty-tasting and popular among sailors.
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[Event] Saudi Arabia sets up Gambling Commission

It is not a secret that the official religion of Saudi Arabia is Islam, and according to Islamic Law, gambling is forbidden. There’s a large quantity of rather secular citizens residing in the country, and they would enjoy the freedom to gamble whenever they please.
Camel racing is both popular and legal in Saudi Arabia. Prizes are even awarded to winners, however, bets may not be placed on these matches legally. Regardless, bets are often placed on camel races and the illegal purses can get quite hefty. It is not unusual for winning camels to be sold for stud at prices above $130,000.
Besides camel racing there is Horse racing, Cock and Bull Fighting, Falconry competitions, Football matches and Card Games that have a culture of gambling even though all are still illegal. If players would like to gamble without having to worry about the law, online gambling is their only option, but this is now no longer the case.
The Gambling Commission will be set up as an executive non departmental public body of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in KSA. It's remit covers arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines, and lotteries, as well as online gambling.
The stated aims of the Commission are to keep crime out of gambling, and to protect the vulnerable. It issues licences to operators, and advises the government on gambling-related issues. It also collaborates with the police over suspected illegal gambling.
All companies seeking permission to engage in this activity would require special permission from the Commission prior to operations. More information can be saught from Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
[S] First to recieve a permit is primary donor of the Gambling Commission, Al Waleed Bin Talal Al Saud, Chairman and CEO of Kingdom Holding Group, of one of the largest groups in the world, having a very diversified portofolio. A meeting is arranged with Roger Marris, CEO of The Ritz Club London, to create a branch in Riyadh.
This Opulent private club and casino with limo service, restaurant and bar indulgently decorated in gold and red will be the first of it's kind in the whole of GCC, making even Dubai jealous. It will be a luxurious private members' club and casino open 24 hours. We expect elite members of the community and its neighbors flock here for enjoyment [Secret within Secret] and money laundering purposes [/SwS] [M] couldn't think of a better way to structure it. [/M] and this should generate traction for people to spend more in Oman guarantee some economic prosperity in the future years.
Other businessmen closely related and friendly with the Senior Members of the Gambling Commission coordinate with William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Coral to set up agency agreements.
Whilst Alcohol is still technically illegal, Al Waleed bin Talal has been given the Green Light by King Salman to go ahead, since changes are on the way. [/S]
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My Personal Market Research & Statistics in 2020: Countries That Gamble the Most

My Personal Market Research & Statistics in 2020: Countries That Gamble the Most
The gaming sphere is so different and immense that it is divided into many structures and substructures. For example, games can be divided according to their type, capabilities, gambling, devices, technology, etc. But what is more remarkable is the appearance of statistics in games, when you can see and understand many nuances with your own eyes. So, let's talk about gambling research and statistics in 2020.
Throughout its existence, gambling has been constantly subjected to various pressures from the law, states, and opponents of this activity. And the first step is to talk about the most important thing in the gaming industry, namely, legality.
There are several countries where gambling is allowed. This business is closely monitored by special authorities, subjecting the gambling activities of companies to various frameworks and rules. On the one hand, some laws can be very depressing, but compliance with them allows companies to legally and transparently offer their content to the consumer - and as a result of legality and licensing, the company ensures safety for the user and gains trust from him. There are also countries and their areas where games are partially allowed or have more severe rules.
https://preview.redd.it/k3c15lhb7eb51.jpg?width=625&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c5d00e3ca7c045288c9f4332079ec208a496814d
The main countries where you can gamble are:
  • Australia;
  • The United States;
  • Canada;
  • New Zealand;
  • The UK;
  • China (Macau).
But it is highly recommended to check the legality of gambling for money in your area, the rules and laws change quite often. Often online casinos have a separate page where you can check this.
https://preview.redd.it/bwky69rc7eb51.jpg?width=433&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=11ab101087def28200b4ed2c4e31aa6992b395fe
The most popular gambling games in the world are casino games (mainly slot machines and roulette), sports betting (mainly horse racing), and poker. It's also easy to see the big difference between playing ages between the United States and the UK. In the first country, young people play more, as in the second, those who are over 55 years old. This may be due to many factors, at least mentality and freedom of choice. Note that the world's most famous gambling capital Macau wins in terms of income per visitor, and the biggest losers are in Australia.

Australia
More than 6.8 million Australians are considered to be players who play in the country - this is approximately 39% of the total population. Australian people love to play, most of them love to gamble on portable devices that they can take with them, such as a mobile phone or tablet.
78% of players are able-bodied adults 18 years of age or older, and the average playing age is 34. Women and men play equally in the same amount, that is, 50/50, although earlier women players were 4% less than men.
Australians play pokies mostly for fun, and some older people play to train their thinking and improve their brain function. Residents are not against betting and consider them very useful for the economy and development of the country.

USA
As you know, the most common place for gambling in the United States is Las Vegas, but do not forget about Atlantic City and the water casinos, which are legalized in Louisiana and Illinois. Online betting is available for almost all states. Almost 65% of the entire adult population of the country, one way or another, play games, mainly on their smartphones.
More than $ 80 billion is the total value of the gambling industry in the country. Most of the people who play are mostly in the 18 to 30 years old area. 15% of all residents of the country play at least once a week. Mostly preferences are for online casinos, but many players love old school and play in land-based casinos. Americans love big win and impressive jackpots, especially progressive ones, which can easily reach up to $ 20 million.
https://preview.redd.it/rscu153i7eb51.jpg?width=607&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=876f3cac692bfc81e7d94dee194fa0b24d9e6bcf
UK
In the United Kingdom, more than 46% of the country's population gamble and at least several times a month. Players prefer different strategies for their pastime and use handheld devices, but there are also a large proportion of those who still prefer a computer for their gaming sessions.
The older generation plays more in the country. These are able-bodied adults who are 55 years old and older. Most likely this is due to a large amount of free time and the possession of significant finances, which can be easily used in online casinos. Players prefer online casinos 10 times more than in other countries, but there are still more than 250 land-based casinos in the country. To a large extent, the British know how to play to win significant sums. They use the strategy of maximum possible bets on the same game regularly.

Canada
More than half of the Canadian population gamble and their percentage is growing every year along with the development of online casinos and the availability of gaming content. The biggest number of residents of the country prefer casual games, they quickly learn how to play in various slots, which also increases the number of new players at lightning speed. Also, Canadians like to use different tips for choosing a game or strategy, for example, such as the one here https://freeslotshub.com/offline-slots/
78% of the country's online gamblers are male, and the average age hovers 35 and a half, although almost a decade ago, he was with the index 45 years. The legal age for gambling in Canada varies from province to province, some from 18 and others from 19. The average annual spending per average Canadian on betting is over $ 17 billion, and every year the figure is growing by about 5%.

Other Countries that Gamble
Various forms of the gambling industry are legal and regulated in many places: in the countries of the European Union, Asia, and countries around the Caribbean, but they have much stronger control and rules from the state.
  • 44% of Singaporeans aged 18 and overplay.
  • Almost every 9th German player.
  • More than 31.5 million visitors to Macau per year.
  • Spain registers about 3.9 million new players every year.
  • Japanese gamblers spend over $ 31 billion in casinos annually.
https://preview.redd.it/47fdp0te7eb51.jpg?width=436&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5452d58b2a724e846772b57458aa9019b3c530f2
World statistics easily show that approximately 26% of the world's population regularly gamble and more than 17% of them play online.
The gambling industry is growing and thriving, over time the income of companies that are involved in the gaming industry will grow at lightning speed. To some extent, the development of technologies provokes this growth, because experienced players have simple and convenient access to gaming content, and new ones have the opportunity to try content for free without any risk of losing real money.
submitted by Freeslotshub to u/Freeslotshub [link] [comments]

Alliance Chapter 2

Hello again! I wrote this while procrastinating for my classes, and I tried to expand to a few things I hadn't written about before. Please let me know what you think of it!
First

“Well, it’s definitely not an inconsistency in the fuel,” I announced, wriggling my way backward out of the accessway, trying to blink the sweat out of my eyes. Clarke, my chief engineer, received this conclusion with a flexed jaw. Reactor 2’s slight output fluctuations had gotten more pronounced, so I’d come down to help brainstorm. Thus far, we had ruled out faulty fusion containment, coolant flow problems, and now inconsistency/contamination within the fuel itself. While it was frustrating not to be able to pin down the problem, I was grateful for this last negative—modern Navy reactors only needed to be refueled about every hundred years. The operation was correspondingly long and difficult, involving supervision by two federal regulatory agencies and the Russians.
Clarke tapped her pen irritably against the pad of engineering paper she’s taking notes on. She wasn’t happy with any anomaly in her engine room, and the pressure of our imminent departure wasn’t helping matters. It was worrying me too—not only was my ship relatively an unknown, but my engineer was too. I’d picked up the impression that she was a perfectionist, and she was certainly competent, but I didn’t know how she’d react under stress, or how good she’d be at the inevitable jury-rigging that cropped up on patrol.
My last chief engineer was Commander John Abbas—killed in action. He’d loved troubleshooting, no matter how much he complained about it, and whatever the crisis he’d never lost his composure or his nasty sense of humor; he once configured the security scanners around Engineering to administer mild electric shocks to anyone who said “Carolina,” “Tar Heels,” or “Dean Smith” within five feet of the door. He would’ve thought tunneling was a great challenge.
Focus.
The speaker on the bulkhead crackled. “Captain to the bridge.”
Shit. You forgot, idiot.
We were embarking our half of the joint Human-Z’lask delegation to the Galactic Council today, they were due to arrive at 1000, and it was now—I checked my watch as I scrambled over Clarke and out of Engineering—1015. I guess I’d be fashionably late to greet our erstwhile enemies.
What if they take it as an insult?
Then hopefully they’d shoot me.
I made it from the reactor room all the way up to the currently-unoccupied chartroom off the bridge in record time, with the result that I was even sweatier and more rumpled than I was from being wedged next to an unhappy Reactor 2 for hours. On top of that, I was one of those people who always looked somehow disheveled, no matter how creased their clothes or shined their shoes. I’d never gotten used to the slightly taken-aback look people tended to get when they’re introduced to me—this is the captain? They seemed to be thinking. This idiot who looks like she just rolled out of bed?
I really wished I could look the part. It would make a lot of things a lot easier.
You’d still screw everything up.
I tried frantically to straighten myself out, and quit abruptly as Ramirez and two other marines walked in. “Alright,” I said, making sure I have their attention. “These aren’t the first Z’lask we’ve met, so no staring like you’ve never seen one before. They are the first diplomats we’ve encountered though, so they’ll probably act very differently from what we got used to. Let’s try to be calm and nice and friendly—they’re our allies now, weird as that is. Let’s just take this nice and easy, guys.”
“No sweat, Skipper,” Ramirez responded, as his two buddies nodded confidently. Despite this all three looked tense.
And you’re not?
The diplomats have been permitted onto the bridge, as a show of welcome, so I squared my shoulders like I was taught and went to greet them.
There were ten of them, five Z’lask and five humans. Most of them were staring around at the ship’s interior with varying degrees of curiosity, from the wide eyes of those who’d never been on a vessel so big before to more critical observations from people who clearly had military backgrounds—a human and a Z’lask were both eyeing the weapons status board, taking in the row of green lights indicating all railguns online.
The Z’lask don’t use projectile weapons; they considered them clumsy, even primitive, next to their more elegant energy shooters. The war had disabused them of those notions. I was willing to bet this was the first time this individual had seen our weapons from the operator’s end, and if I was him, I’d be curious.
“We got the stern chasers online this morning,” I said to the mismatched pair, breaking into their inspection. “We’ll be doing charging drills on them today, and then we’ll be all systems operational.” I tried to smile in a friendly, open fashion, and probably looked like I had tetanus.
The human smiled back. The Z’lask’s turquoise pupils brightened before he spoke.
“Do these drills include loading?” He asked, flicking his long, forked tongue to indicate slight embarrassment. “I know it must sound strange to you, but none of our weapons require that, and I would be interested to see how you manage the extra step.”
“Not while we’re in port,” I answered. “But once we’re in transit, we’ll run firing drills. You’re welcome to observe then if you’d like.”
“I would appreciate that,” the Z’lask said, his eyes dimming then brightening to reinforce his words. The human asked him a question about their weapons drills and I excused myself, moved through the rest of the group emitting greeting noises, and escaped to the front of the bridge.
I could feel myself relaxing as soon as I stepped into the familiar tableau: Davis leaning on one elbow over his charts, Xi listening to the comms chatter with one ear and our chatter with the other, Quartermaster First Class Jackie McClane sitting at the controls, a new minion whose name I couldn’t remember (gotta fix that) seated beside her. I paced to my spot. It was good to be back.
The clock on the bulkhead read 1045—time to start preparing for departure.
I always found myself thinking of old family car trips when preparing to leave port—both events were actually pretty similar. Everybody was rushing around frantically, there was a schedule but it seemed like everyone was doing their best to get massively behind it, tempers ran a little short, and then somehow miraculously we were actually ready to leave on time.
The diplomats were surprisingly little trouble—they stood out of the way where they’d been asked to and didn’t bother anyone, content instead to observe the organized chaos of getting the Yorktown back in the black.
Tradition dictated the playing of an ancient song with a title very similar to the cliché about returning to space as the moorings are retracted, and I secretly loved it. Today, it’s extra-special: for the first time since I was captured, I’ll be driving my own boat.
I’m let loose, from the noose, that’s kept me hanging around.
McClane received clearance for departure from Traffic Control, and gently pulled the Yorktown away from the dock.
She’s a big lunk of mass, so she answered her maneuvering thrusters sluggishly at first, leaning gradually away from the pier and wallowing reluctantly into the lane. As she built up some momentum, that old bitch physics started to come over to our side, and the ship moved quicker and more nimbly, a promise of agility showing through her lethargy. Yorktown passed out of New Norfolk gathering way and looking fantastic.
I was standing just between the navigator and weapons officers’ stations, a few feet ahead of the chair my first skipper—Capt. Tillery Carroll, he could read a reactor’s thoughts, had time to teach even moronic new young idiots every simple thing we should’ve known already, and set two speed records—told me that the captain never sat in unless he had to. It was a mark of how much his example impressed me that I still followed his old rule.
I shifted one leg back slightly, to brace for acceleration. We passed the FTL limit beacon, and requested permission to engage our Drazer drives. We received clearance and approached the jump point.
“Permission to go to hyperspace?” McClane intoned, trying hard to keep the excitement out of her voice. My heart was about to go faster than light all on its own. I rolled my eyes around the status boards one more time, felt the thrumming of the drives through my heels, and kept my voice steady as I gave the order.
“Jump to FTL.”
Yorktown shuddered, then leaned heavily into her acceleration—to a stationary observer, she’d appear to be elongating impossibly. She bucked once like she was meeting a wave and then was perfectly still. The view forward changed from the blackness of vacuum, studded with the infinite brilliance of stars, to a whitish-blue tunnel, the only perceptible sign that the Yorktown was now galloping through the stars faster than the speed of light.
I shot a glance at Lieutenant Nguyen, the engineering officer monitoring the reactors and their Drazer drives from the bridge. “All systems nominal, Captain,” he announced, a little nervously. He was new, and evidently a bit scared of me, god knows why.
“Thank you,” I said, turning to look at Davis.
“On course, Skipper, good jump. Estimate arrival at Rendezvous Whiskey in ten hours, fifteen minutes.” He responded quietly, not looking up from his charts. Davis was not made nervous by anything.
McClane cracked her neck and settled in for the watch, her wide-eyed minion looking decidedly less relaxed. I myself could float up off the floor—I just had a textbook first jump with my gorgeous new ship. And even nary a sign of problems from Reactor 2.
Sure, she was a little active building up the bow wave, but that was to be expected—you wanted maneuverability, you had to give up a little stability. She’d probably hop like a scalded cat on exit, but then she’d cut straight through the bow wave and come right back down again without further ado. That was an improvement over her predecessors, which usually buffeted around a few times passing through the disturbance.
Thank you God for letting me be here.
The ship was almost unnaturally still, only the faint vibration of the engines running through her frame. She cruised easily, smoothly, more quietly and much faster than her forerunner Houston was designed to do. I decided happily that she was a worthy successor, and started toying with the idea of sending for some coffee.
Two hours later, the calm of the watch shattered as Xi put her hand to her earpiece. “Distress call, Skipper,” she reported, gaining everyone’s instant attention. “Species unknown, they say they’re under attack by four Drizagen pirate ships at-” she gave the coordinates and my mind started working as my heart started racing.
The Drizagen were a commerce-focused race, and when they couldn’t make it in legitimate business they went straight for the illegitimate. This was considered a disgrace, however, so their pirates were generally small and poorly armed—when they got ahead, they bought their way back into society.
Four of them vs. the Yorktown. Those were the kind of odds she was built for.
Of course, the line between stupidity and aggressiveness was a thin one, and I’d stomped all over it in my career. I knew too many people who thought they were in for something simple, lost their focus, and got killed when they’d survived much worse. I was not going to be one of those people.
“Davis, ETA to their position?” I barked, thinking rapidly.
“Fifteen minutes at maximum speed, Skipper,” he answered at once, tapping away on his navicomputer.
“Increase to flank. Change of course to-” as I rattled off the coordinates I caught sight of one of the Z’lask diplomats out of the tail of my eye, trying to get my attention. I ignored him as McClane repeated the order and the Yorktown leaned over abruptly as she changed course, spinning on her heel as though in disdain for the pirates she was going to meet.
What does he want?
I had more important things to think about.
“Let’s go to general quarters, bring shield generators online in preparation for drop to realspace, charge railguns and arm torpedoes.”
Lieutenants Malinowski and Peretti acknowledged and began barking instructions to their respective broadsides, the steady green squares on their status boards flashing to a malevolent red as each was armed.
“Captain….”
I spun around to glower at the Z’lask diplomat, who had brought himself to speak. “Yes?” I said, just managing to restrain myself from a growl. He stood up a little straighter—all eight-plus feet of him.
“That ship is not human or Z’lask. Its fate is not any of our affair.” His eyes were a steady brightness, no glinting malice or dimmed unconcern.
“What?” I snapped, confused. Space is hazardous to us all, even scrapping human factions acknowledged that. Some of them some of the time, at least.
“It is not our affair,” the Z’lask repeated, apparently firm in his belief. “We do them dishonor to interfere in their private matters.”
Oh for….
Every time I thought I was getting to understand these aliens, they went and did something like this, leaving me more mystified than ever before.
“I’m the captain of this ship,” I said. “And I, in accordance with international law, am rendering assistance to a vessel in distress. We are not dishonoring them by interfering in their private business, we are upholding the honor of a very old code of humanity: they call, we respond.”
The Z’lask’s vivid eyes flickered in confusion, but he shut up, as I knew the reference to rank would make him. I turned back to the task at hand. Four to one wasn’t nice odds, and the UN, in its paranoia that one of us will start another war, had forbidden all forces to open fire unless fired upon themselves—even if they were coming to the aid of another vessel. Because our lives weren’t hard enough as it was. We’d need to be responding the instant we came through the bow wave.
“Realspace drop in three, two, one…” Davis counted down, and the Yorktown lurched again as she decelerated, leaping as she hit her bow wave before driving her nose back down as she knifed though it.
“Shields up,” I barked as we came through the disturbance. I took in the scene in front of me and actually blinked in surprise. Four Drizagen pirate ships—about the size of USN frigates—were swarming around the oddest vessel I’d ever seen in my life.
It looked like a titanic, many-petaled flower in full bloom, sparkling as though coated in raindrops from all the point thrusters needed to move the colossal absurdity. It’s got to be the least efficient thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’m in the Navy.
Its strange design was working for it now, though, as the pirates couldn’t seem to figure out how to board it, and were scared to fire on something so fragile-looking, for fear of damaging the goods. It’d kept them alive long enough to summon help.
“Sensors?” I asked.
“Low-power energy weapons, Captain. Shouldn’t be able to get though our shields.” Came Lieutenant Levy’s emotionless reply.
The pirates had caught sight of us, and two of the four broke off and headed right for us. Our shields were at full capacity, and atmospheric integrity had been maintained since general quarters.
We were built to take some punishment.
“Full right thrust, let’s show them our broadside. Xi, any response from ‘em?”
Xi was working diligently at her station. “No response, Captain,” she replied.
Figures for pirates.
Yorktown rolled into the turn, wheeling to bring her broadside to bear on the two approaching, much smaller ships. It should be an intimidating sight. If we could get them to see that, it would save them what we were going to give them.
They didn’t scare. They drove straight at us, their first shots splashing against our shields, shaking the whole ship but not penetrating, as predicted. Malinowski announced torpedo locks on both of them.
Y’all had your chance.
I eyed up the distances, the closing rate, the trajectories of the flying ships. “Fire tube two at the lefthand hostile, fire five at the right.” It was still a surprise to hear my voice, cold and flat, when my heart was leaping as though trying to escape my chest.
“Fire two, fire five,” Malinowski repeated, and the Yorktown shuddered slightly as the torpedoes launched, becoming two fast-fading pinpoints of light as their motors ignited and they arrowed away toward their targets.
Both ships broke hard as their scanners picked up the incoming shots, but neither were maneuverable enough to shake the nimble, remorseless torpedoes. The faint dots arced into blurred tails as the weapons tracked, then disappeared as they superimposed their targets.
The leftmost pirate tried to run straight away, looping nearly vertically around in their haste to escape. This wild maneuver was spectacularly unhelpful, as it quickly put them on a course directly away from us, easy for the first torpedo to follow. It flew right up their exhaust port, and the vessel vanished in an expanding sphere of blindingly brilliant white light.
The rightmost one was a little smarter, it tried abruptly reversing course in a series of zigzags, like a deer chased by dogs. But even though they took advantage of the second’s delay between firings to try to flee their sister’s fate, it was too late. The torpedo still tracked, and caught them in the aft third of the ship—it broke up and incinerated as their atmosphere caught fire in the detonation.
Fission fishin’, ladies and gentlemen.
The remaining two, having hung back to continue harassing the flower-ship, started frantically flashing their running lights, and Xi winced and turned the volume down on her headset. Evidently they had decided to respond to our hails, and begun emphatically expressing their desire to surrender.
“Tell them to take their weapons offline, drop their shields, and come to a halt,” I said. I didn’t particularly like dealing with pirates. And they were delaying us—we’d lose at least another hour babysitting them until reinforcements could arrive to take them to be impounded. Xi repeated the instructions, and both the pirates complied, drifting to a halt surprisingly quickly as Levy reported their weapons powering down and their shields lowering.
“Skipper,” Xi began, still with her eyes screwed up against the noise the pirates were making. “These guys are pretty freaked out. They’re swearing up and down they didn’t know we were human when they attacked us or they never would have, they’re panicking we’re going to kill them anyway.”
“Tell them as long as they don’t try anything they won’t get hurt,” I snapped. “We’re not animals.”
Another damn species that thinks we’re savages.
You’d think it would be nice to have a reputation that clears the way. But instead it felt like the ringing of a leper’s bell.
Xi managed to calm the pirates down enough to hear herself think, and to open another channel to the flower-ship.
“Unidentified vessel, this is the human warship USS Yorktown, do you require assistance?”
Aside from the one we just rendered.
That wasn’t nice, brain….
“Put them on speaker,” I said. I’d like to hear for myself what these idiots thought they were doing out here.
Xi complied, and a voice crackled back. Even with the distortion of the comm it was high, thrumming, and somehow eerie. The hairs on the back of my neck rose as it spoke.
“Yes, please,” it gasped. “The pirates fired on us when they first appeared, two of our people were wounded and we don’t have enough supplies to treat them, can you help?”
The voice rose to express appeal, and as it did it somehow struck another sound from within itself, a musical note sounding behind and around and out through the spoken words. I’d never heard speech so utterly alien—my mind recalled legends of sirens. If sirens talked this is how they would sound.
I pulled myself back together. Xi actually shook her head like she had water in her ears. “We can send over a shuttle, to ferry your people back to our sickbay. Will that be satisfactory?”
The relief flooding through the being’s voice as it accepted was so powerful it cast a vibration of its own, making the speaker sound doubled. I was now thinking—to my consternation—seriously about sirens. No voice could be this compelling and be innocent.
Or could it? The galaxy was wide, and I was sure there were stranger things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in my narrow philosophy. It was also not a very impressive measure of human progress that sailor’s stories about evil monsters were as present as they ever were.
Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what species are you?” I asked, fighting my trepidation.
“We are Iialia,” the voice answered, another musical note emanating from the last word, sounding at once like the pluck of a harp and the strike of a chime—high, crystalline, like the chatter of falling water. “We have heard of you—we knew the humans always went armed, and today we are grateful for that.”
Aaaand another species that thinks we’re foaming at the mouth!
I’d never met an Iialia before, though I knew of them. Their entire species was dedicated to the creation of art—they believed science and the discovery of natural truth to possess artistic beauty, and so the species had reached the stars. And, apparently, sailed them in ships whose design was dictated by artistry, rather than practicality. They were utterly pacifistic—violence was ugly, and their species shunned ugliness.
So at least they’re not sirens?
Damn, we had a low bar.
A medical team—accompanied by marines—was dispatched to their ship, which identified itself as the Cosmic Blossom, because what else would it be called. I glared at the pirates, who have been sitting quietly without making a peep, to keep myself from pestering the team. They would give me information when they had it.
“Bridge, Sickbay, we’ve got the two patients through diagnostics, both are only minorly injured, we’re stabilizing them now. We should be able to patch them up by the time the escorts arrive.”
Oh thank God.
“Good to hear, thank you.”
“Three others accompanied them, they, ah, say they’d like to thank you.”
The fuck?
I sighed inwardly. Now my sunny self—plus the diplomats, I’m sharing my misery—would have to go down to sickbay and meet them, ensure that their first impression of humanity included more than just us beating up pirates for them.
I reviewed what I knew about the Iialia on the way down: they were asexual (I had no idea how they reproduced, except that division was somehow involved), and used the pronoun xa, which apparently translated as “creator.” I’d never even seen a picture of one before.
The Z’lask were annoying and weird as shit, but they at least were within our frame of reference. The Iialia were standing just outside of it, etching drawings on its edges.
I hate diplomacy.
We barged into sickbay. The two patients were behind curtains, being attended to by Dr. Ford, the ship’s surgeon. Looking on were three uninjured Iialia.
They were about human height, which was nice, and covered in fine, sheeny short fur, like cornsilk, ranging in color from pure white to iron gray. Their large eyes, liquid and nearly all black pupil, were set wide apart over small muzzles. They had two legs and two arms, like most species, with the head on top and a sweeping tail like a horse’s at the other end.
They wore short-sleeved garments, their fur evidently much better at keeping them warm than bare human skin, or Z’lask scales. The colors and styles of their fashion slid past my vocabulary—to try to describe them with human words would dirty them. I’d never be able to convey how it was that one seemed to be wearing light, another darkness, the third fire. All the humans stared to see them—their presence was as enthralling as their voices, though they were not what a human would consider attractive.
They’re sirens.
The Z’lask, however, didn’t seem to think so. They greeted the three Iialia formally and courteously, then stared off into space looking bored. One of them, the one who’d disagreed with me earlier, noticed the disparity in reactions about the same time I did, and began staring at us, leaf-green eyes shining with sharp points of concern.
Oh fantastic. Now they think we’re insane.
Who didn’t, at this point.
“Captain,” said the one wearing fire, xa’s fur flowing and smoky gray. “We wanted to thank you for fighting off the pirates—I don’t know what I would do if I lost the Blossom.” The gratitude glittering through the being’s voice sounded golden, like an exultant cello.
“Ah—we truly appreciate that,” I said awkwardly. “Humanity considers it an obligation to respond to distress calls, and we’re always very happy to be able to help.” I tried to smile and look humanitarian. I could feel the green-eyed Z’lask staring at me now.
“Well, permit me to say that we at least are very glad you feel this obligation,” xa said. “Even though we had to be saved by violence, which is such an ugliness.” Xa shook xa’s head mournfully. The musical note produced when xa said “violence” was startling—brassy, impure, and too loud. It was the first sound made by an Iialia that had been anything other than enchanting. The back of my neck prickled and I knew the green-eyed Z’lask had noticed our reaction.
I tried to cover by mumbling something about how we always hated to resort to force, but that unfortunately it was sometimes necessary. The human diplomats slid into the conversation, steered it toward safer topics, and had everyone nattering away.
The voices of the Iialia embroidered musically through the conversation, overlaying the clacking language of the Z’lask and the more guttural or sibilant sounds of English. It was a bit ironic—our speech sounded more “reptilian” than the giant lizards from outer space’s did.
“Excuse me,” the pure-white Iialia began timidly, breaking into my thoughts. “But if I might ask…what is your favorite color?”
“Huh?” I said stupidly. “Uh, blue, I guess. Blue.” I smiled to cover the fact that I’m an idiot.
“What shades?” Xa pressed, staring unblinkingly at me.
God these guys are weird.
“Well, all shades, I guess, except nothing too light. Not like, powder blue or anything.” I matched the Iilia’s stare. I had no idea what kind of evaluation this was.
“Thank you,” xa said quietly, with a sound like the wind rushing from beneath a bird’s wing. Xa sidled over to stand next to the smoky-gray one, who was gesturing widely as xa talked to an equally animated human diplomat while an impassive Z’lask looked on.
The Iialia murmured musically, and to be perfectly honest the lovely sounds were starting to get on my nerves. I realized suddenly that their initial, captivating effect seemed to be waning. The longer I looked at them, the more flaws I saw: their garments were too stiff, their fur antiseptically styled, even their bewitching voices were losing their charm.
What the fuck is going on?
I was chewing on this when the intercom informed us that the reinforcements had arrived to escort the pirates into custody. Dr. Ford pronounced his patients fit to leave, and the Iialia gathered themselves up, thanked us one more time, and departed.
I busied myself with packing off the pirates and getting back underway so I didn’t have to talk to the green-eyed Z’lask, but he caught me after the watch changed, as I was leaving the bridge.
“I noticed something today,” he began. “I wanted to talk to you about it.”
“If this is about answering distress calls…” I warned.
“No, another matter,” he said impatiently. “I wanted to speak to you about your reaction to the Iialia. I noticed you were quite taken with them at first, but by the time they left you appeared rather less enamored of them. Am I correct in these statements?”
“Yes…” I said, eyeing him like he was crazy—even for a Z’lask, he’s being very blunt. I’m not sure whether that was a good or bad sign; I only really had experience in talking like this with one Z’lask, and he was one of a kind. It had always been a good sign when he was blunt though: the time he chucked me in solitary he did it with such flowery phrasing I’d barked at him to come to the point already and gotten myself two extra days.
The self-satisfied lizard.
The green-eyed Z’lask looked…reassured? “They lost their charm to you for the same reason they never appealed to us—there can be no beauty without ugliness.”
“Huh?” I said, with my characteristic rapidity of thought.
Z’lask don’t really have lips, so I considered it a personal triumph of denseness that I provoked pursed lips from this one.
“If you had heard their music, I imagine you would initially have been stunned by the perfection of the sound, but as you listened its perfection would become cloying, then grating, then galling. Of the human songs which I have heard, the ones which I found most moving, which I wanted to hear again to learn and carry with me, incorporated imperfections. Anger, sadness, even just repetitive notes—all things the Iialia would think ugly.”
His viridescent eyes glowed.
“The Z’lask, to borrow the Iialia’s metric, find honor beautiful. The Iialia create art because they believe ugliness to be evil. They have no patience with any imperfection—they could never understand our proverb, ‘there is virtue in the struggle.’ They do not see honor, and so it is not present in their art. Therefore, while we appreciate their works as representations of admirable effort, we find them merely frivolous. You humans, though, your art can be a vehicle. And it is what your art conveys, not the beauty of its form, that captures us so. It seems to speak to us in the same language in which it does to you—it is a convincing demonstration of our compatibility.”
“That’s…good. Isn’t it?” I really was getting pretty tired of the endless whiplash of dealing with the Z’lask.
“I suppose so,” he said. “Though it must be balanced against your insistence on sticking your nose where it does not belong.”
“Not this again!” I snarled, exasperated. “Someone needed help. We could provide it. So we did. End of story. This is not complicated—space is dangerous enough as it is, when things go wrong for you and you have to call for help, you’d want someone, anyone, to come, right?” I barged ahead before he could respond with some nonsense about death before dishonor.
“You would, whether or not you admit it. And you had damn well better do what you expect of everyone else. I happen to believe quite strongly in the responsibility to respect privacy, Ambassador, but it comes second to preserving life. To apply your species’ metric, it is honorable to assist others in distress, because it is what we would want if our positions were reversed.”
“Mm.” The Z’lask clicked shortly. “I suppose it would make sense—your species’ development was so isolated, it is unsurprising you came to view the call for help as a higher one. And there is something appealing about your ideal that you must do for others what you wish them to do for you…it is honorable.” His eyes dimmed with thought, then flashed into brightness again as he realized something.
“It is the same as your Geneva Conventions!” He put his head to one side, an odd look on his face: half-admiring, half-pitying. “You humans insist on plunging into danger, hate the consequences, and then decide you will…legislate the problem away. You did not choose to only sail in groups, so that help would always be at hand, but rather decreed that everyone must answer distress calls—and made it a matter of honor. You did not turn inward to improve your natures, as Z’lask do to conform to the Code, but wrote treaties to do the work for you. Then you made the difficulty you of course still encountered in upholding the law a matter of honor.” He rolled his luminous eyes.
“I suppose this tiring obligation is one to which we could accustom ourselves.” Flipping his tail in the Z’lask grin, he stalked off.
I am going to kick each and every last one of these crazy bastards out an airlock.
Or maybe I’ll just go see what’s for dinner—we had a long trip ahead of us.


Damn, fight scenes are hard to write! I could definitely use some constructive criticism about how to improve them, if anyone happens to think of any! I’d also love to know what y’all think of the Iialia, they were fun to come up with….
submitted by PuzzleheadedCharge4 to HFY [link] [comments]

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