JoJo's Bizarre OC Tournament #5 - Round 2 Match 10 - Bert and Emilie "Dread" Delacroix vs John "Jack" Aurel
The results are in for Match 8. Agnes and Arpeggi, in their shrunken states, continued to fight, surrounded by the rising flames of their lilliputian tower, fists flying and Stand blows being taken one after the other. “You… Callous mother fucker!” Arpeggi cursed, Agnes feeling the singe of a heat blast both from behind and from launched wood. “We’re not aiming for a massacre!” “You’re not,” Agnes spat out, then, pulling a tab on the table, a massive geyser erupting and launching his so-called ally away, “I don’t give a fuck about this place, and we’re in a Stand battle… And it’s all worthless, greedy scumbags watching! Let the fire spread! Let this place hit the ground so they see what someone with style can do!” “You heard it here, folks! Agnes talked you all down… C’mon, where’s your passion! Don’t run out and away, c’mon! And here I thought you cared y’had money ridin’ on this…” Conqueror Worm’s laughs reverberated as Glitch and William found themselves cooled by Ocean Eyes’ nectar, which found itself dissolving quickly but, for the moment, a functional barrier for the injured fighters, watching and listening to what happened. “Th… They’re fighting each other up there…” William remarked, physically looking as though he was straining to force Ocean Eyes not to hurry up there and tear them a new one. “Glitch, we don’t have time to keep the flames at bay and call up another KST, and if I let Ocean Eyes up there it’ll eviscerate them, and-” “What’s this? The kid is holdin’ back, afraid of his own Stand! Hey, kid, don’t hate this part of yourself! Ocean Eyes, it ain’t your enemy, that’s a part of you, what makes you special, so don’t be at odds with it! Embrace what it says, because it’s what YOU’RE sayin’!” William was speechless, there, but his companion was less inactive in that time. Tiger “Glitch” Ricky simply hissed, then, her and her Stand hopping up out of the flames in an effort to brutally, mercilessly pounce upon the self-styled villain and the ally he had come to blows with. If they moved fast, they could bite through that shitty little twink’s neck right now! Arpeggi grit his teeth, scrambling to find his footing as he witnessed the pouncing cat-stand, finding it hard to breathe among all the burning rubble, fading fast then. Is… Is this how it ends..? Crushed and mangled as some lowlife’s burnt-up game piece..? “And it looks like Glitch is about to take it! Shout-outs to Tigran, the only real one here, watchin’ through the fire and the flames!” “Heh… This is just a bit of a sweat,” Tigran Sins answered, stifling a cough, “I’ll see all seven of these bastards run through games until they’re all-” Arpeggi didn’t hear what was said next, only hearing his own defiant heartbeat. If he didn’t act fast, Agnes would die… Good riddance, right? But… Ugh, no, even scum like him, they don’t deserve… He clutched at NEXT LEVEL until his fingers bled, and Glitch and William, both looking at him past their Stands waiting to attack, made curious sounds as yet more crumbled away. “Mrr?!” And then, there was white. An overwhelming cascade of baking soda burst from NEXT LEVEL, smothering the flames rapidly as an obscured form zipped up the tower again, grabbing Agnes and hurrying away from the thrown-off Glitch. “You… Why did you…” Agnes rubbed baking soda out of his eyes, coughing and looking at the form of Arpeggi in this new Stand. “Motherfucker…” “I have responsibility over even a scumbag like you… You tailed me here, and I’m not gonna let you die and escape responsibility easy.” He turned, then, to William and Glitch, his new form revealed. “Now, actually help me, follow my lead, and I’ll kick your ass later. We need to survive this-” All four of the fighters, then, felt themselves grow rapidly, their combined weight so close together crushing the table they were on, much as a nearby tabletop wargame that had been setup found itself buckling under the weight of Metra, Oh No, the Black Angel, and their motorcycle. “Welp,” Worm said with a bemused laugh, holding up the slumped body of Tigran. “Your fire couldn’t hurt him, but smoke inhalation sure could! I guess that means…” “The winner is FIRE, with a score of 65!”
With no more reason to fight, it got really awkward and everyone just sort of ran out of Heartache Casino. William Eyelash, recalling his stand and lost in thoughts, was the last to leave, joining the others in leaping single-file out a window into a nearby alley. There, though everyone else seemed tensely uninvolved, the Black Angel’s motorcycle revved, and she stared down Worm as he safely stowed Tigran inside his Stand-body, leaning on his golden sword. “There’s still something I need, Jones… I’ll run you down to get it if it means saving the city.” Worm laughed, gesturing with his sword. “This thing? You’re huntin’ me down for this… Ah! I see! You’re tryin’ to do that.” Callously, he tossed it, so suddenly they fumbled with it in hand. “Here ya go, then! I don’t much want what Jack Aurel’s cookin’ up either!” The Angel, worn and exhausted, stammered. “I… You just… But…” “Lookin’ forward to killin’ me, huh? Get in line, kid… Or waste your time right now! See, nobody here is botherin’, they can all read that it’d be a waste when I’m in such good health! City’s countin’ on you, yeah, and you won’t get many opportunities for bein’ called a hero as an adult. Make it count!” Then, before anyone could say more, he darted through a nearby wall, waving William and the rest off with a, “Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming and be sure it will lead us aright!” … … “Asshole.” The Angel turned away, strapping the sword to their back and driving away. “Thank you, all of you. I’ll take this from here… Get yourselves help.” There was silence as they drove into the sky, scarf billowing before them, and then Agnes started cackling. “You’re all fucking morons… If I didn’t burn that place down, we wouldn’t have gotten away, and some wannabe with no style would be going down as Los Fortuna’s worst villain! Fucking bow and grovel, Jack Aurel’s grave is gonna say ‘spat on by Agnes!’” Nobody had the energy to dignify that with a response. An anticlimax is leading into a super-climax, and meanwhile, an ant-loving little boy and an aid worker are racing through their dreamscapes, with a day left to vote there. Narration: What is, as of the 1990s, ‘Capital Island,’ was the epicenter of Los Fortuna’s founding several hundred years ago, in the midst of a bloody Stand User conflict, many militias clashing for superiority, in the 1680s, starting with the death of the era’s own Andrew Tiffany, the missionary William Mandolin, and towards its end, knocking people into their senses through the awakening of exactly what he had tried to warn them of. A grand T-Rex by the name of Megalomania had survived, dormant, underneath the land through the might of its Stand, coated in a goldlike substance, and awoken in a deep rage by the conflict of the locals. Megalomania was met in battle by a man out of place named Aaron Bruno, ‘Sir Aurel’ to most, and Memory Management, and when slain, crumbled where it stood into a pile of bones, feet firm in the ground. Los Fortuna’s natural history museum was built around this monster’s remains, and Sir Aurel would turn its golden coat into a ceremonial weapon. The power these symbols were imbued with, even with their old purposes lost, were of great importance to the city’s stability. Scenario: Outside Los Fortuna’s Natural History Museum, Early Evening In the blink of an eye, the attention of everyone within Los Fortuna had been turned to the natural history museum. That made sense, of course - considering the looming dark clouds containing the ghosts of the dead within them, the scuffles of the stand users outside of the building, and the vague knowledge that a ritual with the purpose of destroying fate itself was currently being performed within it, it would be out of the ordinary for people to not be paying it any attention. Even those who weren’t stand users that were up to date with the situation were drawn to it by the unusual level of activity surrounding it, from emergency services and VALKYRIE forces alike. And then there was Bert. They were invested in the whole situation, of course - keeping up with the latest reality-breaking ancient rituals was the least that a wannabe god like them could do. Their status as an observer did raise a few eyebrows - they’d had to shake off both emergency service workers and VALKYRIE forces, who’d both taken the time to try and encourage Bert to leave the area for their own safety, clearly underestimating Bert’s own prowess. Within the chaos, one could be excused for not failing to notice the drones Bert had been sending around to overhear and oversee it all. First, they paid attention to the chief of security at VALKYRIE, Ugo McBasie, who seemed to be getting interviewed by someone from the Fortuna Hermod, an ODIN-owned news publication (not their usual guy at scenes like this… Wonder what happened to him). Bert had heard that the man was a violent and irresponsible meathead who’d caused plenty of trouble in the past, but he seemed to be keeping a thin veil of professionalism for now. However, Bert couldn’t help but notice a young man in a blue aviator cap standing a few meters behind the reporter and staring daggers at him, perhaps keeping him in check somehow, occasionally piping in for comment about how it was all they could do to surround the place and wait for an opening if they didn’t want a meat grinder on their hands. Meanwhile, Los Fortuna’s own city council chairman, Raymond Delwin Shimizu was discussing something of note with someone else, who seemed to have just finished an interview of his own. Bert didn’t recognize him, but the interviewer had called him “Chief Prosecutor Cavallo”, and she seemed as if she knew what she was talking about, so Bert opted to believe her. The interviewer, Jillian Something-or-other, had been running all over the scene, trying to get interviews alongside her oversized cameraman Bert recognized as having been that really huge cop who used to hang around Aurelio a lot of the time not successfully doing his job. Not worth Bert’s time. Cavallo scratched his head in frustration. “Chairman, please tell me that you’ve made progress of some kind here...” Ray shook his head. “Not much. That stand user that’s working alongside Jack Aurel, Akiko Mizushima, is making it impossible to get in - anyone we do send in is as good as gone. We haven’t even been able to get Admiral Pineapples out. Judging by your demeanor, I assume that the board hasn’t made much progress either.” “No, doesn’t seem like it.” Cavallo let out a long sigh. “Every day, it’s just more and more work… Now we’re stuck having to deal with this. If nothing’s done, the board’s thinking it might very well cause a disaster unmatched by… Well, anything but the earthquake from thirty years ago. Something like this, bending the rules of the city, and breaking free from it… Los Fortuna’s probably not going to let that slide easily.” He shook his head. “Where the hell is the mayor through all this? Watching anime at home or something, probably.” Ray remained silent for a bit, thinking to himself. “Well, we’ve got emergency services ready to act for now, and we’re working on evacuating any susceptible areas, but it only works so much.” Before Cavallo could respond, another reporter came up to Raymond, ready with a batch of questions for him. “Well, Cavallo, our work isn’t done yet, so let’s get to it. Saving as many people as possible here should be our utmost priority.” And with that, the two men parted ways for the time being. Having listened enough, Bert began thinking to themselves. This was a tricky situation - they clearly couldn’t get in as is, but they certainly wanted to. Learning more about the situation at hand would improve their knowledge of the mechanisms holding Los Fortuna together, and gaining control over the ritual somehow would certainly be a feat befitting of a god such as them. Bert stood in front of the museum entrance, taking another look at the chaos in front of them and continuing to think about the next step they’d take. So many different possibilities, so little time. They thought, and thought, and then one of their drones’ eyes glanced upon someone familiar - a blue haired, red eyed woman wearing a mask, trying to blend in and clearly resenting it, skulking around the perimeter of the area as though she, too, wished to enter. Yet despite her efforts, Bert recognized her. “Emilie ‘Dread’ Delacroix!” They declared it loudly, thoughtlessly so, approaching her with a hand raised. “Are you perhaps looking to find a crevasse through which to enter that place as well? It’s quite fortified, isn’t it?” “Hm?” She wasn’t bothered by the way Bert drew attention to her, still wearing her same very extra outfit under the also quite extra hooded dark robe she was using to blend in. “Ah, pardon me dearly for having failed to notice you… You are Bert, from that incident where we fought on equal terms, yes?” “I am that same Bert, Emilie ‘Dread’ Delacroix, yes. Though I doubt I could be much mistaken for others…” “We are both quite conspicuous individuals, yes,” Dread said, taking the conversation into a nearby alley before VALKYRIE goons on the scene could prove it was her, “but no, I’m not terribly nonplussed about my abilities to infiltrate that place… Simply, I am attempting to assess the probability by which my approach itself, through the barricades erected, might occur. If your intentions happen to be helping me sneak through, then it is simply not necessary on any fronts… I have formulated a plan now.” Dread, now appearing alone, walked through that alley curiously, looking around her and beginning to see her opportunity of approach - there appeared to be a side door there, at which a certain fish-themed hero was sitting outside, looking, Dread knew from their DMs, at funny images of her wife atop the T-Rex skull in the museum. Yes, certainly, this would be- “Whoa, hey, it’s you!” Damnable. Had she been spotted, or..? No, no, wait. The one speaking, a man also in this alleyway who smelled of cannabis, holding what looked like a GAP bag, was speaking to someone on the opposite side of it, disembarking from a sportbike and handing it to the rider, who was wearing a very ornate-looking golden sword which Dread had sworn she’d seen somewhere before. “Thanks,” the Black Angel told this young man, accepting the bag and producing its contents - a Roman helmet and black bird-looking tokusatsu cosplay? “Green couldn’t make it himself, huh?” “I made it,” the guy said, pointing proudly to himself, before blinking. “Oh, you mean like… Showing up. Yeah, no, there was a thing with a mammoth coming down from the mountains, he’s helping East deal with that. Feel like lighting up before you go in? It’ll take the edge off..!” The rider removed their helmet, coincidentally perfectly timed for the strawberry-blonde with pale blue eyes to stare him down incredulously. “About a million people live on this island, Weedboy. Now is not the time…” The Angel ducked into the nearby building to change, finishing, “shit, yeah, it looks just like the Flying Men do… uh. you should get out of here now.” “You kidding?” He asked. “I don’t wanna bow out right before it gets good! That’s, like, saying I think you can’t do it!” Well, these two appeared distracted, so Dread would continue along her way, walking right past them and towards the blockade, towards where Jo was sitting casually, only to be interrupted by- “Holy shit, it really is her! Stop right there, Dread!” Oh boy, here we go. This had been happening more lately, since a somewhat frustrating individual went and opened his big mouth about her dangers on Bifrost. Turned out that the head of VALKYRIE was literally in the server, so now she had a bounty on her head after a modicum of investigation into her after that public statement, and her casual admittance thereof! Two armored guards were pointing guns at her as she stood there, unfazed. “Don’t come any closer!” One of them, an older woman, said, turning to her younger partner and quickly telling him, “if she approaches, open fire. She’ll eat you alive if not!” “This again, are you being serious?” Dread was less than pleased. “I am evil, and a murderer, unrepentantly so, yes, but I do not eat people. This rumor is being so blown out of proportion that I find it quite tiresome.” “F-fuck off and die!” The younger moved to fire his weapon, only to realize there was a knife through him, catching the gun by the trigger after running from his shoulderblade to his fingertip. Dread didn’t need the help, but like a true friend, Kimijo Kaneko offered it anyway “Wh-what the-” The older woman cursed as her partner was cut open and dropped. “Fucking useless moron! HEY, EVERYONE, KANEKO BROKE RANK AND DREAD IS HERE TO! NOW’S OUR CHANCE TO-” The distraction, then, was all it took for Dread to take her first kill of the day. Of course it was fine. She read the news, she knew how these VALKYRIE people were literally at war with poor people. “Sh-shit, those people just died! More VALKYRIE corpses, and Jo again..!” The stoner declared in the background, and the Black Angel, now dressed exactly like the birdmen many had seen before, paused in her efforts to run past the opening created by Jo breaking formation. Nobody could hear it or see her lips move, but she apologized under her breath, clenching her fist, but the disguise had worked. 32 Footsteps, the primary guard which would warp away anyone who tried to enter, apparently had instructions to allow in anybody dressed like this, yet none of the intended recipients of this deliberate loophole made their way in. “Dread, hello, friend!” Jo exclaimed in high spirits, sheathing her knife, but still speaking quietly as she hurried back into place, “good to see you!” “Yes, it is most certainly fortuitous for us to encounter one another…” Dread agreed, walking and talking with her as the pair were watched in horror. “By any chance, may I come into this museum? I am absolutely curiously intrigued by what is going on within here…” “Sure!” A VALKYRIE sniper was taking aim at Dread, then, as she entered, muttering under her breath, “got a shot lined up… I can take her out, and Jo a second later! Two bastards out of the way, at least, and-” “Wait,” the youth in a blue aviator hat and goggles, speaking as VALKYRIE’s tactician, instructed, “hold your fire.” “Sir, she just made one of our senior officers fall into rotten pieces! She’s chatting it up with this fish-bitch like it’s nothing!” “I know, and I’m appalled too, but I think…” The Blue Kid paused, contemplatively. “No, I know it. Dread is here to defeat John Aurel, just like the Black Angel.” Spinning and pivoting through the air, “Lou” Reed, dressed like a dark, sixth Flying Man, landed atop the skull of the t-rex, which had apparently been adorned in a cute little pirate hat. It made for a fine vantage point, then, to look all over the halls of the Natural History museum, noting one, two, three, four spots, grotesque and morbid statues Remix had apparently erected of ghostly abominations. She was exhausted, injured from the three-way skirmish she, Metra, and Oh No had been forced to undergo and riding like hell to get here, but she had made it this far, and others had managed to get in too. She couldn’t choke now. Seven minutes… I’ll just have to destroy those, and be back here in seven minutes. Easy enough… I don’t think I’ve been- “Green, Orange, and Purple… I don’t believe a ‘Flying Man Black’ was ever mentioned, nor that any of the brothers were into swords.” Shit. That voice, too… Lou turned around, then, seeing someone standing behind her, a man with long dark hair, brandishing a hammer and looking up at her. John “Jack” Aurel. “Even if you are what you appear to be and not in disguise, you should realize that you aren’t welcome here. There’s nothing to be done in this museum worth dying for, and no way to accomplish any more foolish goal if I were to raise attention now. Care to waste some of the time you have left and explain?” Of course this would happen. Lou removed her faux-beak, helmet, and goggles, staring down at him as her hair billowed in the ceiling fans’ wind. “Jack… I’ve come here to put a stop to this.” “You’re that kid who’s always running around, huh?” Jack frowned, twirling his hammer. “I hear what you talk about through the grapevine… About how we’re all victims of fate, forced against each other by Gravity. That Stand Users are always going to be molded by this… You understand it too. You understand that people like us prey upon the weak, that it’s in our natures and our place in the world. I want to remove myself from that… Remove these people from that, and atone for what I’ve done.” “By killing even more people! There’s no way they’ll get everyone away from your blast radius, and you haven’t even given them the chance to!” Lou protested. “It doesn’t have to be this way… Don’t say this is how it has to be! We can save this place, free everyone from gravity, without barreling towards its destruction! I don’t want to kill you, Jack. I want you to stop this crazy, self-indulgent crap and help me do something real!” “You think everyone deserves this? That Stand Users will simply reform without this? The cycle has started, and it will push to the end even if the wave guiding it fades away completely… Bastards, the lot of us, and I don’t intend to run from what I’ve done. I’ll give you one chance to run away, kid… the worst I can call you is naive.” Lou drew the golden blade, seeing Jack wince as he clearly recognized its significance, all as her Stand appeared behind her. “We both know I can’t do that, even if I can barely keep my balance up here. And hey, maybe I will die here… Maybe I am fated not to see this through. But then, someone is gonna finish this for me! Your security is already compromised!” “Fascinating… And you are utterly convinced that, should it work, those he’s slain to commence this ritual to begin with will return outside the city?” “Remix is full of himself,” Jo said, nodding quietly, “but he and Jack, they researched a lot… Akiko and I, for helping this finish, we can finally go home! Be done with the bad city…” “She has made this place remarkably impregnable,” Dread agreed, thinking aloud, “anyone who waltzes in waltzes into her backrooms…” “Unless they have a ‘pass!’” A voice from within Dread’s cloak spoke, and as Jo raised her knife at it in defense, the pure-white, terribly contorted form of Bert tumbled onto the ground, stretching and reshaping into their typical humanlike shape. “Don’t worry, don’t worry, they are fine, with me!” Dread assured Jo, frankly thankful to have that weight literally off her back. Bert was very light, but even then it was hard to walk carrying someone, let alone not give it away. “We have… Some history, and so I thought I might as well indulge Bert’s request to see this place as well. I apologize for not mentioning earlier, but it was quite dire getting in here past guards attacking us.” Jo didn’t seem to mind, continuing to lead the pair around, even passing Akiko who was casually, distractedly reading some manga while in a bit of a pirate mood. They also passed by another scene, slightly more concerning, of an injured old man in a Hawaiian Shirt, close by the frontmost entrance of the place and clutching himself as his fleet of four Stand-starships remaining fired at Remix, who guarded against it with ghost-objects while a Flying Man Red tried to find an opening to strike. “You’ve been at this for hours, old man, die already! You have no place in the world I mean to birth from your bloodied, pulped remains!” Pineapples stood, then, leaning against the wall, trying not to show weakness. “I think that guy is going to lose, at this rate… It’s a shame, too,” Bert, the loudmouth again, remarked. “He might have been a worthwhile pawn in wrestling control away from this operation.” Dread, Jo, Remix, and Red all gave Bert simultaneous incredulous looks, all in completely unique ways. Jo drew her knife again, about to transform, only to dodge out of the way of the injured ‘Lou’ Reed, blacked out, helmetless, being knocked away and into the floor, the shock of which made her rise quickly, feeling around. “Where’s the- Shit!” As she sat up, then, feeling around for the saber no longer in her possession, she noticed that she was smack in the middle of something else here. Hurriedly, she rolled away, standing herself up and looking to the injured Admiral. “You… You’re one of those MFAs, right? How did you-?” Weakly, he gestured to Remix. “He brought me here in a damned urn! I’ve been fending them off to buy others in the museum time to escape… Everyone in this hall here and Jack, those are the only ones left in the building, minus masses and masses of ghosts. They’re harmless, though… Don’t worry about them attacking unless that guy takes them.” “I see…” Lou, then, smiled sadly, clutching her bloodied suit. She looked to Bert and Dread, then, moving to get between them and Jack’s incredulous accomplices. “You said you wanted to take him out, right? I overheard…” “Well, Bert has let yet another cat out of the bag,” Dread admitted, “indeed, I came here with the intent of dethroning Jack Aurel before he had a chance to complete his little ritual. Few others would even be able to get in here.” “So that’s my role, then…” Lou smiled, then, sighing, ducking out of the way of the Flying Man sending a kick her way, a gauntlet-clad arm emerging from her body, grabbing his ankle hard, and swinging him into the Jo who was shocked to hear Dread say that. “I can’t do anything about Jack… Too fucked up from that ED match…” She grinned, then, mouth bleeding as she stared Remix down. “But this old man and I can at least keep these assholes from interfering!” Dread, then, watched passively as the five erupted into battle, she and Bert curious about what was to come as, from each hand, the Stand which emerged seemed to fire odd projectiles at their foes. “The ‘I’ll hold them off…’ You’re styling yourself as some sort of exceptional hero, aren’t you?” She seemed amused by that, the irony of their cooperation. “I’m evil, you know… And Bert, at least, is morally ambiguous. But if you’ve settled on putting the city in our hands, have you any advice?” Over the sounds of laser fire, Lou quickly found time to answer, “yeah, there’s… I brought this golden ‘saber’ with me, and it must’ve fallen somewhere by the T-Rex… In, in a bit over six minutes from now, this ritual of theirs is gonna go through and rip this island open. Before that… They have these ‘failsafe’ statue things, and…” She took a breath, retracting and wincing from a blow her Stand had taken. “Look, I don’t have time to explain it, but you need to smash those up first! They’re there, made up of spirits fused together, to keep these guys safe from the consequences of their own actions… To ensure their safety, and at the same time act as a ‘failsafe’ for the ritual. Gives you the ‘power’ over it, too, in the way that right now Jack himself does… That’s important to stopping it. So you need to smash them first, and then, right as the time passes for the ritual, when the skull of the T-Rex in the center starts to split open and glow and its mouth starts gushing water… Embed the sword into the opening in its forehead, right as it starts to shape. That’s the only way to prevent this at this stage!” “The forehead particularly, hmm?” Bert asked, pacing curiously and avoiding a cross split attack from Red, who barreled into Lou and was barely blocked. “Why there, per se? Why nowhere else on the thing?” “Ngh..!” Lou grunted, saved from a follow-up by Pineapples. “I dunno, that’s just where you have to do it!” “Black Angel… That’s what you’re called, yes?” Dread smiled, turning away. “You will be thanked for this victory… Try to live long enough to witness it firsthand, won’t you?” “I’d… I’d love to,” Lou answered, smiling sadly, “for five years now, when I first learned there was anything worth a damn in this world, I’ve wanted to protect that… The dark pit of despair that was the first thirteen years of my life, and even so much since, I’d love nothing more than a world where no person is fated beyond impossible odds to suffer that.” She grew serious, then, raising her voice. “Go, now! Leave this to us!” Bert and Dread approached the T-Rex, impressed at the amazing height and Akiko’s snazzy pirate duds upon the thing, the lab-grown being whistling with impression. “A T-Rex lived ‘til three-hundred years ago… Preserved whole, in this city. It’s astonishing, isn’t it, Emilie ‘Dread’ Delacroix?” “A curious anomaly,” Dread agreed, examining it from afar, even noticing that alleged sword in the distance. “I wonder why it survived that long, so far after its brethren…” “It’s because it was a ‘Stand User.’” Jack approached from the same room in which Dread spotted glints of the golden saber, announcing his presence with that. “That was its ‘fate…’ A savage, cunning animal, ripped from where it belonged. to be a problem to solve and squabble over, to found this city on its literal bones.” “John ‘Jack’ Aurel… You’d best stand down.” Bert, helpfully, started. “You cannot beat us… Even if we only had seconds to overcome you, I would be too much for you to handle!” “No, he’s going to fight, I know it.” Dread, meanwhile, prepared Joywave, staring him down with a pointed, grinning lethality. “I suppose introductions are not necessary, with how Bert here loves to say my full name… I am not one to make things curt or brief, John, but consider yourself toppled, usurped, bloodied and dead.” “The lab accident with a God complex and by far the worst, most grisly of Jo’s friends…” With no real amusement, no happiness in his eyes, Jack chuckled, looking them over. “Of course, right at the end, my final test isn’t some hero… It’s exactly the worst kind of Stand User! The apex predators that I’ve preyed upon, that stand in the way of saving everyone who’s died to reach this point! Of course it would be someone like me to gain entry, wouldn’t it?” “You speak with such confidence you’ll raise the dead…” Bert was curious. “Even if it costs more lives, such a thing is… That is the realm of gods, John ‘Jack’ Aurel.” “Not today it’s not,” Jack answered, twirling his hammer in his hand. “Both of you… You’ve been driven here, standing in my way, as agents of ‘fate’ itself. Isn’t that the reason you were ‘lucky’ enough to pass through our defenses… Because you were meant to stand here, and you were meant to watch as every horrible, cruel thing you’ve done amounts to nothing in the face of these circumstances.” He looks the two intruders over with sympathy for a moment, before steeling himself and clenching his weapon, Stand appearing behind him just as stone-faced. “You may be the puppet of something beyond your control, but you must understand that I can’t let you ruin the plan I’ve bet my life on. I bear you no anger as people, but your role here is something I can’t ignore. I’ll waste our time no longer in arguing ethics, let there be no apologies or restraint until this is settled.” The other conspirators had been instructed not to intervene if it came to this point, even if it risked the collapse of everything they had worked for. Not if it threatened lives. An enemy to make it this far was deserving of being dealt with reasonably. As the critical moment drew near, Jack readied all the fury that months of waiting had stored within him, and accepted that this may very well be his final true fight. “Five minutes on the dot now, until ‘that time…’ If what the Black Angel said is true.” Dread looked to Bert. “What do you say we demonstrate incontrovertibly to John exactly how confused he truly is?” OPEN THE GAME! (Image credit to CaptainSpooky27!) Location: A part of the Los Fortuna’s Natural History Museum. The area here is 75 by 75 meters with each tile being 5 by 5 meters. The ceilings here are 8 meters tall. The yellow tiles are the hallways and the green and purple tiles form the different rooms. The white tiles have ritual shrines built on those areas. There are 7 shrines total and will be explained in further detail in the additional information. The players start at the south of the map and Jack starts at the top of the map as represented by their tokens. The walls are represented by thicker borders and the dotted lines are the doorways. At the top of the map, in the pink tile and yellow symbols, is the Golden Sword. It is currently pinned under 2 meters of rubble. Each wing of the museum houses an exhibit, in the center is the main attraction a large T-Rex in display as denoted by the large grey circle. The other exhibits are denoted by the letter on them:
G: The geologic exhibit, displaying and teaching about different rock formations and types
O: The two Oceanic exhibits, displaying the marine life and seabed of Los Fortuna.
C: The climatography exhibit, displaying the different temperature maps and features across Los Fortuna.
A: The Agricultural exhibit, displaying the various fruits and crops grown around Los Fortuna.
T: The two Taxidermy exhibits, displaying a wide range of animals in roped off and glass displays.
E:The Entomology exhibit, displaying photos and models of various bugs.
Goal: For the players, desecrate all the shrines and, when time runs out, have at least one of you, living and conscious, at the T-Rex with the golden sword in hand! For Jack, make sure the players don’t stop your ritual before it goes off! The match will last exactly five minutes, unless of course players are dead before then. It doesn’t end just because players reach the goal. Additional Information: The shrines are 2 meter tall marked wood and metal structures, each having an strange carve effigy sitting in the center of them. In order to properly desecrate a shrine the players can do one of a few things, destroy the shrine outright, deface all the carvings made into the shrine, or destroy the effigy hidden within the shrine. After destroying or defacing a shrine, the ghosts of the dead will begin harassing the players - three ghosts will move towards the player responsible for destroying the shrine (even in a situation where the stands are responsible: the ghosts will target Bert if a Perfect Hair minion destroys a shrine, and same for if anything affected by Joywave does so). These aren't strong, having flat 222 physicals and being partially see-through, but will increase in numbers as more and more shrines are destroyed. Strong enough hits can phase them out of existence, but they'll respawn ten seconds after at the spot that they previously were. They will go directly towards the players and can phase through any walls or objects that may be in their paths (but not out of any attacks), grabbing onto the players and trying to gang up on them once they're close enough to do so, dealing minor damage.
"Wow! It's a hand drawn original color illustration!" You’re a cultured woman, and this museum might very well end up being wiped off of the face of the earth quite soon, so you need to make the most of it while you still can! Make sure to visit and appreciate the various exhibits on display here! (Character Specific)
"What a terrible person. If I wrote about someone like you, none of my readers would like it." So this man is playing at god, trying to control life, death, and fate themselves? What foolishness! Clearly, only you can do such things, and you do them best! Over the course of the strategy, prove your superiority to this “Jack Aurel“ and take him down a notch! (Character Specific)
"Where the hell did you go?! Come out, you fucker!" It's now or never. This is the culmination of all of your plans, and failing is absolutely not an option here. During the fight, hold nothing back, and make sure to thoroughly defeat your opponents so that no one and nothing will ever stand in your way again!
How to not get ruined with Options - Part 3a of 4 - Simple Strategies
Post 1: Basics: CALL, PUT, exercise, ITM, ATM, OTM Post 2: Basics: Buying and Selling, the Greeks Post 3a: Simple Strategies Post 3b: Advanced Strategies Post 4a: Example of trades (short puts, covered calls, and verticals) Post 4b: Example of trades (calendars and hedges) --- Ok. So I lied. This post was getting way too long, so I had to split in two (3a and 3b) In the previous posts 1 and 2, I explained how to buy and sell options, and how their price is calculated and evolves over time depending on the share price, volatility, and days to expiration. In this post 3a (and the next 3b), I am going to explain in more detail how and when you can use multiple contracts together to create more profitable trades in various market conditions. Just a reminder of the building blocks: You expect that, by expiration, the stock price will … ... go up more than the premium you paid → Buy a call … go down more than the premium you paid → Buy a put ... not go up more than the premium you got paid → Sell a call ... not go down more than the premium you got paid → Sell a put Buying Straight Calls: But why would you buy calls to begin with? Why not just buy the underlying shares? Conversely, why would you buy puts? Why not just short the underlying shares? Let’s take long shares and long calls as an example, but this applies with puts as well. If you were to buy 100 shares of the company ABC currently trading at $20. You would have to spend $2000. Now imagine that the share price goes up to $25, you would now have $2500 worth of shares. Or a 25% profit. If you were convinced that the price would go up, you could instead buy call options ATM or OTM. For example, an ATM call with a strike of $20 might be worth $2 per share, so $200 per contract. You buy 10 contracts for $2000, so the same cost as buying 100 shares. Except that this time, if the share price hits $25 at expiration, each contract is now worth $500, and you now have $5000, for a $3000 gain, or a 150% profit. You could even have bought an OTM call with a strike of $22.50 for a lower premium and an even higher profit. But it is fairly obvious that this method of buying calls is a good way to lose money quickly. When you own shares, the price goes up and down, but as long as the company does not get bankrupt or never recovers, you will always have your shares. Sometimes you just have to be very patient for the shares to come back (buying an index ETF increases your chances there). But by buying $2000 worth of calls, if you are wrong on the direction, the amplitude, or the time, those options become worthless, and it’s a 100% loss, which rarely happens when you buy shares. Now, you could buy only one contract for $200. Except for the premium that you paid, you would have a similar profit curve as buying the shares outright. You have the advantage though that if the stock price dropped to $15, instead of losing $500 by owning the shares, you would only lose the $200 you paid for the premium. However, if you lose these $200 the first month, what about the next month? Are you going to bet $200 again, and again… You can see that buying calls outright is not scalable long term. You need a very strong conviction over a specific period of time. How to buy cheaper shares? Sell Cash Covered Put. Let’s continue on the example above with the company ABC trading at $20. You may think that it is a bit expensive, and you consider that $18 is a more acceptable price for you to own that company. You could sell a put ATM with a $20 strike, for $2. Your break-even point would be $18, i.e. you would start losing money if the share price dropped below $18. But also remember that if you did buy the shares outright, you would have lost more money in case of a price drop, because you did not get a premium to offset that loss. If the price stays above $20, your return for the month will be 11% ($200 / $1800). Note that in this example, we picked the ATM strike of $20, but you could have picked a lower strike for your short put, like an OTM strike of $17.50. Sure, the premium would be lower, maybe $1 per share, but your break-even point would drop from $18 to $16.50 (only 6% return then per month, not too shabby). The option trade will usually be written like this: SELL -1 ABC 100 17 JUL 20 17.5 PUT @ 1.00 This means we sold 1 PUT on ABC, 100 shares per contract, the expiration date is July 17, 2020, and the strike is $17.5, and we sold it for $1 per share (so $100 credit minus fees). With your $20 short put, you will get assigned the shares if the price drops below $20 and you keep it until expiration, however, you will have paid them the equivalent of $18 each (we’ll actually talk more about the assignment later). If your short put expires worthless, you keep the premium, and you may decide to redo the same trade again. The share price may have gone up so much that the new ATM strike does not make you comfortable, and that’s fine as you were not willing to spend more than $18 per share, to begin with, anyway. You will have to wait for some better conditions. This strategy is called a cash covered put. In a taxable account, depending on your broker, you can have it on margin with no cash needed (you will need to have some other positions to provide the buying power). Beware that if you don’t have the cash to cover the shares, it is adding some leverage to your overall position. Make sure you account for all your potential risks at all times. The nice thing about this position is that as long as you are not assigned, you don’t actually need to borrow some money, it won’t cost you anything. In an IRA account, you will need to have the cash available for the assignment (remember in this example, you only need $1800, plus trading fees). Let’s roll! Now one month later, the share price is between $18 and $22, there are few days of expiration left, and you don’t want to be assigned, but you want to continue the same process for next month. You could close the current position, and reopen a new short put, or you could in one single transaction buy back your current short put, and sell another put for next month. Doing one trade instead of two is usually cheaper because you reduce the slippage cost. The closing of the old position and re-opening of a new short position for the next expiration is called rolling the short option (from month to month, but you can also do this with weekly options). The croll can be done a week or even a few days before expiration. Remember to avoid expiration days, and be careful being short an option on ex-dividend dates. When you roll month to month with the same strike, for most cases, you will get some money out of it. However, the farther your strike is from the current share price, the less additional premium you will get (due to the lower extrinsic value on the new option), and it can end up being close to $0. At that point, given the risk incurred, you may prefer to close the trade altogether or just be assigned. During the roll, depending on if the share price moved a bit, you can adjust the roll up or down. For example, you buy back your short put at $18, and you sell a new short put at $17 or $19, or whatever value makes the most sense. Assignment Now, let’s say that the share price finally dropped below $20, and you decided not to roll, or it dropped so much that the roll would not make sense. You ended up getting your shares assigned at a strike price of $18 per share. Note that the assigned share may have a current price much lower than $18 though. If that’s the case, remember that you earned more money than if you bought the shares outright at $20 (at least, you got to keep the $2 premium). And if you rolled multiple times, every premium that you got is additional money in your account. Want to sell at a premium? Sell Covered Calls. You could decide to hold onto the shares that you got at a discount, or you may decide that the stock price is going to go sideways, and you are fine collecting more theta. For example, you could sell a call at a strike of $20, for example for $1 (as it is OTM now given the stock price dropped). SELL -1 ABC 100 17 JUL 20 20 CALL @ 1.00 When close to the expiration time, you can either roll your calls again, the same way that you rolled your puts, as much as you can, or just get assigned if the share price went up. As you get assigned, your shares are called away, and you receive $2000 from the 100 shares at $20 each. Except that you accumulated more money due to all the premiums you got along the way. This sequence of the short put, roll, roll, roll, assignment, the short call, roll, roll, roll, is called the wheel. It is a great strategy to use when the market is trading sideways and volatility is high (like currently). It is a low-risk trade provided that the share you pick is not a risky one (pick a market ETF to start) perfect to get create some income with options. There are two drawbacks though:
If the share dropped too much, you are stuck with it.
You will have to be patient for the share to go back up, but often you can end up with many shares at a loss if the market has been tanking. As a rule of thumb, if I get assigned, I never ever sell a call below my assignment strike minus the premium. In case the market jumps back up, I can get back to my original position, with an additional premium on the way. Market and shares can drop like a stone and bounce back up very quickly (you remember this March and April?), and you really don’t want to lock a loss. Here is a very quick example of something to not do: Assigned at $18, current price is $15, sell a call at $16 for $1, share goes back up to $22. I get assigned at $16. In summary, I bought a share at $18, and sold it at $17 ($16 + $1 premium), I lost $1 between the two assignments. That’s bad.
If the share goes up too fast, you missed some opportunity for gain, potentially big gains.
You will have to find some other companies to do the wheel on. If it softens the blow a bit, your retirement account may be purely long, so you’ll not have totally missed the upside anyway. A short put is a bullish position. A short call is a bearish position. Alternating between the two gives you a strategy looking for a reversion to the mean. Both of these positions are positive theta, and negative vega (see part 2). Now that I explained the advantage of the long calls and puts, and how to use short calls and puts, we can explore a combination of both. Verticals Most option beginners are going to use long calls (or even puts). They are going to gain some money here and there, but for most parts, they will lose money. It is worse if they profited a bit at the beginning, they became confident, bet a bigger amount, and ended up losing a lot. They either buy too much (50% of my account on this call trade that can’t fail), too high of a volatility (got to buy those NKLA calls or puts), or too short / too long of an expiration (I don’t want to lose theta, or I overspent on theta). As we discussed earlier, a straight long call or put is one of the worst positions to be in. You are significantly negative theta and positive vega. But if you take a step back, you will realize that not accounting for the premium, buying a call gives you the upside of stock up to the infinity (and buying a put gives you the upside of the stock going to $0). But in reality, you rarely are betting that the stock will go to infinity (or to $0). You are often just betting that the stock will go up (or down) by X%. Although the stock could go up (or down) by more than X%, you intuitively understand that there is a smaller chance for this to happen. Options are giving you leverage already, you don’t need to target even more gain. More importantly, you probably should not pay for a profit/risk profile that you don’t think is going to happen. Enter verticals. It is a combination of long and short calls (or puts). Say, the company ABC trades at $20, you want to take a bullish position, and the ATM call is $2. You probably would be happy if the stock reaches $25, and you don’t think that it will go much higher than that. You can buy a $20 call for $2, and sell a $25 call for $0.65. You will get the upside from $20 to $25, and you let someone else take the $25 to infinity range (highly improbable). The cost is $1.35 per share ($2.00 - $0.65). BUY +1 VERTICAL ABC 100 17 JUL 20 20/25 CALL @ 1.35 This position is interesting for multiple reasons. First, you still get the most probable range for profitability ($20 to $25). Your cost is $1.35 so 33% cheaper than the long call, and your max profit is $5 - $1.35 = $3.65. So your max gain is 270% of the risked amount, and this is for only a 25% increase in the stock price. This is really good already. You reduced your dependency on theta and vega, because the short side of the vertical is reducing your long side’s. You let someone else pay for it. Another advantage is that it limits your max profit, and it is not a bad thing. Why is it a good thing? Because it is too easy to be greedy and always wanting and hoping for more profit. The share reached $25. What about $30? It reached $30, what about $35? Dang it dropped back to $20, I should have sold everything at the top, now my call expires worthless. But with a vertical, you know the max gain, and you paid a premium for an exact profit/risk profile. As soon as you enter the vertical, you could enter a close order at 90% of the max value (buy at $1.35, sell at $4.50), good till to cancel, and you hope that the trade will eventually be executed. It can only hit 100% profit at expiration, so you have to target a bit less to get out as soon as you can once you have a good enough profit. This way you lock your profit, and you have no risk anymore in case the market drops afterwards. These verticals (also called spreads) can be bullish or bearish and constructed as debit (you pay some money) or credit (you get paid some money). The debit or credit versions are equivalent, the credit version has a bit of a higher chance to get assigned sooner, but as long as you check the extrinsic value, ex-dividend date, and are not too deep ITM you will be fine. I personally prefer getting paid some money, I like having a bigger balance and never have to pay for margin. :) Here are the 4 trades for a $20 share price: CALL BUY 20 ATM / SELL 25 OTM - Bullish spread - Debit CALL BUY 25 OTM / SELL 20 ATM - Bearish spread - Credit PUT BUY 20 ATM / SELL 25 ITM - Bullish spread - Credit PUT BUY 25 ITM / SELL 20 ATM - Bearish spread - Debit Because both bullish trades are equivalent, you will notice that they both have the same profit/risk profile (despite having different debit and credit prices due to the OTM/ITM differences). Same for the bearish trades. Remember that the cost of an ITM option is greater than ATM, which in turn is greater than an OTM. And that relationship is what makes a vertical a credit or a debit. I understand that it can be a lot to take in. Let’s take a step back here. I picked a $20/$25 vertical, but with the share price at $20, I could have a similar $5 spread with $15/$20 (with the same 4 constructs). Or instead of 1 vertical $20/$25, I could have bought 5 verticals $20/$21. This is a $5 range as well, except that it has a higher probability for the share to be above $21. However, it also means that the spread will be more expensive (you’ll have to play with your broker tool to understand this better), and it also increases the trading fees and potentially overall slippage, as you have 5 times more contracts. Or you could even decide to pick OTM $25/$30, which would be even cheaper. In this case, you don’t need the share to reach $30 to get a lot of profit. The contracts will be much cheaper (for example, like $0.40 per share), and if the share price goes up to $25 quickly long before expiration, the vertical could be worth $1.00, and you would have 150% of profit without the share having to reach $30. If you decide to trade these verticals the first few times, look a lot at the numbers before you trade to make sure you are not making a mistake. With a debit vertical, the most you can lose per contract is the premium you paid. With a credit vertical, the most you can lose is the difference between your strikes, minus the premium you received. One last but important note about verticals: If your short side is too deep ITM, you may be assigned. It happens. If you bought some vertical with a high strike value, for example: SELL +20 VERTICAL SPY 100 17 JUL 20 350/351 PUT @ 0.95 Here, not accounting for trading fees and slippage, you paid $0.95 per share for 20 contracts that will be worth $1 per share if SPY is less than $350 by mid-July, which is pretty certain. That’s a 5% return in 4 weeks (in reality, the trading fees are going to reduce most of that). Your actual risk on this trade is $1900 (20 contracts * 100 shares * $0.95) plus trading fees. That’s a small trade, however the underlying instrument you are controlling is much more than that. Let’s see this in more detail: You enter the trade with a $1900 potential max loss, and you get assigned on the short put side (strike of $350) after a few weeks. Someone paid expensive puts and exercised 20 puts with a strike of $350 on their existing SPY shares (2000 of them, 20 contracts * 100 shares). You will suddenly receive 2000 shares on your account, that you paid $350 each. Thus your balance is going to show -$700,000 (you have 2000 shares to balance that). If that happens to you: DON’T PANIC. BREATHE. YOU ARE FINE. You owe $700k to your broker, but you have roughly the same amount in shares anyway. You are STILL protected by your long $351 puts. If the share price goes up by $1, you gain $2000 from the shares, but your long $351 put will lose $2000. Nothing changed. If the share price goes down by $1, you lose $2000 from the shares, but your long $350 put will gain $2000. Nothing changed. Just close your position nicely by selling your shares first, and just after selling your puts. Some brokers can do that in one single trade (put based covered stock). Don’t let the panic set in. Remember that you are hedged. Don’t forget about the slippage, don’t let the market makers take advantage of your panic. Worst case scenario, if you use a quality broker with good customer service, call them, and they will close your position for you, especially if this happens in an IRA. The reason I am insisting so much on this is because of last week’s event. Yes, the RH platform may have shown incorrect numbers for a while, but before you trade options you need to understand the various edge cases. Again if this happens to you, don’t panic, breathe, and please be safe. This concludes my post 3a. We talked about the trade-offs between buying shares, buying calls instead, selling puts to get some premium to buy some shares at a cheaper price, rolling your short puts, getting your puts assigned, selling calls to get some additional money in sideways markets, rolling your short calls, having your calls assigned too. We talked about the wheel, being this whole sequence spanning multiple months. After that, we discussed the concept of verticals, with bullish and bearish spreads that can be either built as a debit or a credit. And if there is one thing you need to learn from this, avoid buying straight calls or puts but use verticals instead, especially if the volatility is very high. And do not ever sell naked calls, again use verticals. The next post will explain more advanced and interesting option strategies. --- Post 1: Basics: CALL, PUT, exercise, ITM, ATM, OTM Post 2: Basics: Buying and Selling, the greeks Post 3a: Simple Strategies Post 3b: Advanced Strategies Post 4a: Example of trades (short puts, covered calls, and verticals) Post 4b: Example of trades (calendars and hedges)
I had another one of my conspiracy theories, and by "Conspiracy" I mean, hard Head-Canon. I love this game, and as a result, I started thinking up a TON of backstories relating to... "Who are Hat Kid's Parents and why would they let her travel the universe unattended?" "What even are the Time Pieces and who are the people other then Hat Kid keeping an eye on the things?" And being the nut job that I am, I mixed it all together in one massive fantasy that I thought I'd share with the rest of you. I apologize in advance.
A: The Time Streamers.
"Time is precious, Time is fleeting, Time... is honestly something we have too much of." In the universe of aHiT, Time related incidents are actually commonplace, occurring in the form of Rifts, Fluxes or the dreaded Paradox and if left unchecked, they would lead to catastrophic consequences. So a group of individuals all across the universe banded together in order to keep these anomalies in check, dubbing themselves the Time Streamers. Their job is to monitor or outright wander the universe and fix up any time related incidents they come across, but it isn't just as simple as patching up a Rift and calling it a day, Time for most people is finite, but Time itself is practically infinite and the energy being generated by the anomalies is extremely volatile and chaotic as a result. So in order to properly restrain that energy, the Streamers invented the Time Pieces, the iconic Hourglasses which could safely contain and channel the unstable time energy until it eventually burned out. Of course... the Time Streamers themselves didn't have all the time in the universe to keep this crusade going, or at least, they USED to. In order to ensure that there would always be Time Streamers to keep Time from ripping itself apart, the Streamers who joined used the power of the Time Pieces to give themselves Immortality, many of the Time Streamers in the organization have been alive for Millenia and while they can take on apprentices who may seek to become proper Time Streamers, they tend to be very picky with who they allow to fully join due to the immense responsibility of their work. Hat Kid is currently considered a Time Streaming "Apprentice" due to her incredibly young age but is likely to become a legitimate Time Streamer later since she's already incredibly aware of what the Time Pieces can do and what her responsibilities are in regards to said artifact, rather expectedly given that her Dad is a Time Streamer himself. The "Hierarchy" of the Time Streamers is a rather simple one, there are Apprentices, normal Time Streamers and the CEO of Time who leads them all. It is noted that the CEO position is not permanent despite the groups immortality, and that's mainly because the CEO of Time watches over the ENTIRE Time Stream, to the point where they are directly linked to it, such a position can put a great deal of strain on their mind and should they ever slip, Time as a whole could start falling apart. As of Hat Kid's age, the current CEO is a man named Tim, who has managed to keep his head together thanks to the constant encouragement of his good friend, the father of Hat Kid.
B: No, his last name isn't Stickmin.
"You're the new CEO? Ha! Never thought "Radical" Timmy would end up as the head of the Streamers." Way back before Tim became the CEO of time, he went by the nickname Timmy and spent his childhood with a another boy, a free-spirited fellow with a flair with hats, Henry. A playful, if sometimes mischievous sort, Henry always speaks to others in very casual manner, he didn't care if you were a good friend or a snobby billionaire he never knew, he spoke to everyone he met with a nickname and a cheery, sometimes rude demeanor. He also rarely treats anything with total seriousness and is constantly looking more towards the fun parts of any given situation, the entire world around him could be falling apart and he'd be more occupied with the fact that a particular set of rocks made a giant slide. His most striking feature of course was an iconic Purple Top Hat, nobody knew why he wore it or even where he got it, but he was almost never seen without it even when he grew into a young adult. He and Timmy spent almost all their free time together getting into all sorts of adventures with Timmy even adopting a "Radical" persona to compliment Henry's general personality, a fact that Henry STILL loves to remind Tim about decades later. When the two found out about the Time Streamers, Henry was the one who suggested they should join, seeing it as an opportunity to literally have all the time in the world to explore the universe and meet new people across galaxies. Even when immortal, he never really lost his childlike personality, something which actually came as a breath of fresh air to most of the other Time Streamers, since it was usually all business with them. This also reflected in his physical appearance, since he always appeared to be in his early 20s where as all the other Time Streamers looked like they were pushing 50, after Hat Kid came around though, his appearance now looks more like a man in his mid 30s, he never did change personality wise though. Nowadays, Henry mainly serves as Tim's "Anchor" and a loving father to Hat Kid, reminding his best bud to just relax and take it easy instead of stressing over the duty of "Not losing it" and making sure his daughter is spending her childhood and Apprenticeship actually having fun with her life, although... letting his kid take a spaceship to the far end of the galaxy in order to watch a Comet unattended might be a bit careless. But in his defense, he wouldn't have allowed it if he wasn't confident in his daughter's ability to watch after herself, besides, she had Rumbi with her.
C: Time Anomalies and how to fix them.
Rift: The most basic and "Least" dangerous of all Time related incidents, these usually open at random points in time or on the off-chance a Time Piece is irreversibly broken, normally these pose little risk the worst they can do is pull anybody dumb enough to stray too close inside. The Blue ones which open naturally or form from broken time pieces never go anymore dangerous then that, but a unique rift can open if a Time Piece breaks as a result of hitting a living creature, these rifts form unique environments based off the victim's memories and mental state at the time of getting hit. If these are left unchecked for a period of time, they will eventually turn unstable and start to collapse, if not patched up in this state, the rift will fully collapse and become a mini-black hole, destroying everything around it before popping out of existence. Flux: A more severe case of Time displacement, these anomalies rarely occur naturally compared to Rifts and are mostly caused as a result of Time Travel shenanigans that manage to avoid a Paradox. The results of a Flux vary wildly, ranging from more minor cases such as people and or places reverting or advancing to ages, states or even lives they shouldn't be in to the much more extreme cases which can go as far as complete Terra-forming of a Planet such as... the entire landscape becoming Volcanic. These anomalies are much more difficult to contain or revert, usually requiring Multiple Time Pieces in order to fix, but are still considered much less dangerous then an outright Paradox, since despite the changes being major, the Time Stream can still work around them. Paradox: The worst case Nightmare scenario that all Time Streamers desperately want to avoid, unlike Rifts or Fluxes, Paradoxes are COMPLETELY man-made, someone has to actively go out of their way to cause one and despite the immense difficulty in doing so, actually succeeding can cause chaotic or outright lethal consequences for themselves or the universe as a whole. Paradoxes are an anomaly that the Time Stream cannot work around, and in order to fix the obstruction, the Time Stream has to either completely rewrite its future, or more commonly, remove what blocked its path usually leading to complete erasure of the person that succeeded in creating the paradox. There is no way to fix a Paradox, whatever occurs as a result is permanent, all the Time Streamers can do is try to prevent one from ever happening.
D: Level time! "Time Streamer's Trials".
The Events that occurred on that strange Planet didn't go unnoticed, upon returning home, her Dad and the Time Streamers gave Hat Kid a Hero's welcome as the apprentice who repaired roughly 15 Time Rifts and even a major Time Flux without aid, it was worthy of celebration, and even a promotion! Tim himself deemed Hat Kid worthy to take on the Time Streamer's Trials, a gauntlet demanding great athletic talent and a cool head under pressure, but just this once, he would let the challenger pick the venue where it would take place. Already feeling nostalgia for her past adventure, her choice was rather clear cut. Should she succeed, Hat Kid will be accepted as a True Time Streamer, if not... then she'll have to wait until she's older to try again. Level Layout: A brutal platforming gauntlet that spans every Area of the Game, from Mafia Town to the Metro, every person Hat Kid ever met is also present to watch her test, even though her enemies (*cough*Empress*cough*) won't be able to get near her due to the presence of professional Time streamers, at the end of it all is her final trial, a duel with a veteran Streamer... Henry. "\clears throat and holds up a piece of paper* I, Henry of the Time Streamers, will be your final test. *sees his daughter's face, snickers and throws the paper away* Sorry sweetie, couldn't help myself, seeing you blitz through the trials stirred something."* Phase 1: Henry is by all means Hat Kid's equal, being able to match her point for point in terms of mobility and his attacks similarly push Hat Kid to stay as mobile as possible, using a sword he calls "Hatscalibur" and Time related maneuvers that make standing still even for a moment a risky bet. Multi-Slice: Henry rushes Hat Kid and does a combo of 3 slashes. He uses this frequently as a "gap" between his other attacks. Phase 2: Tracks better. Can be avoided by constantly moving. Grand Shockwave: Henry teleports to the far end of the arena and starts charging ala the Projectile Badge, upon reaching full charge, he swings his blade outwards, sending a massive shockwave down the arena. Phase 2: Henry is invincible, but his sword will now glow either Purple or Green during the charge. Use the Dweller's Mask during the Former or not at all during the Latter to have to shockwave pass right through you. Temporal Burst: Henry teleports to the middle of the Arena and starts charging like the Shockwave attack, but upon completion he leaps airborne and drives his blade into the floor with enough force to shake the earth. Can be avoided by jumping before he hits the floor. Phase 2: Changes completely. Phase 2, Parent in his Prime. Tim: "(After Henry takes 8 hits) You're letting your own daughter beat you this easily? Don't tell me that Henry, "Time Streamer Extraordinaire" is getting lazy on us." Henry: "This, coming from the guy that couldn't be bothered to walk a dog for the last 3 months? But... I would be lying if I said this monkey suit wasn't keeping me from doing my best. How about we take a trip back to the glory days for old times sake?" Tim: "Very well, I'll allow it, it'll make for a better spectacle too." Tim's conformation affirmed, Henry teleports to Hat Kid, takes her Top Hat off her head and places it on his own, soon being covered in a shroud of Time Energy, after it departs, Henry is now back in his early 20s with an outfit to match. Henry: "I swore I'd never wear you again old friend, but let's give our kid a show, just this once. (To Hat Kid) Give it your all kiddo! Your "Old Man's" still got some tricks left!" Now in his Prime, Henry's attacks are faster and track Hat Kid much better, though she doesn't have the "Kid's Hat" since Henry is wearing it, she can still use her other hats to deal with his new moves. Blade-Dance: Henry does a quick flourish with his blade before rushing Hat Kid down with a barrage of 5 slashes, they will track her flawlessly and can only be avoided by turning into a Ice Statue to tank the hits. Blaze of Glory:"5 Hats against 1? I'd say this is fair." Henry throws up a familiar Purple plant which explodes, sending its pollen everywhere and reducing Hat Kid's health down to 1 and keeping it there ala "1-Hit Hero" "Wanna play a game kiddo? Let's try "Find the Antidote"." Henry then tosses a Blue Potion into the Arena amidst multiple copies as he starts charging the "Temporal Burst" again, but this time... once the charge completes, the shockwave covers the whole arena. Finding the correct Potion will get rid of the "1-Hit hero" effect and even rocket Hat Kid's health up to 5 to ensure her survival. Pieceful Rain: Henry throws a Time Piece skyward which bursts into more Time Pieces that begin raining down all over the place, using the Time Stop Hat will allow Hat Kid to better avoid them all. He can go into other attacks minus "Blade-Dance" while the pieces are still falling. For any of you that actually bothered to read all this, what did you think? I myself already quoted it, I have WAY too much free time on my hands...
TLOU2 apologists are creepy (and bad utilitarians)
The creepiest thing about many TLOU2 apologists is their f*cked up attitude towards medical experiments with children. I am really creeped out by people trying to paint Joel's militant rescue of Ellie from the Fireflies as something immoral or even outrageous for which Joel deserved to be tortured and killed. Basically implying that the Fireflies' and Marlene's actions were inherently good, while Joel's was the villain in that particular event. As a matter of fact the whole premise of Abby's revenge story does rely on this argument and is, imo, one of the reasons why so many can't empathize with her despite ND best efforts of cheap emotional manipulation to make us do exactly that. So far I have encountered several arguments (often in combination) for this view which I will paraphrase as below: 1.) The fate of humanity outweighs the life and individual life of one child. 2.) While 1.) might be wrong in our world the post-apocalyptic world of TLOU does constitute an emergency situation in which pre-apocalyptic concepts as of the value of an individual life or mutilating and killing children as something inherently evil do not apply and only the fate of the collective (i.e. humanity) can be considered of any moral relevance. 3.) Ellie would have agreed to the medical experiments, she has the right to forfeit her own life and well-being for a greater good. 4.) Marlene, not Joel, was Ellie's legal guardian, therefore, it was in her right to sacrifice Ellie for a greater good and Joel had no right to intervene. I am aware that many have already pointed out several flaws with the underlying premise that cutting Ellie open would have produced a vaccine and that such a vaccine could and would have been successfully used by the Fireflies to "save" humanity in the first place (i.e. contradicting in-game information, the lack of means to mass produce & distribute a vaccine, questionable motives of the Fireflies, the fact that a vaccine wouldn't change much about the state of society at this point). But for the sake of argument I am going to assume that sacrificing Ellie's life would have produced a vaccine and that it would have returned society to a state if not identical but at least similar to before the apocalypse. I am still creeped out by this "reasoning" and I still think it is flawed, as I will show below. It doesn't need much time or intellectual effort to realize that 1.) would necessarily lead into very sinister territories, especially if one does also have at least superficial knowledge of modern history. There are good reasons that when medical experiments with humans and especially children come up in public debate it is usually accompanied with the mention of the names of Josef Mengele and Shiro Ishii, who are universally considered to be evil men whose deeds did contribute to a "rupture in civilization" (Dan Diner) itself. And this despite the fact that at least in Shiro Ishii's case his research results did save countless lifes after they had been utilized by the Americans in the post-war world. As a matter of fact, I am quite certain that the majority of people would voice very strong opposition to the idea that benefits of such research could retrospectively justify their experiments with human beings and especially children. What would your reaction be if some doctors held a press conference proclaiming that they could cure cancer, ebola, covid19 or any other disease if only the state would allow them to take one particular child from its parents (or from the orphanage) for necessary medical experiments that will, if not outright kill, at least severely mutilate that child? I am sure even imagining such a scene will seem absurd to most people. The very constitutions and laws of virtually all Western (& many other) societies would already make such an endeavour difficult as they are built on the very consensus that human & civil rights do protect the individual from overreach of the state and the majority. Furthermore, even to many who would not care about the philosophical implications of legalizing experiments on humans and who otherwise might even be more open to a limitation of civil rights will react in outrage due to the fact alone that it is a child which is to be sacrificed. Children are almost universally considered to be innocent and in need of special protection. The same crime against a child will generally cause more outrage than the same crime against an adult and people will hardly see any need to justify the discrepancy. What would your reaction be to the news from some country torn apart by a very destructive epidemic about a vigilante saving a child and killing several rouge doctors who kidnapped that child because they believed killing it could produce a cure? Would you consider that man as evil and those doctors as good people being unjustly killed and prevented from doing a good deed? While it is obvious how most people would react, considering the arrogance and air of certainty with which many TLOU2 apologists state the claim under 1.) we must assume that they consider themselves to be elevated pioneers unshackled by societal norms and conventions speaking truths which the masses are too afraid to face - or something along those lines. Even though, they would still be wrong as they don't even understand the very philosophical foundation of what the argument they're trying to make. Of course the logic behind their argument is nothing unheard of. The idea of maximizing utility for the maximal possible number of people is the underlying premise of several different systems of ethics which are summarized under the term of utilitarianism. However, I would argue that their "reasoning" is more a caricature of actual utilitarian ethics than a serious expression of this school of thought. I don't know about the US or other countries but where I live philosophy and ethics classes in middle and high school are quite common (though optional if one chooses to attend religion classes instead). Also very common is that at some point or other utilitarianism will come up as topic in class. And if that is the case you can bet on at least one smartass saying that utilitarianism was stupid because prioritizing the maximal utility for the majority of people will lead to indviduals and minorities being thrown under the bus. To which the teacher would patiently reply that most actual utilitarians would reject such criticism as a strawman as utilitarian decision-making would be either constrained by common-sense rules or principles (rule utilitarianism) or two different levels of consideration (two-level utilitarianism). By trying to justify the actions of the Fireflies they practice the most crude and simplistic version of act utilitarianism possible. (It should also be added that their arguments do violate two other core principles of utilitarianism, namely consequentialism and individualism. They neither consider the full consequences of permitting medical experiments on children nor even try to properly asses how much utility a vaccine could actually produce in a society that has already been devastated to this degree. They will also cite the "survival of humanity" or something like that to make a point, a proper utilitarian, however, would argue that the survival of humanity as abstract collective does not have any intrinsic value by itself and that only the survival of actual individuals can be considered and that it would need to be assed how many individuals exactly would be certainly saved by a vaccine.) It's of course not that their understanding of practical philosphy is lacking which makes them so creepy but their total, positive and uncoditional embrace of the sinister actions of the Fireflies. While I would still consider such an argument flawed, I could at least comprehend why someone would think of the murder of Ellie as necessary evil. It would be the same crude and deficient caricature of utilitarian reasoning but a such person would at least recognize that a necessary evil is an evil nevertheless. Therefore, while such a person would think of Joel's militant rescue of Ellie as misguided and tragic in its consequences for society, he or she would not classify Joel's actions in this particular instant as an evil that deserves a harsh punishment. But this is exactly how TLOU2 apologists argue. For them the mutilation and murder of Ellie is not merely a necessary evil which can't be avoided but an inherently good act which should have been universally recognized as such, including by Joel. By default Joel becomes the villain by preventing this and the deaths of Ellie's would-be murderers become murders themselves. Ellie's life should simply not have been saved and, therefore, there was no reason for Joel to kill them according to them. The absurdity of this line of thinking lies in the complete reversal of what by most standards would be considered as good and evil. It is just as hard to empathize with such absurd contrarianism as with Abby as protagonist. For this reason some apologists have as paraphrased with 2.) at least enough sense to state that, yes, normally and especially in our world killing children and medical experiments on humans are evil deeds but the post-apocalyptic state of society in TLOU does constitute an extreme emergency situation where otherwise non-permissible actions need to be considered for the greater good. The implicit question which should be answered in such case is where and why do they draw line, meaning from what point do they declare the annulment of conventional morals on what grounds exactly? For all destructive and deadly pandemics or or only if man-eating zombies are involved? Does the complete world need to be affected or does this emergency also exist if only a continent, a country, a state or a community is affected? Amd if any of those, why there and then and not at the other instant? Also, if ethical conventions are only relative on what grounds can the Fireflies' and Joel's be respectively labeled as either good or evil in tje first place? If an individual life has no value anymore why should the combined individual lifes minus Ellie have any value? In short, citing the emergency situation as justification does create more problems for the apologist's argument than it is supposed to solve. Even worse are the arguments as paraphrased under 3.) and 4.). When considering the merits of 3.) let's ignore for a moment that Ellie has never been asked and that the Fireflies had never the intention to ask her. There is a reason why almost all societies do not give minors the same legal rights as adults and do require an adult as legal quardian instead. Even if the Fireflies had succeeded by emotional blackmail and manipulation to talk Ellie into "agreeing" to sacrifice herself they still had no right to kill her. For the very same reason we consider sex between a minor and adult non-consensual and equal to rape even if the minor insts thatbthe sex had been consensual. As a matter of fact, many societies do not even allow adults to throw away their life so openly, for this reason drug trails on volunteers for example are usually highly regulated and would not be allowed in the first place if the death or serious health damage of the test subjects was certain or at least very likely. Especially disturbing is the claim under 4.) that Marlene, as Ellie's legal guardian, had the right to decide over her being killed. I am very troubled by the idea that anyone who sincerely makes such outrageous claim could have children of their own. Legal guardianship is not a form of chattel slavery, the child is not your property which you can use and dispose of as you like. Legal guardianship does not only come with the right to make decisions for its life it can't be expected to do by itself but also for obligations to this child for its welfare. The legal guardian is also supposed to represent the child's legitimate interests (i.e. not wanting to die) against potentially hostile external forces. Conclusion: When first coming upon the arguments above I was sure that those people must be trolling and are just desperate shills for ND. But as more I scrolled through the discussion on various platforms the more the unsettling realization set in that at least a quite were very sincere in their assessment of the Fireflies' actions and Joel's intervention. The idea that there are hundreds of individuals out there who do not only think that mutilating and killing children for some abstract greater good is a morally good act but who do not even understand the problem when people call them out for their sick views does creep me out more eacht time I think about it. The game itself also heavily relies on this absurd reversal of good and evil, which makes Druckmann even more troublesome as person. While the thirst for revenge in children who lost a parent by violence can always be understood expecting the player to empathize with Abby is tantamount to expect for example to empathize with revenge story of a child of a Nazi criminal (i.e. a Mengele-like doctor) who got killed during the very act of trying to murder another victim. Beside Abby's other flaws as character I am convinced that this is one of the main reason so many can't relate to her and are reacting so passionately at the idea that they should. Tl;dr: If you sincerely believe what the Fireflies wanted to do with Ellie was good, while Joel was in the wrong for rescuing her, please stay away from me and children in general. Edit: Typos
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5: Round 1 Match 20: Casey Williams and Manta Malaise?
The results are in for Match 18. The game was lasting quite a long time, with Red Carpet Renaissance’s more aggressive playstyle hardly giving the room to breathe to the carefully-crafted tactics of the Sharp Lookers, but those very same plans at once keeping them from finding themselves getting clicked. Violet Lange was watching, still, invested in how the hell this could keep on going, what might finally turn the tides, only for her cell phone to vibrate, a text message appearing on it from a contact registered under: “C. Williams”
Things seemed even for most of the voting period, with many of the votes being split, but late into it, a modest number of Sharp Lookers votes translated into a massive lead. For the first time, this resulted in votes splitting perfectly by .5s when the division was done, and since it would mean taking a point away from one side to give it to the other, that thirtieth pop point simply vanishes into the aether…
Half an hour later… “Uh… Kisa?” Masa asked, earning his partner’s attention. “You know how I said I’d watch the girl to make sure she didn’t pull somethin’ weird?” “Hm?” Kitose Saiko turned to face his friend, and noticed the lack of anybody he was standing beside. “Oh my god. How… How, Masa?” “I dunno!” He answered, sounding similarly bewildered, waving his hands as Kisa, in his frustration, lit up the entire remaining pack of his cigarettes and took a drag from each of them at once. “She just sorta… Was gone when I stopped paying attention.” “The woman is… Gone.” Dimitri was incredulous as well. “And there goes our hints on this Black Angel! The library is surely closed by now, so we’ve wasted a day and this town knows we’re looking.”
pranked again… violet lange, u r officially… epic
As Nebula’s synthetic voice remarked that and moved to silence, Ace couldn’t help but laugh. “Vitus is gonna be pissed too, that we were dragged off to play some game instead of tailing Peres… Haahhh, man, what were we thinking? This was her job, I bet. She just needed to waste our time awhile, get us heated and fighting each other, throwing piss around and playing dirty… Gave us the slip soon as our attentions were off her. Well played, I must admit… Well played…” “Distracting us from the Black Angel…” Dimitri stroked his chin. “And also from Peres? But I remember Laverne saying the Black Angel vigilante was banned from the Devil Blue, the hotel she works at. What could the common thread between them be..?” “Well, I’m annoyed too… Don’t just bail on an agreement you make…” Masa answered, before adding with a slight smile. “But hey, in some good news…” He held up a gift card, waving it between his fingers. “She left the CaraMel’s gift card, 200 USD just like she said, and that place? Not just to die for, from when Ray came back with stuff from there the other day, but I hear the ‘goss’ is ‘hot’ there too, as she said in that super-exaggerated little Valley Girl voice. What say I claim this card and treat you all? Call it a, uh… Ceasefire, for now.”
gonna be annoyed if its stale by the time i can actually eat it but ok sounds good
The game of assassin was fruitless, but the fruits of an assassination are still born, and two pairs of Stand Users fight to protect their local leaders from them. There’s still about a day to vote in that when this goes up. Scenario: South Aurelio - East of the Wormwood “I am so sorry, I just lost track of time… I got these four roped into this big assassin game, and I didn’t wanna bail, but…” Not long after Violet Lange officiated that little college game and the evening began to roll in that, again she found a Stand User’s company. Casey Williams, MFA member, sat in the passenger seat of a vibrant purple convertible, occasionally staring either at passing suburban scenery in the transition between the college town and suburban hellscape, or the way her companion’s lavender scarf billowed in the wind. “Look, I get it, I get it, shit happens, especially ‘round Midnight Sun. You don’t need to explain.” After a few moments of silence, tapping her hands against the outer door of the car as her arm hung over the window, Casey spoke up. “I, uh… Didn’t expect you to call me, but Kirk vouched for you. Why me, for… Whatever this is?” Violet had, that morning, asked Casey to aid her in an investigation after she finished up with some shit she had to do on campus, and still now, had said very little about what was going on sans its importance. “I trust you… For the same reason I took over the bifrost server, and the same reason I revealed myself to your team. André had faith in you all to do what was best, and, well, I have no idea what to do but follow his lead and use what power I have to do it. As for you in particular… I want to work with somebody my age, basically. No more than that.” “If you trust me so much,” Casey said, looking to the river to her left as the pair drove along a road opposite it, admiring how the setting sun reflected upon its rippling waves, “why haven’t you told me what we’re doing, then? You sounded like it was important, so I agreed to hear you out, but you’ve still been cagey.” “I wanted it to be in person, while we were speeding along,” Violet explained, looking out upon the road still, briefly glancing off in the distance and seeing a manor across the water, braking for a moment and pointing towards it. “See that house by the riverbank there?” She handed Casey a pair of binoculars, and the latter surmised, “looks like a dump.” “From the outside, and nobody has owned it for thirty years, yet…” She paused, as if she was about to say a name and reconsidered. “My contact - a high-schooler who comes and goes late at night, you wouldn’t know them, and I’m purposefully leaving them out of this, but I can vouch for their reliability - says that sometimes, late at night, delivery trucks bring perfectly good furniture to the bridge just North of here, and by morning, they seem to have just disappeared into the ground. I dunno if you pay attention to the news, but there’s a ‘Serial Killer’ who operates in this town, and besides that… Sixteen people who disappeared in this area are still missing, and haven’t had their bodies identified. The more research I’ve done lately, I’m completely certain of it. That ‘abandoned residence’ must be the ‘lair’ of this killer! It’s certainly big enough to hold that many people and then some… So I plan to break in.” “Serial killer..?” Casey’s head tilted slightly, then, suddenly, the words hit her as Violet resumed her drive. “Wait, what? So even if you’re right, you’re just gonna bust down this guy’s door without knowing what he’s capable of? Why this? Why you, and so covert?” “Because I’ve spent my life sneaking and slipping by to survive, clinging to stronger people. Because I used to roll with the kind of scum who would use Stands to do whatever the hell they wanted like we were better than everyone else. Because the last time I tried to get someone to take care of this killer, all she did was kill an innocent man in front of me! I’m tired of just being an ‘extra,’ moving pieces around and waiting in place, Casey. I’ve said that I just want to survive, but a friend of mine, every day, fights tooth and nail to make this place better. I’m going to be an adult and try, goddammit, and if you don’t want to do the same, I can just drop you off, and-” “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Casey continued, raising her hand up, and then offering Violet a confident little smile. “When did I say I was going to refuse? Hell, lives are on the line, pedal to the metal! I hear this town has like two cops, and I sure don’t see either of them around!” “That’s what I like to hear…” Violet’s own lips curled upwards slightly, and she stepped on the gas. “We’re gonna totally tear shit up today.” They drove along the bridge in silence from there, Casey contemplating things as they sped along, occasionally stealing glances towards the house just what was now South of them. Not long after, though, she began to grow uncomfortable, pulling her shirt’s collar over her nose. “Eugh… What’s that smell now? We pass a dead skunk or something?” “That’s… I know this smell. That isn’t a skunk.” Violet gave a glance to her rear-view mirror, and her face stiffened. “Casey… Get out of the car, now! Ditch it!” “What? What is-” Casey stammered, surprised and trying to hurriedly work her seatbelt off as Violet began to jerk the vehicle around, as if intended on steering the thing straight into the river. As she did so, she glanced behind her, and though the rising shape of a figure on the back of the car was hard to make out in the twilit evening, there was certainly a massive, and vaguely humanoid, and there were eyes on her. There were so many eyes. Slightly down the Wormwood River… Ah, the Wormwood River. This massive landmark is a symbol of Los Fortuna in many ways. It came to exist during the city’s foundational years, it runs from the Northernmost mountains into the city itself, and quite symbolically, it splits the affluent Eastern portions of the city, highly regarded centers of culture and quality of life, with the Western, the environmentally unclean, the poorer, the portions of the city in which the greatest safety and stability comes from being within the care of a territorial gang which has earned the ire of countless other districts. This divide was sharp and clear in the way it split the affluently beloved outer suburbs of the Woods of Aurelio, whose schools, fine homes, esteemed country club, golf course, town hall, and most of the town’s voting centers all sat in the East. Manta Malaise thought this symbol of all which they sought to destroy a poetic place to take their pollution this evening. “This Metropolis which is so very very burdensome to me, and this humble hamlet so tantalizingly close to it nearby,” they began aloud, just in the off chance somebody was around to hear it (and if not, rehearsal was always useful), while the diesel-burning gas-guzzling pickup truck they purchased on the resort’s tab began dumping a container’s worth of sand and grit, “I have heard it said that this location in which we are entrapped it on the decline… Yet nay, I say. At least, nary the full picture… This place is but a microcosm of all that surrounds it, a more blatant case of all that is true elsewhere, as well… A fine example for the world, it will make.” As they spoke, a ripped-away purple car door floated by on the river, distracting them from speaking about how, if they repeat this process for a few weeks (maybe buy a new car every time), they would be able to kill the fish eggs and microorganisms that make up the key bottom of the river life’s food chain, eventually add nitrogen to the mix to toxically increase ugly and deadly algal growth, and aloud, they spoke “curious… That is a recognizable door of a quality automobile… To whom might it belong? Ah, no matter!” Seconds later, a bloodied figure with several open wounds along its back burst from the water, clinging to dear life to the floating door and beginning to kick in Manta’s direction with surprising strength. He seemed to have tall blond hair, green pants, and a sleeveless shirt, though those all were obviously soaked and stained both with water and blood. As he reached the shore nearby them, within the range of ‘Morgana Courts Danger’, he gasped and turned onto his wounded back. The young man who floated towards Manta Malaise said nothing, and did not even seem to notice the effects of their proximity as they approached and turned him around to get a look at the other side of the sleeveless shirt-clad figure. The life was fading from the blond man’s eyes, and his lips trembled, a faint grin on them. He did not say a word, but as Manta looked down, they realized that the phrase on the outfit he wore said more about his final feelings, the state of his body, than his voice ever could.
“What… What on this fetid dying earth is going on here?” They weren’t concerned, per se, but curious about the sudden arrival of this man. He continued not speaking, bringing a trembling hand up and away, pointing softly with a single finger Southwards, slightly - towards a shabby-looking abode. “Do you… Mean to send me there?” His strong lips curled into a serene smile, his hand dropped, and his eyes closed. “Nghh… I had not the time to have his final sounds heard in life a rejection of this quest, perished for naught…” Manta remarked aloud, gritting their teeth. “As if I would simply traipse towards what is not my business… Though, how did he get here through the water? He seemed to appear so suddenly…” They looked towards their truck. The motor was still running, but it had emptied its load fine. “I am curious,” they remarked, and so, after cranking the heat and AC of the vehicle as high as it could go, they abandoned it, diving into the water to see where this dead lad may have come from. ??? Casey awoke to that same odor again, but less severely so, in an uncomfortable, unsheeted mattress in what appeared to be a bunk room of sorts. As she rose, she had to avoid scraping her arm on a rusty spring, rubbing her eyes all the while. “Nngh, what’s..?” She looked around, and after glancing past her a few times, saw Violet laying in a similar situation, a bizarre metal collar around her neck poking out behind the scarf, but otherwise looking unharmed. “Violet..! Wake up, Violet!” “Nnghh… What’s..?” She sat up, feeling around for her beret and putting it on, glancing at Casey. “You’ve got a weird collar on you, Casey…” She felt at her own neck, then. “Oh.” “Look out for those things,” a casual-sounding, low voice uttered, earning the attention of the pair; a woman with dark, wavy hair and a velvet dress was filing her nails on one of the springs. Nearby her sat a cone-haired, dirty-blond high schooler, built like a football player and a varsity away from dressing like it. “When ‘that person’ brings in a ‘Stand User,’ they get a collar like that… Likes to make up little game rules, and if they break ‘em or leave, uh…” She jerked her thumb towards a far-off wall of the room filled with a few dozen bunks, in which a bloody, smoky outline shaped like a person outstretched was dried against the wall. “Poor bastard didn’t listen because the floor wasn’t literally lava… Hey, don’t jump now, yeah? That’s not the game being played right now.” “Palmer, you’re scaring the hell out of them, and that really isn’t useful right now… We’re going to get out soon, I’m sure of it,” another young woman’s voice called out, and as the voice seemed familiar, the face confirmed it. Though her long neat hair was short in an uneven cut, the blue blazer’s sleeves were destroyed, and the bowtie was loose, it was absolutely TV personality Jillian Heart. “Jill..?” Violet asked, tone lightening up immensely. She took a moment to process that, but then nodded. “Hey, Lange. You and Reed doing alright? And, uh, this a friend of yours?” “Yeah, hi,” Casey answered, “Casey Williams… College student.” “She’s cool, yeah,” Violet promised, looking around, “where’s Chad? Not like him to run off…” “That’s why we’re getting out soon,” Jill answered, happily, “we noticed it when you two were brought in! Broke open this statue in the courtyard and found a waterway that ‘Worm’ - that’s what the killer goes by here - has to have been using to get in and out. They have one of those ‘Stands,’ but we all can see it, so they wear it like a costume and it guards them… But Chad’s the strongest person here, and he’s been our rock through all of this! After Worm left again, he volunteered to go through it and find help, and with him, that means it’s as good as done!” “I see… So that makes how many people left here, then?” Casey started counting on her fingers. “Sixteen, minus you two,” Miss Palmer answered, “I’m, uh… Palmer, by the way. Drama teacher at the high school out here. Same story as everyone else here, more or less… Bet the Superintendent’d be happy to hear Elton here and Swift Taylor are still alive, though.” ‘Elton’ said nothing, still, simply sitting there, while Jill took over a bit to talk about the place. “I think I’m gonna start getting the lay of the land, then…” Casey said, feeling the need to take the initiative. “I’ve still got my Stand with me, thankfully, and if we can’t leave just because help shows up, that means we’re gonna have to fight to get out when this killer shows.” “Careful,” Jill warned, “there’s traps all over the damn place here… And ‘Worm’ changes them when we’re not looking, just like they change the furniture, or what doors lock how. Makes everyday in this big house hell, and it’s worst of all around the edges. Makes up most of how people die here…” “I’ll be careful,” Casey said with a nod, stepping out into the halls of the bizarre home. The underwater corridor Chad had needed to swim through to get out was brutal, and even Manta Malaise had felt tense handling it. Over four meters underwater, less than two meters wide, and the top of the dark, dirty, dank area was lined with rusty nails, blades, and the blood of the man who had attempted it, across a forty-meter stretch of water - slightly shorter than an Olympic swimming pool, but so much more claustrophobic, and with pressure much higher. They managed it, however, and were they able to speak now, would have commended the amateur cameraman who only swam as a summertime hobby for managing fatally what they were able to get through unscathed carefully. At the end of this gauntlet was a straight shot up, illuminated by moonlight, and so, Manta hurried upwards, taking a breath as they surveyed the area they had come out in. It was a large fountain on the Eastern end of a long, statue-decorated courtyard full of thorny ground. The crumbled, destroyed remains of such a statue, presumably having once sat atop this passage, was now in pieces, only a pair of outstretched arms on either side of them. “Look out, you damnable fool! The arms, the arms!!” A theatrical voice called out, and Manta looked its way to see a figure in a top hat, three-piece suit, and black cape with a handlebar moustache and unibrow, and before they could process it, an automated voice emerged from the crumbled head at the fountainside.
Flow 24 Detected
The stone arms seized their neck firmly, and so soon after they had breathed, they could not again. It was no matter for their strong arms to easily smash these damaged ones of stone, however, and soon, they crumbled and descended into the deep. However, Manta felt a new weight around their neck nonetheless; a metal collar. “So… You are the ‘help’ that damned Kroeger sought? Imposing and impressive-looking for sure, but entrapped like the rest of us now.” The dapper fellow complained. “Who are you to criticise me, when you yourself are enraptured in this place as well?” Manta asked, spying the man twirling his moustache and moving to do the same with their own facial hairs as if in challenge. “You dare insult Los Fortuna Parking Lot Magnate Born Bad? I was celebrating turning a GarfieldEATS into one, when I thought I might make my next grand step the transformation of the entire Wormwood River into the world’s largest parking lot as well!” Bad was twirling his moustache hard enough one might have thought it would catch alike. “It would have been a fortune for me, and a record for parking lot-kind!” “That would destroy the ecosystem of all of Los Fortuna, you know… Ingenious, if more brazen and avant-garde than I might have done,” Manta answered, “tell me now. What have I been caught in?” Through much villainous posturing, Born Bad explained similar basics of the situation to Manta that Jill had for Casey. “So my own curiosity has laid me in this ‘Worm’s’ tunnels… Yet, at once, I think it will do to undo this as well. Entrapment here stands in my mission’s way.” That conversation was cut short by the sound of the Westernmost balcony opening its doors, several meters above them, and a young woman with brown hair, eyes, and skin was looking down at them. She appeared, at once, confused and intimidated by their presence, which was the response Manta generally wanted to evoke. “Hey, you! Are… Did Chad send you?” Casey asked, clearing her throat. “How is he? Is he alright?” “If you mean the youth who died luring me here without a word, he is certainly deceased… And has caused for me a definite predicament of a pickle.” “Wh…” She sounded taken aback. “He’s dead? H-how can you sound so indifferent? That guy risked his life to get help for us, and-” “And I knew him not, and he got me trapped here. Why should I shed tears for his passing?” Before this argument could escalate further, a large, pristine-quality monitor which framed the upper Northern wall of the courtyard turned on on its own, and in it, was an image of the entrance foyer of the manor. Slowly, from its floor, that that thing Casey saw before emerged, idly twirling a saber in its hand and lifting it over its head as it leaped several meters into the air. (Shout-outs to Skelly-tan for this art!) A voice, both distorted and gargling yet perfectly coherent spoke from its wide maw. “Good evening, everybody, thanks for tuning in! It’s me, you all know me, your hero, the Conqueror Worm! Let’s give it up for our guests tonight… We’ve got a lot going on for our last big ‘game night!’ That’s right, you heard me, last one! Much as doin’ what I have here has been fun, after this, I mean to move onto bigger and better things… But I’ll never forget this place, pinky-promise!” There was a sort of twisted, uncanny elegance to the way ‘Worm’ paced around, both as if it were limping in agony and gliding effortlessly, the camera focused on it at all times. “Yep, Aurelio, you heard me right… Conqueror Worm is done bein’ your killer! The lot of you left in here are the end of a generation, and y’all are absolute treats to work with! So, with three Stand Users here, good an’ collared and here to have a time and a half, let’s make this a grand finale for the BOOKS! Stand Users,” it pointed its blade towards a small entranceway behind it, “that door there is locked, but also, in the right circumstance, the one way you’re gettin’ off my property without explodin’ into funny lil’ chunks! See!” The screen, then, turned into a showing of two maps of the building, with several spaces highlighted. “I just got finished slitherin’ around droppin’ off three ‘chips’ which ya scan against your own specific collars, and then, if you’ve unlocked that mini-foyer behind me, boom! They’re off, and you’re free! I just gotta make sure you die before then, and I can do it with ease! With this body of mine, I can grab anything, put it in there, and pass through any surface I can fit on, see! And to the first person t’get out of it alive? A SPECIAL gift’ll come!” “Didn’t mention the master key?” Another voice asked. “Well no I didn’t, but no way they can get that offa-” The camera returned to its view of Worm, though Violet was standing directly behind it, directly waggling a keycard in between her fingers. Not much further back, Jill was covering her mouth with clear amusement. “Wh- Why you!” He swung at her with her blade, and she dodged back, and Worm threw his head back and laughed. “Well, I’ll be… How’d you manage t’pull that off? That’s on MY person, INSIDE here!” “I started to steal things just for the rush and attention of it when I was seven years old,” Violet said something then, which the audio blurted out and her mouth was off-camera for, but the sound of which shook Worm to his core, his laughing growing slightly incredulous. As she did, she swiped the card over her collar, and it clanked to the ground in pieces. “Yeah, that’s right, I figured out exactly who you are… and now your whole audience knows.” “I mean sure, think that if y’want!” “Right… You probably censored it then.” She pouted, then struck a cool and casual pose. “No matter… I’ll just show them your corpse.” A big bushy white hound emerged from Violet’s person, then, ethereal and snarling and beautiful, and she called out, “This is the start of a new me! ‘Forgive and Forget’ is putting you down, Worm!” As the Stand-dog rushed forward, he chuckled. “Keep runnin’ into white Stand-dogs lately, huh… It’s gonna end for you like it did the last one, too! You shoulda just run!” F&F leapt into the air, taking aim for the throat underneath Worm’s pungent armor, but he lifted one arm, and as fangs sunk into that, his other swung its blade. Violet’s face went wide-eyed and pale, and she looked down at herself, clutching her stomach and noticing how red poured out. “Ooh, did I reach bone there? Tough break…” Worm pulled back the blade, removing it from Forgive and Forget’s midsection as the white dog dropped to the ground before its user, fading away as she fell to her knees. “Aw, y’didn’t realize? This ‘Saber of the Gold Knight’ I perma-borrowed from our local museum ain’t just a conversation-starter… I wouldn’t take it for no good reason at all!” “Violet..?” Jill asked, stepping back towards another room, too afraid of Worm to rush to her friend’s aid. “What… What even happened? Worm swung at the air, and… And…” Panicking, despite her resolve, Jill ran into the other room, a look of clear terror and guilt on her face. “…I dunno, blanked out there!” Worm chuckled a bit, shaking off its bitten, uninjured-looking arm and retracting the sword inside its own fetid rolls of rotten off-white flesh. “But whatever happened, that’s ONE down!” He kicked Violet into a corner to the sound of her whimpering and sighed, pacing around a bit as he held up his master keycard and sucked that, too, up in his person. “Won’t cause me much trouble like that, but I know the other two of ya are in my courtyard… Funny startin’ place, since I like to use that place for when a guest wants to just say ‘I give up! End it here!’ Real useful tool for that bit of mercy, y’know? But anyway, the show goes on, and one-on-one is more interesting anyway! First one t’get to the end, I’ll even throw in an EXCLUSIVE interview to make it worth your while! But I’m not gonna keep the viewers at home waitin’ anymore saying more, since this is already goin’ on a little while, and you’re our stars still! So, without further ado…” “OPEN THE GAME!!! Man is that SATISFYING t’say!” Location: The estate of the Conqueror Worm, a two-floor building straight out of a Survival Horror. The whole place is hanging with an odd smell, and walls of most of the rooms are dotted with realistic murals of bones and various body parts - given Conqueror Worm’s ability, one must wonder how they were made. 1F MAP, 2F MAP. Due to interests of character limit, the details of each room in the estate can be found here. Most of the rooms are pretty simple, though, so don’t be intimidated by that. The players are denoted by the circles marked with their character’s initials, with Manta standing in the fountain on the far-East end of the Courtyard of Despair, and Casey standing on the Western second-floor balcony overlooking it. Worm, meanwhile, starts in the first floor’s entrance hall, marked with a question mark. The C marked squares and the M marked squares are the chips that Casey and Manta need respectively, scanning which against their collars will ‘count’ them as read. For what it’s worth, the Violet chips were in the hot tub, freezer, and conservatory, but that is completely irrelevant now. The circles with numbers in them represent the nonstand-using Survivors present in the area. Exact details on each of them aren’t particularly important, but a list of their names can be found here. The personality blurbs and occupations listed aren’t really relevant for the match’s sake; even the sports stars have been brought to a point where they have the same stats as everyone else. The X and Y marked rectangles are locked doors and their respective keys are somewhere on the map denoted by the X and Y marked diamonds; these function not unlike car keys; though they can be used to physically lock and unlock the door in person with a turn, it’s much more convenient that one press of the buttons on them can instantly lock and unlock every door on the map marked with the correct letter. The “F” marked square is the keycard that unlocks the finish line room. Several of these rooms have traps which Worm knows about, but the players will not be given foreknowledge of all of them. These are already set in stone, however, and it will be up to the attentiveness of the players in following the location descriptions not to fall victim to these; hints are provided, basically, and they’re designed not to be too hard to respond to if you see them coming. The rooms’ ceilings are generally quite high, three and a half meters above the ground, with about half a meter of space between the ceiling of one and floor above - basically, being a story directly above or below Manta is NOT enough to be within the range of Morgana Courts Danger. Goal: Casey and Manta, your own survival is priority number one here. Try to get yourself out of this situation alive! In order to do so, you must deactivate your own collar through the insertion of three chips placed around the facility, where labeled on the map. Free yourself and escape alive. That is your priority, and you are under no obligation to help anybody else if you have no desire to. Leaving the map for longer than five seconds without outright moving through the finish space marked on the map will result in the collars detonating, even if all three chips are inserted. Conqueror Worm, kill Casey and Manta by any means necessary. A player character will win if their score surpasses that of the Conqueror Worm’s, while receiving less will result in elimination. A tie will be regarded as normal. This match, thus, has special voting rules. Basically, there are four valid voting options in this: ‘Casey and Manta,’ ‘Manta and Worm,’ ‘Casey and Worm,’ and ‘Conqueror Worm,’ depending on if a voter believes that both players manage to escape, one of them is stopped by the killer, or both of them are. NPC Information: ‘Conqueror Worm’ Sheet (Plain Text Version) Additional Information: Unless noted otherwise, all doors are wooden. While there are several unique NPCs throughout the estate, functionally, all of them can generally be expected to act in the same way: they have 222 stats with irrelevant special skills, and generally speaking, do not want to die, and will act in accordance with things they believe to follow that end, though they are not particularly skilled in identifying traps on their own. Manta Malaise frightens them, however, so they may find they require a little more effort to convince people to follow them around than Casey would be able to. Born Bad (“1” on the map), a fellow Dastardly-looking villainous caricature and thus kindred spirit of theirs, is the sole initial exception. Violet Lange is bleeding and unconscious, and will in no capacity be able to assist, but still alive and should remain so as long as her particular injuries are not aggravated and the game does not take too agonizingly long. The killer has already forgotten about her. Through review of previous materials, the players do have sufficient information to correctly identify the user of Conqueror Worm, who is, in fact, a character who appeared in the previous Suburb match. They will be allotted one guess, accusation bolded, in the text of the strategy, to name the person. There is no penalty for an incorrect guess, but a correct guess will see ten bonus points awarded; to one side if only they guess it, while both receive five if both do. One hint: they were present at Match 8’s baseball game. The chips are extremely durable, but if they are rendered inaccessible or removed from the premises, a safety switch will force them to be treated as if they were simply activated and used; Worm isn’t interested in a game where victory or loss is impossible. The traps themselves will be revealed throughout the first segment of the killer’s strategy, and take up characters in as much, but the existence of these are an indisputable fact which the players must be wise to either avoid or work around. Though his durability and endurance are exceptional to the point where a fight would be immensely difficult, the killer also possesses a ‘master key’ which, if utilized, can be scanned against the collars to unlock them, unlock the front gate, and unlock any of the electronically-locked doors in the facility.
“No escape, huh? I didn’t want one anyway. That was never part of the plan.” You came here for a reason, even if you’re still trying to define what, exactly, that reason is to you. Whatever you think being a hero might mean in this situation, live up to the standard you define for yourself!
“The greatest threat to the peace of my heart isn’t Jotaro! It’s him! Josuke Higashikata!” This is an indubitably vexing situation into which you have been brought. While you abscond from this, make certain that you find clever ways to get back at that bastard who has entrapped you here!
“‘Misconceptions’ are the most terrifying things in the world… And the consequences are even worse if you’re overly confident that your abilities and talents are superior.” You’ve made an absolute deathtrap of your estate here, and it would be a damn shame for any of that to go to waste. The more of your traps successfully go off and seriously hurt someone, the higher your JoJolity rating will go!
Vanguard ELC EVEN 90 Review from a decent-ish player
I couldn't find any other reviews of this tank so I figured I would take a stab at writing one for a tank that seems to be loved and loathed in ample amounts, and in the process maybe help quell some controversy about the vehicle. There's a Tldr at the bottom, and as a note I've only got 2 marks on the tank. Here's the link to my stats page for those wanting to verify, and WN8 stats if you want to be extra sure. I'm gonna keep it as a pretty simple format. Pros, cons, suggested equipment and skills, my recommendations on how to play it, my recommendations on how to kill it, and the Tldr. **Pros:** The thing everyone loves to hate about this vehicle is its small size and fast speed. Incredibly quick and made all the more the nuisance by its squat stature, this vehicle will very often find itself avoiding fire simply be being too much of a hassle to hit. With a respectable top speed of 70kmph you'll find yourself among the faster members of your piers, and while she bleeds a bit of speed in the corner it's far from being truly detrimental. At tier 8 the tank packs a respectable clip potential for a light averaging 660 damage, which can be dished out in around 5 seconds from the first shot ,and with 0.38 accuracy the vehicle can be surprisingly reliable from range. For its small size, and despite being an autoloader, the tank also carries a healthy 45 rounds; more than enough to allow some ammo diversification that other autoloading tanks can find themselves struggling with. The tank sports one of if not the best camo rating at the tier bar none, and properly decked out can easily become impossible to spot by anything but proxy when sat in sizable enough concealment allowing for near unparalleled spotting potential. **Cons:** I'm splitting this into sections because unfortunately there's a lot of problems to discuss here. The bad news is that while fun to play and by far the best passive scout at the tier, this vehicle manages to be subpar in nearly every other category, and in a few is downright trash. Firstly let's address the gun. While the clip potential and the accuracy are good, they hardly mitigate the many downsides that they come with. Your standard ammo has penetration that is around par with many of the other tanks at your tier, but you sorely lack the gun dispersion stats to reliably hit targets from anything greater than 100m when going full tilt, meaning you'll often end up having at a minimum 1 of your 3 shots going either into the dirt or into a well armored plate that you weren't aiming for. Your mediocre gun elevation and depression, while good compared to some autoloaders, is still problematic on uneven terrain, which is often compounded by your small size. Keep in mind too that this is the gun handling at it's best (my crew has both gun handling skills and BIA w/ vents and VStab on the tank); with a less experienced crew or kited out tank this could be a far more problematic affair. Your premium penetration is at least along the lines of what you expect from other vehicles at the tier who use premium APCR, but is still lagging behind most of its piers. The first of its two biggest drawbacks on the gun though are the 220 damage per shell on a 90mm gun, 20 less damage a shell than other guns of the same caliber, which adds up; especially when the vehicle has the worst dpm (to my knowledge and barring stock tanks) on any tank at the tier, and yes that's including the brits new LHMTV believe it or not. Only squeaking out a measly 1,130 base damage per minute means this vehicle will struggle to do anything meaningful in shorter matches, and may not be able to make enough of an impact in longer ones. It also means that engaging any enemy light or fast medium is incredibly dangerous, as if they're still alive when you run out of ammo they have nearly 30 seconds (base reload) to run you down and pepper you with fire. Next up is the maneuverability and other aspects, and this one was a real disappointment to me. The tank turns dreadfully wide, especially compared to other lights. While it can perform rapid 180 degree or 90 degree turns with a handbrake very effectively, such maneuvers will generally bring you to a near dead stop, and with one of the worst power to weight ratios among lights at the tier it can really struggle to get back up to a good clip. The other big kicker here is thanks to your adorably small size nearly any destructible obstacle you hit absolutely kills your speed, meaning you often have to steer clear of towns if an enemy fast mover is expected, as you will be completely unable to escape. On the opposite side of the coin you have the issue that small terrain features that are normally irrelevant to nearly any other vehicle will often send this poor bugger tumbling, drastically reducing your speed and occasionally resulting in damage. It is incredibly easy to get this tank airborne and have it self destruct. The other problem is it's poor view range. 380m is among the worst at the tier. This is thankfully mitigated by it's great camo rating but is no less disappointing when it's designated role is the eyes of the team. Another note is that the small size also works against you when you get hit. If you're showing side there's a decent chance the shot will destroy a track, and any hit has a good chance to damage multiple modules, crew, etc. because of it's compact nature. If you get tracked your slow acceleration can also mean that even when using a repair kit may not get you out of danger fast enough to avoid being hit (and potentially tracked) again, and folks general disposition toward any red in the tank means you'll likely get focused. This last section isn't so much an issue that is the tanks fault directly but just matchmaking and maps issues. This tank generally does it's best work in tier 8-9 games. Tier 10 you often find tanks too capable of reacting to your maneuvers as most heavies have fast enough combined rotation to keep up with you thanks to your crap turning, there's a lot of mediums fast enough to pose imminent threat, and your lackluster penetration and dispersion lets you down when combating tougher opponents. Tier 8 poses issues of its own though, as if it's mostly 7's and 6's the games often don't last nearly long enough to get more than 2 or 3 clips off before it's decided. Maps absolutely kill this vehicle. Without good DPM this tank really feels every bit of frustration lights have on city maps. It's biggest asset is as a spotter, which on pretty much every city map is a completely useless role. The implied notion here as well is you're only as good as your teams ability to support you. If your team gets melted in the first 3 minutes or simply decides to not shoot at your targets, you're out of luck. This tank cannot carry reliably, and you are heavily team and map dependent to be able to put up good numbers and have consistent games. This is the main reason I decided to make this review at 2 marks rather than trying to grind the 3rd. Without reliable coordination and cover fire the ability of this tank to have consistent games is highly limited, and I'm generally solo when going for marks. **Suggested load-out:** Equipment-wise is the gold standard (minus the rammer obviously). VStabs, Vents, and coated optics. Maximizing view range and dpm is key, so vents and coated optics are a must. Vstab to mitigate your dispersion and help your shots find their target. Skills are along that same line of thought. Sixth, camo, recon, BIA, designated target, and green thumb are probably the first six I'd recommend. The amount of time this tank spends in bushes uncomfortably close to vehicles that can either chase it down or kill it outright means making sure you don't get seen in a bush trying to hold your nerve. You may want to reorder how you train the skills, but this is just my suggestion. I wouldn't bother with track mechanic or repairs as 9 times out of 10 if this vehicle gets tracked and you don't have a kit on hand you're not getting out of that situation anyhow, but this is hardly as relevant for a premium at the end of a day anyways. More than likely she won't have her own crew to worry about which skills to take. **How I'd play it:** This tank excels in a spotting role, and thanks to its insane camo it is able to play a unique style of spotter that was previously made extinct when the light update hit console years ago. If you're an old hat and loved playing spotting games in the ELC bis back when it was a god, then this tank is for you. It can perform many of those same tricks you might remember and more. Taking up aggressive or usually risky spotting positions that have good concealment can often result in some incredible assisted damage in games. Knowledge of camo mechanics and the best ways to abuse them also allows this beauty to fire undetected semi-regularly, helping you make the most of its meager damage output. Avoid direct confrontation with enemy lights and fast mediums at all costs unless they are a one or at most two shot kill. This vehicle requires you to really dial back the aggression you might have when playing other lights, as any miscalculation involving your damage output and an opponents health can have costly results due to your long reload. Finishing off lone tanks is the same as other autoloaders minus the aforementioned comment, just be sure you're not at risk of being run down! Playing with friends is suggested as having a mate to take advantage of your spotting and/or cover a retreat from an aggressive enemy is incredibly helpful in keeping you alive and in good stats. **How I'd kill it:** Apologies in advance to all my fellow ELC EVEN 90 players. Your best bet is to wait for them to overextend. Any other light or fast tank can easily hunt down a Vanguard once it's clip is spent, as it's slow and predictable turns and tendency to find obstacles or bad terrain make it an easy chase; just be sure not to overextend yourself when running them down. While these vehicles can no doubt be annoying, they are far from oppressive or overpowered. They're incredibly fun, but incredibly noncompetitive at the end of the day. If they are playing a passive spotting game it will be very difficult to root them out though, so be aware of their potential to keep you detected and be sure to relocate or find solid cover to break line of sight and disengage if need be or if possible. **Tldr:** The Vanguard ELC EVEN 90 is the best passive scout at the tier, but is heavily dependent on the map and your team to be successful. The tank has a dangerous clip potential at all ranges, but can struggle to effectively apply it and has abysmal dpm, making it far less of a threat for a considerable amount of time once it's drum is empty. While not competitive, it provides a fun and unique experience at the tier for light tank enthusiasts, and it's small size and rather annoying characteristics have solidified it as a vehicle that is both loved and loathed.
\Edited to add a small section under "Campus." See "ADDED EDIT" below.* Choosing a university is a huge life decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you're considering applying to Utah State University, I hope this helps one way or another. I wish I had paid more attention to the negative reviews, since I’ve found myself relating to many of them, unfortunately. For that reason, this is long and detailed in hopes of helping people who are on the fence. I scoffed at the bad reviews thinking people were just bad at being social, but man was I wrong. Fair warning: I don’t have a very high opinion of USU overall so far, so I'm just gonna tell it how it is. If you came here looking for endless praise, you can stop reading now. I'm a male, out-of-state, undergrad transfer, non-LDS/Mormon (more on that later) student in my 'junior' year with no connection to Utah or USU—I just wanted a fresh new adventure. I’ve only been here for one semester since August (roughly 3 ½ months). If you’re an alumni or current student reading this out of curiosity, your experiences may be different. That’s fine; I don’t really care. This is my experience. Your experience may also end up different as a shiny new freshman living in a dorm (especially if you’re a girl), but I still suggest you give this a read. I ended up choosing Utah State University (Aggies) over the University of Utah (Utes) and Cal Poly, SLO (Mustangs). I’ve loved the adventure of traveling and being in all new places, and even though I consider myself a pretty outgoing and fun-loving person who can get along with just about everyone, I've been stumped by USU and the surrounding area. I've come to regret making USU my university of choice in many ways. I'll break this up into the area, the campus, and the social scene. Hold on to your butts: AREA: I visited town (Logan) and campus for a couple days in October before I applied. As far as the town and surrounding nature goes, it's a very beautiful and quiet place with all four gorgeous (and extreme) seasons, and very safe to boot (I’ve never felt nervous walking around at late hours). It’s about 2 hours away from SLC, but that city is bizarre. I went to SLC all of one time and have no desire to go back. Logan has pretty much all of the big chain stores and restaurants down Main Street with plenty of cozy local places, and the town is surrounded by beautiful residential/agricultural land and mountains making it easy to get away from downtown if you want. One big reason I chose USU over UofU is that I don’t like crowded city sprawls—they’re kind of all the same to me. Logan is not an urban city by any means. Eventually it’ll all just be one big city valley, but for now there’s a bit of separation between the surrounding little towns (all within like 10-20 minutes). Not that there’s really anything to do in those towns, but it gives the area a nice laid back country feel. There’s abundant hiking, skiing/boarding, camping, fishing, hunting, ice skating, etc. all within 15 minutes to 2 hours of driving—just depends on where you want to explore. There’s lots and lots of beautiful open wilderness right behind campus down Logan Canyon. Good luck finding someone from campus todoany of this stuff with, though. Almost every single student 'goes home' on the weekends since they're from Utah, so Logan and campus ends up being an utter ghost town Friday-Sunday. I can't even tell you how many times already I've invited people over for a bonfire, BBQ, or a movie night, or a game, or to go out and do fun things around town only to get the "sorry, I'm going home" response. Since Logan is my new home, and my family lives over 13 hours away, I don't have a family to retreat to every 5 days (not that I’d really want to anyway). There are some activity clubs on campus, but they’re usually pretty small. I'm not used to everyone just vanishing. Usually there's a healthy group of students who stay behind to enjoy the area (I always had tons of fun visiting friends at UC Irvine, Washington State, UCLA, Cal Poly, etc.), but not in Utah I guess. I’ve ended up saying ‘fuck it’ and venturing out on my own more times than I can count now. In my solo search for adventure and human interaction in Logan, I’ve experienced that almost every restaurant, cafe, store, and park is nearly empty and barren, especially so on the weekends. It’s rare that places are busy, with the exception of Angie’s restaurant. I'm not even sure how some places stay in business. This makes studying and shopping nice, but it also makes you feel incredibly lonely and bored, which leads to frustration and more loneliness (loneliness is a huge secret problem here, especially among students). There just never seems to be people out doing things like there were back home. Like ever. Especially not students. I've had many cups of coffee and meals by myself in nearly empty cafes. Back home, I’d see people walking around everywhere on any given day, students included. Not so in Logan. Aside from the tasty cafes and random trinket stores, there is one small grungy bar, and one half-bar that only serves beer; Utah is apparently still trying to live in the prohibition era. To my disbelief, there wasn’t even a beer truck or beer stand at the damn LOGAN RODEO, which is arguably the biggest event all year. I’ve literally never been to a rodeo where you couldn’t find a beer. Talk about un-American, yikes. There are also no clubs here (one pretends to be, but it isn't), so if that’s your thing, RIP. The busiest I've ever seen the half-bar, The White Owl (which has good food, coin pool tables, and free darts), was like a typical Monday night in any other normal town you know of: really lacking. It’s a shame, because it’s a pretty cool place. There just isn’t anyone to fill it with character and charm. Overall, there’s approximately zero night life in Logan, and pretty much everything is closed by 9. There's one place in town where they do weekly country swing and some other things, but it's 100% dry and has the exact same group of 50-100 people who go every week. So... yea. If you like the awkward high school dance vibe, knock yourself out. For a "small" town, it has horrendous traffic and unreal air pollution during the winter. I didn't understand what the “inversion” meant before I moved here, but it's disgusting. Like, can't even see the mountains a mile away disgusting. I live off of Main St on the west side, and you almost literally will never be able to make a left-hand turn towards campus because of the endless flow of traffic. You’re pretty much forced to find an intersection with a signal light, which is fine, just a pain to get used to. The traffic problem is because, in their infinite wisdom, Cache County officials decided against building a freeway (and they still refuse). GoingthroughLogan is almost literally the only way to get to the northern states from Utah, so there is just a massive flow of cars going right through Logan 24/7. This didn't really seem like an issue to me until I moved here, but now it’s really obnoxious. Aside from that, no one seems to actually STOP in Logan, they just drive through, clog up the traffic (tons of traffic lights since it's not an actual highway or freeway), and head out. Going 2-3 miles can take you 30 minutes at peak time, which undoubtedly contributes to the endless idling and air pollution. USU game nights make traffic even worse. I've ended up biking and/or using the free bus system heavily, but that's a bit time consuming as well (and biking honestly probably isn’t super healthy during red air quality days). I’ve also almost been hit by cars a few times on my bike, so watch yourself. I'm only 2.5 miles from campus, but it takes me like 30 minutes to use the bus between transfers, and there are only 3 bikes per bus-rack, so you’ll end up having to take a different route or wait for the next bus every now and then which can make you late (I opt to ride my bike to the transit center and then take the bus up the super steep hill to campus). At least it's free and runs all year. It gets super cramped with students in the morning, though (like packed-in cramped). There are laughably TWO super Walmarts, one on the south end of town and one on the north; the north one is where most of the students go since it's a little closer to campus. Good for groceries, pharmacy, and all-hours needs. Definitely buy your USU gear at the north Walmart or Macey’s [grocery store], as it’s like 70% cheaper than the ridiculously priced campus store. The Campus store occasionally has cheap shirts for like $8-10, but everything else is expensive AF (Nike, Columbia, etc). I do wish there were a Costco or Target within striking distance, but at least there’s a Sam’s Club. The Crepery has the best coffee in town, hands down, but the crepes are so-so. Stacked! has awesome pancake selections (“Texas Patriot” all day, babyyyy) and a fun interior with a piano. Herms Inn has the best breakfast, or so I hear. I haven’t made it there yet. There are like 400,000 pizza places here, eat your heart out. CAMPUS: I fell in love instantly with how beautiful the campus is, minus the serious lack of parking options. Check out the many live webcams on the website if you haven't already. Academics and opportunities are solid, though there are definitely some very LDS instructors. Lots of brand new buildings with great landscaping and design all over, inside and out. Walking and biking around is a delight. Great gyms and pool, the library is enormous and new with a delicious cafe on the first floor (not sure why study rooms don’t have closing doors though!?), campus is not too big, not too small, it’s just beautiful. I wish there were more recreation areas, though. There are only a couple pool tables in the Taggart Student Center, and they're in the middle of a ton of seating for the small food court so it’s kinda awkward. There aren't really a lot of places to unwind and just hang out, which seems weird to me for a university campus. A lot of days I find myself walking around not sure where I'm just gonna sit and chill for a while between class, and lots of the little nooks and crannies are taken all the time because of this. It’s especially harder to find a “spot” in the winter, since you can’t comfortably sit in snow or use benches in 25 degree weather. There aren't nearly enough accessible pianos either; there are some in the locked up dorms and the LDS Institute building, but that's a bust and only for people who live in those dorms or want to venture into Mormon-land. You can sneak into the piano practice rooms in-between classes in the fine arts building, but I always feel guilty or like I’m about to be kicked out. Campus is still gorgeous though, and watching the seasons change is magical. There are a lot of clubs, but like I said most seem kinda small or on the verge of not existing. Not really sure why that is. Aggie Blue Bikes is awesome and is full of awesome people working there. Be sure to get in early in the semester (preferably before it starts, even) to rent a free bike for 3 months, because they go quick. Almost everyone lives on or immediately next to campus in either the LLC or one of the enormous campus-themed apartment complexes. This leads to a really poor social environment; more on that below. I rented a small house so I wouldn't have to worry about secret LDS police (students), but there is no shortage of nice student housing, and they're building even more. Not really sure how much of the ‘student’ housing is dominated by unspoken LDS law and gender segregation, but I honestly don’t want to find out. I’ve heard enough stories about how ridiculous it is. I’m very glad I have my own private space. Housing is affordable for the most part, but beware of the people who are starting to jack up prices as USU and the area get more popular. RIP. Oh, and leases are called “contracts” here. No idea why. Just Utah trying to be Utah. You’ll see lots of “female” and “male” contracts. Just means they’re looking for someone to take over their lease. There’s a free Aggie Shuttle service (in addition to the free Cache Valley Transit buses) that runs from most of the housing to campus, so that’s awesome and super helpful during winter. USU sport events are fun. I absolutely love going to hockey games. USU still engages in active age discrimination along with the NCAA though, so if you're over 24 you can't represent your school on a NCAA or NIRA team. Hopefully someday that will change. Honestly, if someone is paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in tuition as an undergraduate student without professional experience, they should not be told they can't tryout for a sport because they're 25. It's absolutely insane to me, but that’s another debate for another day. I also ran into at least one off-campus apartment complex (not dorms) with 1 and 2 bedroom layouts that had an AGE LIMIT. They wouldn't rent to anyone over 24 or something. Blew my mind. I’m a fit 25 year old student, not sure why I can’t rent my own private apartment. Pretty weird. ADDED EDIT: I guess I could add a little more about classes and such. It's not an Ivy League school or anything, but it's a decent enough state school and very affordable. I've enjoyed my classes and instructors for the most part. I'd say it's about the same as the community college I graduated/transferred from. Instructors have been available and helpful, class load hasn't been super insane, the food options are kinda lacking, canvas is canvas, usually easy enough to get the classes I need, and academic advising has been so-so (kinda have to rely on yourself for that one). Seems like there's no shortage of services and opportunities for careemajor involvement, but I have yet to tap into that. Everyone who works here has been super helpful and friendly, especially the guy from the orientation videos—that guy is a rockstar IRL. USU does an amazing job at welcoming you and making sure you're just completely assaulted with good information about the campus and area. A+ in that department. It's a great campus, really. BUT (and it's a very big, thick, but): SOCIAL SCENE: Or lack thereof. Unfortunately, the gorgeous campus hides a horrendously LDS-influenced social culture. This is from my personal perspective as a brand new person in town with no friends or connections, so obviously people who have existing connections won't have this same experience (you'll see that reflected in the "OMG USU IS AMAZING" comments—don't be completely fooled). This section is for those that are not a bubbly cute blonde [LDS] girl (because let's be real, all they have to do is exist and people flock to them) and/or people who move in as a new student wanting a totally fresh start. There is almost zero diversity here (white, blonde, LDS is like 90% of the student body), and even though there's at least an attempt to present the "we want to be diverse" rhetoric, the reality is that the majority of the faculty and students here are still white LDS/Mormon and reinforce a dominant LDS/Mormon culture, albeit indirectly. If you’re unfamiliar with religion or LDS practice, the ideology and organization of religion is typically not accepting of diversity. I don’t mean this as a slight, it’s just the historical truth of the matter. No, not every single Mormon is a piece of work—I’ve had a lot of great non-Utah Mormon friends that were awesome—but Utah Mormonism is far and away... different. Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses (where I escaped from), it’s essentially a ‘be friendly to non-believers, but we’re the only ones who are right so don’t accept the devils until they submit and convert’ cult. It’s all very high and mighty (read: pretentious and arrogant). You can imagine how that kinda puts a boot on the expansion and acceptance of actual diversity and discourages plain old college fun. There is a diverse set of clubs and whatnot for minorities and LGBT+ and so on, but the overall social atmosphere is still uncomfortably Mormon and white. USU is making progress slowly, but it still has a lonnnnnnnnng way to go. As for just making friends, at first I thought I was laying the groundwork for making a lot of really cool friends! But as soon as the buzz words started dropping everywhere (mission, seminary, RM/returned missionary, my bishop, wards, engagements and marriages, etc.), and I do mean everywhere (the bus, class, TSC, walking around campus, in town), I was very quickly excluded and cold-shouldered by many when they realized I wasn’t part of the LDS cult. Ironically, even as I’m typing this, there’s a gaggle of LDS folks here in the student center talking about how their bishop tried to give them a hug, and how this was a traumatic experience for them. We’re a ‘go’ for yikes, Houston. (I should make a note that I personally do not have any issues with LDS/Mormon or religious people. They’re usually nice enough at first. But I have not been met with the same acceptance overall. There’s always something that causes you to be the judged outcast and essentially kept at arms length, if not outright ostracized. That’s where my slightly annoyed attitude stems from.) I was excited at first for my connections class, but it was quickly chalk full of talk about missions and who went where, who got married last summer, etc. (I’ve never heard more people talk about marriage and engagements in my entire life than I have here in 3 ½ months). I very quickly felt extremely uncomfortable just being myself by the end of the first week. Even people I started chatting with that I thought might actually be something other than LDS turned out to be LDS or came from an LDS family. I felt like if I so much as cussed, I’d be swarmed by well-to-do goody drones and forcibly baptized in a cup of caffeine-free water. I tried to brush it off and keep chugging along with my head up, and I even went to all the fall Aggie Passport events on campus (and there are lots), but I kept finding myself walking around alone while everyone else seemed to be best friends by week 2. Trying to make a friend here as a new, lone-wolf, agnostic, open-minded male student is like trying to move a mountain. I'd later learn that this is largely due to the outside LDS/Mormon connection—they all do things at off-campus church events and whatnot, and even those that grew up LDS/Mormon but "aren't" anymore still basically are. They're just too surrounded by it to really break free of the cult and just be themselves, so they still act pretty much the same (I get that, but I escaped the JW crowd, thank goodness). As forgirls, any I tried to talk to and simply befriend have almost all dropped me like a hot potato after a few days (and sometimes rather rudely), because apparently so much as speaking to girls in LDS/Mormon culture means you're trying to marry them within 3 months. Granted, this is the motherland of the culture where hugs beyond mere seconds are strictly forbidden, and if you go on a date with the same person more than once you’re basically tying the knot. That said, not once have I even so much as complimented a girl or made a move here—they just immediately assume you're trying to marry them by conversing and being nice, no joke. This was confirmed by the counselor I started seeing on campus after I realized I was getting seriously depressed. I started to feel like maybe I was actually a crazy person and there was something wrong with me for just trying to be friends with other students who sometimes happened to be girls. She assured me I am not crazy, and that the marriage thing and LDS divide is real. I ended up posting a social media disclaimer that I wasn’t actually trying to date anyone, just be friends like normal college people do. Several girls removed me after that. Take it for what it is. Personally, I was confused as all the world's fuck after that. They assume you’re after marriage and shun you, but if you literally say you just want friends they shun you even more. Girls are already crazy; Utah Mormon girls are on a whole different level. Aside from that, I've never seen so many wedding rings on girls in my life. If you want the hookup stuff, I’ve heard people talk about hookups and whatnot, but I haven’t actually seen that to be the case. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all hidden in the depths of the dorms. Maybe there are secret Mormon orgies going on at the institute (joke). There are plenty of cute girls here, sure, but chances that they’re LDS and married or engaged and want nothing to do with another male beyond a passing "hey" is like a solid 80-90%. I actually thought there might be a large counter-culture here with lots of girls (or guys even) who want to go a little "wild" (wild being like… tasting a beer, OHNO), but they’re either too scared or too brainwashed to do so. Or it's those gd secret orgies that I'm never invited to (joke 2). As for guys, well, as a guy myself, trying to make friends with other guys these days is already difficult. Here at USU, they're pretty much all spying on each other and keeping each other in church-check and competing for marriage spots, so you’re just a threat at best, more often than not. Mormons tend to be very competitive people in all aspects of life, since that’s what they’re brainwashed to be in the name of expanding the corporation. It’d be awesome if I could make a couple good laid back buddies to go boarding with or kick a few back during the game, but that has been a monumental task so far. Parties are virtually non-existent, and campus events are basically just tables with too much swag and donuts and Rockstars. Walking around town at night is, again, like visiting a ghost town. Back home there were certain neighborhoods that were just on fire any given night, but here it seems like it’s a city full of retired hermits. It’s quiet. Very quiet. People refuse to leave their apartment/dorm buildings, and they’ll only try to make friends with other people in their building. After I started catching wind of this, everything kind of made sense. Utah is the state’s largest “residential” campus, and I’d be willing to bet that 90% of the student population lives in andstaysin their buildings, leaving town a deserted shit show of isolation and boredom. All of those buildings are located on the northern part of town, and it’s rare to see students venture out of that area. I’ve tried to get people to come over, go out, do an activity, go to a game, and it’s always “Oh I’m going with my roommate,” or the classic “I’m going home” over the weekend. I’ve never had this issue at other campuses, even ones I visited for short periods of time. People always seemed to be down to meet new people and branch out at campuses back home. That is 100% not the case here—at least in my experience. As much as USU pretends to be an inviting secular campus, it hosts a handful of LDS events throughout the year, and it conveniently has an LDS institute right smack next to the quad and student center, though they very conveniently drew the border down the walkway so it's technically "off-campus." Right. Anyway, this campus is DEAD compared to most active university campuses I've been to throughout the course of a semester. Students just seem to kind of go to class and go home. Everyone is quiet and well-behaved, conservative, religious, etc. There's never anyone like... being a college student and being loud and having fun. Just seems like a bunch of robots. Sure, there are a few days here and there with tables and clubs, but it's all very ... bland. There's a tiny greek life presence, but greek life is idiotic to me anyway, so that's not an issue for me. They have the same issues here that every campus does: sexual assaults, people getting too drunk, rapes, etc. Greek life is just stupid. It encourages even more social bubbles and clique-like behavior, and honestly doesn't do anything a small club can’t do. But if that's your thing, there's at least a bit of it here. Knock yourself out. All the houses are “on-campus” though, so that means every event is a dry event unless you know someone with a house off campus. Even then, the secret police are usually out in force, and the cop-calling is real. They love to hand out MIPs (Minor In Possession) like candy I hear. Not my problem anymore though. TLDR: Utah State University is a beautiful campus with great instructors, shiny new buildings, fun sports events, and access to unlimited outdoor fun. If you're coming in as a transfer student from out of state with no friends, USU and Logan is a massive shit-hole controlled by an oppressive secret LDS culture. There is no night life, the dating scene is virtually non-existent if you aren't Mormon, and everyone leaves town every single weekend to go 'back home,' leaving you with nothing to do every gd weekend. Don't attend USU if you want to meet new people and live a normal and fun college life (or even a normal life, for that matter). USU is absolutely BYU Jr in more ways than it isn't. You have been warned.
When you bet on the money line, you are betting on one side to simply win. Any time you see a money line, the minus sign (-) indicates the favorite while the plus sign (+) indicates the underdog. For example: Chicago Bears –240 vs. Minnesota Vikings +210. Using $100 as the base, it will take $240 wagered on the Chicago Bears to win $100. A minus sign means that the team is expected to win. The higher the number following the minus, the bigger are the chances of that team winning. Now, with the plus sign, it’s the opposite. The bigger the number following the plus, the lower are the chances of that team winning. In this case, Seattle is expected to win and FC Dallas to lose. Now if there is a minus sign in front of the odds, that is the number that you would have to bet in order to win $100. For example, if a football team was -250, that means you’d have to bet $250 ... If it is a minus, you will have to bet more than $100 to win a $100 payout. Thankfully, you can view your potential winnings on each bet before placing it at an online sportsbook. That said, it is beneficial to understand the betting odds. Moneyline Bets . Definition of bet: A moneyline bet is a wager on which team will win the game outright. What does -7 and +7 mean in NFL betting? A spread of minus-seven (-7) means that a is favored to win the game by a touchdown (technically, a touchdown and the extra point). A team favored by -7 must win the game by eight or more points to win the bet.
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