Top 3 Betting Franchises in the UK


I hear that the Coca Cola Corner is about to become the "BetFair Bullseye"
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Elephants on the Field: Week 2


Winning at fantasy means making predictions and acting on them prior to other players. To do that, you don't always have the privileges of hindsight and deduction. You will need foresight and inference. I hope to offer a some good if not somewhat inferential arguments for why some early moves on this weekly (if I have time) post.
Fantasy thinking is often over-obsessed with statistical correlations at the expense of firm causal understanding of what is happening on the field. The forest is often lost for the trees. A combination of understanding the game of football, recognizing interconnected changes that will influence teams, and eye testing the games themselves is the best antidote to the groupthink, herd-mentality of fantasy football expertism which, time and again, proves spotty at best in anticipating changes.
Last week I posted this as "Eye-tested Takes" but I realized that's not what I was aiming for. A variety of posters and services watch the whole game and give you maximally thorough takes on every snap. I won't offer much of an opinion on players/teams I don't watch. I'll always watch enough. However, a lot of what I'll make as the case for picking up (or dropping) a player will be based on obvious things that are happening that rankings-myosis may miss.
There's always an elephant in the room that no one want's to acknowledge. This post gives fantasy advice that accounts for the elephants on the field.

Things I'm right about (so far):

1. Rivers Noodle Arm = Colts Lean into Jonathon Taylor:
With the quality of that offensive line, Mack going down, and Rivers looking like shit, Jonathon Taylor may end-up being a top-5 back this year. TY Hilton and Parris Campbell are going to disappoint you.
A bunch of commenters disagreed, insisting Hines was the guy to get and Taylor as a top-5 was nuts. This is an instance of the eye-test making people too smart. Yes, Taylor netted 22 yards on 9 carries week 1. Who cares, he was great in college (larger sample size) and more importantly, Rivers looks SOOO spent that Taylor is the only obvious bell-cow RB for what is probably the best O-line in the league. You want that. Rivers threw it 25 times in week two (down from 44). Taylor had 26 carries, 2 receptions, 110 yards, and 1 touchdown. It was obvious what had to happen in Indy but fantasy groupthink herded everyone toward Hines.
If you had the audacity to ignore me on this (/s), the good news is there's still time. His trade value has skyrocketed on most charts but he's not quite valued as a top back yet. If you get the feel someone is under-valuing him, don't wait longer because his first 2 TD game is going to make him inaccessible in a trade. The Colts defense is also looking good enough to maintain a lead throughout a game, opening-up more run play calls. (Rivers sucking is going to do that all the time anyway).
And if you still don't believe me, watch his highlights from this week and you'll see why he could be such a focal point. He does a lot of things that coaches like to lean-into: great ball security, adds 2-3 yards to the end of runs, explosive speed when he has big holes.
2.Browns Offense is fine:
Don't panic about the Browns offense. Baker Mayfield looked like trash but the running offense actually looked pretty good at times...Stefanski is the guy you need to believe in... The biggest takeway from the game isn't the Browns offense is bad, its that the Ravens defense is great.
Both Browns running back scored multiple TD's and registered more than 150 yards each week 2. Baker continued to suck and it didn't matter. Stefanski's offense is good and his coaching career is a testament to his talent. All-Ivy-League Football Player. First coaching job was in the NFL. They wouldn't let him leave for 14 years because they knew he was a talent.
So don't run from Chubb or Hunt yet. And if you have them both, start them both and don't feel bad (unless you have a clearly better option like Zeke too...then probably favor starting Kareem Hunt the larger your ppr value, but its a tough call). The Browns are a perfect storm that make both startable: (a) Both Chubb and Hunt have top-5 rb talent and it comes across when you watch them on the field. With good combinations of strength and speed, each one is TD risk on every snap. (b) Sefanski divides snaps very well. Both are getting touches-a-plenty. They just signed they're "back-up" RB to a new contract (I mean, how often does that happen in the modern NFL?). KS also divides snaps by drive, unless a drive gets very long, so even if Chubb is doing well, he's going to give Kareem Hunt a whole drive. (c) starting both is fading Baker which is smart. The Browns are going to increasingly realize that their offense is more effective with Baker doing less. They may even move to Case Keenum (their back-up, legit didn't know that last week) and that's fine for Chubb/Hunt.
I wouldn't run from OBJ or Jarvis Landry yet either, though Baker's ineptitude has got to make you worry. Think about what Minnesota offenses did over the years with Diggs, Theilen, etc. Both OBJ and Landry are going to be solid bets for big-play TD's (like OBJ's last Thursday) here and there but likely not breaking the top-10. Still, the talent ceiling is high with both so a buy-low scenario where you get them in a trade could pay-off if you bet on Stefanski more than Mayfield.
3. Deandre Hopkins is the WR1
Deandre Hopkins will be the #1 fantasy receiver this year... And most importantly, the offensive situation in Arizona is the perfect storm for his fantasy situation. Kyler Murray is good, but he's not working his way through progressions yet.
Hopkins nabbed a TD but only had 9 targets this week. I'll admit that I only watched Kyler Murray's highlights so forgive me if its there and I didn't see it, buuuuut...He's not completing passes to 2nd and 3rd reads. Its one read then run. That's great for Hopkins' stats because the further into the season they get, the MORE Hopkins is going to be involved on plays designed to chuck it to him, no matter what. Hopkins is one of those guys that's always open, and Kyler is a smart player who knows that AND knows he's not good enough yet to start looking for someone else if Hopkins is "covered". That may hurt the Cardinals at some point. But Hopkins is getting fed this season.
And obviously, a rash of injuries at WR has made this look to be a better prediction. Hopkins is already a stud in that offense and he's still learning it. His stock is only going up from here.
Its true the WR's new offenses typically do poorly. A couple of reasons why that's not true of Hopkins: (a) he's physically the most gifted receiver in the league. Randy Moss kicked ass his first year with the Patriots. Some players are talented enough that it doesn't take time, as long as they're smart as hell like Randy Moss or (b) Hopkins is an intelligent dude. He negotiated his own contract and didn't fuck it up. He wants to be G.M. Big brained guy, he'll pick up quickly. You can see that on the field, he's constantly looking back at Kyler to make sure he did the right thing on each play. (c) HOF'er in the WR room: Fitz will get him up to speed fast.
Quick note about Kyler Murray: He's tearing it up. One encouraging thing that you might not see how little he's allowing himself to be tackled. As a fantasy owner, that's encouraging because it suggests he can sustain a high running floor and not get injured. And there's an added assurance that he's putting those slides for zero yards (for example) on tape because the coaches see that too and are more willing to call more of those plays down the stretch. Still, I wouldn't compare him to Lamar Jackson last season yet. Lamar Jackson was throwing TD's to his 4th and 5th read in week 1 against the Dolphins last season. Murray may hit a scheme ceiling where defenses, especially good ones, start to take away his 1 and 2 and contain his run game (though it is strong and he has good vision).

Things I was totally wrong about: zero things!

HA! Next section!

Things I'm not right about yet but pretty soon I will be:

1. Joe Burrow AJ Green is going to be good.
If you watch the game, you see Joe Burrow fitting the ball into tight windows in clutch situations. In fact, he wasn't finding a lot of open receivers, he was throwing the ball well/correctly into great coverage and making lemonade. Also, AJ Green is looking fully healthy and like his old self.
Well, AJ Green was targeted 13 times and caught...3 of those passes for 29 yards. So clearly, the chemistry between them was oversold by me last week. Still, 13 targets is encouraging and so is the Bengals inability to run the ball. No matter how much they try, they're wretched run-blocking always leaves them down late in games and in 3rd-and-forever situations. They just let a rookie throw it 61 times.
Another consideration is that Denzel Ward was covering Green all night:
A.J. Green has had an up-and-down career vs. the Browns. Thursday’s game was on the down side, and it had mostly to do with Denzel Ward.
Green had three catches for 29 yards. Overall, Ward broke up three passes against the Bengals. And according to Next Gen Stats, Ward was making life difficult for Joe Burrow all night, forcing eight tight window passes in 11 targets as the nearest defender.
Green is still pretty low on trade value charts but stands to have a huge upside as Burrow's primary target.
2. Rodgers is back.
...are there really any physical traits that are important to his game that would fade significantly at 36 year's old? I didn't see any missing zip off of his throws. I did see fucking darts getting tossed all over the field into tiny windows.
Aaron Jones is the #1 fantasy RB right now so obviously saying Rodgers is fully back is pre-mature. However, he is impressing with some very, very pretty darts.
Also, the elephant on the field for the Packers is that Aaron Rodgers is a player driven by ego. Not a knock on him, he's just a guy who needs mojo to play at his finest. Maybe it required the stimulation of an insulting draft pick to prod him back into his HOF form. I'm not saying Rodgers can be a top 3 QB this year with Jackson and Murray running so well, but 4 or 5 doesn't seem out of reach.
Rodgers is pff top-graded QB right now btw.

Fresh takes:

1.The Ravens are the best defense in the NFL.
The loss of Earl Thomas is doesn't matter as much as what has been gained with Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort. Queen is incredibly fast and explosive underneath, getting into the backfield and making big plays. And L.J. Fort (top rated pff lb right now) combine to give them rangey-coverage, tackling, and pass break-up ability over the middle they didn't have before which has further weaponized they're depth at CB (Humphrey, Peters, Smith). Peters specifically is a ball hawk that's found a great home in Baltimore; he couldn't scheme well anywhere else but Harbaugh has found a way to give him the freedom to ball hawk. Over the long haul, Harbaugh has maintained a great defense, regardless of departures/changes, for years and years. When he has this much talent, his defenses are typically dominant.
Be warry of starting iffy players against them at any position.
They're worth trading for, I think the turnovedef TD potential makes them worth it.
2. J.K. Dobbins will break-out out as the preferred option in the Ravens backfield.
Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards have both proven to be reliable RB's for the Raven offense. But Ingram is 30 with over 200 carries in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Edwards has been reliable, a home-grown UDFA. But at 238lbs and without elite speed, he's leaving many big runs on the table.
Dobbins didn't attend the combine. But ran a 4.44 high school:
Dobbins posted a 4.44s 40-yard dash, 4.09s short shuttle and a 43.1-inch vertical jump as a high school senior at the event. There are also many reports that Dobbins squatted over 700 pounds.
He has power running balance and break-out speed that NONE of the other backs in Baltimore have. 4th rounder Justice Hill was their attempt of to develop that speed last year but didn't break out.
A couple of elephants make this one a good bet:
(a) Lamar's durability -- right now, he's taking a bunch of carries because he's the only one in their backfield that has the speed to break huge runs. If Dobbins can fill that role, Lamar Jackson can afford to take fewer chances and John Harbaugh can opt to only drop him back to pass 7 times in the second half when they're winning, like what happened in week 2.
(b) that defense -- Baltimore's defense is going to be great enough this year to take over games, making steady doses of run plays inevitable as they'll spend a lot of games up by 2 scores. Yes, they were up like that a lot last year but their only homerun hitter in the backfield was Lamar (see above, Justice Hill wasn't getting it done).
Here's an example: this is a shot from Gus Edwards' 22 yard scamper last week:
The Ravens offensive line is good at opening holes like this. While it didn't prove important in this game (BAL was up 30-16 at the time), each run like this where a more explosive player could scored is an opportunity cost for the people calling plays. And its not just points left behind, its points scored while Lamar is watching like a fan. Its points that could allow more aggressive defensive play calling. If you're a coach for Baltimore, you don't necessarily want Lamar to have a gaudy stat-line every week if you're winning. If he can throw 16 passes in a game and then sit-out the 4th quarter, that's ideal from the franchise's perspective (though not so much for Fantasy managers). Each Ingram/Edwards run that coulda been a touchdown means there's more time on the field for Lamar, larger portion of the game where they're not playing a dominant lead, and higher chance that they'll lose because points were left on the field. They need someone else hitting home runs in the running game.
Am I fading Lamar because of all of this? Not yet. Eye test = that guy is a singular talent. His throwing motion is smooth like Vick's, just a gifted, effortless release. He's also great at mostly avoiding contact (though all contact is bad contact if you're his coaches). Great decision maker too. Makes multiple reads on plays. Can't say enough about how great of player he is. Still, Baltimore is well put-together enough that they may be able to functionally win without him. So don't be surprised if, especially approaching the playoffs, Baltimore starts calling plays that don't involve as much Lamar. What's scary is that they may be a complete football team without him and he's the reigning MVP.
Finally, Dobbins had two carries last week. One was for a 44 yard gain where the blocking was good but not nearly as good as the image above. Even if the transition to him isn't fast, he could force the issue like Chubb did his rookie year, gaining 100 yards on 3 carries in a game.
No matter what, the Ravens will run by committee but there will come a point where the player to start out of the trio is Dobbins without a doubt.
3. Minshew is the truth and his team situation makes him a great fantasy player.
Minshew isn't the most talented QB in the league. But above all things, he is competitive and scrappy. The Jags are good but not great so he's going need a lot of that scrappy-iness (lol, just say that sentence out loud, you'll hear it). James Robinson is very good and they're going to lean on him a lot. But when the time for much needed yards and points, it seems like the Jags tag Gardner Minshew II's Id in at offensive coordinator. Minshew isn't likely going to be top-5 qb but he might make the top 10 and is likely easier to get than other top targets.
Part of the reason DJ Chark isn't getting the production folks hoped is because Minshew is effectively spreading the ball around. Good for the jags, bad for fantasy owners. I wouldn't panic.
One of his targets I picked-up to stash is Laviska Shenault Jr. He's getting a legit number of carries each week and averaging over 10 yards per reception. He's an interesting pick-up because he doubles as handcuffs for Robinson. Seems like his carry count could go up to 10ish no problem if the Jags lost Robinson. So pay attention to what position he's listed in your league, scoring rules about how carries count in ppr, etc. But he passes the eye test, very shifty and fast on the field.
4. Teams that are quickly turning into dumpster fires that you should across-the-board fade:
Gase is the worst. Never underestimate the ability of a shitty boss to ruin a workspace and make everyone fucking hate themselves, even though they're well compensated to play a game for a living. Listen, I know there's always gems on bad teams. But I have high blood pressure. So tuning into games with players I need to play well and watching the offense go 3-and-out 5 times in a row...I'm literally too old for that shit now so I try to stray-away from dumpster fire teams.
Kubiak has got some big Stefanski shoes to fill and he's doing a bad job so far. I wouldn't panic about Dalvin Cook yet but another bad couple of weeks and I'd start shopping him. See the Browns thing above: Stefanski may have made the Vikings offense look better than it actually was for a decade. Combine that with the defense whose secondary would be better if they were scare crows and you're looking at a team that can't plan to run the ball for more than a quarter or 2.
Teams to be worried about:
Whew, the injuries. They're basically just starting with new team. We'll see how things go.
Matt Patricia may have lost this team. And coaches like him don't recover team faith/confidence well in a loss-spiral.
BoB is going to crash that plane into a mountain while we all watch. Poor Watson, just watching Deandre Hopkins ball-out. One thing you can still bet on for awhile out of the Texans offense; Bill O'Brien is ego- and career-invested in David Johnson doing great things. He'll role with him when he shouldn't to prove to everyone that he was right to trade Nuk. Its dumb. But he's dumb.

Fortune Favors The Bold (FFTB) Predictions

WARNING: What you're about to read is not necessarily good fantasy advice, but things for me to say "told you so" about a week from now. I take no responsibility for any money you lose (and all responsibility for the money you win). Still, Alexander the Great said, Fortune Favors the Bold.
  1. JK Dobbins scores more fantasy points than CEH this week. (This prediction is backed-up by the time-honored tradition of spitting in one's hand and shaking on it so this shit is serious. Its also painful because I'm a Chiefs fan.)
  2. Laviska Shenault scores a running and a receiving touchdown tonight.
  3. Jonathon Taylor is the RB1 this week and its not close.
  4. Danny Dimes throws 3 TD's this week against the 49ers.
I'm probably wrong about most of this shit but FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD!

Thanks for reading! If I continue to be kind mostly right and people find it a good read, I'll keep posting these each week. Good luck!

EDIT: Thanks for the awards and upvotes strangers! I'll bring the column back next week. Appreciate the comments too, thanks for the banter, shit-talk, and criticism. I'll be spittin in palms again soon.
EDIT AGAIN: Thanks again for the feedback. This is fun and I'm going to enjoy doing it again next week. Some of the comments have suggested that the post doesn't really go out on many limbs. I'll do that more in the future. I've also added an extra section with a few "FFTB predictions" for this week.
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Offseason Blueprint: for their next trick, the Orlando Magic need to make a ball disappear (down a net)

The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, watch the Conference Finals, and wait for next season to start.
For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Orlando Magic.
step one: "just shoot" - me
Veteran coach Steve Clifford has always been known as a defensive specialist. He's good at that. Alas, once the ball crosses that pesky midcourt line, our problems start to emerge. In Clifford's first year in Orlando, the Magic finished with the 22nd best offense. This past season, they sagged down to 23rd. Sadly, these anemic offenses are nothing unusual for the franchise. Amazingly, they've been in the bottom 10 for offensive rating every season since 2011-12 -- that's a streak of 8 years running.
The primary issue during this entire stretch has been a lack of shooting. This past season, the Magic ranked 19th in three-point attempts, and only 25th in three-point percentage. As a team, they shot 34.3% from three, over a full point off from the NBA league average (35.8%). The issue ran up and down the roster. Consider this: of the 19 players who recorded minutes for the Magic this season, 17 shot below league average from three. The only two who matched the league average rate were Evan Fournier and Melvin Frazier (who played 6.6 minutes per game and shot 8/16 total.)
Of course, assessing the problem and fixing it are two entirely different animals. The team's invested in players like Markelle Fultz, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic, who could all improve to the "average" range but are never going to be sharpshooters from deep.
The easiest solution would be to utilize your # 15 pick to snag a shooter like Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt). Nesmith is probably the best shooter in this draft class, hitting 52% from three and 83% from the free-throw line this past year in his 14 games before injury. The sample size in college tends to be unreliable, but Nesmith's shooting form looks the part of a true 38-40% shooter. Better still, Nesmith has the length to play either the SG or SF spot.
Outside of that quick fix, the team may need to make some serious shakeups to the roster to make this combination work.
step two: find the silver lining in your shitty day
As any Orlando Magic fan will tell you, there's one bright spot at the center of this universe: Jonathan Isaac. He's a rising offensive threat, and already one of the best and most versatile defensive players in the NBA. He may have been on track to earn first team All-Defense, and maybe even a Defensive Player of the Year trophy one day.
Unfortunately, Isaac tore his ACL in the bubble and will likely miss the entire upcoming season. Yikes. It's one of the most brutal and disappointing breaks of an already-bad 2020 calendar year.
Outside of literal magic, there's nothing the team can actually do about that. They're going to need to soldier on and make the best out of a shitty situation.
If there's any positive here, it's that Isaac's injury may open the door for the Magic to "showcase" Aaron Gordon. Gordon's gone from being the star of the team to a potentially odd fit on this roster. He's not coming off a terribly strong year either, with averages of 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. After 6 seasons in the NBA, it may be time to give up on the idea that Gordon can be a top option on offense. He doesn't have the shooting or scoring skills to get to that level. More likely, he's best served as a 3rd or 4th option who primarily provides defense, energy, and athleticism. There's value to that, but it may be more valuable to another team that lacks those qualities on their roster.
With Isaac out, the Magic can feature Aaron Gordon and try to increase his trade value as much as possible. He's on a reasonable deal ($18M + $16M) that would make a trade easy to figure out logistically. With an increased role, he may be able to put up good raw stats (maybe 20-8-5?) that would make him even more appealing as an asset.
The team may as well aim high to start. Buddy Hield may be on the market, and Portland may be frustrated enough to consider trading C.J. McCollum for a package that would include Gordon. On the lowemore realistic end, the team could consider a deal for Minnesota SG Malik Beasley (a restricted free agent right now), or something with the Phoenix Suns (both Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson have good shooting potential). In terms of the draft, the Magic may be able to get something in the 5-10 range if they deal Gordon now, but should be able to fetch a solid R1 pick or more if they wait until Gordon starts putting up better numbers.
The Magic can consider a future without Gordon for a few reasons. Jon Isaac should be the future at forward, of course, but I'm also high on the potential of current rookie Chuma Okeke. He's been out all year with an injury, but at Auburn he looked like a dynamic threat that may end up being as good as Gordon himself.
step three: check the sportsbook to see if your bets paid off
The Orlando Magic have taken some big swings over the last few years, primarily with upside plays like Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba. In both cases, the team needs to determine if they ended up cashing in - or crash 'n burning.
Let's start off with Markelle Fultz first. The Magic made a low cost move to acquire him (in terms of assets) and that looks like a smart move at the moment. With a longer leash and the ball in his hands more often, Fultz is starting to resemble a key player again. This past season (Year 3 for him), he averaged 15.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per 36 minutes. He's still a bad shooter (27% from 3, 73% from the FT line), but he's improving there. He's also taken massive leaps in his ability to slash and convert inside the arc. His FG% in the 3-10 foot area has gone from 21% to 30% to 42% over the last few seasons. He's showing glimpses of the talent that made him the # 1 pick.
The problem is: while Fultz was low cost in terms of assets, he's not low cost in terms of salary. Because he had been the # 1 pick, he'll be paid $12M next season, and then have a qualifying offer of $16M for 2021-22. If the team doesn't think Fultz justifies that type of commitment, they may not retain him at all. Given that, it'll be critical that the team can make a decision about Fultz based on his play this upcoming season. In a lot of ways, it's a make or break year for his Magic career.
The team has a longer window regarding Mo Bamba. He's under contract for the next two seasons before his own restricted free agency. That not-so-coincidentally lines up close to Nikola Vucevic's three years remaining ($26M + $24M + $22M). Over the next year or two, the Magic need to determine whether Bamba is going to be ready to take the mantle at center, at which point they can either trade Vucevic or let him walk at the end of his deal. Right now, it's very hard to know. Bamba didn't show much in Year 2, but sometimes it takes players with his unique frame extra time to develop their bodies. If Bamba turns out not to be starting material, then that will set the franchise back in the long term. Getting a decent starter is the least you can expect out of a # 6 overall pick.
step four: you play to win the games (but it never hurts to have a Plan B)
Even with Jonathan Isaac's injury, the Orlando Magic aren't going to throw in the towel and tank next season. The roster is too solid for that, and coach Steve Clifford is too motivated for that. You're not going to convince an old veteran coach -- entering Year 3 -- to took his foot off the gas.
Orlando doesn't have the cap space to go off on a shopping spree, so retaining their own free agents may be the most prudent step. Swingman Evan Fournier has a $17M player option that he may be inclined to pick up. That said, he's coming off a strong year -- 18.5 points and 39.9% shooting from deep -- and may want a longer-term commitment. If Fournier demands a longer deal, the Magic should probably give it to him. He's one of the more underrated scorers in the league right now.
Midseason acquisition James Ennis also has a player option (for a modest $2M). The team shouldn't bend over backwards to bring him back, but it'd be nice to have him around. He's an experienced vet capable of playing the 3 or 4.
Backup PG D.J. Augustin represents a trickier negotiation. He's ceded his role as a starter to Markelle Fultz, but he still played 25 minutes a night and contributed 10.5 points and 4.6 assists. He's a steadying presence on the court in addition to being one of the better shooters on the team. As a 12-year veteran, he's also a good mentor to a young guard like Fultz. That said, the 32-year-old Augustin may not want to come back to play for a middling team. He could chase a ring somewhere else like L.A. or Brooklyn. It doesn't make a load of sense for Orlando to overpay to bring him back given his declining role and their modest expectations for this next season. Hopefully the two sides want to keep their partnership going. If not, the Magic should eye other solid backup PGs who can take some pressure off Fultz and allow him to play some SG as well. Among the names that may fit this bill would be Shabazz Napier (WAS), Yogi Ferrell (SAC), or Matthew Dellavedova (CLE.)
I tend to think the Magic can make tweaks on the margins, "run it back," and still contend for the 7th or 8th seed in the East. That said, if they get off to a nightmare start, they should have a Plan B in their back pocket. We've already mentioned a possible Aaron Gordon trade, but they would have to consider trades of Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Terrence Ross as well. While Coach Clifford may not want to blow it up and rebuild, he may not have a choice if the season starts to slip away from them.
previous offseason blueprints
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Regarding the Tokyo Game Show (TGS)

So, we're about a week out from the Tokyo Game Show, which is, as always, our best chance at seeing a new Ace Attorney game reveal. To summarize what we know so far:
Post any questions or other information you might have to report in this thread.
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The HEL Jumper [Chapter 3.22]

Book 1 of The HEL Jumper
Book 2 of The HEL Jumper
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Thanks to Tulip, Big_Papa_Dakky, Darth_Android, bloblob, AMERICUH, The_Real_Jumper, Mr_Polygon, Krystalin, Damned_Thrice, Mamish, Vikairious, Sam_Berry, RedHawkdude, KillTech, LilLaussa, Daddy_Talon, Gruecifer, Gaelan_Darkwater, Konrahd_Verdammt, red-shirt, Benjamin Durbin, and 42 others supporting me on patreon.
A/N: Here's a little treat for you all, my July commission from Akella featuring Asha!
“You are interested in our symbols, oui?” Yvonne asked softly as she stood in front of the civilian shipboard hospital along with three Cauthan, Zolta, Veera, and Asha. The seamstress had been looking every which way almost non-stop since leaving the hydroponics bay, paying special attention to the directional markings on the floor and walls intended to guide the occupants on the Event Horizon to their various destinations. The red cross had featured prominently as they drew closer, the last one glowing brightly above a wide hospital doorway, large enough for two medical gurneys to pass through easily. When Asha replied in the affirmative, the French doctor provided them with a short history lesson.
“That one actually has a bloody history, ironically enough. A little less than two hundred years ago, an international convention was called to discuss the rules of warfare between nations. You could say that many tribes of humans sent representatives to arrange for more orderly conduct on the battlefield.”
“I’m sorry, you did what?” Zolta interjected as he listened to the translation. “You devised rules of battle and people actually followed them?”
“There are always those who cheat, but to an extent, yes,” Yvonne allowed. “Those who violated them were punished heavily if they survived and were caught. That cross there was meant to represent medical personnel, people who would travel the battlefields and aid the wounded and dying, sometimes even as shells and bullets were still flying. Those are like arrows, but much more deadly. It afforded those kind-hearted individuals some amount of protection from the enemy. Many still died, but more were likely saved on its account. Today it serves as a worldwide symbol of medicine, healing, and emergency services, a sign that help is on the way. Today we will ensure that no emergencies arise, today or in the future, as best we can. Asha, would you follow me please?” Yvonne beckoned, escorting them into the facility where a single nurse sat behind the counter.
“Oh, Dr. Dupuis! Welcome. Room number two has been converted for your appointment per your instructions. Let me know if you need anything.”
“Merci, Claire. These are Veera, Zolta, and Asha. They are friends of ours from the surface. Should anyone come looking for us please page me,” the doctor requested, leading the awestruck Cauthan through the sterile, white atrium.
“Of course, ma’am. Welcome!” the nurse called to the aliens, having been made aware by Yvonne well prior of her unusual guests. Number two was one of several standard multipurpose rooms in the facility, able to be retooled depending on the needs of a general practitioner or non-emergency specialist. At that moment it was set up for a standard obstetrical or gynecological examination. When the automated door closed behind the group Io ‘revealed’ herself, utilizing the rather expansive system of speakers within the Event Horizon and briefly waving hello from a monitor on the left wall that would otherwise be used for the review of patient charts or other information.
‘Since Veera and Zolta are here I oriented the examination chair towards that corner on the far wall for the sake of modesty. Do you need anything else at this time, Ms. Dupuis?’
“No thank you, little Prussian. And I certainly prefer being referred to that way instead of ma’am! Just because I am old doesn’t mean I need to feel like it, right my dears? Actually, would you mind turning the chair back for now, Io? I believe we should demonstrate first for our guests,” Yvonne suggested, heading to a sink and washing her hands before any of the Cauthan could inquire about her actual age. They certainly didn’t have much frame of reference for human senescence.
After a brief moment at the unremarkable metal basin, lathering up and making sure to effectively cleanse her hands, Yvonne turned around to find all three of them standing just where she’d left them, glancing around the room with curiosity and apprehension. Nothing was moving, thankfully, which took the edge off despite the sheer amount of metal and unfamiliar plastic compounds. “Please, be seated dears,” Yvonne offered, shepherding Zolta and Veera to a couple of chairs against an unused wall. She then took Asha’s hand and guided her to another that she pulled close to the examination chair. For the time being, the human was the one sitting comfortably between the padded stirrups. “Those will be for your legs when the time comes, as you might guess,” she explained.
“I see,” Asha replied quietly, suddenly rather bashful as she considered the full act of childbirth.
“I know it is probably rather intimidating, but here is what we will be using today,” Yvonne said, picking up the ultrasound wand and handing it over to Asha. “Fret not, Asha. It is quite inert while not turned on.”
The young mother’s feathers waved as she turned the piece of plastic and electronics over and over in her paws. “So what does this do, exactly?”
“Can you hum, my dears?” Yvonne wondered, demonstrating for them with a standard octave of notes. Though none in the room were musically minded, providing Io with a wholesome chuckle, the Cauthan proved capable. “Yes exactly, now feel your throat as you do so. You feel the vibrations? The ultrasound vibrates just like that, but far faster than we or the little one in your belly can perceive. All sound bounces off of objects, an echo, and so we are able to use the reflected sound to see what’s inside your belly. Io?”
‘You rang, madame?’
“Yes, madame is quite nice too I believe,” Yvonne tittered. “You have lived around these Cauthan for a time, yes? Do you believe the frequency of a standard ultrasound would be harmful to them? I would not want anyone’s ears to be ringing.”
‘Their hearing is superior to that of a human,’ Io replied, eliciting a proud fluff of Veera’s plumage. ‘However there has been no attempt to quantify this difference. Perhaps a simple test is in order?’
Yvonne nodded and offered her hand to Asha, who returned the ultrasound wand. “Would you all cover your ears, please?” she requested, turning on the machine once they’d all done so. All looked at one another, curious as to what had happened. Lights on the machine next to the examination chair had sprung to life, but nothing else could be seen or heard. Slowly, Zolta removed his finger from his right ear.
“Are we supposed to be hearing something?” he asked.
“Non, you are not. Fabulous! We may proceed,” Yvonne informed them, turning her attention to Asha again. “If it does not annoy you, your child will be just fine. But here, let me show you what to expect first.”
Zolta averted his eyes immediately as Yvonne unbuttoned the middle section of her white doctor’s cloak, but his fears proved mostly unfounded. Veera stood and walked closer to watch as the human took an oddly shaped container and squeezed something that looked like water onto her stomach just below her navel. “Wha… how is it doing that?” Veera gasped, getting Zolta’s attention as his own curiosity and duty to his wife won out.
“It is not water, but a gel. I am not sure how to explain it well,” Yvonne admitted. “But I will tell you its purpose, namely to more effectively transmit the sound from the device into my body. Here, you see?” the doctor handed off the gel to Veera, who promptly squirted a small amount onto her finger while the ultrasound was turned on. Suddenly there was far too much for her to pay attention to all at once. Each finger she touched to the substance quickly became slick and slippery as it spread, seemingly harmlessly, over her pads and fur. At the same time, a grainy black and white image could be seen on the screen that sat next to the examination chair. After a couple of adjustments, Yvonne turned it slightly so that Asha could get a good look. Veera’s gelled fur remained forgotten for a moment.
“What is that? It looks like… well it doesn’t look like much,” Asha admitted.
“Perhaps not, Asha, but give me just a moment. Veera, the gel if you would? Io, please show her how to wash her hands.”
‘Of course, Doctor Dupuis. Veera, please head to the corner of the room where my voice is loudest and don’t touch anything with your right hand. Now press that blue button there with one of your fingers. Excellent.’
Veera took a moment to poke the blue and red temperature buttons on and off several times before actually placing her hand underneath the flow to rinse away the water-based gel. In the meantime, Yvonne had spread a thin line of gel up her midriff and was drawing a thin line parallel to her diaphragm with a washable marker. “The sound leaves the wand and travels in this direction,” she tried to explain, moving Asha’s attention from her belly to the screen. “So let’s see here, I believe that formation at the back here is my spine. Let’s examine something else, shall we?”
Yvonne drew another line as Veera rejoined them. Io hummed from the ceiling as she observed the trace, a vertical line on Yvonne’s trunk. “Oh, I see something! What’s that?!” Asha exclaimed.
“What in the name of the gods… is that normal?” Zolta demanded.
“It is quite normal, I assure you,” Yvonne giggled, momentarily disrupting the image. “That is one of my kidneys. All humans have two of them when we’re born, though we can survive with only one. They filter toxins and waste products from our blood so that we can discharge them from the body in the form of urine.”
“That didn’t really translate well. As what?” Asha requested. Yvonne paused momentarily, wondering how the Cauthan wouldn’t have a word for urine.
‘Mmm? Did you figure it out yet madame?’ the AI teased.
“How did you figure it out, little Prussian?” Yvonne shot right back. Io laughed loudly, as though recalling a fond memory.
‘That is a confidential medical moment between myself and Veera, Doctor Dupuis. I used some of the sensors and tools in my partner’s armor as a crude ultrasound, as it were. I am so curious though, do tell me your guess!’
“Uric acid, or an analog.”
‘We have a winner!’ Io exclaimed as Zolta, Asha, and Veera looked around at one another with confusion on their faces. ‘For our fluffy companions, please do not be alarmed. I was simply confirming for the good doctor here that your bodies behave in a different manner from a human’s, at least when it comes to disposing of nitrogenous waste.’
“You are not helping, Io. And we do not have the time to explain the nitrogen cycle,” Yvonne scolded lightly. “Ah well, my dears please do not fret. We are not here today to ask any probing questions about your bodies, only to ensure that Asha’s little one is healthy. Let me show you one more thing.” With a smile, Yvonne moved the ultrasound wand to her diaphragm, sucked her belly in as best she could, and angled it up into her ribcage. All the assembled aliens gasped.
“That’s her heart!” Zolta whispered, taking Asha by the hand. Even across species the function of the organ was apparent.
“Mmm, and the father is smart as well,” Yvonne complimented him. “Yes, that is my heart. As you can see I’m still quite alive and there are no negative effects of this process.” To further demonstrate, Yvonne turned the machine off, wiped her body down with a paper towel to get rid of the majority of the gel, and allowed the aliens to observe the places the wand had been. Her skin was, of course, unblemished by the examination.
“I want you to test that on me first,” Zolta insisted once Yvonne had buttoned up her outer garment, washed her hands, and sterilized the wand. “Obviously I don’t have a cub in me, but I have a heart.”
‘Oh I’m so tempted to co-opt one of the manufactories to make a Mara’s Best Dad mug,’ Io gushed at Zolta’s bravery.
“Not the worst idea, little light. But for now I require your assistance here,” Yvonne insisted in a no-nonsense tone. “Zolta, I would be happy to examine you first. With your permission, I would like to make a record of what I see.”
“For what reason?” he wondered.
“Several, scientific curiosity and proper documentation foremost among them. But most importantly would be knowing what one of your hearts looks like in case something happens to one of you.”
“What… what would happen?” Veera asked hesitantly, tapping her talons on the floor. Yvonne smiled sadly.
“Have you known anyone in your village who one day simply… expired? Someone young or otherwise healthy?”
“I suppose it might happen every so often?” Zolta acknowledged. “What does that have to do with our hearts? When they stop, they stop. It’s the way of things.”
“Not anymore, at least not among humanity,” Yvonne explained proudly. “My own father suffered what we call a heart attack when he was in his late fifties. We were able to restart his heartbeat. With basic medical treatment, a good diet, and exercise, he was able to live another fifteen years or so. I make no promises, but with enough time and information I am sure we could do such a thing for you as well, assuming your species suffers from the sorts of diseases that might make a heart stop beating before its time. You may not.”
Silence pervaded the examination room as the Cauthan digested Yvonne’s story and the implications of possibly forestalling the hand of Kel. “Disrupting the balance sounds rather dangerous,” Veera eventually stated.
‘And if it gave you another decade with Russell?’ Io asked pointedly. Veera opened her mouth but conflicting emotions and faith stopped her.
“I… don’t know, Io.” Veera hung her head, but Yvonne encouraged her with a friendly hand on her shoulder.
“These questions and struggles are inevitable, young ones. We discussed them endlessly throughout our own history as well. It is a natural part of moving forward as a species. For today, let us take a small first step and leave it at that, hmm?”
“Agreed. What do you need from me?” Zolta wondered.
“Very little, Zolta! Simply seat yourself here,” Yvonne helped him into the examination chair. “Excellent. Now remove your tunic if you please and then lean back and take a deep breath. Oh la la, Asha you married well!”
Veera snickered as Asha flared her feathers proudly. “Isn’t he handsome?” the seamstress agreed, relaxing in her chair and rubbing her belly.
“Well I prefer my men with a bit less fur, but he does have excellent facial symmetry. You said he worked the forge in your village?” Yvonne made small talk as she pulled on some disposable gloves and rested a hand below Zolta’s ribcage. “I am sorry, my dear. I appreciate the male form wherever I find it. You must have a demanding job.”
“You could say that,” Zolta said awkwardly as Yvonne experimented with parting his fur to rest the wand of the ultrasound against the light gray skin underneath that rarely, if ever, saw the light of day.
“We will try a small amount here, yes?” she offered, holding the bottle of gel above his fur. He shivered involuntarily when it came into contact with his skin.
“That’s rather uncomfortable,” he commented as she ensured the wand was coated and resting well enough on skin instead of fur.
“I apologize. May I?” the doctor requested. He nodded as Asha scooched closer and took his hand. All assembled looked at the screen that was currently black with occasional bursts of white static and odd shapes. “No discomfort from the wand itself?”
“Very good. Now I would ask you to suck in your stomach as best you can. Yes, just like that. This may hurt a bit but I will not be pressing so hard on your wife. You are simply well built and I need to get under the ribs to… there we are! Voila, my friends,” Yvonne proudly presented Zolta’s heart, gushing over the anatomy. “And four chambers as well. Look at you! Very good, Zolta. Very good indeed.”
The moment ended as Zolta exhaled the deep breath he’d been holding, allowing his abdomen to decompress into a more natural shape. He shook his head as Yvonne handed him another paper towel. “That was really what’s inside me? This is crazy,” the smith commented, wiping against the grain of his fur and getting most of the gel off.
“It comes off with water if you feel the need, Zolta. Asha, we will have to use more on your belly but I am certain that we can provide you with a private shower or bath of some sort afterwards if necessary.”
‘That will not be a problem, Doctor Dupuis. Asha, are you comfortable with moving on?’ Io asked, feeling the need to assure her in Russell’s absence.
“I have already listened to my cub. I should very much like to see them now,” Asha agreed almost reverentially as her mate vacated the examination chair.
“Veera, if I could ask you to make a bit more room for us?” Yvonne requested. The tall, striped Cauthan nodded and stood back immediately, making way for both Zolta and Yvonne to help Asha onto the examination chair. The pregnant female relaxed as the back of the chair was lowered, allowing her to recline.
“What are those things for?” Veera asked, pointing to the stirrups that Yvonne was lowering to the sides of the chair so as not to obstruct the procedure.
‘They are for a patient’s legs, Veera. This would be in the event that an examination of your… hmm, that’s odd.’ Io cut herself off, her tone changing from clinical to confused in the blink of an eye.
“Is something wrong, Io?” Veera asked worriedly, wishing she could see Io. Communicating with a voice that had no apparent source did not sit well.
‘No no, there’s no reason to be alarmed. Doctor Dupuis please proceed with Asha here. I just… how very strange. What could this be?’
“Perhaps if you stopped musing over it yourself and explained what’s going on to us we could help you, little Prussian. Otherwise, let us table this until we have finished with Asha.”
“I beg your pardon?!” Yvonne snapped her gaze to the ceiling as Zolta and Veera spluttered with laughter. Asha seemed confused, taking her turn to tentatively poke at the ultrasound gel that Yvonne had placed on the swell of her belly.
‘Oh verdammt!’ Io cursed. ‘That’s awful! Is this why humans wake up in the middle of the night regretting things from years before?’
“Io, if you continue to insist on interrupting my examination of an alien fetus you had better take a few paces back and explain yourself before I locate a stale baguette,” Yvonne ordered, the overbearingly French nature of her threat eliciting not a single chuckle on account of her serious tone. Io took a deep breath.
‘My apologies, Doctor. I was simply trying to explain the nature of stirrups to Veera in the context of a gynecological examination. However, when it came time to say the word, to make reference to the maidenhood of my good friend, something in my code seized up. Oh dear, I may have to replace a capacitor.’
“Mmm, welcome to being alive Io,” Yvonne chuckled, rubbing slow circles over Asha’s belly with a caring smile on her face. “We may talk about your discovery of embarrassment at another time.”
“You’re my good friend too, Io,” Veera assured the ceiling. Those words compelled Io to finally comandeer another of the screens in the room so as to wave at the Cauthan who had been with her for most of her maturation. The AI’s face was flushed a healthy pink, and she was dressed similarly to Yvonne, opting for light green nurse’s scrubs.
‘Thank you Veera. For now though, might I suggest you direct your attention elsewhere?’
“Oh my goodness. There you are, little one,” Yvonne cooed. Having finally gotten the orientation correct, the image on the ultrasound screen changed swiftly from difficult to discern cross sections of Asha’s womb, internal organs, and cub, to the typical profile shot that had defined the process of human motherhood since the implementation of the device for the examination of pregnant women almost a century prior. The doctor’s smile shone bright like the star of the system, with Asha clasping both hands over her mouth, quite unable to speak. “Oh look at her…”
“By the Mother,” Zolta whispered, drawing as close as he could to the screen without planting his nose on it. “What do you mean her?!”
“Is your penis outside your abdomen, Zolta?” Yvonne inquired.
‘How the hell does she do that with a straight face?!’ Io demanded. ‘Oh nevermind! Asha, I am rather uninitiated on the developmental process of Cauthan infants, but at least to the untrained eye that looks like a healthy baby girl.’
Yvonne nodded as Zolta confirmed, hesitantly, that male Cauthan genitalia were external. She directed their attention to the area between the cub’s stubby little legs, moving the wand around to provide different cross sections of the image “See there, my parents to be? I will never claim to be certain as this is a momentous first occasion between our species, but I have seen hundreds of baby boys and girls in utero over the course of my life. I believe you will be having a daughter.”
Veera crossed one arm over her chest and cradled her chin in her other hand, silently presiding over the proceedings along with Io. Asha was weeping openly by that point, and even Zolta could be seen with a existential look in his eyes as Yvonne slowly moved the ultrasound wand across Asha’s belly horizontally and then vertically, compiling a rough three-dimensional image of their child that Io was more than happy to process with all possible haste. When the little one kicked, visible to her parents via the ultrasound, the magic of the moment seemed complete. Silently, Veera made a note to speak with Antoth about the experience at another time. For the last year, humanity in her life had been the form of Russell Winters. Even as just one individual, surrounded by her world and culture, he’d been a dominant and influential force. But it was still her world that he’d been consumed by.
Now Veera found herself in his position, surrounded by the wonders of modern medicine, engineering, science, and perhaps most interestingly, human kindness. It had been in Veera’s best interest to study and learn as well as she could the nuances of human facial expression. Her relationship with Russell demanded it. With no feathers to speak of and ears that didn’t seem to move at all, she was impressed by the amount of meaning conveyed by the slightest tug of the lips or widening of the eyes. With the appearance of Alice and other humans for her husband to interact with, those trends had become only more apparent. She could not be absolutely sure, but Veera would have bet a substantial fraction of her possessions back on Mara that Yvonne Dupuis was just as enraptured and enamored with Asha’s cub as the mother and father were themselves.
So much remained to be learned and understood, so many magics explained and teased apart. Her evening conversations with her husband and Io had convinced her well enough that humans were not gods or even related to them; that everything they did, all the power they wielded, they innately understood. That was something she needed to constantly remind herself within the wonderland that was the Event Horizon, and she considered the future of her people in the event that that bastion of humanity were to depart their home and never return. Her pledge to leave the planet along with her husband, a promise borne from love alone, suddenly seemed almost selfish. Why shouldn’t this be a future for all of us? she questioned.
When Pilot Cromwell entered the civilian hangar that had been housing Brick for the last couple of weeks, having taken a short tube trip from her bunk, she found her services in high demand. Four humans, including the Indian woman in charge of maintaining the tech in the hydroponics bays, were milling around along with just as many Cauthan.
“Seems I might have to be brushing off my Hydra operator’s license soon,” she commented, gliding gracefully from the door to land just short of the gathering of passengers. In the low gravity it took but a single decent kick off the floor. “The window’s open everyone and the weather looks clear. Bit muggy on the surface but it’s summer. What can you do?”
“Missing the endless rain and the bleating of sheep, my dear?” Yvonne asked sweetly.
“If you insist on lumping me in with the Welsh I’ll have you know that Bordeaux is massively overrated. The sheep can sod themselves but do I so miss having a cold pint served to me on a wooden bar that’s older than I am,” Cromwell indulged in a moment of nostalgia with a side of jabs against the French, a pastime older than her surname.
“Yes, I suppose subsisting on liquid bread is preferable to that island’s attempts at cuisine,” Yvonne mused, as though taking the subject into consideration quite seriously. Cromwell cocked a smile at her.
“You’re sure it’s wise to be going after your pilot’s fish and chips? Please everyone, feel free to hop aboard. We should be on our way.”
“It’s all in good fun, pilot. Thank you,” the Frenchwoman replied. “Do consider keeping me around in the event you and that attractive young Scotsman down on the planet decide to become more than friends, hmm?”
Alice coughed in surprise behind them as Veera looked briefly at Russell before explaining to Asha what she’d just heard in rapid Cauthan. Zolta and Xan could have cared less, of course, and followed the Jumper into the shuttle. “Well, I guess that’s our topic of conversation for the afternoon,” he sighed in English before switching to Cauthan. “Zolta, can you give Xan a hand with the restraints? I need to check something.”
With the young Cauthan men more than capable of handling themselves, Russell took a few steps to the back of the shuttle where the cargo was kept. He found two large boxes which, upon opening, proved to be full of all weather lanterns for Antoth’s force as well as a pair of solar charging stations. To his utter disbelief, Natori had left a handwritten note on top of one asking him to explain their use to the guard force. All he could say for sure was that he’d never had a commanding officer quite like the Admiral. Tucked away between them was a weapons case, which he checked quickly and methodically. He found his firearms just as he’d left them with Darius, minus a particularly fine sheen and polish. Three fully loaded magazines for each had been shipped as well. “All set here,” he concluded. “Everyone else ready?”
“Just waiting on you, Rusty,” Alice informed him, patting a seat next to her. He strapped in and they were off shortly after. As they ‘taxied’ slowly out of the hangar and past the forcefield that separated the hangar from the void, Io spoke to him via his earpiece.
‘Have a good trip, sir. I will meet you back on the ground,’ she reported with little further explanation. He frowned curiously.
“Forget something, Io?”
‘No sir, just need to deal with a particularly nosy mouse.’
As Natori descended onto the manufacturing floor of bay number one, all of the lights suddenly went out, forcing him to take the final three steps by feel alone. Looking out into the black, glowing red eyes stared at him, followed him as he approached a human-sized scaffolding that had been constructed in the midst of the various mechanical arms and devices that hung from the ceiling and generally had free reign about the space depending on the needs of their master. “I was never a fan of the Terminator franchise, Io.”
‘I don’t appreciate trespassers,’ a garbled, mechanical voice issued from the skeletal construct suspended from the scaffold. ‘What if you’d seen me naked?’
Natori stood by quietly as the lights slowly powered up again and the darkness dissipated. Before him, the mechanical eyes set into the metallic skull looked down at him with sapient precision, now a pleasant green color and quite lifelike in their movement. “I’d be happy to knock next time,” he offered before gesturing to the distant edges of the room. “There are plenty of dividing walls and containers as you can see. This may be one of the smallest projects ever carried out in this particular manufactory.”
‘Precision and access to blended materials was a priority, Admiral. I apologize for monopolizing the facility,’ the skeleton spoke. Only the mouth and eyes seemed operational, otherwise missing one arm and both of its legs. ‘How is the diction on this frame?
“Fascinating,” Natori whispered, watching as mechanical lungs contracted and forced air through a trachea made of cartilaginous plastics. For the time being the entire setup seemed powered, linked by sturdy, insulated cables to the nearest industrial outlet. “But without your nose it is a tad lacking.”
‘I was afraid of that, though I don’t know what I should have expected,’ Io admitted, her voice now all around him. ‘I will keep the speaker inside the upper throat for now. In time I may get good enough at this to remove it fully.’
“Only God has ever created life perfectly on his first try, assuming you believe the stories,” the Admiral attempted to reassure her, reaching out tentatively to explore Io’s left hip joint with his finger. It slid right off. “How durable is this material?”
‘We can conduct stress testing at another time, Admiral. For now I am operating under the assumption that this platform will be in and out of maintenance several times over the course of its lifespan before I construct a second. I have prioritized biological similarity over durability given this plan.’
“And your stores of materials?” he asked.
‘More than sufficient, sir. I have added a small request to the ship’s shopping list, so to speak, but I can assure you it will not be traceable in the midst of all the other mining needs,’ Io explained, raising her hand-less arm and considering it with her eyes. ‘Bone proved surprisingly flexible. It was an enjoyable challenge. It’s curious, don’t you think, Admiral?’ Io proposed, twisting her radius and ulna to peer at him through the gap. ‘The advent of this technological leap has led the human field of prosthetics down one path full of metal and silicon, sleek and powerful shapes and lines. It is almost as though something in the human mind yearns to ascend from its fleshy prison to the relative durability that wired metal, ceramic, and plastic compounds can offer. Yet here I am, trying to achieve the opposite. We want what we cannot have,’ the AI concluded.
“Yes, and when we finally make it reality we are left wondering what's next,” Natori mused, walking casually around the partial skeleton to get a look at her pelvis from the rear. The electronics embedded in her spine glowed softly. “Any reason for the aesthetics, Io?”
‘Stop staring at my bony ass, Natori,’ she chuckled. ‘But yes actually, there is a reason.’
“Oh? Care to share?” he requested, continuing his trip around the room. He could see what appeared to be a femur being constructed on a nearby chassis, as well as a couple of the most precise printers in the facility hard at work on more tissue samples, hair, skin, nails and the like.
‘It’s not particularly special,’ Io demurred. ‘But I considered your feedback when last we spoke and found myself agreeing. So long as I appear as Io on the outside, it makes no sense not to take some liberties with the inside. Who knows, I may decide I hate having to breathe on my own and simply revert to a set of very precise speakers somewhere in the back of my throat. Regardless, being able to point to my spine and direct Russell or someone else delivering aid to my body with light seemed prudent. Certainly easier than instructing him about the gap between the second and third lumbar vertebrae, for instance.’
“I think even non-Jumpers would be thankful for the aid if they were to render you assistance,” Natori agreed. “You seem a bit more comfortable with the idea of your compatriots knowing you are not quite human.”
‘Even with my stated goal it’s difficult to deny the potential benefit of designing a body from scratch. After all, it’s not like I gave myself a digital menstrual cycle. I can’t see any reason to do so in the material world.’
“On behalf of all of humanity I thank you for that,” Natori laughed loudly, a hand on his belly. “Oh my. Could you imagine, entire ships, cities, or even nations destroyed because the all-powerful, unshackled AI had a particularly bad period? That’s actually quite terrifying now that I consider it," he murmured.
‘If only Asimov’s little failsafes were so simply executed,’ Io concurred, noting silently the difference in her own reaction to the discussion of Veera’s anatomy at the hospital versus her casual conversation with Kaczynski about hypothetical menses. ‘I do wonder at this point how capable I would be of overwriting my only failsafe. Given how little I stand to gain from any attempt, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t go down that route.’
“I suppose I can’t fault you for considering the same questions I do when sleep seems elusive,” Natori offered. “On that count there is nothing to forgive, I assure you. Do you require anything else from me, Io? This operation seems to be coming along quite smoothly on its own.”
‘I will not be shy about asking for what I need,’ she assured him, following him with her eyes now that he was back in front of her body. ‘Just please don’t tell Russell about my body yet. I would not want him or Veera to see me like this.’
Natori’s face softened as he placed a hand casually over his heart. “I gave you my word, Io. A trust exercise, you called it? I intend to keep it.”
‘You have my thanks then. Your overall impressions?’ she inquired as Natori seemed satisfied with his survey of her workshop, heading back to the control room.
“I cannot wait to see you take your first steps, even if it’s just that skeleton and a few internals,” he stated with a passion bordering on the unhealthy.
‘How about Robocop?’ she wondered suddenly. Natori smiled broadly, thumbing his chin before looking back at her body, which now lay dull and inert.
“Better than Terminator as it avoids all of that time travel stickiness, I will admit. But Io, I think someone like you might have your own spot waiting for you in human popular culture. Should you wish it, of course. I hear privacy and solitude are uniquely satisfying as well.”
‘Oh stop acting as though you have no idea,’ she insisted playfully.
“It’s simply been a long while since my greatest concern was my own life. It’s rather agreeable, nevertheless. Do make sure your operator instructs the Cauthan in proper use of those solar panels, would you? Technology can only be made so safe,” the Admiral posited.
‘Responsible for a whole vessel and you’re still flying by the seat of your pants,’ Io critiqued him. ‘If that is your wish, Admiral, then I am needed on the surface. Thank you for stopping by. See you again soon,’ she offered. Though they both knew a simple call would be enough to connect them at any time, Natori nodded knowingly and placed his hand in his pocket, pausing at the doors to the manufactory.
“I shall visit again. Farewell, Io.”
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Debunking some Legends Palpatine wank

Star Wars is easily the worst franchise to talk about on WhoWouldWin by far. At least with Naruto or Dragon Ball Z or One Punch Man there's some difference in the comments once in a while. But literally, and I mean literally, the replies of every single Star Wars thread, no matter the character, no matter the matchup, are exactly the same every single time without fail.
Here's every Star Wars thread on WhoWouldWin ever:
Star Wars character vs. other character
Round 1: Canon
Round 2: Legends
Top comment with 3k+ upvotes: Star Wars character loses round 1, but in round 2 they absolutely godstomp 10/10 times they speedblitz the other character at FTL speeds and slash them seventeen thousand times in an attosecond with their lightsaber, or they use their Planetary+++ Force abilities to choke the other person to death and while they're choking them they stab them, or they make their heart stop or rip their organs out their chest with the Force in a microsecond. The other character literally can't even hit them because they're FTL and have nanosecond level precog that lets them avoid every hit ever. Palpatine can destroy planets Obi-Wan can open black holes with his mind Luke is literally a Force God who can annihilate half the galaxy with a blink LEGENDS IS CRAZY BRO!!!
Reply to that comment with 500+ upvotes: Yeah bro, this is kind of a complete and total godstomp, don't know why OP bothered posting it lol legends always wins LEGENDS IS CRAZY BRO!!!
Reply to first comment, score below threshold, hidden: Um, scans?
Now, for all you people unfamiliar with Star Wars, you're probably wondering what "Legends" is. Legends is simply the official term used to refer to the old Expanded Universe content made for Star Wars, so books, comics, anything other than the movies pretty much. After buying Star Wars, Disney went and made the majority of the Expanded Universe part of its own separate non-canon continuity, meaning there's two versions of most Star Wars characters: Canon and Legends. "Star Wars Legends," or just "Legends" is used to refer to the Legends continuity as a whole.
Legends, and I'm brave enough to say this, is the single most wanked series in battleboarding history. The way people talk about it, you'd think every book is a non-stop balls to the wall orgy of FTL and planet-busting feats. It's to the point where you don't have to link any scans or post any clips: just saying the words "LEGENDS IS CRAZY BRO" is a bulletproof argument in and of itself.
But is Legends crazy, bro?
The answer is: It's fake. All of it. The feats, the preconceptions... it's all fake.
I can't fucking stand Legends wank, mostly because it kills all discussion of Star Wars on versus sites. I like Star Wars quite a bit, and I'd like to see some intelligent discussion of it in my dumb, pointless hobby. But every attempt at a Star Wars thread is drowned out by the incessant drum of LEGENDS IS CRAZY BRO! LEGENDS IS CRAZY BRO! LEGENDS IS CRAZY BRO! It fucking haunts me, I close my eyes and instead of black it's just the Obi-Wan VS Kakashi Death Battle on loop.
At the suggestion of my therapist, I'm fighting back. This is the beginning of a series of posts where I'm going to be debunking Legends wank I find on sites like VSBW. I decided to start with Palpatine because he's personally the character I see getting the most of it. And besides, this is gonna be my own personal Order 66 on Legends wank. So who else could be more appropriate?

The Claim: Palpatine can make planet-destroying Force Storms on a whim.

When someone mentions planet-busting Palpatine on WhoWouldWin, nine times out of ten this is what they're talking about. You usually don't get links for Legends claims, but for the power of the Force Storm ability, I usually see this one posted when its brought up. It's from a book called The Jedi Path, which is supposed to be an in-universe Jedi manual complete with notations from the characters who owned it. So the quote from Luke - "it has the power to kill worlds" - is an in-universe statement of power.
So, what's Force Storm? Basically its an ability where a hyperspace wormhole is opened using the Force. It can be used to transport people across the galaxy and destroy things, which yes, includes planets according to The Jedi Path. It's a not very commonly seen Force power, first appearing in the Dark Empire comics. Palpatine creates one and uses it to do some major damage to Coruscant and the New Republic fleet. However, he ends up killing himself with the storm accidentally after Luke and Leia interrupt his connection to it.
Palpatine can create Force Storms, Force Storms can destroy planets. So Palpatine's planetary. Seems pretty clean cut, right?
Except, he can't create Force Storms. At least according to Tom Veitch, author of Dark Empire (which had the first appearance of the power). Third line. If you want to read the full 2016 interview, here it is. It's translated from Spanish, but the translation is very direct, at least for the relevant section.
Yep, apparently Force Storms are "in fact a phenomenon that occurs rarely, when the minds of two great Force users meet and struggle with each other at a distance." Straight from the mouth of God, Palpatine can't make them of his own will.
There's probably arguments you could make that he could, like Palpatine claiming he can create them of his own will in-story, but that same scan mentions him lying about how much control he has over the power, so I don't really buy his word. You can say "it's a book, why would he lie," but it's basically his autobiography. Considering he's shouted "unlimited power" at the top of his lungs before, it's clear he's kind of an insane egomaniac. I wouldn't put it beyond him. Some roleplaying guidebooks give him the power in his list of abilities (like if you want to play as him in the game or use him as an enemy) but I feel that's too tertiary to count. And really, it kinda makes sense he can't really pull them out all the time when you think about it. There's two sequels to Dark Empire where he's reborn again in clone bodies, and in none of the sequels does he try to use a Force Storm. Even though it would come in handy, like, a lot.
In any case, if you're arguing Palpatine can make Force Storms, you're arguing against the guy that created Force Storms to begin with. I think he'd know how they work.
For more evidence, here's another interview with Tom Veitch that backs up this other interview.
Basically, Tom reiterates what's said in the other interview, going into a bit more detail. He says that the intended mechanism behind the Force Storm in Dark Empire is the "meeting of two great minds" thing from before, with one being Luke and one being Palpy, with Palpy just being the one who can actually use the storm to his advantage. While he does say that there are other possible explanations, like Luke finding a Sith holocron or saying that the interviewer's suggestion of Palpatine maybe only stumbling across the power recently could work, the intended explanation when the comic was being published was the "meeting of Luke and Palpatine's power" interpretation.
I'd also like to mention the Force Storm's entry from the updated version of the Star Wars Encyclopedia: "A tornado of energy created by great disturbances in the Force. Dark Side Adepts demonstrated limited control over the creation of these storms. Emperor Palpatine claimed the ability to create and control Force storms at will. Light-side practitioners could also band together and create powerful Force storms."
This backs up the "meeting of Luke and Palpatine's power" interpretation in a few ways.
First, going back to the interview, Tom implied that things were kept kind of vague about how the Force Storm works when details had to be hashed out to other publications. So that's probably why both this and the Dark Empire endnotes only say that Palpatine claimed he had the ability to create and control the storms at will.
Second off, I'd like to point out the main description - "A tornado of energy created by great disturbances in the Force." Sounds a bit less like a standard Force power and more like something a bit more exceptional. The destruction of Alderaan caused a great disturbance in the Force, and that was a pretty major event. Also going back to the interview, Tom all but says he made this part of the description up himself. The original description he mentions being in a behind the scenes glossary also calls them "unpredictable" and seems to suggest them being more of an external event.
Third, "Dark Side Adepts demonstrated limited control over the creation of these storms" seems like it could debunk the idea, unless you read it as "multiple Dark Side adepts working together could demonstrate limited control over the creation of a Force Storm," which I think is perfectly reasonable considering the next line about multiple Light-side practicioners having to band together to create one. This final line also gives canon support to the idea of multiple Force users being involved in the creation of a Force Storm.
Yes, there are some sources that say he can make Force Storms of his own will, but for each of those sources there's also one that says it's a claim, and the Dark Empire endnotes prove Palpy isn't 100% trustworthy. Not to mention the other sources are, let's face it, pretty much on the level of WoG too. Just an author saying things about a story outside the context of that story. Do you take diluted, inconsistent, but published WoG from some handbooks, or do you take straight fron the source, consistent for 20 years (going off the second interview) WoG from the author of Dark Empire and creator of Force Storms himself? Personally, I'll take the latter, thanks. You can scream "WoG is fake!" until your face turns blue, I usually do too, but I feel this is consistent and not-off-the-cuff enough to count, and doesn't step on that many toes other than some guides he didn't even write published years after his own work. If you read Dark Empire with this idea in mind, you'll find pretty much everything makes perfect sense.
I've also seen people bring up two things in trying to say that this couldn't possibly be true: one, that we've seen other people make Force Storms of their own power in Legends, and two, that Force Storms naturally occur on the planet Tython. The thing is, we haven't. The only other uses of Force Storm needed an incredibly powerful, magic, sentient staff that absorbs large amounts of Force to pull off, which actually supports the idea that Sith need an external force or push to be able to make a Force Storm, and the "Force storm" on the planet Tython is actually a different thing with the same name.
In any case, I really don't think Force Storms matter that much in the grand scheme of things. Once again, Palpatine doesn't whip these out all the time, and its already been established that it's dubious he's completely making them of his own power, taking into account consistent Word of God, multiple sources saying he only claims he can make them of his own power, and a canon basis for it taking multiple Force users to make one. He'd probably end up killing himself if he tried to make one in a fight, and there's no other evidence to suggest that he has planet-level power anyway other than this one power in this one series that the primary author has said he can't really even do.
Besides, it's not like the power for the Force Storm comes from Palpatine even if you believe (against the author of Dark Empire and creator of the power) that he can make them at a snap of his fingers. If you ignore Veitch's definition of the power, then we're left with stuff like Palpatine's descriptions to go off of, and he explicitly says in both the endnotes and audiobook that the Force Storm utilizes external energy. As I've said, I find his word iffy, but The Jedi Path also calls the Force Storm "pure natural energy," and the previously mentioned magical staff relies on absorbing external energy to create a Force Storm. Once again, even ignoring Veitch's words, it's consistent that it's external energy being used. I guess you could say "all Force is external" though, but even then it's not like Palpatine makes the vortex, he makes a disturbance which creates the vortex. Honestly, the idea you can scale one Force ability to others is weird to me anyways. Like if a guy lifts a rock with TK, what does that say about his mind control capabilities? Could he mind control a being that weighs as much as the rock?
So if you're trying to do a VSBW thing where "using the Force Storms means he has planetary power which he can harness in his other Force attacks," no.
Finally, I'd like to debunk the idea that Palpatine created multiple Force Storms at once in Dark Empire. Post's too big to fit it, so read it here.
To TL;DR it all, there's solid WoG backed up by canon evidence that says Palpy can't make Force Storms, and even if you throw that WoG out, Force Storms aren't applicable in most standard matchups since Palpy would almost certainly kill himself with one in a 1v1 fight because they're fucking massive and he hasn't shown full control over them. His other Force abilities don't scale to Force Storms either.

Verdict: No, he still probably can't on his own, and if he can, they're still not particularly combat applicable and you can't scale his other Force powers to them.

The Claim: Palpatine is a SOLAR SYSTEM BUSTER!

This next thing I'm talking about comes from a novel called Darth Plagueis. This is the book your Legends fan friend won't shut up about.
Basically, the prologue has a highly poetically worded scene describing Palpatine's feelings after killing his master. Some of it has been misinterpreted as actually happening in the context of the story. Here's the scene.
I don't really know what else to say here, it's not actually happening. It's just a flowery description of how Palpatine feels, it's not literally going on. This was spread on VSBW as proof of Palpatine being planet/stasolar system level, I'm assuming because of these specific parts.
Yeah, this is just... again, it's not actually happening. I could go on and say what each line represents about what Palpatine's currently feeling and how its clearly just a reflection of his emotions, but I don't have to. All I have to do is flip over to the last chapter of the book, which describes the same exact scene with a whole lot less flair. For anyone who wants to make the argument that at least the quake happened because the text I linked mentions overturned furniture, it was overturned in the fight between Palpatine and Plagueis. Not by any Force earthquake.
So, yeah. It's just in Palpy's head after he kills his master. Not literal.

Verdict: Learn reading comprehension.

The Claim: Palpatine is 34 thousand times faster than the speed of light.

Of all the Star Wars stats, speed is the fuckiest of all. That's because the main projectile of the series, blaster bolts, are incredibly vague in terms of speed. The movies usually show them as like, Nerf dart to baseball speed, while the novels go as high as calling them lightspeed (they're obviously not, but that's for another post). Since pretty much all speed feats that would involve gunfire in other series instead involve blaster fire, it makes things really annoying to pin down, as well as open to dipshit amounts of wank.
If you open up Palpatine's VSBW page, he's given a speed ranking of "MFTL+," thanks to incestuous scaling, taking blaster bolts as lightspeed due to like 7 dubious statements across 381 books, and a calc of the time his Sith spirit moved across the galaxy to inhabit a new clone body. The calc specifically puts him at 34,292c, or over 34 thousand times faster than the speed of light.
Star Wars characters are fast, guise!
Alright, let me try to explain why this is dumb. First off, why would the speed of Palpatine's spirit be equal to his speed in a mortal body? It's not like he can like, fucking fly through space like his spirit presumably can. I'm also going to guess his spirit weighs less, but, that's straying into dumb territory. To summarize this point: I don't see why Palpatine would be as fast as his disembodied consciousness, and I think it's kinda weird and dumb to assume so.
Second off, here's a few lines of text I want to take a closer look at.
He had spent over a year disembodied, formless, drifting through the maddening void of the Dark Side. He had never foreseen having to transport his spirit so far across space. He had nearly dispersed forever, but he had survived, and now need never fear death again.
According to the Dark Empire Sourcebook, Palpatine traveled "through the maddening void of the Dark Side." Sounds a little different than traveling through actual space.
But in that moment, when flashing blue energy rushed from exploded flesh, the Emperor entered a bodiless transitional state. As conscious Dark Force he was translated across the Galaxy...
According to the Dark Empire Endnotes, he was "translated across the galaxy" as "conscious Dark Force," which again, sounds a little different from traveling the distance in real space as a ghost.
There's other stuff like this too, in fact a guide kinda retcons the entire thing into him possessing an aide who travels to the planet for him. Personally, I think there is far too much weirdness around this "feat" to count it as some sort of actual indication of Palpatine's speed. Force users generally don't seem this fast in the majority of Star Wars media anyway.

Verdict: No.

The Claim: Palpatine scales to other Sith Lords who have CRAZY feats, bro!!1!!!

So, Palpy can't summon planet-destroying Force Storms whenever he pleases, rearrange stars with his own power, or move faster than the speed of light. But, I hear the people scream, what about scaling!?! Palpatine is routinely called the strongest Dark Side user in history, so he should scale to all previous Sith Lords and such, right?
I can actually buy that, yes. There's tons of statements backing up Sheev as pretty much the ultimate Dark Side user, so I think it's reasonable enough to assume he can match his predecessors. So, lets look at all the high end Dark Side stuff I could dig up, and why it's all either fake or not really something you should scale Sidious to. Most of this stuff I found on VSBW. I might be missing one or two things, but honestly, they're probably just fake too..
If you're wondering about the absence of Vitiate and Nihilus, this is going to be a multi-post series, and I'm thinking KOTOR will just get its entire own post. That being said, most of Vitiate's stuff is rituals, which I think Palpatine could replicate but wouldn't really be able to in a standard matchup, and I think Nihilus's status as a wound in the Force explains his unique attributes, and as such I'm not really sure if Palpatine could replicate the things he does. I haven't really done much of the research in that department yet, though, so it's entirely possible I'm wrong.

Random Unnamed Sith Sorceress (and a Triceratops Jedi named Thon)

VSBW notoriously uses buttfuck-long scaling chains in their profiles which usually have several dozen incestuous loops stretching across pages for certain series. It's really, really hard to actually find the feats being scaled off of because of the layers and layers of scaling you need to peel away like onion skin. But, in my research, I've found that approximately 50% of "Planetary Legends" comes from this one feat. The other 50% is Yarael Poof. That'll be elaborated on later.
So, what's the feat? Well, it's about what Wookieepedia dubs "the Devastation of Ambria." Ambria was once a mineral rich planet eyed by mining companies, but was eventually deserted. A Random Unnamed Sith Sorceress (RUSS, from here on out) came across the planet and decided to set up shop, creating a massive obelisk that she performed an ancient Sith ritual with. The ritual devastated the planet's landscape, warping it and killing the native creatures by the thousand.
Alright. Ignoring that this is - at best, being completely generous - only surface wiping, and not planetary as VSBW calls it, there's a fuckton of caveats around the feat. The obelisk that was presumably necessary for RUSS's ritual took centuries to build. This isn't something a Sith can just do on a whim. They need to spend hundreds of years building a fucking obelisk to do it. Not to mention, it requires a "complex ritual" that involves calling on a ton of Dark Side energy, presumably not all from RUSS herself. Oh yeah, and, RUSS died from doing this too. Let's not forget that, she was literally destroyed from doing this.
Palpatine could probably replicate this, yes, but only after building an obelisk and doing a complex ritual. In most matchups he probably won't have the time and materials to do that. I really don't consider it something you can just blindly scale him to - or any Force user, for that matter.
However, VSBW knows this, and has a defense for it. A Triceratops-looking Jedi named Thon was able to lock up all the Dark Side evil left behind on the planet in a lake called Natth. So, according to them, that makes Thon planetary, and thus everyone can scale to it.
However, Thon's cleanup took an unknown amount of time to do. Not to mention he didn't just like, absorb all the lingering evil over the surface of the planet into himself and jizz it out into a lake. He did it by fighting off the evil spirits living on the planet for a bit, then tricking them into drawing close and ensnaring them in a lattice of lightside energy. He also didn't even fix the entire place. To quote Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, "the damage was too widespread for the world to ever be completely healed."
I think at that point it's not really something you can power scale off of. Saying Palpatine can casually destroy planets because a random Triceratops Jedi corralled most but not all of the lingering evil on a planet into a lake over an unknown amount of time by tricking Sith spirits is just like, come on dude, that's fucking dumb.
Also, I'd like to point out this is a pretty massive antifeat for the Dark Side, actually. Centuries of work and only a vague surface wiping feat to show for it? When you think every Force user is planetary like VSBW does, this is a pretty bad showing.

Jerec with the Valley of the Jedi

Jerec is a Miraluka Dark Jedi most famous for his appearance in Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, a classic game starring the fan favorite Kyle Katarn. The Valley of the Jedi is a location of great power that plays an important part in the plot of the game. According to Qu Rahn, a Jedi Master, if Jerec gets his hands on the power in the Valley of the Jedi, he'll be strong enough to trigger supernovas and wipe out entire star systems.
"Jerec, the man who murdered your father, is a great evil. He searches for the location of a sacred place, the Valley of the Jedi. The Force of thousands of Jedi is trapped here. If Jerec captures this power, he will be a creature such as the universe has never seen. A supernova of stars in a fleeting thought—the eradication of life from a star system in a whisper—will be within his power."
So, what exactly is the Valley of the Jedi? Well, the backstory is that there was a war between Jedi and Sith there that culminated in the use of an ancient ritual which killed thousands of Jedi and Sith alike and trapped their souls in the valley. A temple was built there and the place became an incredibly powerful Force nexus.
With all that laid out - remind me why VSBW says Palpatine should scale to this? It's a guy drawing power from the spirits of literally thousands of Force users. There's a ton of statements saying Palpatine is above all other Sith, but I don't really think that includes when they're being amped by the souls of countless other Force users. I feel this is pretty easy to throw out for that reason.
I've seen some reasoning tossed around to try and support this scaling. Namely, that it took the power of Every Jedi Literally Ever to keep Palpatine from rising as a spirit again and just taking some new body in the last Dark Empire series. Except, it really didn't? It took fucking Chex Quest here to put him down.
Read the scene for yourself. The wording here isn't "ugh, he's so powerful I need all the other Jedis help to keep him from rising again, Palpatine is literally stronger than every Jedi ever combined put together," it's "me, and the Force, and the other Jedi will keep him from reviving." The New Essential Chronology doesn't even bother to mention the other Jedi spirits, most sources give the credit to Chex Quest, and I think it's really sketchy to try and justify scaling Palpatine to a guy being amped by thousands of Force user spirits because his own spirit was pulled down by a Chex Quest guy and kept down with the assistance of other Jedi spirits and the Force itself too. We're getting into the same territory as Triceratops Jedi putting Sith spirits created by centuries of work in a lake here, there's just too much nonsense going on to get anything out of it.
Anyways, TL;DR: Palpatine shouldn't scale to this. I can buy him scaling off of other Sith Lords, but not when they're being empowered by literally thousands of other Force users.

Aleema Kato with the Sith Corsair

The Sith Corsair is a massive superweapon ship that can pull the core out of a star and blow them up outright, though seemingly though some sort of chain reaction. A Sith sorceress named Aleema Kato uses it in one comic, as well as a guy named Naga Sadow in another. It requires the manipulation of these special crystal things that just brim with Dark Side energy.
I don't really think Palpatine scales to Sith-created superweapons. Like, I don't really see why he would? The statements are that he's the most powerful Sith Lord, not the most powerful Sith Lord including Sith using superweapons. The power's coming from the weapon, not the Sith using it. It's a serious reach to try and say that, because a Sith made ship with special crystals in it exists that Palpatine can equal it in power.

Naga Sadow with the Sith Meditation Sphere

Another "person with the thing." Once again, I don't think you should scale Palpatine to Sith Lords using some piece of fucking equipment. When Legends writers type out "Palpatine is the strongestest Sith Lord in history!" I don't think they mean "Palpatine is the strongestest Sith Lord in history (including certain Sith Lords at the time they were tapping into large reserves of power that isn't theirs to begin with)!" I'm just repeating myself at this point, all this shit is the same kind of fake.
To get this over with, the Sith Meditation Sphere is an eyeball-shaped spaceship piloted by Sith Lord Naga Sadow. It's equipped with advanced Sith technology that amplifies Naga Sadow's Force abilities to an unknown extent, but seemingly pretty high given how they describe the technology as being developed and perfected over centuries and millenia.
Personally, I think the Sith Meditation Sphere amps Sadow a lot. Like, a lot a lot. With the Sphere, it's claimed Sadow can destroy stars. I don't really think Sadow is anywhere close to that alone, considering he uses the Force to pelt a guy with rocks in a fight to the death instead of just immediately turning him to red mist with his star level destructive power. Not to mention he had to use the above mentioned Sith Corsair to blow up a star at the end of The Fall of the Sith Empire comic series instead of his own power or anything. I'd also like to point out the Meditation Sphere being star-busting only comes from one guide which incorrectly recaps the comic it's trying to recap. In the comic, he uses the Sith Corsair to blow up a star, not the Meditation Sphere. Even ignoring that or calling it some kind of retcon, it still has the same problems.
So, yeah. Same justification as the last two, doesn't scale cause the feats are amped by a superweapon thing, and I don't think the "strongest Sith Lord" statements take into account Sith using a superweapon or drawing power from some outside source. I mean, Palpatine's certainly stronger than the guys with the dumb helmets turning dials and throwing switches on the Death Star, which can blow up planets, but nobody seriously uses that to scale him to planetary.
Huh, wait a minute. Three Sith in a row can't reach star level without some kind of massive amp or incredibly powerful tool. There's almost a pattern here... almost like, maybe these Sith guys can't blow up stars with their mind or something...

Wutzek and the World Razer

These two are different, but I'm lumping them together because the reasoning is the same. Wutzek is a weird Force being that appears in a total of one comic book (and a canceled novella). The World Razer is a weird Force being that appears in a total of one mission in an MMO (and a canceled novella).
I'll talk about Wutzek first. Basically, he shows up in one weird UK story of the classic Star Wars comics. He's introduced as a bunch of glowing lights encased in a glass thingy. According to this weirdo that captured the crew of the Falcon, he's a "demon, a Force creature of unimaginable power." It's believed his kind owned the universe long ago.
In the comic, there's a statement of Wutzek's power that puts him at like, planet or solar system. Though the most we see him do is incinerate some people and blow up a ship, then grow big and fly off.
Next up, World Razer. Almost is nothing is known about this guy, even in universe. Here's his codex entry from the Old Republic game.
"Almost nothing is known of the ancient being known as the World Razer. No one has seen or spoken to the creature for thousands of years; the Rakata’s cryptic warnings suggest the World Razer is Belsavis’s oldest prisoner, and that the prison was first constructed to hold the terrible entity whose hunger consumed a thousand worlds. According to the Rakata inscriptions in the Tomb, it took the combined might of the Infinite Empire to subdue the World Razer, and an entire planet to contain its fury. If such a creature were ever released, its rage might very well shatter the galaxy."
Wow. "Shatter the galaxy?" Clearly this thing is galaxy level! Or... y'know, it's just fancy language describing how it could destroy the galaxy over a large span of time. That's at least the impression that I get from this one quote from the World Razer. Other in-game dialogue suggests the World Razer can destroy planets and stars as well.
Sidenote: There's an infamous speed calc made off this statement which assumes a literal timeframe of one day based on what this character says about it happening "tomorrow." The character uses the word "yesterday" in the same scene to talk about something that happened a while in the past, so it's probably not literally being used to refer to one day. Sometimes the word "tomorrow" is used to refer to just the future in general, y'know, like how sometimes Superman is called "the Man of Tomorrow." Or, "Tomorrowland." If you look on, it's literally the second definition of the word. God, I have to explain words now, fuck Star Wars wank dude this is what it does to you.
Moving on. Here's the thing about these guys: we know next to nothing about them. For fuck's sake, we don't even see the World Razer, even its in-game codex starts off with "almost nothing is known about this thing." In regards to the speed calc, we don't even know how it moves - for all we know it could warp itself places through hyperspace like the space whales from Rebels or some shit like that. Wutzek we know almost even less about, he's just apparently some Force demon from the beginning of the universe.
Why is Palpatine getting scaled to these things? They're incredibly vague, ancient powers that definitely seem to be above any Force user we've seen. Are we really getting to the point where we're saying the main villain of the franchise is equal in power to two incredibly vague characters with one appearance each, for the sole reason of "they exist in the same universe?" This is just so stupid, and in my opinion, not legitimate in the slightest.
About that canceled novella I mentioned: it confirms both of these guys as like, both being ancient Force gods. If the book was published, that'd be pretty solid evidence against Palpy scaling.

Darth Plagueis

Did you ever hear about the multi-continental feat of Darth Plagueis The Wise? I thought not. Because it's fake as shit.
This text comes from the Darth Plagueis novel I mentioned earlier:
Later it would be said by Naboo and Gungan alike that they couldn’t recall a colder winter than the one that followed Hego Damask’s autumnal visit to their world. The rivers and even the falls below Theed froze; the rolling plains and tall forests were blanketed three meters deep with snow; plasmic quakes rocked the Gallo Mountains and the Lake Country, the Holy Places and the undersea city of Otoh Gunga; and many of the egresses of the underwaterways that hollowed the planet were blocked by ice floes.
Basically, Plagueis goes to the planet Naboo, and afterwards they have a really bad winter. This has been calced by good ol' NarutoForums (the best site for VS debating) to say Plagueis can output 5.036 petatons of power!
The thing is, there's no evidence to suggest that Plagueis had any hand in this. Like, he's never given credit for the bad winter. It's just a thing that happens. Assuming he did it is like... really, really weird. He goes to other planets in the story and there's never a bad winter there after he comes. It's literally just some random bad weather, he didn't do shit, you people are desperate.

Darth Bane

This one isn't serious, I just wanted to share this cause I think it's really fucking funny.
One time when a VSBW person came on a server I was on, they were trying to argue planetary Star Wars with this. "Bane's world-crushing strategy!" Why are you so goddamn desperate? It's a fucking cropped book blurb or something, shut up. I don't know what this scan is particularly from, but its referring to something he's doing as a general, not Bane literally crushing a planet with the Force, Jesus Christ.
This is 90% of Legends wank, just nonsense taken out of context, then completely and almost willingly misinterpreted. I swear, there's a single shriveled-up little brain cell being passed around at VSBW like the Fates from Hercules.

Verdict: Either the feats are fake or he doesn't scale.

So, after all that, I bet you're wondering how strong Sidious actually is then. The answer is: fuck if I know. Do you know how many goddamn Legends books and comics there are that he's in? I didn't read that all for this thread, but I can tell you this: he sure as shit isn't planetary or fucking solar system level. If there was actually a single, solid planet busting feat for him, or any other Force user you can scale others to, you'd see it paraded around every versus forum until the heat death of the universe. But guess what? There isn't.
That's why you only ever see shit like Random Unnamed Sith Sorceress taking centuries to ruin a planet's surface or Yarael Poof and his non-feat being brought up. Speaking of that fucking long-necked bastard, I'm retconning this old post I made about him into the first episode of this series. Go read it if you're wondering about the infamous "Yarael Poof holding back a planetary explosion" feat, or re-read it if you want to see me address a defense I found, I added a new part to it.
Gotta say though, making this post kinda made me want to go through and make an actually comprehensive Legends Palpatine respect thread. The one on the Respect Threads subreddit is pretty laughable, since it's literally just a segment of the "Force powers" section of his Wookieepedia article with added commentary. All the other ones I can find are pretty dogshit too. So maybe I'll put that out sometime, I don't know.
Oh yeah, one last thing. If you're wondering about other characters you think Palpatine should scale to, like Legends Luke (everything you think you know about him is lies), Vitiate and Nihilus (explained above), and Abeloth (I haven't read any Abeloth stuff but it's probably all fake too, given Legends's track record), they're getting their own posts in the future. This post is specifically about Palpatine and C-list Sith stuff.
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I watched all the Disney Princess movies in order and here are my thoughts

Intro: So I haven’t really watched any Disney Princess movies in a while so why not watch them all in order? I actually have really wanted to do this so what better to do in quarantine? As someone who has studied animation, I’m excited to see changing in animation, character designs, and effects. I have noted down 3 things I liked about the movies as well as things about the songs and a criticism.
Note: Although Frozen isn’t technically a Disney Princess film because ~it’s too big for the franchise~ I’m including it because I know if it wasn’t so successful it’d be here.
Note: I am not watching any of the sequels or spinoffs in this marathon. If any characters were added or if anything was changed, its not valid to my notes or criticism.
Snow White - Snow White sings many songs! It’s far more than the newer ones sing to my knowledge - Ok but our first Disney villain is low key terrifying - The animation is so lively! - Songs: Snow White has more songs than I thought although if I’m honest, I already forgot all of them but Someday My Prince Will Come - Criticism: I’m going to be honest it was difficult getting through this movie, probably because my attention span is shop and the pacing was slow.
Cinderella - That transformation tho! - All the songs are a bop! - I love the character acting of the stepsisters - Bonus! Her dress is definitely white not blue - Songs: Every song in Cinderella slaps, don’t @ me and the visuals at the time were magical enough to merge with the songs - Criticism: The prince has absolutely no personality whatsoever, he’s so bland it hurts. (Don’t bring up any of the sequels because as it stands on its own, he’s so bland like plain yogurt)
Sleeping Beauty - Maleficent is a baddie and a half - The backgrounds are so stylistically beautiful - I’d argue that the movie was more about the fairies than Sleeping Beauty herself - Bonus! The pink/blue color changing of her dress was magical - Songs: Once Upon A Dream is a beautiful song but the others, the song about Sleeping Beauty aren’t as memorable although the effects and visuals were nice - Criticism: I dislike Aurora and I bet I wouldn’t feel this way if she was more of a character than a plot device.
Little Mermaid - Our first villain song! - This movie revolutionized the Disney Princess formula - I am in love with Ariel’s hair movements - Bonus: The first Princess movie to not start with the opening of the story’s book - Songs: For a movie that emphasizes Ariel’s singing, she only sings one song. Also every song is catchy and especially Sebastian’s songs are visual eye candy - Criticism: I don’t know how I feel about Ariel causing trouble for all around her to get what she wants and doesn’t really make an effort to resolve it. Her dad tried to reason with Ursula and was turned into a worm and Eric was the one who killed Ursula while Ariel watched.
Beauty and the Beast - THOSE BACKGROUNDS! - I never really realized how captivating the ballroom dance scene was - The animation was crisp and the character acting was sublime, also props to Gaston for our first male villain - Bonus! Can we talk about the intro? The music gives me chills, it’s so enchanting - Bonus Bonus! First princess movie to start having a celebrity sing one of the film’s songs at the credits - Songs: The songs are fun, it seems each song progresses the story well without being something that just stops in time to sing. - Criticism: The plot could have been so much more airtight. There were plot holes that bothered me, like the prince’s age or why the castle was just out in the woods. A lot of it I had to fill in or reason why this happened but I wish I didn’t have to.
*One thing I’m noticing throughout the movies is they have a certain theme of a parent figure wanting to marry their daughteprince off or someone wanting to marry them
Aladdin - Right off the bat, our first of the next 3 Princess of Color! - The overall tone of this movie is a lot lighter than the other movies, mostly due to the Genie who’s voice and character acting is both phenomenal and highly engaging! - This movie is more set on the ‘prince’ of the film, rather than the princess - Songs: Every song is pure eye candy, it’s full of color and movement it draws you into the moment - Criticism: Plot holes and the treatment of Jasmine was just yikes. Like, Aladdin wishes to be a prince so he wasn’t lying when he told Jasmine he was one. If he said “I wish I was like a prince” that could have been better. Also I wish Jasmine has her own song and that her character could have been developed better.
Pocahontas - First Disney Princess to not marry anyone - Our first princess voice actress of color! Speaking of color, the colors in this movie!!! - I know this movie is historical inaccurate and that it could never be made today, but I like how they went with a story about Native Americans and showcased a bit of their beliefs and language. You never really see movies about Native Americans as the front and center - Bonus! I’ve actually never seen this movie in it’s entirety - Songs: I’m going to be honest, I really only like Colors of the Wind, Just Around The River-bend, and the second half of Savages where Pocahontas starts singing. The rest of the songs were just okay. Nice visuals though - Criticism: I dislike the villain, I’m not sure why. Maybe it feels like they try to pin the blame of the killing of Native Americans on people like him, mere hollow caricatures of greed. This is a story based on a true event, unlike the other stories so maybe that’s why a hollow character like him doesn’t feel realistic. Also he has the worst villain song, not sorry about it
Mulan - The intro with the brushwork! - I love the dramatic tones of the movie and their scenes that also help compliment the lighter aspects of the movie; I enjoy how it has both - I love the stylistic choices of the animation, ex. the smoke, the animals, clouds - I enjoy Mulan’s personality, she’s such a dork but also extremely capable and willing to learn - Songs: Every song is iconic but I almost wish there were more songs, there isn’t a song I dislike or just sit through, also I love the Chinese influence in the songs and overall soundtrack - Criticism: Honestly it’s difficult for me to think of an overall criticism, that doesn’t mean the movie is perfect. I kinda wish they made Mulan more muscular as she trains more.
Princess and the Frog - Last 2D animated princess movie :( - Those background and character designs and facial expressions - I do like the dynamic between Tiana and Naveen and I like Tianas personality - Bonus Bonus: I love Tianas design so much! Her dimples, the facial expressions, the fact she has dark skin, it’s such a shame she was a hecking frog for a majority of the film - Songs: Every song is pure eye candy! Especially Dr. Faciliter villain song which is one of the best villain songs in the Disney Princess franchise! I cannot stress enough how beautiful pleasant every song is, they give me chills and send me right into the bayou and city of New Orleans - Criticism: Do I need to say it? Tiana was a frog for the more than half the movie. I wish they included more flashbacks of Tiana’s dad or life or Naveen’s life sprinkled throughout the film. You may not understand how big it was to have a DARK SKINNED PRINCESS only for her to be an ANIMAL all throughput the film but it’s a bad look! I’m going to stop here because that’s a whole other discussion.
Rapunzel - Our first in the era of 3D princesses! - I really like the animal character expressions and acting - Her hair, not just the hair realistic movement but all the effects like the glow and when it turns brown! An animator’s both nightmare and biggest achievement! - Bonus: Mother Gothel is our dramatic queen - Bonus: I know we got a Rapunzel tv series but I wouldn’t mind watching shorts animated in the style of the end credits - Songs: The songs feel a bit more modern and the ending/credits song is fun and quickly like Rapunzel herself, I See The Light is, of course visually stunning - Criticism: I thought I’d enjoy this movie a lot more since I’ve seen it a lot as a kid but I didn’t. I felt like Rapunzel and Flynn were that one quirky couple you see all over Instagram and have a YouTube channel of them just being a couple and you can’t understand why but if they break up they get instantly like 5 million views. I digress. It felt very early 2010’s mainly in dialogue and that’s tragic.
Brave - The first Disney movie where everyone has accents and no one sings full musical number - While other Disney Princesses focus on finding love or having others worry about them finding love, I love that this focused more on mother daughter love and loving yourself. One of my favorite quotes from the movie is “find love in your own time” - Pixar did an amazing job for their first princess movie. I love how spunky and free Merida is. - Songs: This soundtrack is no lie, criminally underrated. It’s so beautiful and enchanting - Criticism: The “mom turning into a bear” thing was strange and felt done before more or less (because it has). I understand it was “necessary but I don’t know. Also I disliked Merida’s character design; not her costume or hair, just specifically her face. It looked too small for her head.
Frozen - The special effects in this movie are absolutely phenomenal - Even though Let It Go is widely known and considered overrated, I have to say the direction of the song is amazing; the camera movement, Elsa’s facial expressions and character acting, the special effects, and Elsa’s transformation, it’s wonderful - I enjoy the costume design of the movie, all the patterns and the feel - Songs: I’m sorry I can’t listen to most of these songs on their own. - Criticism: I’m not sure why but this isn’t a movie I can watch more than once at a time. Hans was a confusing villain and I wish we could have seen Elsa as the villain but again, I understand why it was done.
Moana - Oh my gosh, the water! The scenery! The beautiful realism of it all, it’s gorgeous! Moana’s hair! It’s interesting on how difficult it was animating 3D hair and water in the past but look at how far we’ve come (I know that’s not princess related but it’s interesting to note) - Similar to brave, I love how ingrained in culture it is! It feels like I am there, surrounded by culture and colors - Lolotei is one of my favorite scenes the princess franchises I love the weirdness of the monsters, the neon colors, and how The world is upside down - Bonus: Moana is the first princess with a different body type as the other. Also Moana isn’t pressured to find love nor does she find it - Songs: Shiny is a great villian song, the other songs are powerful (Yes including You’re Welcome, the first inclusion of rap in a princess movie and if that’s not powerful I don’t know what is) - Criticism: 7.8 out of 10, too much water. (Jk, Moana is not 7.8 it’s more like 8.5) But no joke, there is so. much. water. I was hoping we’d see other islands and underwater places but it was just ocean. Ocean and dialogue for half the movie.
Conclusion: Overall, I enjoyed watching all of these movies and I cannot stress how cool it is to see the progress from Snow White to Moana. One of the major things I realized was that the stereotypical Disney Princess isn’t really stereotypical at all. When others describe a Disney Princess or seek to criticize them, it’s take they are kind, submissive, sing to animals, passive, polite, and overly optimistic. This really only describes the first 3 Disney Princess and it makes sense because it is reflective of the times (30-50’s). Women were supposed to be like this and if you were, you were desirable. However, nowadays Disney Princesses are headstrong, independent, and different. This is how almost every Princess, starting with Ariel, is described. They are different from the rest, they deviate from the norm, they’re weird and quirky. You could say this is in nearly complete opposite to the 30-50’s Disney Princesses which encourages that even if bad things happen to you if you are kind, imaginative, and beautiful than you can get through it. Now the message is, it’s okay to be different, if bad things happen not just to you or in general, you can use what makes you special to save those you care about; instead of having someone else save you, you can do it yourself.
Anyways, animation wise, I’ve learned so much and can see why these movies are so beloved. Anyways, I’m off to watch the sequels. Might do a post on that might not, we’ll see.
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Why did John Bogle not get the Presidential Award?

Forbes on Bogle
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is our country’s highest civilian honor. The President should award it to John C. Bogle. Bogle founded the Vanguard Group in 1974, a mutual fund company that he designed as mutual company. That means Vanguard is owned by the funds it sells. In an industry riddled with conflicts of interest, Bogle managed to directly align the interests of its shareholders with those of its customers. That alone ought to have won him a Nobel Prize. The following year Bogle opened the first S&P 500 index fund for retail investors, and he became the Avatar of Indexing. He argued that it would triumph not because of the superior economic theory behind it, but because it was cheap to run. As decades passed, investors discovered he was right. Index funds’ wafer-thin expenses led to better returns than the fancier actively-managed funds they routinely beat.
What has this to do with America? Bogle’s life work – Vanguard and the index fund – were like a giant Costco warehouse of financial services setting up shop right in the middle of Wall Street. A lunchpail Joe who would have been shunned elsewhere could invest his family’s savings in a Vanguard fund due to their low minimums. Vanguard became the investment mothership of America’s middle class, and now custodies three trillion dollars in assets. Hated by its high-priced competition, it relentlessly drove down the cost of investing for everyone all over town. The net effect has been a gigantic gift to investors. Even if you never heard of Bogle, you have more money in your accounts today because of him. An American success story, Bogle inevitably became a millionaire. Here’s what his sacrifice meant he didn’t become: a multi-billionaire. Bogle doesn’t own a private jet; he flies coach. It’s unlikely that you will read about future generations of Bogles becoming U.S. Senators or owning professional sports franchises. That money went into your pocket instead. This outcome was not inevitable. It was an unacknowledged gift from John C. Bogle to the rest of us. I’ll bet someone reading this knows somebody who works in the Executive Branch. Or someone who might help get Bogle nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal (via the House Committee for Financial Services or the Senate Committee on Banking). Or knows somebody influential who might take up the cause. Please forward them a link. Maybe you can help get John’s name on the short list. He’s not a young man.
These days most people only get to know finance professionals when they see them in handcuffs doing the perp walk on TV. The field has a deservedly low reputation. It would be a welcome change for one to be in the limelight who represented the better angels of our nature. In the end, a medal is a piece of tin. You might say, it’s the least we could do. Someday his great-grandchildren will look at it and remember what a fine American their great-grandfather was.
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33 [M4F] Putting real in relationship

Spoiler alert, neither a penguin nor outraged but....very partial to wearing suits. More suits than a deck of cards if you can believe it, and more ties than the entirety of Bangkok. Mhhhmmm. What can I say? Wearing a suit (im partial to a black one, with a white shirt; PENGUIN STYLE!) is so typical for me, I do it going for groceries. Why? For MEGALOLZ. Passively trolling people with my aesthetic nihilism. Shh, don't spoil the secret.
You know something? I detest these profile things. "ZOMG, you like breathing, drinking alcohol and travelling too!? You truly have distinguished yourself from the other 6.4 million people I am liable to be rejected by on Tinder or any other dating apps and your unique persona intrigues me!" (said and thought me never).
I mean what we supposed to put in "long walks on the beach, bubble baths and Chilli HeatWave Doritos?" (Dont like bubble baths actually, just put that for....MEGALOLZ).
When not silently cursing the failings of the medium of profile writing (it sucks yo), or silently weeping at the truly tragic surrealism that is the Trump adminstration (fuck me, did someone lose a bet?) I often ponder the question:
"If dogs dont go to heaven when they die where they do go? And can I go there too?!"
This is in between bouts of mad gaming sessions (ps4 all da way cos I be a mofo console peasant and damn proud of it), finishing up my studies at university (like my dress sense and hairstyle, its flawless, absolutely flawless); and caring for my elderly and bedridden mother. I am single (ladies, orderly line please, don't trample one another running for the exit), and have no children. Well, I was actually gonna say progeny like they do in vampire stuff, but then I triggered myself with flashbacks of True Blood :|
I guess, all madcap, zany joking aside, I am just looking to take things casually at the moment with someone. No, that isn't a euphemism for "lets have te sex, I is mad l33t fuckboi a'ight". Rather, I mean this purely as a catch all for:
"Let us organically interact and engage with one another, see how the friendship/dynamic evolves and progresses and if there is a mutual interest and attraction, discuss the possibility of making that a reality."
But thats so serious (WHY...SO....SERIOUS?!...*waits for copyright infringment from Warner Bros) and....yeah, thats it. I judge a person by the totality of their character, rather than outright dismissing them because of X, Y Z. I'm not shallow.
I am more than happy to provide a photo of myself (keep it, use it to warn small children away from mine shafts, electrical appliances), and typically use discord and facebook to keep in touch with people. If you have a ps4 and a headset well that is an even bigger plus, but absolutely not essential.
Some highlights below:
Looking for:
So if your curiosity is piqued enough, make my day and send me a wee orange envelope/bubble :)
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In [Die Hard (1988)] John McClane unintentionally had socialist-led East Germany (GDR) destroyed. That was the point of the third franchise’s movie, [Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)]

‘Die Hard’ franchise has always made me feel that something is wrong. I am okay with almost superhuman powers of John McClane and some other creative freedoms of action movies. No, the problem is in interpretation, missed subtext of showed events. Because all hints, subtle and not-so-subtle, are here. I am going to write it below (TLDR is at the end).
Let’s begin with two questions. It’s almost painful to ignore.
The first question.
In the first movie, ‘Die Hard’, the Hans Gruber’s team was pretty well-trained. They had an equipment, weapons, resources. More importantly, they had plans of the unfinished building, the Nakatomi Plaza, they knew very advanced for 1980s system used for maintenance and security, they were aware about bearer bonds and the vault. The hacker, Theo, even knew the executive’s biography: that he served on the specific Japanese ship during the World War II and was enough sentimental to use its name for the code. All of it needed very high level of intelligence work and planning. Who did all that work? Somebody outside the gang did it.
At the end of the first movie Hans Gruber said about enjoying their 20 percent of loot. Remember, they opened the vault, then Hans called the FBI and asked for helicopters. After their conversation had ended, he told (about 1:45:16),
When they touch down, we’ll blow the roof. By the time they figure out what went wrong, we’ll be sitting on a beach earning 20%.
They were going to steal $640 million in bearer bonds (about $1,4 billion in 2020). Why would they even consider to share their loot, let alone give somebody most of it? It was $512 million, more than $1,2 billion now. For what?
By the way, 20 percent for Hans and his comrades is a very interesting number which looks like the agents’ fee. Like “you arranged that thing, that’s your share, thanks, see you next time.” So whose agents were they, who or what entity was going to get that money and leave them their fee?
The second question.
The third movie, ‘Die Hard With A Vengeance’, has literally the word ‘vengeance’ in its name. But what vengeance? For what exactly?
Simon Gruber was obviously trying to revenge John McClane for somebody or something. That practical joke in Harlem? All those puzzles? He put too much energy, time and labor for this being just a distraction. He could easily make the whole ruse with bombs without McClane’s involvement and get away with his burglary as John was recovering from his hangover at home. Because he should have known McClane was a wild card being able to thwart any detailed and thoroughly made plans, like his brother’s ones. Why did he even kick a hornet nest?
By default, we are supposed to believe Simon tried to revenge John for the death of his younger brother, Hans, in the first movie. We saw it. Simon had said it himself before he left McClane and Zeus on the ship. Well, he said a lot of things. About the bomb in the NYC school, for example. About his plans to ‘distribute Western wealth among seabed’ near Long Island. Why did we think he told the truth about that after he lied so many times? Remember, Simon had never mentioned Hans in the movie except his conversation with John on the ship, and McClane started to talk about his brother. Nah, it was about something else, but it was actually personal.
On the other hand, remember that Simon’s little speech in Quebec in the end of the movie. The former colonel of former National People’s Army (NPA) of former German Democratic Republic (GDR) said,
Yesterday we were an army with no country. Tomorrow, we have to decide which country we want to buy!
I think that answers for both questions.
That’s my theory and TL;DR.
The East German government (or some elements in it) was behind the Nakamura Tower heist in 1988. It explained why the Hans Gruber’s team was so prepared. German Democratic Republic desperately needed that half of billion dollars and its leadership was ready for everything. But John McClane unpredictably intervened, the heist failed. GDR didn’t get critically important money in the important moment. Berlin Wall fell less than a year later in November, 1989, East German state collapsed and was de facto annexed by West Germany. Simon Gruber and his military comrades became nobody at best or pariahs, misfits at worst. They tried to get enough money, carve a new country for themselves and revenge John McClane for the death of East Germany. Well, they failed too.
Historical Summary
Let’s understand, if East Germany really needed those money. Yes, it did. Apparently, scientists consider the external debt of GDR as one of the main reasons of its collapse. From Wikipedia
The GDR's growing hard currency debts were a cause of domestic instability. After Poland became bankrupt, the West imposed a credit boycott on Eastern Bloc countries, including East Germany. <…> A long period of underinvestment in research and capital goods made East German products uncompetitive on Western markets, leaving the country more reliant on the Soviet Union.
The debt-to-GDP ratio reached 20% in 1989, a manageable level, but large in relation to the GDR's capacity to export sufficient goods to the West to provide the hard currency to service these debts. In October 1989, a paper prepared for the Politbüro (the Schürer-Papier, after its principal author) projected a need to increase export surplus from around 2 billion DM in 1990 to over 11 billion DM by 1995 to stabilize debt levels. It is doubtful whether such a Herculean effort could have succeeded without political turmoil, or indeed at all . A significant factor was also the elimination of a ready source of hard currency through re-export of Soviet oil, which until 1981 was provided below world market prices; the resulting loss of hard currency income produced a noticeable dip in the otherwise steady improvement of living standards.
According Wiki, gross external debt of GDR was $20,6 billion in 1990. I read a real-life report of the State Bank of the USSR (Gosbank) made for the Soviet Government in 1989, several months before Berlin Wall fell. I can write a link here, but apparently most of you don’t know Russian. According the document, GDR paid $6,5 billion for different loans, short- and long-termed, in 1988. The country also had to pay $811 million of interest for short-termed loans. And this looks like a pretty close number to the amount in the Nakatomi Plaza’s vault.
Would it solve the problem in general? Of course, no. But those money could give GDR a break for another year and thus make the East German elite’s position stronger. I can’t write all I know, because it would be a book. But there are publications about the Stasi leadership being aware about forthcoming unification, so they started to prepare in 1986, made certain documents, plans, orders. They even considered a scenario with independent, but capitalistic and quasi-democratic East Germany. Theoretically East German leadership could do it. Or at least negotiate nicer terms of the German unification, get some good package for retirement or more power in the future Germany. In some post-Communist countries old public officials stayed in state apparatus. Not in GDR though.
Simon Gruber’s motives
You can read how Stasi personnel and high-ranked officers of NPA were fired and became pariahs. It included all East Germany military officers, higher than lieutenant-colonels, i.e. all colonels and general. Oh, remember. Simon Gruber happened to be an NPA’s colonel.
It actually meant he was fired, all years served in the East German army didn’t matter for pension (it’s true, thousands of common military officers suffered in 1990s and 2000s). In best case he could try to get a job of a delivery guy, a plumber or a ‘security guy’ (like Mike Ehrmantraut as a courthouse parking lot attendant in first seasons of ‘Better Call Saul’). It’s in best case. A lot of people just turned into impoverished, embittered misfits who lived for some meager pension/welfare.
Of course, Simon realized he didn’t have his country anymore, because the new country threw him out like trash and made him know he wasted his whole life. What could Simon Gruber do? He was a smart, talented, handsome, charismatic man in his 40s with great training and fluent English, he had a team of his supporters who were equally threw out. He was embarrassed, humiliated, offended, robbed. And he had just been doing what he was ordered, like any normal military officer in any country. So he decided to use his knowledge and skills and make a new country for himself. Like a conquistador. Like an adventurist in the Age of Discovery.
However that kind of troubles would obviously make him to hate John McClane. ‘Some dumb Irish flatfoot’ took his country. Yep, unintentionally and indirectly, but still…
NB. Was the whole scheme ridiculous? Well, in real life, maybe. But, you know, desperate times demand desperate measures. A cornered rat can attack any enemy. And, more importantly, it wasn’t a new thing for fiction. There is an espionage novel, ‘The Day of the Jackal’ which was a best-seller in 1970s and 1980s and adapted on screen twice. In the novel the French extreme right-wing paramilitary organization, OAS (existed in real life), tried to kill and overthrow General de Gaulle. After several failed attacks OAS hired the mysterious assassin, so called ‘Jackal,’ who demanded $500 thousand dollars (more than $4,2 million dollars in 2020) for the assassination of De Gaulle. OAS militants organized the wave of burglaries of banks, shops, jewelries all over France to get those money. Yes, the amount was much bigger in the movie, but the whole sum was concentrated in one place.
Hans Gruber’s East German connections
How was Hans Gruber connected with GDR? Where are proofs?
Okay, at first, his brother was a colonel of National People’s Army. Furthermore, he apparently served in military intelligence (Bill Jarvis, an agent from so called ‘Another Agency,’ told about the East German infiltration unit trained by Simon).
Long time ago I realized most of people in the US (and for less degree in Western Europe) just don’t understand how state apparatus worked in communist countries. They can’t imagine level of control and knowledge about people’s lives which government had. All candidates for key positions (like Simon’s one) were thoroughly investigated, tested, their families, friends, coworkers, classmates were investigated. For example, in the USSR sometimes you wouldn’t get a good job because your family member lived on Nazi-occupied territory in WWII decades ago (and dozens of million people lived there).
No one would assign to train an infiltration unit a person whose brother were living in West Germany, among enemies, at the moment, whose brother was a member of some murky organization. Unless… the brother was on mission himself.
That organization ‘Volksfrei Movement’. What do we know about it? Just they were some kind of radical West German organization. Nothing was told about its ideology, politics, involved personalities, strategy, goals, MO.
Well, the movie was released in 1988. The period from late 1960s to early 1990s was a time of extreme left-wing terrorism in West Germany, not the right-wing one. The most famous example (but not the only one) was Red Army Faction (RAF) aka the Baader-Meinhof group. According official sources and academics, they did get support from East Germany, sometimes leftist radicals found sanctuary in GDR. Furthermore, some members of RAF were East German citizens who ostensibly moved to FRG to fight against imperialism, capitalism and American occupation. Did they do it themselves, or were sent by Stasi/military intelligence? For me it’s rhetorical question.
For me it’s a safe bet to suppose Volksfrei Movement (literally ‘People’s Freedom Movement’) was a left-wing radical organization supported (and probably organized) by the East German special services.
It’s truly convenient: one brother was serving in East Germany in NPA’s ranks, second brother was working in field in West Germany. Both men were involved in GDR intelligence, both are connected, got similar good education. Both were smart, handsome, fluent in English, kinda campy and show-off. Hans Gruber was an agent or a handler whose task was to monitor and guide ‘Volksfrei Movement’ to goals defined by GDR. Simon Gruber could be his contact in the HQ or they could have the same person who recruited and/or nurtured them, whether it was their kin (a parent) or just familiar person. It doesn’t matter actually.
Anyway, it can explain the dialog between Hans Gruber and Joseph Takagi before the former one killed the latter one.
Hans: Mr. Takagi, I’m really not interested in your computer. But I need the code key because I am interested in the $640 million in negotiable bearer bonds that you have locked in your vault. And the computer controls the vault.
Takagi: You want money? What kind of terrorists are you?
Hans: Who said we were terrorists?
We were supposed to think they were not terrorists, but thieves, maybe burglars. However, it might or mightn’t be just another layer of lie and deception. They were soldiers. Yes, soldiers who were serving for a fat paycheck, mercenaries if you wish. But still soldiers who were being on mission and were ready to sacrifice themselves for that mission. Even mercenaries often have a code, especially those ones who have a handler.
Remember aforementioned toast of Simon Gruber about his team being an army.
P. S. There was a small, but nice detail in the first movie. In several scenes with Hans Gruber Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ started to play. It’s the Ninth Symphony, probably his the most famous music. The thing was Beethoven wrote this symphony for a poem of Shiller, a German poet, who wrote it decades earlier, and in the movie ‘Ode to Joy’ were being played with words. Shiller lived and worked in Leipzig, which was the capital of Saxony. He wrote the poem for his friend who worked and lived in Leipzig and in Berlin (Berlin was the capital of Prussia).
Both Leipzig and Berlin were the biggest and the most important cities of GDR. GDR mostly consisted from nucleus territories of Prussia and Saxony. There are also real-life theories that so called “Ossi” identity in GDR and its former territory in modern Germany actually originated in old Prussian and Saxon regional identities which existed for centuries before German united for 1870-1945 and then divided again for 45 years. The music could be a hint to East Germany.
Furthermore, ‘Ode to Joy’ was played at the Berlin Wall when it fell a year later after the movie had been released. The crew behind ‘Die Hard’ couldn’t predict it, of course. But they could know about it during the production of ‘Die Hard With A Vengeance’.
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Destiny: A Look Back at the Major Leaks

The third game to come under the scope and examine the leaks and rumours is Bungie’s first venture since departing the Halo franchise, the sci-fi, space themed, first person shooter, Halo Destiny.
In this post, I will share with you some of the biggest and most popular leaks leading up to the launch of Destiny in 2014. I cannot include every single obscure leak and rumour as everyone reading this can easily create a rumour, but I do try and include all the reputable leaks, or leaks that gained substantial publicity. This range of sources of leaks for Destiny (bizarrely) range from developers, to leaks from a lawsuit, and a USB in a coffee-shop.
Let’s jump in.
Months prior to the release of Halo: Reach in 2010, Bungie had signed a deal with Activision, a multi-game contract for 10 years. They left Microsoft to gain creative freedom, as they had ambitions that stretched further than being limited to Halo. This also allowed them to go multiplatform, as previously they had been restricted to the Xbox family.
February 17, 2011 – ‘Destiny’ name outed, “World of Warcraft in space”
Kotaku provides gamers with our first real tease of what Bungie’s first game since Halo is, and in a shock to everyone, it’s another first-person shooter. Our first leak comes from Kotaku’s source, who is a recently terminated contractor (allegedly of a group of roughly 30), and as a result, wants to spoil Bungie’s fun. The shooter is based in a science fiction world, and is a massive multiplayer online game, with the current name Destiny (currently being referred to inhouse as Tiger). What is interesting, is that Bungie responded to the leak saying that any claims of Bungie releasing a large group of contractors is false, and that these unsubstantiated rumours aren’t in line with Bungie’s corporate culture.
The claims of the game being an MMO shooter goes in lines with a hint that Bungie creative director Joseph Staten alluded to the year before at a Game’s Developers Conference, in which he pondered to the crowd “Wouldn’t it be great if we could make a world that was always there for you”.
Outcome? As we know, Destiny is the name, sci-fi shooter is the game. There is a constant online debate as to whether this game is actually an MMO game, or if it was the first of this pseudo-genre, the “looter shooter”. Regardless, I think it is safe to say that our first leak for Bungie’s new original IP, is a genuine, accurate leak.
May 19, 2011 – Destiny logo revealed through trademark
Our theory that the next game by Bungie is called ‘Destiny’ is given in more credibility based on some research done by Halo and Bungie fansite, HBO, to which they discovered a trademark for the name and logo. The site managed to follow a paper trail from Bungie employees using a dummy corporation founded by Bungie president Harold Ryan, and composer Marty O’Donnell, to which they discovered the trademark for Destiny.
What is interesting, is that this actually matches a logo that on a shirt worn by a Bungie employee at a PAX event a week prior, discovered by NeoGAF member, Willeth.
A second trademark is also registered with the tagline “Be Brave”. While this did not end up being a tagline for the game, it is in the game as an earnable item, and is a part of the sequel’s (Destiny 2) OST.
Outcome? Another confirmed leak, not much more to say.
22 May, 2012 – Lawsuit confirms Destiny for 2013, first of 4 games, Xbox 360 exclusive
May continues to be a wet time of the year at Bungie as another leak comes to light, however at least this time there was not much they could do about this one, as it came from the infamous lawsuit between Jason West and Vince Zampella against Activision. So what does the 27-page contract entail?
For those that do not want to read, LA Times sum it up pretty effectively in the above article;
The 27-page agreement calls for Bungie to develop four “sci-fantasy, action shooter games,” code-named “Destiny,” released every other year, beginning in the fall of 2013. Bungie also agreed to put out four downloadable expansion packs code-named “Comet,” every other year beginning in the fall of 2014. Activision has never disclosed release plans for Bungie’s titles.
The first Destiny game will initially only be available on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 consoles, as well as its potential successor, which the contract refers to as the “Xbox 720.” Later games would be made for Xbox consoles as well as Sony Corp.'s expected successor to the PlayStation 3, and on personal computers.
There is some more boring financial talk, and talks of a Marathon sequel, but that isn’t why we are here. Also, for those who did not read the actual document, you bet your bottom dollar that the contract mentions the words “Xbox 720”.
So, even though that this was a version of a contract that Bungie had with Activision, in reality how did this turn out?
Well, going through the summary in order, instead of having four games released every other year, starting in 2013, we have only had two game releases since 2014. If this contract were to be followed strictly, right now we should all be playing “Destiny 4”. There was also an agreement to put out a downloadable expansion every other year, which so far we have had 4 major expansions – The Taken King and Rise of Iron for Destiny 1, Foresaken, and Shadowkeep (so far) for Destiny 2. It is possible that instead of having 4 games, that we instead got larger expansions, as well as the smaller expansions such as The Dark Below and House of Wolves to better make up for not having four major game releases.
Next, the first Destiny game was planned to only launch on the Xbox 360, and the “Xbox 720”. After this first game, the sequels would all be made available for the now named Playstation 4, and for PCs. What is interesting about this agreement, is that it we went from Microsoft managing to score exclusivity for a whole game, to something happening between this agreement and the game’s release which resulted in Sony somehow scoring timed exclusive downloadable content and strikes for a year, as well as the game’s marketing rights. Who knows what business decisions influenced this, certainly not I.
Outcome? While it is most definitely a leak, business decisions have obviously influenced most of these agreed terms to not come to fruition. We have not had four games in the ten-year period, we did not get Destiny in 2013, and Destiny did not launch as an Xbox 360 exclusive. So while the leak was of course, a genuine release of information, the information has since changed and is not factually correct.
November 6, 2012 – Demonware blog leaks gameplay details, “a lot like Halo
Yet another big leak, this time detailing what the game actually is, how it plays, and what is involved. This leak comes from DemonWare, which is a subsidiary of Activision-Blizzard and specialise in online software and services related to video games. As it turns out, they had been working with Bungie on Destiny, and were invited to a Bungie Day (7th day of the 7th month) in July of 2012, to which they experienced and blogged their experiences. Since then, the blog has been removed. The blog does have lots of information that revolve around the day in general, but the stuff of interest to gamers and how it relates to Destiny is as follows. First, DemonWare were presented with presentations that went for a few hours, which detailed;
game story, factions, art, engineering, tool chain, graphics, audio, player investment mechanisms, player progression UI, and web and mobile apps
An interesting piece of information here is that we now find out that Bungie are working with Paul McCartney to produce the score for the game. There are no game details as of yet, apart from an impressive walk through where they witnessed;
lots of atmospherics, huge amounts of trees and foliage (SpeedTree), particle effects, dynamic lighting, and dynamic time of day ending in a sun set
Obviously this stuff made it into the game, with the impressive detail the art team and world builders have put into the game, something that has always been a strong suit for Destiny. After this presentation, they were then treated with some hands-on time with the game, to which the blog then goes on to say
[played] in a team of three, we did manage to experience entering a zone to find other players already taking on the bad guys, it’s cooperative so we helped out …before both groups went their separate ways. Which is a pretty cool experience, making you feel you are part of a much larger populated world
Everyone who is familiar with Destiny knows that this is a pretty fair representation of how the game plays nowadays, and is truly an impressive sight to behold that first time you come across other players. The blog writer then explains;
At the end of the day I was excited about the game, I like the feel of being in a large world with different destinations and the interactions along the way. It actually brought back a sense of exploration I recall from playing [Elite] many years ago, although there was no opportunity to shoot aliens in the face in Elite. I’m not fully sold on the appeal of being able to change the color of a weapon, but I guess it works in China, and customization and individual identity is a big theme for the game
As we know, customisation definitely plays a part in Destiny, with the hundreds of shaders for weapons, armour, and the myriad of ships and sparrows available, it is interesting to see how the game managed to stick to the themes of teamwork, exploration, and customisation and how these are all visible in the final product. Finally, the blogger finishes with;
It’s still quite like Halo, there is a lot of work still to be done.
Which of course isn’t a bad thing, probably the universal praise that the game got was how well the game actually played, the gameplay itself was fantastically well received. Of course this was to be expected from Bungie’s next IP, given the success of their work on Halo and how well those games played.
For those who want to read more, here is the confidential blog post, and full credit goes to VG24/7 for finding this post.
Outcome? Another genuine leak, this time from an Activision subsidiary. Most of what is explored in this blog post still holds true in Destiny, and Destiny 2.
To summarise the story so far, before the game has been officially announced by Bungie, we have the name, the logo, how it plays, the type of game to expect, sequels, expansions, and that it supposed to be a hybrid between World of Warcraft and Halo. Colour the world curious.
November 27, 2012 – Story details and concept art sent to IGN and Kotaku
Leaked advertising materials produced by an advertising agency made their way to both IGN and Kotaku which details many story details and concept art. However, what is even more interesting is that Kotaku had previously been sent some of the concept art before publishing this article, after a reader sent them a file with art found from a USB stick left behind in a coffee shop. At the time, Kotaku didn’t post these due to doubts in their authenticity, but as it turns out, it was much of the same concept art they had been sent now.
In regard to the actual details that leaked, we learn a few different pieces of information from what is safe to say, leaked marketing material, such as the game being set on the “Last City of Earth, in a Solar System littered with the ruins of man’s Golden Age”. The material also states that the game wants to create a “universe as deep, tangible, and relatable as that of the Star Wars franchise. The game also seems to emphasise that adventure and fun is the main focus, and that it encourages a social experience in the explorable world. These photos explore the themes of the game, the story of the game, and just what it is in more detail;
Further, courtesy of IGN, here is the concept art that was provided to both websites.
After this leak had been made public, Bungie confirmed the leak on their own site saying;
Go ahead. Take a peek. It’s alright. We weren’t quite ready, but we will be soon, and we can’t wait to finally show you what we’ve really been up to.
Stick around, we haven’t even started yet.”
I cannot provide the actual link of the post since the post had been removed, but courtesy to Kotaku for sharing it in the above article. As well as being confirmed on in a blog post, Bungie co-founder Jason Jones also confirmed the leak, saying
Destiny is designed for your inner seven year old. We want to make it feel like a mythic adventure
Not much to speculate about this leak, and no way of telling why it was sent out. However, it is everyone’s first real look at the game, and a glimpse at Bungie’s incredible vision that they want to take their new franchise. It was also arguably the first highly-reported leak for the game and drew the most attention, especially as we got closer to the 2013 release date outlined in the above contract.
Outcome? Confirmed leak, as per Bungie.
February 11, 2013 – Destiny Announced by Bungie
Bungie finally announces that the game that they have been working on, is indeed, Destiny.
February 15, 2013 – Preorder poster and game information leaks
Bungie just cannot reveal the game on themselves, as a GameStop source sent Joystiq photos of the poster that was a pre-order incentive. While I cannot link the Joystiq article, here is a GameZone article about it.
Front of the poster, and the back of the poster. Similarly on this same day, a French gaming website had leaked the preorder information, with a release date of October 6, 2013. The website, of course, is in French but courtesy to the Destiny fandom site which translates it here, and includes a short description about the game.
Outcome? Genuine leaks that contain some new game information before Bungie’s reveal.
February 17, 2013 – IGN leaks character classes, locations, and more concept art
Courtesy of NeoGAF who extract information from a since taken down video, we learn a few new pieces of information about the game.
The leak states that the game is actually going to release on the PS3 as well as the Xbox 360, and “future generation technology”, referencing to the unannounced next-gen systems. It is a first-person shooter, and is ‘always connected’, but does not feature a subscription fee. The leak outlines the three classes being the hunter, warlock, and the titan, and that the game features a social hub on a city on Earth. Further, it appears that the Earth’s moon, and Mars are visitable locations in the game, and that the game features…”space zombies”. For those who like to treat their eyes, here is an album of more concept art.
Outcome? Another reputable leak as they correctly identified the classes in the game, some of the games locations, and the first revelation that the game is coming to Playstation 3. Leak confirmed.
February 17, 2013 – Reveal Trailer
The world’s first official look at Bungie’s Destiny.
December 6, 2013 – Destiny release date announced
We finally get a release date as Bungie announces that their big budget new franchise Destiny, launches (HA! Space!) September 9, 2014.
June 7, 2014 – Ubisoft developer leaks Destiny Alpha Gameplay
Not who you would expect to leak an Activision game, but a Ubisoft employee had streamed himself playing the game on his Playstation 4, which led to some details about the game being made public. The videos are not able to be accessible anywhere online as Activision were working hard to get them all taken down. Of course, if anyone knows where to find working links of these videos, I will happily edit them in.
Outcome? Another genuine leak, and our last one before Destiny’s release in September.
So there we have it. What a ride of stories behind the leaks there, it makes you wonder what much else Bungie had to reveal themselves when it came to it. Of course these leaks don’t even touch on the mess that was the development of the actual game, but that of course is a different story, and not the story I wanted to tell with this post. Of course, as it seems to be with this game, there are a slew of leaks that actually occurred after the game’s release, hinting at hidden content for DLC, abandoned plotlines, expansion roadmaps, and more. Of course, I will be happy to explore that in a different post, assuming people want to hear more about Destiny.
Thank you for taking the time to read this mammoth post. I debated whether to split this post into two, but if you think I should have gone that route please do not hesitate to let me know. I welcome any and all feedback, and again, appreciate you taking the time to read this post. If you made it this far, I assume you are as interested in exploring this topic as much as I am, and I would love to discuss it with you in any capacity in the comments.
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