I live in a townhome with adjoining homes on each side. I noticed water damage in my downstairs bathroom a few months ago, had leak detection conducted, determined that I was losing a small amount of pressure (most likely slab leak), had a full repipe done bypassing the slab run. Just had the drywall patched and water has reappeared in the downstairs bathroom post repipe. The neighboring unit has been unoccupied for about a month now.
When I first noticed the water I contacted the property management company managing the neighboring unit (Coldwell Banker) who sent a handyman to check their side. He said it was dry on their side and that was that. After that, I had the leak detection done, sent a copy of the report (that suggested the other side get theirs checked as well) to the hoa asking that they forward it to the owner of adjoining unit and to please have them check for leaks on their side from a leak detection professional, not a handyman. No response. Not even an acknowledgement.
Our plumbing was constructed in the same way but opposite (like a mirror image) where the plumbing comes up from the slab in the exact same location on each side of our adjoining wall. Therefore it's difficult to tell if the source is from my side or there's.
Now that I've had a full repipe, have the drywall guy coming back out tomorrow to make sure they didn't puncture a pipe during patching, what is my recourse when I send the hoa a description of what is going on and I get no response again? This is in Florida btw.
I’m not a carpenter or tradesman, just a guy who has to do lots of simple repairs around an older house. I often find that I need more tools than I can carry in my hands or pockets but not enough to haul a whole tool box around. Mostly pliers, a screwdriver or two, sometimes a hammer and/or drill, measuring tape and/or a few odds and ends. Ideally I’d like something of high quality that will last a lifetime.
I've reprinted the nt79 receiver and receiver parts twice now, and I'm still running into the same issue. The cocking lever WILL NOT seat into the receiver when the hammer is installed. In the guide, its unclear as hell on how to do it. I'm trying to install it with the hammer locked back, because you can't install it behind the hammer obviously. After 3 broken cocking levers, and my receiver all scratched up, i'm turning to you guys. The matrix was a joke. Any insight would be much appreciated. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I'm ready to throw the whole thing in the trash and call it an L build.
What constitutes major renovation to update basement ceiling height to code? Or how to leave as is?
I need to install fire separation in basement laundry room that is currently 6'2FT, house was built and continuously used since 1905 as such. If I have some drywall up already, would that be considered a repair? if there is no drywall up would that be considered a major renovation as new installation? In an adjoining room I need to add a service room door that would be brand new, would that major renovation impact any existing ceiling height grandfathering for an adjoining room? Its a legal non conforming designation
I've obtained a Teac X-3 at no cost from my former father in law's estate. It has been sitting unused for a good 30 years in his basement, but it powers up, and the play, fast forward and rewind all work. Overall condition is quite good, but it came with no tapes or takeup reel, so I can't test if it actually plays and records sound. Where would be the best place to get a tape and takeup reel at low cost so I can see if it still can record and play. I have access to a lot of good vinyl from friends that I would like to record, but don't want to sink a bunch of money into a boat anchor. Anything else I should be considering before diving into this rabbit hole?
I've gotten back into playing bass and guitar since 2021 after several years without playing instruments. I taught myself both, playing mostly pop punk and rock. Since it's been mostly a hobby, I didn't do much to hone my technique and focused more on learning songs and basic patterns.
Now, I'm regretting that series of decisions because as I'm trying to work on my chops, I realize I have to deprogram a lot of bad habits that have come as a result of never having proper instruction. Since getting back into playing, I've kind of tried to get my feet under me by learning the bass/rhythm guitar parts of multiple songs and memorizing the forms and transitions etc as I have very serious issues focusing and these sections of songs trip me up frequently on any instrument. I feel like I've gotten all of that out of my system and now I want to truly set about the work of correcting some of these habits.
Unfortunately for the time being, hiring a proper instructor is out of my budget so I'm going to be taking this on myself. I recorded myself on video to watch my hands and look for mechanical problems and I have a ton. I would welcome feedback from anyone who has suggestions/resources for taking these on especially if you've gone through a similar struggle.
LEFT HAND - biggest issue here is "flyaway" fingers. When not in use, my fingers waste a lot of time and space away from the strings. This is an issue on guitar as well. Playing over a 3-fret range (1-2-4 fingers) is also very new to me as I usually used the one-finger-per-fret method and used my middle finger as my "anchor"
RIGHT HAND - usually for most music I play with a pick and feel I've gotten pretty comfortable with the difference between guitar and bass in this regard. Watching + listening more critically though, I struggle keeping things clean when moving from string to string during faster sections, especially during alternating sections when switching to a string against the flow of the picking pattern.
BRAIN - while I know patterns and shapes, I feel my knowledge of scales/terminology/specific notes of the fretboard is lacking. I also forsook the metronome until recently and this is of course a huge mistake that I am trying to correct. I tend to just want to play along to backing tracks vs do drills which was fine for my purposes before but now is something I want to change.
I want to give myself a little credit as when I started playing my bass again I worked very hard on properly muting strings that weren't in use in all kinds of different ways and that has improved my playing a lot! Looking to make similar progress in all these other areas and become a more technically proficient player and well-rounded musician. Thank you in advance for your feedback!
The hero's party pushed the two large double doors open. It was the only thing between them and the 'final boss' inside. This was it, this was what their whole adventure was leading up to.
As they entered the final room, they were greeted by an empty throne. "huh?" the hero's brows furrowed in confusion. "isn't this where the boss dude is?"
"Stay vigilant! This might be a trap." the mage replied as she prepared a defensive spell, she was always the smart one in the group.
The elf archer's ears perked up, without a word she snapped to the shadows behind her, bow drawn. The silent beauty they called her.
A slow clap echoes from the darkness, and their eyes widened in horror. The comic relief of the party, their punching bag when they were hammered after drinking, slowly emerged out of the dark shadows laughing.
"Well done my friends." he said half heartedly, his tone almost mocking.
"CARL WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!" the hero shouted.
"We'll you see," Carl's mouth cracked into a sinister grin, eyes turning into crescent shaped slits. "I, am the marionette. The person you have been searching for who has been right under your noses since the beginning." The marionette's lips spread into a sly smile, he lifted one of his fingers and the hero's companions started dancing lifelessly "And you my friends, are the puppets in my show."
The hero grit his teeth. Veins clearly visible on his face, blood boiling with anger. He was consumed by rage.
"Woah calm down, I'm afraid the princess is in another castle." The hero looked at him stupidly.
"Haaah, what I meant was that I'm not actually here. This is merely just a puppet you see?"
He lifted his clothes to reveal plain wood underneath.
"Oh? look at the time." it looked at its empty wrist, "I've got to go."
The puppet collapsed to the ground.
"By the way, Carl's a fake name." it jerked up and said before finally staying motionless.
My boyfriend made me a reddit account so I’ve never used this app before but want some advice. I’m getting my first GBB which should be delivered on Wednesday. I’m so excited!!! I’ve been doing a TON of research online. I’m wondering if anyone can recommend advice on what to use for the substrate? I got coco fiber but the store only had the bricks so I mixed with a little water just to get it loose and need it dried out before Wednesday. I’m wanting to use live plants but I’ve never had any in a vivarium before. Does anyone have recommendations on what plants to use and how to maintain the plants? What type of anchor points should I use for webbing? I’m also wondering how to clean the vivarium? I’ve read how fast they can be especially as juveniles so does anyone have advice on how to remove them from the enclosure for cleaning? The enclosure came with a rock styrofoam backing. Is that safe to use?
I’ve found answers to all of these questions online and I’ve made a google doc with all needed information to go back to when I need it but I want to ask reddit as well. I want to make sure I have all my bases covered! :)
Art of Simone's upgraded power armor and crystal sword!
Chapter Sixty Five: Allies and Scritches.
Looking around, the redhead finds herself standing in the middle of a dark and damp forest. But despite the gentle waves of the breeze moving the flora, there’s no sound. To the Terran’s recognizing eye as well, the plant life appears to be a blending mingle of those on the Gratt homeworld and the fateful operation on the Whista owned world.
Moving forward, her surprisingly lucid mind comes to the conclusion that she is once again ‘dreaming’, no doubt being brought on by the growth in her braincase.
She finds a loose path reminiscent of an overgrown hunter's trail that snakes her deeper into the silent landscape. Although something instinctual in her demands to be fearful of the situation, Simone can’t help to be more curious than anything due to the fact this hasn’t happened in a little while.
After some time of traversing the blending path she catches something glinting off past nearby foliage. Freezing for a moment she stares it down in an attempt to make out what it is. When it proves to not be a barrel of a weapon, she approaches it and reaches out. Her bare hand touches the glint, causing it to fully take form before resting in her palm. In a light dug she draws the dangling object free from a thin branch and brings it up close to her face.
On a thin necklace chain is a bent dog tag and a small grimy triangular device. Manipulating the tag, Simone is not at all surprised to find her own name on it. But as for the device, she surmises that it’s very similar to the thing implanted to her forehead after being kidnapped by the children of Gaia, though clearly a differing model with possibly a very different purpose.
For a moment Simone is almost compelled to put the triangle to her head, but knowing better than to trust the bits of a Manarian mad scientist in her brain she resists and decides to continue down the path. But to her concern the path is no longer there when she turns around. Instead before her is a cliffside overlooking a wide field of absolute chaos.
Down in the valley she overlooks is an expanse of a visceral battle playing out. No longer silent, the explosions and cries of vocals are significantly muffled as if her own hearing was going out.
Still, she steps closer to the drop to get a fuller view. Far down below, yet in perfect clarity to her dream eyes are various sized armies of every known species defending incoming forces from the dark encircling treeline. From the trees themselves are lines of armored Manarians consistently pressing more and more into the valley. From all sides the defenders are overwhelmed from their foes. Few Manarian’s drop in their compressing march. Simone witnesses that as they approach individuals of other species, the defenders throw down their arms before kneeling in surrender. Like an aura of instant submission, those who don’t fall in battle give in to the invaders in an instant. More and more the Manarians gain ground, only seeming to slow as Deathworlders put up the most fight.
Finding the location of the Terrans, Simone’s heart sinks. A small but effective population is fighting against the bulk within their own lines. Disarray ensues as the Terrans divide their bewildered attention from within and what approaches, unable to give support to others or eventually themselves.
Suddenly the majority of the Cali forces turn to their neighboring species and join in on the Manarian’s side. In the midst of this they release a devastating additional army of Malchite that help carve the Manarians an easy path towards the most united and powerful section of the defenders.
In mere moments, ‘Central’ falls, sending a cascading wave of despair to all the remaining defenders. Before the Manarian’s even get close now, swaths of species begin to surrender seeing their best chance at maintaining a defense is obliterated.
Thankfully the Terrans have seemed to have taken care of the internal conflict, but unfortunately it's far too late for it to matter as they practically stand alone in this fight.
Some species flee to bolster and hide behind the Terran’s lines. To their credit, if not for a moment, they fight back hard enough to pause the Manarian advance. There’s moments of grim yet heroic sacrifices, ground freely given in order to lure the enemy into effective traps, and some Terrans manage to not give into the aura of submission long enough for others to run. It’s damn inspiring to see the unstoppable force stall.
But of course, it’s not enough.
Lines break, encampments burn, leaders fall.
Eventually Terrans are reduced to a single circular formation as they stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of the little they have left.
They hold until their ammunition and other supplies run dry. Expecting surrender the Manarains extend the option to stop the fighting then and there.
In a moment of consideration, the Terrans under the flag of their last standing leader charge outwards in a hopeless defiant melee. The fighting is visceral and brutal, but eventually only one Terran stands against an entire universe.
The individual has no energy left to strike out. In their grasp is a tattered and burned flag that can no longer be made out. But the Terran stands, using it as a brace.
A Manarian leader comes up and hammers the final Terran to the ground demanding submission. A few now utterly silent moments pass by before the Terran drags themself up the flagpole into a standing position.
With another blow the Manarian strikes them down again.
But the Terran refuses, and gets up once more.
Having run out of patience the Manarian shoots a leg cleanly free from the Terran.
Yet with a scream, they remain standing, utilizing the pole even more.
Deciding that it’s no longer worth trying, the aggressor levels their weapon to the Terran’s face.
Just before being vanquished for good, Simone realizes that through the cracked open helmet of the Terran that they were looking straight up at her. Despite the distance, the two sets of eyes lock together. There is not pleading in the wounded Terran’s eyes, no fear, no judgment, nothing Simone would ever expect.
What the redhead sees in them can only be expressed in one simple word;
As the final shot sings out the valley is encompassed in shadow, resembling more of an massive endless pit.
“I know what’s at stake. Why am I being shown this? You of all people should be elated that this is coming.” Simone thinks for Sharra to possibly pick up.
But instead of an expected occurrence, she feels a warmth from behind her.
Turning her back from the void she immediately sees a small campsite. There’s a tent, a stack of scavenged firewood and a strange cliché knight sitting on a log by a roaring fire.
Feeling her heart skip a beat Simone practically runs to him, expecting it to be an aspect of her father. But she soon realizes that the person’s frame is far too small to be an avatar of him.
Noticing her, the armored individual raises a hand in greeting before staring at the fire. The area behind their visor still pitch dark.
“What is this?” Simone skeptically says in her mind, not trusting this in the slightest.
The knight then speaks up.
“A fire.” they say.
“I mean… all of this… What’s going on?” the Terran presses.
You’re dreaming, and thus your mind is molding things in the manner minds do when slumbering.’ the knight states.
“Okay… so what are you supposed to be? Because with what’s going on with my head a lot of things I ‘dream’ are actually literal things affecting me, like you actually answering my question so directly is pretty suspicious. This a Sharra thing? Usually it’s my dad in the knight get-up, so what are you?” Simone responds in questioning.
“Nothing of substance at all. Or… something vitally important. That’s really up for you to decide really. This is your mind after all, I’m simply here because your mind thought it necessary to conjure me.” the Knight replies.
“But this isn’t how dreams are normally supposed to work, even more lucid ones… right? This is getting real fucking weird.” the redhead argues.
“Then perhaps your mind’s ailment is affecting your mind quite a bit.” the Knight shrugs.
“No fucking kidding…” Simone agrees as she steps up closer, “So… you wouldn’t know where I can talk with whatever’s left of Sharra?”
To answer this, the knight bends to the side and digs their hand into loose soil. Sitting back up they begin to massage it back out to the forest floor.
“Bits and pieces everywhere. Constantly trying to pull together, but is simply unable to be whole. Destined to eventually drive you mad.” they explain.
“Wait, what? How?” Simone asks.
“You have been affected by her unconsciously, have you not? Wanting to viscously bite your lover? Speaking in her tongue? Symptoms of her gradually melding into you. Although she’s not complete, you will eventually start to forget who you really are. Two minds sharing one consciousness… it spells disaster for ‘Simone Thatch’. I suggest you find a way to avoid this.”
“But… but Vermis told me that she’s too far gone to be a problem.” the redhead points out.
“She can’t take your body from you, but she’ll still seep. Regardless if she can even intend to or not. Your mind will survive, but your identity will slip to some degree.”
“Shit…” Simone responds as she plants her face to her hands, “So… your part of my subconscious that is telling me something is wrong?”
“Possibly. Makes sense if that’s the case.” the knight grants as Simone can hear the helmet be removed from the individual.
She attempts to pull her hands away, only to realize she was stuck in this realm of pitch black.
Simone’s eyes open from what was meant to just be a brief nap. Her brain was foggy, and the details of her dream was loose enough to question her actual lucidity during or if her dream simply tricked her into thinking she was in fact lucid.
Rubbing her face she sits up to see Chak having a conversation with Sonla across the hotel room.
“Hey hun, how long was I out?” she asks as she swings her legs off the side of the bed.
The princess stands up and begins moving over to the Terran.
“Just a few hours, I was planning on waking you in another hour anyway so don’t fret. You really needed it after everything.” Chak replies with a giggle as she reaches out to address her lover’s bedhead fur.
Allowing the Cali to fix what she can, Simone sighs out of soreness.
“Yeah, I did.” she agrees in a chuckle, “Our new infiltrator caught up to speed?”
“I haven’t shared certain details, but she knows that we are perhaps going to have a less than legal encounter with the Terran President. That won’t harm the president, hopefully.” Chak reports before finishing up with the Terran’s fur, “Oh, and I have purchased some new clothes for you to wear on our trip back. They were delivered not a standard half hour ago. Simple pants and shirt. Your dress has been cleaned and repaired as well.” she notified as she pointed to the closet area.
SImone leans out and kisses the Cali in a tender peck.
“You’re the best hun.” she whispers before standing up and stretching out the ache before striding over to the neatly folded pile of clothes.
“Only second to you.” Chak coyly replies as she enjoys the view for a few moments before snapping to it, “I’ll have our transport summoned.”
Before the three can even depart out the front door, as the elevator door opens there’s a crowd of people waiting for them in the lobby. Simone opens her mouth to ask what was going on, but Chak swiftly presses the indicator to re-close the door.
“Chakalata’motaas! One moment of your time!”
“Princess there’s some questions regarding public property damage!”
“When was the last correspondence you had with your father!”
“Is the Terran really your fiance or a roleplay consort?”
Among other raising voices upon seeing the Cali the reporters swarmed towards the elevator just before the door closed and started to go up a level.
“Wow…” Simone utters, “I thought we’d be a bit more shielded from them?”
“If they reserved rooms at the hotel after learning we were here… then there’s not much that can be done.” Chak replies a bit troubled, “We just need to find another way-”
As the door opens again, even more people stand in wait.
“Oh princess! Was your appearance on Thorba the truthful’s podcast really you or did he use A.I to replicate your voice?”
“Was it you present on Kamoi roughly a standard year ago where a restaurant was destroyed in a terrorist attack? Were you the target?”
“What business do you have in Central? Are you going to appeal to have your father’s authority be unrecognized?”
“Have you spoken at all to the Cali Ambassador?
“Care to share any details over the events that transpired with Ambassador Zrreak’s son last night?”
“Is the Vorook also a lover of yours?”
“Is your chitin really deep-dyed?”
“Are you still in fear for your life?”
The elevator door sealed again, this time needing Simone to hold back people from potentially creeping into the elevator.
“I guess we’re going back down to make a run for it?” Simone huffs in immense annoyance.
“Unfortunately that appears to be our only option.” Chak nods, her patience being tested as well.
“Want me to make big explosion as a distraction?” Sonla offers.
“No need for that.” Chak replies quickly.
“Here. I’ll march us out. Sonla, get on my back.” Simone says before she kneels down and scoops up the Cali in her arms, “Still as light as a feather.” she winks.
Chak’s eyes flash.
“They’ll be given quite the show.” she chuckles.
As told, Sonla clambers up the back of the Terran and gets a firm hold around her neck.
“If an explosion is needed, I’m ready!” she declares just before the doors open for the final time.
Using her cradling arm under the Cali’s back, Simone uses her curled up hand to protect Chak’s head as she marches straight into the crowd.
None wanting to test to see if the bulky Terran considers trampling a valid option, a path is cleared. However the barrage of questions does not let up in the slightest as they followed the trio towards the front doors.
“What was the intention of your stay here?”
“When and where will your wedding to the Terran occur?”
“Is it true that Simone Thatch is a war criminal?”
“Have you suffered any injury while being intimate with a Terran?”
“How many Terrans have you mated with? Are all the ones you brought with you your harem?”
“Are you certain that you are the last survivor of your family?
“Are the Gratt to be trusted?”
“Have you encountered any bouncy hunters in Central?”
“Is the famed Admiral Chucknuq still in your service?”
“Have you been hiding out this whole time on Vapor’perna?”
“Are you planning on commencing a civil war?”
“How much are you paying the Terran to be your mate?”
To the dismay of Chak and Simone, the crowd only grew upon leaving the hotel’s premises. And even contributed around where their shuttle was landing.
Although not completely serious about it, SImone started to humor the idea of Sonla causing a distraction before sharp roaring barks erupts from nearby.
The questions all stop and even a few calls of distress ring out as everyone catches sight of a dozen uniformed Z’ah’tucks approach. In a wide line formation they release warning -though no doubt perceived as outright ‘threatening’- vocalizations. More cries ring out as they unleash fur covered mammalian quadrupeds that run ahead to the trio and begin guiding the reporters away through fear alone.
Simone couldn’t help but laugh aloud at the sight of the Terran shepherd dogs doing what their breed did best.
A Tromple recoils in pale terror as they worm away from one of the canines, who did nothing but exist with an authoritative attitude.
Very effectively parting the crowd away from the three, the lead Z’ah’tuck waved Simone to come to her.
Seeing little reason not to, considering the rescue, the Terran nods and hurries the two other women on her to the line of dinos.
“Thanks, but… what’s this about?” she asks.
The pack of a dozen dinos encircle the three and start walking them away to another shuttle landing zone. The dogs loyally come back to their owners as they make sufficient distance.
“As an apology for you having to get involved with last night’s events, Ambassador Zrreak wishes to personally escort you back to your designated apartment.” she answers as three shuttles await them in the zone. The biggest and most armored of which opens up for the three to enter.
“Oh…” Chak utters in thought before Simone lets her down to enter the vessel.
As the princess steps on in, it’s clear this vessel is meant to fit many guests within on a regular basis considering the scuffing and scratch marks. But at this moment there is only one individual within.
Looking much like his son, Zrreak is of the larger variant of his species. Covered in various deep scars across his scales and adorned in high quality drapery he pets a smaller breed of dog in his lap.
“Thank you for accepting my invitation, Princess.” he greets with a respectful bow of his head.
“Of course, we very much appreciate your assistance with the media swarm.” Chak replies before she finds herself a seat.
“You can get off now…” Simone informs Sonla before following the Cali in.
The Vorook slowly slides down the Terran and does her best to position herself to hide behind the redhead as much as possible, eventually sitting down in a seat that has the larger frame of the Terran between her and the ambassador.
Simone looks the ambassador in the eyes with a hint of weariness. Although she isn’t necessarily suspicious, with the still very significant bounty on her fiance’s head… one can never be too careful. She waits until the seal of the shuttle door clicks shut before speaking up herself.
“Cute corgi, does it have a name?” she inquires.
“Hmmhmm” the Z’ah’tuck hums in amusement as he lightly scratches the canine on it’s rump, causing it to lift its head and perk its ears, “His name is Zioakaa, a play on the Z’ah’tuck title meaning ‘One who has seen the Abyss, and made it weep’. Such a title is usually reserved for artists or passionate leaders. People who can invoke a great shift of public morale, whether it be for sorrow, fear or hope. This dog? Although he is no small part of my public image, he has shifted my morale extraordinarily.” he answers in a relatively reminiscing voice.
Seeing his genuine soft appreciation for the animal is clear as day to Simone, she allows herself to relax as the shuttle takes off with two additional escorts.
“Dogs are pretty great, huh?” Simone chuckles.
“Possibly the best of everything your people have brought to the stars.” the man agrees, “Despite losing a long war with Terrans, Z’ah’tuck certainly gained from it in some aspects.”
“Crazy how that hashes out. And hey, more dogs in the universe? I’ll take it.” the redhead replies before peeking over to Sonla, who was tucking her legs up to make her silhouette smaller.
“Oh, how is your son fairing Ambassador Zrreak? And the others in his and his wife’s company?” Chak asks pleasantly.
“He has been advised to be in bed for a few days, but will make a full recovery. The others will recover as well, but those more substantially injured will of course need a fair bit more recovery.”
“That’s very good to hear. Be sure to pass along our best wishes.” the Princess replies with a nod of her head.
“I will. Though I must apologize for your involvement in his incident. Such business should have been avoided in the first place.” Zrreak says as he extends one of his hands out to Chak, which she accepts sooner than he would have expected from a Cali.
“Thank you for the gesture, the involvement was voluntary, I assure you. Believe it or not Ambassador, I have conducted myself in more perilous situations as you can no doubt imagine.” Chak says pleasantly, “Though I have a feeling you’ve brought us aboard your own personal shuttle with other motives in mind, yes?”
Simone tenses up again as the Ambassador’s raptor eyes focus on the Princess for a moment.
Tilting his horned head, Zrreak then lets out a ‘caught me red handed’ snicker before pulling his hand away.
“Yes, yes you’re right indeed. Though I assure you it has little to do with the price on your head. As much as I still enjoy a good hunt, I’m not one to prey upon my own allies. No, what I hope to discuss is ensuring you are reinstated as the prime monarch of the Cali people.” he reveals.
“Oh… pardon Zrreak… what exactly do you mean by that?” Chak asks as she recovers from such a bold notion.
“I’ve decided to place my bets on you, Chakalata’motaas. I bring you an offer already officiated over by my people’s leaders for you to respond. May I officially present it to you in this rather unofficial setting?” he inquires.
“Very well, but I cannot make a promise that I’ll be receptive to what you offer.” Chak grants as she crosses her lower limbs in her lap.
Zrreak presses an indication in a side datapad, activating a hardlight screen to appear along the middle open area of the shuttle. The text on the screen outlines the terms of the proposal to which the ambassador presents it aloud.
“This proposed bargain has been rattling around the Z’ah’tuck trade leaders since the coup of your father. Though it hinged on whether or not you or any of your siblings survived. Seeing you are indeed alive and making concerted efforts towards freeing your people from his tyrannical rule one way or another you fit the criteria. And so here it is; The Z’ah’tuck Conglomerate will publicly support your right to the Cali throne, and it is prepared to dedicate one-sixth of its war fleets and the Third-fang battalion to aid in the likely event of military conflict.” he pauses to let that settle before continuing, “In return, the Conglomerate requests that the Cali government agree to contribute Ten percent more Natural-grade product and twenty five percent more Clone-grade product to the Z’ah’tuck meat market trade for the next fifty standard year period. Secondly it is also requested that Cali shipyards produce Twenty five hundred trade-ships by Conglomerate provided specifications in the next five standard years. Thirdly, permit Z’ah’tuck trade businesses to set up shop on Cali colonies. Fourth and finally, vote and publicly advocate for the Z’ah’Tuck people to be officiated out of ‘Associate Species’ into ‘Member Species’ status in Central.” he finishes.
Chak scratches the sides of her head with her lower graspers as she seriously considers the alliance deal. It’s an incredible opportunity. With the Z’ah’tucks big economic pull among the carnivorous species of Central -despite them currently being of ‘Associate’ status- this could be very advantageous. But the cost for the support was fairly high, yet not totally unreasonable.
“Your offer is rather tempting, Ambassador. Though I cannot see myself agreeing to it as it stands. You see if open civil war does break out, then I fear my people will need a period of time to stabilize, especially economically. People will need to be fed, buildings rebuilt, and damage to our world repaired. So here’s my counter offer for your consideration;” she says as she reaches out in request for the datapad, of which is candidly handed to her for her to revise the terms for consideration, “Lower the twenty five percent for cloned product to twenty. Provide charitable relief shelter camps where displaced Cali can be warm and well fed during the war campaign, which may prove to be a great source of building up positive relations with not only my people but many others sitting in Member Central seats. And finally agree to grant Cali trade ships official access to Conglomerate trade routes with reduced fines by thirty percent. The rest of your terms are acceptable.” she responds.
“Hmmm…” Zrreak mumbles as he stares at the screen. He brings a claw to his armored muzzle, dragging it along a deep old scarring, “I have the authority to negotiate the terms within reason, and although I know a few trade managers will be disgruntled I believe your counter terms are acceptable.” he nods before transferring the developed agreement to the datapad for both parties to sign.
The Z’ah’Tuck signs first before handing the pad over.
Suppressing her eyes from blasting light to not give away how she honestly felt about this deal, Chak re-reads the entire agreement twice to make absolutely certain that there are no possible term manipulations. The Z’ah’tuck are known to be honerable in terms of business, but one can never be too careful in this realm of dealing.
Once she is certain of all the terms, Chak signs as well and hands it back.
“Your gamble on me is appreciated, Ambassador. I will do everything in my power to ensure that my father is deposed. With your aid, I see the path towards that even more clearer.” she assures.
“Time will tell. And to be honest, we stand to lose little until conflict is certain. The biggest risk we run is a prolonged open war with the Cali. Central history is not kind to Deathworlders declaring war on non-deathworlders, even under these circumstances we may risk being ousted completely from Central. Though I’m doubtful considering our stranglehold on the meat markets. Who else would they turn to? The Truba? With their reputation and recent enormous debacle? I don’t think so.” Zrreak chuckles as he returns to petting his lap dog.
“Such a travesty…” Chak agrees, “Is there more you can share regarding that situation?”
“Just that these Squilla understandably don’t have much of a government. They dwelled in deeper waters and complex cave systems in their comparative ‘iron age’. They are incredibly fast learners, however. Which gives most of the Central council the impression that the Truba have been suppressing the Squilla’s growth as a people for literal ages. I don’t think anything like this has ever happened in known galactic history. It’s still all a mess unfortunately, but important first steps have been taken. I’ve spoken to the representative of the Squilla only a few times, and seeing him come to terms with reality is bittersweet.” the ambassador explained.
“I see. Perhaps I may have a chance to meet him while I’m in central.” Chak says with a shrug.
“It’s a long line to privately meet in an official manner, which is to no surprise I assume?” Zrreak informs.
“Of course, perhaps not then.” Chak concedes.
Wide eyed, Simone looks back and forth between the two.
“Sorry, uhm… I feel like what just happened earlier is a pretty big fucking deal… Military support? Not that I’m complaining, but I’d imagine something like that having a bit more bureaucracy? A quick back and forth and it’s a done deal?” she questioned, utterly bewildered.
“This is how backroom deals tend to go, Simone, you know that.” Chak replies as she reaches a hand to take hold of one of the redhead’s.
She then squeezes in trembling excitement to show that she was putting up a polite professional act.
“Right. Yeah.” Simone corrects herself as she huffs a pant of jubilated air.
The ambassador turns to look at the Terran directly.
“Simone Thatch. If you're at liberty to confirm, through some dealings we have received interesting intel regarding a Terran group that calls itself the ‘Children of Gaia’. Have you encountered them previously?” he inquires.
“Ah, uhm… I know about them. But that’s all I’m really willing to share at this time. What sort of dealings are you referring to exactly?” the Terran responds.
“Nothing nefarious, at least at the surface. We have traded for strange breeds of dogs, tracing their origins to that group. We suspect that they are these ‘pirates’ that invaded the Gratt homeworld. Would that be correct?” Zrreak presses, now looking back and forth between the Terran and Cali.
Chak sighs but nods.
“That would be correct.” she admits.
“Why hide that fact?” the ambassador asks.
“Well, there's a reason to. And I’m afraid we can’t share why, but rest assured their identity will be broadly revealed in due time. Soon, if we can help it, but we have to secure a few things first.” Chak explains, “Apologies for withholding information from you, but I ask that the Conglomerate not share intel of the group for the time being.” Chak requests.
“I can’t promise such, but if it’s in your interest to wait, then it is likely ours as well.” Zrreak grants, “But if we found what we have, others are likely to as well. So I hope whatever you are planning comes around soon, Princess.” he adds.
“As do I, and trust me I understand.” Chak says as she squeezes Simone’s hand once more, “They are our enemies and what we intend to do is to dismantle them.” she assures.
“Ah, I hope you don’t mind a single stop before arriving at your apartment. I have a gift that I wish to present to you.” Zrreak announces after he seems to have received a notification on his Lens.
“Oh, how kind of you. What manner of gift?” Chak inquires.
“One that in some small way may bolster your personal security.” the ambassador vaguely answered a bit coyly.
“Oh joy…” Simone says, unsure if they’d be able to comfortably take on another staff member on the Kwip-chap.
Soaring down into a tight one way entrance tunnel, the shuttle eventually comes to a latching stop before being lifted up into an unloading room.
“Come, step out. It’s being brought to us.” Zrreak instructs as he stands and strides out.
Preparing themselves to politely turn his offer down, Simone and Chak step out after him. Sonla on the other hand decided then would be a perfect time to raid the fancy meat snacks she’d been eyeing for most of the trip.
As the three stand just outside the shuttle in wait, it takes only a few minutes for a Z’ah’tuck to turn a corner and enter the room.
“Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll have room to properly accommodate-” Chak begins to say before feeling her legs freeze up in sudden numbness as a beast comes trailing behind the Z’ah’tuck.
Simone’s eye tufts lift in surprise as she looks upon what she initially mistakes as a damn hyena as it shares the rusty red-brown color, stripes and even a shallow mohawk of longer fur going down its back. Though its pitbull-esk face and body structure clues her in that it is indeed a dog.
The thickly muscled domestic canine assertively pats its clawed paws across the floor towards them, passing up the handler it stopped and politely sat ten feet away.
Bending down, Zrreak sets down his corgi which without hesitation stamps quickly over to the comparatively titanous brethren. Sniffing up and around his new friend the loaf of a dog ran a circle around the other unbothered canine before splaying forward in a ‘play’ pose in front of it. Before then running off as if to invite a chase.
“Her name is Zrume, meaning ‘Wall of fangs and talons’. She is only two years of age, but understands commands in Galactic standard and is perfectly trained to guard her charge with her life.” Zrreak introduced before notifying the uncertain fright in the Princess, “She is also trained to assist as an emotional support companion. She can provide more Service-oriented work, but that hasn’t been a primary focus of her training. I thought that may suit someone of your nature, Princess.” he added before addressing the dog directly. “Zrume, at ease.”
The dog’s ice-blue eyes spark with hyper excitement as she breaks her statue pose to spaz out before engaging in play with the corgi, sniffing him in return greeting after easily catching up.
“She isn’t the best I can offer, but I believe she’d be perfect for you. May she approach to meet you?” the ambassador inquires.
“Uhm…” Chak utters before looking up to Simone for an opinion.
Biting her cheek, the redhead gave a tentative nod back.
“Oh, alright.” the princess agrees.
“Zrume, come.” Zrreak instructs.
Turning away and all but ignoring the corgi again, Zrume approaches much closer to the three. Her circular blue eyes look up at the ambassador loyally, only taking side glances of the two women.
“Transfer.” the Z’ah’tuck commands as he points to Chak first and then to Simone.
The head of the dog looked up at Chak, its head pretty much as large as hers.
“D-do I pet her?” Chak inquires.
“Of course, though I strongly recommend that you limit her social interaction to a minimum when she’s on the job. When she’s off, tell her ‘at ease’ so she knows.” Zrreak answers with an amused but serious tone.
“O-okay… Hello… Zrume… uhm… at ease? At ease.” Chak says directly to the animal.
Zrume sinks her head slightly forward to gently press against between the Cali’s lower arms. Looking up with her crisp blues she starts to wag her tail and lightly stamps her front paws.
Chak’s racing hearts start to relax as a familiar admiration feeling rises up within her. Glancing up at Simone, she caught her inwardly biting her lips to resist the broad smile from breaking out.
Looking back at the dog, Chak lifts all of her limbs and begins scritching at the places that she saw these animals enjoy in the media. Behind the ears, under the chin and the sides of the thick neck.
Zrume closes her eyes as her tail aggressively pats against the floor like a happy baton. And Chak swears the dog’s closed mouth smiled, though that could have been a trick to the angle she is viewing her.
“What do you think?” the ambassador asks, seeming to already know the answer.
“She’s so sweet…” Chak replies in giggle, “I don’t think I can say no…”
“Then in that case, I’ll have her supplies loaded up for you.”