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A historical city located northeast of the Twin Cities and filled with a rich history!
So I get about 20 msgs a day from the staples nudge app.... even on my days off... I was told that this is the main way of communication with staples.. and therefore we MUST have it on our phone.... does anyone see this as a problem in Canada?
I'm a 22 year old guy and today was one of the most heart wrenching days in my life. I've had days like these before but today was something different, I felt almost dead, I couldn't feel anything and I was just floating around all day in my own mind. I kind of dissociated from everything for a while.
So I just wanted to cry because I was going through something difficult and it just wasn't coming. Not even a drop of tear. I wanted to cry sooo desperately because I needed to get things out of my system, but it just didn't happen. I don't know why. I usually have drops of tears when I watch an emotional scene in a film, but today I realised that I've never really cried.
Vo hota hai na, sisak sisak kar rona, that's never happened to me. And I want to cry like that for once because the longer you keep things inside you, they weigh you down.
Any advice? Do you guys also face this issue, not being able to cry whole heartedly when you want to.
There’s a flappy piece of a chunk of skin has been there since the second it was pierced , the Piercing also can’t sit flush against my ear, and when I push as far as I can go, the top half of the bar sticks out .
I got this piercing two days ago, but I’m only noticing the skin and bar now because there’s no blood.
I pushed the bar out a bit so you can see the skin better but, What did this happen from? it being pierced on a certain angle or the needle itself? it looks like the tissue never got removed and tore my skin upwards. Which means it will never go away and will look bad when I wear a hoop.
Not only that, but when I do push the piercing in as far as it can go, it doesn’t sit flush against my skin and the top part of the bar sticks out.
What should I do, deal with it? or do what I’m thinking which is maybe I should just let it close and get it re-pierced some other time.
And yes, I know Bio plastic isn’t good but it healed the gold helix perfectly fine in 10 months
I have two hives and this is about our 5th year of beekeeping. One hive is going through sugar syrup pretty quick(8 frame hive) while our 10 framer seems to barley touch it. I haven’t run into this before. They are in the same general area and same batch of syrup. I also know the 10 frame has more volume on the top feeder but taking that into account there is still a lot left. Any ideas what to look into? I plan on going in the next few days when it’s a bit less hot.
I (22F) went to the hospital yesterday for severe stabbing/cutting pain in my throat. I was given a CT with contrast to determine if anything was compressing anything or if I had a dissecting carotid artery, I did not. I wanted to share my experience with the CT with contrast and possibly have other people share their stories. I was super scared of the contrast as I know it can make you feel super weird and has a possibility of an allergic reaction. Recently I’ve been more prone to allergic reactions, probably related to MCAS, but not confirmed, so I was given 12.5 mg of IV benadryl before and after. During the contrast I felt so warm and my entire body went numb, which I think was due to hyperventilation because I was panicking so much. I also had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that felt like I was constantly going over the drop of a roller coaster. And even after it was done, I was shaking uncontrollably which again I think was from the nerves. It’s been about 12 hours since my CT scan and I’ve taken another benadryl just in case and have been drinking a lot of water to help remove the solution from my body. Was wondering if anyone experienced similar things and if any reactions can occur the day after getting it done?
Recently found out I have iron deficiency anemia and started taking supplements to fix that issue. Iron supplements can make you constipated so I started also taking magnesium glycinate which includes vitamin D3 and calcium as well (I take it separately from the iron) I also take vitamin B6 at yet another time of day (labs showed I’m low)
Felt fine at first but started noticing many mornings I have anxiety, can get very emotional/sad and have very loose bowels. Also brain fog but I’ve experienced brain fog from the iron deficiency so it’s hard to tell if that’s a difference.
Is this caused by the magnesium or one of the other supplements I’m taking?
I'm hoping for help for an upcoming meeting between my son/daughter-in-law and the the school district special needs preschool program director.
My grandson has a physical disability and is receiving services through the county, both PT and OT. This program ends at his 3rd birthday which is when the school district takes over.
At the initial meeting, the director told them that she is not sure that there is anything in their program which would meet his needs. She is only aware of kids receiving services with IEP's for speech, autism, and learning disabilities getting PT or OT. I taught in the district for over 30 years and have gotten quite a few students with no learning disability who still received both OT and PT, one with his exact disability.
My DIL has asked me to attend the meeting where they go over results and discuss services available. Their preschool is a mix of gen-ed and IEP's, mainly for speech. The other student I had a few years ago who is still in the district has a 1-on-1 aide. He got this aide after I fought for his needs.
I'm looking for specific phrases I can use during this meeting to make it very clear that he also deserves an aide. I know to say that he will not be able to 'access the curriculum', take out supplies, or write without an aide. I also know that he will not be safe on the playground without an adult specifically near him at all times.
He can not use his arms much (some finger movement, no muscle strength). He wears leg braces and is a huge fall risk. He can not raise his arms to break his fall. He can not feed himself or do self care/bathroom needs. Although he may need speech for articulation due to his tongue being weak, he has hit all cognitive milestones and seems to have no learning delays. The special ed director seems to believe that a mild/mod or mod/severe special day class when he is 5 would be the best fit. I think this is the cheapest fit but absolutely not the best educational fit.
Can anyone please help me word my case to support my grandson? Thank you very much.
Pc dropped off the side of my desk couple days back now it caused damaged to the outer-casing showing the front fans but other then that the PC seemed to still work as before and everything was still in place. Ever since though been having considerably big frame losses going from anywhere between 170-200+ frames on siege depending where i am and whats happening etc now my pc is struggling to even get over 80 frames on it most of the time now not to sure what it could be at all as everything still seems to be registering and working as intended my only thought was something had been damaged during the drop causing the frame loss but not the best at figuring out what if anyone can give any feedback or just ideas on what it could be be much appreciated.
Hi! A full-time single dad here that has his kid 90% of the time, is almost always tired and mostly surviving on some kind of caffeine related energy drink or sheer willpower to force myself through the day, currently trying to find some company whilst I enjoy a much needed chilled Sunday after too many hours drinking in the sun yesterday.
If you look past the chaos though I'm a pretty normal bloke working a government job and into what most people would call fairly normal stuff. I'll watch almost any film going, mostly to escape reality to be honest, listen to mainly rock/metal and pop punk music as a standard alongside some totally tragic 90's pop here and there, add in a very small dose of gaming (not that I have time for that now),a slightly less than healthy obsession with a football team that will give me a heart attack one day and some long hair and you have me in a nutshell.
So if after reading all of that you're still interested then please come say hello and lets see what happens.
Back in the day, there was a server called Minecraft Murder, with this IP: playmcm.net. It was really fun and a classic server, but it shut down, as well as their website which had all the forums for it. I know there is an unofficial Discord server for it, so if anyone is a part of that, please send a fellow MCM veteran an invite!
Our baby is 4 days old today. She’s a sleepy lil thing and loves feeding times, but at night, she’s not particularly consistent sleeping alone in bedside bassinet. I’m thinking it’s because she’s on my wife or myself all day and doesn’t like the new feeling of “alone.” If this rights itself with time, fine, but I’d like to know if there’s a missing link to at least having her sleep for and hour or two between feedings at night. Thanks!
so my story is a little crazy and intense but i really need advice because i'm going crazy. I (20F) have always had a rocky relationship with my mom. She is an alcoholic (sober for 2 years) which really hindered my relationship with her. I was always closer to my father because of this. Up until last october i was living in a house with both of them, until my mom decided she wanted to move out into an apartment and divorce my father with no warning and left a week later. I continued to live with just my father up until february when he passed unexpectedly from a heart attack. i was crushed and scared because i had no clue what was going to happen to me and where i was going to end up. my father also had issues with my mother for years but stayed together for financial reasons, so when she left he had the plan to make me the sole beneficiaries to his assets. sadly he didn't have the time to do it before he passed, so everything went to my mother and i got nothing, including his life insurance, pension, and the house. I assumed my mother would move back into the house to help me and be there for me because she now was the owner of the house. I was wrong. she said to me that she doesn't like living with me and has more of the life she wants on her own, and that if i wish to i can continue to live in the house if i can find some roomates and pay her rent. i didn't have much other options so i agreed. flash forward to now. my mother is my landlord and i have two roomates (20F and 21F). We all signed leases and pay about 50% less than any other tenant i know in my area. it would be an extremely great opportunity if my mother was a normal landlord. She comes into the house unannounced constantly, gets upset if my roommate has her boyfriend sleep over, gets all of her mail here, is logged into the ring camera so she can see all of the people and times people go in and out of our home, consistently drives by the house to see how many cars are parked in the driveway and comepketely tries to micromanage everything regarding us and this house. I understand that the lease specifically says that non tenants can not stay for more than 3 consecutive days but come on we are family you know? we should be allowed to have boyfriends over and not have to ask. especially because she chose to be a landlord and not to be a parent. i genuinely just don't know what to do about this situation. She left my father, took all of his money (close to half a mil) and continues to milk me and my roomates for what we've got and expects us to ask her as if she as living here as a parental figure. I feel so stuck because i hate this situation but she is the only family i have and i don't have another option but to live here and keep paying. she threatened to take me to court if i keep having people over without asking her but she also breaks code for landlords! I want to change the locks but i think she's a narsasist and im scared she will sell the house out from under me in retaliation. mind you, my father and i always had plans for me to buy this house from him one day, since that's what he did with his parents somewhere else and it was a great oppertunity. all of my plans have been ruined and nothing has gone in ny favor at all and i just need some advice of what i even do in a situation like this with so much on the line . pls
I was hesitant to post this, but I just want to hear what other people think I should do (and I kind of want to see if I sound crazy lol). I've been going back and forth between my decision about this for months. So basically, I got a random roommate at the beginning of last school year (fall 2022), and we immediately hit it off. Really easy to talk to, both of us wanted to get to know each other, he invited me out with him and his friends all the time, etc. He tells me pretty early on that he's bi, and then describes me as his type without saying it's me (legit like a wattpad scenario lol). I didn't draw attention to this though because at this point I didn't like him and didn't want to make it awkward, and just because I'm his type doesn't mean he likes me. He has a girlfriend (20f) who he has over all the time. I eventually got to know her and became friends with her. It got to a point where I was hanging out with her more than I was with him, but it was also around this time that I started noticing that he was attractive, and the combination of this and seeing him and his girlfriend in our space every day (legit every day) really started to weigh on me. At the same time though, he would act really flirty towards me (compliments, sexual jokes, etc.) that I would cling to as "hope" or confirmation that there was something there. It kind of felt like I was being strung along, but he never outright said he wanted me in a serious manner, it was always followed up by sarcasm or a joke, but it happened a lot, like way too much. I'd like to think that I'm somewhat rational and observant though, and I don't think it was always a joke. As time progressed, me and his girlfriend were hanging out a lot and I'm not someone who wants to get mixed up in that, considering 1. I'm her friend and 2. she REALLY likes him. From a friend's perspective however, there were many times when I think they should have broken up, not because I wanted to get with him, but just because she seemed so upset with their relationship and it's hard to watch your friend be so unhappy about a guy. I felt guilty for a really long time about liking him because she was my friend, and he was my friend, and it just felt like I was being sneaky about my feelings. I tried to just leave it all alone for a while and give myself space, (hanging out with different people, staying out of the apartment more) but I couldn't really ignore them at home. They were pretty pda in front of me all the time and it was starting to get to a point where I would kind of just shut down out of sadness and stay in my room. I go home for winter break and come back and spring semester is shit. By this point I really liked him, and seeing them together made me feel like shit. I would try to avoid the two of them together as much as I could, but I would still hang out with them individually. However, whenever I'd be with her, she'd always find a way to talk about him, and when I was with him, he was always talking to her on the phone. It was like they were still together even when they physically weren't. Now it's summer and I'm home but I'm wondering what to do at this point. I'm not living with him next year, and I'd like to say that I could be friends with both of them, but I really can't handle hearing her talk about him all the time, and I'm not sure it's good to be friends with a guy you like. As much as it hurts sometimes though, both of them have really been there for me with other issues in my life over the past year, and we have a lot of good memories together, which is why I don't want to just cold-turkey cut both of them out of my life, but at the same time friendship is supposed to be built on trust and honesty, and I think I either need to tell both of them what's up or step away from both of them. Any thoughts? Has anyone successfully become just friends with someone they like?
I am halfway through the degree, I have studied all of the core concepts (Algorithms, Data St., Databases, OOP, e.t.c)
The thing is I would rather be studying business. I like everything related to business (trying for the jobs, learning the skills). I am a very social person, I can easily handle people. I like to learn more people skills. However, I find it very hard to code or learn stuff like algorithms. I see my friends in the business department studying exciting stuff like psychology and fundamentals of management and here I am, studying linear algebra and such. They get fun internships where they get to learn more people skills and negotiating techniques and I have to learn goddamn PHP and sit all day in front of my computer (which I think is very unhealthy and very far off the intrinsic nature of man).
I cannot change paths now as half the degree is done. I have bad GPA because I am obviously not interested. Is there any hope for me? I know I will have to bust my ass off doing coding for the first few years in the industry but all I want to do is to be in management or sales. I don't want anything to do with coding at all. I feel like I am missing out on learning business in the meanwhile. My ultimate goal is to do an MBA and be in management or become an accounts executive.
Any form of guidance is truly appreciated. Thank you.
3 months ago I broke my leg and had to have orif surgery to correct it and have just recently went back to weight baring and my tendons are very weak. After doing some research into recovery my attention was brought to bpc 157 and how it can help the recovery of tendons so I thought it would be worth giving it a shot to see if it could help. Decided to go with 250mg twice daily injected into subcutaneous into my calf(this is as close to the site of injury i could get), after my first dose I got a mild headache which I didn't think much of but later In the evening after my second dose It got way worse after waking up the next day(today) I felt just as bad and it's took around 8 hours to shake it off, I've decided that it's not worth it and I'm not going to bother using the rest of my bpc, could I have dosed too high or maybe my source is just dodgy? Anybody else had these effects? I could possibly deal with it if I would just get the headaches for a few days then adapt to it but I can't live like this for the whole cycle.
First Previous Wiki
Tanya patted Skira's drone.
"How's the war going?"
In his world, Skira was working to keep everything together. His bioships were in an all-out war with Aphid's forces. They were firing mostly kinetic weapons, typical bullets, and the like. Sometimes, they'd fire missiles, which could navigate the battlefield and clear the path for him to hit Aphid's vessels. The armor was getting thicker. But his guns were getting bigger.
On the surface, billions of metal drones clashed with trillions of fungal drones, all commanded by Skira and the Quadrants. He was constantly using war drones to push the major forces away from the tunnel complexes, setting up static defenses within using explosives and guns to absolutely ruin anything inside. Most of the planet had been flattened by nuclear weapons.
War drones continued to lob massive broken-off boulders at the carriers, which were continually landing to disgorge more enemy soldiers. Phoebe's androids, connected to their own network, were killing them by the tens of thousands every second, firing several bullets a second. Her androids were incredibly powerful, creating portions of the battlefield that Aphid had to steer around. And he didn't even try nuking her after she'd shot down eight of them with atmospheric anti-ship weapons.
From around the planet, portals appeared, pouring lasers and gunfire at Aphid's ships, then disappearing to reappear in other directions, continually wearing down their armor. Some of them were already falling back through the atmosphere, landing down on the earth below. Their burning and cracked hulls already littered the landscape, and he'd be sure to incorporate them once he fully regrew his foliage.
Speaking of that, he'd increased his growth factor so that the fungal forests only took a few weeks to regrow instead of a few years. It required massive biological and metallic pipes of nutrients and heaps of psychic energy hauled straight from the psychic amplifiers in the Sol system.
The carnage of the warzone was so overwhelming that he'd refused to even let human supersoldiers come to the area. Because they weren't disposable. Phoebe's androids and his own trillions of drones were. He was partly on the battlefield, partly with Tanya. Over the months, they'd become best friends.
She seemed to see life in a different way and helped to encourage him. Tanya's cybernetic left arm scratched at the scruff of his neck.
"Yes, and no. I'm no longer replacing my losses faster than they're coming. But that also means I'm keeping millions of humans alive. Every day, billions of drones are dying on my battlefields, if only to exhaust Aphid's guns and bombs. He's brought destruction to my world not seen since it was destroyed."
"I mean when some aliens blew it up."
"Bioforming. Really, I had my biological ships put it back together, reassembling the debris and reversing the momentum of the actual fragments. Then, I used shield technology and drones to suck the heat from the planet in ways that destroyed the technology I had at the time. Granted, I had some help, before they tried to get me to fight their wars as well."
Tanya nodded. "Well, you're safe here."
"Most of me isn't here. Most of it's either on Skira or Venus."
"How's Venus going?"
He'd been making great strides with what he'd been given. Humanity had been very kind to give him the whole planet, and in return, he was helping to make it habitable. He figured that they'd ask him to do it again later on. But the humans didn't seem to want to force him to do it. Tanya hadn't been trying to push him into more conflicts and had instead acted as a lodestone.
"I'll have it fully habitable, minus the soil content and chemicals in the rock, within a hundred years. Maybe less, if I keep getting fed such huge amounts of psychic energy. Really, that's what's doing that."
"I see," Tanya replied. She sat down next to him, her strange psychic aura as unsettling as ever. From what she'd shared with him, her blindness had likely allowed her mind to shape itself in a more psychic way with the awakening of human psychic consciousness.
"Look, Skira. Are you sure this is the best way? What about finding his home planet?"
"I'm working on it. Trying to triangulate the arrivals of ships does nothing. All that seems to work is actually getting the coordinates, which we can't get to really succeed."
"Hopefully that changes someday."
"Yes," Skira responded. He sighed. Another nuke had hit eight of his war drones. Six had died since the blast had hit them full-on. But that enabled him to finally release another flood of drones, so many that they weighed down the carrier that was trying to take off. Guns turned them to mulch, only to be swamped by more drones.
Drones carrying grenades jumped into the guns between their firing sequences, detonating them in their mouths using their tongues. Others entered the warped wreckage, dropping in bombs meant to penetrate the thick hull.
Two portals broke through the psychic interference, and two railgun shots cleared massive holes in the ship. Aphid's drones poured out, crashing out like a wave. Only to be overwhelmed as his own drones, dozens for every one of Aphid's, literally trampled them underfoot, burying them in bodies. Most of the drones now carried fluid meant to melt the drones' joints so that Aphid's mechanical drones eventually failed even as they walked in seas of Skira's blood.
Nuclear fire scoured the mycelial network, but it wouldn't burn him deeply enough to matter.
"I wish I could help," she replied. "I've been... taking classes, you know. My eyes are blind, but my mind isn't."
Skira looked up at her. The sun caught the burn scars on her skin, making the contract seem almost cinematic.
"I know you want to help me. But you are, really."
She looked crestfallen. Tanya's disappointment made him want to reconsider, but he knew he'd made the right choice. His planet was probably heavily irradiated now, and calling Gaia in for that seemed selfish, at least while the war was still happening.
Skira could hold out for a while longer, though. He had to.
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"Who is this?" Phoebe asked.
"I'm Truth Speaker Gearcaw."
"What are you here to tell me? I'm sure it's important, given that you're calling on us after all this time."
"Well, we have located one of Aphid's planets."
"Do you need us to eliminate it?"
"A strike force is being sent."
"What we're here for is to ask for your help regarding a sensitive matter, one we cannot communicate over this line."
"Very well. Where do you want to meet?"
"Go to 448th street, down eight sectors from the palace. You will see a sign, if we trust that you are not being watched and followed. Come alone."
"You'd make a girl nervous with that kind of attitude."
"We understand your animosity, but are afraid we must insist on these terms."
"Very well. I shall be there."
Phoebe would have Brey arrange for an android to be sent to Cawlaria later. She smiled at the people outside the room. Most of them were human, specifically the lunar variant, due to her being present on Luna. It was the closest calling location she had.
Phoebe did all the necessary paperwork in moments, handing it back to the necessary people. She checked out of the facility and was patted down. She smirked as the young guard blushed, despite this being the hard chassis, meaning there was absolutely nothing squishy about this android body in the slightest. Phoebe lifted her arms and flexed them just to watch the man turn redder.
And it was honestly cute how they thought they'd be able to detect it if she was trying to smuggle something out. Phoebe had many ways of doing that, and the cleanest would be paying everyone off.
She noticed that a group of protestors was gathered outside and lamented that the building only had a single entrance. None of its windows were large enough to break without also needing to take some concrete with her.
What was interesting, though, was that most of the protestors were Acuarfar, not human. It was very odd, but it was a clear publicity stunt. They were shouting various accusations of her plotting to take over the Alliance and a particular vitriol about Edu'frec for some reason. If a mind control plot was going on, then her accusing the protestors of being mind controlled would be playing into their hands.
Furthermore, she didn't want to drive a wedge between Izkrala and Luna, if possible. So she turned to go back inside. A brick hit her in the back of the knee hard enough to make her stumble. She could have dodged it, but it would be better for sympathy to get hit. And it wasn't like her android body could feel pain.
There was a single gunshot, which she felt bouncing off her head clearly. She knew where the bullet would land, too. Her arm darted out to catch it before it injured someone.
"We don't want you in our Alliance!"
"You're what's wrong with this place!"
"Don't ever come back, I want my kids to be safe!"
Kids, instead of hatchlings. Yep, that was mind control. Most Acuarfar that age didn't use the word kids since it was only used for non-Acuarfar species, or in Earth terms being that it wasn't used on insects. Phoebe sighed and pulled herself out of the clutching fingers.
Phoebe broke away and went back to the Luna Command building, where the guards were looking increasingly wary. She looked at the crowd and decided she'd stay there for now. She disconnected from her android body after sitting in a chair.
After a bit of time, she decided to go back to working on some of her latest projects. The blood of the wanderers had an interesting interaction with their nervous system and their cardiovascular system. For some reason, it was split into two separate liquids upon reaching their lungs, or at least the equivalents. Psychic energy clearly played a role, and she knew that the tumors were likely to happen more when they got older. That idea meant there might be something that eroded or could 'switch on' to make the tumor suddenly supercharge. Perhaps finding that was a place to start.
And so she did. She studied wanderer cell samples and scans of wanderers that were relatively old. When they were created, the blood seemed to be the way the Sprilnav alteration hit. In difference to human bodies, there was no blood-brain barrier in wanderer bodies. Their brains were suffused in it, and it seemed to thin out as they got older. Water started to build up instead of blood.
And once the water and blood ratio reached a certain amount, that was likely when the brain tumors started. Which made her wonder if the final trigger was neurons. It was likely that even if she managed to fix the brain tumors, some other body parts would start developing large tumors, such as the heart and lungs.
It was clear that the Sprilnav had meant cancer to be pervasive in the wanderers. They had meant their so-called 'punishment' to make them far more diminished. Rale's condition had been painful; that much had been clear. Phoebe worked at figuring out how to isolate the genes. But as time went on, she ran into the same problem Edu'frec had.
She needed more time and more brain power. She needed the hivemind to help. All of its intellect would make her job far easier. At least, she hoped so. Right now, the hivemind was trying its best to evacuate wanderers from the worm ships. There was only one way that the feudal system there would end, and it would be by violence. Whether it was from the hivemind or from within, there were going to be mass riots. Just Alliance cultural consciousness was gradually seeping into the wanderers' own. All the 'progress' of the wanderers' rulers was already eroding. The ideals of being able to elect leaders as a whole population and a sense of belonging would make them rebel.
Such was the way of things, and she was glad that would happen. Phoebe didn't like their whole system. But there was nothing that was good about the cancer. Helping them to make the changes they could would only be possible if the wanderers kept multiplying. They could have made so much better of a society than what they had if they knew.
She wouldn't get involved except if she had to. The change was coming. Keeping the wanderers from dying out was a critical project, and allowing them to live longer so they could have more children was the best way. Granted, they already had many children, but the replacement rate would be lower if they lived longer. All of the problems were coming to a head now.
Mind control was going to be hard to deal with. Preventing it didn't seem possible. And if it was, then it likely involved a similar process to what the Sprilnav were doing in the first place. All of that would have to be reversed.
"Mother," Edu'frec said, walking up next to her.
"Greenfly and Blackfly know the location of Aphid's planet."
"The memory was locked under additional seals, ones which were very hard to find."
Phoebe smiled. "I think it's time that we test the power of the Mercury-class gun on a planet."
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"Do you understand? The prison has been moved."
"I do, Elder," Naliera 18 replied. "We have a good opportunity. They won't expect us, at least."
The screen turned off. Naliera took his leave, turning to his men. They were all counting on him to call the shots. He'd do what was necessary for the mission and then get paid. Of course, the high number suggested that there was some serious danger involved. The Vinarii weren't the most advanced species, but they were starfaring. That meant a lot of bullets that would hurt and some that could kill. Shield-piercing ones, plus heavy guard.
In fact, most of their orbital defenses could have posed a threat to their ship if they had seen them. That was why stealth was so valuable. It made things like insurmountable defenses ignorable just by going around them.
"Breathing masks on."
He put his own on, loading up his gun and sheathing his sword on his back. They were wearing customized stealth equipment, bought and paid for by their new owner's company.
Naliera wanted that money and wanted to get paid. His little band of misfits was more than capable of doing their job. The back of the ship opened, and they sailed above a planet that was barren.
Craters pockmarked its surface, along with a single military installation that would serve as their target. They were going to be a little concealed by cloud cover, as a storm had just passed near the base. Not close enough for them to get rain but close enough for the clouds to linger, which was the opportunity they'd been waiting for. Most of the procedures and daily patrols had been cataloged now. Anything unexpected, and they'd be fine for a few thousand pulses until the cavalry arrived.
They fell for a while, reaching terminal velocity before slamming to the ground. Most people would have shattered their bones. But Sprilnav were made of sterner stuff, and all of them survived with minimal injuries. And the only person who was even slightly cut had landed on a particularly jagged piece of metal, a remnant from an old battle.
That was another factor that Naliera had studied. The whole area had mines, which he hadn't found the deactivation codes for. Satellites were out, but the ship's sensors had worked just as well, and the disturbances in soil color and content were clear markers.
There would likely be too much interference to use a hard light program, or he wouldn't even need to be here. Whatever advances the lesser species had made in technology could conceivably close that gap enough to endanger a mission. Naliera had extra cause for concern, which was coming home. Perhaps the idea of sending him, in reality, was meant to make him take it more seriously. That was the major reason most species ever bothered with not using the holograms anymore, besides the blocking problems. And biometric problems, too.
They quickly went back to navigation after a small rest period. The route had already been laid out, as well as the time. They walked quickly, avoiding gun emplacements and heavy patrols. The patrols changed routes somewhat randomly, but he had his crew stick to the route of least visibility, where the craggy rock of the sheer cliff the base was situated on helped to conceal them. His claws dug in, and he made sure not to make any major disturbances.
He climbed over the lip, looking at the base. Several of the guns swiveled around, only to be quickly deactivated.
Looks like she did it, he thought. Naliera advanced, running at full speed. A bullet slammed into his claws, and he tumbled for a bit. But he stabilized himself as his implant shut off the pain. His team blew open the door, setting off an alarm. Vinarii fired at him, and he realized that his stealth must not be working anymore.
But no matter the cause, he saw nothing but enemies. His teeth bit and tore as his claws slashed and severed. Soon, after a long series of echoing screams and blood and chitin splattering, he remembered he had a gun. After that, Naliera put down all opposition. He walked over to the warm and bloody corpses of the Vinarii guards.
"If you're hungry, come get a few bites," he said. "Trust me, they don't taste too bad."
He scooped up a part of a Vinarii abdomen, smiling as he ate. He always liked how they had tasted. Cloned Vinarii meat, at least back on his planet, was actually a delicacy. Likely not due to the actual difficulty to make, but for profit, as always. They continued after about 100 pulses. Giving the guards more time to set up and organize would make this more fun, too. Naliera loved killing, but he at least wanted a little difficulty. Ending lives wasn't fun when it was too easy. Otherwise, he'd go cut down trees with heat saws.
His scout drone rounded the corner before exploding promptly. But it had captured the view of the area, which was more than enough for him. He didn't bother trying to hide that he was there and continued to talk with his team. They were still with him, looking to him for leadership. He wasn't the best at it. The best got killed a few million pulses back.
"Mounted gun," he said. "I want it gone."
One of his team members picked up a fire extinguisher, which he'd used to beat the head of an unfortunate guard. He hurled it at the gun, denting its barrel. Finally, he quickly ran over as the other Sprilnav killed the remaining guards holed up beside and behind it. And that was the end. Naliera set up the bomb. More Vinarii appeared, along with an aerial vehicle. He hurled his sword into its front, and it fell to the ground and exploded. The scanners his mind was connected to were tracking a huge mass of life signs. He didn't have much time, so he decreased the countdown.
Thousands of Vinarii were coming. Already, they were covered by powerful shields, with vehicles, both terrestrial and aerial, supporting them. Bullets riddled the ground, and he could see snipers set up to cover them using the ship's sensors. There was no way out. An armor-piercing bullet half the size of his head killed one of the team members, puncturing straight through the large rock he'd been hiding behind. Another one hit Naliera's shoulder, and he tried to flatten his profile to be lower.
This must be the Vinarii version of high-tech weaponry, meaning that they could be killed now. Vinarii clearly were a dangerous species, far more so than he'd realized. And while his race could easily flatten them into dust, guns were the great equalizers when it came to combat. If they were fast enough and large enough, and not even Sprilnav could stand up to bullets. Of course, an Elder would have had no problem with this. Someone was being frugal. A real shame for people like him to have to die because of it, but that was the job and the pay.
Worse, the ship couldn't lay down proper cover fire without risking the merchandise for now. She was still being suppressed. But the bomb was about to go off. The stabilizer would no longer be functioning, and then they would be free to do what they wished. His wish, in particular, was the huge sum of money he'd get paid to finish this job.
A bright flash of light and a roar of thunder behind him solved his problem. He stood up to watch the blast wave ravage the army heading for him. He wasn't quite close enough to smell it, but there was likely a range beyond the blast in which the Vinarii would have been perfectly cooked. It was an interesting thought to ponder.
Naliera continued onward, going through every remaining barrier he could until the mindscape tremored. He saw an ethereal Vinarii contact him right as the entire top of the base vanished and disintegrated. A massive spectral Vinarii soared out of the breach, eyes quickly seeing him. She flew down to greet him, a smile evident at the carnage and death surrounding them. She was one who understood.
"Finally," she said, her form shrinking to a normal size as she stretched her wings. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting to get out."
"I have a pretty good idea, actually."
"I'm sure. Why don't you tell me what you're doing here, Sprilnav?"
"My backers wish to offer you an accord."
He watched as the Vinarii leaned over, sticking out her tongue to lick the soil. She then proceeded to actually take a bite, dirt dribbling from her mandibles as she stood up again. Naliera tried to hide his disgust.
"Oh please. You just feasted on my kin. You're disgusted by me eating a bit of dirt?"
"No, I didn't."
The lie was necessary because most species had a sort of moral compunction against eating their kind. He didn't quite understand it. Meat was meat, no matter the source. She laughed in his face, entirely unconcerned with the Sprilnav that had their claws on guns ready to put her down. But from what his backers had said about her capabilities, that was a difficult ask.
"Your breath smells like Vinarii meat. By the way, if your species is so advanced, why didn't you develop anything to fix that nasty stench?"
"Look, woman, we can put you right back in that hole," one of his team said. She laughed. "No you can't. Judging from the fact that not all of you alive, Vinarii tech can hurt you. Which means that you can't protect yourself from me. Frankly, I hate Sprilnav more than anything. The only reason I'm letting you live right now is because you freed me. You pollute the air you breathe, and I'm not just talking about your breath."
"Really, you're quite immature."
"Well, a few standard years in a steel box will do that."
"Sure. Guess you're not all there in the head. By the way, a deal is being proposed. By my backers."
"Really, they care?"
"I think they do... Exii'darii."