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I beat Erika, and exposed the Team Rocket casino cover for its true mob operations. Well, have I got a lot to tell you guys. First and foremost, the key to the game corner is to A) gather the coins on the ground (like 200+) and B) use the machine below the out of order one (that's how I got Bella the dratini). I got Apeshit the Mankey in the rock tunnel, which took forever bc I refused to use flash. I also grabbed a voltorb (Pseudoball) and eevee (Rainbow), and Deagle evolved into a pidgeotto, while The Batman evolved into Golbat. Oh, and I got Broccoli the Vulpix. I took on the casino w/ Mimien (mr. mime), The Batman, Ch'ding (Farfetch'd), Broccoli, Bella, and Deagle. Giovanni was easy, especially since Mimien had learned Magical leaf recently. I swapped Deagle for Amy so that I could use cut to get to the gym. Ch'ding learned Fury cutter, which should become interesting. But Erika got swept by The Batman, spamming wing attacks and resistant to the effects of her poison attempts. Anyway, my team heading back to Lavender Town will be preparing for Koga, so I'll be taking: The Batman (golbat 26), Feet? (diglett 24), Bella (dratini 25), Mimien (Mr. Mime 26), Heavy (wartortle 25), and Creeper (drowzee 22). In my box is Apeshit (mankey 21), Joey (raticate 20), Tack (Beedrill 21), pseudoball (electrode 24), Saudi (meowth 13), Venus (Weepinbell 23), Broccoli (vulpix 25), Rainbow (eevee 25), Deagle (pidgeotto 23), Ch'ding (farfetch'd 26), Bargain (Gyarados 22), and Amy (sandshrew 21) No deaths so far, knock on wood; The Batman has blackglasses to complement his bite, and Wartortle also has bite, so hopefully they'll run the tower, maybe even get me a ghost type (lets go Gastly/Haunter). Btw, are you guys doing anythin for trade evolutions? Im not, but if you guys do I might
Artist:Joji Album:Nectar Label: 88Rising Release Date: September 25, 2020 Listen: Spotify Apple Music YouTube Music Deezer Soundcloud Background Not many artists have had a come-up as interesting and eccentric as George Kusunoki Miller, a former YouTube comedian/edgelord turned moody R&B singer. George first got his taste of internet fame as FilthyFrank, a character he described as everything a person should not be, he played the notorious persona on YouTube for over 6 years and eventually had to retire it due to him losing passion for it and suffering from stress induced seizures, which playing the character often caused. Throughout his time as FilthyFrank however he began experimenting with music, mostly of the satirical kind at the start, his first tracks were under the FilthyFrank persona, the first one being Who's The Sucker, a dumb track where he somehow manages to rhyme "nicer" with "vagina", go figure. A few years later, alongside the satirical rap, Joji began to make what he would consider as serious music, and this is where the timeline gets a bit messy, as he put out multiple tracks under multiple different aliases and the lines got blurred pretty fast, so I won't focus on aliases too much, but rather on the music he put out, around this era he released the therapeutical Medicine, the slow and melancholy We Fall Again, and Dumplings, which was Joji's best attempt at a trap banger. In 2015, he birthed the Joji alias, released two singles on Soundcloud under that name, and announced a project called Chloe Burbank Vol. 1, the project was later scrapped and is probably sitting on Joji's hard drive, unfinished, however, the two singles he put out, thom and you suck charlie, were the tracks that put him in the spotlight, not to mention that to this day, there are some of his fans that believe these 2 tracks are his best and will not be topped, but that's a discussion for another day. Following the overwhelmingly positive reception, Joji began to put out more tracks and singles, both under the aforementioned alias and Pink Guy, which was a character that blossomed into a satirical rap project, but I won't be covering that too much, and will focus on what he did as Joji instead, most tracks Joji put out were met with positive reception, some of the tracks, such as worldstar money, ended up on his debut EP as well. Sometime around early 2016, Joji ended up signing with 88rising, a label focused on building the bridge between east and west, he explained in an interview that he was initially a consultant for the duo behind the record label, however, once the duo noticed his music and how well it was received, they asked him to jump on board and he instantly took the chance, getting signed alongside the likes of Rich Brian and Higher Brothers. The label immediately undertook Joji and began distributing his catalog on their YouTube channel and helped him release more music, which was a couple of singles in the earlier half of 2017, and his debut EP in the latter half, the EP, known as "In Tongues", was met with mixed reception from fans and critics alike, with some describing it as his most concise body of work so far that is oozing potential, and others describing it as a bleak project that fails to set Joji apart from the sea of artists on the same wavelength as himself. Following the release of the EP, Joji began working on his debut album, known as BALLADS 1, the album's first single, YEAH RIGHT, was released on the 8th of May, the track was first believed to be a standalone loosie as it was released 5 months before the album itself, however it ended up being on the album and was confirmed as the one of the singles alongside SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK, CAN'T GET OVER YOU, which features a production credit from non other than Clams Casino, and TEST DRIVE. The album was well received, and was praised for containing a wider variety of sounds than its predecessor, it felt like a natural progression for Joji's sound and was a step forward towards a more mainstream approach whilst not sacrificing any of the rawness that Joji's older stuff had, which seemed to be what most fans were expecting from him. Moving forward Joji stayed mostly silent throughout 2019, appearing on the second 88Rising collaboration album, which was negatively received due to it's lack of creativity and sub-par performances from most label signees, he also appeared on Rich Brian's sophomore album, The Sailor, and released which is now known to be as the first single from Nectar, Sanctuary, a synth based poppy track that previewed a vocally improved and more confident version of Joji. What was assumed to be a loosie turned out to be the beginning of an album rollout, as half a year later Joji released Run, setting a new standard for himself both instrumentally and vocally, and a couple of months later he released Gimme Love, a double sided track with a fun, catchy beginning and a melancholy ballad driven ending, the last single, Daylight, was released on the 8th of August, the instrumental was produced by Diplo and the track itself sounded like Joji's attempt to break into the mainstream. Without warning, he also released two tracks that he classified as "NOT SONG", the first being Pretty Boy, which actually ended up on the album with a Lil Yachty feature, and the second being FTC, which sadly did not end up on the album, both tracks had videos and it seemed to me at first that the purpose of both tracks was to serve the lore that Joji has built around the album, which I will be touching up on in this write-up. A day before the album's release, he put out Gimme Cum, an enigmatic track with a mysterious message. Nectar itself was pushed back from it's original July release date due to the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, the album however was released on the 25th of September. Album Lore If there's one thing George is no stranger to, it would definitely be worldbuilding, as he has proven time and time again that he has a knack for it, especially with his FilthyFrank YouTube channel, where he managed to create characters, locations, and an entire universe out of a few satirical characters, his lore was adored by many and even though visually he never wrapped up the story he did release a book that served as closure for the FilthyFrank lore. This album's lore is not as straight forward however, and there are multiple theories doing the rounds on the internet, personally I will go by what sounded most convincing to me in terms of timeline and storyline, however do feel free to expand on what I've said or correct me, George has left multiple things left open to interpretation therefore I would not be surprised if there were multiple different meanings to the same thing. Our story begins in the music video for Gimme Love, where we see a young Joji who appears to be a small time engineer that is eager to climb through the ranks of the company he is working for, as he rises however he appears to become more stressed out and agitated at all times, lashing out at his coworkers and breaking down consistently, throughout the music video we can see that the more he progresses, the more roadblocks he runs into, which causes his behavior to become more psychotic and manic, as the shots move forward we see him accept awards, lead his very own research team, run failed experiments on his coworkers that causes them to bleed, and eventually receive military covert status, which did not come without sacrifices, as we see him smile less and less throughout the video. In the second half of the video, we see Joji steal the rocket he helped build by locking out his crew members, and launch himself into space, disappointing everyone he worked with and stabbing them in the back he appears to be quite happy however, eventually his mood flips as he is faced with two choices, engage or eject, the following shot does not allow us to see which one he picked as we are facing his back, all we see is Joji making the choice and gearing up for what's to come. The lines get blurred around this spot and many people have different theories as to which video is the right one chronologically, personally I believe Daylight comes next, and my theory is Joji is having some sort of fever dream featuring his previous coworkers, most notably the older people who went through layers of plastic surgery, who appear in the music video for FTC, where they are seen wearing badges that features the same organization Joji worked for, throughout the video they are seen rummaging through the wreckage caused by Joji, clearly looking for something specific, which ends up being the award Joji won. Back to Daylight, Joji appears to be some sort of intern working for the director and the actors, towards the end of the music video we can see Joji waking up from the aforementioned fever dream, clearly in a daze, as the shot widens we see that he is alone, in a barren wasteland, with nothing around him except for a tent and what appears to be a device used for communication, he plants a few seeds in the soil and sits by the device, hoping for a sign of life. Next comes Run, where we are once again met with Joji having a nightmare, the entire video symbolizes being trapped in a place you don't want to be in, as Joji appears to be in a never ending limousine with people he has no interest in whatsoever, towards the end of the nightmare we actually see Joji running across a massive wasteland, the same wasteland we saw him in at the end of the Daylight music video, throughout the video, we see Joji become consumed by the soil itself, which I would assume is a representation of his fears back then, seeing as he was alone and had little to no hope of being saved whatsoever. Joji wakes up from this nightmare and appears to be in some kind of spaceship, if the videos were released chronologically, we would be completely lost at this point, lucky for us, we already know what the spaceship is, as we see a picture of the Sanctuary crew in the final shots of the Run music video, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the crew is the ones that saved him from death and picked him up from the mess that he placed himself in, hence the name Sanctuary, which means refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger The crew itself is seen in action in the music video for Sanctuary, where Joji appears to be fighting and defeating some sort of one-eyed alien supervillain at the start, however, once he is defeated, both Joji and the crew themselves become aimless, as they are living monotonously without a goal, thankfully(???), one of the crew members sees this and decides to take matters into his own hands, by surgically removing his own eye, which portrays his transformation into the new supervillain, and following this up by killing a crewmember and escaping on his own, once again giving the spaceship it's own purpose. Unfortunately the music videos that were put out after the release of the album appear to be too subtle for me to think they are connected in any way, shape or form, there are many theories of course but I can't help but feel like that most of them are a reach. The most plausible explanation for this lore that I can think of is that the whole escaping from earth on his own, landing in a barren wasteland, trying to plant seeds in it, and eventually being picked up by a group(88Rising, wink wink) is a metaphor for his transition from FilthyFrank to Joji, the barren wasteland stands for how hopeless he felt at the time and the seeds symbolize the loosies he was slowly dropping before ditching his channel to become an R&B superstar, which if true, solidifies the idea that George was done with FilthyFrank long before he actually left the channel itself. Regardless, I thought the lore was very enjoyable and it was nice to see Joji back in one of his elements at least, most fans would have been disappointed in me if I had not touched up on it a bit seeing as it was a huge part of the albums release and they are intertwined in some sort of way. Review
When it's lovely I believe in anything What does love mean When the end is rolling in
It is important for me to preface this review with the fact that this Joji album is not like anything we've ever heard from him before, this is not the one man army, garageband using, sample meshing Joji that we knew in the past, this is Joji with an entire team behind his artistic vision, a whole group of people working with him to help him push his sound to the next level, and unfortunately, while the quality of the music has clearly went up, when so many people have their own input on something eventually the lines get blurred and the album loses its artistic direction and cohesion, which is one of my only complaints with this album, and I'm glad I got it out of the way first. Artistic direction and cohesion aside, this album contains some of Joji's highest highs to date, especially the singles, that's not to say that there aren't some deep cuts on here that shine as well, but once you listen to the album in it's entirety you quickly understand why the singles were chosen as singles, especially when you consider how sonically different they are from the non-singles. Sanctuary, the album's first single, is a sweet, poppy and synthy track that features a high pitched and melodic Joji, some of the track's lyrics are somewhat abstract but they are quite visually descriptive and that's always a plus in my book, the instrumental itself is quite spacey and has a nice retro vibe to it, already a huge step forward from what we've already heard from George, the track's climax reaches towards the end and gives us a beautiful bridge,with Joji crooning about wanting to be held by a significant other.
I fell for your magic, I tasted your skin And though this is tragic, at least I found the end I witnessed your madness, you shed light on my sins And if we share in this sadness, then where have you been?
Run is one of the more cinematic cuts on this album, the track is truly a double edged sword because although it's one of Joji's best, it has set an extremely high standard for both Joji and the album, leaving fans such as myself worried about whether or not he will ever reach a similar high, the production is clean, Joji's vocal lines are as dynamic as ever, the guitar melody is infectious, the lyrics are better than anything Joji has ever written and he is putting his heart and soul into every word, the electric guitar solo at the end is also something worth mentioning, which sits perfectly right in front of Joji's distant and wide vocals, ending the track on a strong note.
Look into your heart and let me know Do things turn black and gray as they go? When I'm far too gone, can you show me love? Give me love
The lyrics above come from the album's third single, a 2 sided track that starts as a bouncy, percussive, fast paced, and catchy song, with Joji chanting and pleading to be given love, softly singing about being surrounded by apathetic people, after the second chorus the entire song comes to a halt in order to make room for a mellow guitar and Joji's harmonies, which are absolutely stunning if I may add, the track, much like many other tracks on here, ends on a cinematic strong note with a string section and a grandiose piano. The final single, Daylight, is no doubt unexplored territory for Joji, the instrumental, which was produced by Diplo, starts off slow and minimalistic, with a simple yet groovy bassline, and reaches its apex on the chorus, when it suddenly becomes extremely lush, heavy, and thick, the track is most definitely a solid attempt at modern day and mainstream pop music, clearly made with the intention of receiving radio play. All of the singles show up in the first leg of the album, which is absolutely phenomenal, the opener track, Ew, starts off light and easy, with a somber and distant arpeggiated piano backed with Joji's soft vocals, who's singing about heartbreak and the loss of many relationships, sounding as bitter as ever lyrically, the chorus includes a grand string section and a chord progression that is fully panned to the right and sitting all the way behind the mix, and surprise surprise, the track itself ends on a cinematic strong note, much like many of the other tracks on here.
I've got no aim, a million rounds, is nothing real? A hundred pounds of heavy steel, it feels so loud Tied to my chest, it feels so loud I'll take a peek to across the peaks This grass is neat and I'm quite unique But I'd like to be, but I'd like to be
Up next comes MODUS, a moody track that has an intro similar to the opener track but later on has Joji melodic rapping to a murky trap instrumental, with Joji of course sounding better than ever, lyrically speaking, many of the themes on this album are similar, Joji is mostly singing about relationships, heartbreak, and the need for a significant other, the lyrics themselves give the album a nocturnal, bitter, hopeless vibe, which is what we've come to expect from Joji's music nowadays. The third track, Tick Tock, is a plucky banger of an instrumental that has Joji rapping over it with pitched up vocals on the chorus which is something that's a little bit reminiscent of his older, more amateur work, the vocal layering on the verse is also something worth mentioning, really showcases Joji's dynamic range and how much he improved as a whole, the track is nothing groundbreaking in terms of what we've heard so far and remains lowkey for the most part but is without a doubt one of my favorites on this project.
On Nectar, one of the yet-to-be-announced tracks was produced when the artist was only sixteen years old. “I’m excited to see if it sticks out or not to the listeners.” he reveals.
Joji Interview with Schön! Magazine.
While not officially announced by Joji himself, it is safe to say that Upgrade is the aforementioned track, a small interlude that seats itself in the earlier part of the album, the track starts with a grandiose piano, which is quite unnecessary if you ask me, because once we have it out of the way all we get is a very obviously barebones instrumental made from a different time, the telltale sign being non other than the ukulele that we have seen in George's earlier work. It upsets me that Joji has not made this fact much more known because this track has been consistently the subject of criticism by critics and fans alike, but at the same time I understand, because at the end of the day George left that track in there for the die hard fans, not the critics. Up until this point there is no doubt that Joji has played it safe, sure the album is much more grand and cinematic than its predecessor, but there's no denying that the signature sound is still there, we still get the hazy and moody slow bangers, if Nectar was only the first half then Joji might have had a strong album in his catalog, maybe even a classic, but I understand him wanting to expand and experiment with other sounds in order to grow as an artist. The midsection gets a little bit tricky, as Joji begins to get out of his comfort zone and the album features start appearing, to me it sounds like Joji did not know how he could keep the listener interested in the second half of this album and decided to opt in for a bunch of features as a quick fix, some work out fine, some better than others.
Handsome young man, never pull up on time Lookin' in the mirror, lookin' good should be a crime, crime All this pain I'll never let show (No) My real thoughts, you'll never know (No)
Lil Yachty on Pretty Boy
I never really listened to Lil Yachty that much aside from the obvious hits he had over the course of his career, but he clearly shined on this track as the feature, for starters, the track is very light-hearted, definitely one of the more lofi tracks on this album, the highlight for me without a doubt is the bridge, which sounds like something straight out of Pink Season, George was clearly having genuine fun with it, some even speculate that most of the bridge was made using samples from his earlier work as Pink Guy. High Hopes, which features Omar Apollo, is one of the more lowkey cuts in here as well, the percussion on the instrumental and the detuned guitar on here remind me of some of Joji's stuff from BALLADS 1, unfortunately however the track doesn't stand out much, at least not as much as Afterthought with BENEE, another track where Joji's melodies and vocals shine through once again, and BENEE's feature definitely adds some character to the track, at least enough to the point where the feature made some sense On Normal People, Joji recruits childhood friend rei brown, in an attempt to capture lightning again after their first collaboration, Once In A While. Unfortunately lightning didn't strike twice here for me and the track felt quite lackluster and uninteresting, especially for such an anticipated track and when compared to their first song, many of the tracks and collaborations on the second part of the album really felt like Joji just trying to recapture the magic of his earlier work, and while some of those attempts did work at the end of the day it does feel like a cheap cop out.
Oh, understand, girl, I'm out of sight To the other side, I don't want no stripes Got my insides loud like motorcycles Girl, don't notice it, I don't notice it
Another example of Joji attempting to recapture magic is NITROUS, which marks Joji's second time collaborating with Clams Casino, the track is very reminiscent of their first track together, both Joji and Clams Casino however killed it, the track's instrumental is very murky and nocturnal, much alike most of the album, but that doesn't stop Joji's delivery, which is very fun-loving and upbeat.
By the way you move, I know you want me to Tell you all the rules, I know I'm searching too Give me all your clues and things to guide me through The end of the world, the end of the world
Produced by the one and only Kenneth Instrumentals, Mr. Hollywood is one of the more heartfelt and personal tracks on this album, Joji is singing about his evergrowing popularity and how it will never affect what is important for him, which in this case is the girl he's singing about, like many other tracks on this album, you will often hear something that will remind you of Joji's older work, in this case it is the ad-libs on the chorus, which are very reminiscent of his ad-libs on BESIDJU, regardless the song has at least a bit of substance which makes it one of the more commendable tracks. The final run of this album is where Joji flips the script here, there are a few tracks that have questionable artistic decisions, such as Reanimator, with non other than Yves Tumor, the track serves as an instrumental interlude before the final two tracks, however with a feature such as Yves Tumor I honestly expected much more than what we got, and what we got is basically a 3 minute track, with the first minute and a half being nothing than a drone-y, synthy instrumental, and the second half being quite a lackluster performance by Joji and his guest, much like some of the other tracks on the album, it seems like it received a similar treatment, where the track was initially unfinished and still half-baked, and rather than attempting to finish the track they opted for an easy way out, which in this case was making more than half of the track an instrumental and then calling it an interlude just to be safe.
"that weeknd synthpop track sure is doing huge numbers, maybe i should also make a synthpop track as well"
I would be down to argue that if Blinding Lights by The Weeknd had not existed, 777 wouldn't have existed either, Joji's constant attempts at breaking into the mainstream and commercializing his sound have always left a bad taste in my mouth as it felt like it came from a place where authenticity is lacking, nevertheless I find it bizarre to make a track that is very similar to one of the most successful tracks of the year and not attempt to push it at all, that's not to say that 777 on it's own is not a good track, however there's no denying that the sound selection on the instrumental, some of the flows, and the chorus itself hold blaring similarities to The Weeknd's track, I understand why he would make such a track however and find it admirable at the very least. Thankfully, the album ends on a strong note, the final two tracks are both beautiful even though they're worlds apart, Like You Do, is a quintessential love ballad from Joji, a stripped down instrumental with beautiful piano chords and a laid back vibe, Joji is singing about his current partner and how what they have might not work out, even though he feels like they're perfect for one another, the closing track, Your Man is a massive change in tempo, with an upbeat, electronic, deep house-esque instrumental, we hear a Joji that is optimistic, which is a nice change of pace, especially considering how bitter most of his albums and projects have been up to date.
Since I met you All the gloomy days just seem to shine a little more brightly Consider what we've got 'Cause I can never take you for granted
Like You Do
Conclusion There's no denying that some tracks on here sound like a bastardized version of Joji's signature sound. Joji is trying his best to commercialize his sound without sacrificing the rawer elements of it, which unfortunately results in a jumble of sounds. This album is not free of criticisms as there are many issues in here that need to be worked on, it's much less cohesive than its predecessor and at times sounds like a bunch of rough ideas put together in order to create the world's most average musical equivalent of a photo collage, but if we were to just set all of that aside and just look at this album for what it is, then there's definitely something in here for everyone. George might have not made a classic, and he certainly hasn't found his sound yet, but this album is an indicator that he's on to something, and once again I am already anxious to hear what he has in store next. Talking Points
What did you think of this album? Is it a good follow-up to BALLADS 1?
Do you think Joji works better alone or when he has a team behind him?
Do you think Joji will yet again set another high standard for himself next project?
What are your predictions for Joji's sound in the future?
Now that he's more keen on having features, who do you think would compliment Joji's sound the most?
List of Known Bugs In The Cayo Perico Heist DLC + GTA Online:
To avoid multiple, repetitive post on all the bugs in GTA online, especially since the latest DLC release, this post will contain all the common bugs and will be updated as more are discovered and workarounds are found. Please leave any other bugs you've encountered in the comments below and they may be added to the above list, but please note that this is not meant to be a discussion thread, it's meant to list common bugs so players who encounter them know they are not the only ones experiencing them. Any comments/replies beyond simply listing a bug will be removed, and the user may be temporarily banned from the sub. Before leaving a comment, please review the above list, and the comments below to see if what you're about to post has already been listed or commented on. If you see a comment with the same bug you've experienced, please upvote it so we can see how many others are also experiencing that issue. Posts about any of these bugs will be removed. ​
Bugs related to the Cayo Perico Heist DLC:
Not being able to join friends / error message displaying prompt declaring a certain player hasn’t finished the GTA Online tutorial.
Not being able to deliver various pieces of heist equipment to the Kosatka during missions.
During the Plasma Cutters mission, taking a picture of the heist prep board in the safe house won’t register and you can’t send it too Pavel to progress the mission.
During the RO-86 Alkonost Plane delivery mission and the Velum delivery mission, the delivery checkpoint will be stationed at the casino, either the garage, front door, or music locker enterances will be highlighted.
During the Longfin boat delivery mission the delivery checkpoint will not register the Longfin once it has reached it destination.
When poisoning the water tower on Cayo Perico, players have reported either themselves or other players dying randomly.
When hacking into El Rubio’s compound, players have reported being stuck on a static as the game loads the cameras in the compound.
When quitting GTA Online after doing a Cayo Perico Heist mission prep, the game won’t save your last prep, requiring you to do it again.
The Cayo Perico primary target value will sometimes not display correctly and there as issue the incorrect amount of money for stealing the primary target on hard mode.
In the Cayo Perico heist finale, selecting the drainage point as your entrance into the compound won’t register correctly on your map, with the highlighted icon being the main entrance rather than the back.
All of the Pariah’s spoilers won’t display visually for any player.
When using the track pad to open the interaction menu on the PS5, the game soft locks you out of using your interaction menu again.
When escaping the compound, sometimes the boats at both the main dock and north dock won’t spawn.
Killing the juggernuat may cause the alarms to go off in the compound, even if done stealthy.
Both the Tom Conners missions and the English Dave missions sometimes bug up and don't allow you to deliver an objective to the yellow circle.
When entering the compound, plyers are reporting disconnects, either the host of the heist leaves the game or another team member will leave randomly.
When leaving the compound, the game will not give you a way to escape, leaving you softlocked in the compound.
In the heist finale screen, platers report not being able to buy a heist support crew.
When completing the Cayo Peico heist, players report that they discount from the game as soon as the heist is finished, leaving them without their payment.
Some players report that the payouts are incorrect when being divided out to players, as an example, a 30/70 payout will change to a 15/85 payout when the heist ends.
Some players report losing their payout as soon a they reset the game.
Prep missions for the Cayo Perico heist will not start randomly.
During the Alkonost setup mission the laptop needed to progress the prep mission will not spawn.
During the Alkonost setup mission the plane will start smoking instantly when leaving the hanger, causing the plane to prematurely blow up before the mission ends.
When scoping out Cayo Perico for the second time, (steal the plane from the drug dealers,) the yellow dot mission marker will not display, not allowing the player to fly to Cayo Perico.
During the scope-out mission for Cayo Perico, players report the supply truck not spawning in.
When collecting the Chakra Stones for English Dave, collecting all he stones will not prompt the next mission objective.
When trying to obtain the safe codes from the head of security the casino penthouse, players report the main target not spawning, effectivly softlocking the player in the penthouse.
"Invisible guards" patrol the compound after you rob it, resulting in your player character getting caught.
Guards will sometimes not show up on the radar when on the Cayo Perico heist finale.
Players report different weapon loadouts, entry points, and exit points on the final heist rather than what they choose on the finale screen.
Players report that when entering the drainage pipe and surfacing into the compound, the game breaks stealth and puts you into combat.
The Madrazo files will sometimes get replaced with an entirely different target all together on a first run of the Cayo Perico heist.
Delivering anything to the Music Locker will sometimes not work.
Bugs related to the Casino Heist DLC and GTA Online Broadly:
Cannot deliver heist prep equipment: The vehicle will enter the yellow circle and nothing will happen.
Cannot deliver product from businesses: The drop/delivery won't register, or you enter the delivery circle and it won't register.
Cannot deliver Business Battle goods: Will not register when entering the yellow circle.
Falling through the map.
Getting stuck in the man trap or spawning under the map during the Casino Heist, or being disconnected.
Oppressor MKI, or any car floating in the air.
Flying over the water and respawning on the beach.
Changing lobbies but being put back into the same one.
Not receiving Elite bonuses after completing the Casino Heist.
Starting a Casino Heist and having no objective point on the map, causing players to have to leave the lobby.
Having to setup the Arcade again after previously doing the setup mission.
Vehicles/aircraft not spawning after being requested either from the mechanic, Ms. Baker, or through the interaction menu.
Nightclub technicians will stop producing certain products.
Certain vehicles losing their resistance to rockets/explosives. MOC, Avenger, etc...
Infinite loading screens
White screening during the Casino Heist end screens.
Heist cuts not being properly distributed after completing Heists.
Casino Heist being stuck once you leave the arcade: Can't move, etc...
Rewards in Arena Wars, or other jobs, not being properly calculated for the person in first place.
Trade prices not unlocking after completing the Casino Heist.
When searching for a casino heist through quick job in your cellphone, there's a chance it bugs out and upon joining the room, you're unable to see the finale board where you'd normally see the percentages and ready status.
On silent and sneaky, there's a chance the guards that are supposed to be moving around and patrolling stand completely still. This is both helpful and annoying in different parts of the heist and if you haven't got duggan shipments completed, you're pretty much fucked or forced to get creative.
On Big Con, sometimes the exit disguises don't spawn even though the run was done completely undetected (I've experienced this with gruppe sechs entry).
When collecting daily vault, sometimes it might happen that you get stuck in the animation without being able to stop.
The stockade sometimes spawns in the wrong arcade.
Getting stuck in an endless dancing loop during the Casino Heist setup for the level 2 keycards.
Incorrect getaway vehicles will spawn for the Casino Heist.
In Sumo(Remix) the wrong team will be awarded the win.
Mechanic will sometimes not spawn and the player will not be able to modify their vehicles.
MC business raids not sending message to players.
Dying during the explosives prep mission for the Casino heist can lead to a long, or infinite respawn.
During the Prison Break Heist Rashkovsky will not move, be invisible, or die after parachuting from the plane at the end of the Heist.
With the recent Pokemon Go gambling scandals, it came to my attention that the Celadon City casino is run by Team Rocket without proper disclosure. And they let kids gamble! LETS NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS!!!
Here on a Sunday night to give you autists some time to cross-check my info, start your RH instant deposit, and let your wife's bf know you're coming back with a vengeance. Here's an in-depth analysis on DraftKings and how to maximize profits over the foreseeable future to squeeze this for every tendie we can. Now that many states face revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic and wider budget deficits, there needs to be a push to fill that gap and nothing is better positioned than sports betting. As you all know, $DKNG came to market through a SPAC merging with Diamond Eagle back in April, at the worst of the pandemic when live sports were dead and there was more uncertainty than ever for what was to come. Jason Robins, Draft Kings CEO, has balls of steel and knew that they needed to get to market quickly for a sports betting run-up the likes of which we've never seen. Sports are now on their way back, with a huge amount of positive catalysts coming up in the next few months to skyrocket this stock to the moon and beyond.
I want to clarify that a large amount of my conviction from this play comes from the incredible management team leading the company. CEO Jason Robins is a stand-up guy and has led the company through a huge amount of scrutiny since its founding in 2012. He comes from a data analytics background which could not be a better fit for the sports betting business. He prioritizes the high speed data that fuels the DraftKings platform as its most valuable asset and speaks often on the commitment his team has to ethical values and encouraging a trustworthy environment for its users to gamble their paychecks on the DraftKings platform. I've linked a great interview to get to know the CEO and give further insight into DraftKing's plans moving forward below and highly recommend anyone going in on this play give it a quick watch. Jason is optimistic about the future of state's legalizing mobile sports betting moving forward and says they will continue to invest boatloads of money into customer acquisition costs through TV ads and billboards on a state-by-state basis. Link: https://youtu.be/2OVFB9piEC0 Any of you who have come across DraftKings commercials, YouTube ads, billboards, know that their marketing is on point. This is a great play because DraftKing's expansion has occurred thus far on a state-by-state basis. This means that there's a large part of the nation (actually the majority) that is still ignorant to the sports betting wave that is coming in 2021. DraftKings is positioned extremely well to lead the way into the ~25 states still waiting to pass the bill.
The fact that the top 4 states in the country still have not legalized online sports betting presents a HUGE opportunity to ride this wave with little downside risk. Sports have already gone through the worst-case scenario during COVID shutdowns and survived—now we’ve got a great amount of positive catalysts coming up (NBA season, March madness, Super Bowl, etc.) that the general population is begging for some action on, paired with more money in their pocket from significantly less entertainment costs since the pandemic started. The Wuhan Virus gave DraftKings a shot in the arm to streamline its way into most (if not all) of the remaining state's ballots during Q1 and Q2 due to the huge cut in tax revenues that the lockdowns caused across the country. Governor Cuomo of New York released a statement last week stating he is now considering the passing of mobile sports betting in order to raise the state's tax revenue during a time where Congress completely skipped them over in terms of providing aid through the stimmy. New York is a huge catalyst moving forward. In my opinion, this is a make or break for how things look for DraftKings moving forward, and will largely influence how other states react. Mobile sports betting scares states as it is new and so accessible, but if you do research into the Powerball and other loterry companies, it just took a push in the right direction for states to realize how much money they are leaving on the table by not participating in these emerging markets. Sports betting has already benefited the 9 states which passed the bill (NJ leading the way) and has NY as well as every other governor, feeling major FOMO. Current states where online (mobile) sports betting laws have passed:
Legislation aside, the other huge catalyst is DraftKing's unique approach to owning its own data and proprietary tech stack. I believe that this will be where DKNG separates itself from the competition that is rushing to this space and will give it the upper hand in acquiring, and retaining, a large percentage of new users across opening states. From investor presentation:"Upon close of the business combination, DraftKings will become the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States. Through the business combination, DraftKings expects to realize synergies by transitioning its risk and trading sports betting platform to SBTech’s, instead of relying on a third-party platform. In addition to reducing costs, DraftKings will control its backend system and product roadmap, differentiating the company from other U.S. operators and giving it the ability to tailor its sports betting product to U.S. sports and users." "SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with more than 1,200 employees in 10 offices worldwide. Since 2007, the group has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving licensees in more than 15 regulated territories. SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casinos, horse racing companies, and iGaming start-ups. The group supplies highly flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for exceptional configurability and the quickest route to market, complemented by proven business intelligence and reporting capabilities. The SBTech offering includes its seamless sportsbook, Chameleon360 iGaming platform, managed services, on-property sportsbook and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all online, mobile and retail channels. Supported by unrivaled expertise in trading and risk management, acquisition and CRM, and the highest standards of regulatory compliance, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and record revenues." DraftKings prioritized OWNING their own backend technology via this merger with SBTech, making them the first, and only company in this space to own their risk and trading platform. This gives DraftKings a huge edge to the rest of the market. It forked up the cash to keep everything in house not only to provide a better customer experience, but also to widen the moat against competitors as new states come onboard. The key here is to clarify that DraftKings and SBTech combined to be the only player in the market with 100% vertical integration and control of their own backend. Jason Robins and the rest of the management team are placing their efforts on having the best technology and the best product and really going all in on owning the U.S. landscape opening up, with as little need for cross-platform interaction as possible. This acquisition of SBTech was a complete game changer because it allowed them to be independent from paying revenue share to a third-party for betting lines and risk management services. Clarification: no other sports betting/fantasy sports/casino company currently has 100% vertical integration on the level that DraftKings has established.
This is where the market is missing the mark. Take the time to read over analyst reports, news articles, and interviews and you'll quickly notice 99% of the general market is completely glazing over DraftKing's iGaming sector. This industry has been a CA$H COW in Europe for awhile now, and is only getting started in the United States. Out of the companies that occupy this space, DraftKings is the only one to create one synergistic platform for Fantasy sports/Sportsbook/iGaming. This will be a huge value proposition that will ultimately rocket DraftKings to the top of the gaming market and solidify it as THE gaming powerhouse moving forward. The infrastructure driving DraftKing's products and Tech (all in one platform) Anyone that's watched the run of Skillz and the hype pushing PaySafe, knows how much anticipation there is for iGaming to become the new norm in the world of gambling. DraftKings has emerged as the market leader in each state they've launched in, and continue to gain more and more market share. Once new users get introduced to their platform, the cross-selling opportunity is limitless and creates an extremely sticky customer acquisition cycle. Competitors like Penn and MGM are dinosaurs in this space and have been playing catch-up to DraftKings since 2012. The new age of gamblers don't want to drive to a physical casino location or buy a home desktop to gamble. Everything will be mobile and run in real-time. DraftKings has been building an incredible live-sports ecosystem (first to market) and innovates the possibilities of what you can bet on a daily basis. Just download the app for yourself and do some exploring. I believe this is going to boom in the TikTok/millennial crowd as more states start to hop onboard.
Pulled from the investor presentation, $DKNG has smashed every one of their 2020 assumptions listed below. For any stats guys out there, I would love to see some models at how much of this market is still up for grabs. DraftKings has positioned themselves to be at the head of this movement, and I believe that 2021 will be the year we really see them take off into triple digits share prices. The catalysts are there, and the market is ripe for the taking. Their projections are extremely conservative and management lets the numbers do the talking. In my opinion, this is a bet on the management putting the dots together to EXECUTE as state legislation starts to go their way, once NY happens this shift will occur rapidly. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgadata/1772757/000110465920032214/tm2012476d1_425.htm The management is incredible and truly displays a vision for wanting to prop up shareholder value in the long-term through valuable data, a fully integrated platform, and aggressive customer acquisition to take control of this market as states realize the economic deficits which they are facing going into a new year. This along with the unprecedented hype that is going to be involved with sports events this year, will skyrocket DraftKings to new heights. This is not a bet on sports betting alone, it is a play on a data-heavy and analytically driven behemoth, with strategic partnerships (league, team, and celebrity partnerships) and one of the most aggressive marketing strategies I have ever laid eyes on. The stock soared earlier this years upon news of the Michael Jordan partnership (https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/02/investing/draftkings-michael-jordan-deal/index.html) and there is many, many more big moves in the pipeline.
Long-term I am extremely bullish on people wanting risk to make up a daily part of their lives. The psychology of sports betting resembles that of the lottery and is becoming a must-have for people to have the choice to place bets from the convenience of their mobile phones. We are moving into a future where if risk and leverage are not involved, people will have little interest in dedicating their time to things. This shift can be seen with the boom in retail options trading (shoutout wsb gang) and will have a similar effect in sports, iGaming, and random prop bets/surveys that Draft Kings is innovating heavily in. This is not to mention the infrastructure that DKNG is continuing to build out to rival that of Europe in terms of live sports betting (which makes up three quarters of revenue for online sports books in the UK) and expanding their horizons to lesser betted on sports such as tennis, golf, soccer, etc. If you've gotten this far, congrats you're just a few steps away from striking gold. Any feedback, comments, rebuttals, bear scenarios, etc. please comment. Good luck.
DraftKings has state legislation action coming, incredible management, is data-driven, is vertically integrated/owns its tech stack, has exposure to the full range of new world gaming (Fantasy/Sportsbook/iGaming), and is ahead of its competition forming league, team, and celebrity partnerships. $70c 1/21/22 $90c 1/20/23
NBA Owners' net worth (Dan Gilbert's net worth rose from $7.5 billion to $45.3 billion this year)
...After his company went public. I had to include that in the title. Maybe now he won't be such a cheap bastard with his GMs. I had no idea Gilbert was now the second richest owner in the league. Which made me wonder what other owners are worth (the title of this post was almost "why is Tilman Fertitta such a cheap bastard while Joe Lacob spends money like he thinks the shit's gonna rot?"). Which brings us to this handy Forbes list from March: 1. Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers): $51.4 billion Ballmer scored a huge win this week for his dream of building a new arena. He bought the Forum for $400 million from the Madison Square Garden Company, which tried to block a new Clippers arena near the Forum in Inglewood, California. 2. Philip Anschutz (Los Angeles Lakers): $11.2 billion Anschutz owns one-third of the Lakers, plus the arena in which they play, the Staples Center, in addition to the NHL’s Kings. \For those wondering, it's hard to find a reliable source on Jeanie's net worth but according to unreliable sources it's in the ballpark of $500 million* 3.Stanley Kroenke (Denver Nuggets): $10 billion The real estate and sports mogul owns teams in the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, MLS and the Premier League. 4.Joseph Tsai (Brooklyn Nets): $9.9 billion The cofounder of Alibaba Group completed his purchase of the Nets last year for $2.3 billion and bought the Barclays Center for an additional $1 billion. 5. Robert Pera (Memphis Grizzlies): $7.1 billion Pera owns nearly three-quarters of wireless equipment maker Ubiquiti Networks. He was the lead investor in the Grizzlies purchase in 2012. 6. Daniel Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers): $6.2 billion Gilbert made his first fortune from Quicken Loans, the largest online mortgage lender, which he cofounded in 1985 at 22 years old.*List is from March, before the IPO 7. Tom Gores (Detroit Pistons): $5.7 billion Gores and his brother Alec are both private equity billionaires. The Pistons opened a new $90 million headquarters and training facility in September. 8. Micky Arison (Miami Heat): $5.3 billion Arison’s net worth plummeted 33% over the past six weeks with the collapse in the stock price of Carnival Corp. The world’s largest cruise ship operator was founded by Arison’s father in 1972. 9. Tilman Fertitta (Houston Rockets): $4.4 billion Fertitta furloughed roughly 40,000 employees at his casino and restaurant empire to curb the economic impact caused by coronavirus-induced shutdowns. His fortune is derived from his ownership of the Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s, a Texas-based restaurant and entertainment company. 10. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks): $4.3 billion Cuban was one of the first sports team owners to commit to paying hourly arena workers for games missed during the coronavirus crisis. He’s invested more than $20 million as a “shark” on ABC’s popular Shark Tank show. 11. Joshua Harris (Philadelphia 76ers): $3.7 billion Harris cofounded private equity powerhouse Apollo Global Management in 1990 with fellow billionaires Leon Black and Marc Rowan. He remains a managing director there. 12. Gayle Benson (New Orleans Pelicans): $3.2 billion Benson inherited the Pelicans and the NFL’s Saints when her husband, Tom, died in 2018. 13. Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves): $2.8 billion His printing firm, Taylor Corp., generates more than $2 billion in revenue annually. Taylor also owns stakes in Minnesota’s MLS and WNBA teams. 14. Herb Simon (Indiana Pacers): $2.6 billion The real estate mogul bought the Pacers with his since-deceased brother, Melvin, in 1983, for $10.5 million. Simon Property Group is one of the world’s largest real estate investment trusts, with 206 properties in the U.S. 15.Antony Ressler (Atlanta Hawks): $2.4 billion Ressler cofounded private equity firm Ares Management in 1997. He owns a small piece of the Milwaukee Brewers, in addition to his controlling stake in the Hawks. 16. Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets): $2.1 billion The NBA’s GOAT sold a minority stake in the Hornets in September in a deal that valued the team at $1.5 billion. Nike pays Jordan more than $100 million annuallybased on growing sales for the company’s Jordan Brand. 17. Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks): $1.8 billion Lasry, a hedge fund titan, joined Wes Edens to buy the Bucks in 2014 for $550 million. He was born in Morocco and moved to the U.S. at age 7 with his family. 18. Gail Miller (Utah Jazz): $1.7 billion Miller transferred ownership of the Jazz in 2017 to a family legacy trust to deter her heirs from selling or moving the team. Gail and her since-deceased husband, Larry, bought the team for $22 million in 1986. 19. Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago Bulls): $1.5 billion Reinsdorf led a group of investors who bought a controlling stake in the Bulls for $9.2 million in 1985. Good timing. It was one year after the team drafted Michael Jordan, who led the Bulls to six NBA titles. The team is now worth $3.2 billion. 20. Theodore Leonsis (Washington Wizards): $1.4 billion Leonsis initially built his fortune as a senior executive at AOL, before investing in sports teams like the Wizards and the NHL’s Capitals. *Not included on the list but googled for your edification: DeVos Family (Magic): $5.4 billion James Dolan (Knicks): $2 billion Joe Lacob (Warriors): $1.2 billion Vivek Randive (Kings): $700 million Robert Sarver (Suns): $400 million Jody Allen (Trail Blazers): The sister of Microsoft cofounder, Paul G. Allen, took control of the team after his death. At the time her brother was worth $20 billion though he intended to give most of his fortune away... Boston Basketball Partners LLC (Celtics): An American local private investment group formed to purchase the Boston Celtics Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (Raptors): The Raptors are a subsidiary of MLSE The Professional Basketball Club, LLC (Thunder): A group of OKC businessmen "who represent a wide variety of local and national business interests" owns the Thunder Spurs Sports & Entertainment LLC (Spurs): An American sports & entertainment organization, based in San Antonio, Texas owns the San Antonio Spurs
When the league inevitably expands to 32 teams, here are the ten cities that I think should be considered for the two expansion franchises.
It goes without saying, but one franchise should definitely end up in Seattle, as the Supersonics of course. It's been quite a letdown for the city that PBC moved the team to OKC after their acquisition of the team. The city is now updating the Climate Pledge Arena, formally known as the KeyArena, (one of the reasons for the team's relocation) with the arrival of the NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. The Sonic fans have been clear and vocal since the move that they could still support an NBA franchise without a doubt.
The state of Missouri surprisingly does not house an NBA franchise and hasn't since the departure of the Kansas City Kings in 1985. The city seems to support their professional sports franchises and has an arena downtown that could be suitable for the potential NBA team (with some renovating I'd presume - it seems nice but I am not familiar enough with the facility). It seems the market is significant enough to support an NBA franchise so it should be an option.
The city has an MLB and NFL franchise, so it is not inconceivable that they could support an NBA franchise (being that they did up until 1972 with the Cincinnati Royals, before they moved to Kansas City). I'm not sure who the NBA fans in Cincinnati support, but I'm guessing the Cavs aren't popular enough to have strong support across the entire state of Ohio. Kentucky, just south of the city across the Ohio River, has a significant passion for basketball, so that could fortify the market/support for the potential team. A lot has changed since the early seventies but it is still a question whether or not they could fund a new arena in the city or they can just renovate the arena downtown (Heritage Bank Center).
Las Vegas is clearly a viable option for an additional professional franchise after the city has proven it can support the Golden Knights and, seemingly, the Raiders (who already have a broad fanbase). They have a viable arena to play in and can gain support with tie-ins with the casinos to help occupy the arena with visitors as they develop a local fan base. The NBA already has a presence there with summer league as well so I can see it happening.
I guess we will get a general idea of how much the city can support an NBA team with the Raptors playing in the city for the upcoming season (obviously without attendance given the circumstances). The Rays have their issues with attendance and the Bucs are perennial losers sans a few years in the late nineties-early 2000s (I've actually been a big Bucs fan since 1997, as I grew up in Los Angeles with out an NFL team at the time), so it is up for debate if they can support an NBA team, especially with Orlando being so close by. It is a significant market and the Lightning seems to garner a lot of support and have a nice arena downtown they could share with the potential NBA franchise (something they'll be doing this year), so it seems feasible.
This poor city, a city I love and plan on moving to one day, has lost two professional franchises to Los Angeles (and the Rockets to Houston). Both the Chargers and Clippers should still be in SD in my opinion, given their putrid reception in Los Angeles and the significance of the city of San Diego. The Clippers are still not accepted in Los Angeles after all these years and are only there because dumbass Donald Sterling forced the relocation in the 80s. The city has struggled to fund stadiums in the past but it would be great to see an arena downtown, a la Petco Park. Worst case, they renovate the Pechanga Arena (formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena) but realistically I'm not sure the city wants an NBA franchise, I have no clue.
No reason to think they couldn't support an NBA franchise again. Basketball has grown tremendously in Canada since the days of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the country has produced several high-level players in recent years. The Raptors are the lone team north of the border, so no reason to think a second team isn't viable. Vancouver has Rogers Arena ready to go so there wouldn't be an issue with an arena for the potential team.
Look, Pittsburgh could barely support the Pipers back in the ABA days (albeit a long time ago), so I'm not sure how popular basketball is in the city. It is not a huge market but the city shows strong support for the Steelers and Penguins (and I'm sure the Pirates to some extent even with their decades-long struggles). I think Pittsburgh is a beautiful, underrated city, with PNC Park being my favorite MLB ballpark. The potential team could share the arena with the Penguins so there wouldn't be an issue having to fund a new arena. Also, I know the city loves the black/yellow color scheme for their franchises so that is one less thing to worry about.
As mentioned above with Kansas City, it is surprising the entire state of Missouri doesn't have at least one NBA team. St. Louis had the Hawks for 13 years, before they moved to Atlanta, and housed the fabled Spirits of St. Louis of the ABA, so no reason to think the city couldn't support an NBA franchise again. I highly doubt both cities mentioned would get both expansion franchises, so I'm not sure which city is the more viable option. The team could share the Enterprise Center with their NHL team, the Blues, so there wouldn't be an issue funding an arena.
I know it is very close to DC, but if DC and Baltimore can both support an NFL and MLB team, why can't Baltimore support an NBA franchise again, being they had an NBA franchise (that moved to DC, coincidently) in the past. I know the city has had its struggles for some time, but it seems like a possible landing spot to consider. I am not familiar with the condition of the Royal Farms Arena, but the team would ostensibly have a suitable arena to play in.
I would normally buy Madden but I bought Madden last year and this year’s got an absurdly low rating so there’s no chance of me buying that. I haven’t played FIFA since FIFA 11 and 2K since 2k14. I’m just conflicted on buying either of these because EA just doesn’t deserve the money and I’ve heard 2K is just a casino disguised as a game. In terms of game modes, I enjoy career mode the most and I enjoyed franchise on Madden. Not really much of a MyTeam or Ultimate Team player especially since I don’t have a lot of extra money laying around. I will note that I’ve played FIFA 21 on the 10 hour trial and I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m still conflicted on whether I should buy it. Any advice helps, thank you to anyone who responds. EDIT: Wow I really wasn't expecting this many responses. Well first off I'd like to acknowledge that I already have rocket league and play from time to time. Yes, democracy is great and I'm honestly glad people see that sports games in recent years have been awful. (I just haven't played the other ones in a while and thought of changing to another for a bit). As for recommendations, I wish I could play MLB the show but unfortunately, I do not own a PS4. All the recommendations that y'all have left in the comments are great! I'm definitely going to write em down and take a look at them when I have the time to do so whether they are sports games or not. As far as boycotting the games go, I wish that it would work but I doubt it would. I'm just glad my post brought some attention to it and hopefully it would bring more in the future somehow. View Poll
The NBA has partnered with 6 restaurants to provide delivery service, all owned by Tilman Fertitta.
The six restaurants: Morton's Palm Saltgrass Del Frisco's The Oceanaire Joe's Crab Shack And here is a Rockets reporter pointing out they're all owned by Fertitta. Just saw this and thought it was interesting. I guess they're throwing him a bone.
Chae’Sol stood at the centre of a large command deck, meticulously peeling the protective film from his new captain’s chair. The sensation of the slow but steady yielding of the film, the sweeping line following the contours of the seat in flowing curves; it was incredibly satisfying. Finally, with one last gentle pull, the last of his chair was uncovered and he stood back to admire his throne. Aside from the freshness of the seating itself, there were shiny new holo displays, touch sensors, and comms relays that were within easy reach of his seated fingertips. This ship would be the jewel in any fleet, a prototype Dreadnought made by the infamous Bardul of Shi’an. The Gowe Military faction had run into financial problems, and it had been left unpaid and unclaimed. What sorcery Kadir had used to find it, and purchase it, he did not know. His comms unit beeped and Danyd’s voice came through. “Chae’S-” -He grumbled incoherently- “Captain, we’re ready to get underway.” The Niham turned and sat back on his pristine chair, swinging his long legs over the armrest. “That was quick, Chief Engineer Ef’Yto” Danyd grunted at the use of his title. “Aye, these Awakened are efficient bastards.” The Satryn looked around at the enormous engineering bay. The entirety of the Porkchop Express could comfortably sit inside, and two of them could likely squeeze in. “Plus, this thing has never been used; feels weird not having anything to work on. It’s state of the art, and I’m having to read the manuals on half the new systems.” Chae’Sol laughed, looking around at the Awakened as they were preparing their workstations. “Yeah, this command deck is a little intimidating. Even the Niham Armada didn’t have ships like this. There are fifteen weapons stations here, what in Tulseria’s name were the Gowe planning to do with this thing?” “No idea.” The chief engineer walked to the large seat in front of his new work terminal, and hopped up onto it. The protective covering squeaked. “This thing has more firepower than half their fleet, it must have been something big. We’re lucky Kadir found out about the graveyard of unclaimed ships from one of his contacts.” The newly-minted captain swung his legs down and sat up, straightening his black uniform and white collar. “That’s another thing: how does he have so many contacts? I was in the Tulseria-damned military, and I had no idea they would sell us fighters and weapons.” “I know the feeling.” Danyd watched a junior engineer – Lily, an Awakened who wore a headband in her silver hair that sported long Kittran ears on it – begin running diagnostics on the Hoban Field Generator. “I'm aware he got the automated weapons for the system port from my people, somehow. As for how he accomplishes all he does, I think his time working with that fancy Anatidae councillor opened more than a couple of doors for him.” Chae’Sol stood, running his fingers through his perfect hair. “Doors, windows, rear entrances and damned secret portals, all leading to a dark realm of shady deals and supplies. We have an Imperium Capital Ship for Tulseria’s sake! Nobody knows where he got it, or where he’s now hidden it.” He looked at his holo display, noting the specks springing blinking into existence as the other ships of Federation origin came to life. “Let’s just be glad he’s on our side.” The chief engineer tugged at the green collar to his uniform. “Our side used to be a damn sight smaller.” Lily had finished her diagnostic tests and sent the results to his console. Her report included an adjustment that would create a potential three percent increase in crystal efficiency, and a small drawing of a smiling leokit with a crim-bar. He groaned, then reported back with, “We’re ready to go when you are.” The Niham strode confidently across the command deck, stopping to stand in front of the huge vid screen at the front of the room. All around him were his crew, made up mostly from the Ashi, Awakened, and Kasurians. “Let’s get this show started.”
Jaym sat with a bowl of Tony the leokas cereal in front of her. It wasn't just a catchy advertising slogan - it really was great. She and Elizabeth had worked together so much in the engineering section of the Porkchop Express that they had become close, often spending their free time together. Indeed, Elizabeth currently sat opposite her, carefully rebuilding a power coupling and occasionally tapping at her datapad. Shortly after the results of her most recent tap played out, Elizabeth paused her work on the power coupling. Without speaking, she held up her datapad so that Jaym could see. On the screen was Tony and his mate Jolie, and Skeena’s voice could be heard excitedly talking about collecting urine samples from the female. Jaym screwed up her face at first until Skeena announced the pregnancy test was positive. Tony was going to be a father! She couldn't contain her joy and screamed loudly, grabbing the screen and running all the way to the bridge to show the others. Ranjaz was stretched out across the captain’s chair as Jaym burst in, and didn’t open his eyes until she began shaking his leg. Even then he didn’t pay much attention. “I told you not to let Elizabeth play with any more systems till after the mission.” She blushed slightly, as their last improvement had inverted their water treatment system and blown six power couplings. "It's not that!" she said, holding up the datapad and starting the video. "Look!" At the first syllable of Skeena's voice, Ranjaz sat bolt upright. The video held his full attention, and when Tony's impending fatherhood was announced the Kittran's whoops of delight could be heard all through the Porkchop Express. He reached underneath his seat and retrieved a small, fluffy bed, then picked up Aiov. Ranjaz led his unusual dance partner in a quick spin of joy before replaying the GalacTube video for her. “You’re going to be an Aunty!” Eruwenn leaned back in the large seat that had once been Embar’s. “I didn’t think they were related?” The Kittran nodded. “Aiov is Tony’s sister. Aaron adopted them both, and that’s how human families work. They just keep adding members, like a Dular adding shells to its burrow. Family is family.” Cygna pressed a few buttons on her Navigator terminal, moving the video to the main screen as well as starting it over. “I still can’t believe you keep one of these under your seat. I mean, it’s a leokas!” Ranjaz held Aiov up and they briefly rubbed noses. “Just a little one!” The Anatidae laughed. “I can see living with the human has had quite a profound effect on you.” With one of his trademark grins he held Aiov out towards Eruwenn. “Wanna nose rub?” "Ah," the councillor said, shrinking back from the offer, "despite her size she is still a predator, and I am not quite ready for such a close encounter.” From the pilot seat Ripley stood, taking Aiov from Ranjaz. “She is not a toy.” She briefly snuggled the tiny leokit to her chest, then passed her to Jaym. “Take her for food and exercise; she must grow up strong.” Jaym also cuddled the wriggling Aiov close, and not just because the little leokit was adorable. Aiov had tripled in size, and was becoming a bit of a handful. “Thor was preparing her food; I’ll take her down to him.” Once the junior engineer had left, and Ripley returned to the pilot seat, Ranjaz began tapping on the console in front of him. “Looks like we’ll be free to take the shuttle down to the surface with the next group.” Cygna drummed her fingers on the arms of her chair. “I didn’t realise it would be so busy.” Ranjaz shrugged. “There was a quake on the fourth planet, so mining colonies are shut down while the nerds poke around. Along with that, we got three big freighters waiting for resupply. That’s a lot of bored folks looking to kill time.” Ripley grunted, prompting a chuckle from the Kittran. “You don’t approve of their choice of leisure activity?” After their few cycles together Eruwenn was already learning a lot about her shipmates. Ripley, for instance, wasn’t one for talking. She decided to interject before the Captain irritated her too much, as they would need her focus soon enough. “Gambling and pleasure palaces are not to everyone's taste, of course, but these sorts of things are covered under local governance.” Without skipping a beat Ranjaz replied, “I know that’s the official line, but you sure as shit have tax codes for all of it. If you want to look down on folks, don’t pretend you aren’t profiting from it.” Cygna, ever defensive of her mentor, jumped in. “That’s a bold statement for someone who never paid a credit in tax until it was automatically deducted from his Galactic Federation pay.” Ranjaz laughed, then continued, keeping his voice care-free. “Taxed on what? I never owned anything.” Eruwenn could see the trap her junior was walking into but decided to let this be a learning experience. The Kittran was wily, and the Anatidae found him entertaining. Cygna, as she had predicted, scoffed at his claims. “I’ve read your file. When you were arrested you had a ship, five shuttles and thousands in valuable goods confiscated.” “Exactly!” His eyes lit up as he cornered her. “It was confiscated because it was stolen, so I didn’t own it. Imagine a world where you can keep stolen goods if you pay tax on them. Even I think that’s crazy.” The Fae’Dan paused, and the anger evaporated from her voice as she realized what he had said, replaced by a slightly impressed tone of surprise. “Well, maybe, but… Really? You stole all of it?” Ranjaz shrugged. “Or won it. I’m pretty good at Dalcho.” Cygna perked up. “I play Dalcho myself, we shou-” “No,” Eruwenn interrupted. Some lessons were too expensive. “Do not play Dalcho with someone who can get free priority entry permits to a casino.” The former operative shook her head. “I’m a great player, you’ve seen me in the council chambers. I took that Ley’Rulian trader for five hundred credits.” The Anatidae smiled kindly. “And he had five shuttles when he was arrested.” Cygna slowly turned from Eruwenn to Ranjaz, noticing his grin and the sparkle in his eye. It was most definitely the smile of a predator. He gave a little chuckle. “Don’t worry, it’s been a long time since I played. No gambling on Galactic Federation ships, you know.” He laughed again. “Oh wait, you read my file.” The Fae’Dan nodded. “Perhaps we should focus on the mission.” She gave a slight bow to Eruwenn before returning her attention to her console. Ranjaz looked at Eruwenn and stuck out his tongue. “Don’t ruin my fun!” The Ambassador smiled. “I don’t play Dalcho, but there is a human game called chess I quite enjoy. Perhaps we could play sometime?” The Kittran gave a nod. Keeping his voice neutral, he replied. “I don’t know that one, but there’s another human game we could try. Poker?” "We have permission to dock at the holding ring and send down a shuttle," Ripley abruptly called out. "Let’s get this whatever it is and make the rendez-vous.” Both of Ranjaz’s fangs showed as he grinned. “If we’re going to pull a job on Chisola Prime, first you’re going to need to look the part!”
Aaron walked down the corridor of the Hive ship, the strange spiderlike creature trailing behind him as he followed one of the corpse vines as it receded deeper into the ship. He turned and watched the creature, which shrank back from him and crouched low to the ground. “I’m sorry I kicked you. You simply startled me; you don’t have to hide.” The lighting never changed in the endless corridors of the ship, and only the most uninteresting of doors deigned open for him. At this point, he had lost track of time completely. Through perseverance he’d made several important discoveries. The bulbous shapes in the flower vase room were seats; he was fairly certain of that after finding another room with bodies sitting in them. The vines that came for them were the ones he was now following, and by now he must have seen hundreds of dead Hive. The second discovery was that the Hive came in a variety of shapes and sizes. There were two main ones, as far as he could tell, and the first were the four legged kind that had so kindly thrown him in the rejuvenating jelly bean. The second was bipedal, and looked a hell of a lot meaner. While the ones he deemed workers looked somewhat like ants to him, in shades of reds and browns, the second type looked much more commanding. Their carapace had thicker layers of armour in green, gold and red, and was spiked at the shoulders and joints. Even their legs had spines and to top the look off their heads were much more angular. Whether they were soldiers, commanders, or something else, he didn’t know. Through observation of the corpses he had discovered the most confusing feature yet: a strange section in the centre of their abdomen that was filled with what seemed to be a grey fluid. Ahead of him, not skittering away like the rest, was an aphid that no longer emitted a pale green glow. Something whooshed overhead towards the slow and sluggish aphid, and Aaron instinctively threw himself to the ground before he realized what it was. "That's how you get kicked!” He stood up, brushing himself off. “Fuck, that scares the ever-loving shit out of me every fucking time.” The huge creature looked up at him and whined as it munched on the sick aphid. He was probably imagining the apology in its eyes, but Aaron still shook his head. “I know, I know. It’s your job. They clean the floors, you keep their population healthy. Just stop leaping over me like that, fuck. I’m going to have a heart attack.” It whined and backed away from his angry words, and he tried to keep his voice to calmer tones. “Don’t be like that. I’ve told you enough times.” When he looked down the corridor again, the retreating corpse vines had disappeared around a corner. Aaron began to jog after them, and after he'd put some distance in he heard the pattering footsteps of his terrifying shadow. He tried to pay it no mind. Once the vines were back in sight he slowed and followed behind them, singing his direction song quietly to himself. “Left, right, straight. Left, left, right. Straight, straight, left, left. Right, right, straight, right, right.” The ship was massive and, other than some areas smelling funkier than others, there was no variation in lighting, decoration or layout. The song was his map back to the rejuvenation pod, which was his only safe source of hydration. His companion padded along behind him, a friendly nightmare to accompany him on his seemingly endless journey. “We really need to give you a name.” He wished he had his phone with him so he could channel all his nervous energy into making a video. “The audience demands a name. Plus, I won’t be able to sell merch without one.” He turned and looked at the creature. “I’ll probably have to create space-halloween first, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find that you’re cute to some species.” Aaron returned to following the corpse vine, waving a hand high as he spoke, gesticulating to the heavens. “The name is what matters: a good name makes all the difference.” He began seriously pondering the naming matter. “Aragog, Shelob; you know, lean into your size for a characterization. But then again, that's not really going to make people like you.” He looked back over his shoulder as the unnamed beast trotted happily behind him. He assumed happy, at least. It now tended to make an odd gurgling noise after eating, and it roamed closer to him than before. “You know, I never got to name Sassie – she’s my dog. I told you about her yesterday, or the day before.” He really was losing track of the days he’d been here. “I got her from a rescue. She was skinny, and so damn angry, with scars on her legs and under her fur. I had to have special visits before I could keep her. Prove I was worthy.” Talking helped take his mind from the gnawing emptiness in his stomach. Hydration and nutrients osmotically obtained from some weird pod were nowhere near as satisfying as a burger and a cold beer. “Her first visit, she had a rubber ball. It was her only possession, and she loved it.” There was a touch of pride in his voice. “Took me an hour before she gave it up to play. The lady from the rescue centre said I was the first.” He choked up, blinking back tears. “Anyway, couple more visits and she got to stay. Crazy dog was such a handful. She once tried to climb a tree to chase a squirrel. Got her legs over the first branch and just dangled, kicking her back legs.” He began chuckling to himself. “She once tried to jump through a car window; some guy was parked at the lights as we walked past.” He was just chatting now, lost in his memories as he walked. “You know the type, loud radio, windows rolled down on a sunny day, annoying the shit out of everyone in the town. He tossed some litter out of his window and she just launched herself at him. Scared the life out of me at the time - funny as fuck now, of course.” He laughed again. “Then there were the swans. Man, were they not ready. She loved to swim – I told you that before – swimming and splashing was her favourite release. Well, that and chasing rabbits which is, kinda, how I ended up here. Anyway, she would just swim up and down, right past the ducks and stuff, somehow never interested in them. Then one summer these swans came along...” He paused, realising his new friend didn’t know what a duck or a swan was, or even summer, probably. Before attempting to explain, he realised they also didn’t understand english, so it really didn’t matter. “Anyway, swans being belligerent bastards, I called her out of the water straight away. Those mean white fuckers chased her all the way to shore.” He turned around, now grinning broadly. “But, once her feet hit the ground in the shallow water and she was able to stand, did those sons of bitches turn and swim away as fast as they could.” He paused, trying to remember his original point. He really was very hungry. “Oh yeah, so trying to stop her fighting everything that moved meant I didn’t have time to teach her a new name. Figured it would be confusing to her. Sassie she was, and so Sassie she stayed.” There was a tightening in his chest as he thought of her missing him. “Took a lot of years and a lot of time for her to get where she is now. I know Alexa will take care of her, but still, it’s my job, and I need to get back to doing it. She won’t understand…” He choked up completely, taking a moment to compose himself before clearing his throat and returning his monologue to its original course. “Anyway, names. Names matter.” “Maybe you’re a girl monster. Charlotte?” He shook his head. That name just didn’t seem fitting. “We could call you Peter Parker? Although, you’re more of a man-sized spider than a spiderman... Parker Peter? Then again, big, scary spiders say one thing to me. Australia. You like to jump, we could call you Roo? Or, how about Ozzy? Or Bruce? Hmm, that’s a sharks name though… can you swim?” His train of thought derailed suddenly as he saw an open door ahead of them through which the vines were receding. The pair of them continued walking behind the vine until it disappeared into the doorway and Aaron ran forward, pulling something from his pocket. He’d been saving the foil wrapping from the ration bricks, folding them together to form a wedge. He jammed his makeshift door stop under the bottom corner of the door as it began to slide shut. It ground to a halt. “Boom! Told you it would work.” He stood and finally looked into the vastness beyond. Through the doors was, somehow, a rolling meadow, complete with trees, giant mushrooms and plants he had no name for. Vines were also everywhere, receding further across the great wilderness. “What the hell? I thought I was on a spaceship? Am I underground?” Staring intently at the sky, he stepped onto the deep moss beyond the door. He looked at the wall around the interior and saw it was rock, and more plant life clung to every crack and crevice. As he walked slowly forward his eyes followed the vine as it headed for a large, colourful, monolith. He approached and saw that its shape was similar to the vase flowers. He watched as the corpse vines deposited their cargo on top of the monolith. Not on, he corrected himself;they were dropping inside. He looked back to the door, nervous that it might close and lock him in. A large black shadow lurked just beyond the door, and he was torn. Should he explore this 'outside' world, or retreat to the place where he at least had the rejuvenation pods? He looked up at the sky, basking in the warm and invigorating embrace of the sunlight. He blinked at the brightness, being cautious to not look at the sun directly, and something else suddenly caught his eye. It was, incredibly, a door. A door that floated in the sky. The thing about human eyes is that they might be easily fooled, but a shift in perspective can easily change what you see to something entirely different. Aaron was looking up at a ceiling, like the one in the Atrium back on the Azrimad, but a hundred times more convincing. Once back inside the doorway he watched the spiderling he was beginning to think of it as a friend dancing back and forth a short distance away. It seemed… happy. “Ok buddy, I’m back.” Aaron’s stomach made a loud gurgling sound and he rubbed it, trying to squeeze the hunger away. Fingers found muscle easier than usual, and he knew he was definitely losing weight. “We should head back. I need sleep.” He thought for a moment and made a final decision, bending down to pull the foil wedge clear. “I doubt there’s a communicator or command deck in there. Let’s go home, Ozzy.” The trip back was uneventful, Aaron sang his direction song as they navigated the labyrinth. A few more aphids were snacked on by his leggy companion, but his own legs were heavy by the time he was almost back to the jelly beans. Despite being exhausted he had made two stops to create another pair of flower vases for the aphids, as well as scattering a ration brick as he passed by. The aphids waited, as they always did, till he and Ozzy were far enough away before enjoying his bounty. Still, the human derived satisfaction from their presence. Exhausted and weary, Aaron was glad to finally make it back to the room he was reluctantly calling his temporary home. As the door to the rejuvenation pod slid open he was met, forcefully, by the barrel of an energy rifle. Unfortunately for Aaron, due to a considerable height difference, the barrel had struck him squarely in the groin, and he instantly fell to his knees. He came face to face with his attacker with tears in his eyes, clutching his tenderness and coughing. From the other being came incomprehensible yelling, as well as a lot of gun waving. Also, there was coughing. Aaron, eventually mustering enough self-presence to do something other than deal with the after effects of the gun-to-groin encounter, wiped the moisture from his eyes and tried to butt in to the one-sided conversation. "Relax! I'm the one who just got snookered in the fucking balls, here! Why in the world are you so mad?"” The gun was pressed to his forehead by the tiny attacker, who shouted something unintelligible with their black eyes focused on him. They paused to cough, then stepped back, glaring at Aaron until they seemed to feel comfortable enough with the situation to take one hand off of their weapon and pull out a datapad. They held it up, and Aaron frowned at the familiar but still unintelligible colours that swirled on the screen. Then a small vent at the bottom of the device squirted out a puff of sickly sweet scent. Aaron pulled back from the odour. "What the fuck was that?" With some distance between them, the human finally got a good look at his opponent. They were barely waist-height, furry, with a long nose and dark banding across their brown fur. The banding was heaviest across their eyes and although that’s where the similarities ended, it was enough for the human’s brain to forge a connection. “Listen, Rocket, there’s a virus on this ship. You need to get in the jelly bean. Trust me.” The rifle was thrust at him shakily in one hand, the tablet again was raised and a swirl of colours and shapes greeted him. “I don’t speak fucking winamp plugin!” On the wall behind his captor Aaron spotted a dull orange aphid, struggling to climb the wall. He smiled as he slowly leaned to one side. “Have you met Ozzy?” The huge arachnid leapt over them both, causing the newcomer to blindfire at the wall. Aaron seized his chance and snatched away the weapon. He grabbed the newcomer by the front of their armoured uniform and slammed them to the ground. They cried out in pain and began their incomprehensible yelling once more. The accompanying coughing fit was bad, and Aaron dragged them to their feet. Realising that his solitude had caused him to revert to English, he switched back to galactic standard to offer a warning about the disease. “You’re going to die!” A shocked look crossed their face as the human effortlessly lifted them and slam dunked them into a blue jelly bean. Ozzy gurgled happily through his aphid crunching. Aaron snatched up the energy rifle, but found it was difficult to hold due to its small size. He leaned over the jelly bean, noting the occupant drifting off to sleep. Hunger and tiredness were forgotten as adrenaline flooded his system. There was no way the newcomer was alone. He left the pod room to begin searching, and Ozzy seemed to pick up on his intention and followed behind, keeping close to the human. “Good boy!” He had no idea what prompted it, likely some automated response, and it was as though he watched his movements from outside of his body as he reached back and gently scratched the arachnid's head. He was rewarded with happy gurgles, or at least that's what he hoped the noises were. “You did good back there.” He made his way along the corridor towards the same airlock he had once chosen as his final exit. His recent suspicion proved correct as he heard a strange sound up ahead, as if someone was running a wet finger around the rim of a glass. He carefully leaned around the curve and saw another figure, dressed in the same uniform as the first. No fur on this one, although they were equally small in size, and they somehow looked like they were made of glass which couldn’t decide on a colour. This time he remembered to use galactic standard. “Keep your hands where we can see you. We’ve got you surrounded!” The figure was clearly startled, as the ambient resonating noise began varying wildly in pitch at the same moment as their colour shifted to a solid blue. Aaron cursed. He didn’t have a translator, having instead opted for learning standard and winging everything else. The whole federation knew standard, so he hadn’t truly considered getting the implant. “Something is wrong with our translators,” he continued to bluff. “Do you speak galactic standard?” A datapad was hastily pulled from a pocket, and as buttons were pressed the resonating sound became more rhythmic. From the datapad sprung noises. No, it was a voice! “Why do you speak Procyon? Where is Commander Bertolannixostraphes? Aaron began relaxing at the situation he found himself in, but inside he was brimming with joy. Finally, he could talk with someone! “There is a virus on this ship, and many are dead. If your commander is the raccoon-looking guy, I got them into a healing pod. They’re going to be fine.” Under his breath he added, “probably.” The resonating began and shortly afterwards the voice translated, “Who are you? Why did you not answer our communications.” Opting for honesty in the hopes of leniency, Aaron stepped into view. “I’m a passenger. I don’t have access to the ship's systems.” The newcomer was looking at the tiny gun, so the human tossed it forward. “I didn’t know if you were friendly. I can take you to your friend, and you should probably get treatment as well.” The now-orange alien walked forward, their movement accompanied by the strange sound of ceramic plates rubbing together. “That won’t be a problem, we Tricinic do not catch meat diseases. I am Tsy'lo, take me to the commander.” They turned to look behind them. “Where are the others?” Aaron pointed to Ozzy. “It’s just us two.” Colours swirled and the small glass person thrummed. The datapad spoke, “You are the last human, the Ambassador. Correct?” Turning and gesturing to be followed, he began to lead the way to the rejuvenation room. “I am the first human, Ambassador Aaron Cooper, professional bounty hunter. Just call me Aaron. Are you the rescue party? Is Alexa here? Did she bring Sassie?” It took a moment for the translation to come back. “I don’t know those names. We are the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad and we responded to distress calls and found this ship. Adrift.” They had walked a little way when Tsy'lo stopped and regarded Ozzy, who was still faithfully following behind. “Why does the achalo follow you?” “Ozzy?” Aaron shrugged. “I think he was lonely. So, were you sent into Hive space to find me, or are you on some top secret mission? You aren’t with the Sentinels, are you?” “Lonely? But it is an achalo.” Tsy'lo was confused and their colour visibly swirled. “Why would a rescue mission be secret? And, we weren’t sent, we were already here.” Now it was the human who was confused. “Like spies behind enemy lines? Is that why you are in Hive space?” The Tricinic hummed at a higher frequency. “It is our space. We are the Hive!”
Admiral Pelar of the third fleet stood in the centre of the training mat. On the floor around her were four tough looking Ashi, while a fifth was now squaring off against her. She blocked the jab and the surprise knee strike that followed, turning effortlessly to bring her elbow to her opponents ribs. With another deft turn she was behind him and kicking his knees forward. He tried to roll clear but she had anticipated the move and, as he rose, her spinning boot struck the side of his head. “Nice try gentlemen.” She walked away and caught a towel thrown by the drill instructor. “That last one has potential,” she said, and the drill instructor nodded. “Next time, I expect at least one of them to land a hit. If not, I’ll have you in the ring instead, to make sure you still have what it takes.” She saw the fear in his eyes. “I accept nothing but the best from the Third Fleet.” The medics ran onto the mat as she dabbed at her forehead, and she spotted Jar’Bek sitting on a bench nearby. She walked over to him and he stood, straightening what was no doubt an extremely expensive suit. “From one disappointment to another.” The lawyer smiled. “Imagine only seeing your son when he is paid to be in your presence,” he countered. She smirked. “Your tongue is still your most deadly weapon.” He nodded. “Ah, but it must make you proud to see me make use of the things you taught me.” Her face twitched. “I taught you to be a true Ashi, a soldier. I taught you to respect-” Jar’Bek held up his hand. “I’m here on my client’s business, not yours. And, as I am paid a considerable sum per gal, let us not waste their money on matters that are concluded.” He enjoyed the irritation on her face. “I am here to finalise the amnesty treaties, and conclude your membership as citizens of Earth.” The Admiral held up her hands, looking down at her combat training clothing. “I must shower and change first. Please, wait for me in my private office.” She smiled politely. “No.” His smile seemed to hover as if it was a mask that could slip at any time. “You may have disowned me, but I still remember your tricks. You knew the time of our meeting; you had me brought here so you could intimidate me with this display of aggression. Then you ask me to wait in your office amongst your memorabilia and trophies.” He watched the anger behind her eyes. “You really think these tired old tricks will work on me?” She sneered. “At least you remember something.” “Oh, I had the scars removed, but I kept the lessons.” He walked away. “My client's time is valuable and I have scheduled a meeting with the other fleet Admiral’s for later this cycle. Since we have no time for your games, let us go to the briefing room. My team is already set up. If you wish to shower, know that it is more of your negotiating time you are wasting, and I do so hate waste.” He collected his briefcase and walked out of the room. Captain Loring hurried after Jar’Bek, catching him as he entered the elevator. “You sure you want to antagonise the Admiral like that?” He leaned back against the wall of the elevator and relaxed, letting out a small sigh. “A little negotiating trick a Kittran taught me. Anyway, she is no longer my Admiral.” Elora’Tan leaned back on the opposite wall. “She is your mother, Jar.” “Ha.” Jar’Bek laughed. “She disowned me. This is the first contact we’ve had in I forget how many celes. Her first thought is to try and intimidate me with that display. She likes to beat on cadets, she likes to cause pain, and she wanted me to watch.” Loring gave a weak smile. “It forges strong soldiers. We can’t afford weakness.” The elevator stopped and Jar’Bek took a step closer to Elora’Tan. “You think it was weakness that made me leave?” He didn’t let her answer, turning and exiting into the hallway. His voice now resonated with authority as he growled, “In case you people have forgotten, the Ashi will operate under the same rules as the rest of the colony. My mother is not the law... I am the law.”
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